My name is Crystal Yellowback Fitzgerald, I am a prairie girl from Winnipeg, Manitoba. My husband is Zack Fitzgerald, he grew up on Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota.
Our Love Story
We met one night at my work place, I worked at a restaurant lounge and bar called Moxies, funnily enough it was connected to his work place, the MTS center where he played hockey for the Manitoba Moose. We met during his second season sometime in October after a game, a couple months passed of him pursuing me that he literally forced me into a quick beer at the bar top after one of my late-night shifts because I kept giving him lame excuses when he’d ask me out on real dates. I say this laughing because if he hadn’t done that I wouldn’t have known just how much we actually had in common and how well we got on with literally each other, we fell in love instantly and moved in together the following summer. He was traded later that same summer to Albany, New York and I was faced to make the decision to follow him on this journey or stay behind and try the long-distance thing which let’s face it, never works. We decided together that a fresh start in a new country would be amazing, we’ve lived in 9 different places since then and go where ever hockey takes us to this day.
Zack proposed after 3 years of dating, on my 23rd birthday during a day trip to Niagara Falls, Ontario (my favorite place at the time) I’ve never seen the falls at night when it’s lite up in pretty pink, blue and purple hues, I really wanted to experience that before our big move back to New York the following month. During the light show, fireworks went off and before I knew what was even going on behind me, he tapped me on my shoulder. He was down on one knee already with the ring out and we both just starred at each other. Looking back its really funny to us because he didn’t exactly ask “Will you marry me?” or have a speech at all, he got so scared and was completely lost for words and didn’t say anything at all. After a moment of realizing what was happening he did manage to get out “will you?” “will you?” and we both cried while the crowed disappeared. It was very special and sweet and I did not see it coming at all. Zack designed the ring on his own, I’m almost positive he went to his sister Hannah to make sure it was perfect but otherwise it was all him- it’s a stunner and he did such a good job!
Let’s Talk Wedding Planning
Wedding Date, Geographical Location, Venue
Our wedding date was April 25th, 2015. We eloped in The Scottish Highlands in a small village called Glen Coe, it’s a popular location for mountaineers and adventurous people alike. Zack and I love the outdoors, we’re always traveling, exploring new places and hiking new peaks so the location was perfect for us…our initial thought was to travel from Glasgow Scotland, drive 3 hours north, find a location (on a whim) in this case we exchanged our vows overlooking Loch Levin in Glencoe, Scotland right outside our hotel. We explored the mountains with our photographer to capture our first marriage moments and continued on north to the Isle of Skye where we honeymooned. We essentially got married in the middle of a year end road trip (lol) it was so much fun!
We live a very out of the ordinary lifestyle, as much as we would have loved to have close friends and family come all the way over to the U.K. from North America it just seemed like so much to ask, not only that but much more work on our part that just wasn’t fitting for what we envisioned for our wedding day. In the end, we decided that we wanted a super intimate experience, just two of us, our photographer and our celebrant.
What was your wedding budget?
We didn’t have a budget going in considering the route we took we really didn’t need one.
What was your overall vision or theme?
Simple; that’s the only theme or vision we were aiming for. We had just experienced our first year abroad, it was a special experience and we wanted to highlight that and make it a year we wouldn’t forget. We were engaged for 3 years at the time and didn’t have the time to plan a wedding with our busy lifestyle that we decided last minute to just go or it.
How was your dress shopping experience?
You might laugh at this but I did not go dress shopping at all, because it was such a last-minute decision to get married in the way we did I just browsed online, found one I adored, purchased it and absolutely fell in love once it arrived. It was exactly what I was looking for, simple and effortless – it was a sheer white lace dress, long sleeved, form fitting but flowy and had a nude slip underneath. I purchased the dress from Stone Cold Fox, a boutique shop in Venice Beach, California.
If you had to describe your wedding style in one word what would it be?
How involved was your fiancé in the planning process?
Looking back on our day I would say it was a 50/50 split, we chose our wedding bands together, we chose his outfit together, I did the travel plans, the location, the hotel, the honeymoon etc but he nailed the location where we would exchange our vows, the locations for our photographs and got all the little things like champagne, candles and flowers for our room to make it romantic (I used half of the flowers in my bouquet I made an hour before the ceremony and added wild flowers from the highlands and wild sage we picked with my late father some summer’s before) overall I’d say we very much did it together as a team.
Did you use a wedding planner?
I didn’t not use a wedding planner, I did a quick google search and pinterest searched elopements but only got a lot of Hawaii and Mexico all-inclusive type wedding suggestions. At the time there just wasn’t enough resources for what we had in mind so we took a shot in the dark and hoped for the best.
What would you recommend as “must have pictures” for future brides?
If you have a fur baby, include them in your special day! Going through our photographs I wish we had some with our little bubs bella, to be fair the weather wasn’t kind to us on our day, it snowed, it rained, we experienced gail force winds so she couldn’t be out with us for long periods of time. If you’re taking a more traditional route than myself, include your family pet. It’s one thing I wish I had looking back at our photographs.
Top 3 most memorable moments of your wedding day
Location, scenery, and the relaxed atmosphere of it all.
One thing that made your wedding unique or something special and personal you added to your day that stands out from other weddings?
For me the single most personal addition to our wedding day was having our brother in-law fly in wild sage that my husband and I picked on the outskirts of my home city of Winnipeg with my father, he passed the following spring. Having that piece of home and piece of him with me on my special day made it so beyond special to the both of us. We found a spot after our ceremony overlooking the water to light some sage and have a smudge to honor him as it was days apart to the anniversary of his passing.
Total months planning?
We very much enjoyed our engagement and didn’t plan a single thing for three years, we probably would have waited longer to be honest but we couldn’t pass up all the beauty we were surrounded with in Scotland, it was the perfect opportunity to have the simple romantic wedding we always wanted – it was very last minute, spontaneous and most importantly simple.
One thing you wish you knew when you were planning your wedding?
The one thing with elopement I found is that even though it was very intimate and special for us, there were some close family members that were upset with not being included. It was very much a “Surprise, We’re Married” type of announcement, literally no one knew with the exception of a small few who caught onto what we were planning. We kept it very hush hush and loved that it was just ours and for us but thinking back we maybe should have pulled those special people in our lives aside and let them in on the know (as long as they can keep the secret of course).
One thing that helped you stay stress free throughout your planning and on your wedding day?
My husband and my bulldog Bella.
Did you go on a honeymoon? If so, where to? Did you go right after the wedding or wait?
The day after our ceremony we drove up north, crossed the bridge into the main island of Skye and ferried on over to Rassay where we spent a short couple days before flying back home for the summer.
Last but not least if you could give ONE piece of advice to a bride-to-be planning her wedding what would it be??
Follow your gut, at the end of the day it is YOUR day. Do what makes your heart the happiest!
Crystal & Zack’s Happily Ever After
A short couple months after our wedding we moved to a city called Sheffield in Yorkshire, England. We’ve been here for three years now and adore the little country side towns, big peaks and all the history that surrounds this big beautiful city. The U.K. has been very kind to us and gave us so many firsts including making our biggest dream come true, a baby. We couldn’t wait to grow out little family and I’m happy to say that I’m currently growing a teeny tiny human – I’m 30 weeks along with our first child and over half way there to meeting our baby girl. We’re looking forward to this new journey and embracing parent hood with pure excitement!
For more pictures of Crystal’s magical elopement, keep scrolling!
Photography by Jawn McClenaghan of JAWN PHOTO
What a gorgeous, intimate wedding. Vows with a view and the highland highs, Congrats Crystal & Zack and your sweet growing family!