After witnessing hundreds of weddings at different scales and forming lots of opinions, Joshua and his wife decided to elope in the Catskills in 2017. Luckily, this area is one of the most naturally beautiful locations on the planet, and he was able to buy a little 8 acre evergreen forest where the elopement took place. You can go that route and plan something intimate for just the two of you, or invite a few close friends and family to enjoy it with you.
If you’re looking for something more elevated, we offer customizable packages that include hiring a private chef, transportation to and from New York City, access to an officiant, hair and makeup at a world-class local salon, and/or a wedding planner to take care of all the details. Elopements can be as simple or as fancy as you’d like, and they’ll still cost a tiny fraction of what a big wedding in New York City would.
The Hudson Valley and Catskills are packed full with some of the most enchanting venues on the planet–from glamorous historic estates to summer camps; intimate mom-and-pop restaurants to storied industrial buildings. The best part? You’ll be hard-pressed to find a venue that suits your taste and doesn’t offer sweeping views of the Hudson Valley.
If you’re looking to skip the chaos of planning and pulling off a hundred-some-guest wedding, a microwedding of up to 50 guests might be more your speed. Luckily, Joshua has photographed all over the Hudson Valley and Catskills and can provide solid recommendations for microwedding venues, local vendors, and even a post-wedding hike or two.
Ready for your elopement?
Consider the following steps:
1. Determine Guest Count
(Elopement v. Tiny Wedding)
Is your elopement truly just about you and your partner, or do you imagine having a cadre of friends and family by your side? A Tiny Wedding may be a better option for those who want more supporters in tow.
2. Choose a Location
(Free v. $$)
Joshua has loads of recommendations for forested, secluded, free-to-access areas of the Hudson Valley and Catskills that make for the perfect elopement. Just ask! He also keeps a list of favorite intimate, paid venues for those interested in more traditional accommodations. It’s also worth considering how comfortable you are with other members of the public being around throughout your day.
3. Find an Officiant
(You're in luck!)
Joshua’s wife, Rebecca, is ordained in New York (and a total gem).
4. Determine the Duration
In Joshua’s experience, a true elopement in the woods can occupy ~2 hours, including hair/makeup and excluding any sort of after-wedding dinner for the two of you. A Tiny Wedding, including prep, is closer to a 4-5 hour commitment.
5. Choose Documentation
(photo and/or video)
Pics or it didn’t happen, you know? If you’d also like an elopement video to share with others down the line, Joshua can supply a dedicated videographer for the entire day while still maintaining the distance and seclusion you’re after.
6. Prioritize Food
(Personal Chef v. Restaurant)
Even if you’re not going for big-and-fancy, carving out time for your first married meal is key. Joshua can arrange for a personal chef to prepare a private dinner for two after the ceremony, or he can recommend a great restaurant near your elopement location.
7. Make an Overnight Plan
(Head Home v. Stay Over)
Want to extend your Hudson Valley or Catskills elopement for a night or two? Joshua can recommend camping, hiking, and sight-seeing locales, or connect you to the best local Airbnb hosts or boutique hotels.
8. Set Your Season
The Hudson Valley and Catskills are stunning no matter the season, but some elopement locations will lend themselves better to a hot summer day than a breezy fall evening. Joshua can make better, more photogenic location recommendations if you’ve locked in your season preference ahead of time.
9. Make Your Wishlist
(Flowers? Music? Cake?)
Even if it’s just the two of you, what elements (traditional or otherwise) will make this day look and feel exactly the way you want it to? Check out Lauren and Nick’s Hudson Valley Forest Elopement for some inspiration.
10. Assess the "New Normal"
Maybe you were planning for an elopement all along, or maybe COVID-19 put the kaibosh on your ‘dream wedding.’ Whatever the case, consider livestreaming your elopement so friends and family can safely bear witness while maintaining social distance. Joshua can advise on best streaming platforms and set everything up for you.
11. Secure Your License
Don’t wait until the last minute to sort out your marriage license. In New York State, there’s a waiting period of 24 hours between when your license is issued and when your ceremony can actually take place. Licenses are granted by the clerk’s office in any town or city, but only if you both can prove your age (via Birth Certificate, Baptismal Record, Naturalization Record, or Census Record) and establish your identity (via Driver’s License, Passport, Employment Picture ID, or Immigration Record).