This past September, with their wedding date still a year out, Logan and Joey Gillespie decided they were ready to get married—as in, now. They just didn’t feel like waiting another whole year to call each other husband and wife—simple as that.
So they headed to city hall for their marriage license, and the following day, headed south along the Gulf of Mexico from their home in Corpus Christi, Texas, for a beach elopement. They chose Malaquite Beach on Padre Island, a more private spot than other beaches, for their sunset ceremony.
“We wanted something simple, to not have to pay, and somewhere we could celebrate. The beach feels like home to us as we’ve always lived near one—it made the most sense to us to be in an open space surrounded by our closest friends in Corpus,” says Logan. “It was one of the best nights of our lives.”
Logan met Joey while studying abroad in Florence with the University of Rhode Island in the spring of 2017. Joey had previously studied abroad in Florence, and during his senior year at University of Massachusetts Amherst, decided to spend spring break back in the city he loved. He spent a week in Florence, and on his last night, met Logan.
They did long-distance for the rest of Logan’s semester, and when she returned home in May, went on their first actual date—fittingly, in Boston’s North End, the city’s Little Italy. They’ve been together ever since. “We both knew the other person was it for us,” says Logan. They got engaged in November 2019 (see “The Fine Print,” below, for their sweet proposal story).
After more long distance and a handful of moves due to his military involvement, Joey settled in Corpus Christie, and after Covid-19 hit and everything went remote, Logan left New England and moved in with him last March. They’d lived together for eight months when they decided to elope.
For their beach elopement, they each invited their closest friends; one of Logan’s friends “gave her away.” Their officiant, one of Joey’s Marine buddies, prepared the vows, which Logan later framed in double-sided glass with pressed flowers from the ceremony (it’s now one of her favorite belongings.) Mid-ceremony, they did a celebratory tequila shot “to commence our love,” says Logan.
An unexpected but decidedly amazing aspect of their beach elopement was all the free things: A friend (Kiersten, the officiant’s wife) took the photos, they had a free venue (the beach), and their friends covered the pizza, champagne, and a cake. The entertainment was music played from a speaker and a bonfire on the beach. “Overall, we saved ourselves a lot of stress and money, and have way less to worry about next year.”
Their plans to marry in September 2021 are still on. They’ve got a venue lined up, Oceancliff Hotel, a sweeping waterfront estate in Newport, and are planning on hiring a photographer, florist, makeup artist, and a band.
But for now, there are zero regrets for just doing the damn thing. “We were both so ready for that moment that it felt like a relief. Being surrounded by our friends, having the love and support from our families back home, and having our puppy there… It was just such a beautiful September night. We wouldn’t have done anything differently.”
Any advice for other couples waiting out their big wedding due to Covid-19? “Don’t wait! If you’re thinking of planning an elopement, do it. Don’t hesitate. We were ready, and when you’re ready you shouldn’t let the stress of planning deter you from what you and your partner want. We have no regrets on the way we decided to come together. It will always be special that we got to do this our own way.”
Read on for all the details of Logan and Joey’s beach elopement, including what they spent.
The Fine Print
Relationship timeline: Dated for a little more than three years → Engaged for 10 months → Eloped September 2020 → “Real” wedding September 2021
Proposal story: “When I was in my senior year in Rhode Island, Joey was able to live with me before he left for Quantico in January. Those months (September through December) were the time we got to spend before we would start long-distance for the military. Rhode Island really stood out to us as a significant location—specifically a sunset spot on the furthest point down in Narragansett. We were spending the day visiting Narragansett on November 29, 2019. We got our favorite food at a small restaurant called The Bike Stop Cafe, got some great drinks at a beachside hotel down there, and went to watch the sunset. That’s when he popped the question!”
Venue: Malaquite Beach on North Padre Island
She wore: A white romper from Express
He wore: A suit jacket, also from Express, which he bought when Logan got her romper. (“We went together and that’s what made it so goofy and so enjoyable.”)
Something old/new/borrowed/blue: “My best friend Jackie who lives in Rhode Island actually mailed me a package with something new, something borrowed, and something blue! Super sweet and made it feel like my friends were here even though they couldn’t be.” The package included “Old” Spice deodorant, a “New” Kids on the Block mug, and a “blue” crystal. Logan’s “borrowed” was a veil from the officiant’s wife, Kierstin.
Photography: And Kierstin took the photos!
Menu: Pizza, champagne, and cake from their friends.
Hair & Makeup: Logan did her own hair and makeup.
Flowers: Logan made her own bouquet out of white roses and baby’s breath.
Spent: Around $300 between the marriage license, Logan’s flowers, and their outfits, which were each less than $75.