Heather and Brent originally reached out to me to do their elopement at Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon and as you can imagine the excitement was high for everyone involved. If you know anything about the Grand Canyon and Havasu Falls it has become a pretty Instagram famous location and for the last few years it's been pretty difficult to get a permit to go down and much less for a larger group of people. February rolled around, Heather and Brent tried to obtain permits for their elopement date and unfortunately they weren't able to grab any, even for the back up dates. Then Heather reached out and decided that they were going to elope in Sedona. Equally as excited because Sedona is magnificent and there's so many places there to elope and share your day together. I was super excited for them. Heather had previously been to Sedona and was very excited to return and this would be Brent’s first time among the red rocks!
Heather and Brent are from Texas and we're going to be traveling out this way with their three dogs and twenty five of their closest friends and family. Sedona is vastly full of Red Rocks and amazing views. We knew we had to start our search for the perfect location. Many of the trails are pretty popular though, and you want to stay on trail and not damage any of the plants following Leave No Trace behind principles. So as soon as we had our initial conversation about the plans, where the Airbnb’s were that they were staying and their ideal location, I set out scouting for the perfect spot that would be appropriate for their ceremony. Heather was really drawn to Devil's Bridge for the ceremony. It being Mother's Day weekend I was really concerned about them not having the experience of having privacy and time to really just enjoy the moment with her friends and family and not feel rushed or have to wait in a line to take photos on the bridge. Devil’s bridge is one of the most popular hikes in the area. So we made the decision to hike out at sunrise for Devil's Bridge, but just the two of them and find a separate location for the ceremony with friends and family. They go on trips with their friends all the time to travel, explore, hike and adventure. Some of guests don't hike as much, so I wanted to keep in mind while searching for a ceremony location that everyone could access and enjoy for the day. I hiked through Sedona for several months looking for the perfect spot. I just wanted to provide for them the best view, with the most privacy. So I came across Doe Mountain which is aligned with Bear Mountain, one of the harder trails in Sedona through Arizona hiking group tips and suggestions. Everyone talks about Devil’s Bridge being the most scenic trail and the most beautiful in Sedona, but this place took my breathe away. There is something special about the bridge, but I really believe that this is the best view that I've seen in Sedona so far and I still have a lot of miles to cover in the area. I felt like this could definitely be the spot so I sent pictures to Heather and she was like, yes, this is perfect!! So we had everything planned away timeline ready to go super stoked.
I checked in with Heather and Brent upon their arrival in Sedona to make sure they arrived okay. They had and they were definitely taking the full advantage of Sedona and Phoenix and surrounding areas. Many of their friends breaking off throughout the week to go see the Grand Canyon and Heather and the girls came down to Phoenix and floated the Salt River the day before the wedding. They just really enjoyed their time here and took full advantage of it and had a great week leading up to their elopement day. The morning of the elopement we met at the trailhead of Devil's Bridge at 3:15 a.m. We all hopped into Brent’s truck who had hiked Devil's Bridge the day before and decided that his truck could definitely make it down. The off-road part of the trail saved us a little bit of time and was a fun experience off roading in the middle of the night. We arrived to the part of the trail where the hike started, hopped out and geared up. Head lamps on, it was quiet, beautiful morning and the perfect temperature. We hiked through the woods under stars, enjoying the trail to ourselves.
We got to the bridge a little earlier than anticipated since we took the truck most of the way in. Which was really nice because it gave Heather and Brent time to relax after the hike and just sit on the bridge and wait for the sun to rise. They walked over and I stayed back where the all of our packs and stuff work and we just waited for the sun to rise. They were all cuddled up on the rock together on the bridge, taking in the view surround them. You could hear them talking and laughing and I smile across the way it made me so happy that they got the chance to really just share this special time together and just be together and it not feel like there was any pressure any rush nothing like literally the bridge was all there is for the morning. When light started to bring light to the sky they headed back over to where I was with all the packs and got dressed. Brent wore what he was going to wear to the ceremony and Heather wore this cute little silk romper that was super adorable with a cute little lace back. And they helped each other get dressed so that they can read their letters together that they written prior. The letters were super important to them, Heather wanted to them to be read during a secluded moment so that they could feel free to be emotional together and not have to worry about their friends and family watching them. They headed back over to the bridge to read their letters to each other and I stayed on the other side to give them plenty of privacy because I knew how important this moment was for them. They exchanged the letters and read them to themselves stopping in between to share moments or laugh or giggle or remember a memory. They hugged and embraced taking in the sun peaking over the red rock behind them. All of a sudden the red canyons lit up the light behind them, it truly was a gorgeous, stunning sunrise and they got to share it all themselves. It was such a beautiful beautiful moment, and I can't imagine anything more special to start off your elopement day together.
We heard a couple coming up the mountain in the distance and so we started taking portraits of the two of them together. It was so fun to play around, they romped around together on the bridge and shared a lot of quiet moments. Heather and Brent have that kind of love that's just really in tune. It's in tune, it's private, deep-rooted and it was so sweet to watch them just be with each other. They spent time holding each other, talking and sharing memories from the week and moments they'd had in their relationship leading up to this point. Heather and Brent have quite a unique story. They met each other in Texas at an event through mutual friends, but Heather and Brent live about two and a half hours from each other. So there was no coincidence that they met each other and hit it off pretty well. Up until their drive to Arizona for Texas they were still long distance. Even with two hours between them they had grown this deep connection and I think that's so beautiful to conquer the challenge together. They’ve shared a lot of adventures with all their friends and some together too, but this is most definitely the biggest adventure that they'll have together, starting their marriage in Sedona on an epic adventurous day. Starting it off at the most beautiful sunrise and ending it with the most beautiful sunset surrounded by friends and family. After taking photos and adventuring down the rest of the trail, we headed back to the truck and we drove back out. We were definitely all excited to take a little nap and get some rest before the rest of the day. So we all headed back to where we were staying and decided to meet back up around four to hike out for the ceremony part of their elopement.
Four o’clock came around pretty quick and I met them at the trailhead of Doe Mountain with all their friends and family for the ceremony part of their elopement. Everyone was so excited as they watched Heather and Brent pull up and get the pups ready for the hike. Heather wore the cutest shirt for the hike up that said “And she lived happily ever after” with a girl hiking during sunset on it. This is the biggest hike that I had led before, heading out with twenty five and three dogs. It was important in prepping that everyone knew the Leave No Trace principals, to look for rattlers and drink lots of water. We gradually made our way to the top, scrambling the rocks, hiking the trail and resting so the pups can have some water. We made it to the plateau and everyone said WOW. Everyone was so excited taking pictures of the view with friends and family together. It was a really special moment. As we arrived everyone sat down to relax, put away our packs, some decided to change clothes and some stayed in there hiking gear. We determined the perfect location for the ceremony with the most epic view. Went over the game plan with the officiant and set areas for everyone to listen to the ceremony. Friends helped Heather get all the dogs, Lady, Charlotte and Rowdy, dressed in their beautiful flower collars.
Brent got dressed which included his “Heather socks”, yes!, socks with Heather’s face all over them!! Little did he know that he was in for a big surprise. Upon planning, it was pretty easy for Heather to tell me about the surprise since they live far apart and we were not on the same call at the time. She informed me that she was going to surprise Brent and all the guests by wearing a wedding dress. You see, everyone thought that she was going to wear her white silk romper for the whole ceremony, but she had other intentions. She found the most gorgeous dress from BHLDN! She said that she didn't think she was going to like a wedding dress so she didn’t much thought into finding one. She had found the most perfect dress and you could tell it really fit her personality and who she was. She had packed the dress in a pack and just told her friend to carry it up the trial for her, not telling them what was in it. So when I came time to get ready, a couple of Heather’s friends went behind the tree with sheets and the pack. While everyone anticipated the bride to come down the aisle, they helped her change and all her friends were so excited telling her how beautiful she was super stoked and talking about the dress as she was trying to keep them from being too loud that Brent would hear the secret. It was a super special moment for her to share with her friends to help her get dressed something that they didn't know they were going to get to share with her. I headed back to the ceremony space smiling ear-to-ear knowing that Brent was going to be surprised! She came around the corner from the trees where she changed and everyone was crying. There wasn't a dry eye, Brent had the most pleasant smile and she was grinning away as she made her way to him. The ceremony started off with a longtime friend of Brent's and their Pastor sharing a prayer and sharing some of the many stories of Brent growing up, their relationship, Brent meeting Heather and how their relationship has grown and formed. Brent’s Dad also led in a prayer and shared how they admired Heather and Brent for the relationship and how they had grown it together. It was a super sweet ceremony. Lots of laughter, lots of tears and special moments with simple sweet vows. They shared a passionate kiss and everyone was excited as Brent and Heather turned to walk away back down the aisle. Heather's pup was super stoked that Mama had just got married and was jumping up and down the whole way as they walked away. Everyone shared hugs and kisses of congratulation.
After family photos and a champagne toast the family decided to walk back down and give Heather and Brent some more alone time for their couples photos and time to soak in the view and moment of being married. Brent and Heather are one of the sweetest couples I've ever met, their love is just so beautiful to watch and all the quiet moments they shared. They took in the view together shared kisses, hugs and excitement that they just tied the knot. Once we were done with photos we started to walk back to the area for them to change and a couple ladies had come up the trail and was congratulating them and giving them kudos for choosing to have their wedding out in Sedona on the trails. I love seeing people celebrate elopements and admire couples eloping on the trails we share. Brent remember that he brought a bottle of bourbon super special, just for this day. Brent cracked it up and took a sip while holding his new wife. Heather's not a bourbon girl, but she shared a drink with her new husband and it was you could tell that Brian was excited to have that moment a typical normal moment of a wedding that you can still share even with an elopement. They wanted to change to hike back down just to make everything a little easier since we were coming up on sunset and they were leaving for their honeymoon that evening. Turned one of Heather's friends had accidentally kidnapped all her clothes luckily Brent had an extra outfit so she hiked down in her husband's clothes. As we got to the bottom we saw everyone have stayed and waited which was a surprise for us all. Everyone began cheering for Heather and Brent as we made our way down the last bit of trail. There's something about connection and community and support those really makes get you going just because you elope doesn't mean you can’t involve these special people in your life. I've never seen a friend system like Heather and Brent have they are all so connected and supportive. They have shared so many adventures and journeys together and stayed so close for so long. It's really a special special bond ship. As we came of the trial her friends and family created a human tunnel for them to come through while playing the song ‘Africa.’ Throughout the hike Heather had joked around to one of her friends that he was suppose to sing the song to them after the ceremony. Before leaving they signed the marriage license with two closest friends and their pastor and then of course, we had to get a photo of the trailhead marker with their marriage license. This way they can forever remember where they got married and be able to come back to this trail to hike it on any anniversary.
Heather and Brent congratulations to you guys. I can't even begin to say how amazing it was to be apart of your day, I'm getting emotional even writing this right now. I am so very happy for you two. You both are such amazing people and a beautiful couple. I know that you're going to go far in life with your friends and family surrounding you, giving you the most love. I can't imagine all the adventures you are going to share together and you are off to a great start!. I hope you had the best honeymoon ever and Mexico and I hope that you guys got some rest after driving and exploring Arizona, having you adventure wedding and driving to Mexico! May you always remember that morning under the stars in Sedona and that beautiful evening you shared with friends and family, ending your elopement with a rainbow in review mirror as you drove away from your elopement location. Cheers, my friends!!! <3