Planning Our Elopement


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Hello!! Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. I’ve been married for 2 weeks today, which is very exciting! On the day Steve and I got married, we’d been together for exactly 11 years and 8 months. To say we waited a long time for our wedding day to arrive would be an understatement! I knew just 6 months into dating Steve that we’d get married one day, so it’s safe to say I’m beyond thrilled.

Wedding Rings l Planning Our Elopement l Love.Bake.Read

Back in January of this year we began seriously thinking about when to get married. Do we wait until we’re done paying off our debt? No, because that’d put us in 2015, and well, I don’t like odd numbers. Do we wait until 2016? No, that’s a really long time from now, and we’d like to have a baby that year. So, we made the decision to get married in October of this year, despite being in the middle of paying off our debt.

When we checked the calendar for dates in October, we knew without a doubt that we’d get married on Sunday, October 12, 2014. I told Steve the date was PERFECT because it sounds really lovely, and it’s all EVEN numbers—10.12.14. How in the world did we get so lucky?!

Caroline Meyers Photography l Planning Our Elopement l Love.Bake.Read
Caroline Meyers Photography

In February, we were playing with the idea of possibly getting married on the west side of Michigan because we knew the fall colors would be brilliant. But, at the end of the day, we just didn’t feel like that was us. So, by March, we switched gears and started thinking about other possibilities. What fit us as a couple? What felt like us?

It took no time at all to decide that we’d search for a lovely apple orchard to get married in. Why you ask? I have always loved fall and everything that comes with it—trips to the apple orchard, apple cider, apples, pumpkins, fritters, everything! When Steve and I started dating we looked forward to visiting Erie Orchard in Erie, Michigan every.single.year (until we moved to Brooklyn!). There’s just something about the way fall makes us feel! It’s always just been our thing. So that was that—an orchard it would be.

Showalter's Orchard l Planning Our Elopement l Love.Bake.Read

We knew the leaves wouldn’t change colors here in Maryland until at least the end of October, so we searched fall foliage in Virginia instead, and luckily, it seemed as though we’d have good fall colors on our chosen date. So, I searched online for orchards in Virginia, and I came across Showalter’s Orchard in Timberville, which is in the Shenandoah Valley. Talk about GORGEOUS!

While viewing Showalter’s website, I came across these gorgeous photos of a family having a picnic in the orchard, and I thought to myself, how perfect! I finished browsing Showalter’s entire site and completely fell in love, but there was one small issue…the orchard was closed on Sundays. My heart sank, but I decided to e-mail the owners anyway and ask if it’d be possible for us to get married in their orchard, even though they were closed. We received a response a day later from Sarah—she and her husband, Shannon, own Showalter’s—saying “We are not open on Sundays, but are open to the idea of sharing the orchard with you on that day.” Oh my gosh, we could hardly believe it! Then, we wondered about how much the fee would be for using the orchard. So, I inquired, and Sarah said there wouldn’t be a fee, but that she’d like to use our photos on the Showalter’s website. Again, we could hardly believe our luck!

Showalter's Orchard l Planning Our Elopement l Love.Bake.Read

Right after I initially e-mailed Sarah at Showalter’s, I e-mailed Caroline Meyers, the photographer who took the pictures I’d seen on the orchard website. Steve and I just loved her photos! I knew from her website that she was available on October 12th and that she was incredibly affordable. She responded quickly saying how much she loved elopements and that Showalter’s would be a magnificent location for an intimate elopement. By this time, I could’ve screamed from a mountain top out of sheer excitement. Everything was falling into place nicely and in no time at all.

The following day, Steve and I booked an absolutely stunning room at Suites 249, a boutique hotel in Culpeper, Virginia. Our initial plan was to stay in Culpeper, drive to Showalter’s on our wedding day, and then drive back to Culpeper right after. I can tell you it’s a GOOD thing we did a test run at the end of August, but more on that later.

