Based in Medina & Cleveland, Ohio
Serving Northeast, Ohio and beyond!
Your guide to planning the perfect Ohio Elopement
TIMELESS. MODERN. FUN.
WHEN DREAMS SESSIONS BECOME REALITY.
If you are reading this guide on eloping in Ohio, that probably means you just said hell yeah I want to spend forever with you to the love of your life, and you are trying to plan your special day. Maybe you are already set on eloping and wondering just where to start, or maybe it is just an idea floating around in your head right now as you look through all the glammed up wedding blogs and realize you do not want all of those extras– regardless of how you found this, I am glad you are here!
I am Art, a photographer specializing in documenting the best day of your life. I have called Ohio my home for 40+ years.
I think it is time to ditch the stigma around not having a "traditional" wedding and start doing things the way that makes you and your partner HAPPY. More often than not, people think an elopement only needs to be a tiny, short, insignificant thing. That idea makes me sad. On the flip side, We are starting to see a lot of elopements in the media now, but they sometimes make you feel like you have to go across the United States (or the world) to have a beautiful elopement. The truth is, Ohio is incredibly diverse and the perfect spot to start the perfect adventure.
DECIDE ON A LOCATION AND DATE FOR YOUR ELOPEMENT
This is a big step, but it’s the first one! You can’t move forward with any part of the process until you can set the date in your calendar! If you’re eloping, I believe the first thing to know is that the sky is the limit (literally, if you want to get married in the sky, let`s look at hot air balloons or helicopter rentals).
I recommend starting with what your favorite things to do together are. Do you cuddle by a fire, hike, or wine/beer tours? If you’re drawing a blank on location, I recommend starting looking up landscapes. Look at photos from local parks, Google Earth, Pinterest, other photographers, etc. Most people know it when they see it. When you can picture you and your partner standing there, saying your vows, gazing into each other’s eyes THAT’S THE SPOT!. For some people this is lakeside, and for others, this is your living room. There’s not one option that is better than the other, just pick whichever one makes you both happy!
For Ohio elopement locations, I recommend checking out Hocking Hills, Cuyahoga Valley, Lake Erie, or even a short drive to the shores of Michigan.
I’m from Cleveland, and some cool downtown ideas I’ve seen here are on the bridge in the flats, right on the shores of Lake Erie, at the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame, and right on the rocks in front of the lighthouse in Mentor! All cities in Ohio both big and small have amazing and unique things to offer for your elopement.
I currently live in Median, Ohio, and can not recommend the Cuyahoga Valley National Park enough to my new friends. I`m talking, trails, waterfalls, lakes, creeks, cliffs, trains, and bridges O MY!
If you ever want suggestions, feel free to reach out to me! I love celebrating love and all of the planning that comes with it.
CAN I TELL YOU A SECRET?
Trails and parks tend to be far less crowded on weekdays. I highly recommend planning your elopement Monday through Thursday. Choosing a weekday means fewer crowds and more privacy for your adventure elopement.
PICK AND BOOK! YOUR VENDORS
Some couples elope with just themselves and their officiant, others go all-out with catered brunch and a fully decorated venue. This is a “you-do-you” thing. The only thing you NEED is someone to marry you- whether this is a friend, a trusted pastor, a random person you found ordained on the street, whoever as long as they are legal, and I can help you check that with the State.
Fun fact– anyone can get ordained online pretty easily, so you can get creative here. Vendors I would recommend to elevate your elopement experiences are a florist and a hair/make-up artist. Some extras you might want to think about are a cool ride to get to your ceremony (vintage car, limo, horse?) or a private chef to cook you amazing food afterward.
I love capturing Ohio elopements and beyond because they focus on what is most important, creating spaces where you feel comfortable and can truly express yourself. What could be more sentimental than an intimate day just between you and your partner?
After your vendors are secured, you can take a deep breath and rest easy. Your vendors will be in contact with you to work on a timeline of your day, this will not only relieve stress from you both it will ensure your day goes as smooth as silk.
