a wedding in the time of covid
Houston power couple embraces 2020 with adorable elopement and local honeymoon
It was not the wedding they'd planned. But, like so much else in the wild ride that is 2020, in the end, it was exactly the they wedding needed.
LiveNation talent buyer, Grace Gibson, and owner of The Scurfield Group, Nick Scurfield, eloped this summer, ditching the elaborate plans they had for a killer wedding celebration at the Phoenix Resort in Belize, opting instead for a simple ceremony at the Fort Bend County Courthouse.
"Our wedding was supposed to happen on July 11," explains Gibson. "And when everything started shutting down back in March, we thought we'd still be okay with a summer date."
"We'd booked the whole resort," Scurfield continues. "And when it became obvious that we'd have to cancel, the resort was great about refunding not only for us but all of our guests."
But now the engaged couple faced a dilemma: what to do next.
"I'd planned the wedding I wanted," Gibson says. "I didn't want to plan another one."
That's when it occurred to them that instead of sinking cash into another blow-out wedding, they could buy a house. But, they reasoned, that would be easier to do if they were married. So, they eloped on May 29.
"Grace's parents eloped, so the idea wasn't entirely farfetched," says Scurfield.
The couple met February 2018 in New York City, while Scurfield was there serving as PR representation for chef Alex Padilla during his stint on The Chew. Gibson, originally from Houston, was living and working in the Big Apple.
"I was meeting up with my friend Latane Hughes for drinks, and he said he was bringing some other friends," Scurfield says. "I was expecting it would be Latane and couple of bros. But I show up and it's two girls. And one of them is Grace."
The pair hit it off that night, listening to music at the Fat Cat Jazz Club and playing shuffleboard. Gibson visited Houston two months later and she and Scurfield decided they'd give a long-distance relationship a go. Scurfield proposed in April 2019, over the weekend of his birthday at the rooftop bar at Z on 23 downtown.
"My associate Shelby Janik did a lot of the prep work for it," says Scurfield. "She had rose petals scattered on the floor out to the terrace and helped coordinate things. I'd arranged for a musician to be out there playing."
"And I had no idea!" exclaims Gibson. "We get off the elevator and it doesn't look like the place is open and there's this guy playing guitar, and I said to Nick, 'It's so sad that no one is here to hear him.' I was so clueless."
"It was Brant Croucher and he was playing 'Baby I Love Your Way,' which is a special song for us," says Scurfield. "And Daniel Ortiz was taking photos as I got down on one knee and asked her. I'll never forget the look on her face."
"You know, my sister works in the wedding industry, so I'd been exposed to it," says Gibson. "And I just figured, when the time is right, Nick and I will go together to look at rings and whatever. And he planned it all!"
Having so many of their loved ones around for their engagement might have taken a bit of the sting out of not having them around for the wedding itself.
All Houston courthouses were still closed in May, so Gibson discovered they could be married in Fort Bend County. They found the judge who officiated the service, Bud Childers, through a friend of Gibson's family.
"He was so sweet," she says. "We had no idea what we were doing. But he had our vows printed out and everything. It took something that could have been very transactional and made it tender and personal."
Their friend Stuart Makris coordinated the iPad setup so they could have their families witness the wedding via Zoom. "I was actually texting people the Zoom link as we were going to the courthouse," says Gibson, who also admits she didn't have a dress for the ceremony until the day before, when she dragged Nick to Anthropologie, where she bought a very boho maxi dress to pair with a hat from Casa Ramirez Imports.
Scurfield wore a Hawaiian-print jacket he bought in New Orleans. Gibson carried a few blooms from a bouquet her sister and brother-in-law had sent from Urban Stems as a congratulations gift.
Following the ceremony, the couple went to dinner at BCN Taste & Tradition where, after dinner, the staff presented them with a cake Gibson's sister and brother-in-law sent them from Milk Bar. "Congratulations" was written on the plate.
"I'd told Grace, pack a bag, but I didn't tell her much else," said Nick.
Checking into the Hotel ZaZa on their wedding night they discovered that one of Grace's best friends from New York and his girlfriend were also staying there, so the couple's honeymoon morphed into a multi-day party, with the quartet hanging out at places like Double Trouble and Tacos A Go-Go.
The day after the wedding, one of Scurfield's closest friends, chef David Cordúa and his fiancée attorney Sara Padua hosted a picnic in a park for the newlyweds, complete with cheese and wine, and cocktails in mason jars.
"It ended up being so great," said Scurfield about the whole wedding experience.
Six months into marriage, the couple are loving their new life together. In July, they purchased a home in Montrose, which Scurfield calls "the best neighborhood in Houston." It just happens to be a block from where Gibson grew up.
And next year, for their anniversary, they're planning on going to the Phoenix Resort in Belize, and inviting close friends along for a combined vacation.
Ceremony: Fort Bend County Courthouse
Wedding dinner: BCN Taste & Tradition
Wedding night: Hotel ZaZa
Wedding cake: Milk Bar
Photographer: Daniel Ortiz
Bride's dress: Anthropologie
Bride's hat: Casa Ramirez Imports
Bride's flowers: Urban Stems
Groom's jacket: Rubensteins New Orleans
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