Where and how to Elope or have a Micro Wedding in the Hudson Valley

January 11, 2021

Elopement, Guides

A GUIDE FOR HOW TO ELOPE OR HAVE A MICRO WEDDING
in the Hudson Valley

Are you considering eloping, changing your plans to a micro wedding or planning a micro wedding to keep things intimate? This blog will be your guide to all things elopement and micro weddings. so buckle up and get ready to start planning!

My husband and I had always talked about having a small wedding when we envisioned our plans and in 2019 we had a very intimate wedding with a total of 12 people, ourselves included and our dog. We kept with the elopement tradition of not telling anyone except who attended but knew we wanted to have our closest loved ones present.

Since COVID, a lot of couples are reimagining their wedding plans or planning to downsize to keep within guidelines. While I personally love this option (I’m sort of biased being a bride who got married this way), I know it’s not for everyone. I think that a lot of people think that if you downsize you can’t have everything that you dreamed of but that’s so false. Some would argue that you can even have more. I also think that there isn’t much information on how to plan a wedding like this out there so we’re going to change that. Here are some things to think about when hoping to elope or plan a micro wedding.

SMALL SIZE DOESN’T HAVE TO MEAN MINIMAL

Just because you’re planning something smaller, doesn’t mean you can’t have all of the details you’ve imagined. In a lot of cases you can have even more because with a smaller guest count comes smaller costs all around. Typically some of the biggest cost you have for a wedding is food and rentals. If you have a small guest count you cut these costly vendors by half or even more depending on your guest count. With that, you can take those costs and up your floral budget to have a killer tablescape or something else that’s important to you, add more vendors that you might not have considered to be “worth it” in your budget, or spend more money on the location or permit fees to take photos at. Also, because your guest count is smaller, you have the option to go with an alternative catering option like food trucks, Chipotle, a personal chef etc. This can be a fun personal detail for any foody and will create a real experience for your guests that they probably have never seen at a wedding.

Here are some vendors to consider adding for a bit of flair:

Parked Prosecco – a vintage trailer turned mobile wine bar that will have your boho wedding dreams soaring.

North Country Vintage– while renting your tables and chairs, consider adding a styled lounge to invite your guests to gather.

Disco Forno– a mobile pizza truck— because who doesn’t

Lounge by North Country Vintage

WHERE TO ELOPE OR HAVE A MICRO WEDDING

STATE PARKS:

This option is great for both elopements or micro weddings. If it’s your dream to elope on a mountain with a view, think of parks like Minnewaska State Park or Little Stony Point. For locations that features lakes, try parks like Bear Mountain State Park, or Lake Taghkanic State Park. Keep in mind that some state parks do require a permit to have a ceremony or to have a small event. I recommend inquiring on their website to ask what their requirements are prior to planning.

Lake Minnewaska
Lake Taghkanic State Park
Bear Mountain State Park
Little Stony Point
AIRBNB:

AirBnb’s will always be a location that I recommend because it’s the route that my husband and I went. They give you the option to have a unique space that isn’t like a traditional venue or wedding space. Please keep in mind that not all AirBnbs allow weddings or events and aren’t a definitive wedding location. You must ask for permission and I recommend being honest that you will be having an elopement or small wedding before booking the location. It is important to remember the wear and tear/cleaning that can come from an event with groups of people. Most owners are used to having their space used for only vacations or as rental properties. It’s only fair to be honest with them and be as respectful as possible of their space. While some AirBnb owners may be open to having a small wedding on their vicinity, keep in mind most owners will be more likely to allow you if you have a small guest count (under 20).

I’ve created a list of AirBnb’s in the Hudson Valley that I think would be great for an elopement or micro wedding space- check it out by clicking below!

click here to view my list!

When my husband and I chose our location, we wanted a modern home that had a wooded area for our ceremony and an outdoor option for our dinner. We ended up finding a modern home (that was my interior design dream), had property that was wooded and had a stream which was where we had our ceremony and a large outdoor deck where we set up a family style table for our dinner. Another bonus, is that you can have the option for your friends and family to stay with you depending on the size of the place that you rent to create an intimate wedding weekend.

Photos from my wedding by:
Story & Gold Weddings

I wrote a blog post about my tips as a bride/wedding photographer and what it was like to get married how we did. Check it out here.

WEDDING VENUES:

Some wedding venues are offering micro wedding packages. This gives you the option to get married at your dream venue but for a fraction of the cost because of your reduced guest size. Here are some venues that are offering micro wedding packages:

Mirbeau Inn & Spa
Stagecoach Inn
Bykenhulle House
The Roundhouse
Saint Huberts Lodge
A Private Estate

The Roundhouse
Bykenhulle House

Mirbeau Inn & Spa

GUEST COUNT

This can be the hardest part for some couples. Keeping a small guest count is really the key to having an elopement or micro wedding. Elopements are typically with just the couples or roughly under 10 people in attendance. Micro weddings can be up to 50 people but are traditionally closer to the 30 guest mark. While elopements have a focus on the ceremony and photos, a micro wedding can include almost all aspects of a wedding day, but on a smaller scale.
When choosing your guest count consider these 3 tips:
1. Do they have a personal relationship with the both of you?
2. When’s the last time you spoke or spent time with this person?
3. If they weren’t there would you truly regret it?

