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“We are gathered here to celebrate the union of Holly and AJ in matrimony.
I am honored and happy to be marrying y’all today, and beyond just being happy to be marrying y’all, I am specifically happy to be doing it TODAY, because I am convinced there is magic in this day.
We all know today is Holly and AJ’s NINTH anniversary. Nine years ago today, what we have come to know as Hayjay was first made official.
Many May 16ths full of magic have passed between now and then. Starting as high school sweethearts, your love has proven unstoppable against any and all odds stacked against it. Through the stresses of dishonest math tests, wrecked cars, long distances, starting a business, pet-parenting, and general adulting, y’all’s love for each other has done nothing but grow and strengthen.
Two years ago, when AJ took knee to propose to Holly, I personally had the good fortune to experience the magic of this day firsthand, to bear witness despite being very far away. Today, too, we all are farther from each other than we would like, but we must remind ourselves that this magic persists, and cherish that it has brought us together.
Today’s wedding may be ‘lil, but the love is far greater.”
This Lil wedding was such a dream come true. Both AJ and I are still in awe of it all turned out! Just like that quote from my brother you just read said, it was magic.
If you want to hear aaalll about our plans regarding the whole “Lil Wedding” + “Big Wedding”, as well as our plans for this day, I wrote about it here! But here’s a short breakdown.
May 16th (like my brother said ^) is our date and is very meaningful to us. After having to postpone for the safety of our friends and families, we were determined to still keep May 16th ours.
So we decided to have a small ceremony (elope, I suppose!), and still intend to have a “real” wedding in the future with all our loved ones and all our original plans. We deemed that the “Big Wedding”, and our May 16th ceremony the “Lil Wedding”.
With most parks and venues closed down, AJ had the idea to have our ceremony on a parking garage! It sounds weird, I know. But we could have our families up there and social distance in a responsible way. We were confident it would be secluded.
The Long Center, the beautiful spot where AJ proposed, actually has a parking garage! He chose that spot because it was where we had our first kiss, and it has a gorgeous view of the city, both of our hometowns. It made it a no brainer!
So the plan was to have my parents, my brother and his girlfriend, AJ’s parents, and AJ’s cousin Clay (also his best man!) be there. After the ceremony, we would all have dinner together at our own respected tables and watch the sunset!
Our last variable: obtaining a marriage license within the 3 day waiting period with a county clerks office that had yet to open to the public…! We tried 2 weeks in a row before we were finally able to get an appointment. It was pouring the morning that we got it, and we were in the office for maybe 5 minutes. Literally, the most stressful yet anticlimactic part of this whole thing but it was essential!
Okay, now you’re caught up! Let me tell you about the actual Lil Wedding day!
There were so many variables and many opportunities for it to not work out. First off it was like torrential downpours the night before, and we had zero back up plans. It poured the same way the night before my parents’ wedding day which feels significant I think!!
As you know, we were planning on all meeting at a parking garage…and really any public space you can’t predict how things will play out! Technically we weren’t even allowed to be there, so getting kicked out was a real possibility. And since we were up so high on the fourth level, it could have been too windy for us to stay there.
We visited the parking garage early on Saturday and discovered the third and fourth parking floors were blocked off. AND all the elevators were down. Which means we’d be carrying our tables and chairs up two flights of stairs. Not the end of the world! But still a limitation.
To be safe we asked a security guard if we could park there later and if it would still be free and he said yes and yes!
Then later that evening when we all arrived at the parking garage, we discovered the gate to the entrance was shut and locked. Either it was full, or it was closed for the night or something like that.
Luckily, AJ’s family had already made it inside. So we did a sneaky, terrible thing and had them pull into the exit far enough to make the bar lift up, and we all drove in through the exit. Maybe illegal, but worth it!!
The weather that evening was BEAUTIFUL! We had the most gorgeous sunset, and though it was breezy we were able to stay all night!
Once we lugged all our things up to the fourth floor, we set up everyone’s chairs to be safely together. We set up some tripods with our cameras and got iphone footage too!
I think if you saw us all up there, it would seem odd and probably wouldn’t make sense. But while we were in it, it was perfect. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Turbo was running around, and got very vocal a few times. When Patrick was trying to announce us as husband and wife, Turbo interrupted him like five times. He wanted to introduce us first!
After the ceremony, we took some photos and popped champagne! We had picked up food for everyone from El Chile, one of our favorite restaurants. We all ate together and watched the sun set.
Paige, one of my bridesmaids works at a wholesaler flower company and hooked it up. She picked out so many beautiful flowers for me (SO grateful for her expertise because she has such an eye for it!)
My mom, a master gardener who also has an eye for florals, arranged my bouquet. She made AJ’s boutonniere and created arrangements for each table.
My brother got ordained to officiate our original wedding plans, and seriously what a blessing that we get to be married by him not once but TWICE!
And my SIL, the talented soul she is, took our camera and took beautiful photos of us! The light was perfect. And honestly cement floors and walls mean clean, perfect colors too! Made my photographer heart happy!
My friend Alicia came through during the eleventh hour and let us borrow her tripods!! We hadn’t tested ours til the day of (typical us..) and they were very clearly not going to work. Thanks to her we got ceremony footage on our cameras and some stills too!
Sometime during our celebration, my bridesmaids secretly snuck into the garage and decorated our car. They covered it streamers and pom poms, there were rose petals all around it, and they had written Hay Jay (that’s us!), just married, 5.16.20 all over it. AJ said I cried harder at that then when we said I do, which is totally possible.
These are my same friends who were there and surprised me when AJ proposed (you can see them here!) They had these cookies made with Turbo on them that said “My mom said yes!” and I think I cried just as hard at those dang cookies.
Our champagne glasses were my grandmothers’ and my earrings were too.
Truly, the only thing I would have changed was being able to hug both our families!!
Everyone came through for us. Everyone was there, sending their support and their love, and truly it lifted us up.
I’m so grateful for how this Lil wedding played out. And I can’t wait for the Big wedding day, when we can pay all of our loved ones back with a beautiful night we can all experience together!!
Here are all the wonderful photos from our Lil Wedding Day! To start – I took our intended invitation suite, our details, and flowers from the wedding and created these flat lays. It sounds silly, but it was cathartic to give these invitations their moment, because they’ll never get sent out.
We are an Austin, Texas-based wedding photography duo committed to celebrating your Big Day by capturing every joyous, unscripted moment.