Their day might not have been exactly what they had envisioned, but it was near perfect. Their commitment solidified in marriage by a lake at Whistler, BC.
How long have you been together, and how did you meet?
We met just over nine years ago on an online dating site. Samara was looking for “friends” (she got way more than that!). We had actually realized we worked at the same hospital in the same department but somehow managed to never run into each other. We texted back and forth and spent hours on the phone bonding over our mutual love for the medical field, the outdoors, and in true lesbian fashion, cats.
I was so nervous about meeting Samara in person after spending those days texting and on the phone with each other. I couldn’t get enough of her. And I just hoped with everything in me that we would have the same chemistry once we met. Needless to say, we most certainly did!
We met up in the atrium of the hospital we both worked in for tea. Which turned into an entire evening of talking and the initial sparks of true love. The connection we had right from the beginning was undeniable. Now, we are celebrating our first months of blissful marriage!
Tell us about the proposal.
Samara: From our first connection, it was pretty clear that we would get married and spend the rest of our lives together. And I knew that I wanted to be the one to ask Delaney to marry me. I took some time to find the right ring and make sure I had it ready to go. I decided to contact Delaney’s employer and request a week off for her. Letting the employer know that I planned to whisk her away on vacation and ultimately propose.
The evening before our flights left, I wrote out a trail of love letters in our home that led to a suitcase. When she opened the suitcase, there was one last letter inside that said: “get packing, we’re going on a vacation.” To which she responded “WHEN?” and “ WHERE?”.
Now the setup was complete, and she knew we were leaving in the morning for a week in Tulum, Mexico. Once she knew we were going early the following day, we spent a whirlwind evening packing (a lot of packing – because you can never have too many vacation outfit options!). The paranoia became real once I remembered I had to get the ring in its box from its hiding spot at home, into the suitcase, and through customs undetected by Delaney.
I breathed a sigh of relief once we got through customs at the Cancun airport. No one had rifled through the suitcase holding the precious ring! When we were checking in at our hotel, we were pleasantly surprised by being offered an upgrade to an oceanfront suite. Things were off to a great start! This gave me so many more ideas for locations to propose as we could see the whole beach stretching as far as the eye could see.
For the first few days, I wasn’t one hundred percent sure how or when I would propose. So I decided I would safely pin the ring inside my pocket if the perfect moment presented itself. After suggesting MULTIPLE times that we go for a sunset/sunrise walk and being turned down because “the buffet has queso,” I took matters into my own hands.
One afternoon when we had the beach to ourselves, I decided it was the right moment. I just couldn’t wait any longer. I got on one knee, and the speech I had planned went out the window as I spoke from my heart about how much she means to me and how I want nothing more than for her to be my wife, my forever. I’m glad I had a lot to say because it took me a moment to figure out how to unpin the ring from my pocket without looking! It was a bit of a blur, my emotions were at an all-time high. After asking me several times if this was real and if I was serious – she finally said, “YES! Of course!”.
We spent the remainder of our vacation having the most incredible time as a newly engaged couple. We hired a local photographer for a beach engagement photoshoot and returned home with the best news and photos to share with our friends and family!
Why did you choose to elope?
2020 was a year of letting go for both of us. Letting go of our expectations, surrendering to the things we can’t control, and welcoming the unexpected.
Initially, we had planned an intimate wedding with close friends and family for June 20, 2020, and had everything all planned and ready to go very early in the year. We were beyond excited to share this moment with our loved ones. To celebrate our love after so many years as an engaged couple. Neither of us ever wanted a big wedding, so our plan to get married in a moss-covered forest (if you haven’t seen British Columbian rainforests, you MUST) with our parents, siblings, nieces, and closest friends was the perfect setting for us. Afterward, we planned a celebration with a larger group of friends and family, good food, music, and twinkling lights to dance under.
Then, March hit. We quickly realized that what we had planned was probably not going to go ahead. As we had family and friends traveling from quite a distance by airplane, and we knew right away that their safety was far more important than going ahead with the plan as it was. We pivoted and made the tough but necessary decision to postpone. At the time, we didn’t set a date since everything was so up in the air with the ongoing pandemic.
Time seemed just to keep passing, and the restrictions only became tighter where we live, and after a lot of discussion and tears shed at the idea of not having our family there, we decided to set a date and elope – just the two of us. Luckily, the date we wanted to reschedule for happened to be a date where our officiant and photographer (they are a married couple) would be in Whistler, BC, Canada, and they were more than happy to marry us there! Eloping was the most incredibly romantic experience, and the fact that we were able to make it a bit of a “destination” elopement was undoubtedly a bonus. It turned out to be a decision neither of us has had a single regret about. Sometimes, letting go teaches you that something even more perfect can fall into place if you let it.
How did you tell your family and friends about your decision to elope?
