A Wedding For Two

Having our cake, and eating it, just the two of us.

Amy, Former Project Coordinator & Michael, US Marine


Most people either have a wedding or an elopement, or maybe even include a third category as courthouse weddings. But Michael and I didn’t want to elope in the traditional sense (because that would mean leaving our friends and family out of the celebration), nor did we want to wait months through his deployment to be husband and wife. We considered having a courthouse wedding “now” and a reception “later”, but life is unpredictable and, particularly because Michael is in the US Marine Corps, time together is never guaranteed. So we decided to have our cake and eat it too. Who cares if traditionalists say it’s tacky, or that you can’t marry twice? Our guiding philosophy is that we are the ones making the rules for our marriage, so with that thought in mind, we decided that we would not “elope,” but have a romantic, private wedding for ourselves on his pre-deployment leave and a then hold a vow renewal wedding with our loved ones upon his return.


In just three weeks, I found a bed and breakfast that offered an elopement package, purchased a gown, and worked with a seamstress for alterations, as well as designed and wrote our ceremony. I worked closely with the owners of the bed and breakfast to create our wedding, choosing details like the cake, bouquet, and ceremony location with their guidance. Michael was deployed overseas and unable to contact me during the three weeks between our decision to marry and our private wedding, so I gave him just two jobs: find me a ring and pick out what he would wear.

It has occurred to me that planning a wedding without your significant other might seem sad, frustrating, or even nerve wracking, but honestly, I didn’t feel stressed even once because I knew that, whatever happened, it would be a day that we would enjoy together. The whole experience felt like I was planning an elaborate gift for the two of us to enjoy, and so that’s how I envisioned our wedding—a beautiful day we could cherish as a gift. Because, however cheesy it may sound, when your wedding is sandwiched between long-distance living and a deployment, every moment spent together is a gift.


One thing that I almost didn’t do and am so glad I did was to spend the extra money on a professional photographer for our private wedding. I actually spent most of my time planning choosing a photographer. I interviewed at least ten photographers, knowing that it was important to find someone that could feel like an old friend, since they and the officiant would be the only other souls at our wedding. I knew Mhari Scott was the photographer I would want beside me as I was getting ready or needed to ask for an opinion on my hair the moment I realized she completely understood that Michael and I weren’t looking for a magazine-caliber photo spread of all the small details perfectly arranged on cute tables under twinkly lights (though there is certainly nothing wrong with that). We simply wanted someone to capture the emotions and events of the day—photos we would display above the mantel for years to come.


You know what was one of the nicest parts about it being just us? We were able to create our schedule in the moment and let the evening unfold as it felt right. After the ceremony, we made s’mores by the campfire, danced a little, cut our cake, danced some more, then went back the campfire to enjoy a mug of coffee (in honor of Michael’s coffee addiction) and stargazed. Nothing after the ceremony was actually scheduled like at a traditional wedding, nor was it on display for guests. It was just the two of us in a pure, private, and intimate moment.

So we did things a little differently. When I imagined my wedding as a little girl, I saw a beautiful ballroom, tons of flowers, formal wear, and a full orchestra. To be completely honest, “small” and “intimate” were not words I would have used when describing my dream wedding. But, much like my husband, our private wedding was everything I never knew I wanted.


(In case you are wondering, everyone who we have invited to our upcoming vow renewal wedding has been thrilled—thrilled that we had had a private and romantic day to ourselves and thrilled that they will be able to celebrate our special day by watching us renew our vows and dance the night away. I am thankful for their support and am excited that the pressure to make our wedding day “the best day ever” has pretty much disappeared. We simply have the chance to affirm our love for each other in the presence of our loved ones and then celebrate.)


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  • wow this is awesome! congrats! and I am in love with bed and breakfasts and that sounds SO perfect.

  • MM

    Just beautiful. This place was a top contender if we would have had our wedding at home in OR. And yay for having your cake and eating it too!

  • Another Meg

    This is gorgeous. Congratulations!

