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        The wedding planning process has been completely halted for many 2020 brides. And for more than half of them, the wedding itself has been postponed or cancelled until further notice. To help you navigate this time, I began to think of ways we can still make your wedding day dreams come true in beautiful bite-sized chunks. Here’s a guide on Eloping during COVID-19 without sacrificing any part of your wedding day!

        Note: As a wedding photographer, I break-up the day into four main parts:

        1. Getting-Ready
        2. Ceremony and Bridals
        3. Family and Bridal Party Photos
        4. Reception

        So these are the bite-sized pieces that we will look at to help us turn your 8hr wedding day into something that looks like Eloping During COVID-19 instead.

        1. Getting Ready

        Before the Elopement, we’d take your Getting Ready Photos! Your day has transformed into an intimate wedding so this can look a little different than what it normally would! Here are a few different ways you can do this:

        • You can get ready separately and have your fiancé first see you on your way down the aisle! Similarly to a wedding day.
        • You can get ready together (WHAT?, YESS PEOPLE DO THIS AND IT’S BEAUTIFUL)

        Remember, your mom can still help you, so can your sister and bridesmaids! As long as your getting-ready remains under 10 people, we can get all of those beautiful photos for you.

        Before we continue, let’s get one thing really straight: this is your day. Do things how you want, pretty pretty please. Things have changed enough, going forward just do it how you want.

        Next, we’ll head over to doing your sweet and intimate Elopement.

        Eloping during COVID-19 without sacrificing a thing!

        2. Eloping during COVID-19:

        An Elopement is the core of what your full wedding day would normally consist of. The big I-Do’s and the promise you make to your favorite human being. In essence, this is the most important part of your wedding day and the reason you celebrate after with a party.

        You can Elope in a State and/or National Park

        An Elopement can be done in several different locations, including your backyard or my favorite –> State and National Parks! Some Southern California State and National Parks include: Joshua Tree National Park, Sequoia National Park, Channel Islands National Park, El Capitan Beach State Park, Malibu Creek State Park.

        Most Parks have designated areas for your ceremony. The permit to hold such an event ranges from $50-$300 (check how each individual park varies). Usually, they will allow up to 50 guests but due to COVID-19, we’re limited to 10!

        Bridal Portraits

        After the Elopement, we’ll dedicate an hour to photographing your bridal photos. I love the idea of eloping at a state or national park because it comes with its own scene. We have the entirety of it to use for photos! This gives us the freedom to roam and explore the beauty of the location you’ve chosen to commemorate your promise to each other. The flexibility to get multiple backdrops of gorgeous scenery. And the boundaries of where we can go and what we can photograph are non-existent.

        The Elopement part of your wedding day would consist of:

        • 3-4hrs of Photo Coverage
        • Getting-Ready Photos
        • Ceremony Photos
        • Bridals

        The Vendors you’d need for your Elopement include:

        • Photographer
        • Hair/Make-Up Artist
        • Florist for bouquet and/or Arch for Ceremony location
        • Officiant (can be friend, relative or hired professional)
        • Wedding Dress
        • And possibly a nearby AirBnb // Hotel for getting-ready images
        Eloping During COVID-19 without sacrificing a thing!

        3. Family and Bridal Party Photos:

        If your family is small (<10) and will be attending the Elopement, we can have family photos right after. Otherwise, family photos can have a dedicated 1hr-2hrs another day when COVID-19 has surpassed Level 1. You can decide to do these images in the same park you did your Elopement, OR we can have them in your backyard, OR a nearby park to your home. There’s no right or wrong answer.

        If you decide to keep your bridal party, that’s okay! Although they might not be part of your elopement/ceremony, you can still do bridal party photos with them. We’ll do these on the same day as the family photos.

        Bridal Party and Family Photos section consists of:

        • 1-2hrs of Photo Coverage
        • Location of your choice

        The Vendors you may want/need for Family and Bridal Party Photos include:

        • Photographer
        • Possibly Hair/Make-Up
        • Possibly Florist for Bouquet
        • Your wedding dress
        Eloping During COVID-19 without sacrificing a thing!

        4. Reception

        Okay, this is a blog post about Eloping During COVID-19 BUT WHO SAID YOU CAN’T PARTY if that’s what you initially wanted? Although your reception will feel slightly different because it’s not right after your ceremony… DO NOT lose track or forget the fact that you are celebrating the same thing, the binding of you and your now husband! This is YOUR PARTY! No matter when it happens!

        When to reserve the date:

        The reception will be reserved when we are passed COVID-19 and the ban for large gatherings is lifted! So, hold your breath, this might be the last thing booked and it could happen towards the end of the year or inch into 2021. But there will still be reason to celebrate!

        You can hold this at a venue for a few hours, or have it in your backyard, or rent out a park, either way, my suggestion is to still throw it! Mainly, to remember that you are surrounded by so many people who love you and who root for you! If you initially intended on having a large wedding and a reception was part of your deal, then I am assuming that it was important to you. So, let’s make it happen!

        During this time, we can get your cake cutting, first dances, bouquet/garter toss, and all other special happenings photographed for you as you would have initially wanted.

        Reception section consists of:

        • 2-3hrs of Photo Coverage
        • Location of Your Choice

        The Vendors you may want for your Reception include:

        • Photographer
        • Venue
        • Catering
        Bride and groom dancing in Arroyo Trabuco Wedding, image by Fatima Elreda Photo

        A Mental Break

        I hope this breakdown on how you can go about Eloping during COVID-19 was helpful, informative, and straight-forward! I truly want the best for you, even if that looks a little different than what you imagined.

        There’s a silver lining in every single situation that comes our way, and if we look hard enough, some of those are really pure gold. Feel all the feels! YOU DESERVE TO! It’s also healthy and will help you move forward. Then, start looking at this as something different. Not bad. Not good. Just different. And then tackle it with that new mindset!

        I’m here for you for these next new steps. We will make it through.

        San Diego Wedding Photographer Fatima Elreda Photo, Self Portrait

        Thank You for Stopping By!

        I am a professional wedding photographer based in Southern California. And I’ll go everywhere your love story takes you, whether your wedding is in Scotland, your backyard, or a venue down the street, it’s all worthwhile to me. 

        Connection is Important

        Knowing who you are, and truly whole-heartedly liking YOU is so important to me! I love all my couples and can’t imagine approaching photography in any other way. This tremendously helps me photograph your love and personality more honestly.

        I Am Your Storyteller

        I will provide you with an unforgettable experience and top notch quality images that will last a life time, long after every moment has passed. My intention is to take you back to the feelings in your images even years after you’ve forgotten the details. Trust me to photograph the moments you’re going to tell for generations to come. 

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