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Small Downtown Boston Elopement

A Very Small Downtown Boston Wedding

It's been a very long roll out to Spring.  We've all been feeling it.   Earlier this month I had the pleasure of photographing  a very small downtown Boston wedding.  So small that the only people in attendance were a brother and their amazing little dog.  Which really makes for a guest list of one human, one canine.

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The newlyweds will plan a larger reception with their families later, but I understood completely when they told me that they really just wanted to be married and with their out of sync work schedules that they decided to get married on the day they were both off, which happened to be a Wednesday.  And there's no reason a Wednesday isn't as good a day as a Saturday or a Sunday to get married.

It was windy.  And you may remember if you've been in our fair city this "spring," that the brisk breezes have most definitely been blowing.

We met at their apartment and then connected with the officiant.  The brides wanted to get married across the street from their apartment, at the fountain behind the Prudential center.  It was a beautiful civil ceremony, each bride reading their own vows.

I'm sure you have been to, or perhaps even had, a big wedding.  There is something to be said for doing it up.  But there is also something beautiful about pairing everything down to the moist essential.  Your fiance.  Your brother. Your dog.  The city where you met and fell in love.   These kind of intimate celebrations are wonderful, immediate and emotional.

 

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very small downtown boston civil ceremony new england wedding photographer

very small downtown boston civil ceremony new england wedding photographer

very small downtown boston civil ceremony new england wedding photographer

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Anniversary Post: Butterfly Place Elopement

As I'm on maternity leave, I'm reposting some of my favorite weddings as anniversary posts. 


My 2010 wedding season kicked off with a gorgeous elopement at The Butterfly Place in Westford.  Congratulations, V & F!


REASONS TO THINK ABOUT ELOPING

ELOPING

Groom waiting with the marriage license in hand at City Hall
Groom waiting with the marriage license in hand at City Hall

Considering elopement instead of a big wedding? An elopement lets you focus on what’s most important.  Sometimes it’s about the keeping the celebrations within your budget. Sometimes it about dodging the pressure of planning a giant party for a lot of people. Sometimes it’s about wanting a classic throwback to a simpler time when weddings were about two people, and those two people only.  As a photographer, I love photographing elopements. They have all the love, joy and fun of a traditional wedding distilled into a few hours.  

Elopement at the Butterfly Place, complete with butterfly and smiles. 
Elopement at the Butterfly Place, complete with butterfly and smiles. 
Brides getting their paperwork ready before their Boston City Hall elopement.
Brides getting their paperwork ready before their Boston City Hall elopement.

THE ROMANCE OF ELOPING

Bride and groom kiss after their elopement in San Francisco
Bride and groom kiss after their elopement in San Francisco

There’s an intimacy to planning together and keeping things secret can add to your romantic elopement. You can also choose to expand that inner circle to just a few more people - like your parents or your best friends. With fewer people involved there are less moving parts of which to keep track.

Think about eloping if you like to remove some of the anxiety of the big day, keeping a little secret to yourselves

Bride and groom enjoying a limo ride after a city hall ceremony
Bride and groom enjoying a limo ride after a city hall ceremony

ELOPING AT A COURTHOUSE OR CITY HALL

Waiting in line for a City Hall wedding. One of the fun things about eloping at City Hall is sharing the joy with the other couples who are also getting married.  Everyone is excited. 
Waiting in line for a City Hall wedding. One of the fun things about eloping at City Hall is sharing the joy with the other couples who are also getting married.  Everyone is excited. 

Research the procedure and cost to obtain your marriage license. Call ahead to make sure you have what you need.  Find out if you’ll need any certified copies of your marriage license for insurance and if you’ll need a witness.  As a photographer, I have sometimes been that witness.  

Weddings abroad will require at least the same amount of paperwork as weddings at home.

Paperwork is part of the deal. I like photographing all the bureaucratic details, a fun foil to the romantic portraits to come.
Paperwork is part of the deal. I like photographing all the bureaucratic details, a fun foil to the romantic portraits to come.

