I guess I should start off by saying we didn’t really elope. The definition of eloping is “running away secretly in order to get married” and we were definitely not secretive about it. It was more a wedding that was just the two of us and no one else.
I know some people are shocked that we didn’t go with the big, over the top, party all night, fairytale wedding because honestly that is me and what I have always wanted. However, once we started planning it was causing me more stress than excitement. All my best friends and family lived 2000 miles away from me and couldn’t do normal wedding planning activities together, and it just made me more homesick than anything.
When we were signing a contract at 35K plus venue and seeing that was going towards plastic chairs and terrible wedding food, I just couldn’t do it. We were paying for the wedding ourselves and we would much rather put that money towards traveling than a one-day party that wasn’t even as nice as I would want it to be.
The stress it was causing me to think about all the logistics and trying to make everyone happy and play referee between certain people on the one day that it should be “all about me/us” was making me physically ill. I always hope for the best but often I am let down. I didn’t want to look back at our wedding and have feelings of anything but joy. Then there was the aspect of how many people would have to travel. Since I live so far away, it would be a big hassle to get everyone up here. I didn’t want to have to put anyone out or be disappointed they didn’t come. The mix of these two things were a big factor in us deciding to just keep it the two of us.
So, there we were… realizing our wedding size went from 250 to 2. The thing was just because our wedding count dwindled to us, I still wanted the whole shebang and it be just as lavish as if 250 people were invited. I didn’t want to do a courthouse here, or even something outside… none of those are me. I wanted it to be a destination so that we could travel back for anniversaries and it be a special place because of where we became one. We did a courthouse, but man oh man… It was so much more than that. We settled on San Francisco City Hall because it a building that honestly looks like an European castle. During the week they conduct normal courthouse weddings and on the weekends, you can have it to yourself and have small to enormously large weddings there. The pictures do not do it justice for how magnificent this building is.
We flew up the day before, fingers and toes crossed that my wedding dress made it and checked into the Fairmont San Francisco which was just as stunning as the City Hall. I had found my photographer, Kathryn Lewis, and florist, Le Bouquet, before arriving and they were both amazing in making my dreams come true with what I wanted. I could not have asked for anything better. Since I was flying down the day before, I didn’t have a whole lot of time to find or trial hair and makeup so after talking with my wonderful Portland hair stylist, Julie, she gave me the reassurance that I should do my own makeup and hair. SO, I DID!!!! On my most important day, I could have really effed that up. One wrong move with eyeliner, a sneeze during mascara or leaving my curling wand in just a little toooooo long, it could have been really disastrous. I was more worried that I wouldn’t get ready in time, but it was perfect and we arrived fashionably right on time and in the coolest Tesla ever. (Look at those doors!!!)
We spent an hour before our ceremony, playing around and taking pictures in this gorgeous empty building. It was the most fun ever. I was marrying my best friend who couldn’t keep his eyes off me. I couldn’t help but think about our love and how many other couple who have been married in the same place all for different reasons but one very much the same, the love and desire to be partners in life forever. After playing around and having the best time, we had our very intimate and personal ceremony. Thank God I know makeup and ones that STAY PUT because I was a goner a paragraph into my vows. I even had Nathan re-read them later that day in case he couldn’t understand what I was saying through my happy tears.
After five years together, we became husband and wife. It was pure magic.
After the ceremony, we took more photos around the City Hall grounds and then headed out to the Golden Gate Bridge. In true San Francisco fashion, the closer we got to the bay, the foggier it became. It still made for some amazing pictures. We spent the whole day, having fun and not having a care in the world except being with each other. We majorly splurged for our wedding dinner and it was worth every penny. We will most likely never have a dinner close to $1000 again, but that was the night to do it. We wined and dined under the Bay Bridge and watched the lights dance in the water. Nathan even surprised me with the exact wedding cake we would have had made if we had done a big party.
Our wedding was far from traditional. We got ready together, got married alone in a city we have never been to before, but we aren’t the most traditional couple. One day we will do a Disney vow renewal but for our first wedding, it was everything I never knew I wanted. While there are parts I wish I had, it was perfectly us in every way. The day was full of love and joy and that is something I will never forget.
The thing to take away from this if you are planning a wedding, is make sure and do you. It is a day for the two of you and not everyone else. Find what is going to make it the most beautiful, and joyous day of your life thus far and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for it. After all, it is about the love and commitment of marriage going forward than the wedding itself.
(For a ridiculous amount of pictures, keep scrolling!)
Much love and cheers,