Images: Dani Nicole Photography

I’m feeling a bit refreshed this morning after last night’s virtual bottle share. Prior to all this social distancing, we’d meet up every other week with a group of friends to share beers and pizza, and just hang out. For the last 2+ months, we’ve taken it virtual, and every Tuesday night, we hop on Zoom and catch up with some beer friends. Its something I’ve started looking forward to each week because its a time where we can just forget about everything else that’s going on, enjoy a couple beers, and just relax.

Today’s wedding has me longing for those in-person bottle shares, and the time when we can meet up at a local brewery with friends and just hang out. I love this tiny wedding for so many reasons – the brewery backdrop, the photos at Union Market afterwards, the doughnuts, and so much more!

Our secret elopement was the opposite of traditional. When figuring out how to get legally married in NC (where our September wedding was to take place) while living in Northern Virginia, we realized that it would be a lot easier to just do the paperwork locally. Washington, D.C. allows you to get married without an officiant (you “self-officiate”) which was perfect for us. Luckily, our photographer was planning on coming to DC for a family vacation, so she agreed to sneak around town with us.

Our elopement was in June, which meant our wedding decor at Red Bear Brewing Company was pride themed, and we loved it. We did not bring any additional decorations with us, just my flowers that I picked up from the grocery store the night before. I chose burgundy mums and some type of fern to put together a simple bouquet.

My wedding dress was purchased at Church Street Bridal in Lynchburg, VA. The shop is run out of a YWCA and proceeds from the new, donated dresses go to their women’s programs. It was important to us to give back where we could while planning the wedding. The dress was a Robbert Bullock Cora gown from the 2012 collection. The tiered lace skirt and sweetheart neckline with eyelash detailing at the top was just southern enough to fit with our (originally intended) North Carolina wedding. I wore the dress again for the North Carolina celebration. Josh wore a grey suit, similar to what he wore in the NC wedding also. He loves any excuse to wear a bowtie, and chose a blue plaid one for the occasion.

The entire day was extremely personal. We chose a brewery that we love as our venue. They were so kind to us and let us take over the back bar on a Monday for 30 minutes to seal the deal. One of the funniest things that happened was when we revealed our vows to one another. We had decided to write them on the back of printed engagement photos. By pure coincidence we chose the same photo – one in color and one in black and white. It was perfect that we had the same favorite picture – and it was of us in a brewery!

After the ceremony, we popped over to Union Market, walking past many well wishers along the way, and got donuts. Union Market is such a fun place to wander around and try different foods and reminds us of the Milwaukee Public Market where we went often during college. The entire afternoon was my favorite – I definitely cannot pick just one thing.

Our advice to other couples that are planning their weddings is to give yourself plenty of time to plan your wedding. There is no rush, and it will be so much less stressful. If you want to really eliminate stress, secretly elope beforehand so during your big wedding day, nothing can really go wrong!


Photographer: Dani Nicole Photography | Venue: Red Bear Brewing Company | Dress Shop: Church Street Bridal


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