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I’m Hiring a New Scheduling Manager & Client Concierge Job Description

UPDATE: This position was filled as of November 5th. Thanks to all who applied!

Hey y’all-

I am very sad to report that our current Scheduling Manager & Client Concierge, Shannon, is leaving us in a few months for Japan where her family will be stationed for the foreseeable future. We are devastated to be losing her from our team, but excited for her new adventure.

But that means we need to find a new Scheduling Manager & Client Concierge and we have big shoes to fill. Please help us with our search!

Job Overview 

The Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements Scheduling Manager & Client Concierge is responsible for three categories of responsibilities for our business:

(1) qualifying leads who want to work with our business for their elopement or wedding and contact us via our online form, or by email or phone, and then following up and scheduling them, if appropriate,

(2) working with select clients to organize related vendor services (hair and makeup, flowers, restaurant reservations, etc.) for their wedding or elopement and helping the client book them, and

(3) managing our marketing assets, including photos and ceremony documents.

 

The Scheduling Manager & Client Concierge has intimate contact with our clients and his or her work is essential in helping our business maintain our 150+ 5 star rating online.

Responsibilities

Under the direction of the owner, this critical team member will …

Manage Our Officiant & Photographer Schedule for Client Booking

  • Answer leads, using templates and company knowledge, and qualify them for our services via our customer relationship management system, 17Hats
  • Review Google calendars of officiants and photographers to schedule services appropriately and message them as needed
  • Send booking forms to qualified leads
  • Follow-up on needed documents, like questionnaires and booking forms, from clients

Provide Client Concierge Services to Select Clients

  • Analyze client questionnaires and organize follow-up calls with clients around their requests
  • Contact appropriate vendors to obtain quotes or make reservations on behalf of clients
  • Maintain excellent relationships with all of our vendors
  • Monitor progress for each client’s project and conduct follow-ups with client or vendor as needed
  • Keep the business’s customer relationship management system up-to-date for every client

Manage our Marketing Assets

  • Review photo galleries of all of our elopements and weddings and select and organize photos to allow us to easily market our business across online platforms
  • Conduct a fine edit of select ceremony documents after they have been performed

Related tasks may be assigned.

Hours & Pay

The Scheduling Manager & Client Concierge will be an employee of the owner, not a contractor, and be paid $17 an hour. This employee works approximately 10-15 hours per week, with the busiest times in the spring and fall. Scheduling management work, including answering voicemails, must be done twice a day, in the morning and late afternoon/evening.

Additional Client Concierge work can be scheduled on a weekly basis, based on your schedule and the volume of clients, but all calls, texts and emails must be answered within 12 hours.

This is a remote position. If the final candidate is located in Savannah, there may be opportunities for in-person work at weddings, but not required or guaranteed.

We ask that the final candidate we choose commits to our business for at least one year.

Qualifications

Minimum:

  • Highly organized with excellent communication skills
  • Experience with using mobile applications for work
  • Experience in customer service
  • Experience working with difficult people and unique situations
  • Values promptness and establishing relationships with vendors
  • Owns a computer with access to high speed internet and a dedicated place to conduct work

Preferred:

  • Experience with self-employment or working for a small business
  • Familiarity with Savannah geography and tourism

Finally, our Scheduling Manager & Client Concierge must also believe in and share our company’s values about our work.

  1. We believe that modern marriage ceremonies, in both language and action, are the perfect way for couples to express their unique commitment to each other.
  2. ALL love is beautiful and there is no wrong way to be married.
  3. We fiercely defend the right of same-sex couples to marry in our state and country.
  4. Every wedding celebration, whether small and intimate, or grand and bold, deserves the same level of attention and love from their vendors.
  5. We provide solutions to every client’s question and focus on successful outcomes, positivity, organization, and responsiveness in our work. We never say “I don’t know.”
  6. We value the expertise of our internal partners and team members, and work with people who share our values in both thought and practice.
  7. We take great pride in showcasing diverse forms of love and championing the beauty of elopements and intimate weddings to audiences across the globe.
     

Application Process

Interested applicants should send a resume or link to a LinkedIn profile via email to tracy [at] savannahcustomweddings [dot] com and tell us why you want to be our Scheduling Manager & Client Concierge AND why you would be great at it. Interviews will take place on a rolling basis and we hope to hire someone by mid-October for training with our team. Only fully-qualified applicants will be interviewed. We recommend all applicants view our Facebook Live video with Shannon about her experience with the position. 

We look forward to your application!

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

Changes for 2019 for Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

Happy Friday!

 
If you caught my Facebook Live video a few weeks ago, you heard my announcement that I am making some adjustments to my business for 2019 and here is a quick recap. Beginning October 1, 2018, I will be focusing on the Ceremony + Photography packages that I organize and officiate, and taking limited Ceremony Only bookings over 50 guests for the foreseeable future. That means instead of being a wedding officiant who also offers elopement packages, I will be focusing on creating elopement and intimate wedding experiences that I also officiate. The difference may be nuanced, but is really important to me and how I run my business.
 
Since I began officiating, I have been proud of the fact that I have been a full-service officiant agency, meeting the needs of all couples who support modern love, but who may be having different types of celebrations. However, in 2018, a few things  changed the officiating landscape for me, which is what is prompting me to make changes.
 
Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art + Photos
Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art + Photos
 
One, is that over the last four years, my Ceremony + Photography packages have grown in popularity and have outpaced the Ceremony Only celebrations I am asked to do. From a business perspective, that increase alone is a good reason to focus on these!
 
I believe these packages are more popular for a few reasons.  One, smaller weddings are on trend worldwide. A second is that as I have become more experienced and expanded my repertoire, my prices have increased to reflect my expertise and I have found that couples prefer less expensive officiating options in the Savannah market. Our local market also, in my opinion does not emphasize the importance of an authentic and meaningful, professional ceremony experience. Our local magazine, Southern Coastal Weddings, recently published an issue with a 20+ page planning feature. Of all the wedding components mentioned, from guest gifts to transportation, they NEVER mentioned the ceremony! That brand messaging about Savannah weddings makes it hard for me to reach couples planning larger events, as well makes it hard to be a profitable professional officiant.
 
Second, as I have expanded our Ceremony + Photography options, including the Intimate Destination Wedding package, I found that I love everything about small weddings that are ceremony focused. After many of these ceremonies, I find myself wanting to dance and yell to the rooftops about how much I love LOVE! I feel like I am championing a movement as much as I am offering a service and my gut tells me to listen to that and see where it takes me. 
 
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography
 
Third, and maybe most importantly, my larger Ceremony Only bookings mostly happen on Saturdays and as every weekend that I am gone passes, I find I miss my son, Alex, who is now two and goes to school during the week. Some Saturdays in 2018, I have been gone all day, hopping from ceremony to ceremony, and often miss bedtime when things run late at large events, which they often do.
 
Photo by Shannon Christopher Photography
It has been making my heart ache.
 
Alex is the most important thing in my life and while I want him to be proud of his mom and her accomplishments, the time I spend with him- and my husband, Josh- is even more important. Most of our Ceremony + Photography packages happen during the week while he is playing and learning at school and is a better fit for my family’s schedule.
 
Photo by Shannon Christopher Photography
 
While I am excited about these changes, they were not easy to make because I am an overachiever and like helping everyone. Tears were shed before I made up my mind as it is not in my nature to want to work less! But at the end of the day, I believe I am making the right decision.

 

So what does all this mean for our clients and 2019 calendar? Here is a summary. 

 
 
  • If you have a ceremony planned with under 50 guests and need a Ceremony Only officiant, nothing has changed with our Tracy’s Choice package.  
 
  • If you have a ceremony planned with over 50 guests, I am offering one package only, the new Create Your Story package, to reflect the type of service I am best at offering and the engagements I want in 2019. I am taking a maximum of 25 ceremonies in 2019 (this year I did 94), and I have already filled 9 dates as of September 2018.

 

  • If you have already booked a Saturday Ceremony Only package for 2018 or 2019 already, nothing has changed and I am really excited to work for you! Your bookings just count in the total I am setting for the year.
 
  • I’ll be working fewer Saturdays personally, but my partners– Buffy, Molly, & April- are ready to celebrate with you if I am not available on your date, just like now.
 
 
I married our team’s 1,200th couple a few weeks ago and I am looking forward to marrying the next 1,200 under our new plan. Thanks for being with me on this journey!
 
Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

Ask Tracy: How Our Client Concierge Service Works

Hey y’all! We get lots of questions about how our Client Concierge service works. I thought it makes the most sense to just show you examples of how awesome this service is! Our Client Concierge service is included in our Intimate Destination Wedding Package and Savannah Elopement Experience, and can be purchased as an add-on for our Popup Elopement Package.

These services are managed by our Client Concierge, Shannon Vaughn, who is a master of organization and vendor relationships. She spends her days texting, emailing and calling our partners to get things ready for your wedding ceremony, with the occasional assist from me. 

savannah elopement planner
Shannon Vaughn, Client Concierge. Photo by It’s Megan Jones.

