Documenting all love stories near or far

Shelby Jane

May 23, 2024

Planning My Own Elopement as an Elopement Photographer

FILED IN: Advice, Elopement

You probably know by now that I am no stranger to creating elopement planning resources for my couples & couples in general. Whether it’s taking a look at the marriage laws in the Midwest, looking at some of the best elopement locations, or creating an elopement planning checklist to use, I’ve created a ton of resources that I’m incredibly proud of. One area of elopement planning that I have yet to talk about though is firsthand elopement experience, & that’s all changing today! Recently, my now husband Ryan & I planned our elopement & it was an incredible experience. I’ve of course helped a TON of couples with planning their own wedding or elopement, but it’s a bit different when the shoe is on the other foot. I thought it would be fun then to talk about what our planning process was like, & how we made our elopement unique to us.

What Our Elopement Planning Looked Like

Initially Ryan & I had planned to have an intimate wedding with a close group of family & friends in attendance, but something really just wasn’t feeling right to us. We had a date picked out, but ultimately made the choice to shift over to an elopement & ended up planning said elopement in under 2 weeks! You’d think this short timeframe would have made things more stressful, but honestly it was the opposite. With my experience in the industry I knew exactly what needed to be done & how to get it done.

We booked all our vendors as soon as we could, all of which were incredible & you can find them at the bottom of this blog. From there we decided on what the day would look like. Where we’d get ready, where our ceremony would be, who was going to be present, & what would happen after. We chose to get ready at home before heading to the Indiana Statehouse for our elopement ceremony & portraits, with a brunch afterwards. Having an intimate elopement meant that only a few family members were in attendance, but no one else. This meant the stress of invites, reservations, & catering was basically non-existent.

How Did Our Elopement Turn Out?

So how did this all turn out? Honestly it all came together just how we wanted it to. Like I said, we initially had planned on going the route of an intimate wedding, but Ryan & I are both SO happy with the change we made. We got to experience the day we’ve dreamt of with hardly any of the usual stress that comes with wedding planning. & being able to still have some of our family in attendance & celebrating with us afterwards made it all the more special. I honestly wouldn’t change a thing if we did it all again, other than maybe deciding from the very beginning that this is what we wanted to do. 

What I Loved About Doing Our Elopement This Way

As I touched on earlier, the decision to change from an intimate wedding to an elopement was partially made to avoid a lot of the stress that comes with planning a wedding. Anyone that has planned a wedding knows this stress that I’m referring to, & even with me being a professional in the industry, Ryan & I were still experiencing that stress. Once changing courses & planning an elopement Ryan & I were able to channel all that energy that was going into planning our wedding & focus it instead on one another.

The actual planning process of our elopement took place over two weeks, & that short deadline honestly kept things simple for us. We didn’t spend a ton of time mulling over each & every decision, & instead put together a day that fit with what we both wanted. We knew that no matter how the elopement day turned out we would be happy as we’d get to spend the day with one another as our sole focus, though I’m thankful to say that the day itself also turned out to be fantastic from start to finish.

What Happened After Our Elopement?

As I mentioned earlier we went to brunch with our family immediately after our elopement ceremony, but what came after that? What about all the people we had informed about our wedding? This part was honestly so much fun as we were able to surprise all of our different friends & celebrate with each group individually. I’ve talked about multi day weddings & elopements in the past, so actually being a part of one myself has been a ton of fun. Being somewhat secretive with it at first was actually a ton of fun, & the celebrations we got to have with each friend group since have all been a blast. We also have our vow renewal planned in October, which is when we had actually planned on having our intimate wedding initially.

Would I Recommend Planning an Elopement Like Ours?

In a word, ABSOLUTELY! The lack of stress, the short deadline we gave ourselves, the feeling of spontaneity, the excitement after it happened, & the day itself being fully focused around Ryan & I & our love all came together to create an elopement & an experience that I’d recommend to anyone thinking about eloping. I have zero regrets, & even more love for elopements now which I didn’t even think was possible.

Thanks for reading about Ryan & I’s elopement & our planning experience. A special shoutout to all of the incredibly talented vendors below that helped make our elopement a reality. Be sure to check out the blog for more wedding & elopement planning tips, & be sure to send me an inquiry through my contact page if you’re looking to have me document your special day.


Makeup: Olivia Rodriguez

Spray Tan: Aglow Spray

Dress: Free People 

Jacket: Newman & Co

Officiant: Marry Me In Indy! 

Lunch: Harry & Izzy’s

Cake: Confectionaries Bakery

Photographer: Kriztelle Halili