Soledad, admin/skater & Cheker, engineer/skater
Sum-up of the wedding vibe: A commitment to love in a secluded desert paradise.
Planned budget: $3,000
Actual budget: $2,600
Number of guests: 4
Where we allocated the most funds:
When we started planning our wedding we knew that the photographers were going to be our big-ticket item. Since we were eloping, we wanted to be able to capture our day not just for ourselves, but also to share with our families and friends who were not there. We wanted a team of photographers that would document our true love story—not a fairy tale or movie, but the true beauty of our commitment to each other.
Mitch and Destany Colagrossi were hands down the best decision we made, aside from getting married, of course! They really put us at ease the moment they walked through the door. Destany even lent a helping hand putting the final touches on bouquet and boutonniere when we were running behind. They both did such beautiful work on our photos, we are both truly honored that they chose to work with us and were able to capture every detail of our day.
Where we allocated the least funds:
One of the deterrents from having a wedding was how uncomfortable we both felt about spending such a large sum of money for one day—especially when a lot of what goes into the wedding can quickly become more about meeting family expectations than what the couple desires. Once we decided on eloping, we wanted to be as practical as possible and keep all purchases reasonable, and that included our wedding day attire. Just because I didn’t want to spend a small fortune on my dress didn’t mean that I didn’t want to find the perfect dress! I was 99.9 percent sure that I didn’t want a white wedding dress. When I stumbled upon my dress online, there was something about it that I couldn’t get out of my mind. I took a chance and ordered it. When it arrived, I knew it was the one. I loved everything about it, and I loved it even more because I got such a great deal on it.
What was totally worth it:
Eloping! I really wish that we had decided to move forward with the elopement sooner. When we first got engaged, we started planning for a wedding, but the deeper we got into planning the more it started to feel like something that wasn’t for us. Our biggest hesitation with scrapping the whole wedding idea was our families. We didn’t want to upset or disappoint anyone by not having a full-out wedding. We finally decided to talk to our families and once we explained our perspective on things, they were super supportive of our decision. No wedding, no problem! Can we still come to the elopement, though? We decided we wanted it to be just the two of us and Pippa (our dog) so we could focus on what was really important to us: our commitment to each other.
What was totally not worth it:
Stressing out about the flowers. I love fresh flowers, but they feel like a bit of an extravagance so I don’t purchase them often. I had grand plans of braving the LA Flower Market on the Thursday morning before our ceremony to pick out the perfect array of fresh blooms. I had read all the guides and tips on navigating the Flower Market, and every trick and tip I could find on DIYing your wedding flowers. I had done my research and was really looking forward to putting together our wedding flowers.
Eventually I realized that the added stress of this one element was just not worth it, so I let it go. It was definitely the right choice. Instead, I decided to source my flowers locally from the Joshua Tree Farmer’s Market the morning of the ceremony. I knew that the selection would be much smaller than in LA, but I was determined to make whatever they had work. Much to my surprise they ended up having a few random proteas for $1 a stem!
A few things that helped us along the way:
Our derby community. We are both very fortunate not only to skate for an amazing team (Angel City is currently number five in the world), but also to be a part of a community of athletes and volunteers that stretch the globe. Anytime we needed advice or recommendations we simply had to reach out, and someone somewhere was always there to drop some pearls of wisdom to help us along the way. We found Holly, our hair and makeup artist, through a former leaguemate; our officiant was a dear friend and teammate; The Colagrossis were fans of their local derby league in Fort Wayne; our ModCloth shoot stemmed from an introduction via derby; and Cheker and I met five years ago in Washington, DC due to derby.
We had kept our elopement a secret from everyone except our immediate family and a few select individuals. Once word had spread that we had made things official, we had an outpouring of support and love from all across the globe. We both feel very honored to be a part of such a diverse and accepting community.
My best practical advice for my planning self:
Keep the big picture in mind. This is your wedding, and you will set out with a vision of what your perfect day will look like. If you remember to be flexible and keep in mind what is really important to you and your partner, it will be easier to let the little things go. Remember that you won’t get these moments back, and being consumed with the minute details takes your focus away from sharing this experience with your partner.
Favorite thing about the wedding:
Location, location, location! The landscape of Joshua Tree is breathtaking, and for being so close to LA it feels worlds away. Our first trip to Joshua Tree was about five months prior to our elopement. After our trip we both knew this was where we wanted to marry each other. Between our work, family commitments, and derby schedules, our lives are a constant whirlwind. Joshua Tree is such a tranquil, secluded desert paradise that it allows you to just breathe and take in each moment; we were truly able to focus on just each other and the commitment that we were making. We rented the perfect little Airbnb that was close enough to town to be convenient, but far enough to feel completely secluded. Joshua Tree created the perfect atmosphere for our elopement and provided a beautiful backdrop for our ceremony.
Anything else to share:
Trust your instincts and stay true to yourself. If you and your partner really want to elope, do it. You have chosen to commit your lives to one another, and you should celebrate that commitment in any way you see fit. #LoveWins