As your Client Concierge, Shannon helps clients virtually with tasks in ten categories.

  1. Research lodging options
  2. Make dinner reservations
  3. Complete permit applications (and assist with chair rentals)
  4. Order and have a bouquet delivered 
  5. Book a hair and makeup artist 
  6. Book an acoustic musician 
  7. Order and have a cake delivered 
  8. Book a videographer
  9. Make carriage ride reservations for the beginning or end of your photo session 
  10. Make pedicab reservations for your extra hour of photography

Here is a summary of services we have booked for clients in each category.


Research lodging options and make dinner reservations.

Shannon can conduct initial research for lodging options, based on your location preferences and budget, for both you and your guests. We can also get quotes for dinner and party options on the day of your wedding, as well as some other limited reservations for your stay.  

We don’t take photos of the celebration after we end our couple’s photography session with you, but we have helped couples arrange for celebrations at all sorts of restaurants including The Olde Pink House, 700 Drayton at the Mansion, Rocks on the River, Vic’s on the River, Moon River, 45 Bistro, The Pirate’s House, The Chart House and the Savannah Riverboat, among others. 

elopement celebration in Savannah.
Kelsey & David at the Savannah Riverboat Cruise, March 2018. Photo by It’s Megan Jones.

We have also helped couples cater in their celebrations, whether it was for the couple staying at an AirBnB, or for 30 guests in a small venue. The possibilities are only limited by our imagination and the resources available for your date and budget.


Complete permit applications (and assist with chair rentals).

For couples who have the number of guests where a permit is needed, we’ve helped dozens of them rent squares and Forsyth Park through the City of Savannah, as well as arrange permits for Bonaventure Cemetery and the Wormsloe Historic Site. We’ve also helped get quotes for chair rentals for those couples who have wanted chairs. 

Julia & Zach, October 2017, Whitefield Square. Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art + Films.
Jenna & Garrett, May 2018, Forsyth Park. Photo by It’s Megan Jones.
Kelsey & David, March 2018, Orleans Square. Photo by It’s Megan Jones.
Jodi & John, June 2018, Lafayette Square. Photo by It’s Megan Jones.

Greenwich Park at Bonaventure Cemetery, Bonaventure Cemetery and the Wormsloe Historic Site all require permits, even if it just the couple. 

Jessica & Jonathan, December 2017, Greenwich Park. Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art + Films.
savannah cemetery wedding
Megan and William, July 2018, Bonaventure Cemetery. It’s Megan Jones Photography.
Karrie & Dan, April 2018, Wormsloe Historic Site. Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art + Films.

Order and have a bouquet delivered. 

We work with a few floral designers who create unique wedding and elopement bouquets. Here are a few of our favorites from the past winter and spring seasons.

Jessica & Jonathan, December 2017. Kato Floral Designs. Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Arts + Films.
Jenna & Garrett, May 2018. Kato Floral Designs. Photo by It’s Megan Jones.
Kelsey & David, March 2018. Kristian Designs. Photo by It’s Megan Jones.
Jessica & Zach, April 2018. Kato Floral Designs. Photo by It’s Megan Jones.

We can also help you order flowers for the whole family, including corsages and boutonnieres. 

Erica & Jonathan, August 2018. Kato Floral Designs. Photo by Photos by Rich.

Book a hair and makeup artist. 

Hair and makeup is our most popular requested service for both our elopements and weddings. It’s fun to get glammed up for your photos! Here are some looks created by our most popular artists, with the brides’ directions. 

Lauren & John, May 2018. Hair & Makeup by Shea Hollister. Photo by It’s Megan Jones.
kelsey & David, March 2018. Hair & Makeup by Shea Hollister. Photo by It’s Megan Jones.
Alexandria & Bijean, February 2018. Makeup by Devin Sade. Photo by Photos by RIch.
Jodi & John, May 2018. Hair & Makeup by Hustle and Blow Dry Bar. Photo by It’s Megan Jones.
Megan & William, July 2018. Hair & Makeup by Royal Makeup & Hair.
Jessica & Zach, April 2018. Hair & Makeup by Roots Southern Salon. Photo by It’s Megan Jones.
Rhonda & Duane, February 2018. Hair & Makeup by Roots Southern Salon. Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art + Films.
Tieesh & Brian, February 2018. Makeup by Lindsey Wirht. Hair by Beauty by Brooke. Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art + Films.

Book an acoustic musician. 

We can book any type of musician for your ceremony, but our most popular, by far, are our violinists!

Alexandria & Bijean, February 2018. Ocean Violinist. Photo by Photos by Rich.
savannah violinist
Kayte & Alan, April 2018. Violinist Chuck Dizinno. Photo by It’s Megan Jones.

Order and have a cake delivered. 

We assist with lots of cake deliveries, but we don’t have many photos in our library because we’re not at the post-ceremony celebration. We did snag some photos from Erica & Jonathan’s Intimate Destination Wedding of these delicious deserts at the Savannah Botanical Gardens. 

Erica & Jonathan, August 2018. Cupcakes by Gigi’s Cupcakes. Photo by Photos by Rich.
Erica & Jonathan, August 2018. Cake by Gigi’s Cupcakes. Photo by Photos by Rich.

Make carriage ride reservations for the beginning or end of your photo session. 

We can also book a carriage ride for you to pick you up or drop you off (via a short ride) at your ceremony location, if allowed. Because of city regulations on when and where horses can go, this is not actually a very popular service, but if you are interested and can make it work with your plans, we’ll help make it happen!

Kristen & Ben, September 2016. Photo by It’s Megan Jones.

Make pedicab reservations for your extra hour of photography.

And finally… if you have two hours of photography with us, we highly recommend that you let us book you pedicabs with Royal Bike Taxi. Chris and his team will drive you around town in their pedicabs so you can get photos with twice as many backgrounds, as well as relax and drink some champagne, feel a nice breeze and share some snuggles as you come down from the highs of making your lifetime commitment to each other. Our couples have reported it is one of their favorite experiences of their wedding. 

Alexandria & Bijean, February 2018. Pedicabs by Royal Bike Taxi. Photo by Photos by Rich.
Hannah & Jason, February 2018. Pedicabs by Royal Bike Taxi. Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Arts + Films.
Megan & Josh, April 2018. Pedicabs by Royal Bike Taxi. Photo by Itr’s Megan Jones.

We’re so excited to work with you and make your elopement or Intimate Destination Wedding in Savannah perfect! If you need more information to help you decide which package is for you, you can read our planning guide, too. You can also fill out the form below if there are additional questions you’d like us to answer. 

Until next time, 

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

 

 

 

 


Beautiful Rainy Elopements In Savannah

One of our most frequently asked questions I receive when someone books a Ceremony + Photography package is “What do you do when the weather gets rainy?” While I would love to be able to guarantee wonderful weather to every couple who marries in Savannah, I lack those super powers. I do track weather via multiple sources leading up to every ceremony, to try to relieve as much stress as possible from the couple. 

We, of course, have backup plans for your wedding in case it does end up being rainy on your wedding day! Here is a quick summary of those options.

  • As long as it is not completely stormy, we usually use one of three outdoor backup places for the ceremony. One is the bandshell at Forsyth Park, which is a big open space and completely covered outside theater. The second and third are the gazebos in Whitefield and Crawford Squares. These locations do have capacity limits.

 

  • Savannah’s weather is very temperamental, especially during the summer, and the weather changes frequently during a day. Depending on our schedule that day, we can also  reschedule the time with you if rain is only predicted for a short period of time and it works with the rest of your plans.

 

  • If there is no way we can have your wedding outside safely, we also have an indoor venue, the Savannah Cozy Chapel, and we will do everything we can to have a great time with the space. If you have chosen the Intimate Destination Wedding package and are having a reception style celebration after your ceremony, you may also be able to use that location as backup. 

 

The most important thing is to keep an open mind and commit to having fun, no matter what the circumstances. We have some clear umbrellas to have some fun with for the rest of your photos. One of the unexpected benefits of rainy day photos can be dreamy lighting.

Here are some photos of couples who rolled with the rain, had fun experiences, and received beautiful photographs. 

