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Three Planning Tips for Writing Your Wedding Vows

I love when couples decide they would like to write their own vows to each other, or even offer personal statements before the “official vows.” While it is not necessary to write your own vows to have an authentic and personal ceremony, it can make it something extraordinarily wonderful if you are open to it.

For many years, I have offered a free vow writing guide to couples who are looking for help on what to write about in their vows. Here are some more things to think about when you write about your wedding vows for your ceremony. 


1. Decide on the format, structure and length together.

Tybee Island Wedding Vows

    Amanda & Gregory, July 2016, with officiant Buffy.

This depends on the couple, but I always thing it is a good idea for a couple to decide how ‘aligned’ they want their vows to be. Some people are natural speakers, and even prefer speaking from the heart rather than preparing anything in advance. Some people want to make sure that there are no surprises at the ceremony. Whatever you decide to do, the most important thing is to decide together what “ground rules” you will have for writing what you say on your wedding day. Specifically, I encourage you to sit down and answer these questions together.

  • Do you want to use a narrative format where you talk about your love or a list of promises to each other or a combination?
  • Do you want to have the same format or are you okay having each person choose the format that goes naturally with their writing and speaking style?
  • Do you want to stick to the same length?
  • Do you want to each say your own vows or have Tracy repeat them in question format and simply say “I Do” at the end?

Generally speaking, for clients who are nervous about the vow writing process, I recommend the following framework to get them going. 

  • Begin with 1-2 sentences of why you are excited about marrying this person
  • State 3-5 specific promises you want to make to this person
  • Make a closing statement, maybe even the same one. 
  • Stick to 250-500 words total.

2. Make them specific.

Michael & Nicole, November 2016

The best vows are specific to your relationship, in addition to promising to love, cherish and take care of each other. My previously mentioned vow guide has a number of prompts that can help you think back of things you share, quirks you know about each other, and moments you have experienced together. Here are some examples some of my couples have used in writing their own vows.

J & S, June 2016

  • Do you promise to make sure there is always cheese in the house, to tell her honestly if there is food in her teeth, and to get her a chocolate from the freezer whenever she asks?
  • Do you promise to listen to him, to support him in all his endeavors, and to accept that 82 games is the perfect length for a hockey season?

C & W, November 2016

  • I promise to put my phone on silent when we’re watching a movie.
  • Thanks for being patient with me, especially when I’m hungry. Oh, and thanks for not judging my insane obsession with Asian cuisine.

M & K, May 2016

  • She promises to always be your biggest fan and make sure that all new friends are immediately informed that you were named best dancer in high school.
  • She promises to go on fishing adventures with you, even if those adventures require bringing along a machete.

F & W, May 2016

  • There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I love you with all my heart and soul, and to me, this will always have been enough.
  • As Twitter user Jomny Sun said “falling in love is like having spent your entire life reading a thesaurus and someone hands you a dictionary.” And I know that’s cheesy, but so are you, and I want to be cheesy together

3. Choose the best way to read them that works for you and your ceremony. 

Alfredo & Vanessa, March 2017

An important consideration is to consider how you may want to read your vows on the day of your wedding. Please don’t try to memorize them! You can bring your vows handwritten or typed on any type of paper, bring them in special notebooks, or have them included as part of your ceremony script and read them off my tablet. The pictures included in the post demonstrate the different ways you can choose to read your vows.

  • If you choose to bring them on paper, think of the weather conditions and quality of paper. I unfortunately had a ceremony out on Tybee where the weather conditions make a groom’s notebook paper vows tear and run so he had a hard time reading them. if your ceremony is during a rainy or windy time of year, cardstock may be a good idea.
  • If you’d like to handwrite your vows, a vow notebook is perfect. You can find them on Amazon or Etsy. Small colorful Moleskin notebooks are also great options.
  • Finally, think about how you will want to keep the vows after your ceremony, if you are creating a memory box or scrapbook. If you include your vows electronically with my ceremony script, you can also print them later for your keepsake plans.

 

I offer a review of your personal vows as part of any of my custom writing ceremony packages. If you send me your vows, I’ll read them and give joint and individual feedback on how they mesh without spoiling your surprises. I hope this post makes you confident that you can definitely write the perfect wedding vows, the ones that are romantic, joyful, meaningful and authentic to your relationship!

Until next time, 

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

Harry Potter wands

My Harry Potter Inspired Wedding Ceremony

When I am writing ceremonies for my clients, I take all sorts of information into consideration in how to choose and create a wedding ceremony that is special for them. For couples who select my Choose Your Own Adventure package, the Savannah Elopement Experience or my other custom writing packages, I offer a “playful” theme and when a couple picks this option, my inner nerd squeals! For most of my playful ceremonies, I use references from literature or pop culture that resonate with the couple and unless the couple asks me otherwise, I keep it subtle (quotes, etc.). Some references I have used have included Dr. Seuss, other children’s literature, Star Wars, The Office, Parks & Recreation, The Big Bang Theory, LOST, Friday Night Lights, and Marvel comics, among others. However, without a doubt, the most popular playful reference request I receive is to include some Harry Potter.

