Tell us your love story!
We grew up ten miles apart but didn't meet until we both returned to Charlottesville after college, contrary to both our plans. Mutual friends somehow convinced us both to stay up late & go out after Pride, where we met. There was immediate interest, but it took a while to play out. While visiting a friend in Portland a few weeks later, I realized just how smitten I was. Once I got home Ellie & I started going on weekend adventures and we easily settled into something sweet and serious.
What about the proposal?
Deciding to get married was an ongoing conversation. Neither of us had strongly considered it before, but it felt right to explore the idea together. We were both interested in building a life together and choosing every day to make it last. On a trip to New York, Ellie arranged a surprise trip to Catbird's Wedding Annex, where we chose our rings. A little over a month later, we eloped by the river with our dogs.
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
Eloping felt right immediately; neither of us had envisioned a big wedding or had any interest in the stress of planning one. The total secrecy and small scale made planning easy. We both wanted a sweet, intimate ceremony that would reflect our commitment to each other, so we focused on the little things that would bring it all together. First, we chose photographer Sarah Mattozzi and put our total trust in her to document the day. Then, we took a walk down by the Rivanna with our dogs and found a magical spot just off the trail where the woods opened to a clearing & the golden hour light was perfect. The rest was just details.
Any advice for couples planning weddings now?
Go with what feels right rather than what tradition dictates. This seems obvious now but a spreadsheet makes sharing labor and costs easy and will remind you to pick up your bouquet. Taking the time to make sure we had a great photographer who could share in our joy and document the little details was time and money well spent. Eloping over a long holiday weekend let us enjoy the sweetness together & still have plenty of time to surprise our families and celebrate. And finally, put a little more trust in the universe than feels sensible, especially with regards to the weather.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
After a week of heavy rain and heat, the weather yielded and gave us a beautiful day. The dogs were cute, joyful company and it's impossible to imagine the day without them. Hearing each other's vows for the first time after weeks of searching for just the right words. After the ceremony, we went out for pizza and I sat sleepily marveling at my good luck beside my spouse. That was a sweet new feeling. Sarah's beautiful photographs to share and treasure.
Since she was such an important part of the day, I asked her to share her favorite moment as well: "One of my favorite moments was the exchanging of vows- the way the words carried through the stillness and in the rustling leaves was absolutely beautiful. It really felt like we were enveloped in another world, with all the golden rays coming across the trees and the silence except for quiet nature sounds. To add to the magic, I loved the appearances from all kinds of different animals- your sweet dogs, the woodpecker family, and the deer that we saw on the way back."