Oahu, Hawaii Cliffside Elopement for Heartland Wedding Ideas

Back in February, I met with the dress designer Dame and Maiden and the bridal blog and mag Heartland Wedding Ideas and I’m super honored that they asked me to be a part of a shoot that would issue this July on the blog and in print. We discussed for a couple hours where we could place this gorgeous dress and we couldn’t decide on anywhere in Iowa. I had an “OH DUH,” moment and explained I was going to Hawaii in April, and I would be happy to pack up the dress and do a cliff side elopement shoot overlooking the ocean. And I did just that.

The elopement blog post dropped last week as well as got printed and is available locally in Des Moines, IA.

Since the shoot is a styled elopement, I wanted to debunk some facts about eloping! I know it’s still a bit taboo to elope, but these types of ceremonies are becoming more and more popular and more people are ditching the gigantic celebrations with 500 guests and ballrooms galore. Here are some facts for you brides who are on the fence and feeling like a big celebration just doesn’t represent you and your other half.

1.) You don’t have to elope in secret on a whim. Really, you don’t. The elopements that I’ve photographed have been planned months in advance, and you can even plan it a year in advance! I think the typical association with an elopement is that it’s done in secret against your family’s wishes and done on a whim. Which, SURE, it CAN be like that, however, it’s becoming more popular to plan out your day as you would a regular wedding (without most of the stresses). Remember, it’s YOUR day, you can plan it how you want!

2.) Most people will think it’s more expensive. I promise, it won’t be. When you think about planning your wedding in the Midwest or wherever you are, think about what a venue will cost. What about chair and table rentals? What about feeding 250-500 people? And don’t forget about a bar tab for that many! The average wedding cost in the U.S. right now is $30,000. But let’s be real, if you’re inviting over 250 guests, it will probably be much higher than that. If you elope, the costs you have to worry about are your attire, plane tickets if you’re going anywhere to tie the knot, and your photographer! Annnnnddd that’s about it! JUST because it’s a destination, doesn’t mean it has to be expensive.

3.) You CAN include your family. If you Ycan’t imagine getting married without your closest family and friends there, invite them! Personally, I consider 25 guests or under an elopement. There is no reason to not include them if you really want them there. And if you don’t want them there but still want to include parts of them on your day, here’s some things you can do: FaceTime them right after you say “I do!” You can also carry a momento from a family member with you the entire day/wear your mom’s dress/or read letters from your parents as a part of the ceremony. There are SO many creative ways to include your family!

4.) Most people are nervous to do this because they have NO IDEA where to elope! Hiiiii HEY I am here to help you! The cool thing is about hiring a destination wedding photographer is that I know TONS AND TONS of places where you can hike up to, roll around in the sand in, and frolic in a field of flowers to say your vows to each other in. I travel so much and it’s my JOB to know places to suggest if you have no idea where you want to elope, you just want mountains and a lake in the background. Once you book with me, we go over what you’re wanting and I give suggestions and my 2 cents on what magical destination would suit you best!

5.) Eloping is environmentally friendly. The Green Bride Guide states that the average wedding produces (yes, ONE wedding) 400 lbs of garbage and 63 tons of CO2. With an estimated 2.5 million weddings per year, that is about 1 billion lbs of trash and as many emissions as approximately 4 people would produce in a year, in just one single day. Crazy, right? If you’re all about cutting down the impact you’re having on the Earth, just think about eloping in the wild instead of catering to 300 people eating on plastic plates and using plastic cutlery.

I hope this shed some light on eloping and all the different ways you can say “I do!” Remember, your wedding day is YOURS, and you can tie the knot on a mountain if you’d like, OR if you want a huge party, throw one! As long as you’re married at the end of the day, that’s all that matters, right?

Dress: Dame and Maiden

Blog: Heartland Wedding Ideas

Tux: Milroy’s Tuxedos

Jewelry: Leona Ruby Jewelry

Wedding Bands: Artisan Jewelry Designs

(Not Pictured) Show Me Yours Lingerie