Fannie & Clarence, May 2016. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Ceremony at Bandshell at Forsyth Park.
Fannie & Clarence, May 2016. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Forsyth Park.
Janice & Karen, December 2016. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Ceremony in Whitefield Square.
Janice & Karen, December 2016. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Forsyth Park.
Adrienne & Anna, May 2018. Photo by Photos by Rich. Ceremony in Whitefield Square.
Adrienne & Anna, May 2018. Photo by Photos by Rich. Whitefield Square.
Norma & Joseph, July 2017. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Ceremony in Whitefield Square.
Norma & Joseph, July 2017. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Whitefield Square.
Laura & Bo, April 2017. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Ceremony at Bandshell at Forsyth Park.
Laura & Bo, April 2017. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Forsyth Park.
Amber & Matt, October 2017. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Calhoun Square.
Amber & Matt, October 2017. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Jones Street.
Christy & April, April 2018. Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art + Film. Ceremony in Crawford Square.
Christy & April, April 2018. Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art + Film. Crawford Square.
Virginia & Robert, October 2018. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Ceremony in Whitefield Square.
Virginia & Robert, October 2018. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Forsyth Park
Amber & Trey, February 2018. Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art + Film. Ceremony in Whitefield Square.
Amber & Trey, February 2018. Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art + Film. Whitefield Square.
Kristen & Noe, September 2015. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Ceremony at Bandshell in Forsyth Park.
Kristen & Noe, September 2015. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Forsyth Park.
Emiley & Harrison, October 2017. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Orleans Square.
Emiley & Harrison, October 2017. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Orleans Square.
Jessica & Eric, June 2017. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Ceremony at Fountain at Forsyth Park.
Jessica & Eric, June 2017. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Jones Street.
Morgan & Brandon, February 2016. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Ceremony at Bandshell at Forsyth Park.
Morgan & Brandon, February 2016. Photo by It’s Megan Jones. Forsyth Park.

We look forward to working with you to make your day perfect! 

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

 

 

 

 


Want more information on our services? Send us a note! 

Ten Random Facts About Tracy, Your Savannah Wedding Officiant!

I recently updated my Meet Tracy page and as part of that project, had some copy that did not make the final cut, including some random facts and photos. The facts were fun to write so I decided to use the content for a blog post for those of you who would like to get to know more about my background before I became a professional wedding officiant and what I do in my spare time.

So without further ado … here are ten random facts about me!


1. I am a self-described high-achiever, just like Hermione Granger. My first career goal at 5 years old was to be a professional writer and I sold my first story to a national publication, ‘Teen Magazine, when I was a sophomore in high school. Luke Perry was on the cover and there was an insert for Beverly Hills 90210 perfume inside.

I am reminded every time I watch Riverdale how old I am.

Photo by The Empowerment Photographer

2. My first job after graduation from college was as a Teach for America corps member in the Washington Heights section of New York City. I am friends on Facebook with many of my students who are all now in their early 30s and living life to the fullest. I am proud to have even been a small part of their lives as I see them unfold in real time.

My experience as a teacher led me to two of my proudest professional achievements before I started this business- (1) helping to start the NYC Teaching Fellows program, which was the largest alternative teacher certification program in the country in the mid-2000’s, and (2) writing my book, Confessions of a Teacher Recruiter: How to Create an Extraordinary Resume and Hook Your Dream Job. 

3. I have a Master’s in Public Administration from New York University, with a focus on economics and finance. It may seem like a strange skillset to bring to weddings, but I’ve found that absorbing and analyzing information to create stories is my jam, whether that data is numbers, words, or photos for my website.

4. I listen to Spotify playlists while I write ceremonies.  My playlists include songs from The Vitamin String Quartet and Rockabye Baby, with a little Beastie Boys, New Edition, Janet Jackson and Tegan & Sara thrown in if I need an energy spike. I ask all my couples for a song to listen to while I write their ceremony and I’ve created a public playlist of all those songs on Spotify (10+ hours of music and counting!) .

5. I love Marvel comics and my hobby is to devour both vintage and new comics on the Marvel Unlimited app. I love Chris Claremont’s 1980s X-Men run, Dennis Hopeless’ and Javier Rodriguez’s take on Spider-Woman becoming a mom, and Brian Michale Bendis’ Alias (Jessica Jones). I wore my Captain Marvel jacket to lead Savannah’s Women’s March in 2017 and 2018 and CANNOT wait for that movie.

Photo by The Empowerment Photographer

6. My mom superpower is that I can make any lesson to my son sound like it is an original Daniel Tiger song. The secret is to channel your inner Tom Haverford.

7. When I am not working or mom’ing, I try to spend my time on civic activities that elevate other women in Savannah. I’ve run a number of women’s leadership groups and I am also a board member of a non-profit called Shelter from the Rain that provides mentoring and other support to low-income single moms in our community.

8. I grew up off the beaches of Cape Cod and will always prefer the Atlantic to the Pacific and the ocean to the mountains. When I lived in New York City, I rented a house every summer with friends on Fire Island, a secluded island off Long Island only accessible by ferry and we had a famous neighbor. Her name begins with a T, her book begins with a B and she has a TV show with a number in it. I found that celebrities REALLY are just like us. I love living close to Tybee Island and going around 5PM during the summer when you can see the dolphins swimming on by.

9. I love a good bourbon on the rocks, especially out on our deck in April or October. It is the quintessential Savannah experience.

Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art + Films

10. Everyone ALWAYS wants to know my craziest wedding stories and two stand out. For the first, the bride was four hours late for her ceremony and was not bothered at all. It was my first wedding back from maternity leave and I almost took down my website and closed up shop when I got home!

The second involves a gentleman who showed up to his elopement with a marriage license, but without his bride, and told me that he didn’t think their wedding was important enough for her to ask for time off from work. I did eventually marry them- together- on another date … and less than two years later, he tried to schedule another elopement with me to marry someone else (I politely declined).

And I still love this job. The easygoing couples- and those that bring me challenges- make this experience the best. And yes, I plan to write a book some day all about it someday!

Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art + Films

Thanks for reading! I can’t wait to learn more about you, too!

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

 

Ask Tracy: How We Prepare For Your Savannah Elopement or Wedding

Hey y’all! You may wonder how the process works once you have booked us for your wedding ceremony. It’s a great question! My goal is to make everything as stress free and organized as possible, meaning I am big on processes and timelines! I also value responsiveness, so if you ever have a question you can’t find an answer to, or need to adjust something, email us and we’ll answer it as soon as possible. 

Here is an overview of how we’ll work together.


For All Clients

After you have sent us an inquiry, had all your questions answered, and booked your package with us, we’ll send you an email with a basic timeline for your wedding. Within a few days after that, we’ll also send two emails. One email will include a link to our Client Portal, a collection of resources and wedding advice I have developed over the years, and a link to your personal Document Center. The Document Center hosts all your event information, contract(s), invoice(s) and questionnaire(s). I encourage my couples to create a special email folder for all the emails you might receive from us!

The second email you’ll receive is a questionnaire you’ll complete to tell us your ceremony preferences. This is an important one! Depending on which package you’ve purchased, the questions will be different. We recommend that you complete the questionnaire as a couple, as soon as you can, and make the experience as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. The more information you give me, the better I can select or create a ceremony for you.


Photo by Shot by Somi. I get really excited every time I get an alert I have a new questionnaire to read!

Once I review your questionnaire, I may send you some follow-up emails with tips if you have selected a specific theme or have told me you’d like to write your own vows. If you are having an elopement and are unsure about the location, I’ll also follow-up to narrow down choices and talk through the pros and cons of each.

Throughout the planning process, you’ll receive emails from me or Shannon, our Scheduling Manager & Client Concierge, to check in. Some will be automated, such as at 90 days before, and some will be specific emails to your experience, like at our 30 day check in where we make sure all your original wedding ceremony preferences are correct. If you have chosen a package that includes a video or in-person consultation (Create Your Story, The All In, or Intimate Destination Wedding Packages), we’ll schedule that 90 days out, unless you give us a different timeline for your appointment based on travel or other circumstances. 


savannah wedding officiant
Photo by Shot by Somi. 

After the 30-day mark passes, I’ll begin writing your wedding ceremony! If you chose the Tracy’s Choice or Popup Elopement Package, I’ll use the answers to your questionnaire to select a pre-written ceremony from my personal library for your event. If you choose any of my other packages, I’ll use your answers, or my notes from our consulting session, to prepare your ceremony. 

[FYI: I ask all my clients to provide a song I should listen to while I write their ceremony. I love these songs and keep them on a Spotify playlist!]


custom wedding ceremony writing
Photo by Shot by Somi. As you can see from my desk, I am a huge Carol Danvers fan. And if I could possess the powers of Storm from the X-Men, I’d definitely use them for your wedding!

About 14-7 days from your wedding, I will send you a copy of your ceremony with a final confirmation of any logistics, such as how to pay your balance (if you have one) and arrival times. If you are working with one of my Partner Officiants, you’ll receive a formal introduction and during that email exchange, I’ll transition your primary correspondence to her.


Photo by Shot by Somi at the Savannah Cozy Chapel.
Photo by Shot by Somi at the Savannah Cozy Chapel.

Leading up to your wedding or elopement date, I’ll prepare for your ceremony! After the ceremony, I will take care of your marriage license based on the directions you provided during the planning process.

Photo by Shot by Somi in Troup Square.

Ceremony Plus Photography Clients

For our clients who choose a Ceremony Plus Photography package, the ceremony creation process is exactly the same, but other things may be also happening at the same time to make your day perfect.

If you chose the Savannah Elopement Experience or the Intimate Destination Wedding, Shannon, our Client Concierge and Scheduling Manager, will help you with all your wedding planning tasks so they are set up and confirmed for your wedding or elopement. She’’ll send you a separate questionnaire, and schedule a follow-up phone call, if she has questions before she contacts other amazing Savannah wedding vendors. You can also add on this service for the Popup Elopement Package.

