We Eloped at Promise Ridge on the One-Year Anniversary of Buying Our First House Together
To make it happen amid the pandemic, the couple cut their guest list to eight.
How to pick a wedding date? Sometimes, it comes down to a venue’s availability. Other times, it’s about the time of year. And it’s often a day that was already special for the duo. In this case, this couple wanted to celebrate their future on the one-year anniversary of buying their home together — and they weren’t going to let the pandemic get in their way. They reduced their already tiny guest count even more and held their Promise Ridge elopement with only a handful of their closest friends and family. Jessica Manns Photography captured the Big Day below.
It took some persistence for Jinny Park, a Honolulu-born data scientist, to get Alexandria Griffin (a.k.a. Xand), a design manager from South Philly, to keep the OkCupid conversation going. The two messaged a few times about the card game Magic: The Gathering, but Xand stopped responding — she’d already been on too many bad dates.
When Jinny followed up one last time and asked to get together in person, Xand, impressed by her determination, changed her mind. They met at Barcade for old-school arcade games, one of their shared passions. Another common interest? Animals. Which is why, three and a half years after their first date, Jinny popped the question during a private penguin encounter at the Lehigh Valley Zoo.
The couple hoped to marry at Promise Ridge, a tree-lined ceremony space in the Poconos, on June 25, 2020, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of buying their home in Lansdale. When the pandemic forced them to rethink their plans, they knew they wanted to keep the date, so they cut their guest list: A 20-person ceremony and 50-count reception became just eight guests total — plus Jinny’s beloved black Pomeranian, Stout.
“We missed having those people there, but given that we cared about them, we put their health first,” says Jinny. The couple decided against streaming the wedding to keep it special for those in attendance. The most stressful part was applying for their license amid the pandemic: They obtained one through Bucks County’s virtual program.
For hair and makeup, they went with artist Katherine Violette, whom Xand met at one of Philly-area drag queen Annie Christ’s — Violette’s husband’s — shows. Violette put celestial accessories in Xand’s hair as a nod to the outdoor space and sky as well as to lost loved ones.
As for the day itself? It went off without a hitch. The wedding had a woodland adventure theme: In lieu of decor, they relied on the natural beauty of the mountain scenery at sunset. “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat played as they walked down the aisle together, and they loved being able to say “I do” in front of the venue’s living wall. Guests (who quarantined beforehand) gathered in the pavilion to congratulate the newlyweds, then headed back to the couple’s rental cabin for an after-party.
And in a sweet surprise ending, their friends bedecked their getaway car in congratulatory messages.
Photographer: Jessica Manns Photography | Venue: Promise Ridge | Planning/Design: Xand Griffin | Florals: Faux floral bouquet by MerciGarden Studio on Etsy | Catering: Thai Orchid (takeout dinner) | Xand’s Gown: By Watters Vespertine from BHLDN | Jinny’s Attire: Joe Joseph Abboud custom suit from Men’s Wearhouse | Hair & Makeup: Katherine Violette of Bluebird Brides | Cake: Kitchen Chemistry | Invitations: Canva | Officiant: Alisa Tongg | Lodging: Good Dog Vacations at Big Valley Resort | Tattoo Artist: Rachel Behm
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