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8 Tips for Outdoor Adventure Elopements

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8 Tips for Outdoor Adventure Elopements

Being a hiker, mountain biker, backpacker, and all things mother nature lovin’, outdoor elopements are my soft spot.

With some experience, I have put together some little tips for any of you couples out there planning to elope or have an intimate wedding outside with a handful of friends and family.


  1. Find a more intimate location

    If you want the ceremony to feel intimate and personal, try and find a location that isn’t very popular. There’s a handful of places that are really well known and have become crowded with photo sessions, engagements, and elopements. This is true all over the country for lots of different natural spaces.

    If you want to be more likely to have the space to yourself, choose a spot that isn’t well known and requires some effort to get to. If you are having family members attend I know this can be difficult, but if it’s just the two of you and you’re willing to hike a bit, I think it is 100% worth it.

    If you are unable to do the exploring yourselves, find a videographer or photographer who know the land and are willing to scout locations for you.

    You could also find and book a vacation rental that will allow you to use the land for your elopement. I’ve had multiple couples choose this options so that they know their day will be private.


  2. Wear proper clothing

    Wear comfortable shoes and pack warm layers (if needed) that you don’t mind being in the video/photos. Also make sure your clothing is something you feel comfortable hiking in. Comfort is key for a fully enjoyable experience, at least it is for me!

  3. Enjoy the journey to your final ceremony destination

    Making a trip out of your elopement? Plan a few stops along the way to really make the most out of your time together. Your elopement experience doesn’t just have to be the day you are married and have cameras around. Enjoy the entire trip and make the most of it!

    I’ve had a couple travel up from Florida and stay at 3 different spots along the way, doing different fun activities before they even got to NC for their actual ceremony.

  4. Plan for a time that isn’t as busy
    In public locations sunset is way more popular than sunrise. Weekends are way more popular than week days. Certain seasons are busier than others depending on where you are. If you want to use a popular spot, try planning your elopement at a time when it usually isn’t as busy. It is a lot less likely that very many people will be there before dawn, because most of us like to stay in bed and catch as many z’s as we can get! Plus, how often do you see the sunrise together? Also, you’re eloping, so take advantage of week days where more people are working and less are out in the woods. You don’t have to worry about anyone else attending and having weekends off.


  5. Research the rules and regulations of your location
    Many outdoor locations have rules and regulations on what is allowed for weddings. Be sure to do your research on what is and isn’t ok. You might need a permit, might not be allowed to have live flowers, and might have to avoid a few locations when planning your perfect spot.


    Respecting those natural spaces are important.

  6. Hire a videographer and/or photographer whose personalities you love just as much as their work

    If you are eloping in a small group, the people you surround yourself with are that much more important. They should feel like comforting friends to you because you are going to be spending your elopement day with them directly. Make sure you’re investing in people that you enjoy.

  7. Embrace the weather

    It could rain, it could snow, it could be hella windy. Who knows what the weather will really do, so if you plan to get married outdoors, just let the weather be whatever it will be and enjoy it. There is no controlling it and no point worrying about it. Plus your video/photos will turn out even more unique with imperfect weather circumstances.

    A handful of my couples have just gotten drenched in the middle of a rainstorm and have left their day happier than ever because we rarely dance in and enjoy the rain. It helps the day feel more special and magical. It brings you to the present moment.

  8. Take time to enjoy the view

    Plan some time to just sit and be in the place you decided to elope. There’s a reason you chose it, and it is most likely because it is beautiful and inspirational to you. Don’t just go there, do the thing, and leave. Just plan some time with everyone to just sit and not do anything other than enjoy the moment. No video-ing, not photos, just be.



    Extra Tip: If you are hiring a videographer and they are recording any audio, be aware of the sounds in the locations you choose. Waterfalls, lots of hikers, road noise, etc. can all add unwanted background noise to your audio. Make sure to talk to your videographer about this to plan the perfect location for clean audio.

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Why I offer RAW footage to my couples

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Why I offer RAW footage to my couples

Evergreen Era Films at work

What is RAW footage?

RAW footage is all of the unedited video files, straight from the camera. It does not include any post production work like color grading, stabilization, slow motion, etc.


So here's the thing - I started out my career as a photographer. And as a photographer, providing the unedited photos to your clients would be the silliest thing. It would, in theory, be a "worse" version of the final image. Pointless right?
When I began shooting video I took this idea with me. My first year in business I didn't offer RAW footage at all and I also couldn't understand why any other videographers would give away the unedited footage they took. I truly thought that as a creative, we should only provide our best work to our clients. Therefore the unedited footage is just the first step of the process - why would I ever give someone that?