Shannon Vaughn, Our Scheduling Manager & Client Concierge.

Here are some of the tasks Shannon can help you with.

  • Research lodging options
  • Make dinner reservations
  • Make carriage ride reservations for the beginning or end of your photo session
  • Make pedicab reservations for your extra hour of photography
  • Order and have a bouquet delivered
  • Order and have a cake delivered
  • Book a hair and makeup artist
  • Book an acoustic musician
  • Book a videographer
  • Complete permit applications

On the day of your wedding or elopement, your photographer, Megan Jones from It’s Megan Jones Photography will capture your day! How long you’ll be with Megan will vary, based on the package you booked with us.

Photo by Shot by Somi, in Lafayette Square.

  • If you selected the Popup Elopement Package, Megan will photograph the ceremony as well as take portraits of the couple in the same location. The whole process is designed to be simple and only takes about 20-25 minutes!
  • If you are a couple who chose the Savannah Elopement Experience, you will spend an hour with Megan, including the ceremony, and you’ll take a newlywed walk where you’ll get photos in multiple squares, and enjoy cupcakes and champagne, if requested.
  • If you are having an Intimate Destination Wedding, Megan will photograph you for two hours, including the ceremony. For this package, we recommend reserving pedicabs with Royal Bike Taxi for the second part of the package. Shannon can book the pedicabs on your behalf. 
Vanessa & Alfredo, photographed on their Royal Bike Taxi pedicab by It’s Megan Jones Photography.

You can also add an extra hour of photography- with pedicabs- to the Savannah Elopement Experience package if you want more photos and more backgrounds.


Within one week to two weeks following the ceremony, Megan will cull through all the photos, edit her selections, and deliver an online gallery that you can use to share, download the digital files, and even order prints from. If you would like physical products with your photos, such as beautiful leather wedding albums, wall art in gallery wraps and gallery wrap clusters, she can send you a product guide and schedule a non-obligation, free consultation with you to review the options.

Photo by Shot by Somi.

If Megan is already booked for your requested date and time, you may work with one of our Partner Photographers- Matthew & Ashly Fine Art + Film and Photos by Rich Burkhardt. If that is the case, you’ll know when you book, and the rest of the process will be exactly the same. 


I hope that gives you a good overview of our client process and we look forward to working with you to officiate your ceremony, or plan your elopement or intimate wedding! And special thanks to Somi Benson-Jaja from Shot by Somi for the wonderful photos he took of us during a fun shoot, and Lindsey Wirht who did my makeup. 

Until next time, 

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

What to Wear To Your Savannah Elopement: 34 Style Ideas!

Hey y’all! I get many questions on what to wear to an elopement here in Savannah. With 300+ Ceremony Plus Photo packages booked over the last three years, I have witnessed all sorts of wedding attire… and that is the way it should be! Your wedding ceremony with me is a space where I want you to be as authentic as possible and feel safe and excited to do so.

Most of our couples choose to wear conventional wedding wear- long, white or ivory dresses and dark suits and tuxes, with a small percentage electing for something very casual. Our couples always look perfect, whether they are wearing a dress that’s big and poofy- or sleek and form-fitting- or a suit that features a a bow-tie. This particular blog post celebrates some of the more non-traditional choices we’ve seen from 2015 to 2017. It was hard to choose just a few highlights, but hopefully they give some inspiration to anyone planning a destination elopement who wants to try something different. I have separated these photos into categories: (1) Shimmer & Pink, (2) Vintage Love, (3) Pop of Color, (4) Elopement Style, (5) Unique & Awesome, and (6) Fashionable Grooms.

All photos are by It’s Megan Jones Photography unless otherwise noted. I am looking forward to seeing what all our 2018 couples (and beyond) wear to celebrate with us!

PS: Don’t forget to look at the shoes and the headpieces as you glance through these gorgeous elopement photos!


Shimmer & Pink

I’ve said before, on the blog and social media, that I don’t find myself very girly, but I am beside myself when someone shows up in an outfit that sparkles, shimmers, or is silver, pink or blush. Here are a few brides who selected dresses that made me squee. 

silver elopement dress
Sophia & Forrest, December 2017. Forsyth Park.

I included an extra photo of Sophia because of her super glam jacket, too.

winter wedding jacket
Sophia & Forrest, December 2017. Forsyth Park.
alternative wedding dress
Sierra & Adam, September 2017. Forsyth Park.
pink wedding dress
Stephanie & Rick, June 2017. Lafayette Square.
blush wedding dress in Savannah
Tiffany & Kenneth, February 2016. Whitefield Square.
lafayette square fountain wedding photography
Stephanie & Adam, October 2016. Lafayette Square.
peach wedding dress
Nicole & Michael, November 2016. Monterey Square.

Vintage Love

Many of our brides who choose to wear gowns still gravitate toward a vintage, or even boho look. These couples made it a whole theme or communicated to us that they found their decades-old dress in a thrift store or wore something given to them from their family. 

vintage military wedding
Tiffany & Dakota, October 2017. Troup Square. Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art Photography.

Lacey looks so sassy in this photo. I love it!

Lacey & Aaron, June 2017. Troup Square.
boho Savannah elopement
Sarah & Rhett, April 2015. Calhoun Square.
vintage bridal dress beach wedding
Linda & JD, November 2017. Tybee Island.

Turns out a stole is also convenient to wrap your new husband in during the first kiss!

winter beach wedding
Linda & JD, November 2017. Tybee Island.

Even Patrick and Kelly’s dog dressed up for their day.

pet wedding
Kelly & Patrick, April 2016. Lafayette Square.

We love dogs, and babies!

family vow renewal in Savannah
Nicole & Michael vow renewal, November 2017. Fragrance Garden in Forsyth Park.

And finally, you cannot get more vintage than a steampunk wedding.

Steampunk wedding
Jessica & Brian, April 2016. Lafayette Square.

Pop of Color

I love when couples wear color to their elopement. More of this, please! 

pinup style elopement
Alex & Ashley, June 2016. Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home.
bride in purple
Virginia & Robert, October 2017. Gaston Street.
Savannah elopement
Angela & Keith, November 2017. Green-Meldrim House.
savannah elopement
Carissa & Augusta, February 2016. Forsyth Park.

What dreamy lighting these two ladies had for their portraits!

Candice & Kristianna, January 2016. Forsyth Park.

Surprisingly, Barbee is the only bride we’ve had wear black. I think it is an amazing option for anyone’s wedding day. 

bride in black dress
Barbee & Russell, October 2017. Forsyth Park.

Elopement Style

Many brides go with a short dress for an elopement. Here are just a few that rocked it. Lots of amazing outfits among these grooms, too!

Purple elopement dress
Roy & Tereza, October 2016. Lafayette Square.
colorful elopement dress
April & Steve, May 2017. Forsyth Park.

More sassiness in Troup Square! Check out those matching shoes, too.

green converse wedding shoes
Keisa & Sheldon, April 2017. Troup Square.
Pink elopement dress
Charlotte & Rhys, November 2016. Bull Street.
two piece elopement dress.
Lucia & Pratik, September 2017. Forsyth Park.
historic savannah wedding photo
Arin & Giles, October 2016. Colonial Cemetery.

Michelle’s dress was short and long, and made for her to swish and swing all over Savannah!

forsyth park wedding photo
Michelle & Charles, September 2017. Forsyth Park.

Unique and Awesome

These two brides did not fit into their own category so I had to make one just for them. First, we have Brandi who rocked a bridal pantsuit. 

bridal pant suit
Brandi & Matt, February 2017. The Six Pence Pub.

Second, we have Amanda, who wore a custom made tutu for her special day. 

country bride
Amanda & Timothy. May 2017. Pulaski Square.

And last, Victoria’s dress is in the unique category because of its design, and because it met a specific dress goal most women wish for: IT HAD POCKETS!

wedding ceremony kiss
Victoria & Matthew, February 2017. Orleans Square

Fashionable Grooms

Grooms also have taken some risks, whether it is coordinating their outfits, wearing seersucker, or wearing a jacket that wasn’t a dark color.

same-sex wedding in savannah
Josh & Rob, May 2016. Jones Street.
wedding in historic savannah
Norma & Joseph, July 2017. Whitefield Square.
Elopement at forsyth park
Tyler & Hillary, June 2017. Forsyth Park.
savannah elopement
Victoria & Kevin, September 2016. Forsyth Park.
african american wedding in savannah
Eric & Jessica, June 2017. Gaston Street.

And that’s a wrap. I hope you loved these 34 couples as much as I did!

Until next time,

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

My Year in Review, Part 2: 2017 Had the BEST Savannah Weddings & Elopements!

It’s been a bit busy here, with booking 2018 weddings, but I am finally finishing Part 2 of our 2017 year-in-review! This post covers weddings and elopements that took place between July 2017 and December 2017, as well as professional and personal milestones. With so many couples, I can only include so many highlights, especially with our busy fall wedding season months, but I appreciated all the couples we worked with!

