This elopement is the cutest. It’s the type of elopement that drew me into doing them in the first place. Just the couple, some beers and doughnuts! So simple yet so full of love.
Their photographer Dani tells it better than I could so I’ll share her words below and some Q&A with the couple throughout the post.
“They got “married” here in Charlotte, but no one knew that a couple months earlier, it was actually made official.
Sami and Josh booked me over a FaceTime call, since they live in DC, while planning their September ’19 wedding in the CLT. A few months before their wedding date, I received an email from them asking if I could travel to Washington DC to shoot their secret elopement (but no worries, the big celebration was still happening!). Luckily, I was already going to be in the capitol for a personal trip with my kids and the boyfriend, so we planned to meet up and do the thing – family style!
On a Monday afternoon, Sami changed into her dress in the brewery’s bathroom and walked out to meet her soon-to-be husband at the bar. they laughed and cried over vows written on the opposite side of their favorite engagement picture (surprisingly to them, they each chose the same photo!), they slipped on rings, signed a marriage certificate, shared a first kiss as husband and wife, enjoyed moments of quiet conversation over a favorite brew, and first danced among the tables to a song in their heads. They were such simple, beautiful moments.
The whole crew then walked through the streets to Union Market for more pics and a donut or two – and if you happened to be in the area, you would have been witness to a bride and groom, a photographer, two whiney little kids and their keeper all loaded down with bags, single file while trekking through crosswalks and road construction, waving at the honkers and “congratulations” commuters – amusing to say the least.”
Photography: Dani Nicole Photography
Ceremony Location : Red Bear Brewing Co
After Photos : Union Market
Q: How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.
A: We met in college at the Milwaukee School of Engineering 9 years ago. Our friend groups overlapped and somehow we ended up dating. Neither of us remember a real “first date” but by the end of our freshmen year, we were all in. Through college, one year apart after college, and 2 years living in Virginia, we decided it was finally time to tie the knot. Josh made it official by proposing before we went to our final inspection for our new home that we bought that day. We certainly had a lot to celebrate!
Q: Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette?
A: Our secret elopement was the opposite of traditional. When figuring out how to get legally married in NC (where our September wedding was to take place) while living in Northern Virginia, we realized that it would be a lot easier to just do the paperwork locally. Washington, D.C. allows you to get married without an officiant (you “self-officiate”) which was perfect for us. Luckily Dani was planning on coming to DC for a family vacation so she agreed to sneak around town with us.
Q: Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
A: Our elopement was in June which meant our wedding decor at Red Bear Brewing Company was pride themed, and we loved it. We did not bring any additional decorations with us, just my flowers that I picked up from the grocery store the night before. I chose burgundy mums and some type of fern to put together a simple bouquet.
Q: Did you personalize the day in any way ? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
A: Our entire elopement was extremely personal. We chose a brewery that we love as our venue. They were so kind to us and let us take over the back bar on a Monday for 30 minutes to seal the deal. After the “ceremony” we popped over to Union Market, walking past many well wishers along the way, and got donuts. Union Market is such a fun place to wander around and try different foods and reminds us of the Milwaukee Public Market where we went often during college.The entire afternoon was my favorite, I definitely cannot pick just one thing.
Q: Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look?
A: My wedding dress was purchased at Church Street Bridal in Lynchburg, VA. The shop is run out of a YWCA and proceeds from the new, donated dressed go to their women’s programs. It was important to us to give back where we could while planning the wedding. The dress was a Robbert Bullock Cora gown from the 2012 collection. The tiered lace skirt and sweetheart neckline with eyelash detailing at the top was just southern enough to fit with our (originally intended) North Carolina wedding. I wore the dress again for the North Carolina “ceremony” and reception. The groom wore a grey suit similar to what he wore in the NC wedding also. He loves any excuse to wear a bowtie and chose a blue plaid one for the occasion.
Q: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
A: One of the funniest things that happened was when we revealed our vows to one another. We had decided to write them on the back of printed engagement photos. By pure coincidence we chose the same photo – one in color and one in black and white. It was perfect that we had the same favorite picture – and it was of us in a brewery!
Q: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?
A: Give yourself plenty of time to plan your wedding. There is no rush and it will be so much less stressful. If you want to really eliminate stress- secretly elope beforehand so during your big wedding day, nothing can really go wrong!