The Offbeat Bride: Hilary, Artist

Her offbeat partner: Isaac, Ceramicist

Date and location of wedding: The Montague Book Mill, Montague, MA — December 14, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Isaac and I met at an art gallery, which is appropriate since he is a ceramicist and I'm a painter. About 12 hours into our first date (we ended up staying awake for 36 hours straight) we were joking about how we should elope. The joke continued, and quickly it became less of a joke and more of a “let's do this!” Isaac surprised me by proposing in August and presenting me with a stunning 1920s-era white gold ring (it never occurred to me that when you agreed to an elopement, you could also have a proposal!). We were married in a private ceremony — just the two of us and a wonderful reverend — at an old bookstore in Western Massachusetts.




Tell us about the ceremony:
Although we went about the elopement with absolutely no following of traditions, the one thing we did do was to get ready separately and then meet at the bookstore. I walked in to see him in his beige suit with a fuchsia boutonniere, and he got to see me flounce in with this gigantic pink quinceañera dress.

We included two readings in our ceremony, both poems:
“Resignation” by Nikki Giovanni and “Sonnet XVII” by Pablo Neruda.


Our biggest challenge:
Deadlines were our biggest challenge. We actually had our first wedding license expire; we were so excited to get married that we kind of forgot to plan anything out. What got the ball rolling was meeting with the reverend who married us. She was so kind and good-natured about the fact that she was dealing with two totally disorganized artists whose second wedding license expired in three weeks. We hadn't picked a date, a location, or even a state (it was between Massachusetts and Vermont).

Rev. Hannah helped us figure out what kind of a ceremony we wanted by interviewing us about our thoughts on marriage, vows, etc. Hannah was truly a godsend, and we later joked that if she could get the two of us married in under three weeks, she could get anyone married!


My favorite moment:
Although our ceremony itself involved no friends, family, or witnesses of any sort, we managed to include as many people as we could. Right after the ceremony, we drove to a friend's house for a “reception” (she made us a wedding cake out of four cupcakes topped with two ambiguously-gendered Christmas tree elf ornaments). We then spent the next four days driving a total of 943 miles to visit family and friends and have a bunch of parties.


But the most incredibly serendipitous part of our elopement turned out to be the photographers. Our whole wedding, from license to dress to flowers, cost about $700. We couldn't afford a photographer, which we knew we'd later regret not having. Minutes after we were married, we were having coffee at the bookstore's café when we were approached by two young men who are students at the Hallmark School of Photography. They'd gone out that morning to come up with a project idea for an assignment, and saw us all dolled up and glowing. They asked if we'd mind posing for some pictures. We spent the next hour and a half being photographed by Adam and Jeremy, which was incredibly fun. They shortly thereafter sent us 41 stunning portraits. And the best part is that they did it all for free! We helped them with their project, and they ended up being our heaven-sent wedding photographers.



What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
I've witnessed a lot of my newly-engaged friends insist that they're going to elope, and then they end up with a gigantic, expensive wedding they never really wanted because they got pushed into it by family members. Both of our families were incredibly supportive of our decision to elope, which allowed us the freedom to do it all our own way. So I suppose the lesson we learned from all of this was that yes, we could get married the way we wanted.


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Comments on Hilary & Isaac’s serendipitous bookstore elopement

  1. I just loved this wedding!

    You’ve got me thinking of off the beaten places to marry. Great that the bookstore didn’t charge you. Love how the universe worked it’s magic and photographers appeared!

    You guys look incredibly happy! Best of luck!

  2. I loooooooove your dress! Mind sharing the name of the person who made it?? Thx!

    • Hey! Thank you!
      As I told OB, the dress *was* super fun, but it arrived in not great shape. My friend spent hours sewing the flowers back on (most were hanging off the dress by a few threads).
      I found the dress by googling “pink quinceanera dress.” I bought it from aliexpress (alibaba.com) a year ago, long before it blew up and became so huge. Since realizing how enormous the company is, paired with the poor quality of the sewing, I’ve realized the dress was likely made under not the best circumstances. It was for this reason that I haven’t been going out of my way to say where my wedding dress came from.
      It was, however, a great dress style for a winter wedding—with all those layers, I was super warm! 🙂

  3. After months and months of reading about wedding after wedding, mostly on this site but also in other places, I can state without hesitation or second-guessing that THIS is my favorite. The choice of dress, the choice of location, the choice of ceremony and reverend and photographer and just… EVERYTHING about this calls to me. No, actually, it screams at me from the center of its essence. (too dramatic?) Thank you for sharing your delightful, marvelous, wonder-filled celebration with the rest of us. You are an inspiration.

    • Thank you, Suzanne!
      Wow, what a huge compliment. We’re honored!
      And yeah; we thought our day was pretty neat, too. 🙂

  4. Wonderful wedding with what sounds like an amazing minister/wedding planner. Such a blessing “happen” to meet the photography students! A little miracle if you ask me.

    • Thank you! It was such a pleasure working with Hilary and Isaac…one of my all-time favorite couples and most memorable wedding ceremonies. I would definitely agree that it felt like many little miracles. What a great way to start a marriage, huh?!

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