[One weekend, I had 3 separate playful ceremonies that invoked references from Parks & Recreation, Marvel comics, and Harry Potter respectively. The experience left me wanting to write fan fiction where Leslie Knope defeated Hydra at Hogwarts, all in the name of true love!]

Why Harry Potter might one ask? To be fair, it is not a very romantic “text.” While you can admire the deep love Snape had for Lily, it is tragic. Harry and Ginny’s love is somewhat muted and often boring (in my opinion), and there are whole essays all over the internet about how problematic Ron & Hermione’s relationship is at times. But Harry Potter is still more about love than your average romantic sonnet is. It is about universal love that is unequivocal and pure and so strong, love that can defeat evil on its own. What marriage would not want that strong force behind them?

For many others, Harry Potter is an easy bonding experience for couples in those early days, something not very risky they can discuss and love together as their relationship grows. That was certainly true for my husband and I. Just a few months into dating, we went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando where we bought wands and all sorts of gear. It was a magical trip that is a fond memory I will always have of us and a happy milestone in the progression of our relationship.

Harry Potter wedding
I mean, how cute is he? Wouldn’t you fall in love just based on that enthusiasm?
Harry Potter wands
We really don’t see ourselves as evil people, but these were the best wands, hands down.
I am a Gryffindor
I always say that I thought I was a Ravenclaw, but small business ownership made me a Gryffindor.

A wedding officiant always has to consider how many of her secrets she should give away, but in the interest of love and and nerd culture, I am publishing one of my Harry Potter influenced ceremonies. Again, because most of my couples are looking for subtle, the influences are understated.


INTRODUCTION AND ADDRESS

We are assembled here today to celebrate and support the marriage of YYY and XXX. They are delighted that you are here and thank you for your participation on their special day.

Today there will be no dearly beloved, no betrothed, and no ancient rhyme of the married.

Today there are no dead languages to solemnize vows that are very much alive and will remain so for a lifetime.

Today is about promises that become permanent and friends that become family.

Marriage is the clasping of hands, the hearts, the union of two lives as one. Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships. A husband and wife are each other’s best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and even critic… and we can do that, because in marriage we say not only, “I love you today,” but also, “I promise to love you tomorrow, the next day and always.”

Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open. Marriage is also a place of freedom. Freedom to fully express who you are, knowing that you have someone there to catch you when you fall, encourage you when you are discouraged, and applaud your successes.
 
Marriage makes you strong- independently and together.
 
This is all true. These are essential parts of a good marriage, but there are also other important components – friendship, courage and even risk -because marriage is a risk – a great and glorious risk when you embark on the adventure in the same spirit. It is also a great responsibility. In the words of Albus Dumbledore, “We can’t choose our fate, but we can choose others… The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed.”
 
However, when you accept that responsibility for someone’s heart, there are rewards you receive when you take risks, share your journey with your whole heart, and let love walk into your life.

You find your soulmate.

Someone who has locks that fit our keys and keys to fit our locks. And we know that when we feel safe enough to open the locks, we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be.

Our soulmates make us feel treasured, safe and loved beyond our wildest measures. We get the partner and lover and protector we always desired, and maybe even needed.

YYY and XXX  met at a mutual friend’s birthday party where [something amazing and unique happened]. It may sound silly, but beautiful love stories often start this way, where someone does something small, unexpected and quirky and playful. Because it is the amalgamation of small things that slowly help you discover that the person you were meant to be with, your companion for life, is already there right beside by you.

And, that is how the bonds of marriage are formed. For marriage, which is always spoken of as a bond, becomes actually, in this stage, many bonds, many strands, of different texture and strength, making up a web that is taut and firm, a web that is fashioned of love.

YYY and XXX, may the promises you make here today, reflect the love and sincerity of your truest intention for this union. When life is peaceful and when it is painful, may you continuously be reminded of the deepest intention of the vows you make here.

VOWS & RING EXCHANGE

Your rings seal the vows of marriage and represent a promise for everlasting love. It is a physical manifestation of the promises joining the bride and groom together.

XXX-

Do you promise to stand by YYY always, have faith in her and encourage her,
to listen to her and laugh with her and to hold her,
to communicate fully and fearlessly with each other,
to value your differences as much as your common ground,

and to be her friend, lover, and partner for all the days of your lives as her husband?

[XXX: Always.]

YYY-

Do you promise to stand by XXX always, have faith in him and encourage him,
to listen to him and laugh with him and to hold him,
to communicate fully and fearlessly with each other,
to value your differences as much as your common ground,

and to be his friend, lover, and partner for all the days of your lives as his wife?