In Part One, I gave some overview stats about how many weddings we did and where they took place. Here are more statistics on 2017 wedding ceremonies and where destination wedding couples traveled from. 

  • I prepared more ceremonies in 2017 (236) compared to 2016 (228). More people requested custom ceremonies, too. In 2017, I prepared 140 custom ceremonies compared to 122 in 2016. That is more than half a month of extra custom ceremonies!
  • Our officiants performed 24 sand ceremonies, 7 handfastings and 4 love letter box rituals. You can look at pictures of these rituals in our ritual guide.
  • As far as nerdy and geeky content, I said “You are only as strong as you are united, as weak as you are divided” (Harry Potter) 16 times, and also asked if you “liked and loved” your partner (Parks & Recreation), and quoted Game of Thrones, twice each.

Looking at the 111 couples who booked a Ceremony + Photo package with us, we had people visit us in Savannah from 25 states this year to be married with our team. Thanks for visiting us this year! As much as my job is in weddings, it is also a lot of tourism, too. Here is a handy map of where people visited from.  

 

  • The couples who traveled the furthest were from Washington, Maine and Vermont. The closest were 4 local couples.
  • We were extremely popular with couples who live in Ohio (6)
  • Last year, we had a number of international couples, but zero this year. They do say international travel to the US is down nationwide.

And on to our month by month reviews of July 2017 through December 2017!


July 2017 Review

When I look back at July 2017, I could not believe how busy we were, for a month that is not traditionally associated with the Savannah wedding season. The first week of July brought us two lovely elopements with Sophie & Jeremy from Charlottesville, VA and Mallerie & Gregory from Moss Point, Mississippi. 

wedding picture at the Savannah DeSoto
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography.
Savannah Elopement Photography
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

In mid-July, we delivered our first Intimate Destination Wedding package with Rachael and Tye in Forsyth Park. Based on inquiries and experience working with couples the previous three years, we realized that many couples wanted a package for up to 30 guests that included the officiant and photographer, as well as some light planning assistance. Rachael and Tye were not the first who booked, but the first event that took place and we think it turned out lovely. If you want to learn more about their vendors and plans, you can check out our Intimate Destination Wedding Guide

Savannah military wedding
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

In mid-July, we married the lovely Carmen & Natalie at the Forsyth Park Fountain. Carmen was GORGEOUS and it felt like the Fountain was made for her to take pictures in front of! We were so proud when this picture was featured in HuffPost Wedding’s Most Beautiful Weddings of July 2017 and they even featured it on their Instagram. 

lesbian wedding in Savannah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones

Samantha and Jordan were married in Orleans Square with their 5 children present, as well as other family members and more children! It was the first wedding we had where the kids outnumbered the adults and it was amazing. You can tell from this ceremony photo, that they are both a lot of fun and see their “perfectly imperfect” (a quote they asked me to use in their ceremony) life as a great adventure. 

wedding ceremony in orleans square
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

And at the end of July, we worked with one of the CUTEST couples of the year, Norma & Joseph, from the Washington, DC area. We had plans to be married in Orleans Square, but rain (and an Uber) drove us to Whitfield Square where we held their intimate ceremony with lots of laughs and joyful tears. They met working at IKEA, which also tickled me pink. 

intimate wedding in whitfield square savannah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

In July, I also published a long form piece about officiating weddings, titled “The Wondrous and Womanly Job of Officiating Weddings.” My goal is to write a memoir about this time in my life someday and writing this was part of feeling that process out. I was really pleased when the online publication Athena Talks approached me to acquire the rights to republish it in their collection, helping it get a wider audience. If you read it, let me know what you think!

On a personal note ….

My son Alex turned one! He began walking two days before his first birthday and we have been chasing him ever since. This was the last milestone session we had with Andrea Krey photography. The cake was made by one of our favorites, The Cupcake Parlor


August 2017 Review 

I actually took August off from officiating weddings, though my partners officiated ceremonies I wrote from my office. August is generally a slow month for weddings so it felt like a good time to have wrist surgery that I had been delaying. I had a small, benign, ganglion cyst removed that was pushing on a nerve and making everyday tasks hard, like carrying my 26 pound child and even typing. After a few weeks of post-surgery recovery, I felt like I had a brand new body part!

I also attended WeddingWire World in August, a conference for wedding professionals. The main reason I attended was to meet other wedding officiants that I had become friends with on Facebook and spoke to all the time in groups. It was amazing to meet them in person!

Wedding Wire World 2017 Officiants

While I was taking time off, our Partner Officiant Chris married Lee & Randall at their Intimate Destination Wedding in Greene Square and performed a 25th anniversary vow renewal for Christie & Jon at Forsyth Park, the location where Jon proposed 26 years before!

same sex marriage in Savannah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

 

vow renewal at Forsyth Park
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

September 2017 Review

The beginning of September was all about Hurricane Irma, which was projected to hit Savannah and Tybee Island directly. Fortunately, it did not, but we were still evacuated, which changed a lot of people’s plans, including cancelling weddings. Fortunately, Michelle and Charles were able to drive up from Atlanta a few days early for their epic Savannah Elopement Experience. Both the lighting and weather were perfect, the day before the storm!

wedding at forsyth park
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

A few days after Irma passed our way, Megan and I were able to meet Marie and Geoffrey from Gainesville, FL who were married on Tybee Island before they went back to Florida for a celebration with their family. With so many folks still gone from the evacuation, we were some of the only people on the beach, despite the amazing weather!

Tybee Island Elopement
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

The end of September brought Lucia and Pratik’s Intimate Destination Wedding in Whitefield Square, where they celebrated with their family. They met in medical school and everything about their ceremony was perfect, including where Pratik shared a special necklace with her, the Mangalsutra. If you want to learn more about their wedding, you can review a summary in our Intimate Destination Wedding Guide

Buddhist wedding in Savannah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

The last Savannah Elopement Experience of the month was the delightful Sierra & Adam from the Philadelphia, PA area. How amazing is Sierra’s dress? She brought her delightful mom and aunts who wore great hats, too. I loved them all!

alternative wedding dress
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

On a personal note ….

September was really focused on our family and Irma. When bad weather comes around, I become an amateur meteorologist and wish I was Storm from the X-Men.


October 2017 Review

October was an incredible month for elopements and weddings. We married 47 couples and almost all were custom ceremonies in one way or another. It is hard to just pick a few highlights!

Jason and Lenzie and Ohio were one of our first couples of the month. They were fun to work throughout the whole process. Their song was Heaven is a Place on Earth and I wrote their ceremony right after I watched the San Junipero episode of Black Mirror so I was mess. They were so delightful on their wedding day, too!

Forsyth Park Savannah wedding photo
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

Amber and Matt from Illinois visited us for their Savannah Elopement Experience. It ended up raining on their wedding day, but it did not stop them from looking fabulous and having fun. Her gorgeous bouquet was designed by Kato Floral Designs and her hair and makeup was by Brooke Marie & Lindsey Wirht. All of her services were sent up by Shannon, our Client Concierge

 

On October 13th, I had three weddings across the city, from the Wormsloe Historic Site (Tiffany & Cody) to Orleans Square (Emiley & Harrison) and finally to Forsyth Park (Hannah & Cody), all under different weather conditions!

Wormsloe wedding
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography
Orleans Square Savannah elopement
Photo by It’s Megan Jones
forsyth park wedding photos
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

That weekend, I also married our 900th couple, Laura & Rhys from Maine, in a whimsical ceremony with Alice in Wonderland references. They were ridiculously in love.

Sunset wedding ceremony in Savannah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

Mid-October also brought us back to Tybee to work with Samantha and Kristopher from Maryland. When I pronounced them married, Samantha threw her hand in the air. This is definitely one of my favorite wedding pictures of all of 2017!

Tybee Island wedding celebration
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography.

October 21st was the busiest day of the entire year. All of our officiants worked and all three of us officiated exactly at 5PM. We also worked for the first time with a new partner photographer, Ashly from Matthew & Ashly Fine Art Photography. Here are pictures she took of the weddings for Zach & Julia in Whitefield Square and Tiffany & Dakota in Troup Square.

wedding ceremony in Whitefield Square
Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art Photography
military wedding in Savannah
Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art Photography

That weekend, I also married Jenny & Renee in the older part of Bonaventure Cemetery, overlooking the marsh, with Lyndi & Jason Photography. They included their puppy who was incredibly sweet!

Bonaventure Cemetery wedding on marsh
Photo by Lyndi & Jason Photography

The end of October brought us another midwestern couple, Virginia & Robert, from Michigan. They told people that they were eloping, but not where, which I thought was brilliant! I also loved that Virginia wore a purple dress.

eloped in Savannah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

And finally, the last Sunday of October brought me back to the Wormsloe Historic Site with Kristy & Rob who had the perfect, intimate wedding with their family, planned by Savannah Wedding Dreams.

wormsloe elopement in Savannah
Photo by Apt B Photography

I was also inducted into the 100 Review Club for WeddingWire in October. This was a big deal because I have only been in business a few years, and I really appreciate all the amazing things my past clients have said about me. My clients make my job easy!

