This article has links to products and services we love, which we may make commission from.
Cowboys! BBQ! Live music! Our Austin elopement was easy, sunny, and awesome! On the 22nd of March 2016, my partner, Craig, and I tied the knot in one of our favourite cities, the only city that we visited twice during our year travelling around the Americas!
Craig and I have been together for three and a half years. We’ve been travelling for just over one year on an 18-month career break, backpacking around the Americas and Europe. When we met back in 2012, we both made it clear that we wanted to get out of Scotland and see more of this crazy world.
In the past year, we’ve hiked to Machu Picchu in Peru, cycled the world’s most dangerous road in Bolivia, stayed in an ex-cartel mansion in Colombia, dived in the Bay of Pigs in Cuba, skied at Whistler in Canada, ate our way around Portland and Seattle, and danced with the stars at Disney, Orlando!
It’s been an incredibly fun-packed year that started in Austin (after a two-day trip to New Orleans) at the music festival South By Southwest (SXSW), and that’s where we returned this March to see free music and then tie the knot!
Craig popped the question in Vancouver, under the fake stars of the HR MacMillan Space Center with a ring fashioned out of a plastic straw cover from Cuba.
Our Austin elopement would not have been possible without the support of two kick-ass people: our wedding officiant, Sarah Reed from Let’s Do It Vows, and our photographer, Corey Mendez Photography.
Let’s Do It Vows
Google ‘wedding officiants in Austin,’ and there are heaps of them. So how do you choose? I looked for one that performed same-sex marriages because, let’s face it, this is Texas.
I figured that if they were happy to wed the LGBQT+ community, then they’d be liberal, like us!
I emailed Sarah to enquire about the rules for Brits marrying in Texas, using her initiative, she made all the relevant enquires for us; I knew she was a keeper! Sarah also sent me a picture of herself and her family dressed up at Hallowe’en, which sealed the deal for me! Sarah offered some ideas for free venues…
If you plan to elope to Austin, here’s our date ideas guide.
Our Austin Wedding Venue
Lou Neff Point at Ladybird Lake was a natural choice.
During SXSW, we walked downtown along the riverfront daily, watching the kayakers on the water, ogling at the turtles, and admiring the skyline. We’re not the most emotional people, but this spot felt right.
The sun shone, the ducks quacked, and a small audience clapped politely as Craig kissed his bride!
An Austin Elopement
After a trip to the hairdressers for me, a full Irish breakfast (the closest thing to a Scottish he could find) for Craig, Champagne (thank you to Esteban and his partner, our apartment hosts) while getting ready, we took a Lyft taxi (like Uber) to Lou Neff Point at 2pm.
Nothing classy, just practical! We laughed as I had to totter down a muddy hill to get to the spot. No diva in me!
We met with Sarah and Corey; Sarah moved people on (she’s a bouncer too) and set up our camera (she also had a tripod, ex-filmmaker!) for filming (this was unsuccessful, sorry! I’m pretty happy with that, I cringe at having to watch myself; we do have a voice recording though).
Corey worked his magic on his two swanky cameras. Lots of natural shots, which is our thing!
Craig offered us all a swig of ‘Vitamin R’ (Nicaraguan Rum) from his new flat-pack hip flask (my gift); having a nip’s a Scottish tradition.
The ceremony was quick, Sarah told our story, read a quote from Good Will Hunting, we said our vows. I only had three lines; I forgot the second! There was me slagging Craig for using notes on his phone! We exchanged rings to
‘I’m awesome, you’re awesome, let’s be awesome together!’
Something we used to say back in the day! The ceremony closed with an Apache Blessing and a quick smooch. The new Mr and Mrs Armit!
An Unforgettable Surprise
I didn’t cry until this point! My friends, The Roxanne Appreciation Society (Helen, Gemma T, Laura, and Mhairi), had arranged for Sarah to bring pink Champagne glasses, and they had sent a card with this hilarious poem:
The bottle made for a great prop during the photoshoot! I am blessed!
Corey Mendez Photography
Post-ceremony, Corey drove us around Austin to play paparazzi for the afternoon!
We took advantage of Austin’s street art at Castle Hill; this area will leave you speechless.
Frida Kahlo was selected as our backdrop as there is a running joke about my monobrow (thanks for that gift, Dad), so it seemed apt.
The next stop was Congress, the Texas State Capitol Building, to be exact. This is the image we used to announce getting hitched via social media.
You can see how talented Corey is; we certainly lucked out! We headed to South Congress (SoCo) when I realised I had left my camera at Congress, and Corey drove us back.
