When Covid struck, Cassi and Greta’s original wedding plans were put on halt. What didn’t change, was the fact that these two humans desired to be married. They chose to elope instead. And, by the beach with a handful of people they did. The rest of their loved ones tuning in live on Zoom.
How did your love story begin?
G: We’ve been together a little over 2 years and met through a mutual friend. We became fast friends and kept tabs on each other through social media as we lived in different states and countries.
It wasn’t until 2017 that we ended up living in the same city. A year later we realized we were in love with each other.
A few weeks into dating, we went to a Florence and the Machine concert. It was the most magical experience. We were head over heels in love with each other and dressed to the nines in a pink jumpsuit and gold dress.
Several people stopped us to tell us how beautiful and in love we looked.
We met a woman that night who was recently widowed and had driven solo across country for this concert. We started chatting, and she told us our love was beautiful and inspiring. Through joyful teary eyes, she shared her late husband’s passing, and we all cried together and hugged.
It was a really authentic moment and made me realize just how precious this kind of love is.
Shannon Allman is a shining light.
You got engaged, with help from your dog, during a hike – we need the details!
C: Greta, Ziggy (our dog) and I hiked Mitchell Point in the Gorge in early October. The weather was perfect, very few other people on the trail, ideal conditions. I was really enjoying the day yet feeling challenged by the incline, so I was a bit whiny. Greta showed no signs of a struggle and encouraged me to continue, promising me snacks and a spectacular view at the end of the trail.
The end was a cliff with unobstructed 360 degree views of the Gorge, and it was all ours to marvel at. She asked me to sit and close my eyes, and remembering her promise of snacks, I obliged.
When I opened my eyes, her eyes were glistening and her smile wide.
Ziggy was sandwiched between us, now donning a red bandana around her neck. “Awe, she’s got a bandana on”, I said. Greta motioned for me to look closer at the bandana. She had hand-stitched ‘Will You Marry Me?’ among the Paisley design and when it sank in, she presented me with a gold ring in an open black box.
We were both laugh-crying, words escaping us. She asked, and I said YES.
The moment was magical, full of excitement and connection between us.
I am grateful she discreetly propped her phone on a boulder and recorded her mission. We love to watch it and relive it. She told me of all our friends and her family with whom she shared her plans of proposing, and about the date she planned for us after the hike- dinner at our favorite 360-degree Theater and tickets to see my favorite Portland band, The Shook Twins, who were playing an intimate Witchy Full Moon show with limited tickets she had scored.
Bollywood is our special spot. After the show, we got to chat and take photos with Laurie and Katelyn Shook. Katelyn, also recently engaged, and I laughed about how we both were whiny and kinda grumpy on our hikes while our partners were sweet and planning the biggest surprise for us.
G: A few weeks later my whole family was in town visiting and we were at my friend and old roommate’s house for a friends and family brunch. Our friends made us a ‘Happy Engagement’ cake so it turned into a mini engagement party. When Cass saw the cake, she realized she wanted to propose to me that morning. She snuck back to our house to get the ring. When she returned, she told me to go into the backyard with her so she could show me a lemon tree in the greenhouse. When I got there, I found my ring sitting under the tree.
This proposal was extra special because it was where our love story began. The night we confessed our feelings to each other was a little over a year ago at a party at this same house. When we got back inside we announced to our friends and family that we were both officially engaged!
Talk us through the decision to elope
G: It was definitely a process. We had initially planned a wedding for September 2020, and once the pandemic hit, we announced we would be postponing a year. We contacted our vendors and they told us we could move our date to next year.
A month later we found out that our venue for the wedding and reception had gone out of business because of the pandemic. We were gutted. This made us realize just how difficult planning an event during a pandemic would be. We felt so ready to be married and, especially given the political climate, we felt it was important to get married this year.
That’s when we started talking about eloping.
The more we talked about it, the more it just felt right. We were going to save a lot of money, we would be able to get married on our original wedding date and most importantly, we would get to be wives. We had about two months to plan our elopement, and despite having to change our location a week beforehand because of the wildfires, it all turned out perfectly.
