Intimate Backyard Wedding Elopement | Seminole Heights

TheXpos Tampa Bay Bridal Show | August 30, 2020 | Centro Asturiano de Tampa

Cole and Matt postponed their Florida wedding a mere 10 days prior to their original March celebration due to Coronavirus, but after a two-year engagement and the anticipation of their nuptials, they knew they couldn’t wait another year to tie the knot, so they planned an intimate home elopement.

“After some back and forth about whether or not to elope anyway, we ultimately decided it was the right decision for us. We had been looking forward to the next step and greater commitment to one another for the two years we were engaged. Thinking about waiting another whole year was heartbreaking,” Cole reasoned. “After many extensive conversations, we decided our marriage isn’t about anybody but us. It’s about expressing our love and commitment to one another, and although the format was different than we envisioned, the purpose was the same. I know a lot of people may have felt left out, but that’s why we are still having a real ceremony again next year! The vows may sound a little different but the wedding certainly will not lose any of its value.”

MORE: ELOPEMENT WEDDING INSPIRATION

The Tampa couple admitted that originally they were devastated about having to postpone their celebration, but they decided to make the most of the situation by eloping without any guests in attendance and then sharing the experience virtually with a few very special family members.

“Although we didn’t get married on our original wedding date, we did decide to get married elopement style! Our friend married us in a private ceremony in her backyard in Seminole Heights. Our wedding photographer took photos (which turned out amazing), and we video recorded the ceremony. We had a Zoom call with our immediate family members after the ceremony and enjoyed drinks with them virtually for our ‘reception.’ We ate a gorgeous dinner that our officiant cooked for us, drank champagne, and celebrated our marriage,” the bride gushed.

The couple says their personal vows exchanged during their elopement ceremony were emotional and a unique experience that was truly about the two of them.

“Our vows were the most important part of our wedding. We have both been looking forward to writing personalized vows for a long time. The vows we read to each other were absolutely perfect. We laughed and cried. And more importantly, there were no reservations because there wasn’t an audience of people to make us feel pressured,” Cole revealed. “The words we spoke 100% came straight from the heart. Our officiant, Annette, provided a spiritual and heartfelt ceremony; something we’ve always dreamed of. We’re going to repeat this ceremony next year, just with different vows which will speak of re-commitment.”

While planning their original wedding celebration, the bride turned to Marry Me Tampa Bay for inspiration, ideas, and answers.

“I loved looking at the Marry Me Tampa Bay Instagram for inspo! I also messaged Anna, the editor, a few times with random questions, and she responded to me quickly. I appreciated that,” Cole raved.

Since there were no guests physically in attendance, the bride’s parents sent a token of the love to be with their daughter in spirit.

“The most memorable moment was Cole’s parents sending a large cardboard cut out of their faces so they could attend the wedding! It was literally hilarious,” Matt beamed. “They sent us a wedding gift, a card, and cutouts of their heads. We propped them up on a chair during dinner, and it was like they were there.”

The self-proclaimed life-of-the-party pair cannot wait to host their big celebration with friends and family next Spring and see all of their previous wedding plans finally come to fruition.

“We rescheduled our wedding with all our same vendors for February of next year. Since it was so close to our wedding date, everything was already paid-in-full, so I had to work to find a date that was available for all of my vendors. I’m most looking forward to celebrating with everyone post-COVID! We were engaged for two years and by the time we have our wedding, it will be three,” the groom explained.

“This wedding has been anticipated for a long time! We’ve always been the life of the party, so I know everyone has high expectations of how much fun they are going to have when they finally get to celebrate with us. We can’t wait to read our vows we will write ourselves, and Cole can’t wait for her dad to walk her down the aisle,” Matt added.

MORE: COVID-19 WEDDING PLANNING ADVICE

The newlyweds encourage other couples affected by COVID to consider having a similar experience of enjoying an intimate elopement now and planning a big, fun party for the future.

“I would like to tell other couples affected by COVID to elope anyway!” Matt advised. “After we eloped we were so happy that we did. It was incredible to share such an intimate and special moment between just us. While it will be fun to celebrate with everyone, there is so much people-pleasing that goes into having a wedding. We are so happy that we got to strip everything down to what really matters – our love. There was no day-of stress, no rushing to get everything done, no worrying about if everything was perfect – it was just us. I feel very lucky to get to experience both types of weddings.”

COVID Wedding Elopement DIY Flowers Floral Bouquet | Peach and Pink Bride Bouquet with Ranunculus Tulips and Eucalyptus

COVID Wedding Elopement Ceremony with Blindfold Groom for Bride and Groom First Look Touch

COVID Wedding Elopement Ceremony with Blindfold for Bride and Groom First Look Touch | Live Stream Video Virtual Wedding Ceremony

COVID Wedding Elopement Ceremony with Blindfold for Bride and Groom First Look Touch

Black and White Wedding Photography | Bride and Groom Outdoor Portrait

Bride and Groom Outdoor Wedding Portrait | COVID Wedding Elopement Backyard Ceremony | Ivory White Bridal Jumpsuit | Casual Groom White Shirt and Pants

COVID Wedding Elopement Backyard Ceremony | Ivory White Bridal Jumpsuit | Casual Groom White Shirt and Pants

Bride and Groom Exchanging Vows during COVID Wedding Elopement Backyard Ceremony | Ivory White Bridal Jumpsuit | Casual Groom White Shirt and Pants

The Proposal:
We got engaged on vacation in Miami. We were leaving to go on a cruise for Cole’s little sister’s wedding. I wanted Cole to have a ring before her sister actually got married, and I wanted her family to be there for the proposal. Everyone went out to a gorgeous dinner, and I proposed while walking down the street. Cole was completely shocked but was so happy that her family got to attend.