Finding ‘Thee’ Photographer
A few months back, I did a call-out on Craigslist for a ‘non-traditional’ wedding photographer, and the response was overwhelming.
We chose a chick who was super into it until SXSW employed her, then started giving us the impression that she thought she was ‘too big’ for the project.
Craig decided to dump her when she didn’t reply to our contract three weeks before the wedding. Cue mild panic during Craig’s sick week in Granada, Nicaragua. I did another Craigslist call out, again with an outstanding response. I gathered my expert photography friends, family, and friends to vet six photographers.
Corey felt right; he has wedding photography experience, loves taking photos of bands, and has exciting examples of event photography. His website is a work of art, appealing to me as a blogger. It was no wonder he was employed by SXSW this year, too!
I created a Pinterest board of wedding photography I liked the vibe of, Corey was enthusiastic, he liked the direction so that was it, we had found our photographer two weeks before touching down in Austin!
Junior Boys at Mohawk
We love music! Much of our travel is based around attending gigs or festivals. We’ve just booked the end of our career break in Lisbon, Portugal, to see Arcade Fire in July! Craig discovered that Junior Boys played Mohawk the night of the wedding, so we decided to attend.
I changed outfits, we had dinner and drinks, and then we danced our socks off! Corey met with us to take some incriminating snaps of us and creative shots of the band.
I wore a yellow ’60s vintage dress by day and a blue and white Western number by night.
The yellow shift was purchased in Vancouver. My friend Maddie and I were out browsing one day, I tried it on, she got teary so we knew it was ‘the one’.
Burcu’s Angel knocked off money on the dress, so it set me back… $50 CAD / £25!
My cornflower blue (my something blue!) shoes were a cheap number from an Austin shopping mall; the bag was picked up two days before the elopement along with the earrings.
Craig looked dashing in his navy suit. He’s so last minute; the brown shoes were bought from Urban Outfitters the day before, along with his SoCo sunglasses and wedding ring.
I loved the braces!
I bought him a yellow handkerchief to compliment my dress.
The skinny tartan tie was a 30th birthday present from me a few years ago, he’s been carrying it in his backpack ‘just in case’.
Craig bought me a new Swatch watch after one year of complaining about never knowing the time. Hello to the girls at Swatch who helped him out!
My 60s beehive was sculptured, and it was a real work of art by Paul Van Dyck (his real name, not the DJ!) at Topaz Salon. When I arrived in Austin, Mel did a cut for me and pointed me toward Paul for the updo. It was a stunner!
I splurged and got my lashes done. Lashes de Bella made my eyes pop.
No fake tan is required after eight weeks in Nicaragua!
What About Your Families?
I know an elopement is not for everyone. Craig and I attended eight of our friends’ weddings the year before we left; they were lovely but didn’t feel like us. We saved up £20K to make this trip; the average UK wedding costs £25K, so you can see where we’d rather spend our money!
As my Gran said, ‘I knew it, Gemma, you’re just too cheap to spend that kind of money on one day!’ And she knows her first-born granddaughter well! We are hosting a big party with a buffet, disco, and Ceilidh on our return. There will be lots of booze and dancing, the part of weddings that everyone enjoys!
Craig’s brother learned two weeks ago that we’re heading to Budapest next month (I will teach English). Impressively, he managed to round up a few of the boys at short notice, so he has a delayed mini-stag (bachelor) party in the cheapest country to drink alcohol in Europe (Hungarians, get out while you can!)
He’ll have a proper one on his return!
My pals, Helen and Shelley, will surely create some mayhem for the girls on my return. I hope it’s 90s-themed
*everyone groans* I LOVE FANCY DRESS!
A massive thank you to our families and friends for respecting our wishes, paying for our wedding meal (which actually paid for my hair, too!), my folks for the Budapest trip, and all of the vetting via photos!
To everyone we met in Austin (thanks for brunch and the beer, John!), our apartment host, Art, who received packages on our behalf before we arrived, Estaban for the Champagne and chocolate.
COREY! You are kick-ass, we want you to come to Scotland in April where it rains, you’ll love it!
And Sarah, get you and your husband over for the party; more pink champagne and whisky will be consumed!
Finally, you guys, the ones who have been on this trip with us since March 2015, and the newbies who are about to go with us to Europe. We wouldn’t be Two Scots Abroad without you.
Give us some love in the comments below. Is anyone crying?!
Love Craig & Gemma, aka Mr & Mrs Armit!
Our Austin Guides
Photographs by Corey Mendez Photography