Why My Husband and I Eloped in Charlottesville, VA


Hey there!

One of the most common things people want to talk to me about is my elopement. Why did I elope? Or even more often “HOW DID YOU DO IT?” or the “I wish I would have done that”. So I figured this would be a great place to talk about everything elopement. For all of you wondering why I did it or for all of my potential clients wondering “how the heck do I even start this??” I’ve got ya covered. And maybe a tiny bit because I never get tired of looking at my wedding photos 🙂

I do want to put a disclaimer that this is no way saying that big, beautiful, fairytale weddings aren’t worthwhile! I think every wedding is beautiful in it’s own way and the fact that you get to celebrate your love however you want is totally awesome. This is just explaining a bit behind my own big day and why we did what we did! Do what feels right and true to you and your partner, it’s your wedding so who cares what anyone else thinks 🙂


My husband and I eloped in downtown Charlottesville October 17, 2020. Although this was during the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew that we would have eloped anyways. We rented an airbnb, invited our closest friends, and made a weekend of our wedding. We told our parents and immediate family members, but that was about it. It was definitely an untraditional wedding in every way, but it was so perfect and I would never change a thing. Hanging out with our friends the night before, setting up our ceremony spot with a bunch of borrowed decorations, forgetting our rings at the altar, and Joel’s coworkers shouting at us on the rooftop across the street among many other things made it a truly unforgettable day.

So… why did we do it?

What a loaded question. There were so many reasons. I have always known I’m not your run of the mill traditional gal. The idea of a big, fancy, expensive wedding never really made me excited about getting married. It felt like I was doing it for everyone else. And… it’s my wedding day so damn right I’m gonna be a little selfish. Joel and I figured out pretty early on in our relationship that we both had non-traditional ideas for what we wanted out of the future of our relationship. When things started to get ~serious~ I let him know that I didn’t really like the idea of marriage and big weddings. Obviously, we compromised and are married now. But, in the months leading up to getting engaged we did have some pretty serious talks about what our wedding day would look like. So, here are some of the biggest reasons we decided eloping was the best option for us!

#1. Family

This is no hard feelings against our families. We just knew that we wanted this day to be authentically what WE wanted and all about us. We didn’t want the stress of worrying about what our families were saying to each other or how they were interacting. We come from pretty different upbringings and we knew that those conversations didn’t have a place at a day that was supposed to be about our love. I think a lot of the couples that I’ve worked with, or even just friends that have gotten married, have all said that their families were at least a little stressful during their wedding. And I would like to point out once again… our wedding so we’re allowed to be selfish (AND SO ARE YOU!!). We don’t want this to sound like we hate our families. We kept them in the loop about what was happening and Zoomed them during the actual ceremony. I facetimed my parents beforehand so they could see me in my dress. But, being able to turn our phones off after the ceremony and be present in the moment and just enjoy the company of our friends was something I will never regret.

#2. Monetary Benefits

It’s no secret that weddings are expensive. I’m in the wedding industry so I know first-hand how expensive they can get. That isn’t to say that bigger weddings aren’t worth it, though! I splurged on the wedding photographer of my dreams and would do it all over again, no hesitation. Considering I had just graduated college we knew that we didn’t have the money to spend on something grand, so the idea of doing something DIY and personal was enticing! In total we spent $6,000 to elope and that included my engagement ring and our wedding bands. Although that number was a little over our initial budget, it was still a fraction of what most people spend on their wedding days.

#3. Creative Freedom

Is it too cliche for the artist to talk about how she desperately wanted creative freedom on her wedding day? Probably.

This isn’t to say that you don’t have creative freedom in larger more traditional weddings. But, that typically comes with a price tag that we, once again, just couldn’t afford or justify paying at that point of our lives. We both thought there was a lot of confinement as to what you can or can’t do during a traditional wedding with our budget and we weren’t about that. We wanted to have an aisle of rugs, our best friend officiate, to wear whatever made us feel beautiful and confident, to have all of the collective plants from our friends apartments – honestly we just wanted the freedom to do literally whatever we wanted. Did Joel open a beer during the ceremony to calm our nerves… yeah! Can you have those things at a traditional wedding? Probably… but if we were to have a traditional wedding it definitely would have been frowned upon and caused more stress than it was worth. So, for us, this was a huge factor!

#4. Intimacy

This may have been one of the biggest factors when choosing to elope. I don’t know if you’ve ever considered spilling your guts about your most intimate feelings in front of your conservative parents, 2nd cousins, and 4 overprotective uncles, but uh… that sounds like a nightmare. Joel and I knew that we would write personal vows to one another and that they would be honest and true to our marriage. It was okay for us to cry and laugh as we made some of the most important promises of our lives to each other. Doing that in the company of those who are closest to us really made it that much more special.

That’s all for this one!

Thanks for reading about why we chose to elope! On the next part of this series I’ll dive into the “how”. How did we do it?? What advice would I give?? How can YOU do it too?? Stay tuned! In the meantime be sure to check out our INCREDIBLE vendors (all three of them hahaha).

Ash Carr Photography
Samar’s Touch Bridal Makeup
Hazel Witch Farm

Just wanted to let everyone know that all of the photos in my elopement series are from my actual wedding day, and therefore I did NOT take any of them. These photos are all by the wickedly talented Ash Carr Photography.

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