[YYY: Always.]

BLESSING & PRONOUNCEMENT

YYY and XXX, may your marriage be blessed with love, peace and happiness. As you go out into the world and begin your new origin story as a married couple, please remember that you are only as strong as you are united, as weak as you are divided. You are protected, in short, by your ability to love.

YYY and XXX, you have promised each other your love, devotion, and commitment. By the authority vested in me by the state of Georgia, I pronounce you husband and wife and publicly present you as Mr. and Mrs. ZZZ. You may kiss the bride!


And who has a Harry Potter influenced wedding ceremony? Just about anyone! Of the 15 couples who requested Harry Potter references over the last year, they ran the spectrum in age and other demographics and the formality or casualness of their wedding ceremony differed greatly. Here are just three couples who used variations of this ceremony.

Bill & Shawn, June 2016
Fallen & Jason, March 2017

 

Maria & Tyler, February 2016

My Harry Potter influenced wedding ceremony is available through my Choose Your Own Adventure or Savannah Elopement Experience package as is or with edits, and parts can be used with any higher level custom writing package as well. If you are a big Harry Potter fan, there are lots of other options you can also use for ceremony rituals, including a ‘sorting’ ceremony, a ritual to honor the physical representation of memories for a Pensieve, or a unity ceremony with potions, among others. I’d love to brainstorm them with you!

My final thoughts: Your wedding ceremony is a blank slate. Make it about you and bring in as much or as little nerd as you’d like. You’ll never be sorry.

May you Also be protected by your ability to love.

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

Here Are 7 Reasons Why You Should Elope In Savannah, GA

I recently helped a reporter write a piece on the top destination wedding spots in the United States. The reporter ranked Savannah as number 10 out of 15 and used many of the details I provided which made me really happy. However, the conversation with her made me want to write my own list on why you should elope to Savannah or plan your intimate destination wedding here. When you review the facts, you’ll see that we are actually the BEST wedding and elopement destination in the country.

All photos in this post were taken by It’s Megan Jones Photography as part of one of our signature elopement packages, the Popup Elopement Package and the Savannah Elopement Experience. 


  1. Georgia’s Easy State Marriage Laws

Georgia has some of the easiest marriage laws in the country, if not the easiest of them all. This is important because you do not need to make your travel plans to include waiting periods, invite guests you don’t want to meet a witness requirement, or dig up a ton of documents for your application.

There is no waiting period for marriage licenses in Georgia so you can get married the same day you arrive as long as you have time to visit our courthouse when it is open (every weekday from 8-12 and 2-4). Our marriage licenses also never expire so you can get them on your first trip and get married on your second! Finally, our laws do not require witnesses for your ceremony and you only need your government IDs, as long as you have never been married before. If you have been previously married, you’ll also need a copy of your original certified divorce decree, but that is it. 

Here is more information on how to obtain your marriage license at our local courthouse.

Keeping it simple deserves a high five and a woo hoo! 

lafayette square elopement, savannah
Denise & Vincett, October 2016, Lafayette Square
orleans square elopement, savannah
Tifani & Heather, June 2016, Orleans Square

2. Beautiful Locations For Your Wedding or Elopement Pictures

If you have looked at my location guide, you know that we have AMAZING places to have your pictures and if you are eloping, you can go ahead and have your ceremony and photos at any of our 22 historic squares as well as Forsyth Park and Tybee Island for free. Outdoor spaces like the Wormsloe Historic Site and Greenwich Park are also available for small fees.

elopement, whitfield square, savannah
Victoria & Matthew, February 2017, Whitfield Square 
wedding pictures in savannah
Amy & Dean, January 2017, Chippewa Square
pulaski sqaure wedding pictures
Whitney & Michael, July 2016, Pulaski Square
forsyth park elopement, savannah
Shawn & Bill, June 2016, Forsyth Park
tybee island wedding kiss
Amanda & Gregory, July 2016, Tybee Island,
Tina & DJ, May 2016, Greenwich Park at Bonaventure Cemetery
Wormsloe wedding picture
Erin & Tracy, March 2017, Wormsloe Historic Site

3. Experience Good Weather All Year

While it is true that there are peak spring and fall months for wedding ceremonies and elopements in Savannah because of perfect temperatures and amazing blooms, you can have your wedding here in the winter months of December, January and February or the summer months of June, July and August and the odds are in your favor that the weather will be just fine and you will have an incredible day. 

winter wedding in savannah
Brandi & Matt, February 2017, just off Columbia Square
wedding photography in Savannah
Cassie & Jared, August 2016, just off Forsyth Park

4. Make Use Of Our Experienced Wedding Vendor Professional Community

In many cities, wedding professionals are only available on weekends or have minimum purchases for flowers, wedding hair and makeup, or even desserts. Not in Savannah! In 2016, our officiants married 381 couples and the majority of them were during the week because of Savannah’s reputation for elopements. If you would like to take advantage of a quiet weekday to enjoy your elopement and be pampered, our wedding vendors will not be surprised and will be eager to help and give you the same level of service you would expect for a larger weekend wedding. 

wedding bouquet savannah
Nicole & Michael, November 2016. Bouquet by Pink House Florist.
bouquet in savannah for elopement
Alison & Brian, February 2017. Bouquet by Urban Poppy.
Katie & Jacob, April 2017. Hair & makeup by Laura at Roots Southern Salon. Pedicab by Royal Bike Taxi.
Jennifer & Jeff, April 2016. Makeup by Lindsey Wihrt.

