Dan, Lena and I met via Skype and spent a good portion of the conversation talking about food and Dan's highly decorated collection of sneakers. While their lives are running 100mph in two different directions, they decided to take the time to cherish and celebrate the most important thing to them: their love for each other. They decided they wanted to fly to Ireland, just the two of them, and share their love in a private ceremony. While it technically wasn't an elopement (their ceremony will be next year at home), it couldn't quite be called an engagement either. We settled on the term "engagelopement". :) They asked me to join them and my heart exploded. It's always an honor to capture someone's love story, but to be a witness to such a private event that's so emotional and full of love leaves me speechless.
And so the story began...
"Dan and I met in a serendipitous way while I was on a research trip in Iowa City, where I used to live, and he had just recently moved to from the East Coast. I lived in Illinois and we spent the next year taking turns visiting each other in our respective states, falling in love and starting to plan our future together. Dan took a leap of faith and moved to Champaign, found a new job (although outside his previous expertise), and supported me emotionally and with many delicious meals as I worked full time while completing my PhD part time. Our schedules were completely opposite, I worked traditional hours and studied at night and on the weekends; he worked nights and weekends, and we rarely got to see each other outside of this constant motion of our lives.
I spent the winter in Australia teaching a study abroad, and when I returned we were booked down to the minute with faculty job interviews, getting a new job, traveling to search for a new home, Dan searching for a new job, trying to get our current home ready to rent out, and starting to plan our goodbyes with friends. Somewhere in there we got engaged on a quiet Monday night at home, and were over the moon to be embarking on our new adventures together. This whirlwind was happening while I was finishing my research data collection, writing my dissertation, and preparing for an international conference in Northern Ireland, and Dan was in his busiest season at the restaurant and regularly working double shifts. We hadn't formally celebrated our engagement, nor had any time to relax and soak in our happiness -- all of our life changes were occurring simultaneously and quickly.
Our "engagelopement" in Ireland was a way for us to step back, take a deep breath, and really savor our commitment to each other, and the new path we have chosen to embark on together. Since we will live in a new city when the wedding happens, all of our friends and family will be traveling from out of state and therefore our wedding will be more of a family reunion and introduction to our new lives. We wanted something quiet and romantic for just the two of us, and instead of waiting for a honeymoon, we decided that sharing some special words on another continent would be a wonderful way to celebrate our journey so far and the adventures to come. We both wear rings as part of our engagement, and Dan was sneaky in surprising me with my ring when we became engaged (he led me to believe we would "pick it out together"), so I surprised him with a watch during the photo session, and bought myself one to match. The inscription on both watches reads "The Universe is Always on Time." We were both supposed to be in completely different places the night we met, and ended up at the same place at the same time due to a series of what we each thought were unfortunate events throughout the night. Then, as our relationship developed across state lines, we found many more serendipitous moments that shaped our paths to be together, and similar moments have kept happening over the years. We always joke that the Universe has had a plan, and all we have to do is show up, even if we think we are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
So, after this long-winded description, in short... the Ireland engagelopement was our chance to be alone, away from the whirlwind of this extremely busy time in our lives, and mark this as a significant moment in our journey together. We said "yes" when we became engaged, and we plan to say "yes" to the adventures that lay ahead." Love, Dan & Lena
If you've thought about eloping or traveling with your favorite person to your favorite place, do it. It's the most incredible and epic event. The private moment that just you two get to share is so precious and momentous - I highly recommend it and so does everyone who has ever done it. :) Let's talk more and plan your adventure.