Change of Plans: Cancelling a Big, Fancy Wedding for a Low-Stress Boston Elopement

Change of Plans: Cancelling a Big, Fancy Wedding for a Low-Stress Boston Elopement

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Taryn Williford
Aug 24, 2016
(Image credit: Dani Leigh Photography)

Bride & Groom: Caitlin & Ryan
Wedding Date: July 10, 2014
Venue: Boston City Hall, XV Beacon Hotel, and all around downtown Boston.
Number of guests: Zero! (Well, one counting our wedding photographer.)

It's never too late to make a change of plans. After trying to plan a big wedding for family and friends back home in Maryland, these two lovebirds decided it wasn't for them and eloped in the city they met and fell in love in, Boston.

(Image credit: Dani Leigh Photography)

The decision wasn't an easy one. Caitlin and Ryan, former Boston College sweethearts, had already traveled down the path of picking a date and choosing a venue to host their 200-person guest list. But with the Save-the-Date announcements sitting idly by the door at home, the couple realized that a big, fancy wedding wasn't quite what they wanted.

The next day, they tossed the Save-the-Dates aside and let friends and family know they'd be choosing a more intimate venue for their nuptials: Boston City Hall. Just a few weeks later—with the help of a generous and crafty neighbor who whipped up a custom tulle skirt in no time—Caitlin and Ryan were married.

Thankfully for all of us, they enlisted Dani Leigh Photography to capture their low-stress Boston elopement. Check out all the beautiful photos in the wedding gallery, then read what Caitlin had to share about cancelling a big wedding and the decision to run away and elope just below.

(Image credit: Dani Leigh Photography)

How did you meet?

Ryan and I met at Boston College in the fall of 2007. It was the start of my sophomore year and his senior year, and we happened to be at the same party. Ryan was hauling kegs into the house and sweating up a storm, so I decided to walk over and make fun of him for being so gross. He promptly wiped his sweaty forehead on my arm, and the rest is history! A very unromantic, but very "college" beginning.

How would you describe your wedding style?

Classic and simple. I tried to channel my inner Grace Kelly, while still sticking to our low-stress elopement plans.

(Image credit: Dani Leigh Photography)

Describe the process of deciding where and how to get hitched:

We got engaged in May 2013 and immediately jumped into to planning a big, fancy, traditional wedding in Baltimore, Maryland. As the months went by and we continued to check things off the to-do list, the stress of planning and the mounting costs began to take a toll. We continued to plough ahead, but when it came time to send out the save the dates, something stalled us. They sat in a box by the door untouched until my husband and I admitted to each other we simply were not going to be happy with a big wedding. All we wanted was to be married; how it happened was not important. The next day, we told our families we were canceling our wedding. We eloped just a few weeks later!

Biggest challenge:

Our biggest challenge was figuring out where and how we wanted to get married after we cancelled our 200-person wedding. We knew we wanted to do something small, but just how small? Who do we include this time around? We didn't know where to draw the line, so we explored a lot of different options — intimate restaurant ceremonies, Caribbean beach celebrations, backyard BBQs, and more — but ultimately decided to go as small as it gets: Just the two of us.

(Image credit: Dani Leigh Photography)

Proudest DIY:

My beautiful tulle skirt. I can't claim credit for it, but my super talented neighbor made it within a matter of weeks to be ready for the big day.

What we skipped or did without:

Guests! I love that our wedding day was just about us, and will forever be a memory that only the two of us share.

Favorite detail:

Without bridesmaids, I didn't have the usual team to help me get into my wedding dress. The job was therefore left up to Ryan. He definitely was not a pro with the tiny pearl buttons down the back of my lace top, but we laughed the entire time and I eventually was fully clothed. Not many couples get to see each other before walking down the aisle, let alone help one another get ready!

(Image credit: Dani Leigh Photography)

Favorite memory of the day:

Taking pictures all over Boston on a hot July afternoon is tough business! When the wedding day jitters finally started wearing off, we both realized we were starving. As we walked back towards our hotel through Faneuil Hall, we passed a hot dog vendor—Ryan wouldn't let me keep going until we got something to eat. So all dressed up in our wedding attire, we chowed down on street food. The best part: Our photographer Dani captured it all!

Your best advice for anyone planning a wedding:

Take the time to really think about what will make you happy as a couple, and do that! Don't worry about what anyone else will say or think. At the end of the day, if they love you, they will support your decisions.

Thanks, Caitlin and Ryan!

(Image credit: Dani Leigh Photography)

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