5. Eat & Drink Your Way Through Your Elopement Week

Savannah is known for its incredible food and restaurants. We have Southern food and amazing seafood, from fancy to casual, as well as everything in between. Some of my favorites include The Olde Pink House, Vic’s On The River (my favorite shrimp & grits in the city), Tybee Island Fish Camp, Local 11Ten (splurge on the chef’s tasting), and The Grey, the recipient of many prestigious national awards. For more casual fare, you can also fit in some delicious grass-fed burgers at Green Truck, breakfast at Clary’s, and lunch at Mrs. Wilke’s

Savannah also has liberal drinking laws and our restaurants and bars offer our drinks “to-go” in clear plastic cups as you can drink alcohol while you’re walking anywhere north of Jones Street which covers most of downtown Savannah. It is an incredibly relaxing and liberating experience to stroll around our squares on a sunny day, sipping a cocktail. 

6. Explore Our City…  Without a Car

Savannah’s historic district is completely walkable and includes walking tours, trolley tours, carriage rides, and more. You can get a full week of entertainment and activity without a car and getting bored. We also have pedicabs and Uber, Lyft, and Taxis to get around if you need them. One of the best things about getting away for a vacation is not having to worrying about your vehicle, parking, or following maps while driving!

7. Extend Your Trip and Travel the Coast from Charleston to Jacksonville. 

Savannah is in the heart of beautiful strip of coastal towns and cities that extends two hours north to Charleston, SC and two hours South to Jacksonville, FL. Rent a car for just a few days while you are here and explore each way, viewing sites like Beaufort County, Sea Islands, Huntington State Park, and Folly Beach to the north and Jekyll Island, St. Simon’s Island, Cumberland Island, and Amelia Island to the south. There is nothing better than an adventure to celebrate your new married life. 

To recap, Savannah is a great place for you and your love to say I Do. So when are y’all booking your elopement package with us?!?!

Until next time,

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

My Wedding Ceremony Tips For Anxious Couples

A few years ago, I wrote this post for a wedding publication with ceremony planning ideas for brides who struggle with anxiety. The publication that ran it did not do much to promote it, and I have decided to re-run it here with some small edits so I can easily provide a link to the information to clients. I was an anxious bride myself and used many of these tips!


Couples who hire me to officiate their Savannah weddings often tell me up front that they are looking for ceremonies and vows that are “short and sweet.” When I first began my work, I wondered if brides thought I charged by the word!

After getting to know my couples, I realized that many brides – and grooms – seek “short and sweet” ceremonies because they are uncomfortable being the center of attention. Some are inexperienced at having everyone’s eyes on them and that makes them nervous; others have been under treatment for clinical anxiety and the walk down the aisle is an idea that keeps them up at night.

Keeping your ceremony short is one strategy for dealing with jitters, but if you’re truly anxious, even five minutes can seem like a lifetime. Instead, I encourage my clients to plan their ceremonies with their anxiety in mind. Here are tips that some of my clients have used to help them have a wonderful, stress-free day.

Orleans square wedding ceremony
No anxiety here!

#1. Practice.
You do not need to have a formal rehearsal to get comfortable with your wedding ceremony and the flow of it before your big day. Get the script from your wedding officiant and practice at home with your fiancé. Understand what it feels like to stand with him. Learn whether holding hands will make you feel more comfortable or if you want to hold your bouquet instead. You’ll likely find that standing in this together isn’t as scary as you think.

 

#2. Have a private “first look.”
Many couples decide to have a private “first look” between the bride and groom rather than having the groom see the bride for the first time she walks down the aisle. You will feel so many different emotions the first time you see each other; making it a private moment can help eliminate the anxiety.

My colleague, wedding photographer Megan Jones of It’s Megan Jones Photography, agrees based on the weddings and receptions she has shot. “A wedding day can be a hectic time taken over by family, so insist on a private moment with your fiancé with your photographer. When I am asked to photograph a private first look, I have seen the calming effect of it throughout the whole day.”

My couple, Jeff and Jennifer, decided to have a private first look and walk into the ceremony together. Look how calm and relaxed they look.

Couple's first look at Forsyth Park
Photo by It’s Megan Jones Photography

It will still be special even if it is not in front of everyone. Look at Jeff’s expression as he saw Jennifer approach!

