BRI AND LINDSEY’S PANDEMIC POP-UP WEDDING AT TEXAS DRIVE-IN THEATER
I’m obsessed. When girls emailed me about a week before their wedding I honestly did a little happy dance knowing this is going to be something special. And they are just the coolest.
Lindsey and Bri were scheduled to have their dream wedding on April 10, 2020, but COVID-19 changed their plans. While many have postponed their ceremonies to next year, they have decided to broadcast their nuptials to friends and family from Doc’s Drive-In Theater later that month.
Today we have pictures and the entire story told by brides just a couple of days after the wedding!
TELL US THE STORY OF HOW YOU MET
BRI: “We met on a lesbian dating app called HER. Being a mother of a toddler i knew meeting someone organically at the grocery store would be merely impossible. And since I didn’t go out much due to my being a 29-year old single mom, finding a partner at a bar didn’t seem ideal either. I decided to casually download an app called HER to see what this whole online dating scene was about. After a few awkward first (and last) dates, I luckily matched with Lindsey. A blonde-haired, green-eyed single mom of twins with the most beautiful smile I’d ever seen – and someone who desperately HATES mayonnaise (according to her profile) – had no intentions of getting married, having more kids, or casually hooking up. I found myself captivated yet skeptical.
Within 12 hours of the initial match, I asked her on our first date which just so happened to be her birthday. It was the middle of June in 2018. i asked her to an outdoor concert where we drank red wine, had deep conversations, lots of laughter, and a divine connection. I knew that night she was my person. It only took me 3 days to ask her to be my girlfriend, 5 days to tell her i loved her (in true lesbian fashion), 1 year to move in together, 13 months to propose to her, and less than two years to marry her.”
LINDSEY: “One in the summer of 2018, I’d had some wine. I somehow convinced my neighbor to come over and hang out with me so i wouldn’t technically be drinking alone while the kiddos slept upstairs. After a few more glasses of wine, my neighbor gently persuaded me to give in to the world of online dating. Against my better judgment that was not present at that time, I created a profile on a dating app called HER. For two days, I would begrudgingly scroll and wince. Online dating or dating in general was not my thing. Nor did i want it to be. Apps are hard. But then the night before my birthday, I saw the most enchanting woman I’d EVER laid my eyes on. She was photographed In front of a green wall that happened to be my favorite shade of green, sitting cross-legged like the modern bad ass woman she is. I instantly thought ‘I dont know what a catfish really is, but I feel like this is that.’ However, i couldn’t keep myself from scrolling through more of her photos. She had the kindest, most beautiful brown eyes and I could see her loving heart through all her photos. Plus she was wearing the sexiest Open-road Stetson hat I’d ever seen.
I knew I had to bring my A-game with this one. So i swiped right, after calling my neighbor to confirm the correct direction of swiping, and sent Bri a witty message that I hoped would LAND. And land.. it… did. I was 100% myself and Figured i had nothing to lose. We started our text conversation at 6am the morning of my birthday. And by 6pm that evening, I was picking her up for our first date. That night will forever be etched in my mind and heart. We were supposedly attending a concert, but I don’t remember one note that was sang or song that was played. I never believed in love at first sight until that evening. I tried to play it cool, but after hours of profound conversation, I found myself looking deep into her soul and saying ‘You are worthy. I see you. And I honor you. I respect you.’ WTF?! What had gotten into me? LOVE… I even said out loud ‘I’m in trouble.’ As the night came to an end and we parted ways, later that night we deactivated our HER accounts permanently. And we’ve been getting lost in each other ever since. Best birthday present EVER.”
NOW ABOUT THE BIG DAY! WHAT WAS THE THEME AND INSPIRATION?
