Our Surprise Elopement at My Family Home In Brooklyn

We did it our way

Becca, Writer + Dan, Web Designer
One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: Vintage!
Planned Budget: $1200
Actual Budget: $1200
Number of Guests: 0
Location: Family home, Brooklyn, NY
Photographer: Ruby Olivia Photography

Where we allocated the most funds: Photography! This was even the focus of our day. We haven’t had any “nice” photos of us taken in SO long, and we were so happy to have someone directing us and making us feel like our best selves for the camera. Photos are forever.

Where we allocated the least funds: Food, drink, attire

What was totally worth it: Surprising all our friends with our news, both a few hours before, and that night, and a few days later. We surprised friends for AGES!

What was totally not worth it: Taking an Uber to our venue. We should’ve taken the subway.

A few things that helped us along the way: Seeing other mini weddings, and seeing that weddings can take any shape and form.

My best practical advice for my planning self: A marriage lasts a lifetime.

Favorite thing about the wedding: Having lots of family in spirit through all the personal touches, from the homemade cake from my sister, to the fact that we got married in a family home.

Anything else: We had been looking for the ‘perfect local wedding venue’ that checked all the boxes of being private, outdoors, dynamic and COVID-safe. One morning while both working at home, I had an immediate realization that we could ask to use my grandparents’ house in the south of Brooklyn, NY. The house is currently up for sale and no one lives there. My mother grew up there and I spent countless childhood weekends there with my grandparents, cousins and other members of the family, even coming for Saturday or Sunday lunches with my grandparents or just my grandfather in my adulthood while living in Manhattan.

My fiance (at the time) agreed that this was our “EUREKA!” moment, and we went forward by asking the family for permission to use the house for our simple-yet-meaningful civil wedding in September 2020.

With only three weeks to plan, we enlisted a friend, Alex, to be our officiant, and coordinated a day when both she and our chosen photographer, Ruby Olivia, would be available.

Our day was super chilled-out and relaxing, as far as a wedding goes. We also lucked out with weather, as the forecast had been 100% precipitation all day, and it kept clearing and clearing, giving us a window of 3:30 to 5:30 pm when we had no rain, just a super-humid late summer day.

Delighted to be able to incorporate most of my grandparents into our special day, I was blessed to have been given a dress from my father’s mother by my mom, who found it in a closet. It’s a white lace strapless dress that fit me like a glove, and I was so happy to wear a dress from one grandmother and get married in the house of the other.

The other details came from family, which we loved. My mom and dad came to the house the day before to drop off champagne and set out some fancy crystal glasses to use in photos (and use for drinking). My sister surprised us with a homemade gluten-free dairy-free mini-cake, set on a cake plate that was given to us as a wedding gift from a family friend.

For other details, I wanted to incorporate our love of travel into what I wore, and I wore handmade earrings from Faire Collection that were made in Ecuador, along with Fiesta Feet, which is a woman-owned company making handmade huarache-style shoes from Mexico. Our wedding bands were bought in a hurry, but were also bought with the intention of our lifestyle—lots of working out during quarantine and made to be comfortable, so we went with silicone wedding bands to fit the bill.

We were able to spend time with our photographer, Ruby, taking photos around the neighborhood where my mom grew up, with shots of us walking down the street, running across one of the main roads in the area, crossing tree-lined streets in crosswalks and sitting on the front stoop of the house. We also got to take some very ‘green’ photos in front of NYC’s oldest historical landmarks, the Dutch farmhouse located on East 22nd St.

Overall, our day checked all our boxes, and showed that a wedding can be any size, any shape and any color. We actually surprised many friends with our news, and they were all overjoyed to see that we “did it our way,” and were able to include all of the things we love about our relationship.


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