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Love & Marriage: We Eloped In Vegas

Thank you for joining us for the Love & Marriage series. I’m excited to be sharing my marriage journey along with Jenna, Shay, Jenn, Lindsay, and Megan.

Before we dive in I thought it would be appropriate for me to share the story of how my husband and I met and how we got married. It’s probably a story I haven’t shared here yet {and I’m not sure why}.

I don’t want to ruin the end for you, but it goes something like this….

marriage ring


We met in 2002 when he moved in next door to me in college. To say that my roommate and I weren’t all like, “Heyyyyy hot new neighbor boy” would be an understatement. A dark complected, fit, overly nice, sweet talking, SINLGE guy? What more could you ask for in a neighbor.

Problem was? I was already in a committed relationship to a man I had planned to marry. Yep. True story.

So the night that “hot new neighbor boy” knocked on our door with his shirt off to borrow peanut butter I tried to convince my roommate she should date him.

jif 1

Except somehow, in the short 3 minutes he stood in our doorway while my roommate grabbed the Jif, I was intrigued by him.

Eventually {days later}, I learned that he was a finance major. Fitting, because I had a finance class that I desperately needed help with.

A few weeks went by, and feeling like he owed us a favor after the peanut butter borrow, I ask him if he would be willing to teach me how to use my financial calculator. Some would say the rest is history, but unfortunately it wasn’t that simple.

Recall I mentioned I already had a boyfriend? Yea, issue numero uno.

But there was something that kept pulling me towards the neighbor boy. I can’t say it was something I was hearing from God because at the time I wasn’t a follower of Jesus and “to hear from God” would have been something I wasn’t familiar with.

But, looking back, I find it no accident that Jeff Rose moved in to apartment B-2.

Our relationship started off rocky. I was still leading on my “ex” while hot neighbor boy continued to be a “playboy” so to speak. We cheated. We lied. We did things that {looking back} neither one of us are proud of. But there was something that could never pull us apart.

The connection I felt with him was like nothing I had felt EVER before with anyone. And you know that silly little saying, “When you know…you know.”

Well, I knew.

We spent the better half of our relationship trying to gain the others trust back. Truly, when you cheat and lie…it’s so hard to come out of that. In fact, there were times that we both gave up.

It never lasted long.

Then in 2004, and after dating for just over a year, we were no longer neighbors and instead? We became roommates. We moved in together in a 4 bedroom house with 3 of his guy friends. Whoa, buddy. 

Nothing like moving the girlfriend in to the bachelor pad. 

Literally 3 months after we started living together we found out that he was being deployed {he was in the Army National Guard} to Iraq. And so we did what any young lovers would do…we got engaged.

MJ 008

On Halloween. Dressed as Dorothy and the Tin Man. Ahem.

marriage 4

We had planned to get engaged already, but with the deployment on the horizon we he decided to push it up. The next logical step was to be married and, being the fact that he was leaving for another country within a month, we decided to elope!

That is correct.

I’m really not the type….to get married in Vegas.

Except I did.

How many of you didn’t know that about me? Probably all of ya!

Y’all probably thought I would never run off to Vegas and tie the knot, hey?! Wrong.

To be completely honest with you, one of the main reasons we decided to get married prior to his deployment is so that I could have access to information about him while he was gone. It’s much easier to be included if you are a “wife” rather than just a girlfriend or fiance. That’s not to say we didn’t love each other…we did. But, the deployment definitely expedited our marriage.

We actually already had our trip booked to Las Vegas with my parents to visit his mom {who lives there} and we weren’t exactly sure if we were going to get married there or not.

Who does that? Plans a trip and says, “Hey we may or may not get married on this trip.”

It was important for me that my parents were on board with it. And, to say that that was an easy conversation….would be a big fat lie. EEEEKK!

I’m an only child and definitely a daddy’s girl. I was not about to do anything that my parents did not bless.

Three days in to our Vegas vacation, as we were sitting at In-N-Out Burger {go figure} we brought up the idea to my parents. They knew our history and the long road we had to finally becoming a couple. But I remember very clearly something that my dad said that day.

