Blog » Promotions

Category: Promotions

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

Meet Shannon Vaughn, Our Scheduling Manager & Client Concierge

Many of you already know Shannon- at least virtually!- since she has booked almost all of our 2017 and 2018 clients as our Scheduling Manager. She has also helped about a dozen of you plan additional wedding details, such as flowers, dinner, hair and makeup, and other services, as our Client Concierge. Even though she has only been working with us a short time, I cannot imagine how any of us would work without her!

In addition to all the work she does with Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements, Shannon also has four children with her husband of 15 years who is an active member of our military. Here is a little more about her, how she feels about her work with all of us, and some tips for potential clients. 

Shannon, our Elopement Concierge

 

What made you want to work for a wedding officiant? I have always wanted to work in the wedding industry doing something that allowed me to be a part of a couple’s big day. When I saw the opening, I knew it was the perfect job for me and based on her website, it seemed that I would love working with Tracy and everything she stands for.

What has been your favorite part of the job? My favorite part is definitely seeing everything fall together just how the couple envisioned it. It is a wonderful feeling to see and hear how happy they are to get the wedding of their dreams!
 
Tell us about a specific problem you solved as a concierge. I had a wonderful couple who needed seating for 20 guests for more then one meal while they were in Savannah for their destination wedding… but each guest needed to pay their own bill separately and most restaurants won’t book a group that large without renting the space and requiring deposits beforehand and a set menu. This is the type of situation where I feel like our concierge service can be extremely beneficial to couples because I was able to take the time to call several places to find the perfect places for their needs. They worked great for this couple and they didn’t have to worry or stress over it!
 
After answering hundreds of inquiries and acting as a concierge for a dozen clients, what are your top 3 tips for planning a wedding or elopement in Savannah?
 
1. Transportation! Have a plan in place on how you will get to your ceremony. Parking and traffic can be crazy in Savannah and you don’t want to be late to your own ceremony! There are lots of options here, including Uber, Lyft, and pedicabs. 
 
2. Make sure you understand the city’s permit rules if you will be including more than a few guests. Unfortunately, you cannot show up with 30 guests without reserving a space and making arrangements for a permit.
 
3. Be patient! I have found that a lot of people and businesses in Savannah are “laid back.” They will get it done for you, and it will be AMAZING, but it may take them a little extra time. We are called Slowvannah sometimes for a reason!
 
What is your favorite television show? I could watch Grey’s Anatomy and Friends over and over again… and I do! 
 
Your can’t miss places when visiting in Savannah? Forsyth Park! I love people watching there! So many interestingly fun people going through there all the time.
 
And, finally, what is the best way to show your love to your partner? I have been married almost 16 years to my high school “boyfriend” and I have learned over time that the best way to show love to your partner is through respect and honesty. I feel like those are two super important ingredients to make a marriage work. And don’t forget laughter! 
Hiring Savannah Wedding Officiant

I’m Hiring Partner Officiants for Fall 2017

 

Hey y’all! I am hiring three new partner wedding officiants for our team to start this fall. Partner wedding officiants officiate weddings when I am unavailable or double booked. Depending on the season, and their availability, partner officiants can marry 2-10 couples per month.

Hiring Savannah Wedding Officiant

I am looking for one officiant based in Savannah and two officiants based in Hilton Head and the St. Simon’s and Jekyll Island areas, respectively. Because we are so booked in Savannah and Tybee, we usually have to turn down all requests for those coastal areas and I would love to change that. 

Here is a brief overview of how the Partner Officiant process works.. Partner Officiants conduct wedding ceremonies written by me. Partner Officiants usually only communicate with their clients a few weeks before the wedding, those some clients may want a pre-hire consultation via Skype or FaceTime. 

If you would like to apply, please send an email and resume or link to your LinkedIn profile at tracy [at] oppsproject [dot] com. Qualified applicants only, please. 

 

Responsibilities:

  • Officiate pre-written wedding ceremonies and Signing Services as assigned
  • Provide high level of customer service to all clients with enthusiasm
  • Keep information about weddings and clients confidential
  • Dress appropriately for the occasion (generally cocktail or formal business wear for women, suit for men)
  • Be prompt for all events and arrive before the scheduled time
  • Respond to emails from clients and Slack notifications from our team members promptly.

Qualifications:

  • Significant experience with public speaking or performing
  • Experience working with difficult people and unique situations
  • Experience as an independent contractor who organizes his or her own work and has been responsible to customers
  • Ease with mobile technology and apps (our job is very mobile and we use a lot of technology)
  • Flexible schedule on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and weekends
  • Belief in the concept of a modern marriage
  • Belief that ALL people deserve to be married, regardless of their sexual orientation
  • Belief that weddings can be joyful and fun while recognizing the importance and responsibility of the event
  • Comfort with performing ceremonies that are both non-denominational and non-religious

Partner officiants must have reliable transportation to get to weddings.

