The stars aligned when Chelsea and Drew's paths crossed in college in a tiny Michigan town. They have since moved across the country together, followed by an engagement in September 2019. And like many other couples, they had a lot of conventional ideas about what a wedding should look like.
However, in June 2020, with most of their wedding planned and COVID-19 lockdowns persisting throughout the country, they had to start looking into alternatives. On a summer internship in Northern California, Chelsea had visited Tahoe and fell in love with the place. "If we were to throw away every idea of what we thought a wedding should be, Tahoe was the first (and only) place that came to mind," she gushed. "A couple of glasses of wine at our side and a quick Google search brought us to our amazing photographer Ruthanne Z's website. Between her story, the incredible photographs she can capture, and the overwhelming amount of love she has for what she does, we knew we had to reach out." And they knew they made the right decision when a couple of days later, they were warmed by Ruthanne's grace and compassion for their situation. She reassured them they would not have to plan another wedding. So they canceled their 150 person Michigan wedding and booked plane tickets out west for October 2020. "The COVID pandemic is devastating, but if we were to find a silver lining in any of it, it's that it gave us the freedom to choose a wedding that was authentically us."
Chelsea admits that in the chaos of planning a wedding for 150 people, they lost themselves in the choices they made to accommodate other peoples' wants, needs, and opinions. "Letting go of that and taking a leap of faith to elope with just our closest loved ones in one of the most beautiful places was the push we needed to take our wedding back for ourselves."
Want to see what elopement dreams are made of? Look no further than the gallery below!