TOP 5 REASONS TO HAVE AN EAST COAST ADVENTURE ELOPEMENT/MICRO WEDDING
April 25, 2022
Jake grew up in the west (Colorado, Alaska + Oregon) and I lived in Colorado for about 6 years. We love Colorado, Utah, the PNW and all of the west coast for real, but we live in the east now (for the past 6 years) and have found a lot of beauty here too that we’d love to share with you all. We love our elopements and micro/intimate weddings out west, but we also love our east coast ones. The east coast has lots of different types of scenery and landscapes to adventure, like waterfalls, mountaintops, dense forests and even waterfront.
There are many reasons to elope or have a micro/intimate wedding in the east coast over the west, but here are our top 5 reasons.
1. IT’S MORE SECLUDED (in a lot of locations)
We know many of our couples want to have a more private elopement ceremony so they can say their vows to each other alone and without an audience. The east coast definitely has less people at the national and state parks compared to out west (depending on the location and time of year of course). This is not saying it can’t be busy, but from what we have seen during the middle of the week, there’s a lot less people than there would be in say, Moab. Moab, RMNP, Zion, Bryce and a lot of the national parks can take a long time to get into if you aren’t there before sunrise to get in and if you aren’t having a sunrise ceremony, you won’t want to be there all day. And many of the parks won’t save your spot…if they get full, they are full and won’t let you in even if you have a permit.
Some state parks are less busy too, so you can opt for a state park if you want less people around. We also will scout for secret spots or less used spots for the ceremony if you are wanting to be more secluded for your vows and ceremony.
Weekends are always going to be busier than the weekdays, though, so if you are planning on a specific location that is crazy busy during the weekends during a certain time of year (summer/fall), we would say to opt for the middle of the week. Most of the locations we go to won’t have any people at all at them.
2. YOU CAN SAVE SOME MONEY(+/or put more $ to what you want to do)
We know not everyone can afford an expensive elopement or intimate wedding. We have also found that our couples who want a more intimate experience, also want to have more unique days (including rafting trips, brewery/distillery tours, hiking, etc). We have found some ways to cut costs or even moving those costs to other activities. It all depends on what you want and what you want to do.
One of the ways to decreasing cost is having an elopement or intimate wedding in the east coast, at a lesser visited national/state park. We have lots of clients in the Pittsburgh, NYC, DC areas. Traveling to spots close to us can be a lot cheaper overall. Weddings in NYC cost an average of about $77k (according to The Knot in 2018) and 40,800 for DC (according to WeddingWire in 2022). There are so many ways to cut costs by getting out of the city.
THINK ABOUT THE VENDORS + YOUR WANTS/NEEDS:
CEREMONY LOCATION: Some locations are free and some have very minimal costs, whether it be a permit cost or cost within a park. Most permit costs aren’t bad at all and you are supporting the national and state parks, which is a win/win in our book. You can even opt to have a ceremony in a backyard with a beautiful view, which helps lower costs.
MUSIC: We have had more live music at micro and intimate weddings which can be costly depending on how long and who you book. We have even friends/family who controlled the music which helps with costs. Elopements don’t typically have music involved aside from an iphone with a speaker for an intimate dance and some ambiance while getting ready and during dinner and a campfire.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Lots of places nearby are cheaper than the west coast/mountain areas out west. Acadia and other popular areas can get more expensive, but still probably less most places to rent in Colorado/Utah. Many of the local rental companies also allow weddings/events as opposed to Airbnb/VRBO rentals.
TRAVEL+TRANSPORTATION: There are many east coast locations that are super close to larger airports, making it easier to get to the spots. With some east coast locations being a little remote, it can mean more difficulty finding easy transportation though (if you need a van or shuttle service). There are still options most of the time.
FOOD/DRINKS: Since smaller weddings have much less people, it’s easier for you to choose to go all out or pull back on the food/drinks. The choice is yours. If you go to a lesser visited place, a lot of times, the costs will be lower than if you were in a busier place (especially the city).
