Brooke & Eli

Like a modern day romantic comedy, Brooke & Eli owe their love story to Tinder itself.


"Thinking back on our origin story always makes me laugh.  Who would have thought my seventeen year-old self had swiped right on my forever?"


After initially matching on the dating app, Brooke says that Eli would periodically reach out just to check-in or ask about her day. 


"He was genuine and sweet from those very first conversations and kind as the day is long.  We clicked almost instantly and I have been hooked ever since."


After a few years of dating and getting to know one another better it came time for Eli to pop the question and take their relationship to the next level.  


"It was Spring of 2018, the evening before Eli's birthday, and we were all dressed up enjoying an amazing meal with friends at Portland City Grill."


After dinner, the group headed down to the waterfront as it was an uncharacteristiaclly warm evening in March, perfect for a walk through the park.  


"My best girlfriend was taking pictures and videos of us, and I thought nothing of it, just being goofy in front of the camera.  I got close as I joked with the camera and hugged her, surprised when she grabbed onto me and held on. I hugged back, laughing, and then I turned around and saw him."


Eli was there, kneeling in front of her and right away Brooke realized what was happening.


"I realized what was going on, and immediately started hilariously full-body sobbing. I said yes through the tears, and on the video, you can hear a stranger jogging past shout 'Congratulations!'"




Once the proposal was taken care of, it was time to start planning for the best day ever!  Venues were researched, photographers discussed and soon it was time to find the perfect dress. 


"I was extremely nervous to shop for my gown. To me, this was the biggest, most important detail of the wedding planning (besides the groom, but I had that in the bag). 

I have always been a plus-sized woman, and I knew that this could limit my options or the comfort I might experience going to different shops with different atmospheres and consultants. I am living with a very tumultuous relationship with my body, and while dress shopping heightened it… Charlotte’s, and the wonderful women therein, alleviated it."


Brooke knew that she wanted a gown to fit the grandness of her wedding venue.


"I was thinking something big, with lace and maybe a little bling."


At her first appointment, with her mother, grandmother, and maid of honor in tow she found a beautiful ballgown of lace, covered in carefully made flowers and beading that brought her to tears. It was outside the budget she had planned, so she left determined to be back when she had saved up a bit more and was ready to purchase it.


"I spent the next few months as both a full-time student and near full time employee, working my behind off as I saved to afford the dress! The next time around, debit card in hand, I scheduled my final appointment during Charlotte's KILLER July sale."


Brooke's sister hadn't been able to attend her first appointment so she asked her stylist, Jennifer, to pull a few extra gowns to show her before getting into the dress Brooke thought would be "the one!"  As something fun to throw on, Jennifer pulled Justin Alexander Signature style #9847.


"As Jennifer did up the buttons on this new dress I realized I could. Not. Take. It. Off."


An opulent beaded illusion sabrina neckline with a delicate lace underlay sat atop the most fun and frothy waterfall skirt, and suddenly everything changed for Brooke!


"This dress was everything I needed.  The volume in the skirt made it so fun to dance in, goof around in and the train was dreamy.  The color options were exciting and the beading sparkled perfectly."


The dress ended up being a handful of things Brooke told Jennifer she didn't want which made them all giggle as she paraded around, swishing the frothy skirt and buzzing in excitement wearing THE dress!


Brooke and Eli chose the Oregon Garden as the backdrop to their fairytale wedding, booking it about a year and a half before the actual "I do"s.


"My husband (husband! It still hasn’t gotten old!) and his family are from Silverton, so he wanted to explore options there, specifically the Oregon Garden - somewhere special to him."  


The venue was completely outdoors, and in true Oregon fashion, the day of the wedding the weather decided to throw everyone for a loop.


"Up to about five days before the wedding, the forecast was completely clear, on the warm side, sunny. Morning of, I woke up thinking everything was ruined."


It had rained all morning and there wasn't a sign of it stopping anytime soon.


"There was awful standing water everywhere, and all I saw was mud. My florist Jeri, god bless her sweet heart, was emailing me asking what our backup plan was, if we wanted to change it, etc. I just remember crying outside the Bridal suite, looking at the sky and thinking Just stop, please just stop…"


After a bit of panic and some tears, Brooke decided to stick to her guns and have that garden wedding she had always dreamed of rain or shine!


"I ditched the heels and picked up my Target-issued rain boots instead."


It sprinkled through some of their first pictures, then miraculously as it was time for Brooke to walk down the all stopped.


"I like to think of it as my very own wedding miracle."


Although the weather wasn't exactly what Brooke had hoped for, the couple were able to move past the rain and share some beautiful moments.


"There are so many favorite moments to choose from. Maybe the first look with my grandparents. Maybe watching my sister cry tears of joy. Perhaps it was letting my husband’s vows touch my heart and soul."


After all was said and done though, Brooke recalls how special it was looking over at Eli at the end of the night.


"The overwhelming love and gratitude I felt in that moment brings tears to my eyes even now. At the end of the night, the most important thing is what we were left with: us.

Nothing but us."

"My advice is to find moments throughout the day to slow down. Everything happens so fast, you get small moments with many people: it is so important to take time to soak in the details. So much time, effort, and planning led up to those moments… savor your joy."


"Things go wrong. Sometimes it’s little things and sometimes it's big ones, but remember that there is joy in the story, and it's YOUR love story. Every detail is still perfectly personal and special and unique even when it feels imperfect."


"Like the rain. In the end, it was a gorgeous evening, bright and happy and glorious."


Featured Vendors:

Venue: The Oregon Garden
Photographer: Lucas Studios, LLC
Florist: Bella Bloom Florals

Cake: Jaciva's Bakery

Hair and Makeup: Blossom and Beauty
Coordinator: Alexis Frederico - The Oregon Garden
Caterer: The Oregon Garden

Rentals: Crossroads Fine Linens & Party Rentals, All Star Tents and Party Rentals, and Central Oregon Tent Rentals

Dress: Justin Alexander Signature

Bridesmaids: B2 by Jasmine

Veil: Jennifer Leigh