 

AFTERPARTY! ELOPING AND HAVING RECEPTION LATER

Bring a bottle (or two) of champagne to toast, celebrate and mark this new chapter of your lives.
Bring a bottle (or two) of champagne to toast, celebrate and mark this new chapter of your lives.

Want an after party? Yes. Let's! You can toast your newlywed status with a glass of champagne and a cupcake, or reservations at your favorite restaurant.

There's no reason you can't have another wedding celebration later on - with the big dance party and the open bar.  

Love this portrait of two brides, with their champagne glasses and new wedding rings, as they toasted their City Hall elopement.  A weekday wedding means you will likely have the place to yourself.  
Love this portrait of two brides, with their champagne glasses and new wedding rings, as they toasted their City Hall elopement.  A weekday wedding means you will likely have the place to yourself.  

When you plan a second celebration, you might even want to use it as a platform to renew your vows. Or wear your wedding dress/suit again.

BOSTON AS AN ELOPEMENT DESTINATION

A passionate kiss sealing the deal at a Boston City Hall wedding.
A passionate kiss sealing the deal at a Boston City Hall wedding.

I love shooting elopement here in Boston.  When I was based on SF (which has maybe the nation’s most gorgeous city hall) I loved shooting civil ceremonies there too.  Boston is a terrific city to consider for eloping.  Chock full of universities and love stories that began at those universities - the roots of many a romantic relationship have begun here, or across the river in Cambridge.  

More portraits on the wall than guests. But at least they are distinguished portraits. 
More portraits on the wall than guests. But at least they are distinguished portraits. 

Boston City Hall, mid century concrete Brutalism, and Cambridge City Hall, classic Richardsonian Romanesque, though different in architectural styles, are both terrific locations for your Boston elopement.  Boston and Cambridge are relatively small with a huge diversity of locations within walking distance.

ELOPING ETIQUETTE

This couple had prepared their wedding announcement in advance.  Directly after their city hall elopement they stopped by the post office to mail out their wedding announcements.
This couple had prepared their wedding announcement in advance.  Directly after their city hall elopement they stopped by the post office to mail out their wedding announcements.

Part of the fun of eloping is that nearly all of the obligations are easy to address.  Eloping means you aren’t required to invite anyone.  But this does mean that the people in your life might feel excluded from this momentous time in your lives.  Even if they aren’t in attendance - sending them an announcement (that can be in the form of a facebook post, a post card or a video)

Tis couple chose to use this image from the Copley Fairmont to announce their wedding on New Year's Day to their friends and family. 
Tis couple chose to use this image from the Copley Fairmont to announce their wedding on New Year's Day to their friends and family. 

 

SHOULD YOU STILL HAVE A PHOTOGRAPHER IF YOU ELOPE?

A quiet moment from an elopement at the Butterfly Place. 
A quiet moment from an elopement at the Butterfly Place. 

Obviously, as a wedding photographer, I am biased.  I feel that professional photography means beautiful visual documents of your life milestones (and this counts as one of them, for sure) is important part to your personal legacy.  

Wear what you like! This bride was stunning in her emerald green dress at her civil ceremony.  They eventually had a big celebration in their home state to party with their friends and extended family.
Wear what you like! This bride was stunning in her emerald green dress at her civil ceremony.  They eventually had a big celebration in their home state to party with their friends and extended family.

And I LOVE photographing small weddings, city hall wedding or elopements.  Stripped down to the essentials of the day (and sometimes under cloak and dagger) it can be a thrilling and awesome way to begin a new chapter in your lives.  

You can even use the images from your elopement photographer in your wedding announcements or holiday cards.

ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY PACKAGES

When I photograph elopements, or city hall weddings, most client book me for two hours. This covers a few moments before the ceremony, the ceremony itself and we wrap up with location portraits featuring the location you chose to elope - and also maybe with a glass of champagne to toast the newlyweds.  


I’m photographer Allana Taranto of Ars Magna Studio. I love photographing elopements in Boston, creating beautiful and honest images of this thrilling moment in my clients' love story. 

Planning an elopement in Boston?

Want learn more about our elopement photography packages? 


