Desert Elopement | Kasey + Cutter

May 27

By Real Bride Kasey

When Kasey sent us over her and Cutter’s love story, she was a little worried about how it would be perceived. It’s not your typical love story- there are heartaches and potholes in the road that lead to their I-dos.

We chose to leave her story just as she sent it because not every love story is full of rainbows and glitter and mushy feelings. While a lot of the time we live in that fantasy, the truth is that, that isn’t always our reality.

Sometimes you have to work hard for love. You have to have faith.

We chose to share Kasey and Cutter’s story and elopement not only because we loved her photos, but because we felt some of you might really connect with the real and rawness of it. She didn’t try to sugar coat it, she was honest.

And at the end of day, love wins. Always.

“I would like to preface this writing by stating that you won’t find any fairytale in our love story. You may find heartache, drama, real life, forgiveness, and love sure enough, but if love at first sight and happily ever afters are your thing, this is where I urge you to stop. However, if you feel you can handle a little bit of straightforwardness and truth, please continue.

Cutter and I met for the very first time at a house party in Wolfforth, Texas in the Fall of 2012. I was working on my Bachelor’s Degree at Texas Tech and he was working for a ranch in Muleshoe, Texas. We had seen each other in passing a couple of times before we decided to get together but they weren’t the most pleasant of experiences. The first time I was coming off of a Morphine drip due to stomach ulcer pain and was barely coherent (I know, cringe), and the second time I had gone out to see my cousin’s band, The Quaker City Nighthawks, play at a bar called The Blue Light and had gotten a little too far into the Vodka with he and his bandmates (cringe again). For whatever reason, Cutter decided he wanted to get to know the wild little indian I used to be and we decided to have dinner at my place one night. This would be the first interaction we had that I actually remember and ironically, one I will also never forget. 

When he walked into my house, I knew immediately that he was the one. He was wearing a white v-neck t-shirt, torn up Levi’s, a punchy 5 inch brim straw hat, Raybans, Sanuks, and he was carrying a case of Dos XX. He was tan, buff, had the greenest eyes I’d ever seen, and my Lord…that dimple! He was a blonde headed dream and I was done for. I’d like to say we fell madly in love and rode off into the sunset, but one thing you should know about Cutter and I, is that we tend to do things all the wrong ways before we finally do them the right, and a Cinderella story would have just been too easy. 

Things really didn’t go well that night. I cooked his steak wrong, he spilt a beer on me, and we couldn’t agree on whether we were going to the drive in or the movie theatre. There were sparks alright, but they weren’t at all fireworks. We parted ways and I kept him in the back of my mind, but I still had school and a newborn business to focus on. Everything about him screamed “love of my life” but I had been in “love” before and was not about to lose myself to that again. 

Fastforward to the Fall of 2013: I had transferred to Tarleton State in Stephenville, Texas to be closer to the DFW metroplex. The wedding industry was much bigger there and with a new wedding planning/photo booth business, I felt I would see more bookings in the bigger cities. Unbeknownst to me, Cutter had also moved back East and was living in Mineral Wells, Texas. My 21st birthday rolled around and some girlfriends of mine took me out for dinner. I wore this sequined dress and we had big time. Naturally, we posted all the pictures we took that night on Facebook and Cutter happened to see them. Within the next couple of days he had started texting me again. He told me how beautiful I looked in that dress and how he had moved home and he would even send me pictures of the little rent house he was remodeling with his dad. I tried not to look too far into it but of course I was thrilled to hear from him. I put him off as long as I could but our first official date was December 6, 2013. He came to my house in Stephenville and we went out for a few drinks. It seemed we had both grown a little in our time apart and from that night on, we were inseperable. We would make the 40 minute drive multiple times a week to be together and he never asked me to be his girlfriend, he just started telling people I was. We fell for each other hard and fast but we were both so stubborn, so young, and so determined to lead, that were a complete reincarnation of Noah and Ally – bickering when together but refusing be apart.

8 months in, I found out I was pregnant with our first child. We had been broken up for a week and I was in such shock that I literally took 10+ pregnancy tests. We were both excited and we tried to make it work, but we still had so much growing to do that it just didn’t happen. Things were up and down my entire pregnancy and when Autry was born, it was war almost immediately. He’d hired his lawyer, I’d hired mine, and we were both set out to ruin the other. We fought, we yelled, we cried, and we failed over and over again. We failed each other, we failed Autry, and we failed the Lord. We knew we were each wrong in our own ways but the built up emotion and resent was too much. I never stopped loving him and he never stopped loving me, but neither of us was willing to give in to the other and so the battle dragged on. 

