Underwater Elopement at Ichetucknee Springs State Park in Florida

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, eloping has become a more popular way to get married, and we had the honor of photographing Christian and Ellise’s underwater elopement at Ichetucknee Springs in Fort White, Florida a few weeks ago! Small elopement such as Christian and Ellise’s help to lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure, follow county/state mandates, and keep vulnerable family members safe. However, eloping is so much more than a responsible way to throw a wedding; it’s an intimate celebration of love where couples get more time to enjoy their day together without the jam-packed calendar of a traditional wedding. Elopements allow for couples to incorporate their loves, hobbies, and personalities and tailor their wedding day uniquely to them. Eloping also allows for the creation of more stunning wedding portraits as we aren’t limited to only 20 minutes of formals. I LOVE elopements for their intimacy, playfulness, and ease of customization.

underwater elopement during COVID-19 pandemic at Ichetucknee Springs State Park in Fort White Florida

When I met Christian & Ellise (via Zoom), they told me how special the springs were to them and how they wanted to pick a day to elope at one. We connected over how my husband and I also eloped at the springs (eight years ago?!) and how we still feel like it was the best decision ever. I asked them questions to learn more about their goals and we decided that one of the North Central Florida springs would be the best choice. We also discussed LNT (leave no trace) and how to create amazing images without damaging the environment around us. They were so easy and fun to create with that I knew their day would be epic (spoiler: I was correct).

Right as the park opened, we ran in and set up for a first look. While we were waiting, a gorgeous river otter showed up and swam a lap around us! It was the first time I had ever seen an otter at this particular spring and it felt so special. As Ellise made her way down the stairs, I could see how excited and nervous they both were. First looks are so intimate and lovely- I’m always thankful when I have an opportunity to capture one!

After they spent some moments together, admiring the beautiful scenery and each other, we went straight to the ceremony. Will, my husband, officiated. He spent so many hours looking for perfect quotes and trying to tailor the ceremony to Christian & Ellise. At this point, only 2 swimmers were our companions at the park. After the kiss announcing the two of them husband and wife, we started formal images. Then, the fun really started…we jumped in the water for some awesome bridal portraits!

Can you imagine taking a swim on your wedding day? In your wedding dress?! It was so fun to create these amazing portraits on their actual wedding day in front of their family members! Not to mention, I loved wearing a wetsuit to a wedding. J After we took the plunge, I photographed the rings and bouquet only to be surprised by Ellise coming out in a custom swimsuit that said, “Mrs. Alfano”! These two really proved how fun, low stress, and custom a springs elopement can be!

If you’re thinking about your own elopement, I would love to help you plan it! My husband, Will, offers officiating services for no cost for couples that book me as their adventure elopement photographer. We would be honored to celebrate your day with you!

Florist: Floral Expressions in Gainesville, Florida

Dress: David’s Bridal

Check out some of our amazing adventures including underwater sessions!

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