An Elopement to Remember

These days I feel like there are very few things that actually take my breath away, so imagine my surprise and elation when a few weeks ago I was mindlessly flipping through my Facebook feed and I read the most incredible news that one of my former yoga instructors Emily Phillips, who is the most beautiful person inside and out, had escaped a Boston blizzard and had eloped to the famed San Francisco City Hall.  Accompanying the huge announcement were some of the most incredible photographs that I had ever seen.  The boys were running around crazy, I had the tub running, and I'm not kidding, I stopped everything and locked myself if my room just so I could take it all in.  The images from their elopement convey so much love and beauty, and I was so incredibly honored when she agreed to allow me to share her amazing pictures with all of you.  The world needs so much more of THIS and if there was ever a doubt of how magical and elopement can be, this is proof that all you need for a wedding is love.  Clearly, a killer photographer doesn't hurt...

Below are the breathtaking pictures from her day, and the story of how it came to fruition.  

I asked Emily to tell me a little about how and why they decided to elope, and to give me some details from her incredible day.  I'm telling you, if I had to do it all over again I would follow her road map to the letter.

Mike and I were trying to plan a wedding in Martha's Vineyard but what we wanted didn't work out, and we just couldn't see spending thousands of dollars on a wedding.  In addition to that, we didn't want the ceremony to feel like a performance, which is what we felt it would be like with others in attendance.  We had a trip planned to SF, I used to live there, missed it, and wanted to show it to Mike who had never been.  Mike suggested we elope there.  I started looking into it, saw how stunning SF City Hall is, and how easy it was to get a marriage license and to book a ceremony.  It was a done deal.  I love doing research, so it was really fun to look for the right photographer.  We found a stunning apartment in Noe Valley (my old neighborhood) on VRBO which had a deck with a hot tub and a great view of Twin Peaks.  To keep costs down I got my hair done at Dry Bar and my makeup at the Armani counter at Saks.  The pearls I wore were a gift from my Mom, and the gold bangles belonged to my 96 year old Grandma.  I was most concerned with how they'd feel about being left out of wedding, so it was nice to wear their gifts. 
Before our ceremony we went to Zuni Cafe for drinks and we had just enough time to guzzle one down before we were meeting the photographer!  Afterwards we went back to Zuni for a romantic celebratory dinner.  (They are known for their roast chicken which takes nearly an hour to prepare.)  The wedding was at 2pm and we left City Hall just after 3pm.  We got back ago our apartment after dinner around 5:30 and hit the hot tub.  Mike was asleep by 6:30 and I passed out an hour later.  The woman who married us was so cool.  She is 85 years old, big dangling earrings, nose ring, silver rings on nearly every finger, and twinkly eyes.  We wanted to change a few words in the ceremony, and she was so open to it.  The best part is that this woman is a volunteer, she's been with the same man for 30 years, and thinks marriage is "meaningless"!!!  We announced our marriage to family right after with a video we made at Zuni. 

When asked if she would do anything differently Emily replied, "I would do it again in a heartbeat, wouldn't change a thing."  If that isn't a ringing endorsement I don't know what is!  While planning my sister's wedding she has often talked about how great it would be to just elope.  I only know one other couple that has done so, and it's so great to hear from someone who has actually taken the plunge! (pun intended ;))

Speaking of running away, at the end of the month my best friend and I are escaping to a wellness retreat that Emily is hosting near her home in Martha's Vineyard.  It's going to be a weekend full of good food, good advice, and some incredible exercise classes (yoga, spin, barre.)  I am beyond excited, I am actually counting the SECONDS until that ferry departs.  USA today named it as one of the top retreats this year, and she still has two spots open if any of you are interested.  You can read all about it here.

Thank you Emily for sharing your magical day with us all!  I wish you a lifetime of love and happiness!

Incredible photography by