But, with time and experience comes new knowledge, and for this I am very thankful.

Throughout that first year of business I started to notice that I continually had some footage that didn't quite fit in the stylized short films I created for my couples. They wouldn't fit for many reasons including things like the clips being too long, not fitting with the flow of emotions I was creating, or simply not having enough time to include them in amidst everything else.

I began to realize that these moments are things that a couple might really enjoy having to remember their day by. Even though they aren't perfect, when it comes down to it, they are their memories, plain and simple. I set my ego aside as a creative and decided that this was a service I could provide to better care for my couples and to more fully preserve their wedding day experience. Plus I still get to create the beautiful, flowing, emotional films that I'm proud of. In my opinion it was a win-win choice.

 

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Here's a response I got from one of our brides:

I wanted to holla out and let you know that we went through our raw footage drive yesterday and are so grateful we have a copy of these clips! They are all like little home movies of our day, and they go so much farther beyond the cinematic film + all of our photos to really give a peek into the vibe we were in on our day. Thank you once again for sharing your gift with us, and for giving us this immortalized look at the happiest day of our lives to cherish and re-live forever <3
— Kat

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After the Wedding Day - Interviews of Real Couples - Kelsey + Alex

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After the Wedding Day - Interviews of Real Couples - Kelsey + Alex

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Kelsey and Alex Wood

Wedding date: December 2, 2017

Venue: getting ready @ The Windsor Hotel
wedding @ The Venue

 

Q: When did you know you wanted to get married?

Pretty soon after we started dating. Alex quickly became my best friend and someone that I knew I did not want to spend my life without.

 

Q: What was your favorite part of the wedding day? 

Everything!! It was so amazing to have friends and family all in the same place at the same time celebrating with us.

 

Q: Did you do anything different and non-traditional for your wedding? If so, what was it and why? 

I am not really sure honestly. We had our dog at the altar with us which was the best decision we made! It is so incredible looking back at our photos and video and her in being in them with us.

 

Q: Is there anything you would change about your wedding day if you could?

The only thing is that I want to do it all over again!

 

Q: Has married life been any different than your life before? If so, how? 

I don't think so, but in a good way. Life has been a little stressful since our wedding due to outside factors so it's just been nice to know I always have my rock at the end of the day.

 

Q: How did you react to watching your wedding film?

I loved it immediately!! I was laughing and crying at the same time. It was incredible to be able to feel the emotion of our day through the video.

 

Q: Are you glad your hired a professional videographer for your wedding day? If so, why?

YES! Our pictures did a great job of capturing the emotion of our day, but it was still nothing compared to hearing our voices and seeing the actual footage. It brought our day back to life and I couldn't imagine not having this to remember our day with! Not to mention, Kathryn and Ian were so much fun to work with!!


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4 important things to consider when hiring a videographer for your wedding/elopement

Evergreen Era Films- Behind the scenes

Do they make you feel comfortable?

Do they make you feel comfortable?

More likely than not, you're not the Kardashian family, so having someone follow you around with a camera isn't going to feel normal to you. A majority of the time when people get a camera pointed at them, the reaction is one of absolute frozen terror or just plain awkwardness right? You know you've felt it before, especially when you know it's full-on video and not just a photo.

 Therefore I think the most important thing you can do for yourself and for the film you are paying money for, is to find a videographer who automatically makes you feel comfortable - Someone who you can easily get along with, someone who makes you laugh, who seems easygoing, and in general who you would want around you on your wedding day. This is key for you to be able to relax, sink in to the moments, and get real and honest moments captured on film. 

So how do you know if they make you feel comfortable? This is why #2 is so important as well...

 

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Do they want to get to know you?

Do they want to get to know you?

The more you get to know someone the more comfortable you are with them. Plain and simple right?

Therefore when a vendor does more than just ask for details and take your money, they aren't just trying to take up your time. It's not like "busy work" that you used to get in middle school.

I have all of my couples fill out a questionnaire based upon questions I have personally chosen and crafted together to get to know them on a deeper level.  I also make it a priority to meet the couple over video chat and/or in person before the wedding day. This way, when I show up to your wedding day, I'm also a friend you already know and not just a vendor there to do the job and peace out. There is a level of trust that is created when someone really wants to know you and I think trusting someone with these intimate moments should be a priority.

Also, the more we know about you, again, the more honest to who you are your wedding film is going to be. Win/win!

 

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Do their values align with yours?

Do their values align with yours?

