A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)
Photos by Mandy Cantrell

Offbeat partner: Jasmine

Offbeat partner: Sidney

Date and location of wedding: Hightower Falls in Cedartown, GA — February 25, 2020

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: There was no theme. We chose simple, light colors that would go well together. We had eight close family members there. My four-year-old was the flower girl. I dressed my four-year-old and nine-month-old in the same dress.

The venue gave us two hours for the ceremony and pictures which I thought was a lot of time until I had trouble with my vision causing a 45-minute delay in start time. At the end of all that, I went down the aisle not being able to see.

A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)

A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)

A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)

A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)

A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)

Tell us about the ceremony:
We arrived safely at the venue and a rush of panic filled my body as I rushed inside. I started getting dressed and, with the help of my loved ones, the kids were getting dressed also. My sister, Jakia, did the final touches with my hair. My sister, Jalyssia, helped keep me calm because we were now 30 minutes behind schedule and I was freaking out. I had been having issues with my contacts getting blurry. They were clear for ALL of two minutes and then they became blurry again. I had no idea what was causing it. I was distraught. But it was time to go walk down the aisle to meet my husband to be. I was so grateful my friend Kim is a seasoned makeup artist. She did a quick touch up to my face and I walked to my place. I was not happy because I literally could not see. At that moment I had a decision to make, be mad at what is or be grateful for all the things that were going right.

A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)

A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)

A few moments later, Malia’s (my daughter) song started and she walked out so gracefully, and then she was out of my sight. I then spotted a blurry image of my photographer waving at me. I started to freak out again not knowing what she was saying or why she was waving. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, prayed, and accepted that I would not be able to see. I thought of the many reasons I was even standing there in the first place. Sid and I had worked so hard to get to this moment. We had grown so much individually and understood what this moment was for us. Our kids get to witness a moment that their parents became husband and wife because they without a doubt loved each other. I needed to be brave. I needed to be present. I needed to “see” internally what this ceremony symbolized for us. Then my song began for me to walk. I straightened up my back, held my head high, looked forward, and began to walk with confidence.

Everything looked like I was viewing it through a water bubble. I could see blurry outlines of people, objects, and color but that was it. As soon as I was in clear view of everyone, the most amazing thing happened; I could feel their energy. All eight of our guests stood up, fed me love and light; it made me smile hard. I approached Sid and my cup runneth over from the positive vibes observed from his body language.

A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)

Pastor Andrew asks us to hold hands. It was time for our vows. Sid was up first. He had memorized his vows and it was beautiful. As my eyes filled with tears as he spoke, I saw his face for the first time! His smile made me smile. I prayed to see his face and I’m so glad it happened. It quickly faded away and it was my turn to say my vows. My sister handed me my vows. Opening them and realizing I couldn’t read it was devastating. To soften the moment, I said a little joke about my vision impairment. Everyone laughed, then I began my vows. With my vows very close to my face, I managed to see keywords that triggered my memory on what I wanted to say. I spoke from my heart and stated my promises confidently which I intend to uphold for the rest of our lives.

A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)

After our vows, we proceeded to our sand ceremony. We each poured a different color of sand into a heart-shaped vase as Pastor read what it symbolized. Our sand ceremony symbolized Sid and I becoming one; just as you cannot separate the sand once mixed, neither can our union. I tried my very best to pour the sand in the vase but by the body language of my husband, I wasn’t doing that well. Most of what I had poured ended up on the table. It was quite embarrassing. With just half of the vase to go before it was full, I whispered to him that I couldn’t see. Sid takes my sand and so graciously pours it for me. I’m blessed to have him. We make our exit to the instrumental of “Marry You” by Bruno Mars. We briefly gather with our tiny tribe, taking pictures, and chatting.

A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)

A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)

Then the DJ started our first dance song and our family grabbed the kiddos for us. It was beautiful dancing with my husband for the first time. I could see his face since it was pretty close. I couldn’t stop smiling. I was just happy and amazed by all that transpired and still, there was nothing that could take my smile away.

A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)

A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)

Tell us about the reception:
We all went out to Maggiano’s after the ceremony. My sister picked up an eight-inch cake ordered the day before from Publix. We sat in the main dining area on a Tuesday and, as soon as the people behind us left, we cut the cake and took pictures. There was a long story about the private room we tried to get, but an agreement could not be signed prior to our arrival. Between unreturned phone calls and emails, we just left it alone and went with what we did have. We had each other, family, and a beautiful time celebrating our union with everyone in the dining area. Everything is what you make of it and we chose to be happy to have a table.

A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)

A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
The biggest planning challenge was doing a simple wedding (which we wanted) as opposed to catering to everyone else. Of course we love our family and friends who all wanted to be there, but it just wasn’t what we wanted and a lot of people were hurt once we announced our choice. It was hard to go against what everyone expected of us, which was a huge wedding. We have been together for eight years, so many people wanted to be there. We sat down as a couple and wrote out the pros and cons of each. In summary, it led us to doing what was best for us.

I advise any couple to be sure whatever wedding you desire to have, you do that. Truly dig deeply on the what and why of the decision. Will you be happy at the end of it? Will the money you’ve spent be worth it? Small or big, it’s an exhausting yet rewarding day. Please do it your way.

A sweet elopement with positive energy and good vibes (despite the bride not being able to see!)

Vendors

Dress: David’s Bridal • Shoes: Kohl’s • Hair: Sister Jakia • Kids’ hairpieces: Hobby Lobby • Unity Sand and vase: Michaels • Photography: Mandy Cantrell • Makeup: Vavoom Factory (friend of sister) • Officiant: Andrew (friend of the family)

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