Abby Whiddon and Casey Davis

BIG, FANCY WEDDING? NAH. THIS FLORIDA COUPLE ELOPED TO BEAVER CREEK (WITH THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES, OF COURSE)

 

Real Weddings: Jill and Ryan Kronberg
Real Weddings: Jill and Ryan Kronberg

Most couples can’t stop talking about their upcoming wedding. Not Abby Whiddon and Casey Davis. This couple knows how to keep a secret.

“My sister had just gotten married a year earlier,” says Abby, “and every wedding idea that we came up with felt so duplicative. We thought, why are we spending all this money to recreate a wedding that all of our family has already been to?”

They decided, instead, to do something untraditional: elope. “But once we made the decision that we would invite only our immediate families, we thought, ‘Will we be able to keep this a secret?’ ”

They were able to—until the day they left Florida to fly to Beaver Creek, a longtime favorite vacation spot for Casey’s family.

“That day, we sent out handwritten notes to everyone else saying, ‘We’re out in Colorado, and we got married on top of a mountain. This is the date we pulled the trigger, and we look forward to celebrating with you when we get back.”

As their friends got the cards, congratulatory texts started rolling in—particularly on January. 12, the day of the ceremony. “The majority of notes and phone calls came in on the day of the ceremony. That was really fun.”

Though the couple had arranged the reception with the Beaver Creek resort, they hadn’t checked all the rules for mountaintop weddings. “We all got on the gondola, and then went up the outdoor ski lift to get to the very top of the mountain,” Abby says. “My mother-in-law was actually the first person off the ski lift. She landed in this beautiful black dress and this big, heavy ski coat, and they were like, ‘Maam, where is your walking pass?’ She was like, ‘What? None of us have walking passes, and I can tell you that a bride and groom are about to get off the lift right behind me!’ ”

But the show must go on, and go on it did. “We had said we’d make a game-day decision about where to get married at the top, based on the visibility and whether we could see the other mountain peaks,” Abby says. “But it was cloudy and about 12 degrees, so we went back into the trees for the ceremony.” That part was actually traditional, except for when the officiant put the rings into a box, blessed them and then passed it around so others could offer their blessings, too. The only uneasy moment: “My dad was about to walk me down the makeshift snow aisle, and all of a sudden we see the window of the nearby Ski Patrol cabin open. We thought we were going to get yelled at. Instead, an officer stuck his head out and screamed, ‘Ski Patrol says congratulations!’ Everyone took a deep breath and we did the dang thing.”

After taking photos and popping some Champagne, the wedding party went back down, with Abby’s mother screaming from the ski lift, “My daughter just got married!” She had been waiting four or five months to say those words.

Despite all the secrecy, Abby, who works in business development for a communications firm, and Casey, a corporate controller at an engineering firm, say they have no regrets. “Afterward, a lot of people said, ‘A, I can’t believe you did this, and B, I’m not really surprised.’ We always like to push the envelope.

“I would do it again 10 times over. I tell all my friends: If you are not looking forward to having a big wedding, just take the people you love, and don’t tell anyone else. Everyone will forgive you later.”

The Details

WEDDING VENUE Beaver Creek
RECEPTION VENUE Art Gallery at Beaver Creek Lodge
PLANNING Wendee Walter-Vezzetti of Custom Weddings of Colorado
PHOTOGRAPHY Andrea Flanagan
FLORALS Pink Posey Design
HAIR AND MAKEUP Allegria Spa at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek
BAKER Once In A Blue Moon Bakery and Cafe
Real Weddings: Jill and Ryan Kronberg