Plan B = Adventure
Erin & Tanner
Words by Erin Daly Davenport + Photography by Shannon Corsi
Tanner and I met in Minneapolis in 2017 through our friend—the internet—and quickly realized we had a mutual love for the outdoors. We saw each other four times during our first week of dating, despite Tanner’s “busy season” as a CPA and me working two jobs. This started things off on a good foot, as we’ve never stopped making time for each other.
Tanner and I formed our bond by embarking on escapades big and small around Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. We spent the night together camping on the North Shore of Lake Superior (which is still quite cold in April!). And, with the exception of Tanner forgetting a water filter and me dropping a perfectly cooked pancake, we exceeded each other’s standards for potential adventure partners.
The ensuing years brought road trips to Idaho and Wyoming, Kentucky and Tennessee, and even a trip to Paris and Croatia, with a few days spent in Rome. We pitched tents all over, from Oregon to New York, sharing in the great outdoors and creating one incredibly long bucket list. Still, it was making the most of the little things in between these grand journeys that solidified our partnership. Tanner turned me into a morning person with countless early-morning canoe outings on our neighborhood lake before my weekend shifts at REI. Tanner’s late nights at the office lead to moonlit lakeside snowshoe jaunts. Even trips to the grocery store provided priceless time to laugh together, grow together, and for me to peer pressure Tanner into eating more green foods.
In May of 2019, after navigating 2.5 successful “busy seasons” and 3.92 grad school semesters as a couple, Tanner blocked out an afternoon on my calendar for a bike ride around Minneapolis. Writing final papers was my only other alternative, so I graciously agreed. Tanner led me to a park along the Mississippi and casually suggested a surprise picnic. However, the real surprise was the cause for the mini bottle of champagne chilling in his hydration bladder. With a backdrop of the Minneapolis skyline, Tanner proposed and I immediately asked if this meant we could get team tattoos (in other words, YES!).
We spent the next year planning a fall 2020 wedding on the North Shore of Minnesota, where we first adventured with each other. As the reality of COVID sank in, we decided that our celebration wasn’t worth putting our friends and family at risk. So instead, we postponed the big party until 2021.
That got us thinking about Plan B.
We both pride ourselves on spontaneity and the ability to have fun wherever we are, so we enthusiastically jumped into planning an elopement. The more we talked about “just the two of us” exchanging vows, ideally somewhere in the mountains, we kept coming back to the Tetons. We visited Jackson Hole on our first road trip together in 2017 and were blown away by the beauty of the Teton Range. The more we thought about returning, the easier it was to envision signing up for our “forever” under the watchful eye of The Grand herself.
And that brings us to September 2020 …
I bought a cheap dress online (saving the gown for 2021) and Tanner watched YouTube videos on how to fold a suit without wrinkling it. We packed up our Subaru with an “Almost Married” sign on the back window and headed west. Our ceremony started with a 2 a.m. wakeup call and a 3 a.m. meetup with our phenomenal photographer, Shannon Corsi, who I knew from high school summer camp. We headed into Grand Teton National Park and were met with the sound of bugling elks at the trailhead and a remarkably starry sky, despite the wildfires raging further west.
The three of us strung lights on our backpacks and hiked up in the dark, arriving at Delta Lake just before sunrise. Behind boulders, we prepped ourselves in our wedding attire and shared a first look that was far more scenic than anything we could have imagined.
Knowing that we couldn’t have our family and friends with us to witness our vows, we brought a bit of their spirit along with us. Tanner’s sister, Madeline, a flower farmer and designer, helped us arrange a bouquet of fake flowers via FaceTime. (We didn’t love the idea of fake flowers, but we wanted something sturdy enough to withstand the hike, and we ended up matching the colors to Tanner’s tie pretty well.) And, Erin’s aunt made us a vow book to record our promises. Before exchanging our vows, we read trail notes from our family and friends full of their advice and well wishes.
Let’s just say, I cried a lot …
Our post-ceremony picnic setup was more important to us than the food itself. We bought a Pendleton blanket in town to use as a picnic blanket and to double as a family heirloom. We brought along a charcuterie board that a close friend gave us as a housewarming gift, and champagne tumblers that another set of friends gifted us before we left for our trip. All of our snacks were picked up at Albertsons the day before—the macaroons because they were beautiful (and in a box we couldn’t squish in our backpacks) and the charcuterie because we knew we needed calories. What the photos don’t show is that we ate ALL of it!
We hiked down from the lake in our wedding attire and soaked in “congratulations” from random strangers before heading back into town. We had a friend of a friend officiate our civil ceremony in town (we met him for the first time the day of!) and a few bystanders served as witnesses. Just like that—we became forever “the Daly Davs.”
Adventure is Your Friend
Don’t be afraid to make your wedding an adventure, especially during COVID times. Make the ceremony as intimate as you want, and do it wherever you want. You can always throw a big party later, but remember, your day is about you and your commitment to each other.
September 21, 2020
Delta Lake, Grand Teton National Park
Andy Cochrane, a friend of a friend
Madeline Davenport, Fireweed Flower Co.
Caterer and Dessert Chef
Hiking boots and backpacks
Other Specialty Vendors
Pendleton of Jackson Hole