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Alex & Candice- a shotgun wedding and stunning shoot in the Utah canyons.

Alex & Candice- a shotgun wedding and stunning shoot in the Utah canyons.

Utah Zion USA Mallory Lane Photography desert lesbian gay same-sex covid-19 pandemic elopement Dancing With Her (1)

After Covid put a stop to Alex and Candice’s original wedding plans, they turned their focus into a personal and intimate shotgun wedding. They then headed into the canyons in Utah for this incredible landscape themed wedding shoot.

Tell us a little about yourselves.

Candice is a hairdresser and Alex has been in the Coast Guard for nine years. We both work very long weeks, which is why we plan so many trips and vacations. Sometimes that’s the only time we can both actually relax. 

For fun on our days off, we try to make time to lay in the sun or go to the sandbars off Key West. In addition, we plan lots of friends’ dates and playdates for our dog Tico, an American Bully. There is always something going on in Key West, so we try to keep up with the festivities the best we can. 

How long have you been together, and how did you meet?

Candice: Alex’s mom was visiting her in Key West, FL, and needed to get her hair done. She was recommended to go to me at Spoil Me Rotten Salon. When Alex’s mom found out I dated girls, she quickly introduced us to each other. Alex began getting her hair cut by my mom, who owns the salon. Eventually, after flirting with each other forever, Alex asked me to hang out, and we started dating about six months later. We have now been together for three and a half years. 

Aside from your wedding, what is your favorite memory together?

Alex: Both of our favorite memories have to do with us traveling! One of the scariest/funniest memories was when Candice almost missed the train in Tuscany, Italy to Venice because she was trying to buy tickets for the train that I was already on. In order to stop the train from leaving, I forced my body into the door and yelled for Candice to hurry. The second time the door went to close, Candice was running and held a bottle of wine in the door to keep it from closing. We were laughing so hard the entire way to Venice. We were also scared that we would get fined for not paying for tickets for the train. 

Tell us about the proposal.

Candice and I never fight, but when we do, it is usually because we are in the car fighting over directions. I honestly found this humorous, so I planned a proposal where we had our first big car directions fight after spending fourteen days quarantined at my parents’ house in Sebastian, FL. 

Candice and I were ready to get home and go back to work. My parents had been holding onto the ring for quite some time, and they both truly love Candice. I texted her dad before the proposal to get his permission and he, of course, said yes. He loves and supports Candice in everything that she wants. 

The Florida Keys were completely empty due to the roadblock caused by COVID-19. I had picked a fight with Candice because she was bothering me about when I was going to propose. She had no idea that I had already bought the ring and it was in the car. I pulled over on the side of the highway in Marathon before the seven-mile bridge and proposed. She said yes, and completely cried when she found out I texted her dad and asked for permission. Our families are super supportive, and she was worried he wouldn’t be okay with her marrying a girl. It turns out he didn’t care at all.

Any stories from the lead-up to the wedding, stressful or funny?

Candice and I still live in Key West. Before me departing for a seventeen-week Coast Guard school, we had the entire wedding planned out, and it was canceled due to Covid-19. After my school was completed, we began planning a wedding again. 

Our photographer moved to Dallas, Texas. The venue we wanted wouldn’t allow our caterer in, and Candice refused to have a beach wedding. (Ironically, because we live in a beach paradise). Our wedding planner totally ditched us as clients because of COVID-19 and kept our deposit. 

It was beyond stressful, and that’s when we talked about how it wasn’t even worth the stress. So, we canceled the wedding, bought a house, and planned a trip to Utah for hiking. We decided to have photos taken there, so we flew our photographer out, who slept like maybe six hours over a total of forty-eight hours she spent in Utah! 

Talk us through your wedding day.

Our actual wedding day took place before when I left for school. It was a shotgun wedding on a beautiful beach in Key West, with very few close friends and no family. We popped some bottles of champagne and celebrated that night. I don’t think either one of us actually felt like we were married until our trip to Utah when our photos were taken. Candice looked absolutely stunning that day, and even though our images are mostly us goofing off, we truly felt happy and fulfilled. 

Advice for other couples planning a smaller wedding?

Wedding planning should not be stressful. Think about what is important to you and your partner. Candice wanted beautiful photos, and I wanted more vacations. The shotgun wedding in Candice’s hometown and the wedding photos taken in Utah encompassed what we wanted as a couple. Sure, our parents and friends would have loved to be there, but the day isn’t about them. It is about us. Make your wedding about you, no need to spend a fortune pleasing everyone else, even if you have the money to do it. 

If you find yourself stressing over planning, especially when you hired a wedding planner, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. You are going to spend the rest of your life with your soulmate. The pictures Candice and I took together encompass our love for each other and our love of travel, and we couldn’t have asked for anything more. So your wedding plans should revolve around what you love as a couple. 

What does the future hold for you both?

Since I am in the Coast Guard, I transfer out of Key West in the summer of 2023. Candice and I bought a house in Key West near her Mothers’ Salon. Due to my job, we are very used to long distances. So we might be looking at doing that for a while but still plan on taking numerous vacations. Our next holidays lined up are Park City, Utah, for skiing/snowboarding in 2022, and then we are looking at Salem, Massachusetts, in October 2021. We are also looking at Spain in 2022.  

We do not plan to have kids anytime soon, but we have our wonderful fur baby Tico who just turned two. He is quite the bulldog but very well behaved. He keeps us smiling daily.  


Photography by Mallory Lane Photos

Dress Boutique Provonias
Engagement & Wedding Rings Blue Nile
Florist Jocelyns Floral
Hair Candice Palomino
Makeup Beauty By Luvi
Shirt Vineyard Vines
Shoes Thursday Boot Company
Suit Designers Men’s Wearhouse, Indochino

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Dancing With Her is created on the beautiful land of the Bundjalung Nation. We acknowledge that we have benefited from the colonialism which dispossessed the Bundjalung People of their land and culture, and pay our respects to Bundjalung elders, past, present and emerging. We acknowledge sovereignty was never ceded. The land we live and work on is Aboriginal Land.

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