Many months ago, this couple reached out to book their March 2020 Boston City Hall elopement. An Arnold Arboretum elopement was not the original plan. We set a date with plans for an intimate ceremony consisting of them, me, the JP, and their toddler son. Then, the world changed. The COVID-19 pandemic hit our city and we went into lockdown. This couple was just the beginning of many delayed weddings over the course of 2020.
Do you remember when we all thought the lockdown would be a month or two and we would be back to normal? Hard to remember as we sit almost a year later, entering another surge. Spring turned into Summer and City Hall was still closed for wedding ceremonies. When they finally began marrying couples again, there were no additional guests allowed. Not only would their son not be able to be present, they also couldn’t have a photographer document their special day.
We waited and waited, and kept in communication, and waited some more. Boston and the rest of the world figured out how to social distance, get zoom-call-savvy, and manage working and caring for children simultaneously. Many couples who had planned large wedding celebrations were postponing a year or two into the future. This couple had always wanted an intimate elopement. They just *also* wanted their son there and photographs of the occasion!
An outdoor elopement had not been in the forefront of this couple’s mind initially. After all, they were planning to tie the knot in March in Boston! March is not New England’s finest weather month. When Summer turned into Fall and restrictions were tightening rather than relaxing, we pivoted. Why not get married outdoors? They began to plan an Arnold Arboretum elopement.
Well under the social gathering maximums, they invited the local grandparents. The eight of us crossed our fingers and toes for good weather. Their wedding day was overcast and misting but fairly warm. The mist seemed to make the peak of foliage even more vibrant against the grey skies. The Arnold Arboretum was in its full Autumn foliage glory!
If I was going to choose a spot to get married in during a pandemic, the Arnold Arboretum would be one of my top choices. Large and quiet, it’s the perfect park to find a place to socially distance. There is always some tree or flower looking beautiful and it gets gorgeous sunset light! If you’re inviting a small number of guests, there is plenty of room to spread out and stay within the CDC distancing guidelines.
If you’re not familiar with the Arboretum, it can be a little overwhelming to choose a location. At a size of 265 acres, you can’t possibly check it all out in person. This couple and I ended up chatting about some of my favorite spots to photograph couples and families. The week prior to their ceremony day, they went and walked around and settled on a favorite spot. We ended up adjusting the spot they chose slightly when we arrived. Autumn colors can be finicky and flexibility is key in choosing the ideal location!
If you get married in City Hall, you’re traveling (by foot or car) to a different location for your portraits. While being in a city makes it fairly easy to find a local spot, what could be better than not having to go anywhere at all?? With an Arnold Arboretum elopement, you’re literally already there. After this couple’s ceremony had ended, the grandparents played soccer while we wandered about 10 feet for couple and family portraits!
Not doing any traveling allowed them to maximize their 90 minutes of photography coverage. Win, win, win!
Did your 2020 wedding day get cancelled? Consider an Arnold Arboretum elopement!
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