Wedding Wire 100 Review CLub

Also, random, but by the end of October, I was hired by my fourth female drill sergeant to plan and officiate their elopement or intimate wedding in 2017. I will not identify who they are to protect their privacy, but this really flattered me. There are not a lot of female drill sergeants and I appreciated that some of the most badass women in our country felt I was the person who would organize their wedding ceremony the best!

On a personal note ….

Alex started daycare, which theoretically allowed me to begin working full time again. In practice, that has not been the case as our entire family’s immune systems acclimate to daycare germs. As of February 2018, this is still a work in progress.

Halloween brought the 7th anniversary of my first visit to Savannah as a tourist. While the vibrancy of the city immediately impacted me, I had no idea this would be my home the way it became. I am grateful that the risks I took paid off. 


November 2017 Review

Nationally, November is a slow period for weddings, but not in Savannah, where the weather is still mild. My first wedding of the month was with Amber & Paige in Columbia Square. Their ceremony had lots of Harry Potter references!

lesbian wedding in Savannah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones

In mid November, we were revisited by Michael & Nicole for a vow renewal on the one year anniversary of their Savannah Elopement Experience! They brought their new addition to their family, Clementine, who was amazingly cute. We also burned a Carl Sagan candle. Their original wedding ceremony had quotes from Carl and their vow renewal featured his wife, Ann. 

vow renewal
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

Linda & JD were married on a November Monday on the south side of Tybee Island in front of their family. They met in the film industry 19 years ago and finally decided it was time to make it official. Linda had two amazing dresses for the photos. They were the best, and had great lighting for their ceremony. 

wedding on Tybee Island
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

The last  Saturday of November brought me two couples and the first was Bonni & Monika from Augusta, GA. They were so cute!

lesbian wedding in Savannah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

My second couple were Andrea & Paul who were married at the Coastal Botanical Gardens. They used my All In Package to create an extremely custom ceremony with readings, rituals, and personal vows that reflected their 30 year relationship as friends and then more. I actually Facebook lived their ceremony and you can view it on my Facebook business page. 

In November, I found out that I won The Knot’s Best of The Year award and that I was the only Savannah wedding officiant to have won. That made me extremely proud!

My two new Partner Officiants, April and Molly also started officiating in November. April’s first ceremony was with Angela & Keith and their family. Molly officiated with Ashley & Joshua in an intimate elopement at the Wormsloe Historic Site. 

wedding ceremony in Lafayette Square
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography
elopement at Wormsloe Historic Site
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

On a personal note ….

November flew by! I was happy to host Thanksgiving at my home with friends and watch Alex smear himself in sweet potatoes.


December 2017 Review

December was much slower! One of the first couples of the months was Jessica & Kevin from Tennessee who eloped at Bonaventure. They used a vintage table from Savannah Vintage Rentals for their sand ceremony. How gorgeous is that background!

Sand ceremony wedding ritual at Bonaventure
Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art Photography

The last few weeks of a year always brings us Simple Signing Services at the Savannah Cozy Chapel, too. We introduced a new officiant, Lindsey, to exclusively help us with Signing Service, and she started that week. Here are a few pictures of the couples that were married at the end of December. 

The last weekend of the year brought us a Popup Elopement with Sophia & Forrest. Forrest had just returned from deployment and could not stop taking about how beautiful his new wife was.

elopement in Forsyth Park
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

And finally, our last couple of the year was Patricia and John from Minnesota, almost at the Canadian border. As you can see from how I am dressed, it was a bit cold for Savannah, but probably not for them. John said he did not like to smile, but we got a little upturn of his lips for his bride. 

Forsyth Park Fountain wedding
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

On a personal note ….

Josh, Alex and I had some family photos with Esther Griffin Photography, also at the Fountain at Forsyth Park. Even after 70+ ceremonies in 2017 at that location, I couldn’t resist using it for my own phtos.

And that is a wrap on my 2017, which you can see was an amazing year for my business. I look forward to working with all of my 2018 couples and reporting on our adventures at this time next year!

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

My Year in Review, Part 1: 2017 Was A Great Year to Marry in Savannah!

Hey y’all!

I can’t believe 2017 is behind us. It was a FANTASTIC year to elope or have a wedding in Savannah, GA! Here is part one of a year-in-review for weddings and elopements in Savannah, covering January through June of 2017. I’ve included highlights from the wedding ceremonies we officiated, as well as some professional and personal milestones. With so many couples, I can only include so many highlights and these are just a few that I remembered among many wonderful couples I worked with in 2017. 

First here, is a quick review of ALL of 2017. In 2017 …

  • We married 351 couples across 54 locations. 
  • We married 73 couples in Forsyth Park, compared to 55 in 2016.
  • Whitefield Square (19) and Orleans Square (18) came ahead of Tybee Island (13) for other favorite locations. Some of the increase in popularity for Whitefield Square was caused by a rainy summer. The next favorites were Lafayette Square (12) and Pulaski Square (8).
  • We performed 155 ceremonies in a downtown square or park in 2017 compared to 121 in 2016.
  • For traditional venues, including hotels and historic homes, our most popular location in 2017 was Red Gate Farms (5), followed by The Gingerbread House (3) and The Mackey House (3). 

I’ll include more summary statistics in part two, as well, but here are month by month reviews of January 2017 through June 2017!


January 2017 Review

January is generally a slow month for us in Savannah, but in 2017, we were hopping busy!

In early January, we married Amy & Dean from Asheville, NC. This is one of my favorite photos of the whole year. Because of tourist crowds, we don’t always get to take many great pictures in Chippewa Square, the place where Forrest Gump was filmed.

Chippewa Square elopement picture
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

I married Candace & Kristianna at the Fountain at Forsyth Park on the coldest day of 2017 and I had to keep my jacket on! However, we all made sure our shoes were on point.

same-sex wedding at Forsyth Park
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography.

The Savannah Cozy Chapel was also hopping because of the weather! Here are two couples, Janet & James, and Nancy & Allen, who married after becoming widowed. Nancy & Allen met online on OurTime. I love second chance love stories like these!

second marriage, Savannah Cozy Chapel

Senior marriage, Savannah Cozy Chapel

At the end of January, I also had the actor Jason Segel stroll through one of my elopements at Forsyth Park. This was the only celebrity I met this year, despite all the movies filmed here. In 2018, maybe someone else will come on through … or even hire me as their officiant!

In January, I also won my second Couple’s Choice Award from WeddingWire.

weddingwire couples' choice award savannah officiant

On a personal note ….

In January, I also helped organize the Women’s March in Savannah and was the official permit holder. We marched from Wright Square to Forsyth Square and I marched with my husband, son, and friend Carmen while wearing my Captain Marvel jacket and Marvel Girls Fight! shirt. Making sure that women’s perspectives are represented in this political environment, and being engaged in conversations that affect my son’s future, are essential to my core beliefs and I was so happy to participate in this way. 


February 2017 Review

I officiated my first wedding ceremony at The Whitman with Sarah & Chase. I highly recommend it for small, indoor, intimate weddings. Everyone there was so nice!

wedding ceremony at The Whitman
Photo by Photos by Rich Burkhardt

Late February has become one of my favorite times of year because we have had an early azalea season the last few years and I love the blooms. You can see those gorgeous flowers peeping out in this picture of Alison & Brian who visited us from Washington, DC.

azalea wedding photography Savannah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

I also had the pleasure of working with Brandi & Matt on their late February wedding. Brandi rocked a pantsuit and together, they vowed to love each other, as well as “resist tyrants.” Two feminists after my own heart!

Brandi’s dad was diagnosed with cancer shortly before their wedding and unfortunately, she lost him not long after this. I am glad that she was able to share her day with him and that I was chosen to participate in it with them. It is a privilege I recognize and respect as an officiant.

bride in pantsuit
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

I also officiated the most fun, rainy day vow renewal with Adrian and Paula from Southern California. They choose a different city every year for their vow renewal and dressed the part for their Savannah southern ceremony. They caught me a little off-guard when they took a selfie during the ceremony, but it was so much fun!

wedding ceremony selfie

At the end of February, I hired Courtney Alacan as our marketing assistant to help manage all the photos I receive from ceremonies I perform, especially our signature Ceremony Plus Photos packages, and organize them so I can use them for blog posts, Instagram and Facebook posts, and other marketing and advertising. When she began, I had a backlog of over 10,000 photos to review. Yes, ten thousand!

Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

On a personal note…

In early February, I did a mommy and me shoot with Shannon Christopher who is an awesome photographer out on Tybee Island. I will treasure these photos forever. This was right before Alex began crawling. As other parents can tell you, everything changed after that!

Photo by Shannon Christopher Photography

March 2017 Review

March was a slower month for me, which was personally okay! One of our couples, Angela & Javier, booked us last minute and we had the perfect, private Forsyth Park Fountain elopement for them.

Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography.