I like to say this at times in relation to this idea - "You vote with your dollars". Do you want to support shopping small? Do you want to support female owned businesses? Do you want to support eco-friendly businesses? Do you want to support inclusive and equality focused businesses? Do you want to support progressive and non-traditional ways of celebrating marriage?

When it comes to your wedding, looking for vendors who align with your beliefs is a powerful way to support communities and ideas you want to uplift. What better way to do it than amidst the celebration of your love? (Evergreen Era films is all of those categories above, so if you just kept saying "YES!" to those questions above, hit me up!)

But also, sometimes you aren't going to know what a vendors values are. Feel free to ask. Of course, in the south, there are a lot of Christian wedding vendors, so if you aren't religious this is something you would probably want to avoid. Aligning values with your videographer, who is literally going to create a representation of your day for you, is a powerful thing.

 

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Do you like their previous work?

Do you like their previous work?

This last one is pretty straight forward. You should like their previous work. Even better, you should love it. This comes back down to trust again (a quality I deeply value), knowing that if your videographer does what they do best, you are going to love your film. What could be better than that?

Being able to rest in the knowledge from the very beginning that your money was well spent. Because honestly, when it comes down to it, we are all unique creators, each videography team, and we can't be or do what other people do as well as we can just be and do what is natural to us. Our work looks different for a reason. Our shooting styles are different for a reason. Our song choices are different for a reason. Choose the one your drawn to the most and let that person create for you in a way that is authentic and true to who they are. You just can't go wrong with that choice.

 

If you feel drawn to our style and our values, contact us here to learn more

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Announcing: The Untamed Elopement Collective

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Announcing: The Untamed Elopement Collective

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The team of Kathryn Ray (me), Shannon & Andrew Horton from Fox & Owl Studio, and Stephanie Forshee of Little Wild Bloom


THE UNTAMED ELOPEMENT COLLECTIVE WAS FORMED OUT OF A DESIRE FOR MORE.

MORE CREATIVITY. MORE INDIVIDUALITY. MORE MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, MORE LOVE.

 We are a group of creatives that trust, work best with, and love the heck out of one another. We respect, value and honor each other's art. We find that our hearts come alive in elopements. They allow us to get to know our couples on a deeper, more personal level and, in turn, provide us the time and creative freedom to make our best work. 

For our couples, we believe in the beautiful space eloping provides, allowing you to embrace the day more fully.  We are eager to encourage you to willfully let go of expectations and do what fits your unique relationship. We want you to throw traditions to the wind and embrace your authentic selves. We want to take the weight of planning off your shoulders and let your focus on the purpose of your marriage.


Above all else, we want you to be surrounded by a community of people during your elopement day who aren't just doing their job, but people who genuinely care for you. We will be there to cheer you on, help you get dressed, pour you a glass of champagne and shed a few happy tears right alongside you. We want to be there for you every step of the way.

We hope that you walk away from your ceremony filled to the brim with love and ready to begin your newest adventure.

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Why Wedding Vendors Should Stop Commenting on the Looks of their couples

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Why Wedding Vendors Should Stop Commenting on the Looks of their couples

This is going to be tough for a lot of people to hear...
But it's time for me to share an observation that I think needs to change.

Statements like "Aren't they beautiful?",  "Look how gorgeous", "These two are babes", "They are the freaking cutest", are overwhelmingly common these days in relation to wedding or elopement photos. You know you've seen it, you might have even done it yourself. But here's why I think you should think twice before you combine statements like that - especially with the photos of white, hetero, thin couples.

First things first: I'm a firm believer in the power of language. The words we use and don't use form our cultures and alter our perceptions. I don't believe "free speech" is at stake due to the compassion it requires to use inclusive and connective language rather than destructive and divisive words. The fact that we have politically correct terminology is proof that we are moving forward as a culture to recognize the variance in the human experience and are purposefully sensitive to the weight of that change. Free speech to me does not mean you can say whatever the heck you want and that political correctness is holding us back from saying the "honest" things. That is hate speech.

So now that that's clear - let's talk about beauty.

The media is a mix of visual imagery and words, and therefore could have an even more powerful effect on culture than just words. This is what we are a part of every day as wedding vendors on social media now - we are creating the culture around weddings with our images and our words.

So when we post pictures of white, hetero, thin couples and mainly focus on their looks, all we are doing is perpetuating the long-held and incorrect belief that people who look like that are the most beautiful.

