Donna Marie




 Things to Consider When Hiring These Vendors

Hair & Makeup Artist

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from couples that they were happiest with their photos when they looked closer to their everyday selves. For example, if you typically wear your hair down, a fancy updo might not be the best option for you on your wedding day. Similarly, if you don’t wear a lot of makeup on a daily basis, you might not feel comfortable with a heavy makeup style on your wedding day.

To keep your skin looking true to life, it’s best to avoid mineral sunscreens, spray tans, and self-tanner on or before your elopement day.


Professionally designed florals can add so much color and romantic “wedding vibes” to your day in a way that can be totally customized to your style. The floral arrangements I’ve seen that work the best for elopements need to hold up to transport well and also potential outdoor elements such as hot or cold temperatures or wind. Ask your florist for hearty blooms that aren’t super fragile and look for things like dried flowers, grasses, plants with woody stems, sustainably sourced feathers, and materials that don’t produce seed. Depending on your location, you may need to go with native, non-invasive species.

When talking with your florist:

—Let them know your budget, color schemes, season, location, and vision for your day
—Tell them if you are hiking or expect the flowers to be jostled around a lot. If so, communicate that you’re looking for a hearty bouquet that will last
—Send photos and inspiration of what you’re looking for. Are you looking for a more “wild” bouquet, or something more round and traditional?
—Would you like any floral hair pieces? Boutonnieres? Corsages? Additional florals for decorating? Loose stems to use for photos of your details?
—Be sure to trust in the professional and let them guide you through color theory and the creative process. Do your best to remain open to their ideas— a collaborative process always results in the most wonderful outcomes!


Marriage laws vary greatly throughout countries and states. For example, in some U.S. states you can legally self-solemnize (marry yourselves), while others may require an officiant and/or witness(es). In some states, you can even have a friend or family member get ordained easily and for free through an organization like the Universal Life Church, which is recognized in most U.S. states. If you do choose to have an officiant, they will play an important role in your ceremony, so it’s important to make sure you find someone you really click and connect with.


Video can be a great additional way to document your elopement story! When considering adding video to your day, it’s key to find a videographer with a similar shooting approach to your photographer. I personally prefer collaborating with non-intrusive, documentary-style videographers who don’t turn your day into a production. To keep an intimate and private feel to your elopement day, consider hiring a solo videographer instead of a team of videographers.

Catering + Private Chefs

It’s super important to stay well fed and hydrated during your day, and one of the easiest things to forget about is food! Hiring a private chef to create you a stunning and delicious one-of-a-kind meal is a well-worth-the-indulgence experience that you’ll never forget. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself and remember that this is your wedding day, and while hiring your top-choice chef or caterer might cost more per person than someone would typically spend on a plate of food for a big wedding—with less guests (or just the two of you), it’s something definitely worth considering splurging on!


A musician can be a great touch to your elopement day. Having live music can really amplify your elopement day experience—whether you plan to invite someone to play softly during your ceremony or you hire your favorite local band to perform a private concert as you enjoy dinner and dancing.

Some considerations:

—Not all locations allow amplified music, especially in National Parks and public spaces, so a live musician can be a great alternative.
—Your lodging can offer a great private space for your wedding concert, especially if amplified music is not permitted at your ceremony site.
—Consider the mood you’re setting. Are you looking for something mellow and acoustic? Or something more upbeat for dancing and celebrations?
—Will you be doing a first dance? Are there specific songs you’d like played?
—Remember, music can be a great source of entertainment for all, especially if there will be some “down time” for guests while you’re out taking portraits.
—Desserts + Wedding Cakes
—Many eloping couples choose to indulge in some sort of sweets on their wedding day. Hey, why not?! Traditionally the dessert of choice is wedding cake, but you could absolutely think outside of the box and choose any favorite dessert—pies, cookies, cupcakes, ice cream, donuts, etc.!

Your baker will be able to guide you with portion sizes for the number of guests and will work with you to create the perfect design. Pinterest is a great place to gather some inspiration ahead of time too!

[If this isn’t an area you’d like to splurge on, but you’d still like to enjoy a nice treat, consider going to a nearby bakery or organic grocery store and purchasing a pre-made dessert. You can easily transfer it to a beautiful plate, add some floral decorations around the edges, and have a professional looking dessert in no time!]


While I love helping couples find amazing outdoor locations for wedding ceremonies & portraits and giving all of the advice I have, I’m not a full-service elopement planner who will book vendors for you. If you need in-depth assistance with booking lodging & catering, would like to have someone do all the coordination with your vendors, or are looking for a day-of coordinator who could help with set up and tear down, I’d suggest reaching out to a full-service planner who specializes in elopement and intimate wedding planning.


Out of the Box Vendor Ideas

Some unique ideas to infuse into your wedding day

—A jeweler that will let you make your own rings
—A live painter during your ceremony
—A tattoo artist who will give you wedding day tattoos
—A hot air balloon, helicopter, or float plane pilot
—A professional 4×4 or vintage vehicle driver
—A rock climbing, canyoneering, or mountaineering guide