We had ALL the plans. In fact, we booked our wedding date and venue before we were even engaged. Lindsey bought her dress the day before Bri proposed, unbeknownst to her. Pre-Rona, here’s what our dream wedding was supposed to look like:
We were going to get married at a historic downtown Austin antique/boutique mansion called Hotel Ella on 4-10-20 aka Good Friday, because nothing says He is Risen like a good ol’ lesbian wedding. We had everything planned to a T…. The details included Gorgeous place settings, elegant linens and china, Delicious salmon/hangar steak dinner, paired with delicious wine, tasty canapés, And a menu that would make your toes curl. We had intention behind every single detail of our wedding. Not to mention hand-spun cotton candy, a carefully curated playlist for the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception, Dried bridal bouquets with hints of Bri’s favorite wildflowers, and the perfect arrangement of floral centerpieces.
Every moment, every experience, every second had a purpose and profound meaning, which couldn’t have happened without the support of a team of experts collaborating with the same vision. Even as i type this, I can think of every moment since we’d spent months and months dreaming of our 10-04-20. By February, Almost every bit of the wedding planning had been completed which enabled us to spend the last few weeks of our engagement dreaming of the perfection of our day – but more importantly, the beauty of our love and marriage.
Meanwhile, we kept hearing more and more about this epidemic that was slowly but fiercely making its way across various parts of the world. Our anxiety continued to build with the anticipation that our day might be in jeopardy. But we held onto hope, believing that nothing would get in the way of our dream. Then, while Bri was cooking dinner for our 3 kids and i was nerding out on research about The coronavirus, I found the official Shelter-in-place Order for the city of Austin on March 25th. As I read the order and looked into it further, reality slowly began to sink in. 10-04-20 would in fact NOT be our day. I told Bri and the kids over dinner and we all reacted and responded in our own unique ways. Though we completely agreed with the order and wanted to do whatever we could to keep people safe and flatten the curve, we also selfishly wanted all of our planning and hoping and dreaming to not all be for not.
WHEN PLANS CHANGE..
The days following the official order which banned all gatherings of more than 10 people, were filled with a major case of the fuckitts. We were shocked and deeply grieved by the state of the world, the pain and loss that this virus was having on us and millions of other people, and found ourselves frozen without any ability to pivot gracefully. We did what any other strong, resilient lesbian couple might do in our situation: we started eating our feelings. Once we finally realized we had to come up with a plan B, our attempts at finding a new date began – all of which failed miserably.
Nothing was falling into place. There was no way to move forward with the original plan we’d initially dreamed of. Schedules weren’t aligning, vendors weren’t coordinating, and waiting until 2021 was not an option either of us wanted to explore. We got stuck and found ourselves in a place where all we could do was surrender, let go, and come to some sort of acceptance. We still didn’t have a plan, but we did have each other, and we knew our love would be stronger than any pandemic or unforeseen circumstances. We also knew that no one is promised tomorrow, and who knows what the world would be like in the next few months to a year.
Then Thursday, the day before our would-be-wedding-date, we got a call that would change the way both Bri and I looked at the timeline of our rescheduled wedding. One of our family members called to tell us they’d tested positive for coronavirus. The news of this positive test was significant enough that it further fueled our desire to get married sooner rather than later. The next day, Good Friday, our would-be-wedding-day of 10-04-20 was filled with grief, loss, and sadness. On the other hand, it was also a day filled with gratitude that thus far, me and my family and friends were safe and healthy, despite the positive results. We spent Good Friday with our kids, enjoying the light that their laughter brings to our lives. Also, their incessant loudness is a good distraction. Luckily, Bri’s sister lives with us and agreed to babysit so we could “go out” on a date that night. Since we can’t actually go out anywhere or do anything, we had a date in our car on the top floor of a parking garage. We ordered pizza, watched the sunset, and finished off a yeti cooler full of champagne to celebrate a day that will always be important to us.