THINK ABOUT THE DESTINATION(S).
It would not be a bad idea to invest in a local planner to help advise you on the local legalities, set you up with an officiant, as well to connect you with any other vendors you might want. They may also know some quiet “Hidden Gem “of locations for your vows or portrait session. So I would recommend taking full advantage of their insider know-how. You do not want to spend your trip looking for the right contacts.
ROCK SOMETHING GORGEOUS.
It doesn't have to be white or formal. You don't have to wear a dress or a suit. Your choice does not need to be classified as "wedding appropriate". But do make sure you wear something special to you on your wedding day, whether it be a sequin bridal jumpsuit, a little white dress, or full formal wedding day attire. Have fun with your look and make just sure you feel incredible on your day. Even if you're only dressing up for yourself and your other half, your choice can help set the mood for your elopement. I highly recommend a reclamation dress to my clients, as there is just something magical about the vibe they put off.
THE LEGAL SIDE OF ELOPING.
Some locations may require a photography permit for your elopement. Don`t worry, this is something I can help you take care of! On the topic of permits and legal items, let’s talk about a marriage license! Every state is different regarding the number of witnesses needed, how to apply, and how long the license is valid. We will talk through these details as we plan your elopement, and if you need a witness, I would be more than honored to sign on that dotted line for you!
PICK UP YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE BEFORE YOUR ELOPEMENT.
I’m by no means a lawyer, so I have linked the Ohio laws on marriage here. To get a marriage license, you’ll need to visit your local Courthouse to apply for one and walk out with a blank copy.
Important notes on the process:
- You have 60 days from the issuing of your license to have your legal ceremony before the license expires.
- You should bring a form of ID with you such as a birth certificate or legal driver’s license- you can check out the full list of acceptable documents at the link above.
- You do not need witnesses on your Marriage License in Ohio, but there are two lines for witnesses to sign if you would like to! I think it is a fun way to remember who else was there if there was anyone.
- The blank marriage certificate you walk out with will be signed and legally taken care of by your officiant (be sure to check if they mail it for you or not) after your ceremony.
- After your elopement, you will receive your actual copy of your marriage license (along with a cute decorative one) in the mail.
DO IT FOR THE ALL RIGHT REASONS & MAKE IT SPECIAL.
Eloping is something of a statement in itself! If you're planning to get married without your friends, and family by your side, then make sure it's something you want, as well you’re doing it right reasons. Saving money, avoiding drama, keeping it intimate and personal, are all valid reasons to elope - just make sure that you have thought a lot about your decision, and it's what you both want.
Just because you are not going to have 200+ guests to wine, dine and entertain does not mean your elopement day shouldn't be special. Whether you write personalized vows, go all out on a fancy limousine, eat cake for breakfast, or go to a 5-star restaurant for dinner after, do whatever it is that will make your wedding day feel special and truly memorable to you both. The best fact about eloping is the fact that you can do whatever you want, so make sure you do!
DON'T FEEL BAD ABOUT IT.
There usually is a lot of guilt associated with elopements at first. With that said this might be easier said than done. Do not feel bad about your decision, because you don't have to justify it to anyone except you and your partner. Of course, there will be some friends and family that might be initially disappointed with the idea, but once they get over the initial shock, chances are, they'll be nothing but excited and happy for you both. I always say "Prepare yourself for the worst but expect the best" is the key mindset for eloping. Hopefully, everyone you know will be rooting for you, but try not to be too upset if a couple of people aren't as excited about your news as you'd hoped.
HAVE A REVEAL PLAN.
However, you want to let people know about your elopement, make a solid plan. When it comes to friends and family, they must hear the news from you. Ideally, you should inform the close family members in person and not through the grapevine or on Facebook! I would highly recommend having a script ready to go. As I said, you don't need to explain yourself, but you both need to be on the same page when it comes to letting the family in on your big surprise.
Your portraits are meant to be enjoyed! You will feel rewarded when you view your photographs. All of your efforts will be worthwhile. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me before your session.
See you at your shoot!
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