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We wanted to elope, so we're having 3 "weddings" instead

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

Like everything else we do in our lives, there was a plan. But then things happened, we pivoted, and the outcome was way better than anything we could've ever planned.

Although we don’t often follow the traditional path, Matthew's "plan" was to ask Shanon’s parents formally when we went to visit for Thanksgiving. He had the image of pulling her dad to the side and having the heart to heart talk with him. Well, that plan went to hell as soon as the first round went down range, as most of ours do. While participating in the Veterans, Guns and Cigars shooting competition in our onesies at the end of October, a better idea struck. Being the competitive shooter that Matthew is, he set his sights on winning the match, and proposing with the first prize pistol. What more could any girl ask for than a 9mm?

"If I don't fear for my life at least 3 times a day with this woman, it's a boring day" ~Matthew

Although spontaneous, Matthew's idea worked. He shot, then he took his shot and dropped to his knee (while still in an ankle boot from surgery). Lucky for him, it was the easiest "yes" Shanon had ever said in her life.

The winning stage & a bangin' engagement ring

That evening was perfect. Matthew won, and we got engaged in our onesies at a shooting range as a Harley Davidson revved it's engine and a bald eagle flew overhead.

"He said he wouldn't propose until he was out of his boot..."

However, we were a little surprised when we called our parents with the good news, and were greeted by a less than happy Mama Lavin. We knew that we had broken tradition, but we didn't realize that "engagement" means something very different in American culture compared to Taiwanese culture. In Taiwan, the engagement period and accompanying tea ceremony is actually a bigger deal than the wedding banquet. After clearing up the confusion, and bringing up the mention of breeding a herd of unicorn onesie clad devil pups, all was forgiven. However, we knew at that moment that we'd have to think outside the box to honor our vastly different family traditions as we planned our nuptials.

Neither of us wanted big weddings, but we knew many of our friends and family members wanted a way to celebrate with us. So rather than having one big wedding, we decided to have 3...sort of. Because we both wanted to elope, but had deep fears of disappointing our mothers, we decided that our official wedding would be immediate family only, and celebrated when we already had plans to bring our families together over the upcoming Christmas holiday. We also knew that we wanted to honor Matthew's cowboy family & Shanon's Taiwanese family, so we're bringing the shenanigans to the End of Trail Cowboy Action Shooting World Championships tonight, and later jet-setting to Taiwan for our engagement Tea Ceremony.

At the end of the day, how we've decided to celebrate our union with our families and friends has been nothing but traditional. However, we're bringing together people and cultures that are worlds apart, but founded on shared values of honoring your loved ones, respecting each other, and having a great time doing it!

We are not nonconformists, we just like doing things our way more. What we've realized, at least in the world of wedding planning, is that there is no "right way". If you prefer to go from move in, to engaged, and married in less than 6 moths before bouncing back and forth across 5 states, 2 countries and an ocean, all while surviving out of the back of a truck, then maybe, just maybe, our shenanigans will motivate you to look at the world through a slightly different lens…your own unique one.

This is what Hop On and Hold On is all about. We take a challenging situation and we find creative ways to "figure it out" together while staying true to ourselves, our values, and most importantly, each other.

As we're writing this, we're preparing for our second wedding celebrating the union of Moe T Vader and Shenan E Gunz, our cowboy & cowgirl aliases.

If that sentence makes no sense to you, hop on and hold on, because we'll share more about it next week ;)

'Til the next coffee shop,


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