HOW TO PLAN AN ELOPEMENT IN MARGARET RIVER
A planning guide for an epic experience, a little bit of adventure and rad photos
Elopements are awesome, and I just love photographing them. They’re fun, relaxed, simple… everything is stripped back and you can focus on what’s most important between the two of you. Which is kinda the whole point of getting married isn’t it?
We get lot of couples asking similar questions and wondering how to sort everything out for their own elopements, so here’s a mini-guide that should help you plan your own awesome elopement.
My aim is to not only be your elopement photographer, but to also be a planning resource – from helping you with your ceremony location, connecting you with wedding vendors you can trust and delivering kick-ass photos.
Oh, and you might also want to check out our Wedding Planning Guide – theres a couple of awesome little tips in there that you might also find useful too.
So what exactly is an elopement?
Elopements are small weddings. Quite often it’s just the couple and two witnesses, but it can be anything with up to 10-15 guests, because sometimes you’ll want to have some family and a few of your closest friends there too.
If you want to be true adventurous and just have the two of you at your ceremony, I am always honoured to act as one of your witnesses. Usually your celebrant can help organise another witness too.
Choosing a date
Most elopements tend to take place midweek.
The main reason for this is most photographers and celebrants will be booked on peak season Friday and Saturdays. And a cool thing about mid-week elopements is there are less people out and about. So we can roam around empty forests and beaches for photos with more privacy and solitude.
If you’re planning a winter elopement or something in early spring or late autumn, you have a better chance of locking in a weekend date. Likewise if you’re planning something kind of soon – less than 6 months time – then it’s possible to check weekend availability with your preferred photographer and celebrant.
Location location location
For many couples, the main options are somewhere coastal, or something with a forest vibe.
There’s so many stunning spots in the Margaret River/Dunsborough/Yallingup region – we are pretty blessed down here and are surrounded by lots of empty, natural places for your ceremony.
For coastal elopements, I tend to recommend around Yallingup/Dunsborough as there is more protection from the wind. Most afternoons the wind is howling from the south west, which is pretty uncomfortable on the west coast and Margaret River beaches. But spots like Bunker Bay and Eagle Bay are calm and lovely, with long stretches of white sand and sublime turquoise water in summer.
Injidup beach is spectacular and can be semi-protected from the wind, and Sugarloaf Rock is another amazing option. There’s a heap of other quiet spots that I can take you to down here for something spectacular and empty.
If you love trees, it’s hard to go past Boranup forest. There’s some secret clearings deep in the forest, with plenty of shade which is lovely on a warm summers day. We can still duck out to the coast nearby for a few photos too.
If you’d like a winery or restaurant wedding, your best bet is to ask some of your favourite places. Some larger venues will charge venue hire fees for you to get married there, but there’s lots of smaller places that may let you get married for a lot less.
Go for a late afternoon ceremony
As a general rule, plan for a late afternoon ceremony.
You want to have a good flow to your wedding day, so you can build up to your ceremony, have time for some celebratory drinks afterwards. We’ll also get the best light for photos in some stunning locations – that’s why you’re reading a photographers guide to planning an elopement right?
And then you can roll back into your accommodation or town for a celebration dinner.
Exact timings will depend on your location, sunset and your plans for your elopement – get in touch with us and I can help you out with some recommended times once I have a clearer idea of how your day might run.
Stay somewhere awesome
Get some ace accomodation close to where you want to married. Quite often couples will want to get married at say, Boranup Forest, but they’ll book accomodation in Dunsborough. Which is totally fine, but you’ll be spending a couple of hours driving to and from your ceremony, so that’s just something to have a think about. You might not want to spend that much time in the car… or maybe it’s no problem so feel free to ignore this bit of advice!
There’s zillions of options for accomodation, but if you want some photos of your final preparations (I love shooting some portraits just before we leave for your ceremony) then the cooler the house, or the quirkier and weirder, the better.
Having great accommodation is especially important if you are planning a winter elopement. If the weather is stormy it’s nice to be staying somewhere that could potentially work for a back-up ceremony location.
Find a great celebrant
A great celebrant is a must. Plus your celebrant will also help sort out any permits for you ceremony location too. Luckily we have a list of our favourite celebrants listed here: Wedding Vendors We Recommend
You can also find a bunch of other wedding vendors listed there too – florists, DIY farm direct flowers, hair + make-up.
If you get in touch with anyone, tell them we said hi and they should be extra nice to you.
Consider doing something different
The fact that you’re eloping and considering an epic outdoor ceremony – you’re probably up for something different.
You might want to choose a really unique location – we can bounce some ideas around for some rad spots that are really out of the way – like under a colourful Australian Christmas tree in the middle of a paddock, or a coastal cliff at the end of a 4WD track.
If you’re a bride, you don’t have to wear a white dress – in fact you don’t even have to wear a dress at all.
Or ditch the glam and go for something quirky. Tropical vibes for a summer elopement, or something retro with a quirky Wes Anderson feel.
Generally we’ll go for a little walk here and there, maybe hop across a few rocks or down a forest track. So be cool with getting a little bit dirty. You can wear fancy shoes, but make sure it’s something you’re comfortable walking on uneven paths in.
Book a photographer you love
Because you are going to want to have some killer photos of your wedding day. Your final preparations, your amazing ceremony, probably a few tears and definitely a heap of laughs. The two of you in some epic scenery and a whole heap of photos that you never even knew you could look so good together.
Don’t stress about being nervous in front of the camera either. Every single couple we’ve ever photographed has told us that they’re nervous about photos, or not really looking forward to it. And afterwards everyone has said it was way more fun than they could have imagined and they all rave about their photos and memories.
How much does elopement photography cost?
Our elopement photography pricing starts at $1200 for two hours of coverage – this includes your ceremony, candid shots with your guests, and a heap of amazing photos of the two of you.
Many couples include an extra hour of photos. Three hours of photography is $1500 and allows me to capture some of your final preparations or have more time for extra location photos after your ceremony.
Feel free to contact us for more details.
Ready to take the next step?
I’m keen to hear more about your elopement plans and everything you’re excited about – let’s chat about your big day.