Emily and Chadd’s Cosmic Orlando Elopement at Kennedy Space Center

General, Real Elopements,
7 min read Sep 1, 2020

We’re just going to say it: this elopement was out-of-this-world. Truly stellar. A love that soars to new heights. Yup, one far-out couple chose an Orlando elopement, but we’re not talking about Disney World. On February 16, 2020, Emily and Chadd eloped at the Kennedy Space Center, with rockets as their beautiful backdrop for their ceremony (and Emily’s elopement dress couldn’t have been a more perfect match!). Eloping was something the two agreed upon long before they actually tied the knot: they had never even discussed a traditional wedding, because they both knew that wanted an intimate celebration that focused purely on them. You’ll want to scroll through and check out all of the photos from their beautiful day – we promise you’ll be starry-eyed by the time you’re finished!

How did you meet? What was your first impression of one another?

Emily: We grew up in the same small town. In middle school, I was quite the chatter box and would always try to talk to Chadd among our mutual friends, but he was so shy. We didn’t talk to each other for years but had each other on our social media accounts and reconnected. He was completed different from how I remembered him in school. He says that his time in the Army really brought him out of his shell.

Chadd: We actually met while we were both attending the same middle school, but I was extremely shy and secluded at that time of my life. Emily was way too intense for me back then! We had common friends but never actually talked or hung out during our school years. I never thought I would have a chance with this gorgeous cheerleader who had all the right friends and social groups. Skip ahead several years after our high school graduation and I noticed her again on Twitter. After a smooth slide into the DM’s we quickly became good friends. We learned about each other’s lives and discovered how relevant we were to one another.

When did you first fall in love? How did you know?

Emily: We fell for each other rather quickly. We have the same sense of humor and after a few pizza and beer (hard cider for me) dates we were hooked. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to communicate and how many thoughts we shared.

Chadd: We lived so far apart and had such busy schedules that made it near impossible to grab a quick coffee or small meetup. So instead we shared our interest and goals through messages and phone calls. What started as simple “How are you’s” and small talk grew into deep meaningful conversations and obvious flirting pretty quickly. A few pizza dates later and the rest was history!

How did you propose or accept the proposal?

Chadd: I had the ring for quite awhile and had it ready for the perfect moment: For when I thought it would be the time, but if anything at all was amiss or too obvious, I would cancel my idea and wait longer. It almost happened when hiking to a large over peak of our hometown but I could tell Emily thought I was about to propose so I kept it hidden and played it off like I had no idea what she meant. It finally came to be when we were walking along the shore at our favorite beach when she decided it was selfie time. A kind person asked to take our picture and I asked if she could take a second just really quick. As we were posing, I got down on one knee and showed Emily the ring. The only problem was the person taking our photo accidentally hit the home button and was freaking out over the moment, but it was still a great picture and a funny proposal story!

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What do you love about your partner?

Emily: Chadd is the sweetest person to ever come into my life. He has encouraged me since day one to do what I want with life. To find the things I enjoy and do whatever I want to be happy. He is also quite the romantic. On our first date he gave me a necklace he made, which I ended up wearing as a bracelet on our wedding day. It’s really nice having a partner just as supportive as he is sweet.

Chadd: I love how open-minded and free-spirited she is. Emily has a huge heart and cares deeply about many things. When she gets passionate about something, she applies herself and puts a great amount of effort into it. She’s such a nice and beautiful person.

What is the greatest strength of your relationship?

Emily: I would say our greatest strength is communication – or rather, our ability to resolve any miscommunication. While we do argue like most couples, we tend to end any disagreements rather quickly. Usually it’s maybe five minutes of us both in our heads thinking how wrong the other person is, only to turn around and both begin apologizing about whatever the issue was. I don’t think we’re ever had an argument where both of us didn’t apologize.

Chadd: That we have both been through a tremendous amount of struggle but neither of us will complain or place blame on the other. We won’t allow outside problems affect our relationship and believe that it is always us versus the world.

