When Crystal and Dallas found themselves stuck after six months of trying to plan a big wedding, they opted to do things a little differently: they held a pre-elopement party in their hometown of Oklahoma City, then tied the knot a few weeks later in an intimate ceremony by a waterfall in Oregon. Magnolia Adams was at the food truck party to capture it in photos, and bride Crystal did a wonderful job of explaining their decision to buck tradition and get married in a way that was authentic to her and her new hubby. If you’re considering a non-traditional wedding route, then you’re bound to be inspired!
“It took us almost six months of wedding planning paralysis to make the decision to have a celebration before having a small destination wedding.” says Crystal. “We both have large families (our guest list was over 150 before adding any friends) and planning a large wedding was not working for us. We had to make the decision either for our friends and families or be true to ourselves. This party was the perfect way to have all of our favorite people wish us on our marry way.”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Our inspiration was in not following what everyone else was doing or how everyone thinks a wedding is supposed to play out. We aren’t very traditional and had decided on eloping with just a few friends and family members in attendance. We also have large families and a lot of friends we didn’t want to miss celebrating with. Instead of flying back to Oklahoma City for multiple parties, we decided to plan one big get together. We held it before the wedding, so lots of people were calling it an Engagement Party, but to us it was more of a Pre-Elopement Celebration which also stood in place of a reception, as we didn’t plan on having one after the ceremony. Sounds kind of confusing, but it was everything we wanted and more. The best part was it was totally and completely us without having to stick to the set of tradition wedding rules.
How would you describe your party? Fun, non-traditional and laid back.
Why did you choose this location for your party? Our first thought was we wanted a cool rooftop venue somewhere near downtown OKC or Automobile Alley. We knew we didn’t want to do traditional catering – food trucks are a little more our style, which led us to Bleu Garten. What better place to have food trucks than at a food truck park?! It was also really nice that the venue already had tables, chairs and a full bar with bartenders.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? I prefer live flowers and plants as opposed to cut, and a friend of the family who owns a nursery and landscaping business offered to help us out with the flowers. It was actually a lot of fun! Dallas, my mom, and I picked out all the flowers and herbs and potted most of them ourselves. My in-laws did a lot as well: making banners, getting the hanging plants hung and a lot of the cute details that made the party come together. My now sister-in-law did my hair and my cousin did my make-up. It made the day feel really personal and I enjoyed spending time with them before the party.
Did you have a signature cocktail? Not exactly, but Dallas did request a Sour (a certain style of beer) and Bleu Garten was so accommodating. They spoke with Anthem, a local brewery, and they supplied us with their first keg of a new sour they brewed. It was very exciting for both of us!
What was your menu? We had two food trucks serve at our party. The Loaded Bowl which is the best vegan food truck ever especially their vegan mac ‘n’ cheese and The Saucee Sicilian which serves delicious wood-fired oven pizza. Green Goodies made us wonderful cupcakes for dessert. They make such amazing flavors it was hard to narrow it down so we had 5 different flavors: Blueberry White Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Coconut Cream Cheese, Classic Chocolate and Hazelnut Truffle.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Pick the traditions that mean something to you as a couple and leave the rest behind.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? If eloping sounds right for you just do it and find your own unique way to celebrate with friends and family. I’m so happy we were true to ourselves and didn’t just do what we were “supposed” to do.
An instant camera made for an extra fun guest book!
What was your favorite moment or part of your party? My favorite part of the party was having so many people we love and enjoy in one spot at the same time. I honestly believe we are both shaped tremendously by the people we spend our lives with and so it was wonderful to celebrate with all of them.
If you had to do it over again, is there anything you would do differently? Not a thing! It was the perfect send off before our ceremony in Oregon.
From Crystal: We were trying to plan the big wedding with our 150+ family members and who knows how many friends. It just wasn’t working. We spent about 6 months in planning paralysis. Every time we would sit down to find a location for the ceremony, we could only come up with places that worked for a small group. We would cross it off the list and go back to the drawing board. We were also having a hard time validating the cost of a big wedding. My dad is a generous man and decided I would be stricter on the budget then he ever would be, so we didn’t even have to have that conversation. For us that wasn’t what it was all about. It was about us. The longer we waited the more we knew we didn’t need the big wedding. We just wanted something small and intimate that felt like us. We love the outdoors. We love to go on adventures. So many brides I talk to say how much of a whirlwind their wedding day (and whole wedding weekend) was, and we wanted to remember every moment. Be able to take our time. No rushing from here to there or from person to person. Just being present and enjoying every moment.
Part of the reason we decided to have the party before the wedding instead of after is because I knew there was going to be a lot more involved in the planning the party than in planning the ceremony, and I didn’t want to worry about it at the wedding. It was nice to have already celebrated with everyone and have them wish us on our way. Once the party was over, all we had to focus on was the wedding, and it was a relief knowing that.
The most important part of our elopement was for it to be about Dallas and me, and our commitment to each other and the love that has grown over the past 4 years. We wanted to be true to ourselves and true to each other. Keeping it minimal and about spending time together with our closest friends and family. Basically just having a really good time and adventure in Oregon!
Weddings come with a lot of traditions. They are different for different cultures but I have heard so many over the years and was wondering which ones actually made sense to incorporate and meant something to us. We didn’t need a unity candle or sand; we had a big waterfall in the background merging into the pool below. We didn’t need something old, new, borrowed or blue. But a tradition that did mean a lot to me was having my father walk me down the aisle, even if it wasn’t a traditional aisle. We walked across a bridge and along a trail, through our friends and family members gathered around, to meet my groom. It was absolutely lovely and perfectly us!