Do you have trouble defining your worth by the work you create? If so, this blog post is for you.
Whenever I talk about having eloped, I'm usually met with the same response: their eyes get big and wide, a smile leaps onto their face, and they ask lots of questions. We're celebrating six months of marriage this Saturday, so I thought it'd be the perfect time to post a few answers!
Deciding to elope was a big + hard decision for sure. I've been to my share of gorgeous, traditional weddings - I mean, how else could I have gotten so interested in the world of WEDDING photography?! I was covered with goosebumps when my friends Tiffany and Matt exchanged vows during a Catholic ceremony, and equally so when Madison and Walt said "I do" at a 100-year-old southern home. There's absolutely nothing wrong with doing something more traditional.
I believe a wedding should aim to be a reflection of your relationship. This is the very beginning of the new start in both your lives. It's a manifestation of the bonds you've built together and all you've been through. It's a bridge from where you've been to where you're going. Your wedding - and your marriage - don't have to look like any one else's.
It just has to work for you two.
We decided to elope for a few reasons:
1. Even though we're social, we're both introverts at heart. The thought of a huge wedding seemed so out of character for us. We'll take a vegan pizza loaded with veggies + a documentary on Netflix over going out to a club any day; something that felt super high-energy would have been really straining and felt unnatural.
2. We *try* to keep things pretty minimal. We're both passionate about sustainability and try to be mindful of that whenever we can. Traditional weddings can produce a lot of waste - from the bridesmaids gowns that will never be worn again, to an exorbitant amount of leftover buffet food no one will eat. A lot of more modern approaches have made great progress in reducing this waste, but again - it just felt like it would be forced and not in line with our values.
3. As big fans of travel, nature, and national parks, we wanted to choose a location that really reflected those interests. Neither of us was excited at the thought of having a church wedding, and by eloping we avoided that entirely! We researched a lot of different parks and places. We decided to stay in California because we had just made the big adventure out west and everything was still (and is still) so exciting to explore! Joshua Tree is incredibly picturesque and not as highly trafficked in January as many other California parks, so we knew we would have a little more intimacy in that space.
4. Financially! I recently read the average U.S. wedding costs $35,000. With us both having graduated college only last year, $35k wasn't something we were itching to add to the piles of student debt laying around. When it was all said + done, our wedding cost us about $1500. He wore his best suit but bought a new tie + pocket square, I bought a dress online + had it fitted. We bought locally-roasted coffee in Joshua Tree to drink after exchanging vows and picked up way too many flowers from the Downtown Los Angeles Flower Market (did you see that bouquet? so much for minimal!). We stayed at a super cute AirBnb in the desert + spent time enjoying nature.
5. We wanted to be married already, damnit! After dating for nearly 5 years and living together for almost as long, we both knew we were in it for the long haul. We had celebrated victories and mourned losses. We worked countless busy weekend brunches at one of Atlanta's top restaurants (shout out to The General Muir), which bonds even strangers in unimaginable ways. We traveled together, helped each other make big decisions, and supported each other through it all. More than anything, we were extremely happy and ridiculously in love.
The first month we were dating, I told him I'd marry him whenever he was ready. It took a little longer than I would have liked, but in the end I wouldn't change a thing.
**Photo credit to the amazing Victoria Bonvicini. So grateful for these beautiful images that captured the day, and for the inspiration she has always served for my own journey in couples photography!
Not my normal topic, I know - but it's been one month since Lucy, our husky-malamute pup joined me + my husband's journey so I wanted to reflect on a few things I've learned:
1. Puppies are HARD. this little being is entirely dependent on US. she wants to eat everything - a wooden lawn chair, the carpet, bubbles in my bubble bath, my dinner... and we can't let her! it's almost like a game - whenever we tell her she can't have something, she finds something new she's not allowed to have either. it's scary to be responsible for something, and to love it so much -- but not be able to communicate with her when her teeth hurt really bad! Regular, everyday things turn into big obstacles: going to the bathroom (alone), leaving for work on time, eating dinner sitting down (I've gone at least 7 days eating standing up at this point), sleeping through the night, and bathing. This last one definitely takes a toll! Lucy LOVES water - especially when it's not meant for her. Last week I drew up a bubble bath and before I could climb in, she did! then this week she hopped in the shower just as I turned it on. I thought maybe she wouldn't enjoy the shower as much as the bath.. I was wrong. She loves both. Now it's impossible for me to bathe in peace because she wants to hop in!
2. Your relationship should be in a really stable place before deciding to get a puppy. Before we picked up Lucy, Krisz and I went back and forth between getting a true "puppy" versus a young dog. I was up for a young dog - one that still had plenty of energy and fun left but maybe had already been house trained and wasn't teething. Not too much to ask, right?! But Krisz has had his heart set on a puppy for a long time, and our schedules are really optimal for puppy raising right now (he works 4p.m.- 1a.m. and I work 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.). Plus, you only live once! I felt like I could compromise on getting a puppy...with the promise that he'd be doing *most* of the late night potty runs. He's an amazing dog dad, too. Even last night, when he got home and Lucy got SO wound up at 2 a.m. - he ended up falling asleep on the living room floor playing with her. It's not the first time. If you're not in a relationship - I can't even begin to imagine going this solo. Lucy's a full-time, 2 person job.
3. until they finish getting their shots, you're practically on house arrest. Lucy has a patch of grass on our patio that she visits about 30 times a day, but otherwise is super restricted on staying in the apartment to avoid interacting with other dogs that may be carrying diseases her immune system can't yet fight off. That means no long walks, hiking, camping, etc. until this lady is cleared by the vet!
4. people are VERY curious! I've had strangers come up to me with barely a "hello" to ask if we got her from a breeder. so, to dispel any rumors here's the truth: even beautiful dogs get put in bad situations. Lucy was adopted through a private rescue - her mother was found in the desert, pregnant, and was taken to a shelter. Lucy may be a gorgeous dog but that does not mean we support breeding!
the three of us still have got a lot to learn, but we're so so happy to have welcomed our little furbaby into our home + our lives.