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This Unique Mexico City Elopement Was the Perfect Blend of Mayan and Western Cultures

July 12, 2024 | justine

Courtney and Nick had always dreamed of eloping, and Mexico held a special place in their hearts. It was where their journey together began, back when they were navigating a long-distance relationship. A work trip brought Courtney to Mexico City, which sparked their spontaneous decision to elope there secretly. They wanted their Mexico City elopement day to be uniquely theirs, blending their personal story with the city’s rich traditions and culture. It was not just a celebration of their love, but also a tribute to the place that had shaped the early chapters of their story. 

Their rooftop ceremony was deeply personal, blending Mexican and Western wedding traditions that resonated most with them. They sipped cacao, kindled a new flame, and performed a handfasting ceremony, all while exchanging heartfelt vows and sharing a poignant poem. Their altar was adorned with meaningful items, including a carved dog figurine representing their cherished pet in Australia. After capturing portraits amid the city’s bustling streets, they concluded their perfect day by indulging in tacos at their favorite taqueria.

Junebug member Gaby Bolivar beautifully captured the unforgettable moments of Courtney and Nick’s special day. Each photo captures not just the excitement but also the intimate, personal details that made their wedding day truly unique. You can’t help but feel the joy and sense the love radiating from every frame, showcasing the essence of their one-of-a-kind celebration.

The Couple:

Courtney and Nick

The Wedding:

Mexico

A Spontaneous Decision that Led to Their Mexico City Elopement

Nick and I always wanted to elope and loved the idea of Mexico. It was the first place we ever traveled together when we were doing long distance early in our relationship. We didn’t plan on getting married last year, but a work trip of mine that put me in Mexico City for 3.5 weeks kicked off our spontaneous and secret Mexico elopement. I’m a Film Director, so I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted—color, architecture, and nothing too serious. I enlisted the help of my crew and friends on the ground in Mexico City to pull everything together, and it couldn’t have been more perfect.

From Mezcal to Tacos: Celebrating Their Special Day with Favorite Traditions

Each stage of the ceremony was incredibly personal and customized to us, thanks to the help of our celebrant, Fernanda. It was a hybrid Mexican / Western wedding, so we started with the rituals of the four elements, which had lots of options. We chose ones that reflected us best, like drinking traditional cacao, lighting a new fire, and our favorite part, which was the handfasting, where we chose colored ribbons to reflect values for our relationship, which we tied around a rope together before being joined to each other. Then, we each chose a poem to read and wrote our own personal vows. We collected items during our time in Mexico City to be placed on the altar during the ceremony. We bought a special bottle of Mezcal, handmade cups, and a small carved dog figurine called an alebrijes that symbolizes our dog back home in Australia. It was all very special to say the least. Going to get tacos afterward is also the best post-wedding activity and probably our favorite part of the day.

A Thoughtfully Budgeted Mexico City Elopement

No matter your budget if you plan something that best reflects your relationship, it will be super special. We didn’t have a budget per se but we knew we wanted to keep it as cheap as possible whilst also making sure it looked chic. We made a list at the start for the must-haves: location, celebrant, photographer, outfits, rings, a bouquet, 35mm, and super8 film, and then a nice dinner reservation for afterward. As we didn’t have a top budget to stay under we were just incredibly mindful of what we did spend our money on. Comparatively, an elopement is always going to be cheaper than a full-blown wedding and so no element felt totally wild.

How They Discovered Their Dream Wedding Venue

Wedding venue costs in Mexico City surprised me the most so we had to get creative to find our perfect backdrop. I texted a friend asking if she knew anyone with a beautiful rooftop or courtyard in Mexico City, preferably with some color. She texted a friend, who texted a friend and then I got sent someone’s number who could help me. Rodrigo owned a building in Roma Norte that had lived many lives: a nightclub, restaurant, art gallery, and filming location. It had a beautiful enclosed rooftop with lovely natural light and was also within walking distance of one of our favorite taquerias.

Epic Wedding Reveal in Sydney

Our Mexico wedding was so special, but one of the best parts was getting my friend and insanely talented Cinematographer Dan Bolt to film it all on my Super8 camera. When we got back to Sydney, we rented a small cinema and surprised our friends and family with the film. Somehow, we kept our marriage a secret for almost six months, and that made the reveal so big and so crazy—one of the best nights ever, finally celebrating with everyone we love.

