Surrounded by just their four children, in the middle of a pandemic, Smith Rock Oregon was the perfect setting for these two lovers to say, “I do.”
What are some of your favorite things to do together?
We love to be outside for fun, whether hiking in the PNW, going to the Coast in Oregon, heading to the beach in Delaware. Our excursions are typically followed by heading to a local brew winery. On the off chance that we are home with no plans, we like to be outside on our patio by the firepit, hanging out with friends or family. We have four kids and our dog Brix and enjoy spending time with our large blended family making memories!
And, you’re a Tinder love story…
We’ve been together for almost five years. We swiped right on Tinder in, and both questioned whether we should since we have the same first name! We messaged back and forth for a few weeks and finally decided to meet on July 3rd. Erinn was at a July 4th party with friends, and I was out with a friend for cocktails. Later that evening, Erinn invited me over to the party where we met for the first time in the middle of the street in front of the party and never left each other’s side from that day on.
Aside from your wedding, what is your favorite memory together?
On the first “date” Erinn planned for us, she decided to take me paddleboarding for my first time. There was a small lake nearby, and we rented paddleboards for the evening. During our paddle, Erinn encouraged me to go over to this particular section of shoreline. When we arrived, I saw that she had set up a private picnic before our arrival with a blanket, champagne, fruit, and cheese. It was romantic and thoughtful and the start to our many dates and outings together.
Tell us about the proposal.
There wasn’t much of a proposal! It had been something we had talked about for a long time. There had been hesitation about getting married because my family maybe not fully accepting the idea of me marrying a woman. We thought that perhaps we didn’t need the formal institution of marriage to make our family complete at first. I made Erinn fully aware that my love for her was worth more than that worry and that I wanted her to be my wife. We decided in early June that we would elope at the end of July.
Talk us through the decision to elope.
What better time to elope than during a pandemic?! We were spending a few weeks of our summer in Oregon, where Erinn’s kids live most of the time. My kids were coming with us for a nearly 3-week stay at the end of July so that Erinn’s kids didn’t have to travel solo on a plane during the pandemic. Bend, Oregon, has been one of our favorite locations in all of Oregon. We were spending over a week in Bend and Sunriver and decided that was where our elopement should take place. As we had scoped out locations in June and agreed that Smith Rock State Park was the spot! We Googled and found all local service providers that were fantastic and excited to work with us.
Tell us about telling your loved ones that you’re now married.
It didn’t happen if you didn’t post it on social media, right?! As for the wedding’s actual day, we had decided to share the moment with no one other than our four kids and us. We called our parents and siblings the following morning while indulging in a mimosa. Once the families knew it was time to text the close friends and then last but not least, the synchronized Facebook/IG post! I think we both were surprised at how many friends commented and posted. It was a wonderful feeling to know we are loved by so many people and have such a fantastic group of friends and acquaintances.
Talk us through the actual elopement.
Our wedding day started with one of my colleagues’ company email accounts being hacked, receiving over 20,000 spam emails in a matter of hours. I spent the early morning hours on the phone with tech support, trying to get it resolved. No one knew we were getting married, so we both had some work to do at the start of what probably should have been a day off. Erinn put a house under contract that morning too.
We headed out to get our hair done, pick up the cake and our flowers. After that we came back to the house, and everyone got dressed and ready to head to Smith Rock. We loaded into the Expedition and put on our Wedding Day music mix, and we were off!
We were greeted by MaryEllen, our officiant, and Benjamin and his photography team. They had chosen the perfect location for the ceremony as the sun was setting. We gathered with MaryEllen and began our very private ceremony. My son, Kory, wasn’t feeling well about midway through, maybe because of the heat. We decided to send the kids off to play on the rock wall and for Kory to relax for a few minutes. It actually worked out well and ended up just the two of us professing our love and finishing our vows while the kids got to be… kids. We brought the kids back, and we built a rock cairn together. Each of us placed a rock one on top of the other to create the formation. Each thinking of a word that we wanted our rock to symbolize as we built the cairn.
The ceremony ended, and the more candid photo session began. We had mentioned to Benjamin during our consult that we were up for anything. He said, come on ladies, and we headed down to the Crooked River. He told us to “get in,” wedding dresses and all. We had mentioned that we wanted to go for it, and we were fine to trash the dresses after the ceremony for amazing pictures! He directed us and took some of the coolest pictures of our family and just of the two of us in the water.
After the pics, we piled back into our car, soaked and muddy. It was 9 pm, and due to the pandemic, most restaurants were required to close by 9 pm around Bend. We went to a fast-food restaurant, hit the drive-thru, and headed home for champagne and dinner. It was a perfectly imperfect day.
The day after the ceremony, we headed out to float the Deschutes on a large raft and a paddleboard with the kids. It was the perfect way to spend the day after the ceremony. Laughing and playing in the water with our kids. Just a relaxing float with our world and no distractions.
What does the future hold for you both?
Our four kids will continue to keep us busy, and our careers are thriving. We hope to have a second home in Oregon while keeping our current home in PA and will live bi-coastally. Also we love the idea of having the ability to live in both places, making more memories, and expanding our world! We enjoy the change in pace as we go back and forth and find that we would much rather always be in motion.
Photography by Benjamin Edwards