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Lauren & Tarran – An Elopement Among the Redwoods

Lauren & Tarran – An Elopement Among the Redwoods

More Van Anything Brookings, Oregon Coast photography Dancing With Her magazine lesbian same-sex lgbt gay woman American elopement wedding

After choosing engagement rings together, Lauren and Tarran planned their dream wedding – only to have it canceled due to the global pandemic. Instead, they eloped among the Redwoods.

Tell us about the proposal.

We do everything together. So naturally, we went and picked out our rings together. So many of our friends and family hated this, but we’re used to doing everything together and didn’t think our wedding plans should be any different. 

We had received the rings in the mail, and we didn’t really have any plans for a proposal or how it would happen. Lauren just wanted it to be private and low key. That was until Tarran ended up hiding the rings for a little over a month, and now Lauren wasn’t sure what to expect. 

After work on a Friday night, we had plans to go to dinner with a coworker and some friends for her birthday. Lauren started noticing Tarran acting weird but thought nothing of it. Two of our friends came over before we were going to head to dinner, and after Lauren went outside to the door to get them. She returned, and the front door had been locked. Immediately she knew something was up! When Tarran opened the door, the entire house was dark, and there were candles lit up all the way to the master bedroom. She walked back there to find Tarran waiting. Lauren yells out, “why are you doing this on the night of our friend’s birthday plans?! This is her night, and I don’t want to show up with rings on our fingers causally!” 

Tarran rolled her eyes and was like, will you just listen to me. Lauren listened. Tarran asked her to open a huge box. It wasn’t a ring inside that box, but it was a big sign that said, “pack your bags, we’re going on a trip!” Lauren was utterly in shock, and she asked, “when?” Tarran said, “Monday!” 

Tarran had booked an entire trip for both of us to Tulum, Mexico. Where she later proposed on the beach with a professional photographer. We had a very low-key evening, and we shared a few drinks with our college teammate, who ironically was staying a couple of doors down in the same area that same week!! So crazy! 

Talk us through the decision to elope.

Planning a wedding is hard. Planning a wedding in 2020 was even more challenging. However, I think we will forever agree that the pandemic allowed us to live out our dream wedding! 

We had wanted to elope for as long as we can remember. We never pictured a big day, expensive florals, and all the other stuff that didn’t mean much to us. When it came time to make that decision, the pressure from family and friends and watching our friends’ traditional weddings play out with all of their loved ones made us second guess. 

So we planned a wedding for Sep 2020 in Lake Tahoe with our fifty closest people. Fast forward to May, when we realized that COVID wasn’t going anywhere, and we decided to cancel our wedding. Not postpone, cancel. We didn’t know what we wanted, and it was already hard enough picking a date with our photographers that we didn’t know what our options would even be at that point, only a few months out. Luckily, Ryan and Jaclyn (our photographers) threw out a few August dates, and we snatched one up. We pushed it up twenty days and decided to go alone to an entirely new destination. The Oregon Coast and The Redwoods!

How did your family take the news of your elopement?

They knew the plans to elope because we had canceled our original plans to Lake Tahoe! It was hard, and many wanted to be a part of it somehow. So we asked our friends and family to write letters that we could read sometime on our wedding day. It was a simple gesture, but it was so amazing reading those letters that day. 

All of our parents were supportive of the decision. But when it was time to head out west, we started to see a few tears because it was hitting them that they wouldn’t experience it with us. 

Talk us through the day.

Our actual wedding day was unbelievable! All of the things we wanted our day to consist of actually happened, and it was so perfect.

We planned our day to be just us, but then we got to the point in planning where we needed to figure out who would be our officiant. Either we were going to hire someone or bring a friend along to have a familiar face or two around. We asked our best friend Nicole’s fiancé, Sam if he would be willing to do this for us. He said, yes! Plus, after giving him a personalized flask with a picture of him on it saying “officiant Sam,” we knew he couldn’t say no!

So the two of them packed up their bags and spent our wedding day with us up in the Pacific Northwest and a few extra days leading into the wedding! We stayed in a little cabin with an outdoor hot tub on the Oregon Coast in Brookings, Oregon, that overlooked Whaleshead Beach. We reserved it the night before and the night of our wedding so we could all relax. 

The three of us girls woke up at 5 am to get our hair and makeup done by Anne Timss. An incredibly kind and talented woman! By the time our hair and makeup was done, Sam had whipped up a full breakfast with all the yummy things. He packed some bags, loaded up the car, and assisted in anything we needed. To say he was the BEST officiant is a big understatement. 

Mid-morning, we headed to Jedediah Smith Redwoods, where we would have our intimate ceremony. It was perfect! We were surrounded by the most gorgeous trees we’ve ever seen, on a very sunny 65° day in the PNW (which we know is rare), with our two best friends and two insanely talented photographers. What more could we want?! 