He said, “I don’t want to be the reason you DON’T get married. I want you to do what is going to make you happy.”

Not the response I expected from him. In fact, I thought he’d be on the next flight back to IL after he finished his Double Double.

That’s all I needed to hear. That’s all WE needed….and it was such a huge relief to have him leave the decision in my hands. I guess all those years of good grades made him trust me a little. Finally. Ha!

Not more than 24 hours later we were off to get our marriage license.

We originally booked our wedding at The Little White Chapel. Yes, the same Little White Chapel that Britney Spears got married at when she made that awful decision years ago.

The more I thought about…the more I just couldn’t do it. Not get married. I wanted to get married.

But I couldn’t get married at The Little White Chapel. It was too fake for me. I needed something more intimate and less baby-blue-tuxedo-ish. You know? 

So we forfeited our deposit and decided to get married at the Stratosphere hotel. A much more classy option. As classy as you can get when you elope in Vegas.

Our ceremony was 7 minutes. SEVEN. And I wore jeans {and what looks like a lingerie top}.

That’s it. It was me, Jeff, my mom & dad, and his mom and step-dad. Oh, and our Reverend who just so happened to be from Illinois {strange}.

marriage 3

2004 - 11 - Mandy Jeff 037

I was honestly so nervous that I drank a vodka/cranberry before we went up to the chapel. And if you know me, you know I don’t do alcohol.

Thoughts that went through my head…

Was I giving up my idea of a perfect wedding with the white dress, 12 bridesmaids, gorgeous flowers, and wonderful guests? Was this the right decision? What would our friends back home say? How will we be married and live in a house with 3 other guys?

If I would have truly known how hard the first year would have been…I may have opted out.

As you can see, we had no perfect start. No extravagant wedding. No wedding dress.

But what we did have was the desire to make our marriage work.  I’ll talk next week about what happened AFTER we eloped in Vegas.

Hard times were on the horizon…

Don’t forget to visit Jenna, Shay, Jenn, Lindsay, and Megan and read about how they met their spouse and what the beginning of their marriages looked like.


[ois skin="Home Tour 2"]


If you’d like to join us in writing about your marriage please feel free to link up your marriage posts below!


  1. Oh friend, I loved this! Seriously! I loved the realness of it, the genuine and authenticity of it. ;) Um, and it sounds like we have more to discuss the next time we’re together!
    Jenn @ Munchkin Land´s last blog post ..Love and Marriage, Week 1

  2. I think your openness is refreshing! I can’t wait to read the rest of the story. By the way, we honeymooned in Vegas…in August with 115 degree temps… because it was cheap!
    Sonya ~At Home with The Barkers´s last blog post ..He Is Risen!

  3. Carrie A. says:

    LOVE this! Now, I need to wait to hear what happens next… And, I agree, you just know when you have met the right person for you! Thanks for being so honest and open with your life. :)
    Carrie A.´s last blog post ..The most adorable egg hunt. (IMHO)

  4. Maria says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your love story. It is so encouraging to me to hear other unconventional love stories, like mine, and then to see that the couple is going strong and have grown in their love for each other and Jesus. Thanks!

  5. megan says:

    I love this story! I went to SIU as a swimmer recruit fall 2002. I only lasted one semester(too cold and lonely for me so back to Phoenix I went), but I did meet my now husband at swim meet at Northwestern. Small world and I can’t wait to hear the rest!
    megan´s last blog post ..Sullivan says…

  6. Shannon says:


    Thanks for sharing your marriage story – I loved learning more about how you and Jeff came to be “The Rose’s”! My hubs and I eloped in Vegas last year on 4/24, so we have an anniversary this month. The big white dress is highly overrated!

