2020 has been hard on all of us, but couples who spent time and money planning big weddings have been hit in a very unique and disappointing way.
Enter Caitlin Tamane, owner and Founder of VOW & Co., a wedding and elopement planning business. She’s been saving the day for couples hoping to wed in a safe, yet meaningful way. How is she does this exactly? By helping couples plan the most spectacular elopements you could dream of.
We sat down with Caitlin to learn more about the trends she has witnessed in 2020 and how her elopement business, The VOW Cabin has grown.
- We saw a lot of canceled weddings due to COVID-19, how has this affected or changed your business?
Wedding season is here and though it may look and feel different than we imagined, it’s really not stopping couples from being creative about how they will tie the knot. As couples, vendors, and venues work tirelessly to rearrange 2020 wedding plans, new ways to celebrate are on the rise and many are embracing it. As a softy for intimacy and romance, smaller wedding celebrations are on the rise and they really have had my heart for so many different reasons.
My business, like so many others, has been drastically impacted. With weddings pushed to 2021 and couples trying to understand their next steps, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions. The silver lining in all this? We have been able to hold more elopements and tiny weddings this year.
The concept of a more affordable and stress-free celebration is nothing new to the industry, but we are seeing more and more of them being offered. This is amazing news for couples, as they can now find a package, location, and budget that suits their vision. Another approach is to adopt the mentality of ‘marry now, party later’ and hold a one-year anniversary bash (really it’s just an excuse to have a big party with all the people you love).
Before COVID, I curated an elopement package to take place on Vancouver Island. I have been able to adjust that package to suit the needs of couples looking to still marry this year. Or other couples that have been waiting for a package just like this, so they can finally tie the knot!
- What is the VOW Cabin?
The VOW Cabin is an elopement and tiny wedding experience that takes place in the forest on Vancouver Island. We teamed up with a set of cabins Fern Gully Cabins that are located in Jordan River, which is about an hour from Victoria.
Once I saw the place, I knew I’d love to get married there and that is how the whole idea blossomed. Planning weddings is my jam, however, I always wanted to elope. It was my partner who wanted to have a larger wedding. I wouldn’t change a thing about our wedding – it was perfectly us. Yet, I couldn’t stop dreaming about a place deep in the forest where all you could hear was nature while you read your vows aloud. The cabins are all different and hiding amongst the ferns and large, dense forest. For the elopement package, we take care of absolutely everything and all the couple has to do is show up with their marriage licence and marrying clothes.
With all local vendors and locally sourced goods (florals, cheese and charcuterie, and cake) we are so excited about all couples who tie the knot at The VOW Cabin.
Couples arrive 2 hours before their ceremony time, the bride or brides have their hair and makeup done in their cabin. After that, we get the couple ready to say their vows. After a personalized ceremony, couples spend time taking photos, drinking bubbly, cutting their cake, and enjoying a local cheese and charcuterie board. Finally, the couples get the stay the night in the sweetest cabin.
The cabins are also located very close to so many amazing hikes and ocean views. This allows the photographer to get a variety of shots and locations, without having to travel too far. We offer this package at an all-inclusive price that makes it easy for couples and a comfortable investment for a beautiful elopement experience.
- When did you pivot your wedding planning business to be more centered around elopements or has it always included elopement as an option?
We absolutely love all kinds of celebrations and we have always offered both large and small wedding planning services. However, couples choose to celebrate, we always work to make it feel as personal as possible. Whether they have 100 guests or 2 – we go through the same process to make sure the wedding feels and looks exactly the way each couple envisions it.
- What does the elopement planning process look like?
Elopement planning can feel just as thorough as full planning. It’s always important for us to really understand exactly what it is couples are hoping to achieve. We work with couples to put together a vision board after we get to know the couple and see any inspiration photos that they’ve been collecting.
The first big step is finding a location. Typically, we have seen couples gravitating towards locations that have a pre-existing natural backdrop. Whether it’s a mountain, forest, or body of water – all these places can serve as the perfect place to say “we do”. This also helps to alleviate the extra costs associated with decor. We will go to each of these possible elopement locations, together if possible and we would run the couple through what we were thinking for the space.
After we decide on a location, we put together a team of vendors that is going to execute the day perfectly for the couple based on their style, personality, and overall vision. Sometimes elopements end up taking place over a few days and are not just an isolated event – which makes the planning process even more fun and enjoyable for the couples and us planners.
- How many guests can you have at an elopement?
True elopements mean you and your partner ‘run off’ to marry each other, with witnesses or just the two of you.
Modern elopements mean couples might choose to celebrate with close friends or a few family members. Or they may be considering a tiny wedding consisting of 15-20 guests where the feeling is still intimate, yet they have all your nearest and dearest there to celebrate the love story. It is important to note that when couples are speaking with vendors and planning an elopement versus a tiny wedding that they are upfront about the number of guests attending. As soon as couples start telling family members or friends the marrying plans, they will want to attend – by keeping the planner or vendors in the loop, they can be better prepared for the change in experience.
- What are some of the benefits to eloping?
Oh my… where do I even start?!
Consider eloping like the best first date ever that is perfectly planned with all your favourite activities, food, beverages, and of course, the love of your life! There is no strict timeline or guests wondering why you haven’t walked down the aisle yet. It’s a day dedicated to you and your partner-for-life hanging out and making the sweetest promises. Eloping can be adventurous or romantic, simple or lavish, in nature or your favourite coffee shop – the possibilities are endless!
Other benefits include:
-can be done anywhere
-no time constraints
-no seating plans (!!)
- What is some advice you would give to two people looking to tie the knot?
Before you start your planning, write down 3 must-haves for your wedding. Whether it’s a live band, outdoor space, or extra photography time – you can always come back to remembering what you wanted when you initially started. Create a Pinterest board or save photos once you get engaged and start talking with your partner about your wedding. The photos or inspiration doesn’t have to be cohesive, just photos of weddings you love, photos that capture the feeling you want, and anything else that looks like you would want to have it at your wedding.
Hire a planner, if you’re able. A planner provides you with insight and is able to bring your vision to life. Planners are also really great at understanding what’s important to you and making it happen in a realistic and budget-friendly way. We are there with you for the planning journey, someone to have your back and bounce ideas off of. Think of us like your Wedding 101 Manual but friendly with a sense of humour and most importantly someone who is going to take care of the details, so you don’t have to.
- What other trends have you seen come out of 2020 for the wedding industry?
Trends in the wedding industry are usually surrounding decor, floral arrangements, and outfits. This year trends more have to do with couples’ and their ability to adjust to the current climate. There are so many more backyard weddings and using pre-existing gardens or architecture as decor. Florists are also able to use pre-existing structures or decks for floral installations.
Small weddings otherwise known as tiny or micro weddings have become a trend out of necessity. We really hope this is here to stay! Vendors feel more connected to their couples when the celebration is intimate and we love planning these types of events. Photographers are able to spend more time with just the couple and capture even more moments. Tiny weddings tend to be more resourceful and creative as the bulk of the wedding budget is not being dedicated to food and drink for 100 + guests.
As we look to the future of weddings and elopements, we hope these new trends are here to stay. This will add another dimension to the industry and give couples the opportunity to really consider their options if they are having a wedding or elopement. Don’t get me wrong, we love a good, big wedding however we also love the push towards variety in ways to celebrate. Every couple is different and the way they choose to marry should be too!
Photos by: Secret Waters Photo.