Amanda and Meghan chose to elope, and Drift Creek Falls in Oregon was a place that kept popping up – it felt right. They share their love story, and advice to other couples who might be thinking of, or planning, their own elopement.
How did you meet one another?
A: As much as we’d like to have a more interesting “how we met story,” ours is rather simple: We met at the gym!
Meghan slid into my DMs a couple of times. And, one morning we started chatting over Facebook and literally never stopped talking. We hung out that night and went out of our way to see each other every day since then.
When did you know it was love?
A: I knew I loved her almost immediately. There were a lot of little things right off the bat that made me think, “wow, wait, do I love her already?!” and it sounds so cheesy to say it was love at first sight, but I really think it was. The second time we hung out, I went to watch her play kickball, and I just knew I needed to be her girl, and we were going to fall madly in love, and that would be it.
M: I feel as though I loved her from the moment we came together. My whole life, I felt as though I was searching for something. Searching for something I couldn’t see or touch but something I knew was missing.
From the moment we came together, I knew that ‘something’ was Amanda. From the moment we came together, I was home.
How did you two lovers become engaged?
A: Meghan and I “jokingly” challenged each other to see who could propose first. Being competitive people, though, that joke quickly became real, and the race was on.
I was able to throw Meghan off course enough to think she had more time. Which ultimately lead me to proposing first (winning!).
Meg told me one night, months before my proposal, as we took a minute to look at the night sky before going inside that if I ever asked her to marry me, she’d like it to be under the stars.
For my proposal, I rented out our town’s planetarium for just the two of us and took an unsuspecting Meghan to stargaze. About halfway through the planetarium show, the sky changed to reflect the night sky of the night we met, and one of our songs started to play, and I got down on one knee.
After she said yes, we watched the stars change to the morning sky and danced to a few more songs before meeting up with some friends for a surprise celebratory dinner.
M: I was very nervous about proposing to Amanda. But I was not nervous because I was worried she wouldn’t say yes. I was worried because she had proposed to me a month prior to me in an incredibly special and beautiful way. I wanted to ensure my proposal to her was just as magical and special. Wanting to incorporate as many special moments throughout the proposal day as I could. I sprinkled her with little hints here and there based on things that were meaningful to us.
As we met at the gym, we started the day off by attending our Saturday Crossfit Class. Where we went through a workout that was specifically created with our anniversary date in mind.
Our anniversary is June 5, 2019, so our workout was 6 Power Cleans (June), 5 Push Jerks (5th), and 19 Ab Mat Sit-Ups (2019) for as many reps as possible in 20 minutes (2019). Amanda did not catch on!
Then we went to lunch at the restaurant we first ate together (Tacovore) and then took the dogs on a walk at Dorris Ranch. Which was also the first place we went together with our pups.
As for the proposal, Amanda and I both really love The Office. So I secretly put together a video for Amanda as Jim did for Pam at the end of the series. I decorated the gym (where we met) in white lights, beautiful balloons with warm white lights, candles, and had the video at the end of the “aisle.” I played Amanda the video. When it was over, I had her open a gift that contained the teapot that Jim gifted Pam in a Christmas episode.
Inside the teapot was a heart-shaped box containing her engagement ring.
I got down on my knee, told Amanda she was everything, and asked her to marry me.
It was absolutely magical and I am so grateful I was able to give her the proposal she deserved.
What were some of your favorite moments from your elopement?
A: I loved everything about our elopement. There really aren’t any parts of it that I wish had been different, no “if I could go back, I would change…” thoughts.
That being said, I think one of my favorite parts was when our four guests each read us something they had written for us. I just felt so much love from everyone there.
M: Our elopement day was pure perfection. From start to finish, the day was so calm, peaceful, and beautifully magical. I felt so connected with Amanda, and it was as if nature was holding us in her arms and gifting us with her beauty.
My favorite part might be all the words Amanda and I shared together within our vows and the words our guests shared with us about our love.
Our love for each other is so deep and true and hearing other people talk about our love was incredibly special and meaningful.
Why did you choose Drift Creek Falls as your elopement location?
A & M: When we first decided that we wanted to elope, we knew we wanted to be in nature and near water. We searched “waterfalls in Oregon” and came across Drift Creek Falls. The bridge was so stunning and really caught our eye.
A few weeks later, Amanda’s mom sent us a few suggestions for locations, and Drift Creek Falls was the first on her list as well. Drift Creek Falls continued to pop up in various searches and we just knew it was calling us!
What advice would you give to couples in the middle of planning their own elopement?
M: The number one piece of advice that I can give any couple is to make your day about each other and no one else. The best gift you can give yourselves is to be with each other and for each other every moment of your day. Often, folks get caught up in trying to please others that they forget what is most important during their special day – each other.
Take the time to take care of each other. Set boundaries, stick to them. Remember that the only people who need to be happy with your special day are both of you.
A: I could not have said it any better than my wife. My piece of advice is just freaking relax and remember that this is your day. In part, I think people choose to elope to avoid the stress of a big wedding. So don’t let other people’s opinions on what your day should look like or consist of stress you out.
You’ve both been married before; how does it feel going into this marriage?
A: Having been married before, it’s so easy to know that you’re doing something right when you have something so wrong to compare it to. There was a long period in my life, in my first marriage and after it ended, where I didn’t believe in love. Everything changed when I met Meghan.
I can say with 100% certainty that she is where I’m supposed to be. I know, of course, I owe those feelings of certainty to her, not to my past. But I think I needed some darkness to truly appreciate her light.
M: I lost myself in my first marriage very early on. I was very unhappy, but I did everything I could to change myself and be the best partner I could be because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. It was extremely exhausting and painful.
Loving Amanda and being loved by Amanda has been the greatest gift I could have ever received. Falling in love with Amanda completely changed my perspective on love and marriage.
In our relationship, I am loved for everything I am, everything I want to be, and everything I am not. I do not have to change or compromise myself for her love. We love each other, period.
We work hard as a couple to communicate even when it is hard. To create a safe space for each other to be vulnerable and raw, respect each other’s boundaries, and learn and grow together.
Our love is unconditional and does not come with conditions.
What words of advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
M: If I could go back and tell my younger self one thing, it would be to have a little more faith and trust in myself.
I think I let many situations get out of hand because I doubted so much of my own intuition and needs. I would remind my younger self that only she knows what’s best for her.
If I could give advice to young queer folks or anyone who is in the process of coming out as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, I would say just that, coming out is a PROCESS. For some of us, it never ends, in ways that are both exciting and challenging. For myself, I’ve been coming out over and over for the past 14 years. My identity has changed over time and that’s okay. Just know, nothing is set in stone, and no one can tell you who you are. You get to make that decision.
So decide and change your mind and decide again. It’s all okay.
No matter where you are in your “coming out” process, you are valid, and you are loved.
M: I would tell my younger self that you never have to compromise yourself or your happiness for anyone else. You will find someone to love you for exactly who you are and exactly who you want to be.
It is important to grow as an individual and as a couple; however, your choice to grow should not be out of shame or guilt… it should be out of love.
For those of you that are in the process of coming out as someone who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community, you are loved. You are worthy, and you are enough. It is important that you come out when you are ready.
It may be difficult, you will most likely have some challenges, but there is nothing more freeing than being you.
Photography by Marissa Solini Photography
Alterations Natalia’s Alterations
Ceremony Location Drift Creek Falls (Oregon)
Florist Small Yard Flowers
Officiant Jeff Earnest (Friend)
Outfits ASOS, Lulus
Rings East West Gem Co, Brilliant Earth
Vow Books Moleskin