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Elopement Options - What to do during an Elopement

Elopement Options - What to do during an Elopement

Often, I get asked by couples who choose eloping “What do I do for my ceremony?”

An elopement ceremony is different than a traditional wedding ceremony because there’s more freedom to create something that you both feel represents you as a couple. We wanted to share a few ideas for what to do during your elopement ceremony, whether you choose to have a self solemnizing ceremony on a mountaintop or a intimate wedding ceremony with a few close family and friends.

Adventure Elope in Asheville & NC Mountains - Ashley Lee Adventure Photographer

Adventure Elope in Asheville & Western NC Mountains- Ashley Lee Adventure Photography

Many couples travel to Asheville and the mountains of North Carolina for an elopement or a small wedding celebration with a few friends or family members. It's the perfect place to elope. Since we have so many public lands such as national and state parks and forest, nature provides the ultimate setting and decoration! Having a simple wedding means there is more time for exploring.

Biltmore Estate
Elope on the private grounds of America’s largest home (you choose the spot) and get access to the entire estate for photos! Their Elopement Package ($2,000) includes luxurious overnight accommodations for the couple at the Inn on Biltmore and up to 12 chairs for guests. Biltmore’s wedding team books elopements within 90 days of the big day. You can add on special experiences like a carriage ride, special tours of the house and a romantic dinner. Go to their website.

Blue Ridge Parkway
Elopements with 25 people or less are allowed along the Blue Ridge Parkway with a permit (application fee of $60 and permit fee $40). There are many places, ranging from waterfalls to mountaintops, but none are private. So you may have some extra onlookers. The permit covers two hours for a ceremony - no receptions. Permits are not issued for federal holidays or the month of October (busiest month due to fall color). Keep it simple: no live plants, no releasing of doves/butterflies, no birdseed/rice throwing, no open flames, no decorating with ribbons, no balloons, no alcoholic beverages. For ideas, see our Top 50 Parkway Stops near Asheville. No weddings allowed at busiest spots such as Waterrock Knob, Graveyard Fields and Devil's Courthouse. Go to the Blue Ridge Parkway website for Wedding Policies & Permit.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
A permit for a ceremony or portrait photography is required ($50) with application completed at least 14 days in advance. Much of the park is open to outdoor weddings with a maximum of 20 people and six cars. If you want a larger wedding, they have approved locations for a ceremony - including historic churches:

  • Road to Nowhere, Fontana Lake overlook, maximum of 15 cars and 30 people

  • Deep Creek Picnic Pavilion, a good choice if you want a picnic afterwards. A very busy area in the summer with camping, waterfalls and tubing.

  • Historic Mingus Mill (no private events March-Nov 9AM-5PM when open for tour) - perfect for evening wedding.

  • Historic Smokemont Church, maximum of 6 cars and 40 people (pic above)

  • Collins Creek Picnic Pavilion off Newfound Gap Road

  • Heintooga Overlook on Heintooga Ridge Road, adjacent to picnic area. Entrance from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

  • Historic Palmer Chapel in Cataloochee Valley - maximum of 10 cars and 50 people (pic at very top of page)

If you have a NC license, be sure to stay on the NC side of the park. Remember that since this is a national park, there are many regulations. Download a PDF of their Permit Guidelines for Weddings. For more info and permit applications, go to their website.

Pisgah National Forest & Nantahala National Forest
If you have 75 or fewer people, a permit is not required. If you want to get married at a developed site with an office, just notify them first. Otherwise, you can have a ceremony anywhere on public forest land. Of course, you cannot block trails or prevent other guests from visiting. You cannot bring in decorations, flowers or food (unless it's a simple picnic). Keep it simple!

Chimney Rock Park
Find a variety of spots for a wedding for the cost of park admission for each guests. Say your vows atop the famous Chimney or in front of Hickory Nut Falls if you have 15 guests or less. Stay away from weekends in July and October. Contact them to check dates - all weddings require a reservation. For larger groups, they have a Pavilion for up to 150 guests. And their Old Rock Café has a great outdoor deck for a meal afterwards. Read more.

Lake Lure
Morse Park by the marina offers a lot of lakefront spots - no reservations needed for a small wedding with no chairs / decorations. A gazebo is also available by reservation. Another option is renting a pontoon boat and getting married on the lake. Nearby in Chimney Rock Village is the Riverwalk with plenty of spots by the rushing river. Read more.

