Now that I’ve shared why we decided to elope, I’ll share what traditions we decided to keep, what we edited, and what we invented.
As I’ve mentioned before, our decision to pass on a traditional wedding is saving us a substantial amount of money. Which has allowed us to intentionally splurge in some areas like our honeymoon and wedding gifts, and save on others like an expensive wedding dress, floral arrangements, and venue.
Overall, I think we’ve successfully tailored our wedding to our personal preferences. I feel over-the-top excited about our plans and incredibly grateful for such an unexpected and unconventional way of getting married. I never would have imagined we’d be eloping, but it turned out to be a perfect fit for us.
Which of course goes to show how individual each wedding should be. What we have done is certainly not right for everyone. It’s really all about doing what is best for each individual couple and their intentions.
Here’s how we crafted our wedding traditions.
Though we did not plan to get engagement photos taken, we got very lucky. My friend and photographer Kelly Stonelake tweeted me about a photography workshop (Film Is Not Dead) in Chicago that needed engagement couples to shoot. So we snatched up the opportunity and got some great free photos like this one by Catherine.
The other few engagement photos on the last few posts were by the adorable Jonah of Jen and Jonah (if you live in Ohio, I definitely recommend them!).
When it came to wedding invites, this was high up on my priority list. And though we weren’t inviting people to our ceremony, our friend and family celebrations definitely warranted nice looking invitations.
And when it came to invites, I knew exactly who I wanted to design them: Claudia of Fig. 2 Design Studio. (She’s also the designer behind our Jess LC stationery as well.)
And when it comes to packaging, Claudia kills it.
I still can’t believe my invites were inside these adorable packages! (I was pretty much squealing when I opened them.)
And there she is. Our lovely little invite.
We decided to make it an announcement about our elopement without event details. Printing only one announcement for both the family and the friend gatherings helped us save money and keep things simple. I also designed a wedding website (through Blogger so I could customize the look) and have the party details going out in an email to friends and family later this week.
You’ll notice that we went with a French blue and gray scheme which is very… French looking. But in fact the color choice originated from the color of my shoes. I’ll share more about what I’m wearing soon.
Somehow the beautiful blue color also popped up in most of our wedding details despite the fact that I’m not personally a huge fan of blue (except for this shade, of course). If I had a traditional wedding it would have been gray, white, coral, and gold all the way.
But crazy things happen when you do something completely different than you imagine.
And it all just seems right.
I cannot wait to see the invite framed on the wall with a photo of our shoes.
Wedding Officiant and Photographer
When we first decided to elope in two month’s time, the task of finding French officiants and photographers sounded… not fun.
So we instantly decided to invite our friends to fill these roles, rather than try to work with people we’ve never met before.
We are flying our friends Kim and Scott to Paris with us. Kim is a fantastic photographer and Scott is exactly the kind of person who is perfect for running the ceremony. So rather than fork over a chunk of cash to people we don’t know, we are treating our friends to a trip to Paris instead. (They are super psyched.)
Kim and Scott will be with us for three days and then fly home. At which point Mr. Lively and I will stay for our honeymoon.
Side Note: we decided to skip the hassle of trying to get a French wedding license and did it here in Chicago ahead of time. So as Mr. Lively likes to say, we were “legally” married for a few weeks, but not “officially” until our ceremony.
Ceremony and Dinner
We devised the ceremony itself (this was a big deal to us) and I’ll will share it in more detail when I get back.
But as far as location and restaurant afterwards, we don’t really know yet. Getting married on an August Sunday evening in Paris means quite a lot of places will be closed (we’ve heard) so we are going to wing it.
I’ll share more on what we decided to do when we return.
I’ll also be finding a little bouquet from a market on Saturday… of whatever looks fresh and beautiful.
Because we are eloping and not having a traditional wedding, we are skipping a wedding registry. I’m happy that we can leave the gifts out of the equation and just spend our time with our friends and families when we celebrate with them in September and November.
But we didn’t ditch the idea of a wedding gifts for one another. This is where we intentionally splurged.
I got Mr. Lively a fancy-pants espresso maker. Since Mr. Lively worked as a barista one summer in college, our kitchen is now a mini-Starbucks, much to his delight. (I really think he likes making me lattes just so he can foam the milk.)
And Mr. Lively gifted me a very generous shopping budget for new clothes and my wedding outfit. I’ve been beyond thankful for his gift and he’s loved watching me evolve my wardrobe this summer.
Much to my intern Caitlin’s delight, she’s reaped the benefits of my wedding gift as well. She’s been on the receiving end of a substantial closet exfoliation.
Since we were keeping the elopement a secret, it was not possible to have a bachelorette party ahead of time. So when we celebrate with friends I won’t be a bachelorette anymore.
Which is why I’ve decided to have a “Mrs. Party.”
Yep, I’m inventing my own special lady party that is going to celebrate the fact that I’m already married. I’ll elaborate more on this party once it happens.
So there you have it! I’d love to hear if anyone has made similar choices in their weddings or elopements. (And if these ideas resonate with others and get adopted into their own nuptials I would be thrilled!)