Frequently asked questions

Do I need a permit to have my wedding in a park, square or the beach?

In general, you do not need to have a permit for a simple elopement. According to the city code, permits are required if you wish to completely exclude the public from your event (not have possible onlookers or people passing by) or if you are setting up decorations or chairs or are having a public assembly of more than 100 people. However, during the wedding season, which is April through October, on the weekends (especially Saturday) many of the popular squares downtown, Forsyth Park and certain areas of the beach may already be reserved by other groups. Permit fees paid to the City of Savannah or the City of Tybee through us are NON-REFUNDABLE and must be paid IN FULL before your permit is obtained. If you choose not to have a permit for the park or the squares on Saturdays in the high wedding season, please have a back up location in mind.

If you wish to have chairs or decorations set up, you are required to have a permit from the city.

How many guests can I have at my elopement?

You can have five guests. Each guest after that requires a $25 fee. We are now capping the number of guests at 10.

Why do I have to pay extra for more than five guests?

A true elopement is a couple running off in secret to get married. We understand that you may also want to avoid the stress of a large wedding and have invited a couple of close family members or friends along. This is great! However, when there are more guests, it changes the dynamics for the photographer, officiant or musician (if there is one) to cater to a larger group. Some vendors increase their rates and we must adjust accordingly. We wish to keep things as intimate as possible.

Can I have my dog(s) in my wedding?

Yes and no. You can bring your dog to any of the downtown locations, however dogs are not allowed on Tybee Island Beach.

What if I don't like roses and want another type of flower for my bouquet and boutonniere?

You may have other flowers if you wish, but they may incur an additional fee due to the price and season. If you want to have very elaborate flowers, we can refer to you to a florist. If you choose to upgrade your flowers, the fee will be quoted and will be required to be paid in full with your deposit. Flower upgrades are usually $40-100 depending on the type of flowers desired. This fee is non-refundable after it is 30 days or less until your wedding date.

What color roses can I have?

Natural rose colors: red, white, ivory, pink (light or dark), yellow, orange and sometimes lavender (usually in the spring) are easily obtained. If you want a specific color that is outside of that range, an extra fee may be applied.

You may have a combination of two colors.

What happens if I am late to my ceremony?

Because our officiants and photographers all have other jobs, possibly other weddings to do and their own personal lives, if you have not shown up to your ceremony by a reasonable amount of time after the scheduled start time, we may not be able to perform your ceremony. Every effort will be made to go through with it however. Rescheduling may be possible. Please keep us informed of any changes or obstacles that may come up.

If you are going be late, please let us know, but please be aware that there may be another ceremony after yours.

If you are more than 30 minutes late to your wedding, we may have to reschedule or consult on what will happen.

What happens if it rains?

In the event of rain or other bad weather, there are a couple of options. If your wedding is scheduled to be downtown, there is a band shell in Forsyth Park that can be used if not otherwise occupied. There is a small gazebo in Whitefield Square. If you are staying downtown, many lodging locations will allow you to marry in their parlors or lobbies, especially in bed and breakfasts. I also have two back up locations downtown that are frequently, but not always, available. They are private property of people that I know and it will be up to them as to whether we can use their space.

On Tybee Island, there are two beach accesses with gazebos and also the Pavilion at the pier, but it is usually very crowded.

Rescheduling is an option as well. Many summer storms last only a few minutes.

Also, sometimes it is impossible to determine whether it will rain until moments before the ceremony. We are watching the weather and will advise you what to do. Try not to panic and we can handle all the details.

What are your officiants like?

While we have one main officiant that we use, we have several male and female officiants that we use to cover all times of the day and days of the week. They are a compassionate group of men and women who love to help couples unite for the rest of their lives. They have beautiful simple ceremonies for weddings, vow renewals, and commitment ceremonies.

Do I get to choose my officiant?

No. Due to the schedules of the officiants, many are not available at certain times. If you have any concerns, please address this with me. For instance, if you are having an interfaith ceremony or have your own ceremony, etc., please provide it to me as soon as you can so that I may pass it along to the officiant. If you have any other special needs or requests please let me know as soon as you can and I can see the best way to accommodate your needs.