Compensation:

  • Partner Officiants are contractors and paid a flat fee per gig or rehearsal. They will be issued a 1099 at the end of the year. Payment is monthly by invoice.

Hiring Process:

  •  If interested in becoming a Partner officiant, please send a resume and cover letter by September 1st to tracy [at] oppsproject [dot] com. Interviews will happen on a rolling basis. Finalists will be asked to conduct a mock wedding ceremony in front of the Fountain at Forsyth Park. If the opportunity arises, you can also watch me officiate a wedding after being interviewed. 

Please note:  I am looking to bring in a person that I can work with long-term and is a part of my organization, not someone I can simply refer weddings to when I am booked. If you are looking to market yourself as an independent wedding officiant in the future, or currently have a website or Facebook page marketing yourself as an officiant, this is not the position for you. 

I look forward to your referrals and applications!

Meet Buffy Nelson, Partner Officiant

Since 2016, Buffy Nelson has been working with me as one of my Partner Wedding Officiants when I am unavailable or double booked. Buffy was originally hired to just cover my summer 2016 maternity leave, but has become a beloved member of the Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements team and our clients love her!

Savannah wedding officiant Buffy Nelson

Buffy brings rich experience to her job. She has lived in Savannah for 20 years and is a graduate of the Savannah College of Arts and Design. She was born in Dalton, GA and was lucky enough to fall in love with her best friend, Adam, and they have been together almost 25 years.

Here are some questions I asked Buffy and some pictures of her officiating ceremonies! Here is probably my favorite picture from all her ceremonies. 

Savannah wedding officiant Buffy Nelson

 

What made you want to officiate marriages?

I wish I had a definitive explanation, but I don’t. When I discovered you were looking for another wedding officiant, I knew I wanted to do it, and I knew I would be good at it. I have never been that confident about anything ever! LOL!

I really like being around happy people. It makes me happy!

What has surprised you the most about officiating?

How calm the couples are when they get married. How intimate the ceremony really becomes. We could be on the beach, in the park, one of the squares, people all around, and for those few minutes, it doesn’t matter. It’s just them. It’s so sweet.

Is this your only job?

Actually, I am also a licensed real estate agent with Seabolt Brokers, LLC.  This is not my only job, but this job can turn a bad day into a good one. On any given day, a couple gets married, I get to marry them and everyone is happy. Who wouldn’t want to do that?!?!?

Thanks for all you do for your couples, Buffy! 

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

see1

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

 

Meet Aimee Dostie, Partner Wedding Officiant!

For the last few months, Aimee Dostie has been working with me on Fridays to conduct Simple Signing Services as I am often booked with wedding ceremonies. She has married 20 couples so far and I think it’s time y’all get to know her a bit more.

Aimee moved to Savannah, GA from Maine (another New Englander!) and when she is not officiating weddings, is a licensed real estate agent.  Since her arrival several years ago, she has fallen in love with Savannah’s rich culture and ‘big town, small community’ charm. In her spare time, Aimee is an avid sailor and dog lover, exposing her to some of Savannah’s beautiful natural resources and green space.

Here are some questions I asked her and how she answered them.


What made you want to officiate marriages?

So pretty much, I never thought this was actually a job and serendipitously fell into this after you asked me. I never knew it would be something that I enjoy so much!

What has surprised you the most about officiating?

Listening to people’s origin stories of how two very different people come together and decide that this is my person has taught me a lot. Whether it be couples that have been together for a long time or couples where life and kids have simply gotten in the way, each story is really special.

You work with a lot of families with your real estate business. How has wedding officiating made you better at working with them?

In relation to real estate, I think families- whatever their make up is- are incredibly important in building neighborhoods into communities and networks of people working toward a common goal. I find that understanding the diverse nature of the family unit is key in starting the solid foundation upon which a community is based. Being exposed to so many couples who have created unique family structures has been really informative to what I do.


 

Aimee conducts Signing Services on Fridays, as well as other dates when I am unavailable. She is great and you’ll be lucky if you get to work with her!

Holiday Availability- Savannah Wedding Officiant

I am getting many requests for holiday weddings. The holidays are a magical time to get married in Savannah- the weather is still mild, but we still have a lot of holiday spirit!

I’d like to work with as many people as possible this holiday season, but do have some limitations. Here are days I will not be available for weddings. You can also check my availability page for other non-holiday dates in November and December.

  • In November, I will not be performing ceremonies on the day before Thanksgiving (November 25) or Thanksgiving Day (November 26).
  • In December, I will not be performing ceremonies after 6PM on Christmas Eve (December 24). I will be taking December 25-29 off and resuming ceremonies on December 30.
  • I will not be performing Signing Services on
    • November 25, 26, and 27
    • December 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 31
    • January 1st.
  • Weddings booked on December 24, 31 or January 1 will be charged at a weekend rate.

Happy holidays!

Christmas_at_the_beach
This is actually from Jacksonville Beach, where I spent Christmas last year. I love Christmas at the beach!