Thea and Cody both struggle with anxiety, so not wanting to be the centre of everyone’s attention, they decided to elope on their own. They had a small reception for their friends and family a month later.
“We knew we wanted our wedding to be small”, began the bride. “When we found out that we could have our ceremony at the House on the Rock, a location mentioned in one of our favourite books (American Gods by Neil Gaiman) and the site of our first vacation together, we knew it was the perfect spot.”
“We wanted our wedding to be a true reflection of who we are as individuals and as a couple. We focused on what we love about one another, and the promises that we knew we could keep. We also bucked the system a bit by only letting 12 other people in on our secret before the ceremony, and 9 of them were invited. We only invited our very closest friends and family, because we didn’t want to feel like we were there to impress or entertain anyone. I think what made our wedding unique was our dedication to making it ours. We only included the things that were important to us, and we ignored the rest.”
Their reception was held a Thea’s childhood home, a farm in Minnesota. “We spent a lot of time creating and gathering all of the little bits that made our reception look so perfect!” she continued. “All of the paper medallions and tissue paper pom poms were handmade by me, the maneki nekos and other tchotchkes were pieces from around our house. All of the décor was put up by our photographer, videographer (one of the many benefits of hiring your absurdly talented family and friends), maid of honour, and ourselves. We were so lucky to have so much help and so many artistic eyes involved in the process.”
The whole thing was all planned in just two months. “We wanted things to be casual (and cheap)”, she said. “We went with pastels and kitschy vintage details as far as visuals, and based our ceremony around our nerdiness and passion for social justice. It all came together to create the perfect super secret wedding!”
“We DIYed and bulk ordered everything that we could to save money. We also saved a lot by going less traditional with our attire. By ordering my wedding dress from ModCloth and using a suit that Cody already owned, we saved thousands, and in the end, ended up with an aesthetic that was much more us than any traditional wedding dress or tuxedo could have been.”
“One of the best parts of having a secret wedding is the reactions you receive when you finally announce the news. After we got back from our bridal party dinner, we posted a ‘just married’ photo to Facebook and waited for the responses to roll in. It was so fun to see how surprised everyone was! A few of our friends were hurt, but after explaining the reasoning behind the secrecy to them, they were able to help us celebrate. The month between the wedding and the reception was also a life saver. It gave us time to prepare ourselves for the attention we would receive, and to get all of the remaining details together.”
“Do what makes you happy”, Thea says to future brides and grooms. “Don’t let other people’s expectations keep you from planning the celebration that is right for you. We were very lucky to have supportive family and friends who understood who we are and what we wanted in a wedding, but we also eliminated a lot of the questioning and ‘advice’ by waiting to announce the wedding until after it had already happened. We really encourage other couples to consider eloping and to make it more about them. Just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean it has to be at a courthouse, or that you can’t invite friends and family, or that you can’t infuse your own style and beliefs into the celebration! Imagine your ideal day, not the day that magazines and television shows have told you to expect, and make it happen.”