The Wedding Team:

Photography – Gaby Bolivar
Floral Design – Lucie Casa Floral
Wedding Dress – STAUD
Bridal Accessories – Maria Black
Groom’s Apparel – Boyfriend Shirt
Rings – Occasional Lover

 

Congratulations to Courtney and Nick on their unique Mexico City elopement, which was the perfect blend of Mayan and Western cultures. Junebug vendor Gaby Bolivar did an outstanding job capturing their special day. To view more intimate celebrations like theirs, explore Gaby’s profile in our directory of top-notch wedding photographers from around the world.

By prioritizing what truly mattered to them instead of conforming to traditional norms, Courtney and Nick crafted a heartfelt and distinctive wedding day. If you’re inspired to plan your own intimate celebration for just the two of you, explore our elopement planning checklist and budget guide.

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The Ultimate Elopement Planning Checklist

July 10, 2024 | riley

There are many benefits to choosing a small wedding. A smaller guest list allows for more meaningful interactions with your partner and loved ones in attendance, creating a more personal atmosphere. Opting for a micro wedding or elopement can also significantly reduce your wedding planning tasks. However, that doesn’t always mean planning an intimate affair is easier. There’s still a list of essential tasks you need to complete to achieve your dream wedding, regardless of its size.

If you’re dreaming of an elopement, your planning process will look slightly different from those organizing a large traditional wedding. To help you get started, here’s the only elopement checklist you’ll need for your intimate day.

1. Set a Budget

Before diving head first into wedding planning, you’ll need to have a clear understanding of your wedding budget. This will be key in determining your location, vendors, and so much more! That magic number will help guide your decisions, helping you find options that fit within your financial limits.

Start by sitting down with your partner to discuss your overall budget, and then break it down into categories such as venue, vendors, decor, fashion, etc. If you’re planning a destination wedding, don’t forget to include travel and accommodation. Having a well-defined budget will ensure you can prioritize what matters most to you and make informed choices throughout the planning process.

2. Pick a Location 

Picking a location is a crucial decision for any wedding. Some couples choose to stay local, visit a sentimental place, or take a chance on a new wedding destination altogether. Whether you’re dreaming of running away to Italy or sticking with a meaningful local spot, you need to make this choice before searching for Vendors or venues. Your location will influence everything from your vendor options to travel arrangements, so choose wisely to ensure it aligns with your vision for the big day.

Photo by Anais Possamai Photography. See more of this real elopement here.

3. Choose a Date 

Once you have determined your wedding location, it’s time to secure a date. Your date might be influenced by your desired venue’s availability, but those who plan well in advance will be given more flexibility. This allows you to consider other important factors rather than just picking a random wedding date.

Before finalizing your wedding day, consider your favorite season, weather conditions, and the best time to explore your chosen location. These will help guide your selection process and ensure your special day is all that you’ve dreamed of. 

4. Draft a Guest List while Elopement Planning

Many couples are breaking free from traditional wedding planning rules. And while traditionally, eloping meant just the couple, that’s not necessarily the case anymore. If you want a few close family members and friends to join you on your special day, go for it. Sit down with your partner and make a list of those you can’t imagine your day without. 

Narrowing your guest list to a handful of important people may be easier said than done. If you need help determining who will be invited to celebrate with you on your special day? This guide on how to trim your guest list will help.

5. (If Inviting Guests) Send Out Invitations 

If you’ve decided to invite a handful of people, send out invitations as soon as you’ve secured the date, location, and finalized the guest list. Even with fewer attendees, it’s important to provide them with all the wedding details. Whether you opt for physical invitations or e-vites, send them out months in advance. This is especially important for those planning a celebration abroad to give your guests ample time to prepare.

Photo by Zoe Steindl Photo. See more of this real elopement here.

6. Hire a Professional Photographer and Videographer

When eloping, prioritize hiring a photographer and videographer. Ultimately, the reason you choose an intimate wedding is to focus on what matters most: your love. The last thing you want to worry about is capturing all the memories yourself—leave that to the professionals. These photos and videos will also serve as a keepsake for you and a heartwarming way to share your special moments with loved ones not in attendance.

When researching photographers and videographers, seek out professionals who specialize in elopements. Review their websites, portfolios, social media accounts, and client testimonials as you consider vendors. When you find your dream vendors, hire them immediately, as their expertise will be invaluable throughout your planning process. They’ll be well-prepared, offer useful planning tips and ideas, and know how to capture the swoon-worthy shots you desire. 

