Inside Influencer Sean Taylor's Elopement With a Campy, Vintage-Inspired After-Party at The Village Café in Richmond, Virginia
Within the last few years—and with a global pandemic that set every event back a year or two—some sweethearts have been electing to elope or host microweddings before a larger sequel wedding. Sean Taylor (a style influencer and a season-one contestant on Netflix’s "The Circle") and Eric Carlstrom were two such sweethearts. The decision started as a practicality and evolved into a whimsical masterclass in genuine fun. “Our decision to elope before our larger wedding set for September 2023 couldn’t be any less romantic. I wanted to qualify for Eric’s insurance,” Sean laughs. “So, we decided to make it a whole moment and do something very different from our “real” wedding, which is set to be very classic and timeless.”
Sean and Eric, who met at a party and reconnected years later on a dating app, dated long-distance before settling together in Richmond, Virginia. “This elopement was really a love letter to our experience in Richmond,” explains the bride. “We met here almost ten years ago, and we always talked about moving back before we finally did about a year ago. Celebrating our favorite spots and sharing them with the online community I’ve built since living in RVA has been such a treat!” Working with the same photographer and videographer they’d hired for their big event this coming September, Sean and Eric treated this exciting day as a bit of posing practice.
In stark contrast to their September nuptials, this January elopement honored a particular aesthetic. “We used our elopement to do something that felt vibey, irreverent and unique to us. We gave our guests a bit of a fashion assignment with a dress code of kitschy, glitzy, Vegas, 'camp' clothes,” says Sean. Regarding their own fashion choices, the groom elected to get a stylish, custom, dusty-blue suit. The bride found a strapless minidress with detachable, sheer puff sleeves and a bridal cape. Both new spouses exuded retro flair—perfectly complimenting their casually sweet ceremony. Sean paired her getup with white kitten heels, pearl earrings, a light blue purse (matching her beloved’s attire) and a short veil topped with a delicate bow. “For hair, I went with a curtain bang half updo and completed the look with a subtle baby blue eye,” she describes. “I felt like a little cherub bride and loved it.”
After a quick “I do” exchange on the terrace of an iconic Richmond hotel, the new Mr. and Mrs. met their guests at their favorite college watering hole, The Village Café. “It’s a homey, eclectic diner that was featured on 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives' once upon a time,” notes Sean. Inside, the couple celebrated playfully with several humorous inclusions. “We really wanted to capture all of our nearest and dearest, so we had a big, editorial group photo over a table full of classic diner food,” the bride shares. “It was like a Las Vegas Last Supper.”
In addition to the delicious food, Sean and Eric ordered a round of “breakfast shots” for themselves and their loved ones—Jameson, butterscotch schnapps and a chaser of orange juice: “an absolutely legendary moment,” says Sean. They rounded out the evening with a retro-inspired, heart-shaped wedding cake with the words “Technically Married” piped out in frosting and a fondant chip in the shape of an insurance card to illustrate the original idea behind the elopement, created by the couple's friend, Marj Santoromana of Sweet Fix.
The bride and groom encourage others considering a pre-reception elopement to go for it. “We are SO glad we did an elopement before our 'real' wedding,” they say. “It solidified the perspective that everything goes by so fast, so we’re not sweating all the little things and savoring every moment.”