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"Calm During Chaos" Outdoor Elopement

This lovely couple demonstrated the heart of “Pivot don't Panic.” With the virus growing just days after their engagement photo shoot, they decided it was better for them to elope! It was quick planning, but with the help of their church and a beautiful arboretum (Edith J Carrier), an elopement was planned. Love Conquers All with this “Calm During Chaos” Outdoor Elopement!

Xoxo, Jessica

Sydney + Ben

April 18th, 2020
Edith J. Carrier Arboretum | Harrisonburg, VA

What was your total budget? Please provide a budget breakdown.

  • Photographer: $700
  • Dress: $500
  • Pastor: $50
  • Flowers: $10

Total Budget: $1,260

How did you meet?

We have gone to school together since the 6th grade, but we did not grow close until senior year of high school when Ben joined our high school choir…That was the way to my heart! We started dating during the winter break of our senior year of high school.

What is your proposal story?

I always somewhat jokingly said it would be really cute to be proposed to in front of Cinderella's castle, but I didn't actually dream of that kind of proposal – I have a pretty simple style! Ben decided to mix the two by getting a huge mural of the Cinderella castle and hanging it at the top of a mountain! Our friends hung the mural at the peak while we hiked up the mountain, and he proposed when we got to the top. It was not his intention for all our friends to be with us, but not knowing the importance of the day, I invited all our roommates and close friends!! He decided to roll with it, so we got to celebrate with them right away because they were with us for it all!

Tell us about your attire choices.

My style is simple and elegant. My dress was subtly light blush, but looked white unless you have a really good eye! It had pretty embroidery surrounding the waistline and was strapless. It was flowing and princess-y, but not crazy large.

What were your favorite parts of the day?

I truly loved the actual ceremony! Ben and I really loved saying our vows to each other – we didn't write our own because we see a lot of beauty in the meaning of the traditional vows. We loved how intimate it felt to be standing only with each other and making such important and permanent promises.

I wondered if I would feel uncomfortable with people watching us in such an intimate setting, but honestly – and I know this sounds cliche – it felt like Ben and I were the only two people there! It was so intimate and special between the two of us and God.

Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?

Prepare your heart, not your event. Throughout my entire engagement, I felt very overwhelmed by the many pieces of advice I was hearing from all kinds of different directions. From the beginning, I wanted to focus on spending special time with Ben so we could prepare our hearts and minds for the milestone we were heading toward, but I felt a lot of pressure from different places to focus so much on other things related to the actual wedding day.

I never really dreamt of the actual day – always only of being married! So it was difficult for me to put forth effort into perfecting the wedding plans, and I felt overwhelmed and guilty if I didn't want what others wanted for me. So my advice would just be to make your wedding as intimate or as social as you want it to be…it is such a beautiful day, and you should be married in a setting that allows you to be comfortable, joyful, peaceful, confident, and in special unity with your brand new husband.


Photography: Dana Arnold Photography | Ceremony Venue: Edith J. Carrier Arboretum | Floral: Amazon | Makeup: DIY by bride | Wedding Dress: Truly Yours Bridal Shop | Engagement Ring: Brilliant Earth | Videography: DIY Family Friend | Wedding Cake: DIY Family Friend | Hair: DIY by bride | Groom's Attire: JCPenny | Submitted via: Matchology


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