Since we had planned to get married earlier in 2020, our family and friends already knew we had to adjust our plans. The guests who were coming from out of town were very understanding. As they too, were concerned about traveling at the time. The guests who lived nearby were also very supportive, knowing how difficult it was for us to make this decision. When we officially let them know that we would be eloping, just the two of us, there were tears initially. But the more we discussed how we would be getting creative to incorporate them into the wedding, the more excited everyone became for us, knowing they would still be playing an important role in our day. From video calls, while getting ready to having everyone write a letter for us to read that day, we felt their energy with us through the whole thing.
Okay, the wedding day. How did the day come together?
The wedding day seemed like it would never arrive! There was so much anticipation mixed with a bit of anxiety that restrictions might interfere yet again. But finally, October 9, 2020, rolled around (the day before our wedding), and we were on our way to Whistler! We planned the most relaxing day before. So when we arrived, we spent some time at the Nordic Spa in Whistler before checking in to our hotel and popping some champagne and eating chocolate-covered strawberries.
Since our plans had changed drastically, we decided early into our elopement planning to hire a videographer in Whistler to capture our day to share with our original ceremony guest list. We also decided it would make for a fantastic adventure to hire a helicopter and elope amongst the glaciers. We had our fingers crossed that the weather would cooperate so that our flight could go ahead. I put on one of my favorite podcasts to play through the night, and we went to bed bursting with excitement for the next day!
I woke up really early in the morning, and I started listening to my podcast to help me fall back asleep, and a perfect quote came through that ended up being so poignant. “A great story is so much better than a perfect day”…
When we woke up, I cautiously opened the blinds hoping to see clear skies. Alas, it was raining, and the wind was blowing. We got a call from the helicopter company saying that it wasn’t looking great in the alpines. But they would keep an eye, and if anything changed, they would let us know.
In the meantime, we had our hair and makeup done by one of my best friends, Tia Hillis, who is a fantastic hair and makeup artist. Then Samara got dressed and headed out to meet our officiant, photographer, and videographer before our first look. I met up with them shortly after and finally got to show off the dress that had been sitting locked up for nearly a year! Our hearts were pounding when we finally saw each other in our wedding outfits for the first time. There is no feeling that compares to that very first sight of the person you love. I was so focused on this moment that I didn’t realize the rain had started again and the wind began picking up.
Once we were done with first look photos, we got a call from the helicopter company letting us know that, sadly, we wouldn’t be able to fly. We quickly let that go, knowing our love was the only thing that mattered that day. Besides, we had a backup plan because COVID-19 did teach us that lesson! So we were off, on the highway north to a mountainside location just outside of Pemberton, BC.
We laughed at how crazy the weather was and how our hair and makeup had already taken a beating from the rain and wind as we drove. We knew we would embrace whatever this day threw at us, so it threw us another challenge! A downed tree on the highway to Pemberton, and no way to get around it. At this point, we went to another backup plan. The backup to the backup, and decided to go lakeside to a private little beach location that is a bit off the beaten path (thanks to our fabulous videographer who is a Whistler local having all the intel!).
It was a short five-minute walk from our vehicles to the beachfront, and as we walked, we realized that the rain had stopped. We came to a clearing in the trees, and as we rounded the corner, the sun began to beam with all its warmth and energy. The water, a bright blue-green glacier fed lake. It was stunning.
Our ceremony finally began. We soaked in every moment and the incredibly beautiful words of our officiant, Shawn Miller. It was a short fifteen-minute ceremony, filled with tears, personally written vows, and raw emotion, exactly what we have always wanted. Once we were announced as a married couple for the first time, we cried, embraced one another, and let out some of the pent-up energy from the chaotic morning we had just had by yelling out over the open water, “WOOOO, WE’RE MARRIED!!!”
We signed the papers, popped a bottle of champagne, and had a blast taking photos and videos with smoke bombs, the lake, the beautiful fall foliage and forest behind us, and a glacial river that ran under a small footbridge on the path to the lake. We got the best of Mother Nature in every way we had ever imagined and more. And the sun stayed out in all of its glory through the whole thing!
When we got back to our hotel and we put on comfy clothes. Snuggled up on the couch with a glass of champagne, and video called our family to show off the new jewelry. We then read all the letters sent to us from our friends and family (one of my favorite parts of our day). It was so special to see their handwritten notes and feel their love and energy around us. Knowing they were thinking of us.
We wrapped up our day by getting dressed up in our “reception” attire and heading to a highly acclaimed restaurant in Whistler for our first dinner date as wives! It was intimate, romantic, and perfectly us. A day that we will truly remember forever. A great story IS so much better than a perfect day.
What does the future hold for you both?
Of course, no one knows the answer to this question. But what we do know is that it holds a whole lot of love. The world is changing around us every day, now more so than ever before. While this brings a lot of apprehension and uncertainty, it also presents the most amazing opportunity for change. And that’s exactly what we hope to embrace together.
Love sometimes feels like the only sure thing. We are very hopeful that an addition to the love between the two of us will be coming soon. As we just found a donor to start our journey to becoming parents!
Photography by Erica Miller- Young, Hip & Married