  7. Candi at Our Family Nest says:

    What a beautiful story! I got teary eyed at the part where you got your dads blessing. We got engaged on Halloween too! Married the following Oct 2nd and that Halloween we found outing was pregnant! Can’t wait for the next part to this story.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Love this! My story is sort of similar; no fancy wedding, just meeting the hubby while dating someone else and a rough first year, but a desire to persevere. We celebrate 21 years today! :)

  9. Karah says:

    Love your story and your blog! I feel like we are friends.

  10. Luen says:

    What a great story! I never would have pegged you as the “elope to Vegas” type, but it sounds like it was a great wedding. How great that your parents could be there.

  11. Jenna says:

    I love this! I’m so glad you are a part of this series and I loved your honesty!

  12. Amy says:

    I love this story and am happy that I was the “roomie”! The stuff you guys put me through, lol! But I always knew you guys were meant to be. I still remember waking up to J sitting in my room – in the dark – at my desk, you were no where to be found and he was so upset that he had ruined it for real. Man the things you guys have been through together! I have to say I admire you guys so much. In fact so much that when C and I got engaged I thought about seeing if I could convince J to get ordained (sorry Rev. Rick) and marry us becuase I admire your relationship so much!! You know how proud I am of you and I am so happy I picked such a wonderful BF :)

  13. Kala says:

    I LOVE this! Can’t wait to read the rest of the story!!! I love finding out new things about you I wouldn’t expect!
    Kala´s last blog post ..Stop & Smell the Roses 4/3/13

  14. Natalie says:

    I love REAL stories. I met my now husband in a bar and I knew that night I would be marrying that guy. In fact, I had an engagement ring 3 months later. Our engagement lasted longer than our dating. But we both knew going in that it’s what we wanted and are willing to put in the effort to make ti work.
    Natalie´s last blog post ..My Takeaways from Blissdom

  15. Sarah Ryan says:

    Love this! Never would have guessed! Looking forward to the rest of the story. It’s always nice to hear about real marriages.
    Sarah Ryan´s last blog post ..Organising The Hallway

  16. Lindsey says:

    Mandy, this is AMAZING! I love it! Drew was in the National Guard too. We got engaged in the middle of his first deployment (it was homeland security for that one), and then were only married a year and a half before his second deployment (to Kuwait). Those deployments are HARD!!!!
    Lindsey´s last blog post ..An Intro to Us {Love and Marriage Blog Series}.

  17. Lisa Prather says:

    I loved reading your story! Can’t wait for part 2!
    Lisa Prather´s last blog post ..The Story of Us

  18. I loved reading this post. My hubby and I also eloped right down to city hall with the family in tow…It was the easiest hard decision I have had to make. Thank you again for sharing. I just posted about changing my name and being a newly wed. I would love for you to check it out.


  19. Kat says:

    O M G best story ever! :)
    Kat´s last blog post ..Easter recap in photos

  20. Melanie says:

    Loved your love story and your honesty. Weddings are so overrated! ha! We eloped as well….and when I say eloped, I mean eloped! Nothing fancy, $37.50 at the courthouse by the judge :)

  21. Elise says:

    What an amazing story! I LOVED reading it, especially since a lot of it paralleled the beginning of my relationship with my husband!

  22. Shay Shull says:

    I can’t decide what my favorite part of this story is…is it that you married a man who was in the military? (Because anyone who serves is a HERO in my book!) Is it that you decided the fate of your marriage at a burger joint? Or was it you looking so cute in your jeans on your wedding day? I just really loved it all! I’m so excited to be in this series with you! XOXO

  23. xLoveHappyx says:

    OMG I definitely did not know this about the “perfect” couple ;P Loved reading about your romance and it sounds sooo much like my own (except mine started in high school, eek lol). Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading what’s next.
    xLoveHappyx´s last blog post ..Gap and Old Navy Shopping

  24. Lindsey says:

    I love this Mandy! I remember when you, me, Jenn & Linda were sitting at lunch in Denver and you talked about this story and I loved it! I would do the exact same thing if I knew my husband was about to be deployed because if he is the love of your life (which obviously Jeff is), then the “how” of getting married doesn’t really matter. for the record you were adorable as dorothy! xo
    Lindsey´s last blog post ..Fashionista Friday with ShopEllaMadison Boutique!

