I’ve surprised you with the announcement of mine and Steve’s elopement, and I’ve told you allll about the planning of our elopement. So, now it’s time to tell you about our beautiful, magical, intimate elopement at Showalter’s Orchard in the Shenandoah Valley in Timberville, Virginia. You guys, it was perfect. It was US. It was more than we could have ever imagined it to be.
Why did we elope you might ask? Well, we’re a very private couple, and we’ve been together for well over 11 years, so for us this was really about our marriage, not a wedding. We just didn’t want or need a wedding or all the hoopla that comes with it. It’s just not us. We wanted our wedding day to be about us, we wanted to focus on our marriage, and we wanted to be able to really live in the moment. We focused completely on everything that was important to us, and at the end of the day, we did exactly what felt right in our hearts.
So, let me give you the details! This is going to be a long one with lots of pictures, so settle in comfortably!
The morning of our wedding, I got up at 4am to start getting ready. I didn’t sleep all that well because I was so worried I’d miss my alarm! I wanted our day to be relaxed and stress-free, which is sometimes a challenge for me because I can be a bit of a perfectionist. But, I really kept myself in check from the moment I woke up.
I finished off getting ready by curling the ends of my hair, so it would have a bit of volume. It was a lost cause though, as you can tell from our pictures. My hair is just too thick to hold curls and it was sooo humid. Humidity = wavy and poofy hair. I’m a freak about my hair, but I really had to just let it go and not worry about it.
After we were both ready, we packed the car, and stopped by the hotel lounge for a quick breakfast. We just had some oatmeal, a banana, and some scrambled eggs. Orange juice for me, coffee for Steve. I was just focused on leaving on time for the orchard, so I wasn’t all too interested in eating. On our way to the orchard, we made a quick pit stop at McDonald’s for coffee, which we wanted to have for our pictures later that morning.
On our drive to the orchard, it was incredibly foggy, so we were definitely a little worried. But, as we got closer and closer to the orchard, the fog disappeared. Whew! When we arrived at the orchard our officiant, Bonnie, was already there. Her and her husband arrived early and watched the sunrise over the Valley. You guys, the sunrise was incredible! After introducing ourselves to Bonnie and her husband, we rushed off to change our clothes and do any last minute touch-ups. Our photographer, Caroline, arrived while we were changing, so when we came back outside we were all ready to roll.
We talked for a few moments about which location to choose for our ceremony. Wait, did I mention that it was a whopping 48 degrees that morning? We were freezing! Anyway, we decided to have our ceremony right in the apple orchard between two gorgeous apple trees and right next to the pumpkin patch—all with an incredible view. Caroline really liked this spot because she could capture us from all angles.
For our ceremony, we decided on standard, non-religious vows. We also both wrote our own vows, love letters to one another actually, but we wanted to keep those private. We’d planned to read our letters to one another in the orchard, but it’s a good thing we waited, because we both ended up crying. Aww!
During our ceremony, Steve and I held hands and locked eyes the entire time. Bonnie was fantastic—the sweetest person! Everything she said during our ceremony was beautiful, and when it came time to say our actual vows, I almost lost it, but I quickly gathered myself. The ceremony was over before we knew it, and we were kissing as new husband and wife. We’d waited SO long for that moment, and it was perfect. Husband and wife!!!! Yessss, finally!!
Heel Click! Gosh, this picture makes us laugh so hard. Love it!
Bonnie was genuinely interested in us as a couple and was very happy for us, which meant a lot. There were hugs all around while we thanked her. After that, she handed us our marriage certificate, and ensured us that she’d send out our marriage license in the mail. We did it, we made it official!
Now, it was time for pictures! And pictures we did take—1,500 to be exact. That’s right! We took pictures ALL throughout the orchard for 5 hours. After about an hour, we were so frozen, it didn’t matter, so we kept at it. You know when I mentioned that we wanted our wedding day to be about us? THIS is what I meant. Eloping allowed us to have the day to ourselves, to focus only on one another, to capture EVERY memory.
Caroline is incredibly, incredibly passionate about her work and it shows. When I say she is amazing, I mean it in every sense of the word. She was 100% present and focused on us as a couple. She could tell we weren’t all that comfortable in front of the camera at first, so she helped loosen us up and put us at ease. As the minutes passed, we became more and more comfortable.
Thank goodness she’s creative because we didn’t want too many boring, posed photos. Months before our elopement, I created a Pinterest board to share with Caroline and she studied everything I posted. She even printed out the pictures and brought them with her, so she knew what we wanted. I truly cannot speak highly enough about Caroline. We are already looking forward to doing our 1-year anniversary photos with her.
Don’t you just love this Charlie Brown apple tree?!
Anyway, when I said we took 5 hours’ worth of pictures, I meant it. We covered what felt like every.single.acre of the orchard—that’s like 46 acres, mind you. AND, I chose to wear high heels. I was sinking all over the place! But, you know what? It was a stress-free day, so I didn’t care. My hair—yeah it became wavy with a bit of poof, but again, I just went with it. My make-up faded too, but oh well. Our day was just about love! I kept focused on what was most important—just the two of us.
We took pictures all throughout the rows of apples, and we did a lot of pictures of us walking toward and away from Caroline in order to capture the incredible view. We took pictures in the pumpkin patch, again with a view to die for. We’d ordered signs from Fresh Lemon Blossoms on Etsy, so we took lots of pictures with those—one of our wedding date and one with our last name. I also made a few signs myself, so we used those too. Caroline captured us in front of old trucks, in front of a John Deere tractor, in bamboo, in front of an old shed. Everywhere! Speaking of that shed, I cannot wait to see all the pictures she took of just Steve by the shed.
Oh, we also took pictures while eating our sweets. First, we had our blueberry fritter with a mug of coffee. We used our Showalter’s Orchard mugs, of course! Then, we indulged in our pumpkin spice cheesecake cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake along with a glass of fresh apple cider. Amazing, I tell you! We ended by taking a few pictures in the rocking chairs on the porch, and it was so incredibly peaceful!
Can we talk about our colors for a second? Chocolate brown, ivory, and orange. The perfect fall colors! So many people have commented on how our colors pop so gorgeously in our photos, and we must agree! We are so looking forward to seeing all 1,500 photos of ours, and we can’t wait to print them out! We especially want to print some canvas prints to hang. Aren’t canvas prints just gorgeous? Very exciting!!
After all was said and done, we hugged Caroline and thanked here profusely! We were only scheduled to take 3 hours’ worth of pictures, but like I said, we did 5! She was so incredibly patient. Honestly, we could have kept going all day long. Although, we were a bit cold!
We quickly changed clothes, packed everything up, and headed to our inn. We were in complete awe of our room, but more on that at a later date. We unpacked our stuff and settled in very comfortably! Then, we called our families to share our happy news. And, later that night we had dinner at an Italian restaurant.
Perfection—all that we imagined and more!