We set out off the main path to find a private area where there would be no bypassers. We cracked open a drink and got the ceremony started. The only interruption we had during the ceremony was the snot-filled tears coming from Nicole behind us. It was quick, emotional, and just the way we pictured it. 

We followed up the ceremony with a coffee run through Dutch Bros. Before we headed back to the Airbnb to eat lunch and read our letters from family and friends. The letters were incredible, and it truly felt like we shared that day with our people. We are so grateful for those letters! While we did this, Sam ran to the grocery store for lunch, and Nicole cooked us a delicious lunch for the six of us on the balcony of our Airbnb. 

After that, we headed to a spot in Brookings that overlooked the ocean. It was one of the most incredible places we’ve ever been to! We had plans to take sunset pictures on the overlook and then follow it with a sunset and bonfire on the beach. The timing was catching up to us a bit. So while we started to make our way down to the beach, we knew we weren’t going to make the hike in time to get photos on the beach before dark. 

We all jumped in our Jeeps and headed down the Oregon Coast Highway in hopes we’d find a quicker access point to the water. We were in comfy clothes at this point, hair in a mess, and drenched in sweat from our hike. Cruising down the highway as we watched the big, bright orange ball set beneath the earth. We were feeling a little hopeless at this point for beach photos but nonetheless have had a fantastic day thus far. That’s when we saw a big sign that said “Whaleshead Beach,” and we were practically were on two wheels cruising into that entrance. We pulled in, and it was all a blur! We remember Nicole and Sam telling us to grab our dresses and GO and that they’d set up the bonfire and snacks. 

Jumping out of the car, ripped our dresses out, and sprinted for what felt like a mile to a private beach. We got to the water and started stripping our sweats off so we could get into our dresses. Jaclyn (our photographer) came running up behind us, helping with our dresses’ finishing touches. Lauren asked her how much time we had left before it would be too late for photos, and she replied, “twenty mins”! 

We both had a sigh of relief, knowing we were going to get some of the beach photos we dreamt about. They ended up being some of our favorite images. Those twenty minutes were also a blur. I couldn’t remember what we talked about. We just know we were dancing around in the sand and water and doing whatever Jaclyn had asked. Then Ryan (photographer) wanted to get a drone shot of us laying on our backs in the sand. We laid there, listening to the sounds of the waves crashing as we watched the drone fly above us. Ryan asked that we turn our heads to look at one another, and at that moment, the waterworks fell. They were tears of pure happiness. 

Meanwhile, at this point, everything was so rushed that we didn’t even think Nicole and Sam were going to be able to get a fire going, and we told them we weren’t expecting it. We finished the photos and turned to walk back towards our bags. At that moment, we see Nicole putting the finishing touches on our charcuterie board and picnic setup on the beach. Sam grabbed a few last sticks to complete the fantastic fire he had already created, and the two of us just stood their speechless. We were completely overwhelmed by the selflessness they gave us on our day. 

Nicole and Sam get married next summer, and no matter what we do, it’ll never compare to the love they showed us on our day. We drank champagne, nibbled off the cheeseboard, and stayed warm around the fire until it was time to head back to our Airbnb for the night. We cleaned everything up and started walking across the long stretch of sand before we took a moment to pause. Turning off all of our lights, and looking up at the stars. It was a magical way to end our day. Stars brighter than we’ve ever seen and shooting stars crossing the sky. We will never forget this day and all of the little moments in between. 

What does the future hold for you both?

Does anybody know what the future holds for them these days?? Life has completely flipped for us, and even though we find ourselves watching a little more TV than usual, we are grateful for it. Thankful for the nights we spend in our new home. Either relaxing or up until the wee hours of the night working on a DIY project. 

This year has definitely taken a shift from our regular routine. But there are still so many exciting things happening around us. At the beginning of COVID, we fostered a dog since we would be home all the time. It was SO challenging but so rewarding at the same time, and knew we would foster again in the future. 

The first week of October, we saw two ten-month old pups go live on the foster page, and we thought, well, we won’t be bored anymore. From the day we brought them to our home, they have been amazing. In fact, so amazing that we committed to keeping them forever on our eighth anniversary, Oct 28. Their names are Harvey and Hallie, and they’re ten-month-old Retriever/Boxer mixes and siblings. So, in the foreseeable future, we see a lot of slobbery kisses and snuggles from our fur kiddos. 


Photography & Cinematography More Van Anything

Bridal Boutique David’s Bridal
Bridespeople Outfits Baltic Born
Cake Dairy Queen Blizzards
Celebrant Sam Hoats (friend)
Engagement Rings
Brilliant Earth
H&MU Anne Timss
Shoes REI
Wedding Rings Tattoos from ChiTown Tattoo

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