Centralia, IL- Laura and Tim Elopement
Ceremony Location: Centralia, IL
From the bride and groom:
About the Venue
COVID changed things a lot. We were originally going to have one venue and then when it became clear it was going to be a micro-wedding we changed courses. I had originally (before COVID) asked my grandma if we could have the wedding at her house (and by house I mean large farm :)). She politely declined, but on the second call she said yes before I could get my whole question out. I love the farm and have many happy memories growing up and visiting. Our wedding day added to the bank of favorite memories the farm holds.
About the Dress
I really did not have an idea of the dress I wanted before shopping (pro-tip: have an idea of the dress you want before you go shopping ;)). To me, the small details are very important. I wanted lace, but did not like the vintage lace. I wanted sparkles, but did not want it to look gaudy. I asked a lot of my dress, but I found one that I really felt like hit all of my (slightly crazy) boxes.
About our traditions/fun activities
My husband is Greek so we wanted to include traditions that hold meaning to both of us. We decided to do a non-denominational wedding and include all of our favorite traditions and new ones. We had my brother read a poem as well as the officiant recite poems instead of religious versus. We also included a crowning ceremony which is Orthodox, but has roots in ancient times. The crowns are attached by a ribbon and exchanged over the bride and groom’s head. It symbolizes importance and unity. We also sprinkled in other Greek inspirations and had Koufeta (Jordan almonds) as a party gift. These also have a long tradition in Greek culture and are given to guests in odd numbers which represents indivisibility. Lastly, we had Greek deserts!
Additionally, we broke a lot of traditions too. In preparing for our ceremony, our officiant made suggestions to create a more equal footing between the male and female roles. For example, I am very close to both of my parents and ended up asking both of them to walk me down the aisle. I also walked out slightly in front of them symbolizing my leading role. Additionally, there is usually a larger role that the best man place (especially in Greek traditional marriage ceremonies). For example, the best man holds the rings. During the ceremony, the maid of honor played a role in the ring ceremony to symbolize the equality between parties. Starting our marriage off adjusting the ceremony to what fit us best made the all the more special!
About working with Brenda Hoffman Photography
Brenda is amazing. She is such a lovely person to work with and has a really calm vibe about her. She is also an amazing artist! My favorite memories and the feelings behind them were captured. To my husband and I, the memories of the day were really important. The photos are what live on forever and we are lucky to have worked with someone who was able to capture the moments in such a special way.
Most memorable moments
I have so many!
Getting ready with my bridesmaids, mom, grandma, and brother– I wrote my mom and grandma really thoughtful thank you notes. They both put a lot of work into making the day possible and I really reflected on growing up and the role they played in my life.
The ceremony– I love ceremonies! To me, they are the best part of a wedding. I felt that ours really embodied us and set us off for our married life!
Right after the ceremony– My husband and I had a moment to ourselves after the ceremony and that is when it felt the most real. I loved getting to have that intimate moment alone.
The speeches– I especially loved what my maid of honor said to us. I actually reflect back on her speech when I am down.
The first dances– Tim- I felt like we were floating during our dance. My mom had started dancing with us and later checked in to make sure it was okay. I laughed and said yes! I had no idea! To me we were the only ones there for that song. My dad- My dad picked the song and it was about sunshine, it was really meaningful and he was able to tell me how happy and proud he was.
Advice for other couples
There are a lot of details that you can get caught up in and a lot of them do not matter. As my husband and I re-planned our wedding, we stuck to the top things that were important to us and that really helped. If I were to go through the whole process again, I think I would ask myself– If COVID (or a disaster) were to hit, would I still do this?* I think its really hard to not get caught up in things sometimes, there can be a lot of extravaganza items. In the end, the things that go wrong are funny memories and the best memories are with your friends and family.