Completely unplanned, we both shared unexpected Vows for promises we wanted to make each other while we awaited our new wedding date. I put on a private concert for Bri and we danced under the stars. We were determined to make lemonade out of some really bad lemons. There was this moment toward the end of the night where we looked at one another with love and gratitude. Our heavy hearts had settled a bit and we found a sense of peace that night. our much needed moment of acceptance had arrived. Though the day and night were filled with sorrow, that night on top of that parking garage, we ended up making one of the best memories that we’ve shared to date. And no, I’ve had zero interactions with my relative who tested positive in case you’re wondering :) and they’re doing very well in fact!
How beautiful is it that in the moment we were able to let go, surrender, and fully accept a situation that we still didn’t necessarily like or understand, something extraordinary followed. We woke up on Saturday morning and instead of being on a flight to Mexico for our picture-perfect honeymoon, we made a cup of coffee and sat on the couch to watch cartoons with our kids. Within minutes of what should’ve been a typical Saturday morning, Bri lunged off the couch in excitement out of nowhere… “Oh my God! There’s a drive-in movie theatre that is still open in Buda, TX!” (BRI)
LINDSEY: I look up from my crossword puzzle, confused at why such randomness would elicit this type of response. In my next thought, i remembered that a few weeks ago in the midst of our grieving, our wedding planner shared an idea she had about having a wedding at a drive in movie theatre where everyone could stay safe in their cars, abide by the rules, and still be able to witness our nuptials. We were instantly drawn to the idea and thrilled. But soon after she shared this idea with us, We didn’t even have a chance to look into it because the city of Austin went on lock-down. The only drive-in movie theatre in austin was closed. So now it made perfect sense why Bri lept off the couch.
So there we were on Saturday April 11th looking at the possibility of making the greatest wedding pivot in history. We immediately started to take action because this felt right. our hearts lit up. After a phone call with the owners of doc’s drive in movie theatre to assess the possibility of having a wedding at their venue in a safe, compliant manner in the midst of this pandemic, followed by an excited call to our wedding planner, it was all hands on deck. We began planning a polar opposite wedding than our original vision and had 17 days to get everything ready. We chose our new wedding date because literally everything fell into place.
We never thought we’d be getting married on a Tuesday during a global pandemic at a drive-in movie theatre in Buda, TX. But everything about it fit us. April 28th was our new wedding date. Instead of a magical ceremony under a beautiful oak tree facing a 1920s historic mansion, we would be standing in a gravel-paved parking lot off of a farm road surrounded by 90 cars. Instead of a boujie cocktail hour with the perfect blend of music, food, drinks and fun, we will be enjoying popcorn, mini corn dogs and soda with our kids with no idea of who is actually attending our wedding.
We’re trading our heels for cowboy boots, swapping an unforgettable dance-party reception for a movie that will be played for our guests after our ceremony, and switching our Tulum honeymoon to a 2-day stay in an airstream trailer. Let’s face it, no woman – even the femme-est of femme lesbians, can gracefully walk in a gravel lot with heels on.
We chose Doc’s because it was the only drive-in movie theater we could find that was considered an essential business, open for business, and could accomodate our goals for a wedding ceremony that had to be put together in 17 days! Having our wedding at a drive in movie theater allowed us to move forward with our wedding while ensuring everyone was staying safe during this global pandemic. Plus it’s a really rad theater and ended up being the perfect fit for us!!
I’m so glad our original plans went by the way side, because this wedding was SO MUCH BETTER! It was such a quirky wedding from start to finish. Lots of awkward transitions and pauses, make-shift cameras streaming to youtube, FB and IG as best we knew how, a gravel dirt road that caused me to fall not once but twice, and even a random stray dog named pirate who apparently frequents the drive in movie theater quite a bit! All in all, it reminded me of some sweet moments from childhood. Very nostalgic!
BRI: “my ‘dress’ was actually a skirt and top from BHLDN. It’s the “lady bird top” and the “park avenue skirt” was the bottom. I went on a girls’ trip in November with my best friend and we bought it at the Chicago location. My hat was a Stetson that i bought from a local haberdashery called Maufrais in downtown austin. We did our own hair and makeup because social distancing”
LINDSEY: “I’m what some might call ‘budget-conscious’ so I’m always looking for a good deal. I went to Second Sumer bridal salon in Austin and found my dream dress! Usually the dresses there are discounted because they’ve been worn before. but the dress i found had never been worn!’
