Road trip meets party August / September 2018

I am waiting on the official photos to arrive, but figured I would start the report and hopefully, offer advice and iron out any concerns people have with having a destination   elopement wedding. I say elopement in the modern sense – we told people we were getting married, everyone knew, we just told them that they wouldn’t see us say our vows and that we would be throwing a party.

When and where we got married:

22 August 2018, Lake Powell, Arizona, USA.
15 September 2018, Yellow Arch Studios, Sheffield

The engagement and wedding planning period:

We got engaged in Barbados, December 2016. On our arrival back, we didn’t really start planning until February 2017 and quickly decided what we actually wanted was an epic holiday with a wedding thrown in. We didn’t want people at the wedding because our relationship is about us and we felt that saying our vows should be to each other and the entire day should be about ourselves. We took some time to figure out where it was easier to legally get married and decided on the US. We then planned a 3 week road trip and picked a desert location because:

A)   It’s the desert – it won’t rain (More on that later…)

B)   We don’t have that type of scenery in the UK, so why not pick something that looks like Mars?

We also decided that whilst we weren’t comfortable with the idea of saying vows in front of loved ones, we wanted to party with them and spend an evening with them, so booked a venue in Sheffield with food, dessert, cake and a band to make sure they also got something from it. We’ve been to enough weddings to know that the evening part is our favourite!

For the rest of the report I’m going to attempt to break it down into other things – it’ll be a bit of a holiday report but also will include some tips / FAQ. I’ll try and add photos in for reference but who knows…

Posts

  • Sian91Sian91 Posts: 829 New bride

    Ahhhh! I'm so excited for this!

    I hope you both had the most magical day and most fun party!

  • Yessss so excited to hear more and see the pictures!!

  • Saturday 18 August 2018

    Dress picked up day. My dress was in Wakefield, not to far but had to go armed with my carry-on suitcase which was a hard-case rather than a soft case. I arrived, they were ready and waiting with the dress for me to check over and sign off. Nothing wrong with it but then I got worried – what if it didn’t fit?

    They showed me how to re-pack ‘her’ into the case and it seemed super easy (it wasn’t, more on that later!) I was told to open up the suitcase each night she would be packed for, we were going to be in the states for 2 nights before she could ‘hang’. I asked about getting out creases and was advised to turn on the shower for 10 minutes and then hang ‘her’ up in the bathroom. The whole process took about 20 minutes and I was back on my way to Sheffield. We had already packed everything else so was super organised, which is usually the opposite before a holiday!

    Advice time:

    I had read up a lot on taking wedding dresses abroad and how it NEEDS to be in a travel box, but having looked at them I just couldn’t figure out how on earth I would carry it and it certainly wouldn’t survive being in a Ford Mustang for 3 weeks! So decided to go against the advice of internet keyboard warriors – and just take my carry on. No, I didn’t even get a new suitcase! Would I ever get a box? No!

    I just asked the dress shop to pack it for me and they were more than happy and experienced to do that. They did it without a care in the world, something I’d recommend to everyone rather than an expensive cardboard box. Does it need to be breathable? No. Trust me. I got married in the desert and spent just over a week in extreme heat, at the end of each day I would open the suitcase to let the dress get some air. I wouldn’t unpack it nightly. And you know what – it’s fine!

    I didn’t even take a steamer – cause you know, a bathroom works the same kind of way! I don’t think it’s worth the extra spend on a travel box when a suitcase serves as the same purpose and works just as well! But hey - that's me, you'll quickly learn that I'm actually quite relaxed about 90% of things! 

  • I’m going to skip over certain holiday elements - as much as I would love to turn this into a travel blog, it isn’t. 

    21 August - the day before the wedding 

    We woke up at 6am to watch sunrise over Monument Valley after spending the night in a mud hut. What an amazing experience and all thanks to Airbnb. The night before we listened to stories about the hosts family, the mud hut history and how the Najavo lifestyle has been changed thanks to western society. 

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    After sunrise, we covered our stuff, I zipped up my suitcase with the dress in (letting cool air in for it!) we headed into Monument Valley for a morning tour, we saw plenty and had beautiful blue skies. This bit is important. 

    We said goodbye to our host just before midday and went to Forrest Gump point, where we witness the strangest weather I have ever seen. 

    A sandstorm meets thunderstorm. Which, we followed for 3 days straight! We quickly took some photos and jumped into the car for a 2 1/2hour drive to Page, Arizona. With the arrival plan being 4pm (Page time).

