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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 which 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 and cool, like us!
I emailed Sarah to enquire about the rules for Brits marrying in Texas, using her own initiative, she made all the relevant enquires for us, I knew she was a keeper! Sarah also sent me a picture of herself and family dressed up at Hallowe’en and that sealed the deal for me! Sarah offered some ideas for free venues…
Our Austin Wedding Venue
Lou Neff Point at Ladybird Lake was a natural choice.
During SXSW, we walked downtown along the riverfront each day, watching the kayakers on the water, ogling at the turtles, admiring the skyline. We’re not the most emotional people (Craig would suggest that I am slightly on the spectrum) but this spot felt right.
The sun shone, the ducks quacked, and we had a small audience who 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 actually 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), it’s a Scottish tradition to have a nip.
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 in 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 on 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, 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 playing 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, I dressed up as her on Hallowe’en (the day Craig proposed) and there is a running joke about my monobrow (thanks for that gift, Dad), so it seemed apt.
Next stop was Congress, 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.
Craig managed to retrieve it from lost and found, oops!
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, well, until she was employed by SXSW then started giving us the impression that she thought she was ‘too big’ for the project.
Craig made the decision 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 pulled in my expert photography friends, my 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, which was is obviously an appeal being 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 were playing Mohawk the night of the wedding so we decided to attend.
I changed outfits, we had dinner and drinks then 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 60’s 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. Mel did a cut for me when I arrived in Austin and pointed me in the direction of Paul for the updo. It was a stunner!
I splurged and got my lashes done Lashes de Bella, they really made my eyes pop.
No fake tan 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 just didn’t feel like us. We saved up £20K to do 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 part-ay on our return with a buffet, disco, and Ceilidh. There will be lots of booze and dancing, the part of weddings that everyone actually enjoys!
Craig’s brother found out two weeks ago that we’re headed to Budapest next month (I’m going to teach English). Impressively at short notice, he managed to round up a few of the boys so he’s having 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 kind of 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, as well as 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.
Emily and Andrew (Along Dusty Roads), Carolann and Macrae (One Modern Couple), Tracie Travels, Darren (Poetic Mouse), Craig and Karen (Whiteside of Life) for helping us find Corey.
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 to 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.
Love Craig & Gemma aka Mr & Mrs Armit!
Give us some love in the comments below,
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Photographs by Corey Mendez Photography
60 thoughts on “An Austin Elopement”
Congratulations guys! Looks like the coolest wedding ever and I love that you stayed true to yourselves with it. So happy for you both ?
Thanks Em, it was a fun day! I feel like I am still playing catch up on sleep. What’s that saying? Sleep when I die? That didn’t take into consideration bags under the old eyes! Enjoying your adventure.
Superb! I CAN NOT wait to continue the celebrations upon your return. Now, what to wear to the party……
Big love to the Armits xxxxxxx
Cannot wait to meet BC when s/he decides to exit! Love you lots, see you in July!!
Awww, this is the sweetest! So happy for both of you! Hopefully our paths will cross again in travels soon! Until then, safe travels and enjoy blissful wedded life! 😀
Thanks Val, yes! I hope that you make it to Scotland or we will see you *if* Canada will accept us!
See you very soon!!
Congratulations! I got married in Gretna Green but would rather have got married in America. It looks like a great day, shame you had all the stress of finding the right photographer.
I love that you got married at Gretna Green! We were always warned not to do that at 16… Eloping at 31 was more acceptable!
I eloped at the age of 30 lol
Love it, I joined your gang!
Congrats!! So happy to be a part of the BEST WEDDING EVER.
It was the best one I’ve ever had!!! Thanks so much for being there! x
My invite got lost in the mail !! Neve mind, I was there in spirit and have been following your travels. Love that you are able to take time now to enjoy this adventure – and get married !! Have great time and have a great life. You are on a wonderful path.
LOL, I think a lot of people though that!
So awesome! Looks like a great day, perfect for the 2 of you! Congrats!
Thank you Tarah! It was just as I’d hoped with an additional surprise!
Awwww I loved reading that! Sounds like the perfect day. I feel exactly the same… No chance I’m spending £25k on one day! You defo did it the best way! Xx
Hopefully see you back in Scotland for the party next April Gem (and your fiancé 😉
So cool how last-minute and retro you were! Sounds like the way to do the big day 🙂 Congrats and good luck in Budapest, it’s a lovely city
Thank you Shannon! Budapest has not disappointed! Been a on wee road trip too.
Congratulations!!! What a great journey, Corey done an amazing job.
Love always xx
Thanks Dad, hahaha!
Aww lovely guys. My other half and I are also considering elopement. So expensive to do a traditional wedding!
As Nike says, Just Do It! It really is so much money for one day and when you travel you know where that money can go and for how long!
Your stories are fantastic Gemma. As I’ve said before I think what you guys are doing is awesome. You’re certainly embracing life and what can be more memorable than having the wedding of your dreams. For what it’s worth I agree with you about flashy weddings. I’m not keen on the all day hanging around. Better with your big party. Good luck and best wishes for your future years together. Keep dancing! Xx
That’s very kind of you Moira, I’m glad that we are entertaining you guys while on this adventure! Drinking hats and dancing shoes will be out in force for the family part-ay for sure!
Loved reading your story and seeing all the pics, hope you both enjoy the rest of your journey. Pics are amazing xx
Thanks Gina! I really enjoyed writing it, great to be able to share it with everyone!
This is SO amazing! Congratulations you pair!
What an awesome wedding, and it made a superb read with my lunch today: something totally different.
The photos are the absolute bee’s knees, you are going to cherish those forever, and way better than boring old trad wedding pics!
This is dream wedding stuff!
Just gorgeous ❤
Ahhh thank you. I think so too! Going to get a book made up when we get home and may purchase a few shots on metal, the new canvas! I love to hear where and when people read the articles! I can imagine you having your lunch like the true creep that I am!
Oh my goodness congratulations to two of my favorite Scots! Your pictures are just gorgeous. I’m sorry you had to go through with that with the original photographer bailing on you, but Corey did a bang up job. LOVE the yellow dress Gemma! I’m all about non-traditional weddings, and eloping in Austin sounds just perfect. Best wishes to you both!
So good to hear from you! Thank you, it all worked out pretty sweetly!
I love it so much!!! A million congrats guys! So hip and so memorable xxx
Congratulations you guys! Everything seems to have fit you both so well, especially vs a traditional wedding back home. Beautiful photos!
Not really ‘us’ but a big party on our return is a must!
Congratulations guys!! Looks like a super fun day and, most importantly, exactly what you wanted! All the best for a long life together with LOTS more traveling! ?
Thank you Rebecca! Amen to that!