Words by Alex

We’ve been together for almost two years. We met on the internet, like all millennials these days. Specifically, we met on OkCupid. We were a 99% match, and I (Alex) answered a ton of extra questions to see if that percentage would change. Despite those efforts to test the algorithm, we stayed a 99% match, and went on a first date. It’s been 99% real-life compatibility ever since.

About a month into dating, I told Crystal I really wanted to take a vacation for my 30th birthday. Crystal, in true Sagittarius form, convinced me to go on a week-long vacation to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun. We booked it, and I remember just thinking, “well, hopefully, we are still dating when this rolls around three months from now.” Luckily by that time we were head over heels in love. 

We both had very stressful jobs at that time and it was the first vacation either of us took where we really just let ourselves relax. We went on a day trip to a rainforest and got caught in a downpour while riding bikes along a trail. It was magical. 

A cornerstone of our relationship is something Crystal introduced from our first month together: a surprise date! Every month one of us plans a date for the other person that is a total surprise. All we know is the date, time, and suggested attire. We’ve gone to concerts, water parks, WNBA games, and built terrariums together. 

We decided together to get engaged. When we started talking about getting married, we talked about proposal expectations and ultimately decided we wanted our proposals to be an intentional moment. We already had a second trip to Cancun planned [the first time was so magical, we decided to go back] and decided to use it as a private weekend to get engaged. We went down to the beach together at sunset and proposed to each other. We took the weekend to ourselves and shared the news with family and friends once we got home.

Neither of us was especially tied to having a large wedding, and honestly, didn’t want to spend a ton of money on a celebration [“think about all the trips we could take for that amount” was a constant refrain]. We looked at a lot of options, like small parties, small non traditional ceremonies, etc. But I think the thing that really led us to a private elopement was wanting our wedding day to be exclusively about us. Even with the best of intentions, every wedding we’ve both ever seen ends up involving a lot of compromises to keep family and friends happy. So we settled on a wedding that would involve no compromising of our wishes and never looked back. 

We were upfront with everyone in our lives once we had the elopement planned. Assuring everyone that no one was invited, no exceptions, helped us communicate that this really was a day just for us. Also, we told them we would obviously share all of the beautiful pictures and tell them every last detail afterward. 

We have been intentional about celebrating with the individuals in our lives. We had a celebration in Chicago before the elopement and one in St. Louis afterward. Some of our friends have treated us to dinner or planned weekend getaways together to celebrate. It has been such a joyful time. 

We flew to Vegas on a Saturday. When we got in, we went and got our marriage license, and had a nice dinner. Sunday was the wedding day!

We woke up and drove our yellow convertible to the Little White Chapel for our 15-minute wedding appointment! The witness to our ceremony was the photographer who took a video of our ceremony [to share with family later]. Then we got brunch, and enjoyed some quiet time together. We had a makeup artist come to our hotel and do our makeup for our photoshoot later. 

For the wedding, Crystal wore a black suit, with a white button-down, and a bow tie. The watch she wore was one I gave her that morning, engraved on the back with our wedding date and the words “my wife.” I wore a white jumpsuit with a lace and tulle cape, which I made. I also had a flower crown made out of silk flowers, which I also made. Our outfits were super affordable overall! We went with clothes that we knew would be comfortable and make us feel amazing. Wedding clothes don’t have to cost an arm and a leg to be beautiful!

It was so special getting ready together. We got to help each other get into our wedding apparel, and spend all of our time together. After our makeup was done, we headed out to the desert. By that time, the sun was beginning to set. 

Our photographer met us on the outskirts of Red Rock Canyon National Park. We walked a short distance into the desert and found a spot next to a Joshua tree. At that point, it was golden hour, and the landscape was breathtaking. There we read our vows to each other and traded wedding rings. After that, we popped a bottle of champagne to toast our marriage. We are so thankful that we had Gaby there to capture those moments. We will truly cherish the photographs forever. 

That night we went out to a nice dinner, had some drinks, and did a little gambling. Crystal managed to win money on a slot machine, which can only be attributed to newlywed luck. 

We are going to Costa Rica for a belated honeymoon. Eventually, we will add some kids to our family of cats and plants, and take them along on our adventures.


Photography by Gaby J Photography