At the end of the day, anyone that truly loves and cares for you will support your journey to get married and will be happy for you. You might offend some people along the way, but they’re not important. Just because they’re family doesn’t mean they have to be at your wedding. Do what makes you happy and focus on the people that matter most to you!

HOW TO ACTUALLY GET MARRIED

CITY HALL

There are few different routes that you can go. If you’re hoping to elope, you can always go the city hall route and then plan to take photos at your dream location. When choosing a city hall, try to think of what it looks like. A lot of couples like to get married in NYC/Brooklyn because of the beauty of their city halls, but if that’s not an option for you, try to scope them out beforehand to get an idea. I also recommend doing research on the specific city hall’s website that you plan to get married at so you’re properly prepared.

OFFICIANT

Michele Zipp is an incredible officiant, who has married some of my couples and married me! Having photographed so many weddings and experienced many officiant’s ceremonies, there’s nothing quite like Michele’s ceremonies. They are super personal, and can include beautiful rituals like handfasting, blessing circles, crystal grids, crystal blessings, hand washing in magical botanicals and herbs, and reiki healing. She will come to your AirBnb or hike to a cliff on Minnewaska to create the most magical ceremony possible. Speaking as one of her brides, our ceremony was in my top 3 favorite pieces of our wedding day. Investing in an officiant will be a game changer for your day and they will help you with the paperwork to make it official!

Where and how to elope or have a micro wedding in the Hudson Valley Handsome Hollow

MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE

It might seem obvious but make sure you obtain your marriage license, because you do have to wait at least 24 hours after obtaining it to get married—don’t wait until the last minute. Depending on the location you may have to make an appointment to obtain it or have to wait in long lines and both of you must be present. Once you have it, it’s valid for 60 days. Make sure you research ahead of time what documentation is needed. When I got married, we went about a month before our wedding date and had to provide our birth certificates.
Once you get married, either the officiant you’ve hired or the family member officiating for you, will mail it back to the appropriate city for filing and you will receive the official marriage certificate by mail which is what you will use to do name changes and provide for certain documents.

THE C WORD..COVID

A lot of couples might be reading this blog post because their original wedding plans are changing due to the pandemic. If you’re wondering if you should be reconsidering your plans and down sizing to a micro wedding/elopement, here is a great resource to read up on the current guidelines and information regarding weddings and COVID-19. A local wedding planner A Lively Event has put together a COVID Q&A that she updates regularly with cited information regarding the regulations, what to plan for and proper precautions that must be followed while planning a wedding during these times. Please check it out!

IF ALL ELSE FAILS, HIRE A PLANNER

Planning an elopement or micro wedding does tend to put more work on the couple, especially if you’re planning to get married at a location that isn’t a wedding venue. Having to bring in everything as well as plan the logistics can be a headache. This is where planners can be a life saver! Below are some wedding planners that are offering elopement and/or micro wedding packages for couples needing some assistance!

A Lively Event
Adventure Elopements of the Hudson Valley
Small Shindigs
Source and Gather

WHAT ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY?

I’m currently offering elopement and micro wedding packages as follows

COLLECTION I

10 guests or less
2 hours of photography coverage
Wedding preview images delivered within 24hrs of the wedding
Final high resolution images are delivered in an online gallery within 3 weeks of the wedding
Online hosting of images for 1 year
Printing and personal online usage rights

COLLECTION II

30 guests or less
4 hours of photography coverage
Wedding preview images delivered within 24hrs of the wedding
Final high resolution images are delivered in an online gallery within 3 weeks of the wedding
Online hosting of images for 1 year
Printing and personal online usage rights
Custom wedding day timeline
Wedding Guide- including a curated recommended vendor list

COLLECTION III

50 guests or less
6 hours of photography coverage
Wedding preview images delivered within 24hrs of the wedding
Final high resolution images are delivered in an online gallery within 3 weeks of the wedding
Online hosting of images for 1 year
Printing and personal online usage rights
Custom wedding day timeline
Wedding Guide- including a curated recommended vendor list


INVESTMENTS START AT $1,400, TYPICAL INVESTMENT IS $4,000

IF YOU’RE PLANNING AN ELOPEMENT OR MICRO WEDDING AND THIS POST SOLD YOU ON WORKING WITH ME- REACH OUT HERE TO MAKE IT OFFICIAL!

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