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    It rained. A lot. Not an ideal weather for an outdoor wedding in the desert at sunrise. We popped into the hairdressers to check timings - 4am was agreed! We checked into the airbnb and was plesantly surprised with the size! And got in touch with our photographer to go for pizza for tea. The chat was centred around the weather mostly, and if it was raining it would ruin photos etc. We said we were both flexible with timings and locations if the weather was naff. The officiant was happy with that plan.

    I will say this - an elopement styled wedding isn’t for everyone. 

  • 22 August - wedding day

    Early start, was up at 3.30am to the sound of heavy rain. I couldn't change the hair / make-up appointment, so got dropped off at her saloon at 4am and was given a hair wash and basic make-up, in those 2 hours we had confirmation that it would be starting at 8am rather than the 5.30am sunrise. You can't have a sunrise ceremony without the sun shining! 

    I was collected from the salon and somehow, we ended up with 30 minutes to get ready. Don't really know how! Groom quickly got into his outfit and helped me into my dress. A dress he has avoided seeing all this time, but was faffing with all the buttons on the back!

    We jumped in the Mustang (with the roof up due to the spitting rain!) and met the photographer and officiant at a petrol station, we grabbed water, snacks and an umbrella.

    And all drove to the second ceremony location because the first was closed due to flash floods! I think most people would likely get stressed at that point, but we went with it! Second location was open, we drove up, walked down a small hill and proceeded with the ceremony. No walking down any aisle or anything like that, into the short, sweet ceremony, we said our vows - thankfully both writing very similar vows rather than one funny, one soppy. Both were funny! Phew. And just like that - we were married! 

    We said goodbye to the officiant and paid her the cash, handed her the marriage certificate to give back to the office to confirm the marriage - I'm assuming it'll arrive in the post sometime!

    We then went for breakfast - in our wedding clothing, in was at that point the slot canyon got cancelled because of flash flooding risk. Again, no big deal. We ate the breakfast and went back to the air bnb, before going for some more photos near the lake.

    We had a lot of spare time in the afternoon before sunset, so, we ate the cake we had brought from the supermarket and drank beer whilst watching Dirty Dancing. 

    The sun FINALLY showed it's face in time for sunset! 

    All in all - it was a stress free day, despite the weather, because everything that went 'wrong' was beyond our control, we still had the best day, got married and got all the photos we wanted. Plus, the slot canyon was re-scheduled for the next day!

    Photos

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  • Sian91Sian91 Posts: 829 New bride

    Well done for dealing with it all so well!

    The weather looks wild but also amazing! Glad you got the slot canyon into your visit, we loved our trip x

  • Loving this report. 

    Was it your wedding featured on Mooshki's Instagram yesterday? I seem to remember your dress was blue. It looked stunning!!

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,770 New bride

    Sounds amazing, congratulations :)

  • RoseyGold wrote (see post):

    Loving this report. 

    Was it your wedding featured on Mooshki's Instagram yesterday? I seem to remember your dress was blue. It looked stunning!!

    Yes! It was a bit bizarre scrolling through my Instagram and seeing myself haha! I’ve added photos now (forgot before!)

  • 23 August - Day after the wedding 

    We got a lie in! Which was much needed after the early starts we had! Today was always a keep free day - so we could just explore things separatel, worked out well because it meant that we got wedding photos in the slot canyon like we wanted. 

    We had paid for a photography tour and permits, which mean that normal paying guests! It was much hotter than the previous day and I think we were both thankful for the rain the day before cooling things down. 

    We didn’t go to Antelope canyon cause it’s busier, we went to a different canyon which wasn’t as busy and I’m told is just as beautiful! And it was. The way the sun changes the shadows and colours every minute is incredible. 

    We spent 2 hours down in the canyon! We said goodbye to our photographer who, was fab! 

    Went back to the Airbnb and got changed and went to explore various different areas, had lunch and some beers. Was nice! 

     

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  • oh my god your photos are just out of this world!! You both look FANTASTIC and im so in awe!! 

  • Saturday 15 September – Wedding Party

    I know people seem to break down the week of their wedding much more in their reports, but honestly the only thing I could chat about is the rest of the road trip and things we saw. Whilst amazing, I’m not sure people would want to sit through 19 nights worth of travel information. I will however be posting pictures of it on my Instagram if people wanted to follow @sbolter88

    I’ll fast forward to Part 2 of our wedding. The party.

