It was a windy Thursday afternoon when I got the text from Jordan, while trying to wrestle with my patio umbrella. She wanted to know, was I available this weekend for an impromptu backyard elopement with the love of her life, Evan.
This isn't the first call I've gotten about photography during the pandemic. It was actually a theme towards the beginning as people quickly readjusted their weddings, family plans, and summer schedules. Was I willing to shoot a family portrait to send to Grandma, was I available to capture a secret wedding on the day originally scheduled even though a bigger wedding would take place next year, could I possibly do a session with a kid to give them something fun instead of being cooped up in a house? Everyone of these requests was respectful, wondering if I felt comfortable and most of them fizzled out as people realized the risk was not worth the images.
As three weeks turned into three months Jordan and Evan had decided to get in their car and road trip from the East Coast out to Colorado to be with their families. During this mini vacation they wanted to make their engagement official. As she explained it "Our actual wedding will still take place next year, but this was a wedding my parents (and his parents) have been able to plan, and that's made them so excited." Despite all that's going on in the world, all the fear, precautions, violence, hate, and health risks, Jordan and Evan were going to take a leap of faith and become man and wife.
As I listened to her talk about their day, traffic noise in the background as they traversed Indiana, I grew more and more elated that they were considering me for their event. It's a well known secret that my absolute favorite weddings are elopements. I have yet to go to one that hasn't been way more intimate, and more about the bride and groom than a day filled with 200 people. Some of the most special, most emotional things I've been able to witness in my life are the vows and promises two souls make to one another when they just can't wait and absolutely want to commit themselves to each other.
While I understand people's draw to tradition, I have always found elopements empower brides and grooms to break free of the chains of white wedding dresses and diamond wedding rings simply because it's "the way things are done". Typically elopements allow the couple to show their truest selves by expressing their souls without everything having to live up to the standards of what the wedding industry tells you your big day is supposed to be.
When Jordan talked about her colorful dress, the relaxing vibe of her ceremony being in the back yard of her air bnb, and the fact that scotch and cake were the only thing she knew for sure that they wanted, I was hooked.
In a world of facemarks a certain level of precaution naturally needs to take place. Besides Jordan and Evan only his parents, her parents, myself, and a friend that officiated were allowed at the wedding. A computer screen on a chair recorded the joyous occasion to be shared later. It might not have been the way they originally intended but they chose love, and love is exactly what occurred that morning.
Excited, nervous, tear-filled with happiness, Jordan and Evan became man and while in thirty minutes, surrounded by the support of parents that couldn't be more excited the whole thing was taking place. A scripture reading was shared by all parties involved as Jordan and Evan linked fingers, and hearts, before joining with one last name. They giggled, they laughed, they wiped their eyes as they commented just how intimate and personal their ceremony was.
There is something to be said about choosing each other when the world seems to be falling apart. A partnership that is formed when two souls dare to follow their hearts and commit to being the best for one another feels the most unbreakable of all. With vows promising to remind each other that it will always be okay, to support each others dreams, and to always put their marriage first, Jordan and Evan kissed their way into a new life adventure.
In a world behind cloth, where we have to stay away from each other to keep one another safe, I never felt more close or connected as I did listening to these two beautiful humans promise each other forever, and mean it.
Thanks for the HOPE Jordan and Evan!