Due to Covid-19 a wedding photographer Elopes in the woods

Categories   Elopements, Real Weddings

Elopement in the woods
Today, I’m so excited to share Mel Barlow (a renowned wedding photographer) and Jackson’s (a musician) elopement in the woods in upstate New York. They moved to Woodstock, NY from Brooklyn 3yrs ago and planned to have their wedding take place in the Catskills in a tiny Mountain town called Halcottsville, NY on March 17th. They we’re in the home stretch of wedding planning when Covid hit. As many couples are struggling with postponing or canceling their nuptials, it can be comforting to hear how other couples are navigating these uncertain times and decisions.

Lets take minute to hear how Mel and Jackson seized the moment and pulled off an artful, meaningful Elopement.

Organic bridal bouquet

In Mel’s words: “While feeling super grateful for our safety and health, I was still struggling with sadness surrounding this decision all while processing the financial hit of not being able to work.  My normal quiet meditative moments were swarmed with  “What if our parents or grandparents get Covid? When will I be able to shoot again?  When will my fiancé be able to play a show again? Are we going to be able to afford a wedding after all of this? My own wedding clients were cancelling and postponing left and right and the days of checking off our final wedding to-do list like finding a suit, hand making boutonnieres and wedding favors was quickly replaced with more urgent concerns of searching for Music and Art grants and securing any online freelance work we could find.  We then got news that my man of honor’s mother had been admitted to the hospital where she remained for an entire month before getting well enough for release. Our postponed wedding seemed insignificant and paled in comparison to the harsh realities Covid brought on with those dealing with sick family and those helping on the front lines. Thinking about our wedding just was not a priority anymore as people were dealing with Covid-19 in ways than we couldn’t imagine.” 

Elopement in the woods


A New Plan: “We got engaged in the woods on April 2019, a private engagement that was a total surprise to me.  Jackson managed to pull off all of the secret engagement things, even a undetectable bouquet of flowers squished in his jacket with the ring box. About a week out out from our original wedding date of May 17, 2020, we were thinking how special the engagement was and it sparked something in us to consider the same for a spontaneous elopement.  We thought, We should just do this, get married, say our vows, just the two of us in the woods! The vision of us just sitting around on our cancelled wedding day drinking coffee, like it were any other day, was replaced with our new idea of getting dressed up and saying our vows in the woods to each other. The idea of moving forward with this special commitment like we had planned ignited something in us both, and we were able to let go over the disappointment and look forward to a new wedding plan.”

Elopement in the woods

Elopement in the woods

Mel found her ASOS wedding gown in under a week!

Elopement in the woods


Mel, an avid mushroom hunter and forged, worked with Tivoli mushroom supply company in Hudson Valley able to incorporate the mushrooms into the bouquet and in her foraging basket which later became gorgeous table decor.

Elopement in the woods

Elopement in the woods



Mel put so much love and thought into her handcrafted wedding invitations. Mel says: “I hand drew and made every bit of it with the help of childhood friend who I hadn’t seen in 15 years.  My mom and I flew to Indiana just as a treat, to reconnect with her and to hand letterpress the invites with her in her studio and a couple weeks after we finished them Covid hit.  They are so unique and so us and I really want to thank Little Cricket Press and a labor of love for all of us.  Such a neat experience making every bit and then I was crushed to see them unsent and with the wrong date ( I will be figuring out a way to still send them).” 




Mel and Jackson were surprised by this driftwood alter created by friends. So cool!



Covid-19 wedding

Mel and Jackson, you have inspired us that love must prevail and sometimes you have to “Save the Date” and forge forward with your commitment plans. We know you’ll be planning a big celebration next year but it so lovely to see how such a simple ceremony and reception can be just as impactful. Sending you all love!

Elopement in the woods portraits: Josh Goleman / Other Photos: Mel Barlow / Hair: Marissa Molnar Hair / Bridal gown: ASOS / Flowers: Mel Barlow

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