Military Wedding Elopement Pensacola | Mariel + Zane

It’s not often that a wedding takes place 36 days prior to a 4th wedding anniversary. But that’s what Mariel and Zane did! I was privileged and honored to capture this incredible long-awaited celebration of their wedding elopement in downtown Pensacola at Agapi Bistro + Gardens. They’re both military, and as soon as I heard their wedding script spoken, I knew I couldn’t write this story or blog any better than they already had! So please enjoy their love story in their OWN words!

Love is a journey….

As both sides of the family can relate to, the military can make relationships tough. I can imagine [Mariel’s family’s] reaction to Mariel calling to say, “I’m getting married next week to this guy I met 9 months ago!” was probably similar to [Zane’s parents]. 

Mariel and Zane swiped right on each other while stationed in Japan in March of 2019! They got married at the Chatan-cho City Hall on Okinawa in January of 2020 with grandiose plans of a worldwide tour to meet family. They’d plan a wedding that everyone could travel to and get off on a very traditional foot! Which is why they initially only told their parents.

We all know what happened shortly after that. (Remember this was 2020!)

Two lives

Luckily, [her parents] were able to visit Japan before lockdowns started and actually meet Zane! The Mills and Latham side weren’t so lucky. It would be almost TWO long years before anyone got to meet Mariel!

While living one life with their friends on Okinawa and a separate one with their grandparents, extended family, and on Facebook; the couple did what any married couple would do. They said to each other, “we should probably get engaged… and take some pictures, too!”.

Nine months later, when Zane bought a ring and surprised Mariel with a proposal, they could finally start to share the news that they were “engaged”! But the façade quickly crumbled under the non-stop pressure from the matriarchs of Nanny, Nan, Nana, Granny, and Grandma to “Just get married! It’s not a big deal in the military!”. And so the truth came out.

Zane and Mariel’s marriage ceremony on Okinawa involved quickly changing out of their uniforms during lunch, rushing to city hall, standing in line at the Japanese DMV counter, getting 67 han stamps on their DD Form 58, then taking a quick picture and heading back to work. On December 16th 2023 – 4 years, 7894 nautical miles, and one dog later – they’ve brought us all together so that they can finally complete the story of their wedding by sharing vows and exchanging rings with all of you here as witnesses!

Thankfully and collectively we can now celebrate Captain and Lieutenant Mills!!

A FUN wedding day paired with timeless images full of unscripted moments and unique details.