There’s something irresistibly romantic and personal about running away to elope with just you and your sweetie. Couple, Alex and Kane’s elopement was perfectly executed. Friends and family thought the couple went on a weekend vacation, but they exchanged their intimate vows at the beautiful Chapel Dulcinea in Austin, and unplugged from calls and texts until they made the big announcement four days later. Now that’s how you do it!
Photography by J Masciana Photography.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning an elopement? Do what feel right for you as a couple. There is a lot of pressure, and even some guilt at times when you are planning a private elopement. Don’t ever feel guilty; the people that love you, and have watched your relationship blossom will support you and your happiness. Hurt feelings will fade, love won’t. I am not a wedding professional by any means, but as a cake designer, I’ve witnessed my fair share of weddings. Keep your spouse at the root of every planning decision you make, and you won’t regret anything.
What were some meaningful touches you incorporated in your day? I have a photo of my great grandparents on their 25th wedding anniversary. They are holding hands, smiling, and look just as in love as they had when they had married 25 years earlier. I kept that photo with me for the whole trip. To have a marriage like theirs would be my greatest accomplishment in life.
What inspired you when you were planning your elopement? The chapel has such a sweet, romantic, and “southwestern” feel to it, without being gimmicky. I wanted to use the landscape as both the backdrop, and as inspiration. It is overlooking the rolling hills outside of Austin, and the scenery and foliage inspired the colors, as well as the succulents that we used.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? Kane didn’t see me in my dress until the day of the wedding. I don’t necessarily think it’s bad luck, but we wanted to do a “first look”.
Is anything else that helps tell the story of your elopement? I don’t like to force things; I feel like things will happen the way they were meant to. I researched a few vendors that I really liked, the ones that got back to me, and were interested in elopements, were the ones we picked. The most important aspect to us was photography. We wanted them to be sweet and timeless, something that will hang on our walls in 50 years and still be beautiful. Juliane’s photography spoke to me, and we actually planned our entire date around her availability, and the timing of the sunset lighting. The venue was booked after our photographer, then the officiant, and the flowers. It took us two weeks!
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your elopement. One of the wonderful ladies at the flower shop that created our bouquet and boutonniere, clipped some succulents from her own personal garden and incorporated them into my bouquet. It touched my heart to think that a complete stranger added such heartfelt touch to our day. I replanted those same succulents at our home! Every time I walk by them, I am reminded by the amount of love we experienced that day.
“We got engaged and started tossing around the idea of flying somewhere over the weekend, quietly getting married, and then coming back to the real world. I happened to Google ‘unique places to get married in the U.S., and there was Chapel Dulcinea, the very first search result, and only a few hours away! We booked it that same week. It was everything we wanted—affordable, scenic, and we were paying homage to us meeting in Texas, with a very Texas venue.”
Your ceremony in three words. Heartfelt, sincere, emotional
How did you go about planning your ceremony? I left a lot of the flow to the officiant’s discretion. We knew we wanted to do a mix of both traditional and personal vows, as well as a short, meaningful reading. Our goal was to keep the ceremony brief, but intimate. We went over the ceremony verbiage over the phone, since we were traveling to the ceremony site. Our officiant did an exquisite job of designing the ceremony around what was most important to us, which was the sentiment, and the ability to convey our personal writings.
Who officiated your ceremony? David Tropea, of Short and Sweet Ceremonies. I believe that the officiant makes or breaks the ceremony. They set the tone, and ultimately do more talking than the bride and groom in most ceremonies. I wanted the person that united us to set a warm, inviting tone for both that day, and our marriage. David was the perfect person for the task! He was so kind, and I felt like he understood the love between us. We weren’t just numbers to him.
What were your ceremony readings? A reading from “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo.
What were your vows like? We did a mixture of both our own written vows, and traditional nondenominational marriage vows. We went to separate rooms of our home, and wrote our vows to each other. We had no idea what the other was writing and in the end, they were very similar in length and substance! Our personal vows were essentially love letters. I tear up just think about the words he said to me that day. I could see the emotion in both our officiant’s and photographer’s faces, as well. I don’t think there was a dry eye!
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? The serenity of the environment; it was everything I had hoped for. I had the time to actually look in his eyes and see all his emotions and thoughts. It was so quiet and peaceful, that I felt like I was able to really soak in each word and memory. They say that your wedding day flies by so quickly that you will often forget bits and pieces, and I made a conscious effort to not let anything slip away.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? There was a short walk up the hill to the chapel; more than anything, I remember walking with him, hand in hand, and how vividly I felt that this was the best decision I had ever made.
How would you describe your elopement? Joyful. In a lot of the photos, we are laughing, and those are very genuine!
Why did you decide to elope? We are such a private couple. The thought of standing in front of a large group of people, and pouring out our deepest emotions just didn’t feel right for us. We wanted our ceremony to be a reflection of our path together, and it just made sense for it to be simple. Just us, standing in a little white chapel on the edge of a cliff was the best way to start our new chapter.
Did you use any special planning tools to help you choose venues and vendors? Since we planned from a distance, online reviews were really my best friend. I did a lot of research on each vendor, and we both felt we got exactly what we wanted! Every person that had a hand in our elopement made it very special.
“We didn’t tell anyone that we had gotten married until the following Monday. For nearly four days, we were able to soak it all in. No phone calls, texts, no updating of our relationship status on Facebook. To everyone else in the world, we were just on a mini vacation. It was absolutely wonderful!”
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? I made our tiny cake! It was kind of a pain to transport it, since we had a four hour drive the day before, but it was worth it. I had thought about just ordering one from a local bakery, but in the end, I thought about how special it would be to bake our very own wedding cake. We also have one waiting in our freezer for our anniversary, which is something we wouldn’t have been able to do if we had ordered one. Kane and I made the cake stand, as well.
Did you have a dinner reception? We went to a restaurant in downtown Austin, something completely new to both of us. Both the food and the ambiance were the perfect end to the day.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? At the chapel, we had homemade coconut cake. At the restaurant, the staff made us a celebratory creme brulé!
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? The look on Kane’s face when we were pronounced husband and wife. It looked like Christmas morning.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Not one thing.
Alex and Kane kindly shared their elopement budget with us, including their travel expenses. Says Alex, “Set a comfortable dollar limit for yourselves, and splurge on the things that are the most important to you. Our photography was extremely reasonable, but we would have spent triple, as that is what was most important to us.”
Chapel rental: $200 (which is refundable, but we donated a portion to the Academy)
Dress and shoes $230
Grooms attire and shoes: $150
Bouquet and Boutonniere : $165
Cake and stand $20
Hotel and travel: $700
Total Cost: $2165