The first year of Autry’s life was the hardest year either of us had ever been through and also the most beneficial to who we are as people now and to our relationship. During this time, we had each seen other people and we had done the best we could to move on. The funny thing about true love though, is that you can’t run from it. 

One night he asked me to meet him without Autry. He said he just wanted to talk to me about something and he seemed sad or scared or some emotion that I just couldn’t put my finger on. I didn’t know what to think but my gut told me to meet him even though my head said it wasn’t a good idea. We met up at this little pizza joint in Godley, Texas and he just started speaking from the heart. He had legitimately put his guard down and basically just said he loved me and didn’t want to fight with me anymore. I was thrown for a loop. We had mediation coming up in a few weeks and I was really scared that he was just telling me whatever he thought I wanted to hear so that mediation would work in his favor. 

Over the next few weeks we progressively spent more time together and by the time mediation rolled around, we had already gone so far through the legal process that we knew we had to see it through in case things were to take a turn for the worse again. However, we had spent a lot of time considering the many different ways our lives might look in the future and what was best for Autry. The day finally came and we met in the parking lot of the mediator’s office 15 minutes early. You should have seen the looks on our lawyers’ faces when they arrived to see us hand in hand in prayer. They didn’t know whether to be happy for us or to slap us. Mediation was a long process and by the end of the day we were physically and mentally exhausted. When it was over and our custody agreement had been finalized, we went and had a beer at a nearby Mexican restaurant. 

You hear horror stories all the time about people battling over their kids. They build a hatred for each other they can never recover from. They can’t be in the same room together anymore, their kids are miserable, and everybody else is just walking on eggshells around them because they don’t really know what else to do. That had been our reality for so many months that we were just exhausted. We were exhausted from the unknown, we were exhausted from constantly trying to “one up” the other, and we were exhausted from hurting the person we each cared the most about. In a way it was like breaking a young horse. You lope the circles until it finally gives in and pays attention. That’s what we did. We finally gave in, forgave, payed attention to the lessons we had learned, and moved on. It took a lot of time and it for sure wasn’t easy, but we learned to listen to each other in a way we never had before, we learned to seek the Lord in all things, and in many ways we grew up together. 

When Autry was 2, we decided we were going to get married. There was no surprise proposal and there was no giant diamond ring. And we had spent so much of our family’s time, energy, and money on our legal process that we knew a traditional wedding just wasn’t in the cards. So we very quickly decided to elope. We tossed around destination weddings in Vegas and Mexico and we thought we had our minds set on a private ceremony somewhere with our families meeting up with us for a big party afterwards. But nothing really felt right. One afternoon I was scrolling through Pinterest and I saw this picture of a Saguaro in the middle of the desert. That was it. I then started searching “desert elopements” and found a million images I loved. I had been to Arizona before and had always wanted to go back – no better reason! In less than a week we had picked a date, I had bought a dress of the sale rack, booked an officiant, photographer, and an AirBnB. A month and a half later we loaded the pick up and headed toward Apache Junction, Arizona. We made it in 3 days with a little over $600.00 to our names. 

We were married on June 10th, 2017 in the Lost Dutchman State Park. It was far from the textbook weddings I was used to coordinating (my flowers wilted immediately in the 103 degree Arizona heat, the officiant pinned Cutter’s boutonnière on the wrong side, the seamstress I used completely butchered my dress and it never did fit or look right after, and we were so broke I did my own hair and make up), but we didn’t care. After everything we’d been through and overcome, it didn’t matter what we were wearing, what we looked like, or even where we were. We were together, we were happier than ever, and we had officially made all our wrongs into rights as we recited our vows. It was one of the most spiritual things either of us had ever experienced as we felt the Lord present through the entire trip. Even though we would still love to have a reception some day, neither of us look back on our wedding with a single regret. For us it was the healing we had for so long been needing and it was the perfect foundation for our life to come. 

Today, we have been together for 7 years, and married for 3 next month. We are living in Palo Pinto, Texas with our now 5 and 2 year old girls, Autry Dylan and Anders River. Life isn’t always easy and we still have our moments, but we remain ever steady by living simply, looking to the Lord for all things, and giving in to each other as often as possible.” 

PHOTOGRAPHER | Jamie Findlay Photography
DRESS | Pence & Panache
HAT | Flint Hat Shop
MU + HAIR + FLORAL | Bride

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