BRI: ‘I decorated my hat with some dried roses and babies breath that we had in our house. We had to cancel our previously ordered bouquets and were able to find a local florist who really came through for us. They’re Remi & Gold and they designed the most beautiful dried flower bouquets for both of us.”
LINDSEY: “Sadly we had to cancel most of the original vendors we had for wedding plan A. However, the vendors who came through for us in a pinch for the wedding plan B were incredible! I brainstormed with a friend from college who specializes in designing phenomenal pop-up events for major brands in fancy cities. She gave me the idea of having a vintage car by the “altar” to really lean into the whole drive in movie theater idea. We rented a gorgeous blue 1972 Jeepster Commando through her company Madre Rents and me, Bri and the kids drove away in the car while our guests honked repeatedly, flashed lights, and made some noise. I think there was even a cowbell.
We also worked with a local balloon company The Balloon Collective. They created 3 gorgeous garlands that we used for the stage and our welcome sign at the entrance. The speed and creativity of this company blew me away because we only had 17 days to plan everything. It was pitch black at the theater so we knew lighting was going to be an issue. We initially thought the cars’ headlights could be the lighting answer, but that was not going to work out. Thankfully one of our videographers Bobby had a MAJOR hook up for lighting and other gear that a proved to be crucial in making our ceremony perfect, and to make sure our pictures and videos were ON POINT. As far as DIY, we amassed several tons of Christmas lights to wrap around the sad looking Charlie Brown Christmas trees that lined the “aisle.”
LINDSEY: No cake, sadly… we had to limit the number of vendors due to the laws surrounding covid-care, but we plan to have one at our reception/party in the future. Doc’s brought us some mini corn dogs to our tiny home where we were getting ready – does that count?
I curated the playlist and Bri and I both chose the songs. But we couldn’t have a DJ or band, so thankfully my friend Tina helped us out by staying next to the mixing board and pushing play when a song needed to be played. There were cords everywhere and it was pure madness, but somehow it all worked out. My favorite part was when “Tuesday” played while bri and i walked down the aisle and danced. Additional entertainment involved one of my 7 year old twin daughter who sang a song special to our family, as well as read a poem. Our guests got to stay after the ceremony and watch a movie at the drive in theater – we chose an oldie but goodie Airplane!
YOUR WEDDING PLANNER
We couldn’t have done any of this without Cassie Crudo, our wedding planner extraordinaire. The drive in movie theater idea was her idea, after all! It was really important for us to work with LGBTQ+ vendors and Brides Best Friend is an LGBT owned company. Cassie is one of the most hard-working and detail oriented people I’ve ever met. She could run the world quite effectively and she KILLED IT from start to finish. If things were blowing up around us, we wouldn’t have known thanks to Cassie. Fun fact, I actually met Cassie at our best friends wedding Where i sang and gave the toast (also a lesbian wedding)
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER AND VIDEOGRAPHER
Lindsey: have you ever seen someone’s work and thought WOW that person is TRULY inspired? That’s how i feel every time I see David’s work. When I first saw his content, I was floored and moved. David Wells a local photographer and film maker who is talented beyond measure was our videographer, along with a second videographer Bobby. These two guys are the cream of the crop and went above and beyond to capture each special moment. We cannot wait to see the video once it’s complete! I think it’ll be one for the history books. David’s innovative out-of-the-box ideas were exactly in line with the story we wanted to tell and the experience we wanted to create. It’s almost like David knew what was going to happen before it did and he was anticipating every move, every shot, every moment to capture.