7. Finalize Your Vendor Team 

As we’ve mentioned, just because you’re planning a smaller celebration doesn’t make the process any easier. Don’t feel like you need to sacrifice help just because it’s an intimate affair for two. Regardless of your wedding size, hiring a wedding planner is always a good idea—especially for those planning a destination wedding. They can handle the essential details while you relax and enjoy the process.

Additionally, you can collaborate with a florist to create a stunning bouquet or work with a bakery to design your perfect cake. Ultimately, the choices are entirely yours to make.

8. Verify Legal Requirements for Marriage

Marriage requirements will differ based on your wedding location. This is where hiring local, experienced vendors will pay off. They’ll be able to guide you through the legal process to make sure your wedding runs smoothly and you get all the necessary paperwork sorted before saying, ‘I do.’ 

Here are a few things you’ll be expected to take care of before your wedding. While these are just guidelines, you’ll want to check with the country or state you’re tying the knot in for their specific requirements so you don’t miss a thing. 

  • You’ll need to get your marriage license within the specified time window for your wedding location.
  • Collect all other legal documents you might need, such as birth certificates, affidavits, blood tests, visas, etc.
  • Determine whether you need a witness or two before you jet off to tie the knot.
  • Ensure you hire an officiant who’s legally authorized to perform the ceremony.
elopement planning

Photo by Sarah Everything Photography. See more of this elopement inspiration here.

9. Secure Necessary Permits and Licenses 

You won’t need to worry about this logistical hurdle if you’re getting married in a venue or on your own private property. But from those getting married in public spaces, like national parks or on the beach, you’re most likely going to need a permit. This can be a lengthy and confusing process. That’s why working with a wedding planner or an elopement photographer who will take care of all of these details for you is an invaluable investment.

10. Book Travel and Accommodations

With all the essential details finalized, it’s time to book your travel and accommodations. If your destination isn’t within driving distance, you’ll need to book those flights. Don’t forget to secure your hotel or Airbnb as well. For international weddings, arranging your flights and accommodations 4-6 months in advance to get the best deals is best.

11. Purchase Wedding Bands 

Wedding bands are symbols of your marriage. Being such an important portion of your ceremony, you’ll want to make sure you try on a variety of different styles and fits to see which catches your eye. This is a detail you’ll want to have sorted months before your big day, leaving room for resizing if necessary. 

From understanding who traditionally pays for them to find the right jeweler, more goes into the decision. To ensure you’re well-equipped with all the information you need to know to get the ring of your dreams, read over our breakdown of everything you need to know about buying and styling wedding bands.

12. Shop for Wedding Outfits 

If you’re looking for ways to involve loved ones in your elopement, shopping for your wedding attire is a perfect opportunity. Whether you dream of a traditional white wedding dress, a colorful suit, or a funky jumpsuit, make sure your outfit and accessories make you feel your best. Remember, when you look back at your photos, you’ll be glad you took the time to choose something that makes you shine.

13. Strategically Pack Wedding Attire  

Planning a destination elopement comes with its own challenges, especially when it comes to packing. Let’s be honest, cramming your precious gown or tux into a suitcase isn’t ideal. So, if you’re planning a wedding that’s not within driving distance, you’ll need to think carefully about how to transport your attire safely and efficiently.

To ensure your wedding outfit arrives safely and on time for your big day, here are a few tips on traveling with your wedding dress.

14. Write Your Vows 

If you’re planning an elopement, you’re likely the type of couple that doesn’t stick to traditional wedding planning boundaries. Odds are you’re dreaming of a celebration that authentically celebrates your love. So, why not read your vows to each other? Handwriting your vows is a sweet and sentimental way to personalize your ceremony. It allows you to express your intimate emotions in your own words, which will make your celebration even more special.

15. Plan a Post Elopement Party 

Now that your celebration is over, you might want to share the joy with family and friends who couldn’t attend. The best way to do this is by planning a post-elopement party. It’s a chance to recount the story of your special day and share your photos and videos. Whether you opt for a laid-back backyard cookout or a lavish celebration, it’s a wonderful way to include everyone in the festivities. 

Though eloping is a small and intimate affair, it doesn’t have to be boring or lack sentiment. There are many ways to turn your elopement, whether local or international, into an ultra-special day. If you’re looking for sweet ways to make your big day unique, check out our roundup of elopement planning ideas that will take your wedding to the next level, ensuring it feels truly special.

