By now you may have seen the spectacular photos: A bride and her flame-haired groom embracing against the dramatic landscape of Reykjavik. Twenty-year-old Sarah Cusson and Josh Walk eloped in Iceland, bringing photographer Gabe McClintock as their only guest. No friends, no family, not even parents. Just two kids in love posing in a setting as singular, magical, and beautiful as their relationship.
The images are jaw-droppingly gorgeous and dramatic. But how did their families feel about this elopement? We spoke with the new Mrs. Sarah Walk about her elopement and their families' surprising reactions.
"We considered eloping from the beginning," says Sarah Walk, who is also a photographer. She and her husband grew up together in Ohio, both from large, close families. It seemed inevitable that their wedding would be a huge community celebration. It would be the kind of wedding many couples would relish. But not this couple. "We realized it wasn't what we wanted."
Their parents knew that from the start. In fact, Walk says, it was their parents who urged them to elope because they knew it was more "them" and fit them better. "We're more introverted," she explains, adding that all the attention their wedding photos have received is ironic because they actually don't like showing off.
For the Walks, getting married alone "exemplified what marriage should be." For them, it's all about "a commitment of two hearts. You marry each other; you don't marry your friends and family."
The bride's parents assured the couple they wouldn't be offended. And two weeks after the newlyweds returned from their wedding and honeymoon in Iceland, they held a reception for their families. They wore their wedding attire, cut a cake, and celebrated with the people who love them. Calling it "a perfect mesh," Walk says they loved celebrating each other as a couple alone and then celebrating later with everyone else.
More from The Stir: What’s Better: Elope and Save Money or Be a Regretful Bridezilla?
It's a wise and loving family that encourages their kids to be their best, unique selves -- even when those kids are grown, and even when what those kids really need is to elope to the other side of the world. Thanks to that support, Sarah and Josh Walk got to begin their lives together as a married couple in the perfect way for them, thus proving once and for all: Every marriage is unique.
Which do you prefer, giant weddings, small weddings, elopements?
Images via Gabe McClintock Photography