Showalter's Orchard l Planning Our Elopement l Love.Bake.Read

By mid-March, we’d secured out elopement location, our photographer, and our hotel, so next up was an officiant. The first woman I called reminded me of Mags from Justified (on FX). She was really gruff and said “I suppose you’ll be coming here to my house to get married?”. I could hardly believe my ears. I said, “um no”…and so she provided me with the phone number of another officiant. Whew! So, I contacted the officiant she recommended, and she was available for our elopement date as well. Boy, we’re we feeling lucky!

In May, I searched online for a bakery in Culpeper that could make us a cheesecake for our elopement. I contacted Sweets by Monique, and she was fabulous to work with. She was incredibly patient with all of my million questions. It took a lot of back and forth communication, but we decided on an incredible 8-inch caramel apple pecan cheesecake, 20 fritter donuts, and 6 jumbo pumpkin-chocolate muffins. We were going ALL out! All for a whopping $37. Say what?! Again, we were THRILLED!

Now would be the time to tell you more about Culpeper. Steve and I did a test run on August 29th, just to see how everything would work out. Well, it took us nearly 2 hours to get to Culpeper, but we didn’t think much of it at the time. We stopped at the Culpeper County Circuit Court and applied for our marriage license—THAT was super exciting!! We drove by Suites 249, just to have a look, and then we headed on to Showalter’s Orchard, where we would be meeting Sarah, Caroline, and our officiant. Our drive from Culpeper to Timberville is when we started second guessing the whole Culpeper-aspect of our plan.

Showalter's Orchard l Planning Our Elopement l Love.Bake.Read

It took forever and a day to get from one place to the other. Really, like 2 hours, but still. We did not want to drive 2 hours the morning of our elopement. Not to mention, the whole way there was back roads, granted it was BEAUTIFUL, but we had no cell phone reception and it was just a bit isolated for us. Because it took us so long to get to Showalter’s, we missed meeting our officiant because she had to leave. Ugh! Luckily though, we were still able to meet Sarah and Caroline, who showed us around the orchard (click here to read all about our August visit to Showalter’s). I didn’t say anything about our elopement in that post because it was a SECRET, and I didn’t want to give anything away. I’m sneaky like that!

Needless to say, when we got home from our test run, we immediately cancelled our reservation at Suites 249 and our amazing desserts order from Sweets by Monique. Both of these things broke our hearts, but it just had to be done. We couldn’t find a hotel anywhere nearby Showalter’s to accommodate us from October 11th-14th, so we ended up booking two separate places. No biggie, though! We booked a Holiday Inn Express in Woodstock, VA for October 11th, and then we booked an Inn in Harrisonburg, VA for October 12th-14th. I cannot wait to tell you all about the Inn. It was INCREDIBLE!! Don’t think old Victorian, think modern! As for sweets, we decided on apple fritters from the Lancaster County Dutch Market in Germantown, MD and cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake in Bethesda, MD. Fabulous choices!

Caroline Meyers Photography l Planning Our Elopement l Love.Bake.Read
Caroline Meyers Photography

One last thing, and then I’ll wrap up for today. After visiting the orchard in August, Steve and I were set on having an 8am ceremony. We’re early birds, what can I say. Anyway, the officiant we secured back in March said she wouldn’t be able to officiate our ceremony at that time. This was really disappointing because we were set on getting married at 8am on 10.12.14—get it?! All even numbers!

So, we set out to find a new officiant. I was kind of at a loss, but decided to check the Rockingham County website to see if they had any officiants listed and they did. Whew! So, I contacted the few individuals that were listed, and we ended up selecting a woman named Bonnie. I’ll be honest here; we keep both Bonnie and our original officiant on the hook, just in case…and you know what?! It’s a good thing we did because our original officiant ended up being hospitalized the Friday before our Sunday elopement. That’s 2 days! We would’ve been in a real pickle had we not scheduled Bonnie as well. Good thing we went with our gut on this one and kept both scheduled. Bonnie is the sweetest! She was lovely to work with!

I didn’t expect this post to be so long—thank you for sticking with me! I’ll post more about our elopement and trip as a whole later this week, so look out for that! :o)

Thank you for reading and sharing in our day of love!

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