     

    Location: Yellow Arch Studios, Sheffield
    Vendors: Gravy Train Poutine, Belgian Waffle Box
    Photographer: Steph White Photography
    Band: Monstaball

    We arrived at midday-ish to start setting up, set up was minimum, mostly deciding on where tables should go, where the photobooth should go and details about where the cake should be etc.

    I had to dash off for 1.30 because I had a hair / make-up appointment – which seemed like plenty of time, but that turned out not to be the case.

    I left groom with a close friend, his best man 1 and best mans wife to set up the venue, eat pizza and relax. I had cheekily booked the hair / make-up for a party – aided by the fact I said “my husband has booked it in” which is 100% true! Turns out this was cost saving because usually bridal hair and make-up costs £170, I spent £60 on both!

    I was collected just after 3.30pm, went to the venue to wait for my friend who was bringing the cake and have a drink whilst sorting out final details (flower placement etc) before heading off to our hotel to quickly get into my dress.

    We managed to be late for our own party by 10 minutes due to photographers. But, that didn’t really put a downer on the day at all. It was fab. Everyone turned up, ate food, drunk our wonderful rum punch and the band went down a storm!

    I was a tad nervous about the first dance, so much so, I had a jagerbomb beforehand. Nice start to Ben Howard really! Everyone joined in and it was amazing.

    The night was mostly drinking, dancing and feeling like I didn’t spend enough time with anyone! But everyone assures me they had an amazing time.

     

    Photobooth

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    I have seen a lot of DIY photobooths but I’m hoping ours is a little better. We use our SLR, off camera strobe flash and a tablet so everyone just pushes a button, it counts down from 5 and takes a photo. We had this uploading to Twitter – before we got banned for overuse, which meant that our social media live wall also stopped working. But the photos are amazing from it, it went down well.

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    Cake

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    Two amazing friends made the cake. One made a 'fake' cake, which had two fake tiers and a real tier. The other made traybakes for eating. They were both lovely and amazing. 

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  • Sian91Sian91 Posts: 829 New bride

    Your UK and US photograhers are both fab- absolutely love the vibe of your day and after party! 

  • Thanks. It’s weird now both things are over!

  • Ooooh just caught up! Your wedding day looks amazing, so glad you didn't let anyone faze you and it sounds like it was quite nice to have more time together! 

    Also love all of your Sheff pics, gets me excited for the Kelham pictures we'll have! 

  • Oh wow! I love your report! I just checked out your IG and the pics are amazing. You look gorgeous, so pleased everything worked out for you, despite the weather. We had some storms when we were over there, they’re quite spectacular with the desert backdrop. You were so lucky to get through Yosemit, we had to turn back because of the fires.

    I had a box for my dress, it never went back in😂

  • It was an effort getting it back into the suitcase, I don't know how you managed with a box! 

  • MrsS85MrsS85 Posts: 688 New bride

    Thanks for doing the report, Your elopement sounds so wonderful and relaxed despite the weather giving you grief, I can imagine if my family were in tow in a situation like that they would be driving me mad, but like you say there is nothing you can do about it! Both UK and USA pics are gorgeous!

  • Thanks all! I realise my report is short lived - but there isn’t much more to say! I just need to do thank you cards at some stage!

  • Thought I'd add some more pictures to it - because I know love them! 

    I realised I failed to mention a couple of things in my wedding day report. On the second visit to the lake overlook, we saw a wild coyote chasing a hare. It was a surreal moment - and I think quite a unique moment to experience on your wedding day, to see a coyote chasing for it's next meal. We did see the hare hopping away later on - so I guess the coyote didn't get lucky!

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  • I love this. You both look amazing, the trip/elopement sounds incredible and the party looks fantastic. Your pictures are so so cool too. 

    Its making me crave an elopement but the OH would never agree. 

  • So, a cheeky ask I guess but worth a shot. 

    We entered a competition to win a holiday (or second honeymoon) and I would really appreciate it if people have 2 seconds to click through and vote for us. If you're feeling super kind - you can vote us daily!  :) :) :)

    https://www.easyweddings.co.uk/real-weddings/a-day-just-about-us-stacey-and-joes-desert-elopement/
  • Ashley72Ashley72 Posts: 1,137 New bride
    Ooh I’ve just binged this - love love love it! Your photos are unreal! Beyond stunning. Congratulations!!
  • Thanks Ashley72! I'd happily relive the whole thing. But maybe without the thunderstorm!
  • If anyone is reading - the competition ends in a days time and any votes would be much appreciated. I say ends - I've found out we need to go through the voting process again! As if our friends and family weren't annoyed enough   :D
  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,770 New bride
    Voted 😀
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