Ahren and Courtney met while both working at REI in Washington State. Having an adventure elopement in nature seemed like the perfect way to tie the knot in celebration of the outdoors and how it has brought them closer together. Not to mention give them the opportunity to have a day focused around what matters to them with an intimate group of people. When they first reached out to me they had quite the list of amazing elopement locations already in mind from Mount Rainier to the North Cascades and beyond. The list quickly got narrowed down once they started refurbishing/rebuilding a small sailboat. The decided on Sucia Island out in the San Juan Islands off the Washington coast. This place already had a spot in their hearts from exploring there in the past, camping and being on the water. They worked diligently leading up to their elopement after work and on the weekends to perfect the boat and get her in tip top shape to row the two miles form Orcas island to Sucia on the big day.
Bill and I had the privilege to meet Ahern and Courtney a week or so before the elopement at a local bar in Seattle. Immediately you could tell the stoke was high to get the boat into the water for a test run after some final varnish touches and for the big day on the island. Their love for each other, travel and the outdoors was also immediately visible. We chatted about hiking the enchantments, big hikes in Wyoming and more. Before long the day had arrived and it was time to board the ferry from Anacortes to Orcas. I met up with their make-up artist, Joey, at the ferry dock to ride over to the beautiful cabin they had rented on Orcas as a stay for before and after the camping elopement. We were welcomed with the smell of coffee and breakfast that was just starting in the kitchen, Courtney and Ahern had started their wedding day doing yoga on the balcony with their small group of friends who had gathered for this special day. After breakfast everyone went their own separate ways to get ready before heading out. Courtney got into hair and makeup as friends took turns sitting with her and chatting, Ahern went to the dock slips to prepare the boat for the launch while their friends finished the olive oil cake. Their friends also finished packing and loading up the cars, squeezing limes for the margaritas, rehearsing the ceremony and practicing a song on the ukulele.
Once everyone was ready and the tides were just right, the friends loaded the ferry over to the island and Courtney, Ahren and I set sail into the big blue in their boat, Madrona Moon. You see, there was a lot of purpose and meaning behind every element of their elopement day. It was truly one of the most special things I had witness. All the thought that went into everything, tying together something so real and raw. Madrona is the name of their favorite tree, which happens to be native to Sucia Island. Their elopement date was centered around the Strawberry Moon. So Madrona Moon was the perfect name for their boat. They had labored so much love into. Courtney started off the rowing across the ocean as we admired the mountains surrounding the waters and chatting about all the different islands they had already explored and plan to explore in the future that we could see. Once Ahern started his turn at rowing we were visited by several seals in the water. Before you knew it we were at the docks for Sucia where their friends stood waving and greeting us. We all undocked and carried our things to camp. Courtney and Ahern had booked a group camp site so we all got to stay together, some of us in tents and some of us in the open bunk house. The group changed into their wedding clothes as dinner was set up and Courtney and Ahern started to prepare the oysters and dinner. The table was a beautiful set up, complete with one of their favorite wines they had found in Port Townsend, the area they worked on the boat for most of the time. Dinner started with a toast to the evening, their love and the start of their marriage.
After dinner Courtney and Ahern got dressed at different areas of camp with the help of friends. Courtney had gotten a beautiful gown that would show off her warrior woman tattoo, but she made it her own by adding a cape, the gold tassels and even doing some of the beading herself. They shared a private first look by the water as friends started to head out for the hike where the ceremony would take place. We hiked to the West side of the island for a sunset ceremony. Along the hike we passed several of the Madrona trees, sailboats in the water and we shared laughter with friends. We arrived to the spot overlooking the water and mountains where the ceremony was to be held. Courtney and Ahern walked into their ceremony hand in hand with big smiles as their friend played a song on the Ukulele. They joined both hands as one of their other friends officiated the ceremony. Each friend in attendance shared beautiful words throughout, some of the readings came from a book, Braiding Sweet Grass, which means so much to each of them and their relationship. Each friend also blessed their rings before Courtney and Ahern exchanged them. Ahern ring was hand made in Colorado with rock form Michigan, where Courtney is from, but also with left over wood from their boat. Courtney’s ring was also stunning and unique. She designed it with the ability to add stones/stars for when they have children. The vows were the most truly open words I think I have heard. I am not sure there was one dry eye in the group, I know I teared up behind the camera as Courtney read her vows. Before the ceremony ended they shared a unity cocktail with strawberry purree (to keep with the strawberry moon theme) Mescal and several other ingredients. As the ceremony ended everyone shared hugs and we made it official signing the marriage license. As we took their couples portraits along the water I looked back and saw all of their friends smiling looking on sitting on the hill overlooking the sunset and their two newly wed friends!
We all hiked back together and as we turned the last corner back to camp we saw the huge stunning strawberry moon coming up over horizon line, giving light to the boats in the water. It was quite the sight. Back at camp they enjoyed a spontaneous first dance to a classic love song and shared a first bite of the olive oil cake before everyone else dived in. The night was spent under the beautiful moon by a campfire sharing memories, telling stories and bonding in friendship.
The next morning as we all slowly awoke from the night before, friends starting cleaning up the dinner area and others started working on whipping up some coffee and breakfast. Courtney and Ahern and I took the boat out for a little row for some bridal portraits. We were greeted with many other older couples who boat-life and they were all awe struck by it all! I think the entire island knew Courtney and Ahern got married on Sucia by the following day. The entire morning folks would walk by camp and congratulate them! We hung out at camp reminiscing on the evening, wedding planning and boat building. We had time before we had to leave the island so we all packed up our camp and set out to go explore! We hiked to an area where you could see Mt Baker. We watched eagles hunting for fish, searched for star fish and fossils. Since the tides were a bit rough and the water was white capped we decided we would all ride the ferry back to Orcas. As we waited on the ferry, some snacked, some took naps in hammocks and several folks hopped into the ocean for a quick dip! It was a perfect day with friends, exploring and hanging out. Upon arrival back to the main island I had to part ways with the group, but they were all set to enjoy a nice dinner on Orcas in celebration of the elopement and had planned to end the night with an epic dance party!
This entire two day experience was one of the most special experiences I have been apart of. It is almost hard to put into words, it was beautiful, authentic, raw and meaningful. It was so special getting to know their group of friends and see how much love each of them had for this couple. Courtney and Ahern’s bond is so beautiful and true and their love for the water and exploring the great outdoors was so present and celebrated. Each bit of the day was designed to bring them to life in wedding day form. I personally can not wait to read Braiding Sweet Grass now and look forward to seeing these two out on the trails later this summer.
If you have ever heard the false claim that elopements are not special my friends, just look at Courtney + Ahern’s elopement day.
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Annelise and Duncan really wanted a wedding day that was focused on the union of marriage, two people and two families over a large event full of distractions. They were most stoked on getting to spend a day together that was so meaningful and celebrate their love with their family and of course their puppo - Wallace. These two met in Seattle, WA but have since moved to San Diego together. Throughout their relationship a steady bond has been spending time in the outdoors together back packing, camping in their van, hanging out with Wallace, but also their own personal adventures. When it came time to pick a place to get married, most importantly they wanted to be outside, somewhere that reflected this part of their relationship together. When these two reached out to me they had already booked their ceremony location in the park and it was time to plan the rest of their beautiful elopement in Joshua Treat National Park! Covid hit and shifted their plans a little bit. So they decided to get married officially before the wedding day celebration in Joshua Tree. They eloped at the court house in San Diego celebrating with donuts on the beach after. This did not make the day in Joshua Tree any less special thought, from the dress, to the gathering of family, the beautiful vows and dinner.
The day before the elopement we met them at their epic Airbnb to scout it out as most of the day would be happening there, and for good reason. The home they had found to rent for the event was this beautiful old cabin and stable on the hillside in the desert. It had withstood many years and was full of character and space for the family and friends to really enjoy the evening with everyone. The day of the elopement we arrived to the Airbnb to capture them writing their vows and getting ready for the most special moment. Those quiet moments before joining up with everyone else reliving the words you have written for this very special person are everything! While getting ready, Duncan realized he had left his suit shirt back at their hime in San Diego, but they did not let this effect their day, instead with joy decided to wear a hawaiian shirt he had brought along. They shared a casual first look together in the house as they were all setting out and the joy, smiles and love was so evident. After everyone was ready to go we all hopped into our vans and cars to head to the park for the official ceremony. it was a short walk to the spot we had chosen with a joshua tree that had a perfect natural arch for a wedding. Friends carried benches for the family to sit on and soon we were there. One of Annelise’s friends played a sound bath to start the ceremony, followed by a beautiful poem written and spoken by Duncan’s grandmother. They shared their commitments to each other in front of the folks that mean the most to them followed by hugs and congratulations before heading back to the trail head. We took a few portraits of the newly weds at the iconic split rock and headed back to the airbnb for champagne and snacks.
Following toasts we headed out for sunset portraits with just these two and of course Wallace! We had to get portraits in their new van, Vannallise. This will be the second van they have built out for all of their epic adventures and camping trips together, I can only imagine how many awesome memories will take place in it throughout their marriage. After dancing around the Joshua Trees, we headed back towards the house for dinner with the family and grabbed a couple of cocktails that a family member was whipping up in the ole bar area of the home. They hired Chef V, a private chef local to Joshua Tree, to prepare the most delicious dinner with the most romantic desert setting I have ever been a part of. From a perfect salad, to mussels and yummy vegetables, it was fantastic. We are so lucky and thankful for our couples saving us a seat at the table to join the dinner. We loved getting to know their family more and hearing stories from their lives together so far. Before dinner ended they cut into a cake complete with a Toyata 4runner in true fashion for Duncan. After dinner, several of the folks headed out to bed, but some gathered around the camp fire in the courtyard of the Airbnb to enjoy their stay. We waiting until the milky ways appearance was over the hill and we hiked out for some the last shots of the evening under the stars. Quiet and beautiful, it was the perfect ending to a perfect day.
As an elopement photographer I often get asked what would you do for a full day elopement? Or why would you book a full day elopement? I ask you to think of an elopement more as an adventure wedding. Your wedding day, like every other day is approximately 12 hours of day light. Your wedding day is your entire day, and it is a very special day that deserves the attention of that. I can not think of a better way to explain the magic and purpose of a full day elopement any better than sharing with you Rhonda and Jeremiah’s elopement story…..
Rhonda and Jeremiah reached out to myself and John (wedding videographer) to start planning their epic day, originally thinking they would elope in Zion with some big cliff views and then go elsewhere to spend the rest of the day together. We met with them on Facetime to introduce ourselves, hear more about what they are looking for in a location, things they want to do on their day and hear more about their love story. After several different ideas within Zion and elsewhere in the Southern Utah and Northern Arizona region we had a plan, an epic off road location for sunrise in Flagstaff, going down into the canyon for lunch and ending the day at a beautiful cliff in Sedona. Sadly, a few days before their elopement a big snow storm hit the area, and roads closed everywhere. Obviously when getting married in the great outdoors, sometimes things are out of your control and that is why we are always sure to have an epic plan B.
John and I were able to get to the Airbnb prior to Rhonda and Jeremiah due to road issues, so we decided to make dinner! We made a nice Italian dish and dinner was on the table just in time of their arrival. After dinner we went over the game plan for the big day and helped Rhonda select the best dresses out of the options she brought for the locations we would be. With that, we all went to bed for maximum rest for a early am start! The alarm clocks went off at 2:50am. John and I met outside of Rhonda and Jeremiah’s bedroom waiting for the welcome. They had asked us to capture their daily morning prayer and scripture reading on this day. This is something they do every single morning together, no matter what time they have to get up and it means a lot to their relationship. On this morning the scripture said something about a big event happening on this day, and it couldn’t have been more spot on. After the prayer I went back to rest for a bit as Courtney, with Seventh Ave, started doing hair and make up for Rhonda. I woke back up before our departure to capture some detail shots of them writing their vows, the dress and getting ready. We set out with dark skies for our first destination. Before we lost service Rhonda was able to Facetime her daughter who had been anxiously waiting to hear if they were married yet!
We arrived just as the sun started to come up. They each got into their wedding attire for the first look together. Jeremiah waited along the cliff edge overlooking the water for Rhonda to come greet him in her stunning wedding dress! As she turned him around his face lit up and his smile was undeniable. They share some time together before walking over to a different overlook to say their vows and exchange rings in a completely private and emotional ceremony. After they sealed the deal with a kiss and said I do we explored there a bit longer before heading out to the next location.
An off roaded adventure through deep snowy sand surrounded by desert plants and nothing more to the second location. We arrive in a snowy wonderland all to ourselves. With a change of clothes we set out to explore a beautiful slot canyon. I always like to think slot canyons kind of bring out the romance or the children in a couple. It is a perfect place to just have fun together and enjoy each others company. These two I dont think ever stopped laughing in the canyon, they both have the brightest laughter together. After walking through the slot canyon together and enjoying the snow it was definitely time for lunch. We made our way back towards our last destination, but I knew the perfect spot for these two to have their picnic lunch they had spent time picking out things together that held meaning to their relationship to set up. As we drove to our next spot they were able to Facetime another one of the kids to check in and share how their day was going. I loved that even though their kids were not with them they were still a part of the day and joy. We arrived to a sandy beach shore with no one around on land or water for a great view with blue skies. They set up their adorable picnic for lunch together in the sand eating fruits, nuts, breads, cheese and more. It was a perfect moment to refuel, but also take it all in before the day came to an end. They laughingly said to us they’re not sure they had taken in any of the beauty around them so far during the day because they were just enjoying looking at each other and connecting with each other so much they forgot to look around them lol. As the picnic came to an end these two changed one last time for sunset. We set out on an easy stroll to an iconic desert location for the final moments, light and images of the day. It felt so surreal. It was hard to believe the day was over already. It was so beautiful, all of it from the moments together, the views, the privacy and changes in weather. As John and I packed up to head back home we asked what they were going to do for the rest of the evening. They said probably sleep or enjoy a cocktail in the hot tub of the airbnb, I can’t imagine a better way to end such an epic day.
I can not think of a better way to spend your wedding day and to have this experience to look back on. Everything was purposeful, there was so much connection and it held so much meaning. Full day elopements are just that, it’s not a full day being in front of the camera. Yes, I may be there with my camera documenting your day, but it is your day you are experiencing with your now forever mate. A day you planned around your relationship and the start of your marriage. Rhonda and Jeremiah plan to have a bigger celebration with their closest family and friends back home later in the year and I can only imagine their excitement to show them the photos and video captured on their wedding day and get to relive it all surrounded by all the folks that support them in love.
If you are looking for an elopement photographer that cares just as much about your experience as you do on this day, look no further! I am an elopement photographer, planner and I am ordained! I am here to help you create a day that is the wedding day you want to have and capture it so you can relive it during any hardship, celebration and every single anniversary! This day shouldn’t be about table cloth colors or what aunt karen wants you to walk down the isle to or planning traditions that make you uncomfortable. It should be about your love story, your relationship and what marriage means to you. I can help you find the perfect place to say I do, help you plan the logistic and more and be your best support system the day of!
Do you remember Genevie and Kory!?! These two had their sunrise engagement session in Sedona this past summer! Plans came together quickly for their wedding day since they knew from the start just what they wanted. They had a few minor changes due to covid, but the party was on. Myself and their videographer, Sean Michael Images, met them the evening before in Payson to see the spot they had chosen along the rim for their ceremony. The Mongollon Rim is quite long and has two sides. I like to tell couples to find the spot that feels right to them to share their vows with each other and these two had found just the spot when they came up for visits to Payson during the Summer! Then we headed to the reception location along the lake to pick the best spot that had room for the family, a picnic table and would be somewhat private. As we parted ways Kory was off to camp with his boys out on the forest service land and Genevie back into town for a night with the girls.
I was first to arrive to the location in the morning, van life makes it easy to do that when you can camp a couple of minutes a way!! It was quiet, a slight chill in the air, but so peaceful and beautiful! As family started to arrive they helped set up a place for each other to sit and watch these two tie the knot! Everyone was in their place as Genevie’s mom helped her get into her dress at a nearby over look and her dad began to walk her down the isle once she was ready. Genevie and Kory shared emotional vows to each other on a rock cliff surrounded by pines overlooking the rolling mountains. There were tears, giggles and laughter before sealing the deal with a kiss! Following celebrations from the family everyone packed up to head to the lake as Genevie and Kory stayed with us to take some photos and spend some alone time together along the rim.
As we arrived to the lake the family had set up up a beautiful charcuterie spread, mimosas station and had a table for the beautiful cake! Genevie prepped to get into her second dress, one that was more flowy and easy to move around in for the reception, in Kory’s words one that was more her, had more sparkles! Her and Kory shared a first look, complete with a spin for the second dress, since the first dress he saw her in it for the first time as she walked down the isle. So these two got the best of both worlds experiencing both together. They had their first dance on a large rock nestled right over the lake to the “Perfect Duet” by Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé. As they finished the dance with a grand dip kiss and everyone on the lake in their boats and along the shore fished, clapped and cheered for them!! As they enjoyed time with their family they enjoyed the snacks and drinks as well. It came time for some to leave so they popped open the champagne and shared a toast with everyone! Their family blew bubbles in celebration for a beautiful morning becoming husband and wife. Kory and Genevie ended their day taking a boat ride together in a canoe along the lake. We said our goodbyes waving from ashore as they boated away.
The wedding day was relaxed, beautiful and everyone had a great time enjoying themselves. Since they got married in the morning they planned to regroup and spend the rest of the day with the friends and family out camping on the forest service for the rest of the weekend! I am so happy to have captured these two on their wedding day, big congrats Genevie and Kory!!!!!
I am passionate about helping you two have a wedding day that is perfect for your relationship and who you two are! This may mean picnics by a lake in the pines, sky diving into your ceremony in the desert, hiking under the stars or boating around lake powel for the day! However you see your wedding day I am here to help you plan and capture those authentic moments!
“Literally the most amazing woman to work with! My partner and I have never taken photos together, and we are also camera shy. Traci came in and took our engagement photos earlier this year, she made it look like we belonged infront of the camera. She made us love taking photos, so for that we will forever be grateful!! This past weekend we got married and she was there to capture our day! I was an hour late and she was so sweet! When she says she more than a photographer, believe it. She literally kept everyone going and helped with the mishaps along the way! Could not have imagined another photographer capturing our day with as much grace as she had. We could go on and on!!! But most importantly, we cannot wait to work with her again!
- The Pottorffs
Mr. & Mrs. eloped in secret in Washington at a beautiful waterfall! They took a break from their busy jobs in Texas to fly to Washington for a weekend trip to get married! They knew they wanted to get married some where fun and in nature even before COVID. Originally they thought they might have a destination wedding, but something really with no-pressure and intimacy, but they didn’t want to hurt their family by not allowing them to be there. So they secretly tied the knot their way and plan to do a traditional reception/gathering with their family next year that will be so special to them in so many different ways! Mr. and Mrs. met at a mutual friends party that was SNL themed where she was dressed as Kristin Wig’s character and he was dressed as Adam Sandler’s character. It’s quite fitting that these two met at a party based around a comedic theme because Mr. has one of the biggest, most contiguous joy filled laughs I have ever head and Mrs. has the most room brightening genuine smile. That night made a lasting impression on them and there was for sure immediate chemistry. The next day Mr. asked Mrs. went out on their first date to the symphony in Texas. Mrs. didn’t realize that she was about to get involved in a two year long distant relationship! As fate would have it though, Mr. would move to Texas and the two of them would start their lives together in Houston. Soon after Mr. moved to Texas he gave Mrs. a huge surprise by proposing to her on her birthday in front of some of their closest friends.
The two picked Washington as their secret elopement location after chatting about places neither of them had been yet, but both had always wanted to go. As they started diving into locations within Washington they found photos of elopements at Snoqualmie falls and fell in love with the idea of eloping at a waterfall for its sheer power of movement. We started planning and finding the perfect locations. Mr. and Mrs. prepared to self-solemnize for their ceremony since they were keeping their elopement secret. The day before the elopement they flew into Seattle and spent the morning at the market getting flowers and tasting a bit of Seattle. They shared beautiful vows to each other and I pronounced them Husband and Wife. They shared a first dance on a rock in the middle of the river to Alicia Keys “If I Ain’t Got You.” As they came back to shore to get ready to finish the hike to the falls a family walked by and was able to sign as their witnesses. It’s so fun the joy that elopements bring on trail, people are always so excited to sign as a witness! We started out hiking into the forest from the river to the falls. It was so fun to watch Mr and Mrs admire the tall trees of the old groves. It was nice they had time to not rush the trail and enjoy themselves and take it all in. Once we got to the waterfalls they were eager to explores the area nearby admiring all of the PNW ferns, moss and plant life growing near the water source. They popped a bottle of champagne and had a cheers to making it here on their wedding day after a crazy year. We chatted for a while talking about stories from their time dating, their new life in Houston together and of course there was laughter and jokes!! We left the trail and they headed to dinner in Seattle to celebrate with their favorite seafood!
Congrats to Mr and Mrs!!! It was such a beautiful, fun day! I am so glad you got to take a little trip to Seattle to get married, explore somewhere new and some time to enjoy each other! I can’t wait to hear how telling the family goes and the celebration with them back home!!
Most commonly, Self-Solemnizing is known as a way to marry to yourself in Colorado and Washington DC. It is possible to self-solemnize in California (with a special marriage application) and Pennsylvania as long as you have two witnesses. Basically, this means you are getting married without an officiant performing the ceremony and typically without witnesses. It is a just you two wedding! I hate the term “just” here because a just you two wedding is incredibly special, meaningful and connected. It is a way to get married without any other distractions at all. Did you know though, it is possible to self-solemnize almost anywhere! HOW, you are asking?! Well, I am ordained! Woot, woot! This means if you want to self-solemnize I can sign off as your officiant. I can help you build your ceremony, give tips on writing your vows and help you with the flow of your ceremony. Then when the big day comes I will be doing my typical thing behind the camera while you two share the most private ceremony. At the end I can pronounce you wed and sign off! If we are in a state that needs witnesses we can typically pretty easily find some folks along the trail that will be happy to sign for you!
I would love to chat with you two! To me this is not a job, it is a passion to provide you with the knowledge and tools to have the most connective and authentic wedding day! Either you want to adventure through a forest, explore the desert, climb a spire or take a sail boat ride I am here to help you figure it all out and then capture those big and small moments. I am not just your photographer, I am your officiant, friend, planner, the gal that buttons your dress on the side of the trail and so much more! <3contact me!
Eloping in Moab is like having an adult playground to fulfill all of your adventure desires together on the biggest day! Alex and Erica knew they had to come to Utah to share this special day together. For a while their friends at church were trying to get them together, but their schedules didn’t seem like they would ever line up. Then one fateful day they had matched on a dating app and it finally clicked. They had decided to go on a date, which lead to moving in together and getting engaged. They joked that quarantining together truly showed them they could make it as a couple! They had initially started planning a larger, traditional wedding, but after some time they had realized it wasn’t what they really wanted. The two of them wanted something much more personal, adventurous, and intimate so they had decided they would elope. They reached out to me 20 days prior to the big day and we immediately started planning and putting the pieces together.
As we were planning their ceremony and elopement they started on an epic road trip from Virginia to Moab, Utah where they would get married on a beautiful cliff edge at Dead Horse Point State Park. Along they way they stopped in Colorado for several days exploring different areas. Alex used to live in Colorado Springs and absolutely loved it there. They are hoping to move to Colorado in their future together. It was a perfect pre-wedding/honeymoon trip to set the tone for their wedding day. These two really packed in the adventure for their elopement!! Prior to meeting up with us in the middle of the day they spent their morning sky diving over the desert lands that they would have in view as they got married. Sky diving is definitely one way to kick of your wedding day!!!
It was really important for them to have some variety in their photos and while they knew they wanted to get married in Moab surrounded by the desert, they didn’t want to compromise on some epic mountain scenery. After spending some time in Colorado and absolutely loving it, we planned a getaway from the extreme heat at a fitting lake spot high up a mountain road with privacy, tons of aspen trees and no shortage of free range cattle. We started the day with some letter readings from Erica’s gymnastic students, where the two of them sat in the perfect nook for an intimate start. The letters were filled with congratulations, happy wishes, and even an adorable photo that one student drew of them getting married on rocks. After spending some time at the lake and a stop for a grand view on the way down, we made our way over to Dead Horse Point State Park. When we arrived at the location all of the storms that were rolling in were off in the distance so we didn’t have to worry about the rain, but were graced with beautiful moody skies. We walked around the rim to find the perfect location for the ceremony. A local friend had come out to celebrate with them and video chat in some of their other friends. After a short ceremony they were announced husband and wife! Now it was time to really celebrate! We walked around the opposite rim of the canyon to find a perfect spot for these two to enjoy some per-selected Mumford and Sons songs as the sun started to set. After listening to music and exploring the rim they popped a bottle of champagne as the sunset turned a blood orange color surrounded by the moody skies, it was an absolute treat! It was a fantastic summer evening in Moab with a light temperature from the rain falls, beautiful skies, laughter and joy!
Erica really wanted to meet the cat, but due to Moab’s hot temperatures Indy was not able to tag along. So we went back to the hotel room to exchange out items from our backpack, share a bottle of champagne and of course meet Indy! We chatted about the rest of their road trip and since they were heading to Sedona next I of course had to dish out all of my top recommendations so these two could have the best end to their elopement road trip! They had quite an epic journey to start their marriage and they definitely have one heck of a sunset to beat for all their anniversaries together! Big congrats to Eric and Alex may you have many more road trips, adventures, skydives and travels ahead for you! I am so happy to have been apart of your day!!!
Meet Maggie and Tony!!! I was excited when these two let me know they were moving forward with their plans that we had been putting together for over 6 months for their elopement in Washington no matter what covid threw at them! They traveled from Minnesota to Washington with some of their closest friends and family to have literally the most epic wedding celebration I have ever seen, these two truly know how to get married! It was really beautiful to see people there supporting the ones they love despite the current issues facing the world. Maggie and Tony met at her work and became friends while grabbing lunch together for two years. One day everything aligned and their friendship became more. They share a love for fishing, taking road trips and being out on the lake. They both have the kindest hearts and the funniest spirits.
For their wedding they booked several VRBO’s along a river in Packwood, Washington with incredible mountain views and elk visiting every day. This was going to be their first time in Mount Rainier National Park and I can not think of a better memory to create for seeing the park the first time than getting married there! For the first day of their two day elopement we met up with them at their VRBO and I was stunned by the view, but even more so by the super whimsical arch that Tony built for their ceremony for the following day. Maggie and Tony shared a first look in the forest before we set out for a day exploring Mount Rainier National Park together. We set out in their Jeep to the first location in the park. The day before we arrived they took the kiddos to all of the locations they were going to visit the next day! The first location was a stunning waterfall with the bluest water and a beautiful forest surrounding it. Maggie wanted to for sure have water be a part of their elopement because Tony is a water sign and she is an Earth sign, plus not to mention their love for being around water in general. We walked through the magical forest, across a fairy-tale like bridge to the rocks overlooking the powerful waterfall. This was the start of their two day elopement and it definitely set the bar high. Up next we heading to an area in Mount Rainier with an old grove of historical trees. One of their favorite areas on this trail was the bridge over the river. As we took some photos by the water they reminisced about bringing the boys there the day before. Last up for our trip around Mount Rainier was a beautiful lake with countless wildflowers. We walked around the lake taking in all of the different colored flowers. We ended the day at sunset overlooking the lake and Mount Rainier, hoping she would make her appearance out from under the clouds.
By the second day it felt like we had known the two forever and it was a blast getting to know their family this day! We meet them all back at the VRBO for the BIG moment, these two were officially getting married! We arrived as they were finishing up a chef prepared meal on the back patio. As we arrived we caught the tail end of a speech of how their love story started and moments filled with laughter. We got to hear about the matching tattoos they had gotten when they visited Sedona for the first time together, meaningful to the life they were choosing to live together. As family and friends gathered to start to set up the ceremony space around the arch Tony had built, Maggie and Tony secretly slipped out though the back to share some moments together. Tony played the guitar for Maggie down by the river with just the two of them before they read their private vows. This was a very special moment to Maggie. They read their vows right by the river in privacy giving them the space to be open, honest, true and emotional before becoming husband and wife in front of their friends and family. It was a beautifully emotional start to the evening. As the sun began to set with the clouds turning pink above the mountains, the candles’ flames they had set by the arch became visible. Tony’s dad began to play a song on his guitar for people to sit to start the ceremony. During the ceremony Maggie and Tony exchanged a white rose with each other, symbolizing receiving, giving and forgiveness throughout their marriage. As they kissed for the first time as a married couple their friends and family filled the space with confetti and the celebration began! A friend greeted them on the other end of the isle with popped champagne. Once everyone shared their hugs and congrats we all noticed a herd of elk had come down by the river bed, perfect timing to congratulate the couple! We paused everything to watch these beautiful creatures cross the river. Tony shared a first dance with his mom, Maggie shared a first dance with her dad and lastly Maggie and Tony shared their first dance! The evening was perfect, filled with love, laughter, happy tears and celebration for these two finally becoming one with their soulmates.
Between the love of their family, friends, and the beautiful setup that had come from everyone working together, I don’t think it could have been more moving of a wedding. Maggie and Tony really put so much thought into their day, trip and this milestone to create an experience that matched who they were, what marriage meant to them and true to their relationship. It was the happiest, funniest and most epic moments. I feel so honored to have been able to be apart of these two days and capture them. After their wedding celebration and family flew home they started a road trip back to Minnesota where they spent time in Olympic National Park, Astoria and the Grand Tetons! I can not think of any better way for these two to have gotten married or honeymooned. It fit them so perfectly and was such an amazing experience. Congrats to Maggie and Tony! Hopefully one day we can canoe with you two on the coast of the lake in Minnesota!Contact me to inquire about your own washington elopement!
Meet Brian and Lisa! They were originally supposed to elope in Hawaii, but due to covid restrictions, they decided to go to a mountain. The couple had narrowed their choices between the Grand Tetons and Mt Rainier, and they ultimately chose Mt Rainier! These two ventured down from Pittsburg to Washington state for the first time to get married! They stayed in Ashford, WA, a wonderful town close by the park with some adorable A frame airbnb’s. The days leading up to their elopement they spent hiking around the park on epic trails like the Fremont lookout tower. On their wedding day we met up to start the day with photos by the lake before hitting the trial up to a stunning peak overlooking the park. During the hike up we chatted about their memories from traveling together to Italy, Switzerland and more places, having their first at the Library (which is actually a bar) after meeting on Hinge and their time cooking new things during covid.
Lisa and Brian selected a location that they had found online and fell in love with. The entire hike was stunning as we winded through the forest. As the trees cleared and we tackled a bit of scrambling as Mt Adams came into view and said hi to a marmot. As we summited the top, the location was as stunning as ever with blue skies and big views. Lisa and Brian finished getting ready on top of the mountain and set up a phone to record the ceremony so they could share with friends and family later, as they eloped with just the two of them! They brought along Anastasia, violinist of the Musical Mountaineers, to officiate their wedding and play music for Lisa’s walk down the isle. Their ceremony was stunning as the sun started to set, sending light across the front of Mt Rainier, with laughter, happy tears and memories. They decided who would read their hand written vows first by playing rock paper scissors shoot! We learned these two tend to get off trail occasionally while hiking together during their vows, which ironic enough happened on our way up the trial on their wedding due to snow covering the trial. They share a love of tacos together, patience, and they care for each other so deeply. They sealed the deal with a kiss and as we turned around due to a rustling sound, we saw a huge mountain goat! It was as if he came by to say congrats to the newly weds. We watched him cross the snow, wander to our stuff for a sniff and find a spot to watch us near some trees. He stayed the entire rest of the time that we were uptop the mountain watching the rest of the sunset as we celebrated their marriage.
Lisa and Brian shared a first dance as Anastasia played “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” on her violin. After the song we explored the area walking around the trail to different views as the sun continued setting. These two fully enjoyed the snow at the top of the mountain throwing snow balls and before heading down the mountain, went sledding in their wedding attire. The meadows atop the mountain were filled with Sub-alpine white wild flowers. It felt like a fairy tale between the beautiful lighting and flowers as we turned the corner from the rocky tarn we were near for the ceremony. Before ending the evening the two popped open a bottle of champagne and watched the final moments of the sunset, ending its colorful show that blanketed the mountain in purples, blues and pinks. This is one of my favorite moments of an elopement, giving the newly wed couple a moment to themselves to take in the beauty of the location and the beginning of their forever together. An elopement is so exciting, the hiking, the views, the ceremony, the big dip kisses over looking the mountain, the wildlife showing up and so many emotions. It is so nice to have the quiet time, just the two of them in those last moments of light of their wedding day taking it all in without any thing else happening. We hiked down under the stars looking for climbers who would be summiting Mt Rainer near camp Muir, looking for the milky way and talking about their honey moon plans to Olympic National park and the North Cascades. After their elopement they were headed to their Airbnb for pizza and homemade pies bought in town.
These two had the most magical evening for elopement, it was so beautiful and peaceful. It was their day filled with things that are close to their heart and moments they will forever remember. I am so happy for these two that they could still plan a dream elopement despite covid. Congrats Lisa and Brian! May you have countless adventurous ahead!
I am your gal! From the Southwest to the Pacific Northwest I help you plan an elopement day that is perfect for you two. I am with you every step from the way from planning, to capturing the moments and traversing the snowy rocks in August for your mountain wedding <3 There is nothing more I would rather do than watch you two say I do in the most authentic, connective way. Contact me now to start planning your own elopement!
This Sedona elopement was one for the books with Hawaiian traditions, an epic sunset, some smooth dance moves, and lots of celebrating of love!
Meet Kamaile and Ash! These two met each other while Ash was stationed in Hawaii and Kamaile was living there. They have both lived in so many places in and out of the United States, but fate brought them together on the islands. They soon started dating and fell in love with each other. They soon moved their dogs and lives into one home back on the mainland as Ash was stationed elsewhere. Throughout their travel and adventuring they actually ended up proposing to each other three times! The first time they were camping in Oregon, where Ash is originally from, when Ash presented Kamaile with a beautiful gift of a post of what the stars looked like that night where they were. Kamaile simply replied with “we should get married,” and Ash agreed! Further down the road, they were camping in Sedona in their newly bought van, and Kamaile more formerly presented Ash with a ring to ask her hand in marriage. Who knew they would also get married in Sedona?!
On their elopement day these two had officially planned four weddings!!! Thanks to Covid-19, their first original plan for a traditional wedding in Oregon near the Gorge was cancelled. At the time that I met Ash and Kamaile they were planning an elopement on Mt Lemmon since it is a place they climb, hike, and camp at a lot. We had everything planned; we chose the camp spot, they scouted for the perfect places for the ceremony, and they had invited their friends. Then came the Bighorn Fire and we quickly had to come up with an entire new plan since the mountain was on fire just two weeks before the big day. We decided on Sedona! We brought plans together for the perfect location that would give them the views and experience they still wanted and would accommodate for family that was in town visiting and attending the ceremony. Between Covid-19, work, losing one of their beloved dogs, and applying for an advanced law degree, these two had the most intense couple of weeks leading up to their elopement that I could ever imagine, but it was the most beautiful day filled with joy. Kamaile said during the elopement that each time they replanned the wedding it actually became more and more perfect for them and what they actually wanted.
We met at Bell Rock for the ceremony and I have never seen the place so empty, they basically had the entire place to themselves. With friends and mom in tow, we found the perfect spot for them to exchange vows. There was a harsh wind in the air, but when it came time to start the ceremony Kamaile welcomed everyone speaking in her native Hawaiian tongue and then sang a song in honor of the land and it’s native people. Magically, the wind stopped for the rest of the ceremony. Kamaile’s friend from lake school in San Fransisco flew in to preform the ceremony, she had become an officiant the week that gay marriage was legalized! They shared laughter, tears of joy and exchanged hand written words of their love story and commitment to each other. As the ceremony concluded they celebrated and took a shot with their guests before splitting off for their sunset adventure. Before starting the bumpy part of the ride we stopped for ice slushees to cool off from the Sedona’s summer heat, it was the perfect remedy. We took an off road adventure to a higher elevation to one of the best views for sunset in Sedona. As we arrived it was nice to relax, not be in a rush and see these two just enjoy their evening. Kamaile had surprise up her sleeve for Ash and performed a dance that in Hawaii is a traditional dance bride’s perform for their new spouse. The dance she chose to do was her mother’s favorite, this was to honor her mother since she wasn’t able to attend the elopement. Afterwards they shared their first dance together on a rock ledge, these two for sure have no fear of heights! As we explored the area they stopped to admire bugs, told us memories of living in Hawaii and of course shared lots of laughter and dance moves. They popped champagne as the sun started to set and sat to watch the beautiful color show to gather, their first sunset as wives, and it was a stunning one!!! They both have some of the most beautiful tattoos I have seen, so I asked them which were their favorites of each other. Turns out they learned something new about each other here! Kamaile’s favorite of Ash’s was her leg piece displaying some of her favorite things about home, Oregon. Ash’s favorite of Kamaile’s was a piece on her shoulder and back that she was there for when she got it, four different flowers representing the four women that raised Kamaile. As we headed back down, the mountain excitement grew over the tacos their friends were grilling up back at the Airbnb! We arrived to excitement from their friends, home made guac, and yummy tacos! The night ended with romantic photos under the Milky Way back at their ceremony location! The show didn’t stop there though, we watched the largest golden moon rise over the horizon on the back to the Airbnb. I dropped them back off with their friends to enjoy celebrating their night. I checked in with them the following day with sneak peek photos from their elopement only to hear they had spent their first day married watching a sunrise and a sunset in Sedona, it doesn’t get much better than that!!
Congrats Kamaile and Ash!!! May you have so many beautiful years and epic adventures together! I hope to see you two this fall up in Sedona for some rad adventures and we will get up some spires!
Well you have come to the right place then! Here at Adventure and Vow we take great pride in helping our couples plan a day that is THEM, finding the perfect place for them to celebrate their love and capture images that tell their story. We are not just photographers, we are planners, friends, vendor gurus and trail trekers. We would love to connect with your about your own elopement day in Sedona or anywhere else!Contact us now!
Mel and Rebecca decided to elope in Sedona after their venue cancelled on them for their October wedding due to covid. Although the change to their wedding plans came after their venue cancelled, Rebecca really felt like eloping was the best way to get married because of the true importance of marriage and how special and intimate she actually wanted it to be. This day was super special because not only were Rebecca and Mel becoming one, but they were also blending their family of three kids. They reached out to me after hearing about Robynn and James elopement on the Good Morning Arizona news channel, Mel’s favorite show since moving to Arizona! We had a facetime meeting while Mel was away on travel for work and Rebecca was here in Phoenix. They knew they wanted to elope in Sedona, knew they wanted the kids to be an important factor in their day and knew they wanted to get married on their anniversary date, which by the time they contacted me, was coming up in about three weeks! So we started planning!!!
Mel and Rebecca found the most amazing Airbnb I had ever seen in Sedona to hold the ceremony at so they could get ready in comfort, be able to live stream with friends and family and so the kids wouldn’t have to hike. The space really created a romantic feel and perfect amount of space for everyone to enjoy getting ready. It was fun to see the family all being themselves and having fun as the day went on. In one room you had the girls crocheting and singing and in the other you had Mel helping Joseph, Rebecca’s son, get ready while Rebecca’s mom helped her with the dress. Family and friends were able to watch the ceremony, but also spend time with everyone as they got ready and hung out before the virtual ceremony.
As the time came for their first look Mel stood on the balcony of the Airbnb that overlooked Bell Rock, Courthouse, Little horse and more rock features playing “I Prayed for You.” Rebecca walked out to see her husband to be for the first time on their wedding day. There was laughter, moments of quiet and tears of joy shared before they joined their family for the ceremony. A friend from Phoneix came up to officiate for the couple and Rebecca’s sister surprised her and flew in for the big day! The ceremony was an extremely precious moment where they vowed to each other and vowed to their own children. You could tell the bond these two have is deep and unbreakable and their love is tremendous for each other and their family. After the ceremony and good-byes to the virtual guests, they shared a family toast where it was even more appearant how much these two have positively effected each other and their families. Then they cut the cake made by her sister with an adorable “Our adventure begins” topper!
Now it was time for the two to share some alone time before heading back to eat tacos and relax at the Airbnb with the family! We headed to Bell Rock for sunset. They trooped out a speedy little hike to a rock that overlooks the three main features you can see from this area and witnessed the most incredible light I have ever seen blanket Cathedral Rock. They chatted about their day sharing their favorite parts with each other and told us the stories of their love. They met on a plane, as Mel is a pilot and Rebecca is a flight attendant. She knew as soon as she met Mel that he was different and was touched by his big smile. Later he asked her to dinner and the rest is history. Mel knew he wanted to spend his life with her and planned a Christmas time proposal that would take place during nice Christmas photos out in Vegas. The photos ended up being moved by the Christmas tree and Rebecca thought it would be cute to do them in their Christmas PJ’s and Mel rolled with it!!! Now, here they were on their wedding day dancing to Bruno Mars as the most beautiful sunset happened in Sedona! I had been hearing about these dance move of Mel’s all day and Rebecca is right, they definitely have moves! This day was amazing! I truly can not imagine a more perfect day for this family, this couple or a better day to start their lives together as one in Arizona. I am forever thankful to help couples pull off a day that they imagine and be there to witness their love and photograph their love story. Many cheers to these two and I wish their family an entire lifetime of happiness!
There are many Airbnbs, VRBOS, resorts or hotels to stay at in Sedona. You can check out my blog, the best places to stay in Sedona for your elopement, for more or reach out and we can help you find a great option! It is super important to make sure where you are staying can accommodate your plans before booking! The Airbnb Becca and Mel used is no longer allowing any events, photography, etc on their property.Find more epic places to stay while in Sedona
I am passionate about bringing your wedding day to life and helping you create an experience that is authentic to who you two are as a couple. I have hiked countless miles in Sedona to find the perfect elopement locations for each couple. I am not just a photographer, but your planner, wedding guru, local Sedona expert and friend. I would love to capture your day <3contact me know about your wedding day!
Words from the couple:
“Wow! Wow! Wow! I can’t say enough about Traci! She truly exceeded our expectations and we couldn’t be more thankful to have found her. 🙏🏼 We were in the process of planning a “big” October wedding and the venue canceled in the wake of COVID. We saw Traci on GMAZ ( Good Morning Arizona) and immediately knew we wanted to elope and Traci would be the one to capture it! We only had a few weeks, ( which was plenty! I personally never thought we could pull it off in such a short time and Traci assured me that it was more than enough... she was right!) We knew we wanted something special and we wanted the memories captured and boy did we get just that! We shared with Traci that we were blending our families and that having our 3 children be a huge part of our special day was extremely important to us. The candid moments she captured couldn’t have shown it more perfectly the exact thing we shared with her. Traci helped us plan, gave us ideas, gave us vendors and her response time was instant. She truly made everything about “eloping” smooth and calming... which is exactly what we needed given the times right now in our world. Her approach is definitely in the name of her business “Adventure!” She truly makes it an adventure to remember. She’s not just the “photographer,” she is your everything and more. We are forever grateful for her 🙏🏼❤️”