marriage-advice

Marriage Tips, Advice and Stories from Couples who have gone the distance in their Marriage.

We ended 2020 with a blog post wrapping up the year and talking about 2021 trends in elopements. I am so stoked for the year ahead capturing love stories. I want to start this year on a positive vibe level, you know what I mean?! Last year someone asked me on a call, why are you an elopement photographer? I did a lot sole searching to really answer this. Part of my “why” for how my elopement business is structured is “to give people a place and the space to freely express themselves to each other.” I could be doing this with portrait sessions, but I chose working with couples because I truly believe in love and have always been profoundly drawn to marriage/long lasting love. Finding that person that is your forever partner and growing into that relationship as life goes on is the highest goal to me in life. Now I could take this why and this passion and just shoot weddinga, but I don’t, I only shoot elopements. So why? Simple. I truly believe the best way, as in the most authentic, raw and free, way to start off your marriage is eloping. I believe the locations you elope are powerful enough to make hold each other closer, to allow you feel and express yourself. I believe adventure elopements are stress free, emotive, focused on the reason for the day and beautiful.

I want to start off this year with a gift or inspiration you could say. Since strong marriage is something that really pushes me in this business and all of you are entering marriage I wanted to share a blog post of love stories, advice and more from married couples who have made it 35+ years and are still happily doing life together. So I spent the last month or so documenting some of these love stories, chatting and asking questions to these couples. I hope this blog post inspires you, reminds you how to get through the tough times and helps your love keep growing in marriage. Below are my interviews with seven couples I got the chance to speak to. On your elopement day you have a long life ahead of you in marriage, just remember there is always growth and learning to be had.

Listening to each couples stories, spending time with and reading their answers I learned there was a few things they all had in common: they all spent time traveling together, almost all mentioned counseling and being your best self to be the best partner, being able to laugh with each other, having similar values and goals but also having your own activities/self.

A saying I starting saying in revelation to a good marriage after these projects was:

In life you go through ups and downs, you have bad days, bad weeks and maybe bad years. You know what though? You never give up on yourself, you always work to improve. So in a marriage you may have a bad day, bad week and maybe a bad year, but you shouldn’t give up on your relationship or partner. The most beautiful things in life, take hard work.

Words and Advice from Couples in Arizona

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Married: 35 years

Dated how long before marriage: friends for 1 year, dated a few months before engaged and then married!

How did you know they were the one?

We did things as friends since I was new to the area. I had a personal “rule” to never date someone I worked with. We enjoyed playing racquetball, going downtown Chicago to Jazz clubs & spent time checking out things in Chicago. I was originally going to fix him up with a friend from college, since I never planned to get married. After about a year of doing fun things together, I changed my mind & thought it’d be good to date and move the relationship forward. I had grown in love with him. I had dated many different guys in college and afterward. I knew that R was a guy with the qualities I valued, and we could build a good life together. R had not done much dating, so he wasn’t sure he wanted to get serious. We stopped seeing each other for a month, so that he could figure out what he wanted. After that time, we dated another couple of months, then got engaged in June & married 6 months later.

What is their marriage advice to you?

K: WHEN you’re frustrated with him, let him know what’s going on inside your head/heart with a phrase like “when you do xx, the story I’m telling myself is … because…”. R: Agreed, also be courageous enough to enter your partner’s world. Get to know their perspective, why they see the world the way that they do. Know their hurts, fears, hopes and dreams to provide comfort, compassion and a positive future.

What are things that helped them navigate through the hard times?

K: Going to counseling personally (individually) and working on my own stuff. Being committed to God to work on myself, and be honest with R, about what I’m feeling (and why)

R: Yes! Both of us have spent time on individual counseling. We also spend time building relationships with others who want to work positively on their marriages. Also, notice the “small bids” for connection that your spouse presents, often several times a day. And, manage your self-talk, especially when you are being a jerk. Stop and admit to yourself, and to your partner that “I’m being a jerk right now, I’m sorry.”

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Married: 45 years

Dated how long before marriage: We didnt really date, we were living in a communal area overseas. Once we became a couple he proposed in less than 1 month.

How did you know they were the one: When I realized I couldn't imagine not being with her everyday for the rest of my life.

What was your wedding like: We more or less eloped. It was in a little Pentecostal church in Birmingham, England, none of our families were there, but the church members made us feel like they had adopted us. It was my hippy wedding. I wore fresh flowers in my hair, a beautiful lace and Muslim dress, and I wrote the whole wedding.

What is your wedding advice or things that helped you through the hard times?

There is no one answer to it. But, learning how to forgive, be willing to change, and nobody will believe this, but things will be very different than what you imagine. Don't look to your partner to provide you happiness. Counseling, self examination, learning to be honest about my insecurities. Do not let small annoyances build up into resentments by not addressing them.

What is one of your favorite memories together?

An evening in Paris. We were at a small restaurant and it was near closing time. We were sitting next to the bar and we had a meal and a bottle of wine. Music was playing and we stood up by our table and began to slow dance. As we were dancing the bartender lowered the lights and when we finished everyone working behind the bar applauded.

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Married: 60 years

Dated before marriage: We met in college and started dating for 2 years before our engagement.

How did you know they were the one: We just realized we wanted to go through this journey of life together.

What was your wedding like:

Our wedding was in August of 1960. It was with a small group of family and friends. We gather for the reception in the church parlor.

Advice to Newly Weds:

Be patient and let the new relationship grow and strengthen. Keep a sense of humor too. We each have continued to have our own activities outside of the paired interest in our relationship. Inertia moved us through the tough times - just keep moving forward. A backward look helps you to see how far you have come.

What are some thoughts on have on marriage today?

Some people come to marriage thinking it’s all sunshine and roses it is NOT always great - you have to preserver, but, if you do, now we can look back at 60 years of marriage. We are enjoying our retirement with half of our family here with us in AZ. We have four grand daughters, two of which who are completing their second year of college. Their younger sisters are headed in the same direction. It is one of the greatest joys to wonder what they will achieve. We are hoping to do more travel while we can still manage it.

Words and Advice from Couples in North Carolina

Married: 35.5 years

Dated how long before marriage: We dated one year before getting engaged. We lived together another year before we got married.

How did you know this was the one?

I decided that F was the one because she was an amazing person. M was very international, born in Spain and raised in Venezuela. I was enamored with this mysterious aspect of him.

What was your Wedding Like?

M: We were living in Ft Collins, CO going to graduate school and the wedding was in Grand Junction where her Mom lived. Some of our friends drove across the mountains to attend.

F: Our wedding was relatively simple as compared to weddings today. We attempted to blend our two cultures and languages by saying vows in each other’s languages. We also chose a variety of Latin and country music. It was a little unconventional, but fun.

What is your biggest relationship advice to newly weds?

M: Be prepared for tough times and don’t throw in the towel when things get rough.

F: The marriage is more important than the wedding.

What do you think is something folks dont talk about when it comes to marriage, but is important to creating a long lasting relationship?

M: We are very different but we have similar values and goals. I think identifying this before is important.

F: Yes, I agree that similar values and goals are important. Having an understanding about how the other manages money and spending/ saving habits is something that we did not talk about when we were young, but it would have been helpful.

Married: 42 years

Dated before getting married: 5 years

How did you know this was the one?

After 1 1/2 months into our relationship, we knew we wanted to spend our lives together.  It wasn't a conscious decision, but something we both just knew.

What was your wedding like?

We eloped to the mountains, picked wildflowers for my hair by the side-of-the road, and were married in a small town.  My brother and his wife were our only attendees.  It was a very simple wedding, it was the happiest day of our lives.

What words do you have to say about Marriage and making it last?

Husband's comments: Marriage is not about you and what you want - it's about loving your spouse.  Always be protective of your spouse.  Don't come into marriage with expectations.

Wife's comments: Treasure one another, for your spouse is the most important person in your life.  Give each other the freedom to be their self and to continue growing. Support their dreams and interests.   Be committed - working together you will come through the rough times.  Apologize when you should and forgive one another. Your words and actions have a lasting impact on your marriage. Being married to my husband is the best thing that ever happened to me.  He is the love of my life, my best friend, my soulmate, my home.  He still takes my breath away and I can't believe how blessed I am.  Even though we have both changed a lot through the years, our love for one another is stronger than ever and continues to grow and deepen.

Married: 36 years!

Dated before marriage: We dated roughly 3 1/2 married before marrying. Engaged for little over a year.

How did you know this was the one?

I think within the first year or so of dating, I knew this was the guy. Neither of us had dated much before so we didn’t have much relationship experience. What we both did have were great parents, who themselves had long successful marriages, as roll models. Mark was respectful of me and my family. An example: Before we started dating, (we had only just met ~ he was a college senior, I a freshman and we had mutual friends in our dorm), he drove through my hometown to go visit another friend in a neighboring town during spring break. He found my house, no one was home. He left a note for me, and a box of chocolates for my mom! Mark moved out of state for a job after graduation, about 8 hours from college. He’d drive down after work on a Friday night, stay Saturday, and head back on Sunday ~ just to see me! By the way, he’d stay with friends, never in my room! As I said, respectful! He was so kind, treated me like a queen, and always looked at me with such love. Mark was fun to be with and we shared so much fun and we could always make each other laugh! I knew from watching my own parents, laughter would be key down the road! I knew by the way he was with his parents, especially his mom, he’d know how to be a good husband and father. I always felt warm and safe when I was with him ~ my heart skipped, and still does!

After 36 years of surviving many joys and several sorrows, what is my best relationship advice?

My first bit of advice ~ Don’t take it all too serious! Do listen to each other, do respect each other’s views and opinions. Always have each other’s back! Be each other’s best friend. Make each other laugh every day and be ok with laughing at each other. Humor will get you through a lot. Enjoy having mutual interests & doing things together, but give each other space for your own friends and interests. That being said, honestly, it’s ok to go to bed mad. You will have arguments, he/she will make you nuts from time to time, and it’s very stressful trying to fix it quickly so you can go to bed. Sometimes it actually is good to sleep on it ~ morning can bring a whole new perspective!

We have definitely had our share of tough times, some came with lots of discussion and arguments and some due to the heartaches of life. For us, we often slept on it, rethought our positions and discussed again. Honestly, looking back, I’m not sure how we navigated and survived the toughest times. I just know that at the end of the day, there was mutual love and respect and a desire to have the best outcome for whatever the problem. I will say, while not wealthy people, we’ve never had money issues, which can be a huge source of tough times. Raising children is another area that can cause issues. Whatever the issues, it helps if you can decide on what you want the outcome to be, have a common goal and work toward it.

Often, couples are in love, the relationship is new and exciting and they just want to get to the wedding. Couples don’t necessarily talk about long term expectations for their relationship and their views on the big things that can cause issues down the road. Money, raising children, religion, jobs, relocating, aging parents, illness, etc.! It’s important for the success of a long lasting relationship to talk about your views on the major issues that WILL pop up in most people’s lives. Make sure you are somewhat compatible!

Is there anything else you want to share on Marriage?

My husband & I waited till we were married to sleep together. Yes, a bit old fashion, but it was 1984, and we were raised Catholic, and I still had a healthy fear of my mom! 😂 I mention this because so often I hear younger friends & co-workers discuss dating today. They say by the 3rd date ~ you sleep with the guy/girl. They seem to put a high premium on sexual compatibility being a sign of overall compatibility. I’ve heard, “if the sex isn’t good, it’s a no go”. Don’t get me wrong, sex IS important, but great sex comes when you find great love! When the real issues arise in a marriage, sex is not going to fix things.

I thought on our wedding day I loved my Mark as much as I could ever possibly love him. So wrong! My love was one dimensional in the beginning. We were young and healthy with not a care in the world! Once we had to navigate the tough times, the sad times, the joyous times ~ my love grew and grew exponentially! Our shared experiences, good and bad, have made our marriage special and long lasting.

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Married: 31 years

Dated before marriage: We met in 1989 while in school, we dated until January 20, 1990. We got married as Seniors in High School. We lived with my parents in Cullowhee and drove over 30 miles each way to attend school until we graduated high school.

How did you know this was the one?

When I got saved (gave heart to Jesus) at her dad’s church. Her answer: Within a c couple of dates; I knew. There were so anything we had in common.

What was your wedding like?

Our wedding was…..borrowed. lol Literally the wedding dress, the bridesmaid dresses, etc, was borrowed from another couple; and our first set of rings belonged to my parents. The reception was given to us by my dad’s church (he was a Pastor). Yet everything matched and was beautiful.

What is your advice to newly weds?

Her answer: Don’t stress over small stuff! Everyone disagrees, everyone has fights; it’s not the end of the world nor is it the end of your marriage. If you have a solid foundation where you truly love each other you will make it. And continue to date and court each other. His answer: Happy Wife; Happy Life! Remembering God, family and friends in the hard times helps. The realization that “this too shall pass.” And “Joy comes in the morning.”

What do you think is something folks don’t talk about when it comes to marriage, but is important to creating a long-lasting relationship?

I think one of the biggest challenges is “we are all different.” We don’t necessarily want or need the same things. However, just because my list of wants and needs doesn’t exactly match Kevin’s; it doesn’t make his needs less important than mine. (Those can be sexual needs, physical, emotional or material needs)

One of your favorite memories together?

I remember when we got married as Seniors in high school; I was pregnant. Kevin was earning $150 a week! Within a year of our marriage we bought our first home. It was small but perfect for us. We brought three girls home from the hospital to that home. Years later, we sold that home and built a new house. In January of 2012 we received a phone call asking if we were ready to bring a new baby home from the hospital. Even though we were in a very different place in life at this point (we were expecting a new grandbaby and our youngest was about to graduate from high school) we did not hesitate. We prayed and sought God’s advice and direction over the next few days. We knew if God had truly sent this baby to us then we had an obligation to go get her and to raise her. Ever since that day I can not begin to explain how God has turned our lives around. Not only has this little girl brought so much happiness to our whole family and everyone who knows her; but God has blessed our family in ways I cannot explain. He truly showed us once again that if we will attempt to serve him and obey him he will take care of our needs; he has done that and then some!

Want more? Check out some of the books or videos on marriage that some of the couples recommended!

Read “The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work” by John Gottman. Here’s the short video overview: https://youtu.be/knBJGNisJS0

Books by Louise Hay on loving yourself and life.

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson

5 Love Languages


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If you are looking for an elopement photographer that cares just as much as you do about the experience on your wedding day that starts the rest of your life, you’re at the right place!

I am an elopement planner and photographer based in Sedona, AZ, but I travel all over the Western part of the states in my van (with my cat, Indy) capturing wildly authentic wedding days. Your story deserves to be told in the most real way and you deserve a wedding day dedicated to your relationship in a way that celebrates the bond you have over what society tells us the day is supposed to be <3

Reach out about your elopement!

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Adventure Engagement Session Guide

Everything you want to know about planning and doing an adventure engagement session


Maybe you have seen an adventurous couple on a rock kissing each other just there by the ropes that hold them or maybe you your self are an adventurous couple and taking photos downtown in dressy clothes to annouce you’re getting married doesn’t appeal to you and you’re looking for ideas or more information. Welp, my friend, you are in the right place! In this blog I will tell you everything you want to know about an adventure engagement session from what it is, where to do it, how to prepare, dress and more!

First things first…..

What is an Adventure Engagement Session?

Put very simply it’s an engagement session that includes some sort of adventure. Put more in detail with more thought, it is an engagement session more rooted in who you two are as a couple. Think of it as a date that you two would typically do together or a date day you have have been dying to do together, but a photographer is coming along to capture it as well! An adventure engagement session can be as simple as exploring a beach together you have been wanting to go to or that is your favorite one you have ever been to. It can be as extreme as rock climbing a spire in Sedona to get to the top just in time for sunset! Here the world is your oyster, no adventure is too small or big. What’s important is that you get to be yourselves and connect with each other on your session!

Adventure sessions are just for those that are engaged! They are great for folks wanting to celebrate an anniversary or couples that are on a special trip to a new place. If you have a destination wedding and want to get out and explore the following day this is a great way to do it! An adventure session is truly just a great way to celebrate your love doing something you love.

How is an adventure session different from any other couples session?

For an adventure session you’re putting in a little more work! It is pretty similar in the differences between small weddings and adventure elopements. The key word is adventure, which really means whatever ‘adventuring’ means to you. To me this may mean taking a hike to beautiful outlook or going horseback riding through the country side. To the couple next door this may mean rock climbing a new pitch or sky diving!

The second biggest difference in having an adventure session is connection. While you may not be saying vows with each other it is still a very emotive experience. Every adventure session I have done with a couple I leave in awe of the moments that the couple was able to share together. There is a sense of connection, fun, carefree spirit and time that they are really expressing their love and just being with each other that allows magic to happen. One session that specifically stands out was an adventure anniversary session Sedona at the end of last year. Not only was it an adventure to even get to the location during snow storm that hit Arizona, but Kyle and Amber really took in the rare experience that was being surrounded in the red rocks in the snow and being the only people there on the trial. You may be wondering just exactly how an adventure session can be more emotional or connected than a session not out in the great outdoors. It is has been studied and proven that being outside in general can improve your stress levels, energy, memory and be calming. This in relation to your relationship helps communication and connection.

Adventure sessions are also usually longer than your average couples session. Why?? Well, you are doing an activity so naturally you will need more time. Your session will usually be as long as it would take typically for whatever activity you choose to do and then and an extra 1.5+ hours. What is great about adventure sessions is this time, because it is not rushed and allows you to really enjoy the session and time together.

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Adventure Engagement Session Locations!

The location of an adventure engagement session is truly dependent upon you two and where you want to go and what you want to do during your session. For starters National Parks, State Parks, Blm and other open lands are great places to start, but the options do not stop there. Below is a list of location options in the areas that I am based in. I live in a van and get to travel all over the country to elopements! These are just some of the BEST places for some general options:

Arizona Engagement Session Locations:

  • Sedona Region: Cathedral Rock, Merry Go Round, Bell Rock, any of the Spires in the region
  • Northern Arizona: Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, Slot Canyons, Grand Canyon
  • Phoenix Region: Any of the lakes near by, the Superstition Mountains

The best time to do an engagement session in Arizona is Jan - May and October - December

Utah Engagement Session Locations:

  • Zion National Park
  • Moab: Dead Horse Point, Arches NP, Canyon Land NP, etc
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Kanab Region: Pink Coral Sand Dunes, Slot Canyons, Caves
  • Hot Springs or Salt Flats

The best time to do an engagement session in Utah is Feb - May and October - December

California Engagement Session Locations:

  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Big Sur
  • Lake Tahoe
  • Death Valley National Park
  • Sunset Cliffs
  • Sequoia National Park / Red Woods
  • Mammoth Lakes Area
  • Mount Tamalpais State Park

The best time for an engagement session in California greatly depends on where you session will be, some locations summer is best and some locations you do not want to be there in the summer.

Pacific Northwest Engagement Session Locations:

  • Mount Rainier National Park
  • Olympic National Park
  • San Juan Islands
  • Cannon Beach
  • Mt Hood
  • Smith Rock State Park
  • Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • Seven Falls State Park

The best time of year to do an engagement session in this region is typically May-September.

Adventure Elopement Photographer - Traci Edwards Photography

What to do at your Adventure Engagement Session?

We breifly went over this when defining what an adventure engagement session is, but let’s dig a little deeper. Digging deeper is exactly what I recommend you two do over date night! Talk about what would make the most sense to your relationship. Talk about things you love doing together, how some of your favorite memories together were made and talk about places you love or that’s on your most go to list! Below are some ideas of activities to do at your adventure engagement session:

After you decide what type of adventure you want to do it can help you figure out where may be the best location to elope. Also, choosing where to do your session will help you decide what you can do for your session. These elements go hand in hand. Once you have both figured out you can plan the rest of your session! I will always say the most important things are communicating with yourself, your partner and your photographer about what you want out of the session, what matters most to you to come from the session and what you are comfortable with. After you have more plans into place you can decide if sunrise or sunset is the best time to hold the session. You can decide the best time of year so that you can prepare better for the weather and what to wear. Once you have location, activity, photographer booked and a time you can plan anything else you may need to like travel, lodging or booking other things you may need like an off road car, guides, tickets, etc.

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What to wear on your Adventure Engagement Session?

What you CAN wear greatly depends on what you are doing on your session! Remember though, you can always change into something else after you have done the big adventure or got to the main area you will take photos. Here are my biggest suggestions when deciding what to wear to your engagement session:

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How much does an Adventure Engagement Session cost?

The average cost in the United States for an Adventure Engagement session is $2500, this wildly depends on where and who you are booking. You may be wondering why is an adventure engagement session more than your average engagement session. This is because adventure engagement sessions are very much so like an adventure elopement! The session itself takes more time than showing up to a park in nice clothes at sunset and taking a few photos. The session also takes a lot more planning and preparation. A lot of the locations will require a permit that most photographers cover.

Working with Adventure and Vow for your Adventure Engagement Session!

For us we do not travel for engagement sessions, but we are available all over the Western Part of the United States and Iceland throughout each year. Engagement sessions are available based on our travel schedule.

For a two hour adventure session the rate is $1500

For a four hour adventure session the rate is $2600

For a 6-8 hour adventure session the rate is $3800

We take limited bookings for these each year so be sure to inquire soon! Our adventure sessions are available for engagements, anniversaries w/o a vow renewal and ‘just because’ sessions. They include scouting, planning assistance, location idea guide, permit costs and a client gallery with high res downloads including printing rights. We believe just like your elopement day this is a great time to come together, connect and have the best date day ever together! <3

Book an Adventure session with us!
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sedona-proposal

Your complete guide to proposing in Sedona, Arizona

The who, when, and what’s of proposing from a local adventure photographer in Sedona


Where to Propose in Sedona

The top proposal locations in Sedona are pretty much the same as the best trails to hike in the area or the best elopement locations. The three most popular locations to propose are:

When is the best time to propose at these locations?

These locations are the most popular by far due to their epic views. Devil’s Bridge is a 4-mile hike that can be shorter if you off-road part of it. I suggest my couples propose here at sunrise to avoid the large crowds and lines to take photos on the bridge; this way you get privacy and good light. Cathedral Rock is a 1-mile hike/scramble up a popular vortex spot known for its sunset cliff view. I recommend my couples propose here at sunset just because the light is incredible. Merry Go Round is reachable by a Jeep ride or tour, or you can get there by hiking 6 miles. This location is also best at sunset! If you are proposing at any of these locations, I recommend considering a weekday for even less crowds (and for sure not a holiday!)

If you are looking for a private location for your proposal in Sedona check out these options:

These locations are less crowded but also offer more options to kind of find your own quiet nook for the big moment! Many resorts also offer options for proposals that can be mostly 100% private like L’Auberge.

Or you could take a day trip from Sedona for your proposal and visit Horseshoe Bend….

Horseshoe Bend is a large tourist attraction in Page, Arizona. It is a hot spot for proposals, and for good reason! It is a romantic place to catch the sunset and take in massive rock walls of the desert. It is a short walk with big rewards. The drive from Sedona is 3 hours one way so it is a great day trip to check out Flagstaff, see Lake Powell, and end at Horseshoe popping the big question! Sunset is for sure the best time here, and again, try for a weekday!

Outside of just asking the question here are some Sedona Proposal Ideas!

**keep scrolling for more planning tips and info**

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Working with your Sedona Proposal Photographer to help you plan this special moment!

Everything I am telling you here is based on working with us at Adventure & Vow for your proposal. I cannot speak on behalf of other photographers, but I can give some good advice 🙂 Capturing this moment is so much more worth it than having a by-chance phone photo you can’t print. Hiring a photographer for your proposal can be so helpful when it comes to planning, putting the plan into action the day of, and of course preserving this moment in time to share with your friends and family. So how getting your proposal photographed work? Here at Adventure & Vow we recommend a few different ways to go about it:

Maybe the two of you already have plans for a hike or to go to dinner? You can call us (AKA your photographer!) Basically this option works by you telling me where you want to propose and already having a plan in the works with your partner to go to this location. Then I let you know what time will the BEST time to propose there based on light, crowds, and more. Then you try to get your partner there for that time. Sometimes you can get a plan together and it all goes perfect! Sometimes the timing may be different than the ideal, but that doesn’t make the moment any less perfect! If this is your plan and you want your partner to dress nice, but don’t want to spoil the surprise, the best thing to do to is have a brunch or dinner plan set for right after the hike/proposal! Then they don’t suspect anything and you don’t have to give any direction on attire.

This is still a surprise in a way, but as soon as they see the setup the surprise is usually over. This is a little more involved than selecting a location and just making sure to be there at the same time. A great example of this is a recent proposal we shot where we hiked in prior to the couple and set up a blanket with a basket of fruit and pastries with champagne, orange juice, and string lights so the person proposing could easily spot the setup. Their sunrise picnic was set up right where all of the hot air balloons take off in Sedona for a great morning start before they headed to brunch and more hiking in Sedona. This could be an option for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert! Other things that could be set up in Sedona are banners, music, lights, or flower petals as long as it is a location that is not super windy and all petals get picked up after the event.

This method is great if you are okay with there not being a huge element of surprise or if your partner will think nothing of doing a couples session together! Maybe you have been wanting to do pictures together for a while, or maybe it’s an anniversary, or maybe you’ve planned to go to Sedona for a long time and you can play the “no big deal, I booked us a couples session” card. If photos are a totally normal part of your relationship, like how Annie and John that I photographed at Cathedral Rock do couples sessions all the time with photographers back in their hometown, then they wont blink an eye! If you are going about it this way I suggest popping the question at the end of the session because at this point you are both comfortable with me (the photographer) and being in front of the camera. Also, they’re less likely to suspect anything if you do it at the very end. If you are feeling really nervous, I recommend proposing at the start of the session so you can both enjoy it!

Once you decide which way you want to go about getting the proposal photographed, leave the rest up to me to help you plan, navigate, and make sure everything goes perfect!

What to wear for your proposal photos in Sedona!

If you have any control over what you and your partner will be wearing for this big moment, here are some outfit tips! If you have no control don’t worry about it, this moment is about you two and your love, not about what you are wearing.

Sedona Proposal Packages

Ready to do the thing?! We are here for you and can’t wait to help bring your plans alive and capture this special moment for you to get to relive the rest of your lifetime together. Below are our package options!

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Hey there! I am your all-in gal ready to help you plan and document your proposal!

Here at Adventure & Vow we believe adventure is a lifestyle and something two people can be deeply rooted in shaping their relationship and life. We are here to capture all moments of your relationship from dating, proposal, engagement to elopement! I am in your all-in planner, Bill is the all-in carry whatever you want up a mountain, spire, etc. We are about it. When it comes to photography here we believe it’s the most beautiful way to truly capture who you two are as a couple and preserve moments in time that tell your story throughout your life. If you have a dream we will make it happen, just reach out and let the planning begin!

Contact me now about your proposal!

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Fifteen Year Vow Renewal in Sedona, Arizona


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Amanda and David celebrated their 15 year wedding anniversary in Sedona with their children and a vow renewal! They had originally planned to do their celebration in St. Maarten, but due to covid had to change plans and stay in the state. Sedona was truly the perfect place for them. They had been to Sedona as a couple and as a family in the past. It holds a special place in their heart, so much so that Amanda has  Gibraltar Rock ridge tattooed on her wrist. We met at a location that was an easy enough hike the whole family could enjoy with amazing views of Cathedral, Gibraltar Rock and Little Horse. We settled in and took in the view as we waited for Jesse, the flute player, and Jen Paul, the officiant, to arrive to start the ceremony. The kids set up a circle made of crystals for their parents to stand in during this special ceremony. I knew the ceremony was going to be sacred and beautiful with Jen and Jesse being a part of it. Their ceremony was filled with surprises from both kids and each other. Ellen their daughter, sang a song for her mom during the ceremony and David gave Amanda a new wedding ring. They recalled memories from their time dating, the proposal at Amanda’s parent’s house with tons of red roses, their wedding in Philadelphia and pregnancy when they found out they were having twins! They shared new traditional vows with their kids being a part of the readings and new hand written vows to each other celebrating the last ten years and committing to their forever forward again. It was such a joy to capture their ceremony filled with emotion, love and such strong family values. It truly was a celebration.

The sun set just as the ceremony was finishing up and we hiked back out under the most colorful Sedona sky. We all took a break for dinner before meeting back up on the other side of town for some photos under the milky way! These were some of the photos they were all most excited about! We arrived at the parking lot and the night was clear, you could see SO many stars! We took a short hike and had fun taking photos under the milky way, it was a perfect way to end the day. Congrats, to Amanda and Dave for celebrating ten years as a family and couple. I wish you all many, many more happy years together!

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From their ceremony:

“I didnt fall in with you. I walked into love with you, with my eyes wide open, choosing to take every step along the way. I do believe in fate and destiny, but I also beleive we are only fated to do the things that we’d choose anyway. And I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetyimes, in a hundred worlds, in any verison of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.” - Kiersten White’s novel The Choas of Stars

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Vow Renewal Planning Tips:

  • Hire an officiant if you want it to feel like a ceremony, be formal, or have help with coordinating the ceremony. Do not hire an officiant if you want to fully go with the flow and have an informal reading of vows.
  • Hand write your new vows ahead of time and/or you could re-read your original vows to each other. (Extra tip: If you are getting married you could hand write a letter to each other has new husband and wife and then read it to each other years later at a renewal)
  • Ways to include your kids: have them recite the vows, tell your love story, let them hold your flowers and/or rings, etc
  • Don’t stress, this is a celebration! Purely think about what you two want out of this ceremony and your desires to have it, then plan around that. Take your time planning and be open to ideas.
  • You could do the vow renewal at your original wedding location, somewhere that holds significance your lives together or somewhere you two have always wanted to go!
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Looking for a photographer to capture your vow renewal or elopement!?

Sedona and Washington based, I am here to help you find the perfect spot to celebrate your love, plan the experience you imagine and be there to capture your story the day of! Email me to inquire about your special day from elopements to vow renewals. All love deserves to be celebrated! <3

Contact me now!
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Sunrise Oak Creek Canyon Engagement Session


Genevie and Kory were up for an adventure for their engagement session to kick off their wedding planning. They drove up with a couple of close family members from Southern Arizona to Northern Arizona for a sunrise session. This meant getting hair and make up ready in the middle of the night!

As I was pulling into the parking lot we were meeting in at the wee hours of the morning I saw a huge elk with her calf in the road between me and them. It was a quiet morning and it felt like we were the only people in the world to take in all of the beauty around us. They met me at a place they had never been that over looks Oak Creek Canyon and parts of Sedona for their wooded engagement session. It was a fantastic morning as we captured their love story as the sun came up.

These two met in grade school, but didn’t end up starting to talk to each other until they were at a mutual friend’s gathering at a local bowling alley! Since then the two have been inseparable! Kory recently proposed to Genevie on their son’s one year birthday at their home, completely surprising her!! A very exciting time and celebration during the covid lock down.

Even though these two have been together for a while, the session was the first time they had photos taken together! I love that they fully embraced the experience by having a blast and connecting. From sharing memories with me of their lives together and telling each other some of their favorite times, traits and reasons they are excited to marry each other made it truly a special morning. As Kory and Genevie sat on a log together talking with each other, Genevie started to tear up from the things that Kory was telling her. That is what it is all about. An engagement session, couples session or anniversary session isn’t half as much about the photos as the time, simply and fully being together and the experience you share valuing each other in a new situation. Kory and Genevie had never shared a dip kiss before but on this day they did it a few items! The first time was flawless, like they were complete pros! The second time we almost lost Genevie to a fall, but the laughter of joy spilled through the trees as they shared their time by trying new things! It was an honor to capture this time for them as they start their wedding planning and the next chapter of their lives.

After their session they were headed to Payson to check out some of their wedding venue options. They know they want to get married overlooking rim country, but want a venue to fit the needs of their friends and family to celebrate their marriage. It was for sure a fun day seeing parts of Flagstaff, Sedona and Payson all in one go! I can’t wait to see how all of their wedding plans tie together for their big day in the fall and to celebrate with them!

Considering having an elopement or couples session at sunrise? Check out these top five tips to have a flawless morning:

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Hair and Make up was done by Emerald Beauty in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Charlie & Dariella Surprise Proposal at Horseshoe Bend - Page, Arizona

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Charlie reached out to me a couple of weeks ago with a very big and exciting surprise up his sleeve. He was looking for a photographer to capture his proposal to his girlfriend on the last day of their Southwest road trip. Him and Dariella flew to Las Vegas from their home in Austin to road trip around Nevada, Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. A road trip like this was the perfect way for Charlie to propose. Not only has Dariella been wanting to see Horseshoe Bend for some time, they are also very adventurous and love to travel! Together they’ve been to ten different countries, including places in Europe, Central America and Southeast Asia. Every year they try to plan a big trip to a new place. They are also planning on going to Banff National Park in Canada later this year!

They met while in college at the UC Berkeley and started their adventures together by having dates all over the Bay area. Charlie knew she was the one when they moved in together in an extremely small apartment in San Francisco. This place was 350 sq ft, had a mini stove and only one closet. It could have easily torn a couple apart, but instead it brought them closer together and they made it the coziest home. Dariella knew he was the one when they were doing karaoke with friends. According to Dariella, Charlie is so outgoing, adventurous and fun, and he's never afraid of making a fool of himself. In that moment, all those characteristics were so apparent and she just knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. They’ve also been through so much in the nearly seven years they’ve been together. They have done long-distance, graduated college and started their first jobs, moved across the country together to a city where they knew no one, and adopted their dog Piper together.

The proposal went flawlessly. Charlie had friends help him get everything together. One friend took Dariella to get her nails done before they left for their trip and one friend helped Charlie get in touch with me. Charlie got Dariella to wear a nice outfit instead of their camping attire by mentioning going to dinner on their way back to Vegas for their flight home. I stationed myself in a spot I could see them when they arrived. When Charlie and I had our call to go over the planning and details I mentioned a couple of spots at Horseshoe Bend where there are less people usually standing that he could propose at. To give them space and let him choose where he felt was right I followed along with my long lens at a distance until he got down on one knee. Dariella was for sure surprised and I could hear her saying “Is this for real?! Is this mine?!” It was a beautiful day and a great way to end their trip! After photos at the bend, a few phone calls to friends and family, they dined at Rocking V Cafe (a personal favorite of mine I recommended in Kanab, Utah) on their way back to the airport. I knew they were both excited to get home and celebrate the news with their pup Piper in their new home together!

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Contact me to capture your proposal!

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Hey, it’s me here! Your photographer <3
I am Traci! I am an extremely passionate person about places and telling your love stories. I truly believe in what the outdoors can do for your connection. As an elopement photographer I am here with you every step of the way from planning the day and to capturing the moments. Page is one of the many places I continuously explore to find perfect locations for my couples to say ‘I do’ or ask that very important question for your best friend to marry you! If you are planning your elopement, proposal or a trip where you want photos with your love,
reach out! I would love to help! <3

This proposal story was recently featured on How He Asked!

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Dura & Joshua’s Adventure Anniversary Session in Sedona, Arizona

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Meet Dura and Joshua! These two won the 2019 Holiday Anniversary Session giveaway and got married in San Diego a few years ago, which is where Joshu proposed. He proposed on Valentine’s day in 2016 by surprising Dura with a plane ticket on her car windshield for her to join him in San Diego the next day. Upon arriving to California they spent the day together exploring and he talked her into taking a small random boat to a sailboat. He mentioned they should check out the inside of one of the boats, and Dura went along thinking it was odd that he was so willing to hop on random boats, because she was usually the one up for bending the rules and exploring. Once she got into the sail boat and saw that there were flowers and a special setup, she panicked telling Joshua they had to leave immediately. That was when he let her know that it was all planned and for her, not just a random sailboat. Needless to say it was a special day for the two of them that started a beautiful marriage. Before their dating and engagement these two were being brought together by fate: Dura was on a mission trip over seas, and Joshua was in school in Spain, when mutual friends started telling them about each other. They met a year and half later at the friends home warming party and after some time started dating, really hitting it off while hiking and spending time talking with each other. After their wedding in San Diego, they quit their jobs, sold and packed up their belongings, and went on a nine month honeymoon. Yes, 9 MONTHS!!! From listening to their stories and memories it sounds like the most epic way to start forever together. They started in Iceland camping and hiking for a month, seeing many waterfalls, and even camping at one of my favorite local spots outside of Vík. They then traveled to Switzerland, Norway and many other places around Europe.

Planning for their anniversary session, they were super stoked to have images that would tell more of their story as a couple that hikes, climbs, and enjoys adventuring together. They had explored Sedona a lot, and they wanted to get off of the beaten path and onto some heights with amazing views, so I spent a week hiking around trails that are not popular in Sedona. We set the date and the location, but sadly the weather was calling for rain and storms, so we postponed since we could. Luckily, we did this, so I had an extra day to scout and spent the day looking for caves I had seen online in Sedona. I found a great spot and scouted it out and we changed the location. I sent Dura photos of the spot and we were all stoked. We set out for the hike on the day of the shoot chatting about our travels overseas, some of our favorite spots and memories, and sharing travel tips. We took a few photos of them just hiking in the elements with the final destination looking over us. Once we got to the caves they changed and started exploring the spot. The shoot was so much listening to the the two of them recall their favorite times together as married couple, talk about their wedding day, and tell their love story, as well as spending time quietly watching the sunset from the caves on top of a rock overlooking all of Sedona. To end the shoot, we popped a bottle of champagne just as the sun set and the Sedona sky turned orange and purple. We enjoyed our night hike down with almost a full moon lighting up all of the red rocks. On the way down Dura was speaking of how lucky she was to be married to her best friend and someone that she shares so much with in her life. They truly have a special bond and a beautiful relationship. I love their passion to go places, explore and value their time together!

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Hey! It’s, me Traci your Arizona Elopement Photographer…

I am based in Sedona, Arizona and thoroughly enjoy spending my free time discovering perfect nooks for your elopement day. As an elopement photographer not only am I your photographer, but I am your guide, friend and planner. Arizona has an abundance of locations for you to say I Do where you can have the time and space to feel connected to your partner making unforgettable memories on your wedding day. I thoroughly believe adventure elopements are the most sincere and natural way to get married. The day should be about you two. I believe the outdoors provides a space to freely express yourself and have the most calming day. As your photographer I strive to capture images that tell your love story, authentically and artistically.

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Since this blog has been published this session has been

featured on Photobug Community’s top photos of the month!


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Ana & Zalo’s Adventure Engagement Session near Flagstaff, Arizona


Meet Ana and Zalo! These two and I had the absolute best time at their engagement session and nothing short of an epic adventure. As I always say, hats off to my couples for always being down to go the extra mile and put in the work to make the magic happen! These two were traveling to Arizona for a several day trip with Ana’s brother and his girl friend to check out the highlights the desert has to offer and look further into moving here from Texas. Ana and Zalo woke up in the wee hours of the morning to drive to the airport, fly to Phoenix, rent a motorcycle, drive it in the cold weather three hours North, off road with the motorcycle, adventure around a canyon and then drive back to Phoenix!! Whew, I am tired just typing that lol.

When they came to me to discuss their session they were completely open to locations. We threw around the idea of Joshua Tree and Sedona at first, but as soon as they saw this canyon they were sold. This canyon is one of my favorite places in Arizona so I was super excited. While I have photographed a couple there before for an anniversary session I still went to scout out the location to make sure getting the bike somewhere along the rim wouldn’t be a safety issue. I sent Ana & Zalo videos so they could get an idea of the land and give them a live view of the location.

The day of the session Flagstaff showed off its beauty from a recent snowfall. I knew they would be driving on the bike so I decided to pull over and snap some shots for them for later. I could not have imagined a better day for them to make this drive North, it was gorgeous out! As we neared the canyon the excitement grew and once we had the biked settled we took a moment to take in the view. In preparing for the session I knew the one of the most important things for them was the scenic experience and I think we for sure got the view they were wanting! Ana and Zalo have been together for ten years! As much as this was an engagement session it felt like a moment of celebration of their entire relationship together. They told me stories of how they met in through family and became friends at first, to how they started out as an official couple, to moving to Chicago together, times on Zalo’s motorcycle together and the time that Ana tried to learn to ride herself, to then moving back to Texas together and their proposal story in Colorado Springs. One of my favorite memories they told me about was the road trip they took together through many national parks and several states! Before the session and at the start of the session they expressed their concerns of being shy and nervous in front of the camera. I always love watching my couples blossom in front of the camera in a way they didn’t expect they might once we get the session going. Every couple’s love is different and it means so much to me to be able to capture their authentic moments together. We adventured around the canyon for a couple of hours from sunset to blue hour, which if you ask me is when this canyon really becomes an absolute show stopper. From hiking the rim, to getting the bike settled in a wet desert on a cliff and snow ball fights it was one heck of an Arizona engagement session. It was a fantastic day and I am so, so thankful that these two trusted me from a different state to help their vision come alive for their engagement session and explored in the depths of Arizona with me!

I always love working with couples from out state because it gives me a chance to share with them all of the unreal, amazing places to go see, epic hikes to go do and yummy restaurants and bars. Arizona is a place I am SO passionate about and I get so excited to hear about my couples adventures while visiting. I was lucky enough the next day after the session to meet up with Ana and Zalo and her family for dinner in Sedona. We met at Javelina Cantina, my favorite restaurant in Sedona, after they hiked Cathedral rock for dinner and (you guessed it!) Mezcal! It was such a fun time getting to know them better without the camera and sharing life stories.

Hope you all enjoy the images. Feel free to drop a comment or share the blog! Lastly, cheers to Ana and Zalo!

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Reach out to book your own session! <3

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" role="presentation"> " role="presentation">Disclaimer: This canyon is nestled on Hopi Reservation land. The canyon is very fragile. If you decide to visit this canyon please be respectful of the Hopi, pull the proper permits before going practice leave no trace behind. If you are interested in how you can practice leave no trace behind, especially during your elopement or engagement session you can read all about it here!

This engagement session was featured recently on Wander Wedding’s blog called What to Wear to your Adventure Engagement Session! <<<<< Check it out!

It was also featured on Amor Latino Unveiled!

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Share this Arizona engagement session to your Pinterest board!

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How to prepare for being in front of the camera for your engagement session or elopement!

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Camera Jitters, it is a thing folks

Guess what?! It is TOTALLY normal to be nervous in front of the camera. Almost all of my clients tell me before the session that they are nervous or super awkward in front of the camera. Every time, they are totally fine and have a blast during their session! So how do you get over the nervousness or camera anxiety?? For engagement sessions, weddings, elopements or anniversary sessions this is so easy, because you are not alone! You have your best friend, life long partner there by your side! Sounding much better already right?? Nervous or not here are some things that will help ensure a fun, smooth time:

Some things that may calm the nerves:

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A lot of how you calm your nerves for a session also has a lot to do with your photographer. Each photographer runs a session differently and has their own ways for getting their couples at ease. Also, each couple is different so being a photographer that can read and adapt their game plan to match their couples vibe is key. Here are some of my personal tips and some ways I run a session to help my couples get over their camera fears:

I hope this helps all you out there with a session coming up that you are nervous about or those of you who haven’t booked your session due to nerves. I am always here to help, so feel free to reach out!

I promise it’s not as bad as the dentist 😉

“Jenn and I were nervous at first, but Traci was quick to get us feeling relaxed and before we knew it, we were laughing and joking with her while she was taking our pictures. The session was thorough, and we left it excited and eagerly anticipating the final pictures. Before we knew it, our pictures were ready and my fiancée and I spent longer than I’d like to admit scrolling through our pictures to try and find a favorite among all the amazing pictures.We both highly recommend Traci and cannot wait to have her shoot our wedding, too! ”
— Ben —

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Thomas and Amanda reside in the fun city of Portland and reached out to me while I was traveling along the Oregon coast to book an anniversary session! I love anniversary sessions just as much as I love elopements. They are different in the sense that you have already come together as a whole, but you have been growing as a married couple together and it is a great time to reflect on married life so far and usually always ends up in conversation about your goals together for your future. Thomas and Amanda originally wanted to book their session at Cannon Beach, which is a super popular vacation and elopement location. The most important thing for them was to have a sunny session, which you may know may be difficult to achieve in the Pacific Northwest! We set a date range that we would narrow down as it got closer depending on weather. So based on the weather and how busy locations would be we narrowed down the date and ended up holding the session at Hug Point just south of Cannon Beach. The Oregon coast has so many insanely beautiful locations via pull offs, state parks and more! Hug Point is for sure one of these spots with water falls, jetting rocks out of the coast line and beautiful cliff views hanging over you as you walk along the beach. The parking lot can often be crowded so be prepared to come early if you want to spend some time here or elope at this location. The Oregon coast is vast though, so even though the parking lot is busy you can find your own nook along the ocean waves.

Thomas and Amanda got married originally at their home base in Portland and I love that their anniversary session took place at such a special place for them. They came early to spend the day together on the coast and enjoy a nice meal together. They went back on their exact anniversary date a week or so later to enjoy a fire on the beach and more adventure. These two are quiet the travelers, with many different countries under the belts together and seperately. They are also planning on ways they can work together to live remotely and travel more or move to a different country! I enjoyed so much them sharing with such joy hiking recommendations for me all throughout Oregon as they knew I was heading inland a couple of days after their session to explore of Oregon. If you are looking for a fun Instagram account to follow with epic travels, hikes, love inspiration and life aspiration check out their Instagram here. They brought so many ideas and energy to their session! I loved how excited these two were to share this experience together and were up for any adventure during the session. Amanda opted to wear her second wedding dress during the session that she wore during her reception at her wedding. The dress was SO beautiful with lovely flower overlays. Thomas wore a completely different outfit than what he wore on the wedding day, which I thought the navy velvet suit jacket was such a fun touch!

Wishing these two the best of luck as they go through this adventurous life together as married couple. I can not wait to see where their adventures take them! Do not forget that just because you already said ‘I Do’ does not mean that you should stop celebrating your love together. Anniversary sessions are great for the couples that had a traditional wedding, but maybe really wanted to elope. They are also great for couples that did elope to keep the spark alive and have updated beautiful images for the walls of their home as the years go by! <3

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This anniversary session was featured on Every Bride!


Check out some other Anniversary Sessions by clicking below:

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