Eloping in Big Bend National Park


June 20, 2021
Words by Kristi Blane
Photos courtesy of Anna Claire Beasley Photography

From time to time we get Q&As back from a couple and just adore their style of writing and storytelling so much that we like to just leave the story “as is.” This is one of those occasions. Grace and Nick so wonderfully explain the saga of their elopement in Big Bend National Park and all the twists and turns along the way. If you are reading this as a couple who is considering eloping or even currently planning your elopement, you may want to take notes!

Q: Why did you choose to do a destination wedding?
A: “Due to the pandemic, we knew that it would be challenging to safely bring our family and friends together for a wedding ceremony, so we decided to keep it small and celebrate with family and friends in 2022. We both love the mountains (him: to rock climb her: to hike), so since we couldn’t have the usual wedding, we decided to get married where we love instead.”

Q: How/why did you choose the location/destination? Did you run into any issues specific to this destination and how did you resolve them?
A: “We chose the Big Bend area because we could easily drive there from Austin, and we loved the idea of getting married somewhere remote in the mountains. During the planning process, our biggest challenge was wrestling down our group to only 10 people, since both Big Bend State Ranch Park and Big Bend National Park limited groups to only 10 due to COVID. We didn’t have a great solution beyond just deciding what was in our heart and, later, COVID travel restrictions also helped us make the decision. Nick’s family lives out in California and the state of California had a ban on nonessential travel. On the day of the ceremony, we woke up to a busted pipe and, therefore, no water in our hotel. So, there was the chaos of trying to find somewhere else to get ready, and then a group of our friends had a flat tire that we had to fix before the ceremony. Luckily, both situations just made everyone laugh, and Nick was able to be the hero by fixing the flat.”

Q: How did your family and friends respond to the decision? If any of them had a negative reaction, how did you resolve it?
A: “We did have some family members express that they were upset with our decision, but after a few conversations where we clarified our point of view, it helped resolve the situation. We learned that the word ‘elope’ doesn’t have the same meaning for everyone, some people see elope as only running off to Vegas for a quick wedding, but after some heart-to-heart conversations, folks came on board.”

Q: Did you use any resources when planning your destination wedding that you feel would be helpful to other couples? i.e. books, a wedding planner, referrals?
A: “Hiring Anna Claire Beasley was the best decision we made. She was an excellent guide for navigating the Big Bend area and was able to help us plan the perfect day for our elopement. On the day of our elopement, each time we had a hiccup, she did a good job of quietly helping guide us to the best decision and next step. Plus, her husband did a great job of officiating the ceremony, and the photos she took turned out better than we could have ever imagined.”

Q: What were the travel logistics like for your guests? Did you run into any issues and how did you resolve them?
A: “The original plan was that Nick’s parents were going to fly out to Big Bend, but due to California’s travel restrictions, Nick’s parents were unable to travel, so we ended up only having family and friends drive up from various areas of Texas. It really stunk that Nick’s parents were unable to come to the ceremony, but, on the day of the elopement, they did send us a sweet letter for us to read and, later, we facetimed with Nick’s dad.”

Q: How were you able to coordinate with vendors from afar? Did you run into any issues and how did you resolve them?
A: “Coordinating with vendors from afar wasn’t too hard. The biggest challenge was nailing down the dinner since the restaurants in Terlingua are largely closed on Monday or were very casual about reservations, etc. But we resolved that issue by just letting go of any expectations on dinner and we ended up just ordering take-out from Starlight Theatre Restaurant and eating burgers around the campfire, which was a ton of fun.” 

Q: Overall, do you have any special advice you would like to share with our readers to help prepare them for their day?
A: “I think letting go of expectations and focusing on what is important will really help you enjoy your experience. There’s a ton of pressure to have a perfect wedding and ceremony, but the important part is that you are marrying someone you love and everything else will fall into place. If things go wrong (which they will), just laugh it off and embrace the whole experience.”

Vendors: Photographer: Anna Claire Beasley Photography; Coordinating: Elope Big Bend; Dress Designer: Jenny Yoo; Accomodations: Basecamp Terlingua; Floral Designer: Lobo Florals; Jewelry: Franzetti Jewelers; Groom’s Suit: Bonobos

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