Shay + Tony’s Elopement Wedding

  • By Jen Hart
  • Backless Wedding Dresses, Bohemian Wedding Dresses, Elopement
  • comments 0

Shay and Tony’s Elopement Wedding At The Top Of The World


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love at first sight exists and life can be very, very good indeed

Looking at pics of Shay and Tony on their wedding day, gazing out over a sea of green and rolling hills, with the cotton wool clouds in the distance almost in line with where they’re standing…I can hardly believe this doesn’t come from a magazine photo-shoot. The fairytale doesn’t end with the mountain top wedding venue they picked, it’s full of crazy romance that goes to prove, love at first sight exists and life can be very, very good indeed.

The couple met because of a coworker of Shay’s, Travis. Their circle of friends was mostly female, since they’re all elementary school teachers. Shay wanted to help find some buddies for her friend and chose to do it in a rather odd way, through Tinder! Tony’s profile listed him as an elementary school teacher who was new to their area and since Shay’s friend group was visiting the state fair that weekend, she asked if he’d be interested in joining, for Travis’s sake, of course. Tony was keen on meeting new people and happy to oblige. His condition though, was that he and Shay first meet in person, the next day, at a coffee shop.

With the suspicious smell of a ‘date’ in the air, Shay was about ready to back out last minute but her friends managed to convince her otherwise and thank goodness for that! The first thing Shay remembers thinking on seeing Tony waiting for her at the coffee shop was, “oh my gosh, I’m in SO much trouble.

Shay had the distinct feeling she’d just experienced LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

A cup of coffee turned into two and the hours seemed just to slip away with Shay feeling as if she’d been reunited with a long lost best friend. They discovered a wealth of parallels between them, in their pasts and their future plans and when they finally parted at day’s end, Shay had the distinct feeling she’d just experienced LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. From there on out, the pair was inseparable.

Interestingly, Shay said yes to the boho dress even before an official proposal had happened. The summer after they met, the couple was traveling in Ecuador and it was then that Tony shared the fact that he did, indeed, plan to marry Shay and since that was her hope too, she decided she might as well be prepared. She’s spotted a laid back wedding dress on Pinterest and began scouring the net for its like; it didn’t occur to her to follow the pinned link, hehe; but when nothing came up after a couple of weeks searching, she finally clicked it and wham!

Shay describes her Dreamers & Lovers experience as one of the most ‘no-fuss’ processes she’s ever been a part of

After that it was smooth sailing and Shay describes her Dreamers & Lovers experience as one of the most ‘no-fuss’ processes she’s ever been a part of. First she ordered a sample dress to try on and after that, she picked her own colors for the lace and underlay, got her measurements taken and ordered her custom boho wedding gown. When the final product arrived, she let it stay in its packaging for weeks without peeking because she wanted to try it on for the first time when her mother and best friend were with her in Charlotte, over the holidays.

Then, when the couple was driving to Charlotte, Shay mused that she was disappointed to not be having one of those Hollywood ‘yes to the dress’ moments. So, unbeknownst to her, the afternoon of the reveal, Tony orchestrated a distraction to get her out of the family home for a few hours. While she was out, he gave her childhood bedroom a dress shop makeover, with white sheets, a tri-fold mirror and a mimosa bar! I’m sorry but…what, whaaat, whaaaaattt???!!! Needless to say, the family support and the unearthly romantic whim displayed by her soon-to-be, made for an absolutely unforgettable day. We think you made the right decision with this one, Shay.

The official proposal happened when Tony took her out on a special date night, first to the coffee shop where they met, then to their favorite restaurant and then to the first brewery they’d visited together (since they’re both craft beer mad). Everywhere they went, Shay was sure he’d propose but when they kept ordering the check with no ring, She started to think she’s been mistaken. At last, they visited their favorite ice-cream parlor to order a take-home pint and then headed home to relax after a long work week.

Shay was putting a record on in the living room when she heard Tony groan, “oh man!” She called to find out what was amiss and he told her there was something wrong with the ice cream. She was quite incredulous, since their favorite parlor is the bizznizz and their snow, absolutely flawless.

That’s when he cried, “Really, there’s something in it!” Shay was a wreck, not only was she not going to be proposed to tonight…her favorite treat was now ruined. She ventured to the kitchen to investigate and when he handed her the tub to open, there it was! She looked up to find him down on one knee, making a speech about Love which she can’t remember since she was so consumed with love and joy that she couldn’t pay attention. Even though she’s not a girl that squeals, she squealed then…and the answer was YES! Once Tony had licked the ice-cream off the ring and they’d both had a proper laugh, it was time for more scrumptious ice-cream!

