How did you two meet/How long have you been together?
Tom and I met on Facebook through a mutual friend and had a little back and forth that ended up with Tom requesting a date for the next day at the Apartment Lounge, Grand Rapids oldest gay bar. It was 5 years ago.
How did you or your partner pop the question?
I bought a resin burger ring from MinikinsMiniatures on Etsy. We are very “burgery” people even though I eat meat and Tom is a vegetarian. I was impressed with the ring since it even had a tiny sauce drip and little bun seeds. I was not really sure how I would ask Tom. We had a vacation at Phoenix area and I brought it along. I decided we would go for a hike and I would ask him. The first hike was FILLED with people and I got too nervous. We are not real public people after all. So then we went on a second hike. And let me tell you, we were not outfitted for a desert hike at all. No water. No good shoes. People were telling us to turn back but I could see some shade from a big rock at Toms Thumb. Then we ran into Rattle snakes… having sex… I made Tom follow me around the snakes and finally could ask him in the shade of a big rock. I did not get down on one knee as we are equals. But I asked and his first responses were: “is this real” and “I’m not ready for babies” he did say yes after I clarified this was real and I am also not ready for babies, just marriage. We kept our engagement to ourselves for awhile and then went ring shopping together to find my ring.
What was your favorite moment(s) from the wedding?
I can tell you what was not. Having my parents call me to tell me my French Bulldog got a sick about an hour before hair and make up. Rabies concerns were HIGH. I can laugh about it now. But my favorite thing about my wedding was how incredibly personal our wedding was. Cactus Collective really took everything I talked about and made our ceremony so US. It was perfect. The views were perfect. The weather was perfect.
Did you see each other before the wedding? If not, did you like waiting or would you rather have done it differently?
We did. I had my hair and make up done in the condo that we rented at the Palms. Tom took off for a bit and he also got us Fat Burger for lunch so he was in and out. He didn’t see my dress until I put it on when hair and make up was finished. I love those photos of partners seeing each other for the first time. But we eloped so it was just us. We could not have easily done it differently. And that was okay. I will remember our nervous chatter as we drove to the location forever.
Tell me about your dress. Where did you find it, how did you choose it, how did you know it was the one?
Oh the dress saga! I went to a typical bridal shop once and I just don’t like white. It washes my pale Welsh skin into nothing. So I knew early on my dress would not be typical. I actually bought a pink satin 1950s style ballgown to wear. However, the cost for alterations were really high and I started to have concerns with traveling with a big dress. I also really wanted a jacket to match so I could wear my grandmothers brooch and matching the satin was also becoming an issue. So while I was looking online at Modcloth and found a plaid dress… it just clicked. That dress was WAY more me. Yes, a plaid wedding dress.
I love to hear about vendors you love! Please list any vendors here and your experience with them!
I loved working with Amelia C and Co for hair and makeup. I mean how easy when they come to you and totally make you look like a bombshell. My hairstylist was chatty and it helped keep me from getting too nervous about the big day. We just had fun hanging out while she worked her magic. I also really loved working with Cactus Collective. The best choice we made for ourselves was working with them to do our wedding. Everything was so simple. I really had no worries at all. If I had questions or needed help for vendors, McKenzi was there to help. Eloping without friends and family can be stressful on the family and friend side, but it was perfect for us. We would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Did you find a store/site that had everything you were looking for?
Modcloth has amazing dresses. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box! Etsy was also a huge help in finding items I needed, from Tom’s ring from Stonebrook Jewelry to my veil from Melinda Rose Design. DO NOT SKIMP ON YOUR VEIL. Cheap ones look cheap. I also found my new favorite shoe designer, Miss L Fire. Woman owned and they release info on where the shoes are made and by whom. Mostly from family owned businesses, one even ran by women as well.
DIY-ers….tell me what you made for your wedding! How was your experience putting your personal stamp on your event? Would you do it again?
Eloping meant that I didn’t have to DIY anything. We did have a park celebration back at home after we were married. I made all the decorations by hand, hand painted clay pots with Mother of Thousands succulents in them and white mums. And little pendants to hang from the rafters. Those gave me some Carpal Tunnel issues. I should have enlisted more help on those. I have DIYed some friends huge weddings, and knew I didn’t want that stress since we were planning on moving across country. I kept it simple. It was perfect.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to other couples planning their own wedding?
Do what is right for YOU. Did you know that Diamonds weren’t the regular gemstone for weddings until advertising pushed for it? Not like being given away or other outdated wedding traditions? YOU DO YOU. We broke all the rules. I asked. No diamond center stone for me. No wedding band for me either. Plaid wedding dress. Elopement. And we loved every single second. Even if our parents had issues with how we were doing things. There is a lot of pressure to have the perfect instagrammable wedding. Do not go into debt for a party! Its just not worth it. I have been to weddings that cost 25k, and honestly they didn’t get anything that Tom and I didn’t get and we paid far less for it all. Pay attention to what matters most. You and your partner, not impressing people for the day.
Red Rock Canyon
Hair & Makeup:
Rings / Jewelry:
His ring: Stonebrook Jewelry
Brooch: 1950s Vintage Brooch from my Grandmother.
Necklace: Vintage 1950s copper and enamel necklace by Matisse.
Earrings: Copper and Enamel earrings by NojaGlassDesign
Ring: Vintage citrine ring. Robin egg shell ring by Melissa Broek
Wedding ring: a natural pink spiced Zircon with diamonds set in rose gold from DeVries Jewelers
Turo. We rented a Alfa Romeo 4C