A seriously glam surprise elopement by Neely and Ryan in Memphis, TN was one for the books. They surprised their closest family and friends with an intimate ceremony on the Mississippi River…everyone thought they were showing up for the engagement party :) I wish more people were considering wild ways to have a wedding or elopement. The surprise ceremony was literally to die for. Unforgettable. I admire them for actually doing what they wanted to do and have some of my favorite moments below:

Getting Ready in Harbortown, Memphis

Ryan got ready at a friend’s house, while Neely got ready at their townhouse in Harbortown. Her wedding dress was all Princess Leia vibes, paired with Gucci platform heels and a pink feather in her hair. I’ve never seen a wedding getup like this before…now I’m wishing I’d thrown some Sci-Fi into my own wedding attire. So glam.

Downtown Engagement Party, or Riverfront Elopement?

Neely and Ryan very subtly tricked their lovely family and friends into thinking this was merely an engagement party, but…it turned out to be a surprise elopement complemented by a cinematic sunset (I honestly can’t find any other word to describe it, and you’ll see what I mean in a second).

While the family got their emotions under control, we created some epic elopement portraits that Neely had in mind. This is so important: you have to be able to trust your photographer. And you have to be able to come to the table with your own ideas- this is a game changer. I highly recommend making sure you and your elopement photographer can create together.

Once everyone was ready, we hopped on golf carts and proceeded toward the Mississippi river. A Memphis ceremony in October can be so hit or miss weather wise, but these two lucked OUT, because it was perfect.

The Surprise Elopement Reception

After the ceremony we travelled back to the house, where delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks were served by Paradox Catering. Everything was set up and waiting for their friends to arrive for the “engagement party”. Neely’s house was filled with sparkling disco balls and crazy floral arrangements from The Mane Wildling, and the whole house felt like a dream. I still can’t believe this elopement turned micro reception was real. Everyone was so ecstatic, I had so much fun watching their reactions as they walked in. Honestly, I spent the rest of the night just documenting the candid reactions of their favorite people. Sometimes a surprise happens and lots of people had had a feeling it wasn’t what it seemed…not here. These folks were SHOCKED.

To be a part of Neely and Ryan’s surprise elopement in Memphis was such an honor. No matter what your plans are for a small wedding or elopement, you need a photographer who can operate on a whim, stand next to you as your friend, and has zero qualms about getting in the middle of things to capture a reaction. If this is you, shoot me an email- let’s get this shindig on the books!

Contact me here :)

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