Lake Glenville
Rent a pontoon from Signal Ridge Marina and get married by a waterfall that cascades into the lake. Or find a secluded cove. Read more.

North Carolina Arboretum
The beautiful setting of gardens and natural areas has an elopement package for 10 or less guests. It includes one hour at a wedding site, table, folding chairs setup, free parking, event coordinator, bridal room, and one year membership. $500 for Sunday-Thursday dates and $1,000 for Friday or Saturday. Read more.

State Parks: Mt. Mitchell, Lake James, Gorges, South MountainsA Special Activity Permit is required, but it's only $35. Call the state park office first for best locations and their procedures. 

Bed & Breakfasts
These grand homes office the ultimate romantic setting for a wedding and honeymoon. Innkeepers love to help you coordinate and many have packages. See our Top 30 B&Bs.

What You’re Paying for when You Hire a Pro Photographer - Ashley Lee Photography (Sarasota)

Pricing Breakdown: What You’re Paying for when You Hire a Pro Photographer
 

There’s a belief that seems to live outside of the photography industry–where anyone with an fancy camera can take great photos. While a professional-grade camera can undoubtedly help you take quality photos, it’s a lot harder than it actually looks. Generally, you can purchase a quality digital camera for roughly $500 to over $3000 with a couple kit lenses to get you started. But, having a good camera doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to get stunning photos. That takes lots of practice, learning your camera, and true dedication to master.

This is where having an experienced photographer comes in. When you hire a pro photographer, you can expect your professional to know all the ins-and-outs of his or her camera, the settings, lenses and software. But that’s not all it takes. A professional photographer also understands how to work with natural or other light sources, color theory, posing, composition and other tools to help make you and all other photos look their best. 
 

Editing time

When you leave your photography session, my job isn’t actually over. Most of the time, I will spend at least two to three hours, if not more, on editing the photos after your session to ensure your pictures are nothing less than amazing. Editing time can range from hours to days depending on each individual photographer’s style and editing workflow.  Regardless of how long it takes to edit a batch of images, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes including culling, retouching, color correction, and so on.

Photographers are mostly perfectionists, for lack of a better word! I know I generally pour hours into perfecting images for my clients. You’ve heard it before, and yes, it’s all about the details. For every photo I take, I spend time perfecting skin tones, smoothing skin, removing minor blemishes and much more to make sure that my clients are looking their best and have photos they can be proud of!

EXAMPLE - For a two hour senior portrait session:

-  travel to and from the session
- one to two hours of shooting
- 30 minutes of setup, preparation, talking to the client etc.
- 30 minutes to load the photos onto a computer (2 – 4 Gb of data)
- 30 minutes to back up the files on multiple external drives plus DVD’s
- 3 – 4 hours (if not more) of Photoshop time including cropping, contrast, color, sharpening, saving a copy for print and a copy for the internet and backing up the edited photographs
- 2 – 3 hours to talk to the client, answer questions, receive their order and payment, order their prints, receive and verify prints, package prints, schedule shipment and drop package off at Fed Ex.

You can see how one two hour session easily turns into more than ten hours of work from start to finish. So when you see a Photographer charging a $300 session fee for a two hour photo shoot, you are not paying them $100 / hour to just take pictures. Like any business, we still have overhead costs.

 

Equipment and other expenses
 

Photography as you probably know, is an expensive industry to be in; we as business owners have to account for the costs we accrue in order to take your photos. We have to invest thousands of dollars into a single camera body and another thousand or more for each lens we use. We also have to pay hundreds of dollars for professional software that we use to edit your images and even insurance in the case that our equipment is damaged or other issues that could arise during or after a session. We also have to make up for our costs of gas and vehicles for travel time.

 

A professional service

When you hire a pro photographer, you can take a moment and de-stress. Your photographer is responsible for giving you a fun, relaxed and overall awesome experience that will leave you breathless when you receive your photos. That’s his/her job, so trust them to do just that. I’m not saying to hire a pro photographer every time you want a picture but it’s worth it to have some quality photos of you and your family. Not to mention, if you’re the one taking photos, you will miss out on the opportunity to be in them!

Hiring a pro photographer should be a fun and exciting investment! Yes, it can be expensive depending on your needs, but I hope this quick breakdown will help you to understand all of the love, care and customized attention to detail that goes into your photos. My goal as a photographer is to capture memories for my clients in an art form that they will treasure for generations to come.

 

 

  taken from - https://erikariggerphotography.com/pricing-breakdown-youre-paying-hire-a-pro-photographer/