One of our most favorite things about elopements (aside from the fact that they’re just so sweet!) is the flexibility to exchange your vows in a unique place. It’s not so easy to transport a bunch of your guests to a remote mountain top, alongside a secluded waterfall – or in this case – under a bridge in Cathedral Park in Portland, but when it’s just the two of you, all the rules can fly out the window and you can really focus on what you want as a couple. For Jillian + Colin, the phrase, “we want a marriage not a wedding” kept popping up in conversation, so after months of deliberating they decided to plan an intimate marriage ceremony and throw a party a few months afterward so they could devote all their energy to each event separately. So smart, right? Jillian shares a bit more with us about why she + Colin decided to do things their way below:
The primary reason came down to the fact that we wanted to focus on each other and what we were about to enter into in the clearest and least distracted way possible. Given our personalities, we were concerned that if we had a traditional wedding we might end up getting absorbed in the details of trying to be good hosts and worry about everyone else which potentially could detract from our focus on each other. In our experience, you can’t do everything all at once without the quality of some component being compromised to a degree.
Thanks so much to Jay Eads for the lovely photos + congratulations to the newlyweds on a day that was just right for them!
Colin and I talk a lot about our memorable moments and the lack of distraction in an elopement, but the planning can still be hectic and frazzled and, let’s face it, forgetable. So what I did, as a way to be reflective and mindful each step of the way, was write a letter to Colin for each big moment – when we got engaged, when we applied for our license, when I slipped into “the dress,” when we picked out our rings, the one week countdown, all of those events and decisions reflected upon and down on paper. The morning of our wedding, rather than giving Colin one letter to tell him how happy and excited I was to be his bride and best friend (that’s what my vows were for,) I gave him that stack of letters. Now we can look back at the entire process, not just the one day and never feel far away from it.
Jillian: One of the joys of an elopement is that every moment is memorable since there’s nothing else to distract you, so to narrow it down to one is nearly impossible! There was the moment we picked up our license, distractedly trying to write down our vows while giggling with one another, my last deep breaths of anticipation before I walked up to Colin as his bride, raising my arms in celebration as strangers in the park cheered for us the moment we became husband and wife, finally making our way into a photobooth for that goofy set of pictures we’ve always wanted, every moment was memorable and every day when I look back, a different moment stands out to me. One of my favorite moments was walking into Ava Genes’s and knowing that every eye was on us and feeling our love and joy and excitement fill up the crowded room. Even with so much attention and distraction, I couldn’t focus on anything but my new husband and the amazing adventure we’d just set off on together.
Colin: The whole day was a whirlwind experience and I’ll never forget the anticipation waiting to see Jillian for the first time on our big day and the feeling of surprise when she walked up behind me and put her hand on my back to get my attention, It nearly took my breath away! Another really cool moment came from total strangers. As we were walking back to the hotel through the park at the end of the day, there was couple walking in the distance that could obviously tell we were just married. They cheerfully yelled out to us “ Way to dive in! It’ll be the best decision you ever made!” It totally resonated with me and that felt really good.
Such a gorge spot to marry the love of your life!
A stop by The Ace for some photobooth snaps was a given…
An elopement, or a micro wedding can be a sensitive topic because people could potentially feel left out. We decided to tell our immediate families and no one else so our advice is that if you decide to tell anyone prior to the event, be totally honest and open about everything because they are the ones who actually know and still aren’t attending. Including them in the discussion of plans will really help make them feel like they are involved and participating since they can’t be there.
photography: Jay Eads // location: Ceremony at Cathedral Park in Portland, Oregon // other locations: Hoyt Arboretum, Pittock Mansion, Ace Hotel, Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park // florals: Gina of Bohemian Bouquets // wedding dress: Theia from Saks Fifth Avenue // shoes: Nine West // hair + makeup: done by the bride // groom’s suit: DKNY // shirt: Ted Baker London // tie + pocket square: WB Thamm // boots: Frye // socks: Happy Socks // elopement dinner: Ava Genes, SE Division Street // bride’s ring: custom made by Joanna Lingnau // officiant: Anthony Behrens // transportation: Tesla Model S, Prestige Limousines // driver: Gary