An Innsbruck Elopement That Almost Didn’t Happen

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Lauren & Jeremy faced so many challenges during the process of planning their wedding, even up to the day of the elopement itself. But no matter what obstacles were put in their way, they kept on smiling and on the day of their elopement in Innsbruck, they just went with the flow, happy that despite all this day had finally arrived.

I couldn’t possibly tell the whole story as well as them, so I’ll let Lauren & Jeremy tell you the whole story about everything leading up to their Innsbruck elopement. And I’m sure by the end you’ll agree with me that this epic saga should definitely be a Christmas rom-com movie…

How did you get engaged?

It was the middle of the 2020 lockdown, and we had missed a lot of celebrations due to Covid… I defended my masters and started a PhD, we started an endowment fund with our friends, Jeremy was promoted to a new role, we had an anniversary and both of our birthdays, etc. It has been a particularly big year for us! Jeremy is the kind of guy that really puts a lot into appreciating and celebrating these kinds of things, which is one of the many reasons I love the crap out of him. To remedy this, he hired us an incredible private chef to make 10 mini dinners and a bunch of tiny desserts in a blowout celebration of the things that we had missed without ever leaving the house. At the end of the dinner, our 3 dogs had little bandanas on asking me to marry him!

Any funny stories leading up to your wedding day?

  1. We had a big wedding planned that I (Lauren) was hesitant about to begin with. I am not someone who likes being the center of attention, so the big wedding didn’t fit me quite right. About 2 weeks after we finished paying for the entire thing, the venue filed for bankruptcy and took our entire wedding budget with it. While this was awful, I ended up getting an elopement that was far more “me” and loved my wedding more than I would have in the first place.
  2. Right after getting vaccinated (March 2021), we were feeling really hopeful about there being an actual end to the pandemic and the lockdowns. This is when we contacted Cat about an elopement. We got really excited and planned a big crazy trip. As we all know now, the pandemic is still far from over. The closer the trip got, the more and more concerned we got about whether or not we should go.
  3. About a month before leaving for our elopement trip, Jeremy was diagnosed with cancer. There were several weeks where we weren’t sure what was in store for us. He ended up having a surgery exactly 2 weeks before our trip. We thought we were going to end up cancelling the trip, but Jeremy’s surgical oncologist made sure he would have enough time to recover and pushed us to still go. We got the news that the surgery was a complete success, and he would not need radiation or chemo when we got back. We are waiting on a PET scan in a couple of months to confirm that that horrible chapter of our life is behind us. However, it is looking like we got incredibly lucky in that the surgery was all he needed to take care of it.
  4. A couple weeks later, Jeremy was healed up enough to go and we were getting preemptive Covid test (we thought was) required to travel. We signed up for a 24hour test, but there was some mistake that landed us in the 72 hour turn around. We were already 2 flights into our 4 flight journey to Hungary when we found out we may not be able to get into Hungary because of that error. Luckily, the Hungarian testing mandate started 2 days after we arrived (the US webpage was wrong…phew).
  5. The airline lost our bags with my wedding dress and Jeremy’s suit in them… It took about 3 days to arrive, so we were living out of our carry-ons for a couple of days
  6. Austria announced a Monday lockdown the day after we arrived in Hungary (Friday). Our elopement was scheduled for Tuesday, and we still didn’t have our bags. Our bags arrived Saturday, and we hopped on a train for Innsbruck to sneak our elopement in on Sunday and took the last train out to Switzerland. That train was delayed for several hours, and we ended up getting out of Austria literally 2 MINUTES before the lockdown.
  7. The original Tuesday we were supposed to get married rained! So in the most roundabout way, we got lucky…

How did you decide on your location?

Cat sold us on it. We wanted the Alps, we weren’t too picky on specifics. We trusted her to pick somewhere gorgeous, and SHE DELIVERED.

What were the biggest challenges you faced in planning your elopement?

Jeremy’s cancer and COVID made everything uncertain and scary.

What is your favorite moment/memory from the day?

We both really enjoyed the moments we actually stopped to appreciate the beauty of the landscape. We were both really awkward in front of the camera, so we got a bit swept up in the process. I (Lauren) especially remember sitting against a rock when we were about done drinking some tea to warm up and looking over the lake. It was so unbelievably beautiful.
Jeremy’s favorite moment was at the Christmas market in Innsbruck. We were standing up on the platform overlooking the huge, lit up Christmas tree drinking mulled wine while the brass band played. He has always loved Christmas, and he was completely in love with the whole market.

Is there anything you are really glad you did? Or didn’t you do?

I am glad we left it all up to Cat! She picked the most incredible spot and made sure we had enough snacks and warm clothes. She made it completely stress-free so we could focus on the magic of it all! Packing spikes for the hike down was especially thoughtful. I would highly recommend leaving it up to an expert like her.

What advice would you give to other couples planning their wedding?

Don’t get lost in other peoples’ expectations of what the day should be. I am secretly (not so secretly) glad that our big wedding didn’t pan out, because I couldn’t imagine anything more perfect than our elopement. (I do wish we wouldn’t have paid for it, but you can’t win em all)

What was your favorite thing about working with Cat?

Everything. She curated every second to be perfect. She picked multiple locations that would work for us. She had plans A, B, and C lined up depending on the weather. She was able to call us immediately when Austria was locking down with some options for us to work through. She made a last-minute panic decision into one of the best days of our lives. She and her husband took care of us every step of the way. When the hotel was closing for lockdown, they helped us take care of our bags. She packed snacks, hot drinks, extra warm clothes, and boot spikes to make the day as comfortable as possible.

Ready to start planning your own elopement?

Contact me today or click on one of the articles below to learn more about an adventure elopement in Austria

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