Intimate two groom elopement captured by Henry Tieu Photography

Rudy and Jack’s Intimate Mountain Elopement

How long have you been together, and how did you meet?

We have been together since July 2017. We met at the hospital where Rudy works. Jack was changing careers and needed clinical observation hours in a PT clinic to apply to graduate school. Rudy was working with a patient and asked Jack if he wanted to observe their session. We became friends and started hanging out outside of work, and the rest is history.


Aside from your wedding, what is your favorite memory together?

For one of our weekend getaway adventures, we stayed on a flower farm outside of Lynchburg, Virginia. We wandered through the farm, enjoying the summer blooms, and sat by a pond on the property, discussing everything from RuPaul’s Drag Race to philosophy and theology. It was a perfect day.


Tell us about the proposal.

Our fourth anniversary was approaching, but Jack hadn’t been feeling well, so we decided not to do anything big or plan anything. The morning of, Jack convinced Rudy to go for a walk at the Lincoln Memorial. The Lincoln Memorial was where we had one of our first dates. When we met up at that time Jack was so nervous that he gave Rudy an awkward side hug. So, on the day of the proposal, Jack walked Rudy to that exact spot and said, “Come here and let me give you a real hug.” Rudy still had no idea. We walked up the stairs to the top of the monument and found a less crowded area to sit overlooking the reflecting pool. Jack started talking about his love for Rudy and saying that he would want to spend the rest of his life with him. Still not suspecting anything, Rudy asked jokingly, “Are you proposing to me?” Jack pulled the ring he had designed from his pocket and said, “Actually, I am.”  


Talk us through the decision to elope.

After months of reflection and discussion with each other, we eventually agreed that a small, intimate wedding with family and close friends was the best way to celebrate our love. We wanted the day to feel reverent and meaningful and decided the best way to honor that desire outside of a religious space was to hold the wedding in nature. We found our photographer, Henry, after an experience with a potential vendor that underscored the heteronormativity that pervades the wedding industry. We connected on a personal and professional level, and he was instrumental in helping us decide where to hold our wedding. 

Talk us through the actual elopement.

We began the day at 2:30 am to get ready for sunrise photos before the ceremony with Henry. We rode up to the top of the mountain and hiked in the predawn darkness before changing into our suits for first looks and adventure portraits. We then headed to our ceremony location, where we met our guests, who had assembled and made a grand entrance by having a “bus driver, move that bus!” moment (a “Ruveal,” if you will). 

Our guests gathered around us in a semicircle overlooking the mountains for an 8:00 am ceremony. Our best friend, Kate, officiated our ceremony and delivered a stunning wedding address drawing parallels between our formation as gay individuals and a gay couple with the formation of the mountains on which we stood. 

After the ceremony, we went to our reception venue in a valley at the base of the mountains. We had our first dance to Lady Gaga’s “Always Remember Us This Way,” and Jack shared a mother/son dance to Trisha Yearwood’s “She’s in Love with the Boy.” We wrote each guest a personalized thank you card expressing our gratitude for the role they have played in our lives and in our relationship as a couple, which served as their place cards. We sat at one long table under a canopy of native flowers and greenery for a lunch reception. 

We spent the afternoon enjoying every guest’s company. Time seemed to stand still. Everything about our wedding felt intentional and charged with meaning; nothing was gratuitous or done for the sake of “tradition.”

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Photography by Henry Tieu Photography

Engagement Rings W.R. Metalarts


Cake Saltadena Bakery & Cake Shop
Catering Wandering Table Catering
Celebrant Kate Bell
Decorative Elements Wander Design + RentalsBalancing Balloons
Engagement Rings Automic GoldW.R. Metalarts
Entertainment DJ Jimmy Cafarella
Florist Tangled Roots Floral Design Studio
Planner / Stylist Tapestry Event Co
Reception Venue Wandering Waters Farm
Transport Baker Bus
Wedding Favors PinMart
Wedding Rings Bario Neal
Suit Designers BonobosIndochino