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Destination I Do
Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Hot Air Balloon Real Elopement

Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Wells Photography

Tevin and Amanda’s original plan for their nuptials was to say “I do” on an island with family to witness. However, when this dynamic duo discovered that island weddings were actually quite traditional, they looked to the sky instead.



“We decided to entertain the hot air balloon idea for the mere fact that it was not a popular route for elopements and without a doubt would be a super memorable experience,” Tevin says.

The couple then inquired with Rainbow Ryders in the popular hot air balloon destination of Albuquerque, New Mexico– somewhere the Connecticut couple vacationed before.

“We had traveled to New Mexico for the International Balloon Fiesta and fell in love with the area. Breaking Bad was also a favorite show of ours so we toured a couple of the sets where the show was filmed,” the couple says.

A year after their memorable vacation, the pair returned to New Mexico and Tevin proposed at the White Sands National Monument. Needless to say, this area drew Tevin and Amanda in and intrigued them to say “I do” in the desert. But a certain global pandemic made their planning process extra difficult.

“Due to COVID, it was hard finding vendors at first, but a lot of couples were canceling or postponing their weddings with our preferred vendors, in turn, leaving them with the availability to accommodate us,” the groom says.

Unfortunately, while COVID opened up their vendor’s availability, it closed the door on the chance of having guests at their wedding.

“Family and friends were skeptical of COVID so we made the decision to elope with just one witness, our best friend, Eric Thepsiri, to limit exposure of family and friends to COVID during its peak,” Tevin says.

The couple and their bestie stayed at the luxurious and artful Hotel Chaco located in the Historic Old Town and new urban Sawmill districts. Beyond its closeness to Old Town Albuquerque, the views and accommodations of the property made for an extra special wedding weekend experience.

And, the views only got better when the time finally came around for the couple to start their forever together high above solid ground.

“That hot air balloon, southwest United States vibe and scenery made way for a very intimate and special wedding. Views like that we can’t get in New England where we are from,” the couple says. “While Connecticut has its own unique beauty, the Land of Enchantment  definitely spoke to our souls in a different light.”

















Vendors: Photography: Elizabeth Wells Photography; Hot Air Balloon: Rainbow Ryders; Reception Venue/Cake: Farm & Table; Florist: Floral Fetish; Makeup: Alanna Garcia; Hair: Katelyn Hodges; Gown Designer: Mariella Creations; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Oscar’s Tux; Post-Balloon Photo Location: White Sands National Monument

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