It is a stereotypical lesbian story. Bethany reached out after stalking me on social media. We talked for a few weeks before she came to see me in person and never left. The true Uhaul experience.
Aside from your wedding, what is your favorite memory together?
B: I have a million favorite memories with Hailee. We sat down, trying to agree on what favorite memory we shared, and there are so many we can’t pick just one! But, as I told my beautiful wife, every day is my favorite memory of us.
Tell us about the proposal.
B: I decided in November 2018 that this is the woman I’m supposed to be with forever! After some planning with my sister-in-law, we made a trip to Hailee’s hometown lake, where I proposed to her over a sunrise lake view. Thankfully, she said yes, and we celebrated with her family that came to support us!
Talk us through the decision to elope.
H: For us, the thought of planning a traditional wedding was overwhelming. It never felt right. From the planning to budget and guest list, it felt like a chore. We have been financially independent for our entire adult lives and never felt that family contributions were an option.
After being engaged for two years, I sent an appointment at a dress shop to “just look around.” Two hours later I had bought a dress. This ignited our desire to do a spontaneous wedding. Within a week, we had set a date, location and decided we didn’t want a “wedding.” Once we decide on something, it’s pretty much set in stone, and then its full speed ahead. So that’s how the planning went.
We set a date for two months later and had the entire thing planned within three weeks. It was a straightforward decision for us. We did not want to waste the money on a big event. We felt we would only have a big wedding to please other people, and we strive to be authentic in everything that we do. Plus, a week in the mountains with my new bride, sister, and best friend, I couldn’t dream up a better way to spend our time. It all fell into place so easily; it was clear that this was meant to be. We would have loved to jump in the car with no planning at all, but with work and finances, we needed to do a little prep work before taking off.
Tell us about telling your loved ones that you’re now married.
H: Before the elopement, we chose to tell our closest friends and family out of respect. Knowing that my family would be sad about missing it, we wanted to give them a heads up.
Unfortunately, in small-town Texas, we face much hate and discrimination for being part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Many of the reactions were heartbreaking. This solidified that eloping was what was right for us and not giving ignorance and hate the space in our special day was necessary.
We are very fortunate to have some family members who love us unconditionally, and while sad about missing the big day, they supported our decision with happy hearts.
Post-wedding, we took a week to enjoy being newlyweds. We then made the timeless move, posting on Facebook “We are Married” with a picture by the very Talented Crystal Cousin and left it at that.
Talk us through the actual elopement.
B: We had the most stress-free wedding day! April 19th, 2021, we got ready with our sisters and then made the short trip to the mountainside, where we held the ceremony. The sun was shining, the temperature was perfect and everything went exactly as planned!
We loved our Carson National Forrest setting and being able to be married by Hailee’s sister. Having the support from our very close friend and the perfect photographer to capture our beautiful moments is something we will never be able to forget!
What does the future hold for you both?
H: In the few months following our wedding, I have taken time off work to build out a 1995 school bus that we named Octavia. We just moved into our skoolie full time, and I am back to work. We will be continuing to tweak and add things to Octavia over the next few months. The tiny home/skoolie/van-life lifestyle is not for everyone, but it is something that I have dreamed about for the more significant part of my life. It has already been the most challenging, most exciting, and most incredible learning experience of our lives.
Our goal is to live with the smallest footprint possible, entirely off-grid, while traveling to every corner of North America. This goal is long-term, and we have a lot of work to do between now and then. For now, we are based out of central Texas, keeping our jobs and saving for our future travels.
Photography by Crystal Cousin Photo