Groom reaction to bride
Beautiful.

#3. Skip the procession or change it.

Yes, I said it. You don’t have to walk down the aisle and have everyone’s eyes on you if you don’t want to. Depending on your venue, you could have cocktails before your ceremony and mingle with guests without an entrance. When you are ready to begin, you can quietly take your place with your fiancé and officiant and have your coordinator or musician give cues so guests know that you are starting.

You might also feel strength in numbers. I walked into my wedding laughing and surrounded by amazing women who had been an essential part of my journey as a single lady. It felt empowering and instilled a sense of confidence that carried me throughout the ceremony.

savannah ga wedding
From my own wedding. I showed this to a client once, and she said we looked like a girl squad from a Taylor Swift video.

If you want to skip the procession, but are concerned about missing a special moment with your dad, you can make sure to schedule private moments with your parents. In all the weddings I have performed, fathers always seems to be the most anxious of all and uniquely nervous about messing up the job of walking the bride down the aisle. I suspect many would be happy to be relieved of their duty as long as they know you haven’t forgot about them.

 

#4. Have your officiant say your personalized vows for you.

Couples often think about wedding vows as black and white – you can have customized wedding vows that you read yourselves, or the traditional vows that talk about sickness and death. That is not the case! Ceremonies and vows come in many shades of grey.

If you would like to have personalized vows but are too nervous to read them yourself, work with your officiant so he or she can read them and you can say “I do.” I do this all the time! You do not have to have a cookie-cutter ceremony just because you do not want to speak.

 

#5. Skip the reception rituals or enlist some help.
The entrance, the first dance, the throwing of the bouquet can all be triggers for the anxious bride. Once again, you don’t have to do any of these or can change them as you see fit. If you want to have a first dance with your husband but don’t want the spotlight in you, tell some special friends and your bridal party what your song is beforehand and let them know that you want them to join in as soon as they see the two of you hit the dance floor. Everyone else will get up and dance, too, and give you a more private moment.

 

#6. Hire vendors that make you feel comfortable.

If you suffer from anxiety, the rapport you have with the people who will make your wedding special will be very important. If a vendor is going to question every decision and make you feel guilty for breaking tradition, you are probably not a match, no matter how well regarded they are in the wedding industry.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and tell your vendors about your anxiety. Vendors will appreciate your honesty and be grateful. You’ll get better service because they’ll communicate with you more carefully and provide more targeted ideas. If you are nervous about being assertive in person, communicate through email.

Tybee Island wedding
I know when everyone is laughing like this that they are definitely comfortable!

#7. Choose your officiant wisely.
Your officiant will set the tone for the ceremony, the time of the day when most people will have their attention directly on you. He or she is there to provide a safe and warm experience for you to both express your love and feel your emotions. Make sure that the officiant you hire makes you feel that he or she can do that for you and respect all the needs you might have.

You do not have to have a boring and impersonal wedding just because you suffer from anxiety or hate attention. Some creative thinking can help you plan a day that is authentic, meaningful, full of joy, AND relaxed!

 

‘Til next time!

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

Modern Elopement Photo Shoot at the Savannah Cozy Chapel

Hey y’all!  I did a model call for a photo shoot at The Savannah Cozy Chapel to demonstrate what fun a couple can have in our space. Luckily, the amazing Renee & Vanadis volunteered, a week before they were actually married in front of their family and friends at the chapel! Renee & Vanadis met on Instagram and it not surprising that they attracted each other on that platform because they are so photogenic.

Here is a list of other vendors who participated in the shoot.


First up are some shots of the Savannah Cozy Chapel’s space.

Savannah Cozy Chapel at 2421 Waters AvenueExterior of the Savannah Cozy Chapel Flannery O'Connor Book Trail Stop at the Savannah Cozy ChapelLighted Wedding Arch in SavannahNon Religious Wedding Ceremony at the Savannah Wedding ChapelSand Ceremony Ritual at the Savannah Cozy ChapelUnity Candle Ritual Table at the Savannah Cozy ChapelSigns and bench for your Savannah elopement photographyEvery love story is beautiful but ours is my favoriteThe Cupcake Parlor in Savannah, GASavannah Cozy Chapel back wallHappily ever after starts herei want to love you every single day


And then here is Renee & Vanadis during their photo shoot, being romantic and playful all at the same time.