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Eclectic Yet Whimsical Brice House Wedding

July 10, 2024 | justine

Megan and Kaity found the perfect venue, providing them with the ideal starting point for their wedding planning. Inspired by the venue’s classic southern and gothic charm, they infused it with their own whimsical touches. Using jewel tones for their colors, a mix of vintage and modern pieces from thrift stores, and a touch of DIY magic, they brought to life a beautifully eclectic Brice House wedding.

The sprawling estate provided the perfect setting for their big day. For their outdoor ceremony on the front steps, a wooden arbor adorned with florals framed the French Provincial-style main house in the background. At the tented reception, the tablescape was filled with color-blocked blooms and accents, creating a stunning scene. 

While the decor and fashion played a significant role, the couple is most proud of their trusted team. They were intentional in working with diverse vendors and successfully achieved it! To see all the beautiful details up close, browse through these stunning photos taken by photographer Karen Norian. They’ll inspire you with unique wedding ideas for your own special day.

The Couple:

Megan and Kaity

The Wedding:

Brice House, Georgia, United States

Starting the Day with an Intimate Vow Exchange and a Sweet Surprise

We decided to do a private vow exchange on the morning of the wedding. We snuck away in our PJs with nothing but our coffee cups, photographers, and each other. We spent a few minutes exchanging vows and sharing our excitement with each other, and then I surprised Megan with a proposal redo featuring her late grandmother’s wedding set. Megan was so surprised, and it was such a special and sentimental moment to share together before the day officially kicked off.

Blending Personal Touches and Venue Aesthetics

Finding our venue gave us the best starting point for the rest of our planning. The Brice House is a historic home with many classically southern and southern-gothic vibes, so we built on that while adding our own whimsy. We used Pinterest for inspiration and worked with our planner to help us define how we wanted our wedding to feel: romantic, whimsical, and fun. We heard advice early on that we should only purchase decor items we would like to display in our home and then rent or borrow everything else, and we stuck with that plan. An Anthropologie store inspires our home decor, so we looked for items and inspiration that married our personal styles with our intended vibes without overshadowing the venue’s existing beauty.

How They Created Their Eclectic Brice House Wedding

We picked rich jewel tones for our color palette and thrifted a mix of vintage and modern pieces to create this beautifully eclectic setting. Anything we couldn’t find, we made ourselves or borrowed from friends. Ultimately, we are really happy with how everything came out and how our wedding felt so authentically us.

Balancing Details and Budget by Making Strategic Choices

Not every detail needs to be the key focus, or you’ll quickly become overwhelmed and go over budget. We picked three areas that were the most important to us—florals, food, and photography—and tried to keep everything else simple. We spent time on invites, music, decor, etc., but we didn’t let those details stress us out.

Building a Diverse Vendor Team for Their Brice House Wedding

We are really happy with how everything turned out, but ultimately, we are the most proud of the vendor team we put together. Our goal was to hire all diverse vendors—women, veterans, people of color, LGBTQ+, etc. And although it was tough to find the right team since we are a queer couple in a small town in South Georgia, we did it! And we had the best vendors ever.

Candle Table Alternative to Traditional Favors

Instead of traditional favors, we decided to have a candy table with small sachets so guests could pick and take what they wanted. We’ve been to so many weddings where the koozies or custom cups are left behind, and we didn’t want to waste anything or have an extra stockpile in our garage. Our candy table was a huge hit and saved a ton of money.

The Wedding Team:

Photography – Karen Norian
Second Photographer – Zach Barron
Event Planning – Moonbeam Weddings
Venue – Brice House
Floral Design – Grace and Thorn
Catering – Berry’s Catering
Cake – Confection Perfection Cakes
DJ – J&M Sound Productions
Invitation Design – Truly Engaging
Makeup + Hair Styling – Morgan Wilson
Wedding Attire – The Sentimentalist
Wedding Party Attire Alterations – White Orchid Bridal
Rings – Gem Breakfast

 

Congratulations to Megan and Kaity on their eclectic yet whimsical Brice House wedding. Many thanks to Karen Norian for capturing every beautiful detail and unforgettable moment. 

An outdoor gathering like this provides endless possibilities for floral arrangements and decorations, perfect for both the ceremony and reception. Whether you opt for a backyard setting or a garden venue, explore our guide on hosting an outdoor wedding to help plan the celebration of your dreams.

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