Weddingnesday… eloping to NYC

I’m so excited to being sharing this wonderful Weddingnesday interview… it’s about a super cute elopement to New York.

Sequoia, an amazing wedding photographer, and her other half had planned to go to NYC for their 12th anniversary… and decided that it would be fun to get married while they were at it too!

I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading their story as much as I did…

How did you get engaged?

We had originally planned to go to NY to celebrate our 12th anniversary. One night we were walking home from work and started joking about how surprised everyone would be if we got married while we were there… and how handy it would be to have the same wedding anniversary as our existing anniversary.

At this stage it was all jokes and light-hearted chat, but then once we got back to the flat, Finlay said that we should actually just do it. I couldn’t believe it!

Neither of us had ever had much interest in getting married but as soon as we decided to do it we were grinning from ear to ear and it seemed like completely the right thing to do. And it was.

As a wedding photographer, some people might be surprised that you choose not to have a ‘traditional’ wedding…

I love a traditional wedding and have been to many brilliant weddings over the years. But we just loved the idea of getting married in New York, a city we both love and on a special date for us. Everything fit together so well. My sister lives in Manhattan and it was lovely to have her with us on the day.

From a photographic point-of-view I was delighted to get the opportunity to shoot a wedding against the backdrop of New York, the most visually iconic city in the world.

I always knew I was going to do the photos myself so did some research beforehand on where I’d like pictures taken and then managed to capture them all using a tripod and self-timer.

How did you plan your elopement? Did it take long to plan?

Honestly, it took about an hour. Once we decided to do it, all it took as a bit of searching online and we found the New York City Hall website which had all the information we needed.

We applied for our license online, picked it up the day before the wedding and then showed up ready to get married 24 hours later.

What impact did eloping have on buying the dress/picking the venue etc?

I decided to buy everything once I got to NY as it would be quite exciting to do it all the day before. The dress was in the first shop I looked in, hanging on a rail by the door and exactly what I was looking for, so I really lucked out there.

Getting shoes was far more stressful and involved several cabs round Manhattan trying to track down the right pair in the right size.

Finlay was lucky as he has a kilt and required no last-minute shopping trips. I did plenty of research online beforehand, picking out dresses and accesssories I liked, then I emailed the links to my sister who found the stockists nearest to our hotel. She was a godsend!

Is there anything you would advise someone thinking of eloping (or having a ‘traditional’ wedding) to definitely do – and not to do?

Eloping was the perfect way to get married for us. Our parents were really pleased for us and supported our decision completely.

My best advice would be to plan ahead with regards to paperwork and legal stuff and make sure you have everything you’ll need if you don’t have time to go shopping when you arrive.

Also, we knew before that our ceremony was going to be very short and quite formal. Make sure you know what to expect from your ceremony because you may be disappointed if you were hoping for something more personal.

With regards to a traditional wedding, I know my wedding photography clients get lots of inspiration from wedding blogs like Once Wed, Snippet & Ink and Rock ‘n Roll Bride – the internet is a great place for research on trends and ideas for wedding themes.

What was your favourite bit of your wedding?

The whole trip was a blast, but if I had to pick one moment it would be when the officiant said ‘I now pronounce you man and wife’ – I welled up! I know it’s cheesy but it was such a big moment having been boyfriend and girlfriend for so long.

And one thing which made the whole trip a bit more special was the New York Yankees winning the World Series the night before our wedding.

Neither of us know the first thing about baseball but there was a great atmosphere around the city with people celebrating and ‘Empire State of Mind’ by Jay-Z was blasting out of windows all over the place. It’s become our official wedding anthem!

Tell us about your engagement ring and wedding ring?

My mum gave me my Gran’s ring to use as a wedding ring which meant so much as it was another link to family on the wedding day.

We shopped for an engagement ring the day after we got married – another non-traditional aspect of our wedding– and found the perfect one in a little antiques shop near Union Square park. It’s art-deco 18 carat gold with a diamond. The setting is absolutely stunning.

Any tips on wedding photos/choosing a photographer etc?

As I’ve been both a bride and photographer I think I’m qualified to dole out some advice to engaged couples!

The most important thing is to have a good rapport with the photographer so you can communicate your ideas with them. The internet is a great place to see portfolios, but the best way to make a decision is to actually meet the photographer in person.

Also, I wanted to capture as many small details from the holiday as possible as I knew it would go by in a whirl.

Ask your photographer to shoot your table decorations, flowers, favours etc because you may not notice them on the day and its nice to have a memento of them.

And from a photographer’s point of view, every couple and every wedding is different so working with a couple you get on with makes for a great environment for shooting pictures.

Lastly, how does it feel being a Mr and Mrs?

Being a married woman is great, though I can’t get used to calling Finlay my husband!