Savannah Cozy Chapel is located at 2421 Waters Avenue. We got married at the Savannah Cozy Chapel! Wrapped in flowers at the Savannah Cozy Chapel Love at the Savannah Cozy Chapel You're my favorite of all time sign Your love story is my favorite sign You're my favorite love story in the garden at the Savannah Cozy ChapelAll because 2 people fell in loveKiss at the Savannah Cozy Chapel Wedding Officiant at the Savannah Cozy ChapelRed & white wine unity ritual Sand ceremony ritual at the Savannah Cozy Chapel Asking if you vow to love forever Officiating a Savannah wedding after the first kiss at the savannah cozy chapelI love you quote at the Savannah Cozy ChapelLook of love at the Savannah Cozy Chapel Love pillows at the Savannah Cozy Chapel Happily ever after starts here for this Savannah couple first dance at the Savannah Cozy Chapel The modern Savannah Cozy ChapelPopping confetti at the Savannah Cozy Chapel Confetti in the air after a Savannah wedding

 

Thank you so much to Renee & Vanadis for participating and being great sports about all the poses I put them in. If you’d like to book your elopement or intimate wedding at the Savannah Cozy Chapel, you can learn more about it and contact us about your date.

 

‘Til next time!

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

Model call at The Savannah Cozy Chapel

Model Call: Get Free Professional Photos of Your Love

Hey y’all!

Though we’ve been open in our new space since June, I still don’t have professional photos of the Savannah Cozy Chapel, my modern location for non-denominational and secular elopements and small weddings. I am finally going to do that this month and I am holding a model call to find 1-3 couples who would be willing to be photographed as part of a photoshoot. You’ll get free photos in return. See details below the picture.

Model call at The Savannah Cozy Chapel

When and where is this photo shoot?

It will take place one afternoon for 2 hours between 1PM and 5PM on November 21st, 22nd or 23rd at the Savannah Cozy Chapel at 2421 Waters Avenue between Maupas Avenue and 41st Streets. We’ll choose the date best depending on the couples’ availability.

Why participate in this photo shoot?

You will get a free digital gallery of yourselves that you can share and print as you’d like. The gallery will be several hundreds of dollars worth of professional photography work.

What are the requirements?

The couple(s) chosen must be able to take direction from the photographer and be comfortable showing affection to each other, smiling, and being serious when asked. The photographer will choose all poses and you’ll be asked to pose in multiple locations within the chapel and its outside gardens and sometimes hold props. You’ll also sign a model release that will allow us to use your pictures in online advertisements for the chapel.

Who should apply?

Are you a couple in love? If the answer is yes, the answer is you. The Chapel serves diverse couples and we are looking for models who reflect that. Couples of all sizes and ages should submit. If you have tattoos, alternative hair colors, bring it on. I am also interested in featuring at least one same-sex couple.

You do not need to be married to apply, but you must be in love and be comfortable showing that on camera. Past clients welcome and encouraged to apply.

What should I wear?

My goal is to portray how modern and fun the space is. For women, think classic white, flowy elopement dresses or colorful options. For men, suits or a business casual look would be best. Women are also free to wear something traditionally more masculine if that is your jam. Clothes must  fit you well.

Your outfits must be approved in advance by me and the photographer. We’ll ask you to send you us a picture.

I will pay for a makeup and hair artist for women participating. You’ll have that done at the Chapel prior to the shoot.

How can I apply?

Please submit a contact form on my website to tell me you are interested in being considered. Tell me a little about your love story and provide a link to an Instagram picture of yourselves. I’ll follow-up with next steps.

Thanks!

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

price changes for savannah weddings

Preparing for the 2016-2017 Wedding Season

Hello y’all! I can’t believe we are already halfway through June 2016! I have already married 165 couples this year through a busy spring season and I am looking forward to meeting with all the couples already booked through May 2017.

While June is a busy wedding month in most corners of the country, it is slower in Savannah because of the heat (we are at 100+ degrees already!). For that reason I use every June to review through the past year and look at how things have gone with my business the previous season, especially around packages and pricing. This year is no exception and on June 20, 2016, I will be rolling out pricing changes. I will be keeping all of my packages the same, but adjusting prices and changing some amenities and discounts. Most packages will stay the same, but some will increase about $20 and all off-season pricing will be eliminated.

If you are currently interested in booking a wedding between now and June 2017, I will honor my current prices until the 20th so please contact me now to book your wedding.

price changes for savannah weddings

I look forward to working with you on your wedding ceremony!

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

New Service Updates from Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements!

Hi y’all! I wanted to make you aware of some new and exciting changes to some of my services launching next week.

Introducing The Savannah Cozy Chapel

Savannah Cozy Chapel

I have a new, beautiful space to marry people in! Over the last two years, many people have asked me if I could offer a private space to do ceremonies and Signing Services. I am offering that new space to all of you beginning March 28th via the Savannah Cozy Chapel. The chapel, located in the Starland District, is a bright and airy studio with floor to ceiling windows that allow lots of natural sunlight. It also features a private outside balcony and a decorated wedding arch for the perfect background for your ceremony.

I will also be doing Signing Services that take place Monday through Thursday at the chapel as of Monday, March 28th, 2016. The price is also increasing to $75. In addition to the privacy I am able to offer, the good news is that I’ll be able to schedule these out further in advance and not just one week before your date. My assistant officiant, Aimee Dostie, will continue to conduct Signing Services on Fridays at Savannah Coffee Roasters for $60.