Rings were a very special aspect of this couple’s wedding and even though they chose to elope, the rings were a way for them to pay tribute to their families. Shay’s engagement ring is a solitaire containing the diamond from her parents’ engagement ring, which they gave to him when he asked for their blessing. Shay’s wedding band contains diamonds from Tony’s grandmother, symbolic of September, the month when they met, while paying homage to his Gran. Tony designed Shay’s wedding band, taking inspiration from the band Shay’s parents had had designed for them, which wraps the solitaire to resemble petals. For the couple, seeing those truly precious stones was incredibly poignant, as was knowing that they’d always carry their families with them.

During college, Shay had discovered a special hiking spot, overlooking the hills, where she’d done plenty soul searching. A few weeks after meeting, with the leaves in peak season, they took a day trip from Ashville up the parkway. They packed a picnic and made their way to the breathtaking spot, realizing they’d never enjoyed adventuring with any one else quite as much. They made many memories there, visiting it on weekends, but the biggest memory of all was when they had their ceremony there.

The only people in attendance were the maid and man of honor (cum officiant), Elle and Joe, as well as their photographer. They kept their elopement secret, everyone thought they were marrying in September but that was in fact to be their reception only, to which everyone dear to them (about 75 people) had been invited.

Shay’s ‘bachelorette’ party consisted of her MOH and her running around their college town in the misty rain, collecting wildflowers for their bouquets and the boys’ boutonnieres. They even did a few park, jump and run moves, thieving blooms from their old campus gardens and scouring the fields and parks all night, reminiscing about old times and contemplating the future. They ended up using Queen Anne’s Lace, fern leaves and some little, red, bell shaped flowers they’d found on their way up the Blue Ridge Parkway to reach their cabin.

The boys’ ‘bachelor’s’ was a similar mission, hiking the trail to the wedding site to open up foliage on route between the clearing where Shay and her Elle would be getting changed (so awesome!) and the ‘top of the world’ rock face where they’d have the first look and ceremony. While the boys were up there preparing, a huge cloud had rolled in and completely enveloped them. Indeed, Shay had been on her toes all week with thunderstorm warnings for the area but they were in luck when shortly afterwards, at sunrise, they got married overlooking a million hills with no rain, yet!

Picture this…they hiked up before dawn, the girls changing into their dresses in the dew-damp forest and carefully removing the bandanas that had covered their hair just before it was time. Up on the rock face the best friends shared an intimate and touching ceremony, telling tales of both their friendships between them and the new love that was being officiated.

Shay, we are going to get VERY old together, and I vow to let you grow and change as we do. Our lives will change and so will we.

The couple wrote their own vows to one another, affirming each other and making some quirky promises in the process, such as not stealing the sheets, for example. Shay’s favorite line from his letter was “Shay, we are going to get VERY old together, and I vow to let you grow and change as we do. Our lives will change and so will we.” Tony’s favorite from her’s was: “I love how we explore and learn and play… the way you hold my hand when we fall asleep. And I love all your amazing dance moves. You have brought so much laughter and fun and light into my life.”

After taking the pictures that still catch their breath when they look through them, the crew drank champagne and took in the incredible view. Lucky for them, the promised rains only came once they’d reached the clearing and changed back into their hiking clothes. Shay was delighted to not have to get her D&L dress wet!

Time for their reception came a few months later and they were thrilled to have the opportunity to share that experience with family and friends but also felt really affirmed in their decision to have an intimate elopement at their favorite place in the world rather than a crowded ceremony…it had been a sacred joining between just them.

For the reception, Shay’s MOH (a professional baker) created a spectacular cake as one of her gifts to them. It was almond vanilla with a delicious buttercream frosting. There were three tiers and encircling each tier were sprigs of rosemary. Rosemary s a special herb for the couple and something they used a lot at their reception, it was on their invites and in a delicious lemonade drink they served their happy guests. The top tier of the cake was crowned with a bulb of Queen Anne’s Lace which, being Shay’s favorite flower, was present at both the wedding and the reception.

All I can say is, wow. That is an untraditional bohemian wedding story for the books! For the future…since the couple discovered their shared dream to teach internationally on their very first date, they’re in the process of applying for teaching jobs abroad. They plan to travel for 5 years and then settle in the states to raise a family. We couldn’t be happier for this beautiful couple and we’ve no doubt at all that their every dream is bound to come true.

The Catherine Dress can also be seen on more brides here and here

Photos by MorningWild Photography here at