My two favorite weddings that month took place the weekend of St Patrick’s Day weekend. Fallen & Jason were married on St. Patrick’s Day in Daffin Park to avoid all the downtown craziness of the parade. They brought 10 of their friends in a limo and had a fantastic time. Two of their friends told me it was the best wedding they had ever attended!

St Patrick's Day elopement in Savannah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography.

Amanda & Robert were married in Pulaski Square the day after St. Patrick’s Day. They included a fun Canvas Unity Ritual for their family where they painted a canvas with Amanda’s daughter as part of their ceremony and then took some fun pictures by themselves when the fountains were still green.

Since their wedding, Amanda has become my dog’s groomer at WoofGang Bakery & Grooming. I can’t recommend her enough! You can see how much she loves dogs from her Instagram

wedding ceremony ritual in Savannah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography
St Patrick's Day Elopement in Savannah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

Alex and Shelby brought their fur family to their Simple Signing Service at the Savannah Cozy Chapel at the end of March. They live in Atlanta now, but decided to get married in Savannah, where they met. They were some happy puppies!

simple signing service in Savannah

In March, we added Shannon Vaughn, our scheduling Manager and Client Concierge to our team. I cannot imagine how we worked without her! If you booked a package with us after March 2017, you know how awesome she is and probably say the same.

Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

I celebrated my third wedding anniversary at the end of March and Alex had his eight month milestone session with Andrea Krey Photography at Forsyth Park. He looks grumpy in this picture, but if he ever decides to release an album, I think this should be the cover.

Photo by Andrea Krey Photography

April 2017 Review

April was one of the busiest months of the year and we married 43 couples! The first week of the year was particularly busy with elopements almost every day. We find April particularly busy every year as many educators from the North and Northeast decide to come down and elope during their spring break. As a former teacher, I think that is an excellent decision! Here are just some of the couples that eloped that first week (not everyone was a teacher).

The Mansion on Forsyth Park Wedding Photos
Laura & Bo (traveled from Bahrain!), It’s Megan Jones Photography
Elopement in Troup Square in Savannah
Shannon & Michael from Georgia, It’s Megan Jones Photography
Pedicabs in Savannah
Katie & Jacob from Michigan, It’s Megan Jones Photography
wedding ceremony in Savannah
Keisa & Sheldon from North Carolina, It’s Megan Jones Photography
Tybee Island Pier wedding ceremony
Christine & Rick from Maine, It’s Megan Jones Photography

I also worked with two couples on their 80-200 guest ceremonies through my All In package, where we meet multiple times to plan all elements of your ceremony. The first, Shellie & Tanner, were married at the Richmond Hill City Center in a ceremony that reflected their relationship, and especially their goals for the future as a young couple. I loved working with them and getting to know so much about them! 

Richmond Hill City Center wedding

William and Danielle were planning a large wedding in Johnson Square and needed extra support in making sure that the ceremony reflected their story and incorporated their guests who represented so many eras of their lives together, from when they met in high school to when they graduated from law school and graduate school and established a relationship in Washington, DC. We used a custom Affirmation of the Community ritual as well as other elements to make it perfect for them for their sunny Saturday ceremony!

Wedding in Johnson Square savannah

The third week also brought lots of weekday elopers and beautiful weather. Christopher and Durga traveled from Germany, one of my few international couples in 2017. 

wedding in forsyth park
Christopher & Durga, Photograph by Danielle George Photography
wedding ceremony in chatham square
Nedra & Elgin, Photo by Photos by Rich Burkhardt
wedding ceremony in lafayette square
Bobbi & Shane, Photo by Photos by Rich Burkhardt.

At the end of April, I married Doug and Karen in Orlean Square. They had been together 20+ years and in the state where they originally lived, were considered common-law married. However, they were not considered married in their new state, Washington, and decided to make it official-official, once and for all. They met while dancing and I loved including the Eskimo Love Song in their ceremony. 

You are my husband, you are my wife.
My feet shall run because of you.
My feet dance because of you.
My heart shall beat because of you.
My eyes see because of you.
My mind thinks because of you.
And I shall love, because of you.

savannah elopement in orleans square
Photo by It’s Megan Jones

This year, whenever we had babies or toddlers at our Simple Signing Services at the Savannah Cozy Chapel, my ovaries hurt. Larri & Jessica were pretty awesome, but their daughter Jamie stole the show. 

simple signing service savannah

On a personal note ….

I threw my husband, Josh, a surprise birthday picnic with Savannah Picnic Company, in Troup Square, where we were married. I totally recommend this for some of my elopers!

picnic in savannah


May 2017 Review

May was also a busy month with another 43 couples! There were quite a few Saturdays in May where Chris, Buffy, and I all officiated ceremonies at exactly the same time. May also hosted many of my favorite ceremonies and couples all year, where people really allowed me to be creative and thoughtful in preparing ceremonies that reflected them and their relationship. It is no wonder that most of the reviews I received in 2017 were from couples I married in May because everything felt like synergy.

Shauna & Julian were a couple who booked me on the very first day of May for their last minute elopement in the gazebo at Crawford Square, close to where they lived. It was rainy, and lovely! I really appreciated their handwritten thank you card, too.

wedding officiant thank you

Aly & Kris from Iowa were married by Partner Officiant Chris in Pulaski Square. For the last two years, every couple who has been married on their wedding date in early May has had a glorious picture in the blooms in Pulaski. These particular flowers literally only last about a week each May! I also used a new reading, Vows, by Tony Kushner, for the first time in their ceremony and it has become a new favorite.

Conjunction, assemblage, congress, union:
Life isn’t meant to be lived alone.
A life apart is a desperate fiction.
Life is an intermediate business:
a field of light bordered by love
a sea of desire stretched between shores.

Marriage is the strength of union.
Marriage is the harmonic blend.
Marriage is the elegant dialectic of counterpoint.
Marriage is the faultless, fragile logic of ecology:
A reasonable process of give and take
unfolding through cyclical and linear time.

A wedding is the conjoining of systems in which
Neither loses its single splendor and both are completely
transformed. As, for example,
The dawn is the wedding of the Night and the Day,
and is neither, and both,
and is, in itself, the most beautiful time,
abundant artless beauty,
free and careless magnificence.

pulaski square wedding azaleas
Photo by It’s Megan Jones.

Fawn & Matt, big Star Wars fans, decided to get married on May Fourth (of course!) and move their wedding up a year. No problem! When it rained, these locals moved the ceremony from Troup Square to the basement of Moon River. I bought a star dress for their ceremony that many of my other nerdy couples have appreciated.

wedding at moon river
Photo by Matthew & Ashly Fine Art & Films

In mid-May, I married Jennifer & Keary from Florida in Lafayette Square. I marry a lot of couples in Lafayette Square, and a lot of older couples, but this was the first time I was surrounded by four generations of women on Jennifer’s side, from her mother to granddaughter. It was some of the most powerful energy I have felt during a wedding ceremony in the three years I have been an officiant. When I see how the trees frame us in this picture, I get goosebumps remembering how it felt.

small wedding ceremony in lafayette square savnnah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones photography.

Sarah Grace & William were married in Lafayette Square, too (I think 20% of all my Lafayette Square ceremonies took place in May!), They performed the Fisherman’s Knot ceremony, which became one of my favorite rituals in 2017. I love to pair it with a quote from William Shakespeare. 

“My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep: the more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.”
fisherman knot wedding ritual
Photo by Diane Dodd Photography

My most popular Instagram post for all of 2017 was of Amanda and Timothy from Ohio dismounting a pedicab, her in a tutu with a glass of champagne in her hand. I think it was so popular because it epitomized the tone of our Savannah Elopement Experience package- romantic, intimate, meaningful, authentic, joyful, simple and stress-free!

Southern elopement in savannah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography.

The end of May brought me Rubecca and Matthew who were so much fun and eloped in front of Rubecca’s mom at the Fragrance Garden in Forsyth Park They lead extremely passionate and adventurous lives and allowed me to bring that into their ceremony. I love to talk about what a grand adventure marriage is so we were a good match!

We also debuted our new signs for our Savannah Elopement Experience, handmade by Caroline Galvez, in May.

just married at forsyth park savannah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones.

The last Sunday of May was a doubleheader! First, April and Steve from North Carolina married at Greenwich Park in Bonaventure Cemetery, surrounded by their families and their daughters, 2who played roles in making sure their parents got together. Everyone cried, including me and Megan, our photographer. They asked me to include the Mawage speech from The Princess Bride and it was so much fun. Dear future couples- please ask me for this again!

elopement in bonaventure cemetery savannah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

Our last couple were Elwood and Michelle from Tennessee who went to college together and reconnected on Facebook 25 years later. This reconnection story was one I heard over and over again in 2017. And yup, Elwood had lots of jokes the whole time!

marriage in forsyth park
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

On a personal note…

Nothing to report as I was way too busy marrying all the people!