Savannah Elopement Experience Changes

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It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since we launched the Savannah Elopement Experience package. Megan Jones and I have been so busy working with couples, that we haven’t had a chance to update our marketing materials with all the amazing pictures we have as well as clarify a few details about what you can and can’t offer with the package. We think you’ll be pleased with the clearer guidelines as well as opportunities to use the Savannah Elopement Experience package for larger weddings.

In honor of the changes and updated marketing materials, we are going to have a one-day sale on any Savannah Elopement Experience that takes place on Saturday, April 2, 2016. Usually $775, we will be offering it for $625 if you book by March 31st. No other discounts apply. Please contact us if you’d like to schedule your package!

I Oppose Georgia’s Proposed Religious Freedom Laws

If you haven’t been following the news, you may not know that Georgia’s state legislature has passed some laws that promote discrimination against same-sex couples. It is currently on Governor Nathan Deal’s desk to be signed or vetoed. Both the NFL and Disney have said that they will not do business here if it is signed into law. Both Captain America: Civil War and Guardians of the Galaxy were filmed in our state making that a huge loss to our economy.

I have never been shy about taking a stand to discrimination and I was happy to meet with WJCL’s Arianna Pointdexter to share my views on the topic which is that it will hurt Savannah’s local tourism and wedding industry and not protect it. It aired on the 11PM news on March 22nd. The interview took place in the chapel so I am excited for you to see it. I have been recovering from a cold so excuse my scratchy throat, pale demeanor and semi-successful attempt at looking healthy.

… And a New Officiant!

I am regularly turning down 3-5 weddings a week because I am already booked for the same date and time that someone is requesting. Beginning April 1, I have a new officiant starting who will be able to work with more couples. Her name is Buffy Nelson and I’ll tell you more about her when she starts. In the meantime, her first wedding is already booked for April 8th and I hope some of you will get to work with her soon.

Thanks so much to everyone who supports the work I do. This weekend, I’ll be marrying my 300th couple. I couldn’t grow this way without your positive energy and I appreciate it.

Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements

 

Recap: Savannah Wedding and Elopement Location Recommendations

Thanks to all who read my blog series earlier this year on locations in Savannah and the low country where I officiated weddings in 2015. I am glad it was such a hit! Many couples have emailed thank yous and I thought I would write one index post with links to the individual to make it even easier for you to review potential locations.

If you did not read my original series, each post includes pictures  and videos of weddings I performed in 2015, as well as thoughts about each location. Click through to see the full posts and dozens of pictures. Here’s a companion map to the downtown area where all the squares are located.

2015 Savannah Wedding Location Review, Part 1- Savannah Squares

This blog post covered Orleans, Chatham, Johnson, & Reynolds squares, and Morrell Park.

Wedding in Orleans Square
Kurt & Ian, Orleans Square, December 2015

2015 Savannah Wedding Location Review, Part 2- Savannah Squares

This blog post covered Columbia, Troup, Whitfield, Crawford and Lafayette squares.

Lafayette Square Wedding
Lauren & Shane, Lafayette Square, December 2015

2015 Savannah Wedding Location Review, Part 3- Squares & Forsyth Park

This blog post covered Calhoun, Monterey & Madison squares and Forsyth Park.

Forsyth Park Wedding
Brittany & Andrew, Forsyth Park, December 2015

2015 Savannah Wedding Location Review, Part 4- Greenwich Park & Tybee Island

This blog post covered Greenwich Park at Bonaventure Cemetery and Tybee Island.

Wedding in Greenwich Park
Lori & Brenda, Greenwich Park, November 2015

2015 Savannah Wedding Location Review, Part 5- Venues, Coastal GA & SC

This blog post covered various venues in Savannah, coastal Georgia, and low-country South Carolina. Highlights include The Mansion on Forysth Park, Vic’s on The River, the St. Simon’s Island Lighthouse and Hilton Head.

Wedding at Mansion on Forsyth Park
Jaclyn & Anson, Mansion on Forsyth Park, April 2015

Happy wedding planning!

2015 Savannah Wedding Location Review, Part 5- Venues, Coastal GA & SC

Welcome to the final post in my Savannah wedding location review series. This post is Part 5 and includes pictures from a “catch-all” of inside venues in Savannah as well as other outside options in coastal Georgia and South Carolina. Don’t forget to check for Part 1 on Orleans, Chatham, Johnson & Reynolds squares, and Morrell ParkPart 2 on Columbia, Troup, Whitfield, Crawford and Lafayette squares, Part 3 on Calhoun, Monterey & Madison squares and Forsyth Park, and Part 4 on Greenwich Park and Tybee Island.