Why did you decide to elope? 

Emily: We never even discussed anything other than eloping. We knew it was what we wanted for several reasons. We wanted an intimate celebration for just the two of us. A day to really focus on the two of us as a couple.

Chadd: Traditional weddings are overrated to me and we feel that it’s mostly money spent on other people having fun rather than us enjoying our very special time together.

How did you find Simply Eloped? How did you know Simply Eloped was the right fit for you?

Emily: When I stumbled on Simply Eloped, I knew it was the way we wanted to go. We both wanted to have a great photographer for our elopement, and I loved every picture I saw on the website. Plus booking an officiant through them made it much less stressful. Our photographer, Katie Trauffer, took the pictures of our dreams and really helped us feel at ease. Vianka Gil, our officiant, made our ceremony so beautiful and full of love.

Chadd: Emily, being the planner, searched all over the internet for advice on how to elope and how to get everything together. It was very overwhelming at first until she stumbled on Simply Eloped. There were great reviews, plus the ease of everything. And the price was great!

What attracted you to the venue you eloped at? 

Emily: We both love the Orlando area so the day Simply Eloped added it to locations, we asked if we could switch from our location we had booked previously. Orlando has so many beautiful options, but we weren’t quite sure. I spent a few days searching around and while Kennedy Space Center is a bit outside the Orlando area, and I knew it was the venue. It was something I wanted to do for Chadd as he loves space and NASA. Plus, it matched my dress perfectly. I always said I wanted to get married in a garden… I just never realized it would be a Rocket Garden!

Chadd: I was enthralled of the location because of my interest in space and rocket technology!

What activities did you do before the wedding? How did you prepare? How did you feel leading up to the moments of your elopement? 

Emily: We spent Valentine’s Day driving through the night to get to Orlando. We’re huge “Disnerds”, so the day before our wedding we spent our morning at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Once our room was available, we checked in and took a short nap. Of course, Chadd was able to nap longer than I was, so, I went to the food court and got the cutest Minnie Mouse cupcake while dreaming about the next day. That night we went back to the Magic Kingdom to enjoy our last night as an engaged couple.

Chadd: I was pretty nervous about everything! So excited and happy, but I didn’t exactly know how it would go down and it made me feel uneasy. However, meeting the wonderful people at Simply Eloped quickly eased my nerves as they were so kind and professional.

Tell us about your experience with Simply Eloped leading up to and on your big day!

Emily: Simply Eloped made sure everything ran as smooth as possible. They did anything they could in order to make sure our day went as planned.

Chadd: It was honestly a great experience. I was a little anxious about the ceremony but once meeting the staff, I felt so much better. They were so professional and patient with us, it made the whole experience magical.

How did you celebrate after?

Emily: After our wedding, we continued to explore Kennedy Space Center until it was time to get ready for dinner. We had reservations at Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom. Watching fireworks from inside the castle was something I will never forget. When we got back to our hotel, we shared a petit cake we had picked up from Amorette’s Patisserie the day before. They had so many cute options since it was Valentine’s weekend, so it was perfect.

Chadd: We spent the rest of the day exploring Kennedy Space Center in our wedding attire, getting compliments and felicitations! We then went and enjoyed our honeymoon at our resort at Disney World!

What words of encouragement do you have for those considering eloping?

Emily: To definitely go for it! It was everything we could have wanted.

Chadd: If the thought [of eloping] even crosses your mind over a traditional wedding, then just elope. You have a much more personal experience with your partner and its more time on your special day together rather than worrying about pleasing others.

Officiant: Vianka Gil
Photographer : Katie Trauffer
General Real Elopements
Written by Karen Norian

Karen Norian is an elopement photographer and has photographed over a hundred elopements. Karen has also worked as an elopement planner for Simply Eloped. She's been quoted in the New York Times, Brides, Hello Giggles, Bustle, Yahoo, and more.