  25. I absolutely loved your story! It`s was true, honest and the love was clearly unevitable!
    The Norwegian Girl´s last blog post ..Travel Memories

  26. Meagan at Megs7827 says:

    I can relate to you guys because you didn’t start out in a church. I’m interested to know how your family started the going to church process. I was so bummed that I was sick Easter weekend because I had finally gotten Hubby to agree to go to church with me and now he doesn’t want to go next weekend now that I am better! Pray for us!

  27. Cate says:

    I have several couples that I want to model our marriage after and you are definitely one of them. You are truly best friends and it shows. My husband is my best friend and I know there are some things I couldn’t have done without him. Thanks so much for sharing your story and I look forward to the rest of the marriage series.
    Cate´s last blog post ..Taking a Break

  28. Brooke says:

    Loved this post! I’m a frequent reader, but comment rarely. This is definitely one of my favorites! Can’t wait until next week!

  29. how interesting- peanut butter huh? funny!
    kelly thompson´s last blog post ..Sundays in my City

  30. I was engaged too when I met my husband. I feel terrible about the way things ended up — but when you know you know. And I often think that had I gone through with marrying that person that I would have been divorced soon after. I can’t imagine the life I would have led.

    So fun to read your story and get to know you a bit better!
    Jenny Collier´s last blog post ..the workshop {mamarazzi recap}

  31. Kelly says:

    Thanks for sharing! You two are so cute. Just a question about linking up since I’ve never done it before and am new to blogging. If I link on your website does it automatically go onto the other girls sites too, or should I link on each website separately. Thanks Mandy! Love your blog.

    • Mandy says:

      Hi Kelly! You only need to link to the person’s site that you are linking up to. It will not automatically link to the other ones, but the idea is that if you link to mine (or the persons you linked up from) then, if they come to my site from yours, I have linked to all of the other girls. Thanks!!

  32. Jen says:

    Love this. Can’t wait to read the next part…..

    Funny thing, is that we just got back from Vegas to attend my cousin’s wedding. btw: Vegas and little kids do not mix.

  33. Molly says:

    You look like a baby! I love the story. I was engaged when I met the hubs and our relationship didn’t start out the smoothest (obviously!) but quickly became something great. I can’t wait to read more!
    Molly´s last blog post ..“I’m going to be on YouTube!” A vlog by Cooper.

  34. Here via Lindsey’s blog, and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story – it really shows that you don’t have to have a fairytale story or be high school sweethearts to have a perfect marriage, and that real relationships take work!
    Heather @ Beyond the Aisle´s last blog post ..plaid barn initial stamps!

  35. Lana says:

    I love your blog! great post!
    I would love for you to stop by my page too and hopefully you support me by following me! I can’t wait for your next post.Thanks

    ps: ShillCat Women’s Accessories is given away an amazing jewelry. Take a look at this link:

  36. Mandy says:

    I just love this story!! My husb and I have a slightly similar story…but we just got engaged 3 days before he deployed to Iraq. We did talk of eloping the next day, but I was only 21, still in college, and we had known each other less than a year.

    I don’t think I ever knew your husaband was in the military…please thank him for his service
    Mandy´s last blog post ..Expectation vs Reality.

  37. Casey says:

    I loved this post so much I included it in my series, Lots of Link Love! I hope you’ll come check it out, maybe visit some other outstanding blogs, and share with your readers! I had no idea you had eloped, it was so fun to read about your story!

    Casey´s last blog post ..Lots of Link Love

  38. Aw I always think it would be so romantic, but i think you’d end up regretting it..
    Did you regret anything?
    I’ve heard stories from a lot of people who look back a few years down the line and wish their friends and family were there, saw a cool infographic on pros and cons of eloping if anyone wan’t to see it? –

  39. […] This week is all about something we struggled with as a couple. While I am sure I have MANY MANY MANY stories I could come up with for this post, by far the biggest obstacle was what took place AFTER we returned from Vegas. […]

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