If that's what your clients mainly look like, do you really believe that to be the truth? I doubt you do, and I hope you don't. If you do, I don't know how to reach you quite yet... So mainly, I'm sure it's really nothing you've ever thought of before because that's all you've ever been taught and shown in media. Plus it's easy to just talk about surface level looks when we want to post a picture of something we just created, right? We want to share it with the world and we think it's beautiful, what does it hurt? But I'm asking you to think a bit harder about what your putting out there and it's effect on people.  At this point I'm practically begging it, because the fact that there is only one magazine I know of that makes it a priority to talk about all aspects of the wedding day other than looks AND includes couples of all colors, shapes, sizes, and looks is proof that we are still in a standstill on beauty expectation in the wedding industry.
Shouldn't weddings, a celebration centered around love and connection be inclusive to all people?
(Shoutout to Catalyst Wedding Co. - I'm so thankful for you!)

So, what can you do?
For a start, instead of talking about the visual aspect of a couples wedding, talk about what they said, how they acted, moments that connected with you - literally anything else. I honestly think it would be better to just say nothing at all rather than comment on their looks.
If you want to go further, make diversity in your portfolio a priority.

Our words and our images are powerful - why don't we try and use them as a force for good instead of perpetuating the same self-deprecating and unrealistic standards our consumeristic culture has been pushing for so long now.

Inclusivity, self-love, and connection are well worth it, I promise you.
 

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The Simple Guide for a Healthy Relationship with Social Media

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Oh social media....It's a love/hate relationship right?
There's even science to back up why we are so addicted - we literally get a dopamine release when we check our phones. It's wild...

Ian and I talk about the woes of the young adults growing up in this age frequently.
He, as a teacher, experiences it first hand every day with his students... 

I didn't get a smart phone until the end of college and now children have them by middle school at least...
So instead of fighting something that we feel we can't really fight, how do we use it to our advantage?
How can social media be a good thing?


I think that if we choose our interactions properly and with purpose, social media can be a tool for growth, connection, and education. We just have to make the conscious effort to make it that way. 



1. Take notice - start recognizing how you feel after social media scrolls or even after certain pictures pop up. Do the images make you compare yourself to others? Do you feel like you have wasted all that time? Do you just feel like shit a little bit deep down? Empty and bleh? This is how you know it is time for a change.

My experience: I was constantly comparing myself to other peoples work on social media for a long time. I especially envied those who looked like their life was just a breeze, traveling all the time and doing all these fun things. Isn't that annoying when thats how people represent themselves but don't talk about their background? Like WHAT THE HECK DO YOU DO TO MAKE MONEY PEOPLE?!?! It was infuriating to me. Once I started to notice all these feelings I knew it was time to make a change.

 

2. Find purpose - Start recognizing those posts that uplift you and make you feel better about your life. Start READING CAPTIONS! I know, I said it, crazy right? But that's where all the good stuff lives in Instagram if people are putting effort into it. If the post doesn't serve a purpose to you, why waste your time? 

My experience: Honestly, I'm sick of half-assed captions. And I'm really sick of following wedding industry vendors who only talk about how beautiful everyone and everything is when all the people look the same -white, thin, & "attractive" - (There will be a blog post on this topic soon...). Diversity is important to me, it is a priority.
My friend Tyler McCall taught me that I need to inspire, educate, or entertain people with my posts so this is what I look for in other peoples posts. Could you imagine if everyone was this intentional? Some people just want to look at pretty pictures, but I want some depth ya'll. 

 

3. Weed it out - start unfollowing. You don't have to do a big sweep all at once but as you spend time on social media, start unfollowing as you notice things that aren't serving you. 

My experience: Just let it go - I know it's hard when you are running a business specifically and you feel like you need to be connected to certain people in the industry, but this is where you decide what is more important. For me, my own sanity and healthy relationship with something so common now is way more important to me than just following people "I should follow". Sometimes I will go and like a few things on peoples pages I don't follow for business, but then I let it go if I don't see any more purpose in their message.

 

4. Rebuild - Think about what you want to be learning, what messages you want to be seeing, & how you want social media to positively re-wire your brain. Then start building that sort of feed for you to experience when you pop online.

My experience: For me this has mainly been making sure I see different types of people - different ethnicities, larger bodies, different sexual orientations. The more I see these things, and read posts by these people, the more I fight against societal norms of beauty and normality.
I also make sure to follow people who bring peace to my day and ground me with their words. People who educate me with their experiences and women who are inspiring me to be stronger and not making me feel less than.

 

 

 

Make your interactions purposeful.

Make your time worthy.

Give yourself some grace and some love instead of forcing constant comparison into your mind.

 

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