Jennifer + Mike
Jennifer and Mike met on a contra dance floor in the summer of 2015. Mike was on his annual trip to Columbia to see friends. Jennifer was visiting family in Missouri, the half-way point of her cross-country move to Virginia. As all good contra dancers do, they asked a stranger to dance. By the end, they had learned that both grew up in Missouri, both had graduated from Truman State University, and, most dramatically, that Mike lived in Virginia, just up the road from where Jennifer was moving. Mike enthusiastically told Jennifer about the contra dances in the region and promised to dance with her again. He also offered his phone number, “because it’s nice to know someone in a new place.” Several months of friendship later, Jennifer watched the lanky, graceful Mike dance up the Floyd contra line and into her heart. The two cheese balls have been inseparable since.
After canceling due to Covid, and coming to grips with the fact that none of our family would be able to travel to New Mexico (including my 3 sisters), the idea that we could elope and make the day entirely our own, one that reflects who we are each day with each other and sharing that with our closest friends, in the landscape we love, made all the difference. Everything felt personal, local, and customized – making my own dress (I credit quarantine boredom for that decision), dying decor and my sash with avocado pits from a friend’s farm in California, selecting a wonderfully non-wedding length reading that we just couldn’t get away from (Carl Sandburg’s Honey and Salt), foraging pomegranates, persimmons, and jujubes for the flower arrangements, creating and styling covid-safe cocktails and charcuterie, ringing the bells at the start of the ceremony, and dancing at sunset to our commissioned wedding waltz written and performed by friends. The emotional process of canceling then restarting on a smaller scale gave us permission and space to be ourselves in ways we couldn’t have anticipated. It also helped to have my sisters and mom hanging out on Zoom while I got ready; and a last-minute zoom elopement watch party for family and friends worked miraculously in our foothills location.
– Bride, Jennifer