Steph & Jacob are two of the most positive and loving and lovely human beings I’ve interacted with. Getting to know them at their engagement session, through their wedding planning process, and now having been a part of their intimate park elopement, with the plan to be a part of their anniversary celebration next year has shown me much of this couple. It’s all been glorious. The world has often been a stressful and scary and dark place, this spring of 2020, what with a global pandemic going on. Because of that, it’s been doubly true for those marriers planning weddings during this time. Plans have changed and people have adapted. We move forward with what moments of joy we can, knowing brighter moments are ahead.

Intimate Park Elopement

It wasn’t an easy decision to make, moving their full-scale 150+ person wedding to an intimate park elopement with seven total in attendance. But, Steph & Jacob handled it with care and grace. Their families and friends showed an outpouring of love that I was able to witness just a sliver of. And, it brought me to tears multiple times.

The day started off with Facetime calls with family members, each household at a time. All of their family spent the morning with the couple. It was (almost) like they would have in person, sending love and rejoicing in the excitement of the day. Steph & Jacob dressed independently, walked to the ceremony spot with one of the guests.  And, then met back up in the bamboo along the back pathway of the park near their home.

The park was full of sunbathers and people enjoying the completely glorious weather. It was one of the first real springs I have memory of, actually! And the two were well-wished and smiled at as they went along, lost in each other’s smiles.

Virtual Park Elopement

They met back up with their people, including an attendant-turned-officiant for the occasion, and got everything set up to be broadcast live so their loved ones could enjoy. The friends and family tuning in were all celebrating in their own ways from home: some in formalwear and some with champagne pours! The ceremony was full of important items incorporated from the larger wedding day plans. This including an heirloom tallit and the handmade string art that was to decorate the tables. There were beautiful vows… And, there was even a moment of bizarre levity as the ceremony was interrupted by a child on a scooter cutting through! {ah, the unpredictable nature of public parks!}

Post-ceremony, the couple had everyone over to their home. There, everyone enjoyed toasts and food from Fox Bros catering! They closed the night in a way similar to what the big day’s plans had been anyway, just miniaturized.

This day was hands-down, one of the most meaningful and beautiful days I’ve ever been a part of. The whole day was full of laughter and tears of all kinds! Every moment was memorable for so many reasons. Their wedding was one I was so looking forward to, just to spend more time with these really fun human beings. I was so grateful to have been there!

See more elopements I’ve photographed here.

Funniest moment on your wedding day?

A young gentleman scootering through our ceremony just as Jacob began his vows. It was the perfect moment, made us laugh, and our friends who were there in person and our family and friends who were watching online all laughed together.

What were you most anxious or nervous about regarding your wedding day and how did it turn out?

Up until about two weeks before our wedding, we were most worried about what the weather would be like and whether we would have to use our rain tent. But then…word of a pandemic hit, and our new worries were about who would be able to be present with us, and whether we should get married at all or not! While we still were sad that we couldn’t gather with our friends and family, we were perhaps even more grateful for the parts of our plan that went forward… Getting married, on a beautiful day, and still feeling loved and supported even if everyone wasn’t there in person.

Most memorable moment from your wedding day?

Strangers in the park cheering for us as we did our first look. It was an emotional day—our families couldn’t be there due to the pandemic—and having so much unexpected love and support from strangers at that moment really warmed our hearts.

A few months ago, well before any notion of the chaos that was about to descend, a friend of ours told us, “just remember, the most important parts of your wedding is that two of you are there and you’ve got a wedding license.” I think that’s the best advice we got along the way and what we would pass along. When some details or decision-making would cause stress, we would try to remember the purpose and our priorities for the day.

That became even more important as we started having to make big decisions and evaluating the changing situation around us. We hope no one else goes through an emerging pandemic totally changing their wedding plans. But even for the little obstacles in wedding planning, we say, remember why you’re trying to plan what you’re planning. And that in the end, the most important moments will happen and be beautiful.

Any tips for future couples on how to prepare for their wedding photos?

We feel so lucky that Raven made us feel comfortable and just encouraged us to be ourselves! Honestly, we didn’t prepare all that much other than trying to feel our best. Picking clothes and outfits we enjoy wearing and maybe putting on a tiny bit more makeup than usual?

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Raven is an Atlanta Wedding Photographer who captures real people on their totally unique and completely awesome wedding day. She travels throughout Georgia, including Athens, North Georgia, Dahlonega and beyond, documenting love.

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