HAIR+MAKEUP: Depending on your needs and how many people want to get their hair+makeup done, smaller areas can be cheaper. One thing is that it can be more difficult to get vendors in the area if it’s a smaller town. We tend to bring more vendors from the DC/Pittsburgh areas if we can’t find local options.
FLORAL/DESIGN/PLANNING: Depending on your wants and needs, you can choose to go all out or dial it back. We have planners/florists/designers that we have worked with that can work within all different budgets and we can suggest those vendors for you. We also have had clients do their own table flowers/greenery, but we suggest to use professionals more for their knowledge of keeping the flowers alive and creativity. We even think that dried florals (in fall and winter mostly) can be amazing! It all just depends on your budget and what is important to you. Even if it’s just the two of you, a beautiful bouquet + boutonnière helps to make it feel like your wedding day is special. Some florists/planners have minimums and we can suggest vendors that could work.
CLOTHING/DRESS/SUITS/SHOES: There are so many options for quality clothing and shoes. There are lots of last minute deals online and at local boutiques also if you are looking for that. Some of our couples might plan their day more last minute, so what to wear can be stressful sometimes. Here are some awesome stores that could work for your day:
OFFICIANTS/LICENSES: We tend to suggest family/friends more to be officiants and we can also officiate your day (if it’s an elopement with just the 2 of you), so that keeps the cost down. The local licenses are super cheap too and aren’t very expensive in most places.
3. LESS TRAVEL TIME TO GET TO SOME LOCATIONS
Many of the locations out west are more remote and take more time to get to, whether it be by flying or driving (or both).
Don’t get us wrong, it’s fun to be super remote for elopements and intimate weddings. Sometimes you want things to be more accessible though, especially if you have some older guests or guests that can’t travel easily. When you are in Bryce or somewhere else similar like Zion, it takes flights (a couple possibly) and rental cars to get there. Even if you want to go to the mountains in Colorado, it takes 1-2 flights and at least an hour or more of driving (sometimes lots more to get to the mountains). Most of the east coast locations are pretty close to larger airports (within 2-3 hours).
We live about 2 hours from Dulles, Reagan, Charlottesville, and Pittsburgh airports (also some smaller airports) so there are lots of options nearby if you wanted an elopement in Dolly Sods, Blackwater Falls, Spruce Knob, Swallow Falls, Shenandoah National Park and Deep Creek areas (and some other nearby spots).
4. YOU CAN SEE LESSER KNOWN LOCATIONS
We live in a spot that is lesser known to many people, but it has lots of beautiful options that allow more seclusion. We rarely see other people out on the trails when we have had hiking elopements and ceremonies on mountain tops. If we do, it isn’t many and they never hinder anything. It just feels so intimate and a great way to show new places to each other and your loved ones. Maybe they wouldn’t ever see a certain place if you didn’t plan your wedding there. We love that.
5. THERE’S MORE VARIETY OF BACKDROPS
Most of the time, when you choose some locations out west, you only have mountains (epic ones though), canyons or valleys to choose from to have the photos of the two of you alone because the terrain can be a lot more spread out and more tough to cross (higher altitudes aren’t easy for everyone to navigate). It can take a lot longer to see the different terrain (though not all spots take forever…just a lot of them). ;)
There are so many spots in the east coast that include waterfalls, hiking to mountain overlooks, dense forests and coastal areas all around the same area, with less travel/hiking needed.
Some cool east coast spots:
Shenandoah National Park
New River Gorge
Deep Creek Lake area (Swallow Falls)
Acadia National Park
Cape Cod/Martha’s Vineyard
Great Smoky Mountains
Of course there are spots like this out west (like in Colorado, Oregon, Utah, California and Washington), but the east coast can be easier to navigate them all in a day with less mileage to have to cover. There are so many choices and options for making your day the real day that you want. We’re here to help with it all and help make it the day you want.