Mel and Zac realized the happiest times in their lives were at small family cookouts, so they had an intimate elopement with their closest family and friends in Maryland. In this blog post, learn about how I support you with wedding photography and elopement planning, walk through what your Maryland elopement could look like, and discover the best time of year to elope in Maryland. 

The Elopement Planning Process 

During the planning process, I always spend a lot of time talking with my couples, asking them questions, and going over locations and timelines. I want to support you in making your wedding day a unique experience! While not all wedding photographers support their couples with elopement planning, it is an essential part of your elopement experience with Juliana Wall Photography.

Here are just a few ways I will support you through the elopement planning process! 

1. Location Planning: Where Do You Want to Get Married?

Some couples already know exactly where they want to get married. Then, there are others who don’t have a clue. No matter what stage you are at, I’m here to help plan out the details! 

Mel and Zac knew that they wanted to get married in Seneca Creek State Park in Maryland, but they didn’t know exactly where to take photos. We chatted about various locations in the park and came up with a game plan. I even drove out to Seneca Creek State Park the week before their wedding date to map it all out in person and see how each location looked! 

2. Location Scouting: Is Everything Good to Go?

If I can, I visit the elopement locations before each couple’s wedding date. I want to see it all in person a few weeks or days before to make sure everything is still good to go. There could be closed roads or attractions, overgrown areas, construction, etc., and we’d want to know beforehand to either work around or pivot to a Plan B if needed.  That’s why for travel elopements and weddings, I always arrive a few days before my couples’ wedding date.

When talking through locations and timelines, I stress the importance of having backup locations. We never know what the weather might be like or if something is unexpectedly closed! I know how stressful it can get when problems arise. I want to make sure that when there is a hiccup, you feel prepared.

3. Timeline Planning: What is Your Wedding Day Going to Look Like?  

There might not be as much to coordinate as a traditional wedding, but it’s still important to have a timeline to have a smooth, stress-free wedding day! I help couples plan out timelines that utilize their time with me as their photographer as efficiently as possible. 

Curious what your Maryland elopement could look like? Continue scrolling through this blog post for Mel and Zac’s Maryland elopement timeline and photos! 

Mel and Zac Get Ready for Their Maryland Elopement

Mel and Zac got ready at their home in downtown Gaithersburg. They got ready separately, so we could do a first look at Seneca Creek State Park! Mel was finishing up hair & makeup by Erika K Beauty when I arrived to start photographing their details on the back patio. A few family members hung out with them as they got ready, and I made sure to include them in their getting-ready photos. I always focus on candids of people hanging out while getting ready since those are your most important people! 

Then, Mel’s mom helped her put on her dress, and we did a sweet first look with Mel and her father. After I captured those moments, Zac and I left for Seneca Creek State Park to get into position for Mel and Zac’s first look. 

Maryland Elopement First Look in the Pine Trees

Zac and Mel wanted to have their first look in the pine trees where they also planned to hold their ceremony. Zach and I chose the spot for the first look as we were waiting for Mel to arrive (her parents drove her). I took portraits of Zac while we waited.

I was watching the parking lot where I thought Mel would come from, and neither one of us was watching in the other direction. Suddenly, we hear a twig snap and both look over to see Mel walking in the grass up to us! First of all, it startled me, but then I was also like, “Oh shit! Turn around Zac!”

We all laughed for a moment before I shifted them both into position for their first look. It was still so sweet and intimate! I always take a step back and allow my couples to have that moment really to themselves. By taking photos from afar, they can truly be present with one another. 

Wedding Couple Photos Surrounded By Nature

Being surrounded by nature on their wedding day was extremely important to both Mel and Zac, and it was important that their wedding couple photos also conveyed the beauty of nature around them. After the first look, I stepped in to direct a few poses and prompts for couples portraits in the pine trees. We wanted to utilize the empty forest before guests arrived! Then, we walked down to a nearby lake to take in the views and enjoy the outdoors a bit more before their ceremony. 

An Intimate Maryland Elopement Ceremony

Before the ceremony, we decorated the location with a few flower garlands and a cross to hang on the trees. Their closest friends and family came to join them for this special day. They exchanged personal vows and rings before sharing their first kiss as a married couple! It was so beautiful and intentional. They even had a family friend officiate their ceremony for them!

It is so nice how easy it is to elope in Maryland. If you’re interested in eloping in Maryland like Mel and Zac, check out this blog post: How to Elope in Maryland. For more support in planning your Maryland elopement and capturing your elopement photos, you can book with Juliana Wall Photography here

Maryland Elopement Family Photos

After the wedding ceremony, we immediately started family photos. I always ask my couples ahead of time for a photo list of combinations, so I can print the list and call people’s names out. Similar to a traditional wedding, I want to get through family photos as efficiently as possible. That way you can have a variety of combinations with family, but we also can get them done easily and quickly to focus on your celebrations!

Mel & Zac’s Maryland Elopement BBQ Celebration 

We made our way over to the gazebo where everyone was hanging out for Mel & Zac’s celebration. They had rented out the space for the entire afternoon through the park, so we had that section all to ourselves. When we arrived, the kids were running around on the playground, so we made a B-line for the hammock they set up in the woods off to the side. We got to get a few more unique wedding photos in the hammock sipping out of their Mr. and Mrs. Tumblers. Aren’t they fun?

People brought coolers for drinks, and Zac’s mom was setting out the desserts: homemade cupcakes, brownies, and the wedding cake she made for them with a cute cake topper. Mission BBQ brought out food and set it up on the picnic tables. It was the perfect plan for a BBQ celebration! We spent the rest of the time hanging out at the park, playing cornhole, eating good food, and enjoying good conversations. They popped bottles of champagne (and sparkling cider for the kids) to share a few words thanking everyone for joining them and doing a cheers toast! 

Juliana Wall Photography | Maryland Elopement Photographer

Check out more Maryland elopement photos at Seneca Creek State Park below!

If you are looking for a Maryland elopement photographer, I would love to work with you! Learn more about Juliana Wall Photography here

The Best Time of Year for Your Maryland Elopement

If you want a Maryland elopement, I highly recommend September! Early fall is a wonderful time to get married in state and national parks because it’s after the summer heat and before the high number of visitors that come during the peak fall season. Mel and Zach got married in September, and it was perfect. The park wasn’t too busy, and the weather was great! If you’re interested in working with Juliana Wall Photography for your elopement, you can check my availability for September here.  

Mel & Zac’s Testimonial

“Juliana was the perfect photographer for our wedding day! We wanted photos that captured the emotions of the day, but also the nature around us. She totally got our vision and our photos are exactly what we wanted. I don’t love having my photo taken, but she was able to guide us through and we got a ton of photos we love.

She also went above and beyond to help us plan the timeline, stay on track day-of, and recommend other vendors. We could not have asked for a better experience! 

She is very talented. I would recommend her to anyone!”

Want to feel like this about your elopement photographer? Book with Juliana Wall Photography here

The Amazing Vendors From This Maryland Elopement

Dress: Miss Bride to Be Bridal in Gaithersburg

Flower Crown & Dried Flowers: Etsy

Hair & Makeup: Erika K Beauty

Necklace & Earrings: Family Gifts / Heirlooms

Officiant: Family Friend 

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