Why elopements are smaller not shorter.

As an elopement photographer there is a LOT of education that goes into working with couples. After all, YOU are the expert. You photograph TONS of elopements, the couple is a first timer. Here is what that education looks like and how you can get your couple PSYCHED on the full day elopement experience. Elopements are smaller, not shorter and once your couple understands the WHY, they are out of the gates on dreaming up their perfect day,

3 Ways you should educate your client why they need full day coverage.

  1. Tell them up front. This means on your website, on your discovery call, on your Instagram posts. The question of coverage hours needs to be answered before the couple even asks it. Some ways to do this include your package options on your website. State “Coverage for 5 hours”, “Coverage for 7 hours”. Please remove the 1 hour coverage. You are not a shotgun photographer. 
  2. Build out their unique timeline and show them sample timelines. When you are creating their timeline, build out hour by hour what that looks like. Be sure to include the inevitable, encouraged distractions. This is a slower hike to literally smell the roses, have a snack, and share sweet kisses.
  3. We aren’t saying couples who elope last longer, but we ARE saying couples who have a full day elopement have an infinitely better time! 
Why elopements are smaller not shorter, the photographer's guide.

Word to the wise – have you ever started a task that you think will take 15 minutes and you get lost in it and an hour has passed? Of course you do, you’re a creative! Building out a timeline too tight will strap the couple in and take away some of the magic of the day. This is a no rush, stress free day! If your couple makes it to the top of the hill and has to bolt back down, you’ve lost the magic. Elopements are smaller, not shorter.

Show your couples timelines that HAVE worked before and the photos that were born out of it. If you’re looking for examples we have you covered with our What a Full Day Elopement Looks Like and Sample Elopement Timelines

Why elopements are smaller not shorter, the photographer's guide.

If Taylor can learn how football works, your couple can learn why elopements are smaller not shorter

We get the hesitation of couples to commit to a full elopement timeline. Not faulting them because again, they are first timers! You think anyone gave Taylor Swift shit a few months ago when they stopped the clock every 3.5 minutes during football game? No, Brittany Mahomes explained that football is long as fuck, have a cosmo, and just enjoy it, baby. And now look at her! T-Swift is enjoying those games. We can tell. I digress, the point is, it’s okay that your couples may not understand how long should an elopement be. That’s what you’re here for! A multi hour affair, 6-10 hours is a good range for a full day elopement.

Why elopements are smaller not shorter, the photographer's guide.

3 strategies to show your clients the need full day coverage

  1. The best way to explain it to your couples is that this is an experience. How many times do we say that this is not a photoshoot?? This is a big day, a full experience day. Embrace it!!! Elopements are smaller, not shorter, because we don’t rush experiences. We savor them. We smell the flowers and laugh with our chests and stop in time and gaze. You wouldn’t leave Disneyland after an hour. Don’t leave the happiest day of your life after an hour.
  2. We are letting our superficial show. The photos are way cooler from the top of the mountain instead of base camp. Do you want kick ass photos? Cause we wanna take them. You can’t see those amazing views without the climb. Also, not sure you can truly appreciate them without the work to get there!
  3. Paint the picture for them. Not only are you at the mountain top, laughing into the wind, cuddling up with your honey, but you’ve had a whole adventure! Describe to your couple what it’s like when they start a hike, hand in hand, backpacks on, and boots feeling the ground beneath them. How excited they are, and the butterflies in their stomach knowing that at the top of the climb they’ll be exchanging the SWEETEST vows. The champagne POP! Being able to sit on a nearby rock, toast, and soak it all in. This is a story they’ll be telling their families later the day, their friends and social media, and maybe one day their children. They don’t want to rush this story, they don’t.
Why elopements are smaller not shorter, the photographer's guide.

Be Prepared for the Conversation on why elopements are smaller not shorter

Listen to the questions your couple has and be prepared to share your own experience. Have you photographed an elopement where you and the couple knew it was over too soon? What was that experience like? Was there something the couple wanted more of? What are the couple’s goals they want to accomplish and how can you make sure you create the elopement of their dreams?

