Whether you just stumbled across my brand or have known me for quite some time, you’ll probably immediately pick up on the central theme that drives my business: Queerness. As part of the LGBTQ+ community, I often think about how my identity shows up and enhances my work as a photographer. One area that stands out for me is my affinity with elopements.
This week in my podcast, I spoke with fellow queer elopement photographer, Luke Payne, to discuss how our identities have shaped our views on eloping and how this directly impacts our business and client relationships. At the end of the day, eloping is a sacred experience for couples, and we’ve got some awesome insights and tips to help you prepare for this special day.
There was a time in our not-so-distant history when marriage was simply not an option for LGBTQ+ couples. With no established tradition, doing things differently became part of our DNA. Elopements happen to fit this standard. While eloping has received its fair share of eyebrow raises and suspicious glances throughout history, I’d like to think that times are changing and making room for some new, more accepting views.
Elopements allow you to be yourself with no external pressures or expectations — existing in all your authentic glory is what being queer is all about anyway, right? This idea really captures why elopements are popular for LGBTQ+ couples and why it’s an excellent option for those looking to tie the knot.
Luke and I have found that holding queer identities impacts how we approach our businesses and relationships with our clients.
“[My identity] definitely impacts how I treat people,” commented Luke. “I’m very in tune with their needs and their happiness.”
As people who have struggled in our own ways, grappling with our identities and being othered by the world around us, we can empathize deeply with the couples we photograph and we want to make it our mission to ensure they’re comfortable and happy.
Because of this intersection between our identities and businesses, we want to ensure that we provide the best advice for all the couples out there thinking about eloping. There’s nothing more sacred than queer love, and it deserves to be celebrated your way — take it from us!
Our identities as queer elopement photographers have helped us curate our businesses with one goal in mind: you. Here are our top elopement tips to help you get excited about your big day.
Luke is a strong advocate for outdoor elopements. “Being in nature and being connected to where we all come from when you’re getting married is incredibly special.” While elopements don’t have to be outdoors, it can be an empowering experience for couples to breathe in the fresh air of the world around them.
One of the things I love most about elopements is that there are no rules. One tip Luke likes to give all his couples is to “go back to when you were a kid.” When you think about your special day, what could make it the absolute best? Sometimes, that might involve tapping into things that made your childhood self happy. Just let yourself have fun and do what brings you joy!
Setting boundaries with family and friends can be challenging, and it’s easier said than done. If there’s anyone in your life who you feel obligated to invite to the celebration but know deep down they’ll make you feel uncomfortable, don’t extend an invitation. That’s the beauty of eloping.
Nothing matters more on this day than you and your partner, and we want you to know that it’s okay to fill the space with whoever you want, even if it means leaving people out. Witnessing your love is a gift, not a right, despite what persistent family members and friends might say.
If you worry about making people feel left out, you can make the most of your special day by separating celebrations. After setting ground rules for your elopement, consider inviting guests to an after-event (if that’s your style, of course). For example, you can have people over for a meal, throw a backyard party, or do something fancy. This post-celebration allows others to support your love while still honoring your boundaries.
Sometimes the most remarkable things in life are the simplest. If you and your partner are all about the small pleasures, ensure you leave room to sprinkle these into your elopement day. Whether it’s ice cream, breakfast for dinner, or watching the sunrise or sunset, these little moments are the perfect way to help you feel even more connected with each other.
Whether at your private elopement, small intimate wedding, or after party, it’s essential to take some time to be alone together. Depending on the size of your celebration, it can be overwhelming trying to interact with everyone. Luke put it perfectly: You’re not obligated to talk to every single person at your wedding. They’re there for you; you’re not there for them.
Big weddings can take this page out of the elopement book. This private experience allows you to be authentic — something that can sometimes get lost at big weddings in front of so many people. Regardless of how you tie the knot, “don’t let other people tell you what to do and don’t let other people tell you what you want,” commented Luke. Again, this day is for you and your partner, and the best way to honor your love is to be endlessly and unapologetically yourselves.
If you and your partner are torn between a big wedding and eloping, check in with those feelings deep down. If an elopement has come up as a thought numerous times, chances are, that’s what you truly desire. Additionally, if your pull towards big weddings revolves around pleasing others or conforming to society, this might indicate that you’re not paying attention to your needs. “It’s your wedding day,” said Luke. “You usually only get one, so do what you actually want.”
Ready to tie the knot? As an LGBTQ+ elopement photographer, I’m here to capture all the perfect moments of your special day. To learn more about how I can help, or if you need more eloping advice, connect with me today! I can’t wait to hear from you and celebrate your love story.
If you want to learn more about Luke and his perspective as a gay elopement photographer, tune into my interview with him on the sixth episode of my podcast, Queerly Beloved. Catch you there!
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