Welcome to Vendor Dispatch, where we chat with our vendor partners about their approach to working with couples, the ceremony from their point of view, and the magic that happens behind-the-scenes.
Who: Alex Mari
Recent travels: St. Lucia, Kauai, Los Angeles (all pre-pandemic)
Aesthetic: Editorial and natural
Behind the Scenes
Schedule: “I set aside editing days and will usually devote the day either to one wedding or one elopement, or two engagement sessions. That said, it’s usually a full day that I’ll spend editing, starting early in the morning and wrapping up around 4 or 5 pm.”
Number of hours spent editing one wedding: 9 hours
Number of hours spent editing one elopement: 5+ hours
Top 5 Playlist Songs:
- “Rules for My Heart,” The Careful Ones
- “Now That I’m In It,” Haim
- “West Coast,” James Vincent
- “Golden Hour,” Kacey Musgraves
- “This is Us Colliding,” Talos
Number of drinks on her desk: “Usually several cups of coffee.”
Fave food: “Panera delivery is life—hello Mac & Cheese!”
Outfit: “I have an office that’s conveniently right off a coffee shop so I have motivation to get dressed up to go into work. I actually love wearing business casual outfits! There’s something about wearing a boss outfit that really makes you ready to take on the day.”
In the Field
How she defines an elopement: “For an elopement, I limit guests to eight, just because once it gets over that, to me it’s not really an elopement. I’m doing the work of a full wedding at that point.”
On why elopements are becoming so popular: “I think it’s because weddings have become such a production. They can be very overwhelming and stressful. I think a lot of times couples say they watched a sibling or friend get married and they saw the whole thing just kind of keep turning into this giant, stressful disaster. It’s hard for the couple to focus on each other. The parents get super involved. Things can go wrong.”
What she wishes couples knew before booking her for an elopement: “You don’t need to elope on a mountaintop or somewhere in Europe. Not every elopement needs to be a big destination adventure. If you love the outdoors, traveling, and backpacking, then go for it. But I think the key is, don’t push yourself into that mold if that’s not who you are as a couple. Some of the most meaningful elopements I’ve photographed have taken place at local breweries that were special to the couple, or even at a venue they really loved.
“The other component here is the experience. I don’t care how majestic that waterfall is or how mind-blowing the mountains are, if you as a couple are feeling uncomfortable because you push yourself to make the day fit the mold you see with all of the Instagram elopements and weddings, you’re not going to love the photos.
“So all of that to say, make sure you don’t get lost in appeasing any kind of mold for the day—you’re likely eloping because you wanted a celebration that was just about the two of you, and that didn’t get overrun by a big wedding production, so make sure you don’t let the same happen with your elopement.”
Pandemic Protocol: “Social distancing is being practiced at sessions (between the photographer and the subject). It’s important if you have guests at your elopement to still honor social distancing and CDC safety guidelines, which means abiding by guest number limitations and having vendors and guests wear masks.
“You can honestly even make it fun! Ask guests to bring a mask as part of the wedding dress code, have everyone wear their favorite mask, ask people to sport a color scheme of masks—don’t be afraid to get creative with it! You’ll also be helping to make a safer environment for your family and loved ones who you hold most dear.”
Sunrise vs sunset photoshoots: “I love sunrise. As long as everyone wakes up. Honestly, I think you get some of the most beautiful light. It is true it runs out a little bit faster, but as long as you time it right, set it up so we’re there a little before sunrise, you get some of that blue hour. And then when the sun comes up, the rays come in and the light warms up. I feel like you could get a solid hour-and-a-half of good light.”
What the heck is blue hour? “It’s basically before the sun comes out, but the sky is just lightening, and everything has this blue tint to it. But there’s still enough light to shoot. Or, when it comes to sunset, if you look at it where the sun goes down behind the horizon line, there’s this golden glow, and everything else is cool.”
Why she doesn’t use an assistant for elopements: “For weddings, I usually have a second shooter, but for elopements I usually try to keep it just me. I just feel like the couples can get a lot more comfortable and be themselves when there’s not a zillion cameras pointed at them. I feel like it creates more of an intimate environment if it’s just me.”
- Two Canon 5D Mark III
- Canon 85 mm 1.4 lens
- Canon 50 mm 1.4 lens
- Sigma 35 mm 1.4 lens
- Sigma 20 mm 1.4 lens
- Two Yongnuo flashes
- Two Viltrox LED light panels
- San Disk Extreme Pro SD + CF cards
To hire Alex for your elopement or wedding, message her via her vendor profile.