The partners: Karli & Michelle

Date and location of wedding: Upper Bidwell Park Canyon, Chico, CA — November 9, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: On November 9th, 2013, the love of my life and I took our dog and our eight closest friends and eloped. Our wedding day consisted of flowers from the Farmer's Market, visits to the most meaningful places of our relationship, a sunset-backed ceremony on the edge of a rugged canyon, and several Miley Cyrus sing-a-longs.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
One of our dearest friends was our officiant. She had never done a wedding before but I knew she would be perfect for it. Literally, within 10 minutes of asking her if she would do it over email, in the middle of her work day, she'd certified herself online and was pumped! Everything she said during the ceremony was beautiful and was the perfect complement to our vows to one another. My favorite moment during her opening was when she said, “Without expectation, there's no doubt, and without doubt, there's no fear. And the choice to make this day about exactly what you both wanted it to be about means that both of you have the fearless ability to make one of the most difficult things in life possible — and that's a marriage.”

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Our biggest challenge:
The decision to elope was not one we came to easily. Furthermore, deciding that we DID want a select few people to run away with us was even more challenging. We both love our families, but at that particular time there were a lot of complications that would have given us both a lot of heartache and stress, and, of course, cost us money, had we decided to go ahead and have a traditional wedding. We knew we couldn't do it all by ourselves, but we couldn't invite everyone.

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We selected our eight closest friends who we knew would be 100% on board, no questions asked. We told our parents and siblings beforehand what we had planned. Most people were thrilled that we had decided to get married. Everyone was disappointed that they couldn't be there and a few people were very hurt and upset. Ultimately, everyone ended up being supportive and did understand why we made the choice to do something different. Some people took a little longer to work through their disappointment, and while it pained us to see people we love deeply be so injured by our decision, it was most important to us that we stayed true to ourselves.

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My favorite moment:
We had really given our friends who were helping free rein when it came to the look and feel of the ceremony. Our friends got up early in the morning to get flowers from the Farmers Market, they brought champagne, they sprinkled the canyon cliffside with petals, and Michelle and I didn't plan a THING outside of our outfits, the date, place, and time. It was truly wonderful how perfectly it all came together. We didn't even know if there would be people at that particular lookout spot that day!

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It turned out to be the most beautiful weather, with a stunning sunset, and was one of the most freeing moments of our lives. Our favorite part was when my best friend surprised us before the ceremony with an impromptu trip to all of the places in Chico that were significant to the beginnings of our relationship. We got to relive the beginning of our own story with our best friends along for the ride. It was so much fun to revisit and tell the story that way as we prepared to take the giant leap into our future together.

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My funniest moment:
My left ring finger is injured, so it doesn't extend. Because of this, we had to find a slightly larger ring to fit over my permanently bent knuckle. Even then, it doesn't exactly slide on comfortably. So, when it was time for Michelle to put the ring on my finger, she whispered to me, “Do you want me to get it wet?” and stuck my finger all the way in her mouth so that the ring would slide on more easily. Nobody else could hear what she'd whispered (which was both disturbing and hilarious). Everyone just saw her stick my finger in her mouth before putting the ring on. It was awesome.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Comments on Karli & Michelle’s canyon-top autumn elopement

    • Thank you!! Melanie is an incredible photographer and I hope she gets invited to shoot more moments like this in the future!

  1. Matchy Vans FTW!! You guys are super cute together! What a wonderful way to share your wedding day with friends. And PUPPY!!

  2. Wow, what a beautiful wedding. It’s amazing to see what a personal and unique experience can be brought out of a negative and stressful one. Cheers!!

  3. Gorgeous wedding and couple!! I was looking for someplace to elope in Chico and this one tops it! I know it’s been so long since the post but I hope you can answer my question. How were you able to elope at this location? Did you have a permit? Anyone I need to call for more info? Thank you in advance(:

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