Micro Wedding | Cambridge City Hall

Here's another beautiful little two person (plus me the wedding photographer and the officiant which I guess technically makes it four persons) from City Hall in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

I've photographed weddings here before, but usually in the kinder gentler weather that takes us outside. We asked if chambers was available.  We were so happy o learn that it was!  

Y. and J. met in a French language class years ago. Though they both left China for jobs in other countries they found their way together again.  After long distance love for another few years, they are both in Boston, and enjoying their life here. Together, finally!

They chose to be married in a civil ceremony here first and then they will have a larger and traditional Chinese celebration when they are home with their families.  

They were so excited to get married - giggles and adorable bouncing to get it going. It was obvious that they weren't able to wait any longer to marry the love of their life. I arrived early and they were already there - nearly trembling with excitement.  

Their city hall elopement was romantic - and kept things simple.  They have each other, and a two person celebration.  A wedding paired down to it's bare bones that has no less less romance,  love, or fun that a big celebration.  In this case, a two person micro wedding, was ideal. 

I love photographing micro-weddings like this.  City Hall weddings are treated like an extended portrait session.  Coverage of the civil ceremony in the City Hall, or courthouse, followed by a location portrait session. 


Micro Wedding | Boston City Hall Elopement

A small wedding doesn't mean a wedding with any less romance, any less glamour, any less love, any less fun.  Sometimes an intimate wedding, a small wedding, a two person micro wedding, is just perfect. 

An elopement is romantic - its all about keeping things simple.  You have each other, and you get legally united and then you acknowledge it with a two person celebration.  It's a wedding stripped down to the essentials.  There is a romantic component to being all the other person need for this major life milestone.

Planning a wedding can stress people out.  Negotiating what you want and what your families expect isn't necessarily easy.  Sometimes you just can't wait any longer to marry the love of your life.  I've known couples who, in the middle of planning a big wedding, decide to elope and keep it to themselves. And then have the big party anyway - keeping their elopement as a secret between them. 

Micro-weddings or City Hall elopements do require some etiquette.  Even if you value keeping things small, you won't want anyone to feel excluded. This calls for a joyful announcement made that evening or the next morning.  Either with paper mail or by email or by social media post.  

In this case, I was booked a few months in advance and the couple planned out how they wanted their wedding day to unfold. A New Year's Eve City Hall ceremony and then the night at the Fairmont Copley, a beautiful and historic hotel overlooking Copley Square.  I was sworn to secrecy.  Their plan was to announce the marriage to family and friends in with emails and phone calls the next day.  Both families live out of state and this couple wanted to share their joy the following morning, on New Year's Day.  A pretty romantic and meaningful time to wed, at the final moments of one year awaiting the next. 

The bride wore a tailored gold brocade dress and kitten heels - and this amazing vintage faux tiger coat.  The groom wore a grey suit paired with a light purple shirt with tuxedo collar.  After the Boston City Hall civil ceremony, we picked up their rescue dog (one handsome, if skittish French bulldog who wore his bowtie like a champ) before we made some portraits at the Copley Fairmont.  I love this dog friendly hotel - their lobby and staircases were a warm and lovely space in which to make portraits.  And the light coming in from Copley Square, purple and pink, worked to set the stage for a dramatic and colorful portrait in their luxury suite. 

Boston makes a great destination for an elopement.  We have a beautiful, if postage sized, city that is rich with history and beautiful architecture. Yes, I'm even talking about our concrete beast of a City Hall.  Within a short walk you can hit the waterfront, the Boston Common, find cobblestone streets and wonderful views of the skyline.  

There are still, of course, a zillion reasons to have a giant awesome party.  There's something to be said for the unforgettable experience of being surrounded by your friends and families and reveling in all the togetherness (and perhaps unwinding after a months long planning process).  Maybe you can do both. :)


Cambridge Small Wedding Photography .:. City Hall Elopement

Hooray for the Commonwealth! These two ladies flew all the way from California to have their small wedding ceremony at Cambridge City Hall.  We met up at the Lenox Hotel and them cabbed it across the river for their Cambridge wedding.
Massachusetts welcomed them with a beautiful day, and then off they drove to Maine for a week to spend seaside.  From one beautiful end of the country to another.