June 2017 Review

That first weekend of June was quite busy, with 8 couples before June 3rd. First up was Jessica and Eric. If you follow me on Instagram, you may be sick of this picture, but it is one of my all time favorites. It started pouring during their wedding, and I held a clear umbrella over their ceremony so they could say their personal vows and have the ceremony they wanted, as well as a proper first kiss. The officiant’s number one job is to be a conduit for energy and protect a couple’s moment, under any conditions! 

Wedding kiss at forsyth park
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography.

Stephanie and Eric also had a stunning elopement that first weekend. I mean, that dress! Their pictures were featured in an editorial over at Best Elope Ideas.

savannah lafayette square wedding
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

June 3rd was my birthday so I took it off to go see the Wonder Woman movie with my husband, and Buffy took over, with Tanna and Dustin from Ohio and their families in Forsyth Park. They used some quotes from Friends in their ceremony, declaring each their lobster.

forsyth park bride
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

In mid-June, we had an extremely fun elopement with Sarah and Zach who spent their hour taking fun and sweet photos among Savannah’s squares. No, they actually did not smash the cupcakes at each other!

wedding cupcakes savannah
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

In one of the more gorgeous elopements we had in Forsyth Park, Hillary and Tyler from Tennessee made a decision to elope in Savannah on their way to attend a wedding. I love when a groom wears color, too. 

forsyth park elopement
It’s Megan Jones Photography

And at the end of June, I officiated Anastasia & Ryan’s wedding at The Mansion at Forsyth Park. They used my Create Your Story package and I met with them in person about six months before their ceremony to capture their story and all the elements they wanted in their ceremony, including a tree planting ritual. Ryan is a spoke word artist and performed his vows as such. It was AMAZING!

wedding ceremony at The mansion at Forsyth Park
Photo by Kim Branagan Photography

On a personal note…

I TOOK A VACATION! It was my first vacation since February 2016, before Alex was born. We went to Asheville, NC for a week and stayed in an AirBnB, explored, and drank good beer and food. It was very restorative, physically and mentally, even including walking around the Biltmore for hours wearing a 25 pound baby. I also met with a fellow officiant for lunch, one day, which was nice. 

Alex and Josh also had a superhero themed Father’s Day mini-shoot with Joleen Marie Photography. This was a few weeks before he began walking.. I mean running. 


And that was the first half of 2017 in a nutshell! 

If you are looking at booking a 2018 ceremony or ceremony plus photos package, let us know so we can get you on the calendar ASAP. It is the second week of January, but we are almost 1/3 booked up for the year! We can also answer questions about locations featured in these pictures and anything else you need to know to plan your Savannah elopement or wedding, too. 

The second half of 2017 in review… coming soon!

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

 

Tracy’s Guide to Planning an Elopement or Intimate Destination Wedding in Savannah!

It’s engagement season! According to WeddingWire, 40% of all engagements take place between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day with the majority of those taking place in December. If you have recently decided to get married, congratulations! Your next decision will be how to make that happen.

If you follow the conventional narrative, you may believe you only have two choices- an impersonal and cheap courthouse elopement, or a big and expensive wedding with everyone you know. Luckily, in today’s world, you can have any celebration you want! For most couples, their perfect celebration will fall in between those two extremes and most will bravely go forward with their unique vision for their celebration. And as a beautiful, destination tourist town with a professional wedding community that works 7 days of week, Savannah is a location uniquely positioned to help with any wedding you’d like to experience.

While my team and I officiate all sorts of ceremonies across the area, I also offer packages with photographer It’s Megan Jones for couples who want to experience something authentic, joyful and lovely, and yet simple. We also offer additional planning services as part of some of our packages, too. If you are currently deciding what may be the perfect experience for you, consider which of these situations describes you.


I think I want to elope!

Once upon a time, an elopement was specifically a wedding ceremony that was secret and last minute. Over time, the concept of an elopement has evolved as people plan their lives further ahead and travel more. Some wedding blogs have expanded the definition so far that it is any wedding under 50 guests. Before we go further, let me be clear that, nope, that is definitely not an elopement! For our purposes, we have two criteria that an elopement must meet- (1) there are six or fewer guests (immediate family and/or closest friends), and (2) there is no “set-up” required (venue rentals, seating, decorations, etc.).

An elopement is perfect for almost every couple who wants things to be simple and to celebrate themselves. An elopement may not be a great fit if you really want to include more than six people or you are concerned about family interference clouding your day. For the second issue, every couple’s relationship with their families is different and you know best.

If eloping is for you, the Popup Elopement Package or Savannah Elopement Experience Ceremony Plus Photography packages offer the perfect elopement experiences, depending on how much photography you’d like. The Savannah Elopement Experience also includes a Client Concierge service where we can help you book other services for your wedding, detailed in our Planning Chart at the end of this post. You can add this service on to the Popup Elopement Package for $75.

Here are some examples of how couples used one of our elopement packages this year. 

  1. Carmen & Natalie included their son in their Popup Elopement Package and he was adorable.

2. Alison & Brian from Washington, DC brought Alison’s sister and brother-in-law to celebrate their Savannah Elopement Experience and weekend in our city!

Virginia & Robert visited us from Michigan. Not only did the come alone for their Savannah Elopement Experience, they announced where they eloped only after Megan published their sneak peak on her Facebook page!


I decided that I’d like a small group of my close friends and loved ones to celebrate with me!

If you have somewhere between 6 and 30 guests that you’d like to celebrate with in Savannah, you are not alone. The New York Times Styles section recently published an article on the “micro-wedding” trend  and I was even interviewed as an expert on it by How Stuff Works!

For clients looking to celebrate with more family members and friends than an elopement, we offer the Intimate Destination Wedding package. With that package, we provide the officiant and photography, plus Shannon, our Client Concierge, to connect you directly with other trusted wedding vendors and enter into contracts with them. Based on our experience working with hundreds of couples, we have decided that the specific type of officiating and photography services we’ve included in this package, especially the two hours of photography, are the minimum we need to have a successful event.

When planning an event for this amount of guests, your additional cost considerations are that (1) you may need to rent a venue for your ceremony, as well as possibly seating, and (2) the costs associated with your post-wedding celebration. Every additional guest has the potential to bring their own complications, too, that you may not feel as greatly with larger weddings. 

If you have 7-15 guests, and ARE flexible about the day, time, and specific location of your wedding for this package, you can have your ceremony in one of Savannah’s squares or parks without a permit. If you have between 16-30 guests or are NOT flexible about time, date, and location, you will need to reserve a location. The cost of that can range from $50 an hour for Greenwich Park at Bonaventure Cemetery, $200-400 for the Savannah Botanical Gardens, or $450-$600 for a Savannah square or park, depending on your date. Chair rentals, if needed, usually run between $5 a chair.

If you have 20-30 guests, you may also need to pay a room rental fee for the place where you choose to have your post-ceremony celebration, usually in the high hundreds to low thousands.

If these additional costs still sound okay with you and you want to celebrate in Savannah, we truly believe the Intimate Destination Wedding Package is your jam. The services that our Client Concierge can help you book are described in the Planning Chart at the end of this post.

Here are some examples of how couples used the Intimate Destination Wedding Package this year. 

  1. Rachael & Tye from Beaufort, SC married at Forsyth Park on a Saturday in front of 24 of their friends. They rented the square and chairs, as well as secured vendors for hair & makeup, flowers, pedicabs for their photography tour and they had their evening celebration at The Pirate House.

 

2. Lucia & Pratik from North Carolina married in Whitfield Square on a Saturday in front of about 18 family members. They reserved the square but did not rent chairs. We helped with hair & makeup, flowers, pedicabs, and arranging for a lunch celebration at 45 Bistro. 

 

3. Lori and Rob from Florida married at the Fountain at Forsyth Park on a Thursday in front of about 14 family members. Since they were flexible about the time and day, they did not rent the fountain or chairs, but also understood that if the Fountain had been busy, we would have quickly relocated their ceremony to another location in the park or even another square. We made reservations for their large party for three separate events at Hitch, Rocks on the River at the Bohemian Hotel, and 700 Drayton at the Mansion.


I considered my options and I want a huge party with everyone I know and I want it in Savannah!

Many people want a big wedding and I admire that certainty. If you have the budget and you know lots of people, big parties can be awesome! If this fits your description, I recommending contact one of our favorite full-service wedding planners and consider us for your officiating needs with one of our Ceremony Only Packages.

William & Danielle’s 180 person ceremony and reception was planned by Jodi Jackson at Savannah Wedding Dreams and photographed by Geoff Johnson.


 Now that I have made my decision, how much is this going to cost us?

Once you have figured out what kind of wedding fits your needs and desires, you will still need to look at your budget and what works for you. If your budget feels stretched, your next steps are to decide (1) if there are any services you can live without and (2) if your guest count is flexible.

Below are average costs for the various services most people use for their wedding. There are two pages (click on the PDF to scroll). You can also download the PDF here.

Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements Planning Chart

Once you have reviewed the numbers against your vision, and understand what works right for your celebration, let us know how we can help you plan your perfect event!

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements