Tuesday, May 28, 2013

We eloped! (Image heavy post!)

 For those that were with us and many that saw online, this past Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 at 11am, Thom and I eloped at the San Francisco City Hall.  The day was perfect and such a blur.  It's hard for me to describe the complete momentum and there were many emotions felt by all.

But as much as this post is about giving everyone an inside view of the day and happenings (so many photoz!), it is also a chance for me to sit down and write about why we made this spontaneous-looking decision.  And in truth, it was the most thought-out life decision that I've ever made.

It is also a decision that I feel I need to explain, since many of our dearest loved ones could not have been there.  I know Thom feels the same and we so much wanted everyone to have been there with us.  Already, we're so grateful for the love and support that we have received and we can't thank you enough.  So again, thank you.

Let me begin by saying that this past year has made me more aware of time.  I've noticed the way time shifts from this immense enigma to something so finite.  Time seems to switch easily between the two.  Yet when I recall back, it always seems so definitive.  It's easy to give into my twenty-something attitude, to feel carefree and look at life like I'm entitled to it.  It makes it easy to take advantage of time.  It's easy to turn it into an opportunity.

It's also hard to face time when you mix it with reality.  Sometimes, it makes time unfair.  It brings out the sad moments and big salty tears.  It makes us feel dizzy.  It makes me feel like grabbing on to everyone I could ever love and hold them forever just so they won't slip away.

And it's with those two outlooks on time that Thom and I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and elope at City Hall with parents there acting as witnesses.  They truly are the foundation for us.  I don't believe that either of us could be the people we are today without their never-ending love and support.  Both of our parents had originally planned to fly out to San Francisco under the guise of celebrating my graduation from AAU.  They had no idea what we were planning, nor a moment to even think about what we were doing since we told them literally the day before the wedding.  (By this point in time, Thom and I had told our siblings, closest family members, and dearest friends.  Everyone else was in the dark.)

One of the hardest issues was not having our families and closest friends there, so we want to stress that we are still planning on having the big "real" wedding next June 2014 with everyone there to celebate.

Without being too open in this completely open and tell-all online environment, I will stress again that our decision to elope was based on the importance of time and of family.

 So let me get to the little details of the day:
  1.  Date and Time:  Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 at 11am Pacific Time.
  2. Venue:  San Francisco City Hall(Thom and I requested our date and time a month or so ahead.  We also filled out our marriage license ahead of time and verified it there before the ceremony. )
  3. Reception:  Zuni CafeAwesome service, delicious food!
  4. Transportation:  Uber there and MUNI back!
  5. Photographer:  My darling roommate, Kristina Varaskina took all the images seen here.  спасибо!
  6. Flowers:  Bouquet was handmade by myself and mothers, provided by Safeway.  Succulent boutonnieres by Eucca(Best service, prices and beautiful handmade selection of flowers and succulents.)
  7. What he wore:  Levi's, Kenneth Cole shoes, blue button up, gray vest, and plaid bow-tie all from Macy's.
  8. What she wore:  Dress from hereShoes from here.  Veil from here.
  9. Miscellaneous:  Handkerchiefs for Mother of Bride and Groom.
(I will say that in total, I spent about $300 total for my dress, accessories and flowers!)

The day before the wedding:
 That week, my parents flew in on Monday night.  Thom's parents weren't to arrive until Wednesday afternoon and again, we planned on getting married Thursday morning.  We didn't want to tell one set of parents before the other, so we planned on telling everyone that Wednesday afternoon after Thom's parents got settled in.

That Wednesday afternoon everyone was gathered around the kitchen and we had all finished a late lunch.  While conversation began to settled down and everyone seemed to be content, Thom and I snuck to our bedroom, put a bowtie on Connor and proceeded back into the kitchen.  We paraded back to our seats, Connor in arms, announcing that we had something important to say,

"After much thought and love, we have decided to get married...TOMORROW!"

Words cannot describe the looks witnessed on our parents faces after that fateful sentence was said.

There were tears, lots of hugs, hearty laughs, mass amounts of bewilderment and a small handful of doubt.  Everyone took the news quite well and they all seemed genuinely surprised.  (Although my mother would say otherwise, claiming that she knew that this would happen.  OOOkay mooooom.)

The rest of that day was spent getting flowers together, going over the next day wedding details and taking in all the exciting news.

The Wedding Day:
The day of the wedding, like I said before, was a big blur, especially the morning.  But I managed to snap a few candids, so I'll do my best to recount it all.

Though we started the day off seeing each other, Thom and I did keep one tradition alive and decided to get-ready separately.  We wanted to have the big reveal at City Hall.  So much of the time I stayed holed up in the back of the house while Thom got ready in the front.  But in the early morning, I woke up first and made a coffee cake for everyone before getting ready.

Kristina was a HUGE part of making the day so awesome and I can't seem to thank her enough for helping me with my hair (BIG hair!), makeup (What's this do again?) and of course, the photography (Thank you, thank you!).  The night before, I pin curled my hair and then she helped me take down the curls, brush them out and set them.  I really wanted to style my hair much like a 1940s Lauren Bacall since my dress, shoes and ring were all set for that particular era.  Plus, if you throw in SF City Hall, with it's romantic architecture, it looked like I came back from time!

Poor Thom had to get ready all over the house actually, since I took up the back half and refused to move.  I think he managed to iron his shirt in the front room and change in the bedroom.  I guess he had to add another notch to his belt since he's skinnier than a broom stick. (Which explains the power drill.)

Like I said, I hung out in Kristina's room and fumbled my way through the hair and makeup.  We were really cutting it close to the time but everything kind of fell in place.

We planned to take MUNI to and from City Hall but since we were cutting it close to the time, Thom called cabs via Uber.  We made him stand on the corner of 19th Ave and Santiago facing traffic, just so I could slip into a cab unseen.

It was, without a doubt, the most self-aware ride of my life.

We ladies arrived first and I had some weird time to myself to let the reality soak in...

And as lovely as I'd like to think I am at being such a good bride-model, most of the photos were something like this:
"Did I remember to lock the front door?"
 Or something like this:
"Oooh!  Flowers!"

Or this:
Lacking any idea that my photo is being taken...
So there's some wedding day reality for all you non-married.  Lots of outtakes for those "glamorous" photoz you see on Pinterest...

But finally Thom arrived and it went something like this:

And off we went into City Hall!

We had to go and sign in.  There were at least three other couples getting married before us and a few more after us.  I never thought it would be so busy on a Thursday morning, but the place was hoppin!

Next we waited in line for our appointment with the Justice of Peace.  Our fathers acted as our two witnesses to sign on our marriage certificate.

After signing the papers, we waited for the judge to meet us and take us to the Rotunda at the top of the grand stairs in the main hall to get married.

And then it was our time!

It was literally 10 minutes long, if that.  But I did end up getting all teary-eyed and it was all very overwhelming as they say.

Afterward, we took some photos around City Hall...

And outside City Hall:

 And back inside again:

And of course we got some shots of our souvenir marriage certificate!  (Real one to come in the mail two weeks from now.)

And some stylish kicks:

Afterward, we hopped in a nice swanky cab and went to eat at Zuni.  (Originally Thom and I planned to walk over to the Civic Center food trucks but our parents felt the day was more momentous for food trucks.)

By this point, I yelled at Kristina to put the camera down.  We had a great meal and finally we walked back to the MUNI station to head home.

 We tried to "act normal".

In all, this was the most adventurous experience that both Thom and I define as perfect.  

We hope that you all enjoy our adventure through these images.  We also hope to celebrate with you in person next time around, so look for our "real" wedding invitations in the mail early next year!


  1. I loved reading your story, Erin! Congratulations to you both. I wish you the best!

    Angela Jordan

    PS~ You looked beautiful and the black and whites outside city hall were excellent!

  2. Great photos esspecially i loved Connor with a bowtie on , congratulations to you both

  3. Beautiful pictures !! Best Wishes!

  4. Beautiful photos captured! Good luck to your June 2014 wedding! Hope you get the wedding of your dreams!