The Courthouse Bride Wore Chanel
The first step in eloping overseas, was to get legally married. It's possible abroad, but not worth the hassle. We thought we would feel married after our personal vows; that the courthouse ceremony would just feel like another step in getting our marriage license, which it did.
Of course I get emotional at everything, so I was crying just getting our marriage license! I felt so moved waiting in line realizing we were surrounded exclusively by people there for the same reason: love. They were every age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, some there with children. It's so beautiful that what we have in common as humans is this innate desire to make a commitment to love someone else in sickness and in health.
(Below, you check in at a desk that feels very much like checking in at the airport. You can see on my face how buzzy I was on adrenaline!)
Getting the marriage license was like a dress rehearsal before the ceremony day. We staked out places for photos, knew where to go and what to expect. I’m not sure if it’s hilarious or sad that there’s a gift shop with just married merch. I wondered why so many images online had a horrible bright purple background till I we walked and I saw that’s just what’s behind the judge (and made it black and white in our kissing photo above).
I love that there's a flower vendor set-up outside for bouquets en route. However, I had already looped into our very tiny treehouse of trust my dear friend and florist Kelsea of East Olivia to visit the flower market that morning and make me a bouquet.
(Asking for her help would prove providential when she called a few days later, my only girlfriend who knew we were eloping, on the same day our florist/stylist quit just one month out. We talked for over an hour about integrity in business before she asked if there was any way she could help. An hour later she was booking an international flight and made the event so visually perfect the photos (coming soon!) take my breath away. Absolutely meant to be.)
Our favorite part of the day was getting dressed up! I hunted down little white dresses for forever. I only wanted to buy something if I could see wearing it again (I already have two wedding dresses I won’t know what to do with!) and didn’t find anything I was in love with. So I thought outside the box, inspired by Beau.
He was itching for a grey suit and we liked the idea of black, grey and white; a totally different palette from the elopement or wedding. A couple months earlier I’d stumbled upon an amazing vintage shop in Paris and a swoon-worthy black and cream silk pencil skirt, so I pulled that out of my closet, with a pair of black and white vintage Chanel heels I’ve owned for years.
They were a free gift from Sister Anna of the Salvation Army. I was choreographing a show at their theater in Times Square and one day in the prop room she was joking about the hilarious donations they get. She showed me a row of women’s heels, “They appear to have been donated by a transvestite”, all very large in bright orange patent leather or leopard print over the knee boots. And this one magic pair of Chanel, which she said with a swash of her hand, “Oh you can have those”. (Jesus, I believe!)
I found this asymmetrical top to finish off the outfit and voila. We felt like a timeless New York City power couple with a hint of Mad Men as we dashed off to the courthouse to marry during breakfast on a Friday, Beau making it to work in time for his first meeting (and getting lots of applause for his suit in a sea of jeans). (Also booking Sylvie Rosokoff as our photographer was an inspired choice as she’s shot tons of elopements there so knew right where to take photos, knocked them out so quickly, and I am dying to frame them all!)
That night we had dinner at the Nomad Hotel, a fancy restaurant we’d been wanting to visit. While we toasted to having legally tied the knot, we also celebrated one month to the day till our elopement and six months to the day till our big family wedding.
So yes, technically dear friend, we will have had three weddings in six months. Thankfully this one took almost no planning! Though I’m already composing a mental blog post on the pros and cons of the courthouse vs elopement vs big wedding.
For now I’ll say that personally, the courthouse wedding alone breaks my heart. I understand it brings other people joy and your wedding is YOUR day, m’dear! But it flies by so quickly I literally would not remember a word we said if it wasn’t the same script you’ve seen in movies your whole life.
For the most important decision you’ll ever make, I would advocate a slower ceremony where you can really take in the moment, an officiant who can make it personal (that poor judge who reads the same thing 100x a day!). But to make it legal before your big day, I say make the most of it! Wear something darling, grab some flowers, celebrate at dinner. One of my favorite date nights ever with the boy I’d call my fiance for one more month. (wink)
[ Photog: Sylvie The Camera, Florals: East Olivia, Top: Shopbop, Skirt + Heels: Vintage, Location: New York City ]
Next post, the wild story of how we surprised our six friends and sharing what country we eloped to…