While it would easy to talk about much I adore this bride’s alternative orange wedding dress – which, trust me, I could do ALL day – there’s so much more to this story. It’s an impromptu elopement planned in just two weeks, and a true celebration of what love is all about. Have a read for the full story below, and don’t miss your peek at the gallery from Taryn Baxter.
From The Bride… Like our elopement, our love has been about living in the moment. My now husband, Paul, has been there for me through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, literally. Paul and I actually met in high school, and even went to prom together. But that was not when we fell in love. It was years later when we crossed paths on a beach that we found each other again. Despite a whirlwind of traveling apart – me in Australia, Fiji, Thailand and Europe over 3 years – him living abroad in Prague and then finishing up school in Canada – we never gave up on each other. We finally settled down in Denver,
Colorado and were engaged within three months of buying our first home. Right after we got engaged we knew we wanted to make it into an adventure. We originally planned on a big wedding of all our family and friends in the northern jungles of Thailand. However, only five months later I found myself undergoing multiple biopsies and breast cancer scares.
Although I was only 27, nearly all the females in my family had breast cancer at a young age. And that’s when I became a previvor of breast cancer. In January 2013 I had a prophylactic double mastectomy.
Paul supported me through everything and was my rock when I needed him the most. With our medical bills piling up we realized that we had to cancel our wedding in Thailand and look at different avenues. While it was a difficult time for us, it was a blessing in disguise for our wedding.
Having to cancel our large wedding made us focus on the important parts of getting married. I was sad to miss the experience of having a big wedding and a bit worried that I would regret it, but once I started to take the steps I remembered why we were getting married in the first place, which is a celebration of the love we had built together. And ironically as soon as we decided to elope was when the fun began and the stress and anxiety stopped.
We actually planned our elopement in two weeks. At the time of our planning my mom was vacationing in Hawaii and Paul’s mom was in Scotland. Both of us do not have fathers, so we have always known we would not have a large family presence. Only three days before the wedding I told my mom we would be eloping. Despite the short notice, walking her only daughter down the aisle was monumental to her and she booked the next flight down. Having her there meant more to me than I would ever know and it was a really big moment in our relationship.
Eloping became about us going on an adventure together and living in the moment. The location itself also became the inspiration. Zihuatanejo as a location was an easy decision. One of the reasons we chose Zihuatanejo is because the culture itself is about living in the moment – the locals are full of laughter and sharing happiness, having fun and relaxing. We also chose Zihuatanejo because of its variety of small, intimate boutique hotels. Also, Paul and I are big foodies so we were excited to explore the culinary variety and quality that Zihuatanejo is known for. Zihuatanejo ended up representing really what we are all about.
I had scoured blogs and had been planning a big wedding for the past year so it was fairly easy to know what I did and did not want, what was important and unimportant. For me, my dress and shoes were important – I wanted to feel like a princess on my big day. For the wedding in Thailand I had originally chosen The Duchess dress by Aster and Ivy. I realized quickly that the pastel ballerina-like dress would not do the trick in such a vibrant, vivacious setting in Zihuatanejo. I knew that I wanted an untraditional dress for our untraditional wedding. Paul’s favorite color is orange so looked for coral colored dresses that would have a wedding vibe to them. As soon as I found the coral and white Erin Featherston dress
I knew I had found the gown of my dreams. This dress came alive, it glowed and I glowed, in the lush setting of our resort and Zihuatanejo. Plus the white ombre gave it a bridal feel without a bridal price tag.
My flowers were from a local Zihuatanejo florist that we found on the corner of a side street. The senorita there was delighted and giddy to make my wedding bouquet and his boutonniere. Our only guidelines were to keep it all white and whimsical. My jewellery on the wedding day is all from little boutiques across Denver. They are classic yet whimsical, and I feel complement the vibrancy of our day’s design. I did my hair and makeup myself. I have had my hair and makeup done at weddings by others in the past – I have learned what looks good and where and when to stop or add. Because it was so hot out I had to have my hair up. We added some of the baby’s breath to my hair as a last-minute addition, something that added a bit more whimsy to my look.
Our wedding day was really about enjoying our time together from the moment we woke up until the moment we went to bed. We spent the morning relaxing in our private pool, writing our vows, and soaking up the natural beauty of the hotel and scenery. I have been to so many wedding where the bride and groom are running around frazzled; ours was the complete opposite. We enjoyed every moment.
Getting ready was also something that was unlike other weddings I have been to. I was able to take my time, reminisce with my mom, and reflect on the celebration. Not to mention, in the beauty of our suite, I felt like the most beautiful person on earth – something that I had not felt since my surgery.
The ceremony itself was held on the deck at my mom’s villa where Paul was getting ready. My mother walked me down the “aisle” which was a pathway between our villa and hers. Our wedding song “In the Morning” by Junior Boys was playing on the ipod dock. When I walked out on the patio he took my breath away; I was about to marry the most gorgeous man in the world. The sun was shining and we felt like we were the only people on earth, completely caught up in each other – it was surreal!
We decided to conduct the ceremony ourselves so we could make it personal rather than get a stranger to speak at our extremely intimate wedding. Our plan was to each say what our definition of love and marriage was, then my mom would say a tribute and give us the rings, then we would say our vows. We got caught up in the moment and each other and forgot that my mom was supposed to speak! I started crying as soon as Paul opened his mouth and our love poured from our hearts over each other and the bays of Zihuatanejo. I remember thinking as soon as our vows began that I would not want to have a wedding any other way, with anyone else but us two standing on that deck, right then and right there. It was perfect.
Our photographer was Taryn Baxter. I know Taryn from working in Victoria, Canada and have been completely obsessed with her work since. Having her there only made the day better; she made us feel totally comfortable especially for my husband who is extremely camera shy. It was fascinating to watch her in her creative zone, snapping away. You could really tell that photography is what she’s meant to do, it was a beautiful thing to watch. My favorite thing about my photos is all of the little looks, laughs and details Taryn captured. She told our story.
After the ceremony we headed to the cozy lounge, ordered champagne, and had some laughs. We then had a taxi take us down to the Zihuatanejo square to take pictures. We walked along a path that curled along the ocean front down to the fishing pier and town square. The waves were crashing and we had to dodge them the best we could as to not get wet. Down at the fishing pier locals stared and smirked at us while we took pictures, probably wondering why we would be taking pictures there. But to us it was beautiful and captured the true culture of Zihuatanejo.
My biggest words of advice to brides is to give yourself plenty of time to get ready and never lose sight of what you want during your day. Don’t forget what it’s all about. One thing I would change about the wedding is to have our brothers there. Although it was nice to have a very intimate wedding, nothing compares to the support and love from your family.
Photography: Taryn Baxter Photography | Flowers: Floreria Mary | Wedding Dress: Erin Fetherston | Ceremony Location: Amuleto | Bride's Shoes: Ralph Lauren | Groom's Suit: Matinique | Bride's Ring: The Diamond Reserve | Clutch: Michael Kors | Groom's Ring: Na Hoku | Groom's Shoes: Ted Baker London | Stationery (that The Vows Were Written On): Michaels