Offbeat partner: Caitlyn, Customer Care Manager
Offbeat partner: Brian, Marketplace Specialist
Date and location of wedding: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center & SoCo, Austin – Texas — 06/05/2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
So… we totally eloped. Like true elopement! We didn't tell our friends and family, just ran off and got married. No offense to our friends and family (we love them and all), but rumor has it, wedding planning is stressful. I mean, everyone who gets married, or is in the process of getting married always uses the line "oh God – just elope", or "please don't have a big wedding." So we decided to do it the right for us. My husband and I like to spend time together, so having this day be so personal meant the world to us.
We are from Chicago, but our best friend moved to Austin, TX for work, and we went out to visit him, where we fell in love with the city. Not only did we love it down there, but my husband also proposed during our first visit. So it was natural for us to pick Austin as our run-away destination.
We were planning on getting married later this year, but when I randomly found a dress for $50 that fit me like a glove, we said to hell with it, let's just get married when we go down to visit next.
Even though it was going to be only us (and our friend who was marrying us), we still wanted some more traditional elements like a dress, flowers, hair appointment, and a photographer. Thankfully we found the best and most amazing sparkly unicorn photographer that Austin has, and she seriously acted as our wedding planner. If you're looking for a photographer, and you made it this far, seriously, look no further and use ixi photography!
Tell us about the ceremony:
We came down to Austin to get married without any idea of where we were actually getting married. We spent the first five days of our vacation actually finding the perfect spot. We found him, Todd the tree, a beautiful winding oak tree at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Since we were getting married on a weekday, and not closing down the property, Todd was a great location that was private enough for us to take 7-10 minutes to get all married without any interruption from the crowds.
We had to make a last-minute call to run out some nasty weather to get married. We set up a tripod to film the ceremony so our friends and family could watch it later.
We are not religious folk, so our ceremony was centered around nature and very much about us and our love. Our friend officiated our wedding, which was one of my favorite parts of this entire day. We quoted Bob Ross and our friend got to speak on behalf of our love. Out of the seven-minute ceremony, five of it was vows that we wrote for each other. It was such an amazing experience to be just us, standing there, alone, reading our vows to each other. We really got the opportunity to focus on the two of us rather than the hustle bustle of every thing else that happens on a day where the attendance could get well over 200.
Tell us about your reception:
After hiding out in our cars for about an hour while a massive storm hit Austin, we hit up a pizza place on 'SoCo' or South Congress to grab some food, have our first dance, do a little karaoke to “Careless Whisper,” and have some drinks as newlyweds. My favorite part of the 'reception' was Brian and I getting to enjoy and share our newly married life with all the amazing strangers of Austin. People were coming and going on a busy Monday evening while we were having our own personal wedding reception.
We gallivanted up and down South Congress to play in the rain and pose in front of murals and crazy things along the way.
Brian loves pickles, and it was important for me to incorporate surprises for him during our entire wedding getaway. Weddings are normally about the bride and all her desires, but I wanted to make sure that he got to have fun as well! I got some real awesome Pickle Bride and Groom cake toppers off Etsy and surprised him with them when we got down there. We found Amy's Ice Cream and were able to get them stuck in just long enough to have our 'cake cutting'. This was, by far, my favorite part of the post-ceremony fun.
What was your most important lesson learned?
A lot of people, I feel, are pressured into doing something that they don't want because the rest of the world feels a certain way. If you want to elope, go for it! If you want to spend $3 million dollars and invite a small country, do it! Do things the way YOU want them. Not because everyone else wants it.
We had a good laugh right before we got married, panicking about "oh crap — what side do I stand on?" After a quick Google search, we found that, other than some religious reasons, the reason why you traditionally see the woman to the left of the altar is due to the fact that dating back to old days of "marriage by capture", the groom needed to keep his right hand — or fighting hand — free to be able to fend off other possible suitors that may try to steal her away last-minute… so we kept it, cause that sounded awesome.
If you plan to elope, don't feel like you need to cheat yourself out of what you want your day to be like. We still had 'traditional' wedding elements that we wanted to have. I wanted a long dress, to get my nails and hair done, and have flowers. Photography was also #1 on my list. Not because I wanted to have pictures for us, but I also wanted to document our day for those that didn't get to witness it back home. Find a photographer that will work with your elopement and style. That is absolutely key!
Do the things because YOU and your spouse want them. Not just because of the pressures of others.