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.
As your Client Concierge, Shannon helps clients virtually with tasks in ten categories.
Research lodging options
Make dinner reservations
Complete permit applications (and assist with chair rentals)
Order and have a bouquet delivered
Book a hair and makeup artist
Book an acoustic musician
Order and have a cake delivered
Book a videographer
Make carriage ride reservations for the beginning or end of your photo session
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.
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.
Greenwich Park at Bonaventure Cemetery, Bonaventure Cemetery and the Wormsloe Historic Site all require permits, even if it just the couple.
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.
We can also help you order flowers for the whole family, including corsages and boutonnieres.
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.
Book an acoustic musician.
We can book any type of musician for your ceremony, but our most popular, by far, are our violinists!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
We look forward to working with you to make your day perfect!
Want more information on our services? Send us a note!
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.
I included an extra photo of Sophia because of her super glam jacket, too.
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.
Lacey looks so sassy in this photo. I love it!
Turns out a stole is also convenient to wrap your new husband in during the first kiss!
Even Patrick and Kelly’s dog dressed up for their day.
We love dogs, and babies!
And finally, you cannot get more vintage than a steampunk wedding.
Pop of Color
I love when couples wear color to their elopement. More of this, please!
What dreamy lighting these two ladies had for their portraits!
Surprisingly, Barbee is the only bride we’ve had wear black. I think it is an amazing option for anyone’s wedding day.
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!
More sassiness in Troup Square! Check out those matching shoes, too.
Michelle’s dress was short and long, and made for her to swish and swing all over Savannah!
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.
Second, we have Amanda, who wore a custom made tutu for her special day.
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!
Grooms also have taken some risks, whether it is coordinating their outfits, wearing seersucker, or wearing a jacket that wasn’t a dark color.
And that’s a wrap. I hope you loved these 34 couples as much as I did!
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!
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.
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.
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 proudwhen this picture was featured inHuffPost Wedding’s Most Beautiful Weddings of July 2017 and they even featured it on their Instagram.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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 fromlooking 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!
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.
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!
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.
That weekend, I also married Jenny & Renee in the older part of Bonaventure Cemetery, overlooking the marsh, withLyndi & Jason Photography. They included their puppy who was incredibly sweet!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
The last Saturday of November brought me two couples and the first was Bonni & Monika from Augusta, GA. They were so cute!
My second couple were Andrea & Paul who were married at the Coastal Botanical Gardens. They used my All In Packageto 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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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).
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
As part of our Savannah Elopement Experience and Intimate Destination Wedding ‘ceremony plus photography’ packages, we offer cupcakes for you to enjoy as part of your post-ceremony newlywed photography tour among our historic squares. We’ve found that having a sweet treat together after the ceremony (and sometimes, paired with a glass of champagne) can make our couples relaxed and happy, which is exactly the vibe we are striving for with your Savannah elopement! They also make a great prop for photos, both sweet and silly.
As a summer treat, here are some of our favorite pictures of our couples enjoying their post-wedding ceremony cupcakes. We provide your cupcakes from Gigi’s Cupcakes of Savannah because they are so tasty and easy to order for just for the two of you. The most requested flavor, is of course, Wedding Cake, but our favorite for photos is Confetti Fun.
Jacob told us that he left all the details for their elopement to Katie, but insisted on picking the cupcake flavor himself!
Sara & Zach really got into posing and we loved it! How fun is their relationship?!?
I love how the cupcake looks with her nails!
Rob & Josh teased a cupcake smash… but held off on it.
However, our final featured couple, Stephanie & Paul, did the traditional cake/cupcake smash. To date, they have been the only ones who have gone through with it… and it was awesome!
How amazing and sweet were these photos!? We love our couples.
One last note: We are happy to provide cupcakes for our two elopement packages, but we like our couples to consider these two thoughts in planning and filling out their questionnaire with their ceremony preferences.
One, is that because Savannah does get SO hot at times, there may be a chance of melting or icing sliding off that we can’t help. That can especially be the case in late spring and summer. Even if that happens, they will still be delicious!
Second, while the general idea of cupcakes probably sounds awesome when you are filling out your questionnaire for your package, if you don’t see yourself as the type to take pictures like these, or really don’t like sweets, you may want to pass on having them for your hour with us.
And on that note, after looking at all these pictures again, I am off to Gigi’s to get a cupcake of my own (my personal favorite flavor is Chocolate Chip Cooke Dough)!
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.
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.
Keeping it simple deserves a high five and a woo hoo!
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.
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.
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.
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), 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.
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.
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.
Here are some other outside venues you might consider for your wedding, elopement or pictures.
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.
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.
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!