The couple met while attending the University of Delaware. Though they enjoyed a friendly acquaintanceship throughout their college years, the pair parted ways when Elisabeth, 33, of Franklin Square, moved back to New York after graduation. Seven years later, it came as a shock to Andrew when his old college acquaintance made an appearance one night in his dreams. For some reason, he was compelled to tell her about it, and sent a friendly message via Facebook. As luck would have it, Elisabeth was searching for a fourth member to join her and friends on a guided backpacking trip in Peru, and decided to ask Andrew. Meeting in Cusco, Peru, in November 2016, the group embarked on a four-day camping trek, during which Andrew and Elisabeth fell in love. On their last night together, the pair found an empty bar in Lima, where they danced the night away. They both knew that had found something special.
“Liz told me I couldn’t surprise her,” says Andrew, 35, of Annapolis, Maryland. After agreeing to be engaged within the coming year, Andrew was certain his bride-to-be would be expecting something to happen. “I needed to use some subterfuge,” he says. Andrew called on his sister to use her upcoming birthday as a means to get Elisabeth to the University of Delaware without arousing suspicion. Driving south, under the guise of a birthday celebration, the pair stopped at Taco Bell, where Andrew serendipitously found a Fire Sauce packet with the message “Marry Me” on it, before eventually arriving at the university. Andrew got down on one knee in the campus green and…blacked out. “I can’t tell you exactly how I asked,” he jokes. “But I can tell you she was surprised. And she said yes!”
A change of plans:
The couple was in the midst of planning their May 16, 2020, wedding for 180 guests in the Catskill Mountains when the Covid pandemic suddenly began sweeping the nation, changing everything all at once. When the lease on their Manhattan studio apartment ended not long afterward, the couple lived nomadically, staying with family or friends, without any real plan for where to live next. Vermont and all it stood for—hiking, skiing and the natural world—seemed like a beautiful place to live for the summer and wait out the pandemic. But as August came to an end—and the pandemic surged on—they decided they couldn’t wait any longer to be married. It was then that they changed course and made their wedding truly about them.
Details of the day:
“In my 26 years of shooting, this was one of the most incredible weddings I’ve ever photographed,” says Jeff Tisman of Jeff Tisman Photography. On September 15, 2020, Jeff, assisted by friend and fellow photographer Drew Noel, hiked alongside the couple to reach their intimate ceremony location atop Spruce Peak in the Vermont mountains. The group awoke at 4:30 a.m. to embark on their journey, armed with backpacks filled with camera gear, Luna bars and a change of clothes. It was a long day—nearly 10 hours of climbing, celebrating and eventually exploring Stowe—and one of the most unforgettable experiences of all of their lives.
For Elisabeth’s wedding attire, comfort was key; she planned to hike down the mountain in her wedding dress! She chose a minimalistic custom-made Etsy gown, and did her own hair and makeup. With just days to go, Elisabeth contacted von Trapp Flowers via Instagram to create her bouquet of sustainable local in-season wildflowers—dahlias, lilies, sunflowers, snapdragon, and eucalyptus—to evoke a warm ethereal look.
Overlooking the mountainside, Elisabeth and Andrew recited their vows and danced to “You and I,” by Ingrid Michaelson.
Advice for other brides:
“It’s easy to get caught up in expectations and the material parts of a wedding,” says Elisabeth. “Our wedding was stripped of those things—no bridal shower, no bachelorette party, no reception—but it was so beautiful and meaningful because all our focus was on our love and partnership.”
By foregoing the big wedding, they were able to purchase their first home together.
After five days spent “mini-mooning” in Maine, the couple is home in Waitsfield, Vermont.–Denise K. Potter