Most of the pictures in this post are from Instagram shots that I took myself unless otherwise noted. When appropriate, I’ve linked to the venue so you can contact them about booking information.

Hotels and Other Venues

Even though most of the pictures I post on my website are of weddings that have taken place outside, I officiate many weddings in Savannah at hotels and other traditional venues. Here is a sampling.

The Manson on Forsyth Park

Jackie & Anson, April 2015

Mansion at Forsyth Park Wedding

Picture courtesy of Jessica Pata of House of Pata.

The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa

Leslie & Gary, October 2015

Leslie & Gary had a custom written ceremony, including a beer unity ceremony in the gazebo. It was perfect.

Wedding at Savannah Westin

Picture courtesy of Westin staff.

Vic’s on The River

Ashley & Andrew, October 2015

Ashley & Andrew were one of my funniest couples all year. I was so glad they picked me to join the fun of their wedding!

Wedding at Vics on the River in Savannah

Picture courtesy of the bride.

Brockington Hall

Brittany & Ramon, March 2015

Brockington Hall Elopement

Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens

Katy & Duane, November 2015

Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens Wedding

The Landings

Nicole & Edwin, July 2015

Wedding at the The Landings Club in Savannah

Hunter Club @ Hunter Army Airfield

Jose & Nakeisha, November 2015

The Hunter Club is available to officers stationed at Hunter Army Airfield. I first met Jose & Nakeisha when I legally married them during a Signing Service in June 2015 (the picture of the high five in the lower left). I was thrilled to officiate their formal wedding ceremony in November in front of all of their friends and family, many who flew in from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. I conducted their wedding ceremony in English and Spanish.

Hunter Club wedding

In addition to these, I conducted weddings at many other hotels, including The Andaz and The Brice, which are lovely venues. You can check out photographer Mackensey Alexander’s blog post of one of the weddings I performed at The Bryce.

Savannah & Coastal Georgia

Here are some other outside venues you might consider for your wedding, elopement or pictures.

Daffin Park

Michael & Sarah, March 2015

I officiated Michael & Sarah’s St. Patrick’s Day elopement in Daffin Park due to the parade and Forsyth Park being off limits that day. It’s a great place for pictures because of its fountain and Spanish moss.

Wedding Photography in Daffin Park

Daffin Park Elopement

Photos by It’s Megan Jones Photography.

Skidaway Island State Park

KC & Santo, July 2015

We all walked into the forest at Skidaway park for this elopement. It was beautiful and calming to be so close to nature.

Skidaway Park Elopement

KC and Santo went back to Skidaway Island State Park to take professional wedding photos in the fall with AptB Photography.

The St. Simon’s Island Lighthouse

Abby & John, March 2015

John helped restore the lighthouse as part of his professional trade and it was a very special place for them to get married.

Johnson Ecker Wedding - Jessica Barley Photography-155s

Photograph by Jessica Barley Photography.

Driftwood Beach @ Jekyll Island

Robbie & Diana, October 2015

Driftwood Beach Elopement in Jekyll Island

Old Freeman Family Farm in Sylvania, GA

Kelly & Gray, September 2015

Because of a rain delay and a compressed schedule, I was not able to snap a picture of this lovely couple, but did take a picture of their glorious wedding cake and other decor. If your desire is to have the barn wedding of your Pinterest dreams, this is a great location for it.

Sylvania Georgia Barn Wedding

Coastal South Carolina

Hunting Island State Park

Mary & Lisa, April 2015

Hunting Island South Carolina Elopement

Picture courtesy of the couple.

The Beach @ Hilton Head Island

Robin & Dawna, July 2015

I officiated a few weddings in Hilton Head, but this was a favorite and Robyn and Dawna’s daughter was the star of the show.

Hilton Head Elopement

Melrose Resort @ Daufuskie Island

Anna & Clint, September 2015

Daufuskie Island is an incredible place to get married. Anna & Clint Included their family-owned miniature horse, Nino, in their wedding. It was delightful!

Daufuskie Island Wedding

Daffodil Fields in Bluffton

Nikita & Jessica, May 2015

Nikita & Jessica were married in a restaurant, but took pictures before the wedding at the local daffodil field. It was off-season, but they were still able to take these gorgeous photos.

Same Sex Wedding Photography

 

Daffodil Fields Wedding Photography

Daffodil Fields Wedding

South Carolina wedding photos

Lowcountry wedding photos

Pictures by It’s Megan Jones Photography.

And that is a wrap on my photo highlights from 2015! I hope this blog series helps you with your decision on where to have your wedding in Savannah, Georgia and the surrounding lowcountry. I am looking forward to all the new places I already have booked for 2016 weddings, including Washington & Green squares, The Mackey House, the Charles Morris Center and the Tybee Island Wedding Chapel, among many others. I look forward to showing you pictures later this year!

Much love,
Tracy Brisson, Founder of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements