An 100-Guest Ceremony to an Elopement: A Backyard Wedding Story

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Ross and Hall Wedding – Photo by Jamie Robbins
Photo by Jamie Robbins, JME.Photography

Alex Hall & Aubrey Ross

Wedding Date May 2, 2020

Occupations Alex is a geomatics engineer and Aubrey is an event coordinator. They both work in Raleigh.

Crossed Paths Alex and Aubrey met in school at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. “My roommates were friends with him and his sister at the time, and they came over to visit,” Aubrey says. “For me, it was an immediate attraction. We have been inseparable ever since that day in January 2013.”

The Proposal In May 2019, Alex and Aubrey planned a trip to England to visit a friend, Daniel Rosier, and his family; little did Aubrey know, Alex had a much bigger surprise in store. The couple and Daniel took a day trip to France to see the ​Palace of Versailles. Aubrey “was able to soak up a long-awaited moment of being in this incredibly historic place.” As the pair posed for a photograph in the gardens, “all I could feel [was] Alex’s heart pounding,” Aubrey says, “and I knew something was about to happen!” Sure enough, Alex got down on one knee and proposed to a stunned Aubrey. “It was such a memorable day, and it could not have gone better.”

The Big Day The couple originally planned an April 18 wedding in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but when COVID-19 made that plan impossible, they scaled the initial 100-guest wedding down to a four-guest elopement with local friends and one family member. After exhausting the options of public parks for concern for the health of others, they made a last-ditch effort and looked into Airbnbs. “We came across this breathtaking backyard garden oasis in Durham, and we knew that this was the spot we were going to promise to love each other for the rest of our lives,” Aubrey says. “We contacted Stephen [Barefoot], and he was so diligent to respond with positivity and genuine passion for our situation and immediately offered his garden for our elopement, with the proper precautions.”
            Guests were greeted by a table with sanitizer and gloves and directed to both of the neighbor’s houses to watch from their backyards to maintain distance. There were tripods set up to Zoom and Facebook Live with family members. The couple’s dog, Magic, sat close by while they said their vows. The newlyweds hosted a small bonfire in their backyard in Raleigh with music and dessert. “We plan to have a reception in Ohio in the future to celebrate with all of our closest friends and family,” Aubrey says.

Are you a recently married couple living in Durham? Want to share your big day in the magazine? Send a note to to learn how you can feature your wedding in an upcoming issue!

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Durham Magazine Intern

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