i know that eloping is not everyone's cup of tea.
BUT YOU GUYS.
i just have to say, this is my idea of perfection. Granted, this is coming from the person who not only eloped, but i also surprised my husband with an elopement (he didn't know he was getting married that day) so you should consider the source.
I had photographed Nicole's younger sister Alisha at her wedding a few years ago. so when i got a message asking if i was available for Nicole's elopement i was like "HECK YES IM AVAILABLE" and they were like 'good. because we are only eloping if you can photograph it' and i was like 'wait... this whole thing hinges on MY availability?" and they were like 'yep. we're picking the date around you'
guys, when this happens- when a bride chooses her wedding date around my availability, holy crap that is just the biggest compliment i can ever receive. For these brides i just want to bend over backwards. i want to give them the sun and the moon and the stars. i want to sprinkle their photos with freaking fairy dust magic.
so here is what an elopemenet is like at san francisco city hall.
you get ready whenever the heck you want with only whomever you want with you. then you drive over to the most beautiful building i've ever seen in my life (city hall), meet your adorable fiance there, fill out some paperwork, and hold up your right hands to say some oaths about something or other. and then you wait for a little bit. you pass some other brides, but instead of being like 'dude! this is MY DAY. my show. step off' you give them high fives because you realize that these awesome people are also having the best day of their life today. there is this beautiful sense of community with total strangers. you get nervous jitters as you wait for the judge. The judge takes you to a beautiful area of city hall, and you repeat the vows as you are totally and completely humbled by the gorgeous architecture of City Hall. you kiss your husband. people that you dont even know cheer for you. YOU SPEND TIME UNINTERRUPTED with your husband. there is no stress. you go walk around sanfrancisco- doing totally sanfranciscan things, like hoping on a trolly. and looking at the golden gate bride. you crack open a beer and eat some pizza at your sister's apartment before eating at an incredible restaurant. people cheer for you on the sidewalk. you are a freaking celebrity being showered with love. you have the dessert of a lifetime.
i had more fun at this wedding (even while being 3rd trimester pregnant and running up san francisco hills chasing after trollies) than i have ever had at any wedding. i was so tired that night, i crashed on Alisha's couch and had the best night of sleep my pregnant body had had in a long time.
i felt so free to document how i wanted to document, because there just weren't any rules. there wasn't really a timeline. i produced some of my favorite portfolio images from just a simple elopement, mainly because i just got to shoot differently than i usually do. instead of taking pretty/posed photographs, the majority were wide angle black and white photos of what was actually happening around me, and i had the freedom to do this because i didn't have to photograph the reception details, or a thousand posed family formal photos, or a 3 hour long ceremony. this is just literally how the day unfolded- nicole and zane walking through city hall, us walking through san francisco, visiting a bar that her mother has a special connection to, etc. it wasn't contrived, it wasn't staged, it just WAS.
these photos make me want to re-elope with my husband. people sometimes ask me if i wish i would have had a wedding, but in reality i wish i could just elope with him every.single.year.
HUGE thanks to Rob and Alisha who not only let me sleep on their couch, but also helped carry my bag, made us a delicious pizza, and guided us around the city.
and HUGE congratulations to nicole- who is now expecting a baby!
love abounds, and i love being a part of people's day like this. i am the luckiest woman.