The Elopement of Benjamin and Thomas
Photographs by Perri Ann
We met in a bar in Chattanooga, Tennessee a little over five years ago. We knew within a few minutes of meeting each other that our lives were about to drastically change. It’s like everything we thought the future held for us was rewritten within those few minutes at the bar. Thomas (@tomsiskhomes) loved travel and told stories of all the places he had seen. Benjamin (@benjamin.love) was a traveling musician and told stories of all the places he had played. After the bar Thomas’ friends went out dancing. Not wanting to be separated from Thomas, Benjamin decided to join them. Benjamin often says, “I’ll never forget the way he looked at me under the lights of the dance floor — his eyes gleaming, his arms wrapped tight around me.” We shared our first kiss and fell in love that night.
Over the next month we spent every day together. For hours we traded stories in coffee shops about each other’s families and lives. Growing up in the South, marriage was never an option for us. We never fantasized about a dream wedding or a marriage at all because it just wasn’t in the cards for us. We just hoped that one day we could find someone to share love with — and we did.
But the South was a dangerous place to be in love. We were harassed, threatened and called fags just for holding hands in public. We were tired of living as second class citizens. So we packed up our home and our two cats and road-tripped across the United States to Los Angeles where we started our new lives as husband and husband. We didn’t have our friends or families, but we had each other and an unending road of experiences ahead of us.
We journeyed through Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona on a steady diet of diner food and laughter. We even took our cats out of the car to see the Grand Canyon. The cute Korean tour buses couldn’t stop asking for kitty photos. The most unforgettable moment for us was our hike through Joshua Tree. The way life in the desert was able to thrive under the most harsh and unlikely circumstances left its mark on us. We knew this had to be the place were we eloped. We too wanted to make something beautiful out of an unfortunate situation. We walked into that desert as two lovers and left as one.
The dryer the desert, the sweeter the honey.
A year after settling into our new lives in Los Angeles we drove back to our favorite trail in the Mojave Desert to elope. No big budget, no buffet tables, no pretending to know distant relatives. Just the two of us and our dear friend, and photographer, Perri Ann. We now live in our cozy apartment in Los Angeles where Thomas is a Luxury Real Estate Agent and Benjamin is a musical performing artist. Thank you for listening to our story, for more about us visit:
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
My name is Perri! I’m a portrait and wedding photographer located in Portland, OR, available for Oregon Elopements or worldwide travel! Capturing fleeting moments and making them last a lifetime is my jam.