Do I get to choose my photographer?

No. We have a small number of professional photographers that we use. Elizabeth, the owner of Elope to Savannah, is the primary photographer and has been a professional photographer since 2001. She shoots most all of the ceremonies but sometimes she has scheduling conflicts and another photographer will taker her place. All photographers are contracted through her business, One Thirty One Photo, which can be seen at onethirtyonephoto.com.

Why am I not allowed to pick out my officiant or photographer?

Elope to Savannah strives to provide a service that makes getting married as easy as possible for couples. We find that the fewer decisions you have to make and the less stuff you have to think about, the less stress there is. We aim to take care of everything for you so that all you have to do is show up with your marriage license.

Are my photos going to be edited? And about how many will I get in the end?

Yes, your photos will be professionally edited by the photographer that shoots your wedding. Usually it will be Elizabeth, the owner of Elope to Savannah, who has been a professional photographer since 2001. They will not be converted to black and white but you are free to do that whenever you get them printed or on your own computer. You will get anywhere from 100-300 photos in general depending on how your day goes and what your needs are. No major photoshopping will be done, but color balance and light adjustment will be done.

Can you arrange for me to have a larger event?

No, we are a service for elopement weddings with 10 guests maximum. To provide the best service for these very intimate weddings we are capping our numbers at 10.

How do I get my marriage license?

You must have a marriage license from a county in Georgia. If you are from out of state, please go to the Chatham County Courthouse and obtain your license. There is no waiting period. You can find all the information you need to know at chathamcourts.org/Probate-Court/Marriage-Licenses.

Can I write my own ceremony and vows?

No need to write your own ceremony. We have that taken care of. You can certainly write your own vows though!

Can I have a sand ceremony or unity candle ceremony added to my wedding?

Yes. Please let me know in advance. Though please be advised that glass containers are not allowed on the beach under any circumstances.

What time of day should I have my wedding?

The later in the afternoon, the better. Especially on the beach. I would encourage weddings 1-3 hours before sunset during the summer. The sun is very harsh during the middle of the day which makes it hard to keep eyes open for photos, and it can be extremely hot in the summer.

What should we wear?

You can wear whatever you like. You can be as casual or as formal as you want.

The wind can be very strong on the beach and we advise that you consider wearing tie clips and to avoid wearing veils as they blow off almost immediately. Of course, it is your choice; we just know how it usually is.

Do you do ceremonies for same-sex couples?

Absolutely! We are here for everyone and so glad that we can marry anyone who comes to us!

How long does it take to get my photos?

It takes about two weeks to get the photos in the mail depending on how many weddings have occurred during the past week.

Sometimes, during busy weeks, it will take longer to process your photos. Be assured that we will process the photos in the order that they were taken and we will not forget about you. We pride ourselves and the care that we put into the experience. A lot of work goes into emailing, calling, scheduling, keeping track of everyone, in addition to being at all of the elopements and shooting and editing all the photos. Please be patient and please remember we often have up to 20 clients in the stages from first contact to photo editing at any given time.

Can we have a last minute wedding?

In most cases yes. If you want to have a same day wedding, please give us a call at 912.604.5857 and as long as an officiant and a photographer (if desired) is available, we can do it. Elizabeth is also legally able to perform ceremonies and sign marriage licenses.

What options for music do I have?

We have violinists, harpists, classical guitarist, and a keyboardist/pianist available. Just ask and you can let us know what you are interested in and we can provide a quote. You also may bring your own music — iPod, CD player. Though with those, please note that the officiant or photographer will not be able to turn the music on or off for you.

Can you help us arrange for our lodging while staying in Savannah or Tybee?

No. There are many local and national hotels, inns and B&B's in town that are all amazing. I would suggest looking at yelp.com or tripadvisor.com if you are trying to determine where to stay.

What happens if a lot of our friends and family decided to come along with us to our elopement and it was not noted on our contract?

If the actual guest count differs from what is on the contract, you will be charged the extra fee per person ($15 per person) for each guest more than five guests. So if your contract says you are having two guests and you show up with 20 people, you would owe $225 in addition to your balance and photos would not be mailed as per the outline in the contract, until the total balance is paid.