Location, Location, Location
I often tell my clients that finding the perfect elopement location is often the hardest part of the planning process. And while that’s true, I think it’s also the most fun part. See, the problem is that many traditional wedding venues have traditional weddings in mind when they price. Which, of course, is understandable. They are used to dealing with large crowds, many of them drunk, all expecting the perfect accommodations, AND they have to have it all covered with some serious insurance. It’s a whole thing. So the minute you reach out and say “I’m interested in getting married at your venue,” they go in WEDDING MODE (Imagine glowing red eyes when you read that).
However, the FUN part about planning an elopement or micro-wedding is that you can get really creative when you choose a venue. At TEC, we've developed a list of over 25 available locations within Charlotte and the surrounding areas, including gardens, breweries, vineyards, old converted mills, old converted houses, etc. We've also developed a list for Charleston, SC and have scouted other cities around the US (and the world) as well!
The actual location options are almost endless. We’ve researched rooftops, castles, a GIANT old tree, a treehouse, even an actual battleship!
So how do you choose?
Let’s talk about some things to think about when you’re choosing a venue for your intimate wedding.
Yeah the old real estate adage is true - Location, location, location. For some people, especially those having a micro-wedding with friends and family, you may be somewhat limited in your location options. Do you need to have it nearby, or are you more flexible? Can your guests travel to your location, or do you need to keep it local and simple? We once had a couple fly from NYC to Charlotte, NC with 15 of their family members, because flights, hotel, venue, and our package was all less expensive than trying to get a wedding venue in NYC. But for some people, that's simply not feasible. So start with a general idea of where on a map.
After you've picked a general area, it's time to get more specific with what type of venue you'd like.
Ok, close your eyes. Wait, no you can't do that, because then you can't read this. Ok read the instructions first, and THEN close your eyes...
Imagine your wedding day.
You're standing in front of the officiant, holding your partner's hands. Everything is PERFECT. Now look around you. What's the scene? Are you in the mountains? On the beach? In the desert? In an industrial type venue, or a sweet, romantic vintage house? Or maybe you're in a garden, or a forest, or a castle?
The possibilities are truly vast.
Ambiance and location really go hand in hand. Obviously, if you want to get married at the beach, we're going to most likely be on a coast. However, sometimes we can find amazing little places that you would never expect! For example, here in Charlotte, NC, there's a local park that has an adorable little beach on a lake.
So picture your perfect scene to say your "I Do's," then use that as your foundation!
Traditional weddings happen almost exclusively on Saturdays. Occasionally on Fridays or Sundays, but almost always on Saturdays. And that makes sense! When you’re asking 150 people to come to an event that will take up most of their day and will likely go late, you generally don’t want to have to ask them to take off work for the day-of or for the recovery day-after. So if you are looking for a more traditional style wedding venue for your elopement or micro-wedding, you will likely need to work on a day other than Saturday. I have an understanding with many of the venues I work with in the Charlotte area. I don’t try to compete with their Saturday weddings, and they allow us to have tiny events there at a hugely discounted price.
Since there are far fewer people involved in an elopement or micro-wedding, having your wedding on a day other than Saturday is usually much easier to accomplish. Yes, a few people may have to ask off a day or two of work, but since those are the people that truly care about you, it’s usually something they are more than happy to do.
If, however, you are still tied to a Saturday, well then it’s time to get a little creative with your location. Know that most traditional wedding venues will not be an option. So go back to Steps 1 & 2 and come up with some ideas of location and style, then start searching!
Accessibility and other factors:
Once you've chosen your general area and the ambiance, now it's time to start narrowing down.
There are quite a few considerations that you want to put into your location, and while I probably can’t think of every single consideration for your particular needs, I’m going to list the most common below:
-How accessible is it? Do you yourself, or any of your guests have any difficulty in reaching a location (i.e. the top of a mountain, or down a long flight of stairs, etc)? If the answer is yes, you want to keep accessibility in mind.
-Is it indoor or outdoor? Outdoor is my fav. Like not even a question. However, it comes with risks of inclement weather. I always recommend having a backup, if you do choose an outdoor-only location. That being said, if you prefer outdoors, I say go for it.
-How far away is it? Do you feel like driving a bit for that extra special location? If it’s worth it to you, DO IT.
-Will I need seating? Elopement ceremonies are usually pretty short. Even so, sometimes guests have seating needs that some locations can or cannot accommodate. Ask me about that when we talk.
-Is there a place that is meaningful to me and my fiancé? Remember that battleship I mentioned? That was for a couple who was in the Navy. Their plans for the battleship elopement sadly didn’t work out, but it was a damn cool idea.
-Will time of day be a concern?
If you do choose, let's say, the side of a mountain, you'll have to take into account what time the light is best in that particular location. Depending on where the sun rises/sets in relation to your location can make quite a difference in how your pictures turn out. Work with your photographer to help pick the best time of day for your dream location.
Once you’ve picked your location, the rest of the pieces to an elopement usually easily fall into place. Whether you’re keeping it to just the basics or adding even more fun elements, we’re here to make your elopement and micro wedding dreams come true!
Wanna chat? Use the Contact Us button at the top of our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Can’t wait to hear from you!
Until next time, folks.