What are some things you CAN do with a longer elopement? Maybe a prettier hike? A boat ride in the lake? JUMPING OFF A DOCK! It is natural for the couples to focus on the obvious purpose of an elopement- get married. They may not have even THOUGHT of all the things it could be!! You, my creative elopement photographer, are there to EDUCATE. To INSPIRE! To WOW! This is set out to be the best day of their lives – this is a high bar you will strive for and meet every single elopement!

To educate your client on why elopements are smaller, not shorter you will want to be reinforcing the full day elopement language often. Say “we are excited for your full day elopement”, label their proposal from you as “full day elopement”, get the couple EXCITED about it being a full day. If a couple is wondering how big is the adventure elopement? We consider an elopement a 2-4 person event and a micro wedding for 12 guests and under. We are all for an intimate wedding ceremony!

The cultural norm of big weddings getting all the attention is OUT

Yep, we said it. Big weddings aren’t a guaranteed thing anymore and elopements aren’t taboo. We are so proud of the industry, we’ve noticed online chatter asking are elopements increasing? Which shows that couples are taking notice! They are able to free themselves from society’s chains if a big wedding if it’s not what they want! I truly love that elopements are for everyone who wants an elopement. You don’t have to be a certain kind of person to elope. You want it, you got it. Okay off my soap box.

For our attention loving couple, they still get attention! As an elopement photographer, you are there to hype the couple up. They are getting ALL your attention. And when you deliver a gallery of photography goodness, they are posting photos, sending out “just married” cards, and printing those babies out on the wall for all to see. Your couple can still be people who get mad endorphins when they receive attention and elope!

There will also be couples who are attention avoiders, and those couples are STOKED they no longer have to feel like they are playing the part of someone else. THEY DON’T HAVE TO DO IT THIS WAY ANYMORE! Big weddings are not the must do that they were even a decade ago. Society is more open than ever before. 

Why elopements are smaller not shorter, the photographer's guide.

Elopements are Smaller, not Shorter, and Grandma needs a wakeup call

However, it’s likely that if a couple is feeling pressured to have a big day, it’s not actually society, it’s their inner circle. Eeek, so true. It’s probably someone close to them- mom, grandma, sister in law to be, and you can remind your couple that these people can, politely, fuck off. Best to set up boundaries now with relatives and in-laws. It will save you a couple decades of awkward thanksgiving dinners. We are here for REAL SMILES, out of here with the fakery bakery. If you are like YES, KELSEY! But… how do I educate my clients on this part? Also, got you. Forward them this article: How to Tell Your Family You’re Eloping.

Why elopements are smaller not shorter, the photographer's guide.

Eloping with intention is IN

Our FAVORITE part of elopements are the intentions. You NEED to be asking your couples their intentions. WHY do they want to elope, what MEANING does the elopement destination have for them. Understanding these key points about your couple helps you connect to them and ultimately plan out a better experience for everyone involved. It also is a GREAT roadmap for you to set this couple apart from other couples and create a totally unique experience!

Why elopements are smaller not shorter, the photographer's guide.

How to help your couple plan their elopement

Lastly, have your couple plan out their wedding like a bucket list vacation. Encourage them to think BIG. Reach for the moon and you can always land among the stars. We have been to Iceland, Spain, France, Netherlands! We have also taken a general spot like Colorado, Tahoe, or Glacier National Park, found the hidden gems, commandeered the biggest peaks (looking at you Monkey Rock Trail and our Lake Tahoe Hiking Elopement), and EXPANDED the day to include boat rides, dog photos, brewery stops and once a hootenanny. See, this is why you build out nooks in the timeline. We will NEVER be the elopement photographers to say no to a one of a kind experience like a hootenanny. Read all about THAT experience in our Many Glacier Hotel Micro Wedding.

Are you READY to educate your couples on why elopements are smaller, not shorter? Follow our tips and they’ll be fast believes in all the goodness a full day elopement brings. Hopefully you were nodding along to this blog thinking “yes! I do that!” already. If a lot of this seems more like great NEW ideas, consider joining our adventure with us: 3 part coaching program where we give you all the goods on being a kick ass elopement photographer. We’re all in this together!

Why elopements are smaller not shorter.
Why elopements are smaller not shorter.
Why elopements are smaller not shorter.

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