I am often asked why I love elopements so much and my answer varies; sometimes I love them because they’re small and virtual. Other times I love them because they save people money. But, deep down, the real reason I love elopements is the community. People from all walks of life with so many different talents, coming together to make these events even more magical than they already are.
Lean and Austin’s winter elopement is a perfect example of the awesomeness of this community. Vendors came together to give this deserving couple an elopement to remember.
I’ll let Crystal Rodriguez, of Olvera Photography, tell you how this heartwarming elopement came to be!
I was contacted in November by a sweet kindergarten teacher in Alaska to photograph an elopement at a park. She informed me that she had just gotten engaged a few days prior. Her fiance planned to propose to her when she came to visit San Antonio in December but he had just received information that he would be getting orders to an unknown location in March. He told her that he was sorry to ruin the surprise but he had planned to propose to her when she came to visit him in December. He had planned to hire a photographer to capture the proposal, but what if he hired a photographer to capture them getting married instead?? And so they decided to get married when she came to visit him in December.
Since she only had a little over a month to plan, she didn’t have anything planned but they did want a photographer to capture the memory since none their friends or family could come on such short notice. So since my husband is retired from serving 22 years in the military and we love helping our fellow military families- I thought of the idea of gifting them the photography. Then I had another idea- what if we made it a little more special and put on a small styled shoot/REAL wedding with some vendor friends for their ceremony. I called my friend and event planner Kelsea from Touch of Whimsy and asked her for help and to see if this was possible just 2 days after Christmas. Together we reached out to all our friends in our Tuesdays Together group (part of The Rising Tide Society).
Together, Kelsea and I, within one week managed to get full-blown wedding for this sweet couple donated. Everything donated, from a dress to a venue, food truck full service catering to a mobile horse trailer bar, calligraphy, custom jewelry and everything else for an entire wedding. I even had complete strangers in a photography group on Facebook offer to help, one of which owns a wedding accessory store and within seconds offered one of everything from her store, from a customized bridal robe and hanger to a laser engraved wooden ring box. The best gift was the Texas wood sign that we used as a guestbook, all the vendors signed it and we gave it as a wedding gift so that when they move to all over the world with the military, they still always remember their special day in Texas!
We didn’t really plan on having a full-blown wedding, we were originally just trying to give this military couple a beautiful ceremony. We received an overwhelming response from our local wedding vendor community who wanted to help this military couple. It even caused a ripple effect, because everything was donated, Leah’s parents were able to afford to come to Texas. I even found out that her parents actually met here in San Antonio, TX. while in the Airforce. So it was like a trip down memory lane for her parents. Leah’s best friend, Jessica, was also able to make it from D.C. because she received a plane ticket as a Christmas gift from her own husband. And one of Leah’s co-workers in Alaska donated a honeymoon suite to the couple on the Riverwalk.
Everything seemed to run smoothly then my son got the flu so my husband had to stay home with him and my second shooter ended up with strep throat the night before and she wasn’t going to make it. Luckily, my friend and fellow photographer Adrien was able to come fill in at the last minute. One of the country singers that was supposed to come got the stomach flu, luckily her partner came to save the day and not only performed the couple’s song, but sang his own song that he had recently written for the father/bride dance.
The wedding day came and it just so happened that it was one of the coldest days of the year –and it was raining. (Go Home Texas Weather- you are drunk!) Well, that was not so good for an outdoor barn wedding we had planned. In a few minutes, everyone worked hard to move everything indoors into the barn and we had an intimate candlelit ceremony and dinner for the couple and their 7 guests. The weather was crazy! It had just been 75 degrees earlier in the week!
It all worked out in the end and it was a gorgeous intimate wedding with a guest list of 5. Words can never describe the joy that was felt that day. All the vendors kept thanking me for letting them be a part of this, but I was the most grateful for them. I have never met more selfless, caring business owners coming together to help give this military couple a dream wedding!
*Sigh* This story gives me a serious case of the warm-and-fuzzies and the photos of Leah and Austin’s ceremony and reception table give me so much life! I love it! This elopement is proof that when a community comes together, beautiful things (big and small) can be accomplished.
Pro Tip: As A Vendor
Don’t be afraid to ask your photographer/florist/etc. for a recommendation! No one knows the industry like those of us who work in it!
What We Loved: The Texas Sign
Yeah… It’s cute, lol.
Special Thanks To:
Olvera Photography // Photography
Pine and Blossom Photography // Second Shooter
The Orion Creative // Cinematography
Modified by Melissa // Professional Organizer
Touch of Whimsy Design and Coordination // Event Planner
The Allan Farmhaus // Elopement Venue
Celebrations Bridal // Dress Store
Cakes by Dre // Cake
SassTass & The Pour Horse // Mobile Bar
The Box Street Social // Catering
The Look by Dora Vera // Makeup
H.E.B Grocery Co. // Flowers
Colleen Michelle Miller & Michael Hanscheck // Band
Cru Rentals // Event Rentals
Estylo Jewelry // Jewelry
The Glittered Gal // Jewelry
CalliRosa // Calligrapher
Black Lable Decor // Decor
Wonderstruck Boutique // Signage