By now you’ve probably seen somewhere in the Social Media Stratosphere that yes, Ryan & I eloped this past weekend. It was intimate. It was magical. It was PERFECT! Many people were surprised (ok, I think MOST people were surprised!) and while few have offered their opinion on why (no, I am NOT pregnant!) I’m here to give you ALL the details, including the why.
In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I noticed Ryan began to shut down at any mention of the wedding. We’d gone from planning a small intimate beach side ceremony with a a reception for 200+ the week after, to eliminating the big party and only having a ceremony for about 20 on Crane Beach in Ipswich, MA. Yes, we would save A LOT of money by not feeding 200 people but it was still going to cost us a few grand for that party for 20.
Ryan and I have been planning on THIS being the year we make the leap to homeownership. Our lease is up on Halloween and we don’t plan on renewing it. Instead we are going to be ready to purchase a home and if we’re not quite there, we have a six month plan to get there (because if moving in with your parents is part of the discussion then you need to make sure there’s a solid game plan!). After some badgering on my part, Ryan informed me he was concerned about not only being able to afford a wedding and a house in the same year. He wasn’t even sure how we would afford the wedding part. I assured him that I meant it when I said, “I just want to be married to you. I will marry you in city hall on my lunch break in my pajamas if it means I get to be your wife.” So we talked a bit more and on Black Friday, we picked up our marriage license, peeked at a calendar and decided January 18th was going to be our day.
This was hands down the hardest secret I have ever had to keep. I wanted to shout from the rooftops that Ryan, the man who wouldn’t admit we were a couple until AFTER we moved in together, was ready to marry me. He was as ready as I was to pledge our love to one another until the end of time. The problem was, not only could I not tell our secret but I had to tell a bunch of lies too! As you can imagine over the holiday season we saw SO. MANY. PEOPLE. Friends and family alike kept asking how the wedding planning was going. I had no choice to but to lie, but it greatly pained me.
So I spent the next six weeks planning our elopement. Ryan was an active & willing participant in the planning but between his traveling and the fact that he just wanted me to be happy, he didn’t have too many requests. Well, besides doing it inexpensively. Because I’ve been a part of so many weddings over the past decade, I knew exactly where to splurge (PHOTOGRAPHER!) and where to scrimp (accessories like jewelry and shoes). I also had so many contacts and was able to call in a bunch of favors. We’re both incredibly lucky to have so many people that love us and are willing to not only help us out but keep this tremendous secret. Here’s a breakdown of what we spent. There won’t always be dollar amounts because some of the vendors are friends and gave us deals I would rather not advertise. I will tell you the whole thing came in under a thousand dollars.
I got my dress, shoes, bra, earrings, shawl and both of our wedding bands on eBay. For $120 total. My friend Katie, who does alterations on formal wear as her full time job, kindly took some time out of her busy schedule of also being a mommy to 2.5 year old twins AND a 5 year old to give me the hem I needed at a price I could afford.
We got our BEAUTIFUL flowers from our friend Dennille at Village Green Florist. She was phenomenal. She was great to work with, easy to contact and when she had to tell me just a few days before that she couldn’t get peonies after all, I was grateful for her honesty. When we showed up to pick up the flowers on Saturday afternoon, I was blown away. I actually think the bouquet she put together was even prettier than the one I chose! And Ryan’s boutonniere had me fawning over it all night. It was SO CUTE!
My friend Steph and her sister Leslie came to my house to do my hair & makeup as a gift for us. Steph is INCREDIBLE with makeup and hopes to one day open up her own makeover shop. I have yet to have anyone but my sister do my makeup and like it. Until my wedding day. It was my first successful smokey eye and I felt unbelievably beautiful. Leslie just began cosmetology school but the chignon she gave me was ABSOLUTELY what I was looking for. I have NEVER felt as beautiful as I did that night. And when Ryan finally got to see me all glammed up he actually jumped and his eyes got big. He was as happy as I was which I was had hoped for.
We found our JP on the City of Burlington website and decided she was the one because how the ceremony went and what we paid was up to us. So Ryan & wrote the ceremony during a roadtrip to visit our niece and we paid her $50 for the less than 5 minutes it took for her to marry us. She was fantastic and when we got outside and joined hands, I was giggling. She looked at us and said, “you guys are going to make ME cry!” I took that as a big compliment!
We were married at Hotel Vermont. What a GORGEOUS venue! We’d originally planned to marry in front of the fireplace in the lobby but it was crowded and loud so our JP suggested we use an outdoor firepit. So yes, we got married outside in Vermont, in January. I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Halfway through the ceremony we noticed a small crowd had gathered behind us and they clapped and hugged us after the ceremony was over. When we walked back into the hotel the bar erupted in applause and a kind stranger even sent us a bottle of champagne (THANK YOU!). They charged us nothing to use the venue in exchange for us eating dinner at the restaurant there, Juniper. Neither of us had really eaten all day and I still wasn’t very hungry when it was time for dinner. So we ordered a couple different plates to share. We had a steak tartare starter and some fried chicken and french fries as well. It was DELICIOUS!
And our photographer. I could go on and on and on about how much I love Kate. We met her at the wedding of a friend a few years ago and the three of us just clicked. We had been working on booking her as our photog for the beach as it’s close to where she lives. She gave us an amazing deal because she said she knew we would help her create beautiful photos. When I emailed her that plans had changed, she still wanted to be a part; even though she lives 3 hours away. But she drove those three hours, took some of the most amazing photos I have ever been a part of and then drove 3 hours home. She wouldn’t let us buy her a meal or a hotel room and she gave us a CD with 43 images that she worked on while we ate. I almost think she enjoyed the night more than us – but I doubt it.
We did have whoopie pies for our wedding dessert made by our friend Carrie of Nibble or Nosh Bakeshop. These were another wedding gift from a kind friend. Ryan chose S’mores and I chose Salted Caramel. By the time we finished dinner we were exhausted and full. So we went home and put on our PJs – by 9pm! We saved the whoopie pies for breakfast the next morning and that was a glorious plan! Nothing tastes as good as chocolate early on a Sunday morning when you’re still riding the high from a perfect wedding! It was also a great thing to do before we hit send on the email telling our families what we had done. We had many phone calls and emails Sunday but everyone was thrilled for us and supportive of the decision we made. I was worried someone would be upset or disappointed but that was not the case at all!
The night was perfect. It was better than perfect and I may need to create a new word just to convey how much I loved every detail. At the end of the day no matter how much money you spend or drama you live through in the planning process, you still end up husband and wife. Ryan & I had always been more about the marriage than the wedding and this was the perfect way to illustrate it. Yes, I would have loved to have our families there or finally get to dance to “our song.” But at the end of the day, Ryan is my husband and NOTHING could make me happier than having him legally obligated to spend the rest of his life with me 🙂
Without further ado, here are some images for your viewing pleasure (more to come in the next few weeks!)