Our photographer Greg Fulks brought his A-game like I’ve never seen! Check out his IG and prepare to have your mind blown. He’s also pretty groovy and gave us a dance party after the rehearsal because we’d all been at the venue for 10 hours trying to get the video feed to show up on both movie screens. he kept us laughing. Plus he’s super cool bc he’s based in Cali and lives in a van. The morning after the wedding, he’d already sent us 72 photos/sneak-peaks that absolutely left us speechless.
A really important element about the entire story is our officiant, Jen hatmaker. I’ve known Jen for 20 years and consider her not only a friend, but mentor. I look up to her a great deal and always has. What’s unique about this particular part of the story is that jen is a New York Times best selling Christian author and speaker. Yes you heard that right. Christian. We used to do ministry together way back in the day. In fact, I used to be a full time Christian recording artist/worship leader. I came out in 2009 and lost everything, my entire career. Most Christians and churches kicked me to the curb, but Jen always welcomed me with open arms and loved me regardless of my sexuality.
Years later, Jen and her husband founded a church that later become an open-and-affirming church And a beacon for how to be welcoming and accepting of the LGBT community. Austin New Church is where i lead worship at occasionally. It was my dream to have Jen marry us, and despite Jen’s ridiculously busy schedule especially since she’s literally in the midst of her 17th book release (I loose count), she made it happen. Having her bless our union and give a toast at the end meant everything to both Bri and I. it’s not often you hear about an internationally famous Christian speaker and author officiating a lesbian wedding at a drive in movie theater during a global pandemic.
WHAT WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT AND MOST FUN PART FOR YOU?
BRI: ‘there were so many fun elements, even before the wedding started. I had an impromptu dance party with the twins in my tiny house as i was getting my wedding dress on. For any parents out there, who want to have a good dance party with their kids, play Parry Gripp and get your boogie on.”
LINDSEY: ‘The most important part for me is having the honor of committing my life to my very best friend and lover in front of so many friends and family members who we love so dearly. In the midst of a disconnected/social distancing world, it was One of the most engaged and connected times I’ve had. As far as the most fun part? Probably trying to get into my new Spanx while standing in a tiny home with the girls behind me continually trying to mess with my dress… and the spanx were almost full body… so it was Olympian and A Herculean effort to the utmost degree.
WOULD YOU HAVE ANY PIECE OF ADVICE FOR COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING
BRI: oh my god, (followed by a laugh) don’t plan! No, but seriously, don’t weigh too heavily on your plans. All of our original plans fell through. It took us a year to plan wedding A and 98% of it didn’t even happen in wedding plan B. The only things we kept from our original wedding plan was our photographer, videographer, wedding planner and officiant. We literally planned a brand new wedding in 17 days. Even the drive-in movie theater wedding didn’t go perfectly as planned and i would not have it any other way. I’m so glad i was able to let go and let things fall into place exactly the way they should be.”
LINDSEY: “Hold plans loosely. Don’t get so caught up in the planning that you miss your partner with whom you’re about to commit the rest of your life. set aside a specific amount of time each week to devote to wedding planning. And then dont allow any talk of it outside of those designated times. Hell, bri and I planned our entire wedding while driving in the car. You have to get creative about planning when you have 3 kids running around and we both work full-time. So easy does it. Be gentle with yourself and stop believing that perfection is real. Try to make a little progress each week and choose to NOT stress. Take a step back and ask what you really want to accomplish with your wedding. What story do you want to tell? What do you hope for the experience overall, and the experience of your guests? keep the main thing the main thing and love will always prevail.
Wedding Planner: Cassie Crudo, Bride’s Best Friend
Venue: Doc’s Drive in Theatre
Video: David Wells – Instagram / Vimeo
Photo: Greg Fulks, Fulks Visions
Officiant: Jen Hatmaker
Bridal bouquets: Remi + Gold
Vintage Car: Madre
Love Sign: D&B Creations
Arch: Party at the Moontower
Balloon Installations: The Balloon Collective
And also you can follow Bri and Lindsey on Instagram!
If you like this Texan pop up wedding, check out other gorgeous real weddings on our blog.