How did you go about telling your loved ones that you’d decided to elope?
G: I’m especially bad at keeping secrets and also wanted everyone to know! We shared our plans beforehand and came up with creative ways for people to be involved in our special day. Both of our families were super supportive and excited for us. We emailed our friends and family about our plan to elope and shared a Google Photos folder where folks could share a picture of them on our wedding day celebrating in their home. We also had a love altar at our reception and people sent us photos, poems, pieces of nature and artwork that we displayed.
And, the elopement day, was it everything you imagined?
G: The day was truly perfect. We had rented a beach house for the weekend that had a beautiful deck overlooking the ocean. We each had one support person there with us- my friend Kelsey who was officiating the wedding and her partner, and Cassi’s sister, Leilani who did our hair & makeup and her partner.
It was a slow morning, eating breakfast, visiting, and taking in the gorgeous view of the ocean. Cassi and I made our own bouquets so we did that on the deck after breakfast- luckily Leilani had taken a flower arranging course in school and was a big help with this. We prepped the decorations and everyone pitched in to help get things set up. Cass and I changed into our robes and Leilani started the beautification process.
I got to Facetime my family while Cassi was getting her hair done- they were spending the weekend together and celebrating us from afar.
The whole afternoon was really relaxed.
Once we had our hair and makeup done we got into our outfits. This was the moment where I realized just how big this day was. Kelsey zipped up my dress and we both started crying. I really felt the weight and importance of this day. It was bittersweet to not have my family there but it was so important to have Kelsey there as she’s always felt like family.
Kelsey then went to zip up Cassi and once we were both dressed we had our first look!
This was a beautiful and special moment for us both. I had been imagining this moment for weeks and was blown away by how gorgeous Cassi looked. We took some time to enjoy this moment and then headed back to the house to set up the deck for our ceremony.
The ceremony was our favorite part of the day. We had both of our families on Zoom to witness our wedding as well as our friend Brittany who played music and read a lovely poem by Kahlil Gibran. Kelsey made the ceremony extremely heartfelt and personal. She had reached out to family and friends to ask for a few words about our relationship and she shared those with us during our ceremony. Everything about our ceremony was personal and intentional. We each wrote our vows. Brittany sang “Heroes” by David Bowie while we put items in a time capsule to open later at our post-pandemic love celebration. Our dog Ziggy was there for the ceremony and provided comic relief when she ate a fly during the ceremony.
As Kelsey pronounced us Mrs. & Mrs., the sun broke through the clouds and illuminated us as if the universe was celebrating our union.
We said a quick hello to our family on Zoom, signed our marriage license and then headed down to the beach for sunset photos. When we got there, a friendly adventurous cat ran over to our group and sat on my dress. As a cat person, this made me very happy. Our small crew went back to the house to set up for the reception while Cassi and I took photos on the beach. When we returned, the deck was glowing with twinkle lights and candles.
We all had great takeout from a local joint, cut our cakes, had a champagne toast and danced the night away underneath the milky way.
It was beautiful.
And, now that you’re married, what’s next?
G: We dream of living abroad someday or at least traveling once it is safe to do so. We’d like to start a family in a few years and maybe buy a house before then. We dream big and love to talk about different ways to live our lives together.
What I do know for certain is that Cassi will be by my side and we will spend everyday laughing.
C: Everything feels possible with Greta. I feel we help sustain the health of the planet and spread love and light to people. No matter where it is, our home will provide a sanctuary to our loved ones and likely always be filled with pets. We regularly dream up ideas and business plans, so I picture great feats in the future.
We are grateful to be able to share our love and story with the world and encourage others to love one another and protect human rights. Everyone deserves to feel safe living their truest lives.
Photography by Kai Hayashi
Bridal Boutique Brides for a Cause
Cake Mehri’s Cafe and Bakery
Crystal Ring Holder XISSJEWELLERY
Florist Anderson Florist
Hair & Makeup Leilani Heale
Jumpsuit Black Halo, Endless Summer
Rings Nested Yellow, Dagmar Koreck