    We did our wedding in a similar vein- although ours was at courthouse- with a big vow renewal/wedding celebration with everyone on our one year anniversary. If anyone minded, we didn’t hear about it, and you’re right- it absolutely took away pressure. We had a looming possibility of weather complications for the big party, and it was pretty fantastic knowing that even if for some reason we had to cancel, the marriage part was taken care of.

  • Erin

    I love your Little Red cape! Congrats to the happy couple!

    • Amy Perkins

      Thanks! I found it on etsy and originally used it as a costume piece for little red riding hood, ha.

  • A.

    This is amazing. Beautiful photos, fantastic perspective on what is/was meaningful for you. And how wonderful that you are getting so much support from your families regarding your upcoming vow renewal wedding. Well done and congratulations!

    • Amy Perkins

      Thank you so much! We are so thankful to our families for being great about it.

  • kcaudad

    I love this: “It was just the two of us in a pure, private, and intimate moment. […] Our private wedding was everything I never knew I wanted.”
    That sounds perfect! This is something that I would still like to do as a vow renewal in a few years.

  • Kat91314

    S’mores in a wedding dress. That wins ALL my love today. I think I need to make this happen at our wedding in September :-D

    • Jen

      we got married in September, almost 2 years ago now…and we had s’mores as a late-night, post-reception hang out with friends and family who were staying on site and hadn’t yet gone to bed. It was awesome. Definitely do it!!

      • Kat91314

        I think I will. And depending on how the pics come out, I may submit it to APW :-)

        • Amy Perkins

          I would love to see them when you do!

  • HannahESmith

    I got married near Parkdale as well! Such a beautiful place. This wedding is so lovely. Congratulations to you both, and great job ignoring people who say things are “tacky.” Such a loaded word, and it can be used for anything and everything!

  • Mhari Scott

    Amy, I loved every minute of your wedding… it was the highlight of my season and truly brought me back to the soul of what weddings are all about. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making me a part of it.

    • Amy Perkins

      You’re the best, Mhari!

  • Jessica

    Is today the day APW just said “well, everyone needs to cry today”? Because I’m welling up over here.

  • JDrives

    I can usually hold it together when viewing the amazing weddings featured here on APW…but this one really got me choked up. I think it’s a combination of the gorgeous pictures and the emotion they captured, the determination for the bride & groom not to let anything deter them from getting married how and when they wanted to, and the fact that y’all just got PURE STRAIGHT MARRIED, no muss or fuss or expectations or need to be blog-worthy. Oh and s’mores. God I love s’mores.

    • Amy Perkins

      Aw you are so sweet. The s’mores were definitely delicious, though I think Michael was too nervous to eat any!

  • Such happiness. Yea!

  • Natalie

    I’m also tearing up over your gorgeous photos and your lovely story. What a beautiful, special wedding day you had! Thanks for sharing.

  • Helen

    Lovely. We were already married legally when we walked down the aisle, and it didn’t take away from the feelings one iota.

    • Amy Perkins

      It’s so good to hear that the day can still be “magical” when you have your wedding, even if you are legally married already!

  • Stacy {Woodsy Weddings}

    The red cape and the s’mores are adorable! I love this entire idea and the backdrop for your wedding is gorgeous!

  • MDBethann

    Beautiful! There was absolutely nothing “tacky” about your wedding or your plans to celebrate with family and friends later. You had a stunning day and clearly a very special memory for you both. Best wishes!

  • Dee

    The s’mores party is my favorite thing I think I’ve ever seen. I sat contemplating how to make that happen at our wedding.
    Cups up for your honor of coffee addictions. We are coffee addicted adults.

  • Elizabeth

    Beautiful absolute perfection! Is there any way that I can ask you ( privately ) some questions? I don’t know if you can help me, in sorting out “my” perfect wedding too..Time is not much and I have a health-condition that makes everything trickier. elizabeth.bells@icloud.com I would appreciate your help. Thanks.