Bride and Groom First Kiss at Bride and Groom Exchanging Vows during COVID Wedding Elopement Backyard Ceremony

Bride and Groom Outdoor Wedding Portrait | Ivory White Bridal Jumpsuit | Casual Groom White Shirt and Pants

Bride and Groom Outdoor Wedding Portrait | COVID Wedding Elopement Backyard Ceremony | Ivory White Bridal Jumpsuit | Casual Groom White Shirt and Pants

Bride and Groom Outdoor Wedding Portrait | COVID Wedding Elopement Backyard Ceremony | Ivory White Bridal Jumpsuit | Casual Groom White Shirt and Pants | DIY Pink and Peach Bouquet with Ranunculus and Eucalyptus Greenery

Why did you choose to move forward with your wedding date?
On our “actual” wedding date of March 28, we didn’t get married but we did get dressed up and have the most amazing at-home date! We had wine, got takeout from Rooster and the Till, and just celebrated us! It was a super fun night. It was the first time we got takeout during quarantine, and probably the first time we put on real clothes too! We set up the self-timer on our phones and took some photos. It was truly a night to remember.

After some back and forth about whether or not to elope anyway, we ultimately decided it was the right decision for us. We had been looking forward to the next step and greater commitment to one another for the two years we were engaged. Thinking about waiting another whole year was heartbreaking. After many extensive conversations, we decided our marriage isn’t about anybody but us. It’s about expressing our love and commitment to one another, and although the format was different than we envisioned, the purpose was the same. I know a lot of people may have felt left out. But that’s why we are still having a real ceremony again next year! The vows may sound a little different but the wedding certainly will not lose any of its value.

Bride and Groom Outdoor Wedding Portrait | COVID Wedding Elopement Backyard Ceremony | Ivory White Bridal Jumpsuit | Casual Groom White Shirt and Pants

Bride and Groom Outdoor Wedding Portrait | COVID Wedding Elopement Backyard Ceremony | Ivory White Bridal Jumpsuit | Casual Groom White Shirt and Pants

Bride and Groom Outdoor Wedding Portrait | COVID Wedding Elopement Backyard Ceremony | Ivory White Bridal Jumpsuit | Casual Groom White Shirt and Pants

Bride and Groom Outdoor Wedding Portrait | COVID Wedding Elopement Backyard Ceremony | Ivory White Bridal Jumpsuit | Casual Groom White Shirt and Pants | DIY Peach and Pink Bridal Bouquet with Roses Tulips and Eucalyptus Greenery

Bride and Groom Outdoor Wedding Portrait | COVID Wedding Elopement Backyard Ceremony | Ivory White Bridal Jumpsuit | Casual Groom White Shirt and Pants

Bride and Groom Outdoor Wedding Portrait | COVID Wedding Elopement Backyard Ceremony | Ivory White Bridal Jumpsuit | Casual Groom White Shirt and Pants

Black and White Wedding Photography | Intimate COVID Elopement Reception Dinner with Veuve Clicquot French Champagne

Black and White Wedding Photography | Intimate COVID Elopement Reception Dinner with Veuve Clicquot French Champagne | Bride and Groom Champagne Toast

Are you planning a larger future wedding/reception? If so, what are you looking most forward to about it?
We rescheduled our wedding with all our same vendors for February of next year. Since it was so close to our wedding date, everything was already paid in full, so I had to work to find a date that was available for all of my vendors. I’m most looking forward to celebrating with everyone post-COVID! We were engaged for two years and by the time we have our wedding, it will be three. This wedding has been anticipated for a long time! We’ve always been the life of the party, so I know everyone has high expectations of how much fun they are going to have when they finally get to celebrate with us. We can’t wait to read our vows we will write ourselves, and Cole can’t wait for her dad to walk her down the aisle.

Intimate COVID Elopement Reception Dinner | Virtual Wedding Live Stream

Intimate COVID Elopement Reception Dinner | Virtual Wedding Live Stream

What advice would you give to other couples who have been affected by COVID?
I would like to tell other couples affected by COVID to elope anyway! After we eloped we were so happy that we did. It was incredible to share such an intimate and special moment between just us. While it will be fun to celebrate with everyone, there is so much people-pleasing that goes into having a wedding. We are so happy that we got to strip everything down to what really matters – our love. There was no day-of stress, no rushing to get everything done, no worrying about if everything was perfect – it was just us. I feel very lucky to get to experience both types of weddings.

Photographer: The Mannix Co.
Officiant: Annette Scott
Dress: The Wedding Shoppe (Michigan)
Hair & Makeup: Ashlee Ann Makeup

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.




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