We eloped!

The big, traditional-style wedding isn’t for everyone, and that’s completely OK. When it came time to plan my own wedding, I knew I didn’t want an extravagant affair. Austin and I had been to and been a part of enough traditional weddings in the past five years to know that something small and intimate was more our style.

Photo by Megan Easterday of Easterly Creative

Plan your day your way

The big, traditional-style wedding isn’t for everyone, and that’s completely OK.

When it came time to plan my own wedding, I knew I didn’t want an extravagant affair. Austin and I had been to and been a part of enough traditional weddings in the past five years to know that something small and intimate was more our style.

Plus, we were all about saving money. So we got to planning our intimate wedding and quickly decided that it would be just us, our photographer and an officiant.

While this made some family members pretty upset, we really thought it through and stuck to our plan of it being just us. We didn’t want to deal with any drama. Our goal was to make our wedding all about us and our love and have it be as stress-free as possible, while also not spending an arm and a leg.

We were able to do just that! We set budgets for everything, and we stuck to them. And every time we had to decide on something pertaining to the wedding, we thought about what we really wanted—not what everyone else wanted us to do.

The planning

We didn’t have an over-the-top, magical proposal. We decided together that we wanted to get married, so we really wanted our day to focus on our love and our vows.

Because we were planning for four people instead of a large group, we were able to do essentially whatever we wanted. We didn’t have to worry about it being on the weekend or the venue being large enough to accommodate a crowd. We didn’t have to worry about buying multiples of anything, so our choices were pretty much limitless.

The Big day

We chose to get married Thursday, October 4, at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Because it was a Thursday at 4:30 p.m., the park was mostly empty. We hiked out to the overlook, and our friend and officiant Dane Whitsett (featured in the 2017 Most Eligible Singles issue) started the proceedings with a story of watching our love grow over the years. We said our “I dos” and sealed it with a kiss.

Then it was time for our handwritten vows. There was some laughter and some tears and some things we’ll never forget. I think every couple owes it to their marriage to write each other personalized vows in a book that they’ll keep forever. It was such an emotional experience that I’ll remember for life.

After the vows, we had a fun time getting our picture taken. We climbed along the rocks, and my husband pointed out that my ankle was bleeding. I had joked that everyone needed to slow down when we were hiking to the overlook because my ankles were bleeding. Little did I know that my brand new shoes really were making my ankle bleed. So I ditched the shoes, and we climbed the rocks some more and even danced a little. We were lucky enough to come upon some chipmunks.

The time flew by, but our photographer captured our personalities perfectly. If you’re an introvert, elopements really let you be you. For us, that was exactly what we wanted.

Tips for eloping:

1. Go after what you really want
This is your wedding day, after all! If you want a destination wedding, go for it. If you want to walk barefoot in a field, that’s your choice. You’ll have these memories for a lifetime—make sure they’re ones that you chose as a couple.

2. Don’t let others bully you
Maybe what you want doesn’t mesh with your friends or family. Well, it’s your day. They should be supportive of you. Listen to their suggestions, but don’t let them bully you out of the day of your dreams.

3. Reuse
If you’re eloping to save money, think about reusing things you already have, such as his suit or your dress. Maybe you already have the perfect shoes or necklace; reuse them. You’ll feel sentimental any time you use them after the big day.

4. Think outside the box
Not every wedding has to take place at a “normal” venue. Maybe a local brewery has the exact vibe you’re looking for. It’s worth asking on things like that. Many times vendors will be happy to help, especially if it’s a very small group they’re coordinating with.

5. Ask friends and family
Really want to save money or put a personal touch on your ceremony? See if a friend or family member is willing to photograph or video the ceremony, or even officiate. You can become ordained online rather easily.

Details:

Photographer:
Megan Easterday of Easterday Creative

Rings:
Hers: Hartville Coin & Jewelry; His: Etsy

Bouquet and boutonnière:
Handmade by the bride

Dress, diamond belt and shoes:
David’s Bridal

Necklace and earrings:
Kohl’s

Right hand ring:
Borrowed from the bride’s mom

Suit:
Express

Dress shirt and tie:
Kohl’s

Belt and shoes:
Gift for being the best man in a wedding the previous year (Men’s Wearhouse)

Hair:
Styled by the bride’s sister, Tracy Clapper of Dana’s Village Hair Loft

Makeup:
The bride’s own with some help from her sister

Scarf:
Handmade by the bride

Vow books:
Etsy

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass