Full Day Elopement with Family in Sedona, Arizona on an Off Road Adventure with a Romantic Dinner
Cassie and Tyler met each other in Kentucky when Cassie was doing her masters and happened to go into the bar that Tyler owned on a night typically he wouldn’t be working. And from that chance encounter, it all began. As they dated and moved in together they went on many adventures traveling all over the world. One of their favorite places being Turks and Caicos. When they got engaged, they knew that they wanted a wedding that would focus more on the commitment and celebration, without all of the stress that is so common with a traditional wedding. Of course they wanted a day that involved a little bit of adventure too. Once they reached out to us after deciding Sedona was the perfect place for them they fell in love with Merry Go Round rock, and the planning began!
A couple of days before their elopement, some bad weather was set to come in to Sedona. While usually we shoot rain, wind or snow, the road up to Merry Go Round Rock closes if it gets too wet. We thought it was best to move everything to the day before so the couple could continue with their plans in the location they most desired. As it turns out the universe also thought this was a good idea because everything that had their date on it either broke, never arrived in the mail, or was unusable at the wedding.
So as the ceremony came a day early, we met up with them at their super cute Airbnb rental to capture Cassie as she was spending time with her mother and closest family members. Cassie spent time writing her vows, drinking mimosas and getting ready. It was a relaxed morning, with time well spent connecting with family and prepping for the fun of the day ahead. To complete getting ready, Cassie’s final touch was wearing her grandmother’s pearls.
The couple had planned a gift exchange to share before hitting the dirt roads, and while we were with Cassie she opened hers first. Cassie could not have been more excited by the gift she had received from Tyler. He had found her a rare pair of shoes she had been wanting for a long time now, perfect to wear on the wedding day!
As Tyler was getting ready he added a few special things to his outfit before starting the day. He got to wear his grandfather’s bolo tie and he had special shoes made with paintings of their two huskies on the top and their cat on the side. Their pets are definitely their babies and it was super cute to be able to see them include them in their day in a fun way. When it came time for Tyler to open his gift, he received a watch and a journal that Cassie had been writing for a year. She wrote memories of them being together throughout their adventures and thoughts and wishes for this day and beyond. It was a really special touch and gift for him to read through before setting out to get married. As their family and friends finished getting ready, Cassie and her father shared an emotional first look before we all hopped into the Jeeps and made our way up the mountain road.
After some bumpy off road driving, we arrived to the top of the mountain and our group walked to the ceremony location. We all organized for the ceremony ready to go as Cassie and her father walked the rest of the way down the trail together for Tyler to see her for the first time in her wedding dress. The ceremony was beautiful. Their personal vows were so touching and talked all about their journey together and their wishes for the future. It was filled with such joyous emotion. It was wonderful to see their family gathered around them, supporting them through their ceremony and supporting this marriage.
After the ceremony, there were hugs in celebration and after capturing some family photos, the guests headed back down the mountain to gather at the Airbnb to hangout and prepare for dinner. Cassie and Tyler stayed up at the top of Merry Go Round to explore all the pockets of what Merry-Go-Round has to offer. They had so much fun scrambling to the top of the rock formations and ended the evening with one of the most beautiful and colorful sunsets I have seen in Sedona. The evening was quiet and serene. It was nice to soak in all of the blue purple and pink colors in the sky quietly together as we had the entire place to ourselves, probably due to the bad weather due to roll in the following day. Once the sun dipped, we headed back to the jeep for the adventure back down the mountain. We talked about their travel plans, past travel they have shared and their goals for life. As we made our way back into the house, we were greeted by family and two shots of tequila. They signed their marriage license with each of their mother’s as their witnesses making it legal! We left them to enjoy their dinner after a full evening of adventure and getting married!
We captured their elopement celebration into two different days since the chef they had booked wasn’t able to switch their dinner date. It was actually really nice to have it seperated into two days so they could fully enjoy and embrace each part of their elopement So the following day, we were set to arrive at where Cassie and Tyler were staying to capture them in the cutest cabin. During the day before we had arrived, Tyler and some of the family had put together their dinner set up. Tyler had created a romantic display with a lovely blue decor, a chandler and more. He had even handled the floral arrangements as he told his mom later that he thinks what he learned at the Boy Scouts was really coming in handy. We headed back to the Airbnb the family was staying where everyone mingled over appetizers and dinner was served: a fantastic steak and duck fat fries with Brussels sprouts.
Following dinner several of the family members stood up to give a toast to the newly weds. There was so much laughter, tears of joy and reminiscing. Cassie’s sister gave an emotional toast, definitely roasting her sister just a little bit here and there, but it was beautiful to see them welcoming Tyler into the family officially after years of memories all together. Tyler’s sister also gave a speech that was emotional and you could tell that she was so excited to finally have a sister and welcome Cassie into the family.
Their first dance music was played on a record they had gotten made with a photo on top of their engagement session. It was a fun touch and I love that it is something they can listen to over and over again at their home. The dances started with their very own first dance which was flirty and fun ending in one of their epic deep kisses. This was followed by emotional first dances with their father and mother. Their intimate reception was one for the books with so much meaning as everyones connection with each other truly showed. Before the formalities of the night came to an end, Cassie’s father sang and played everyone a song on his guitar. It was a touching moment and the perfect way to end the evening.
Before everything finished up, Cassie and Tyler thanked us for all of our help in making their day special, and a dream come true with their family chiming in with good words as well. In return, we really just had to thank them for planning an elopement based on their values and who they are as a couple and everyone embracing the experience of an elopement creating a really authentic space to form lasting memories for everyone.
A lot of times family elopements can run behind and kind of add stress to the couple which is essentially the opposite of what we think an elopement day is all about. A tip for planning a family elopement that Cassie did that really helped was she made a very detailed spreadsheet. It included information on their elopement day, on Sedona in general, locations and more. It was easy to follow so that everyone knew exactly what to expect and even with changing the plans last minute, everyone was ready to go and knew exactly what what was going on. We couldn’t be more thankful to be a part of their day. This elopement day was a true reflection of who they are as a couple. Fun, adventurous, spontaneous and special to those around them. We stayed for awhile and hung out after the elopement coverage was complete. We chatted about life and places, there were cigars smoked, cocktails toasted and laughter before we headed out. Before leaving we reached out to Cassie’s father to see if he would be willing to record the song he performed for their elopement video. He enthusiastically agreed to rent studio space and make the song for the wedding video. It is such a special touch for them to be able to look back on throughout their whole life together and hear his music played along with their wedding day.
Congrats to Cassie and Tyler!!! We can’t wait for that one year anniversary somewhere epic and we wish you a guys, all the best.