Sedona Elopement as told by the Bride + Photographer!
For years now I have written some of our couple’s elopement stories on our blog. Recently I was talking with one of my first brides, who actually became one of my best friends, about our own elopement day. She said we should write out our story so we have something to look back on to read over the details and not just the photos. She suggested this because she said she often looks back at the blog I wrote for her day to reread it. This made me think, I wonder how different my blogs would be if they were told from the couple’s perspective rather than mine, the photographer. So! The idea was in place and it was time to put the thought into action. One of our recent Sedona brides offered to write up her side of their sunrise elopement. The first writing is from Hailey’s perspective and the second is mine.
Tell me in the comments, have you and your spouse written the memories from your wedding story down somewhere to revisit as you go through life together? I think it would be so cute to do an album with the writing throughout with the images!
My name is Hailey, and I eloped with my now-husband Jesse on April 6th, 2021 in Sedona with Traci from Adventure and Vow. It was the most meaningful experience in our lives.
We originally planned to get married in April 2020 with all of our family and friends in attendance. We chose to cancel our wedding due to the pandemic, which was a very heartbreaking experience. We have a big family that lives across the country, with many healthcare workers and immunocompromised individuals, so we didn’t feel comfortable hosting a wedding. By the beginning of 2021, Jesse and I were eager to take the next step in our relationship and get married. We wanted to elope somewhere beautiful, warm, intimate, and adventurous as we are passionate hikers and travelers. We decided on Arizona and found Adventure & Vow and booked a Sedona elopement with just a few weeks notice! Traci walked us through her locations and based on our interest in having a super private ceremony, red rock view, and a not-too-difficult hike we decided on a sunrise elopement on an amazing, off-the-beaten-path mountain in Sedona. We only told our immediate family about our plans.
We arrived in Arizona, spent a few days visiting Sedona and the Grand Canyon, and started getting ready for the big morning! We packed a picnic with some bites and champagne, picked up my bouquet, packed my dress, and got hiking before dawn. We had an incredible experience hiking up the mountain. I was full of anticipation, nerves, and elation knowing I’d finally get to marry my soul mate. We arrived at the top of the mountain before dawn, not seeing another soul. I changed into my dress and we had the most exciting and incredible experience with Traci & Bill. We took tons of photos, but it felt super low-key, we just got to be ourselves, happy and in love. We had an incredible ceremony with our own vows that was more intimate and meaningful than a traditional wedding. It felt like it was just about us. There were no outside expectations, no drama, and it was the most incredible way to start off our marriage.
After the ceremony and a picnic, we hiked down the mountain, signed our marriage license that we picked up the day before in Flagstaff, and said our goodbyes to Traci and Bill. We got a few sneak peaks later that day and we were blown away by the photos. We spent the rest of our week in Sedona and Tucson, going on incredible hikes, visiting art museums and restaurants, and enjoying the stunning desert as newlyweds. When we were on our way home, we finally messaged our friends and family announcing our wedding and shared a few pictures. They were so surprised and so happy for us.
Hailey and Jesse arrived in Arizona from the North East for their sunrise adventure elopement. We had scouted a very new location for Adventure and Vow elopements and these two would be the first to get married there! The draw to this location was privacy and beautiful views. We met before dawn and drove to the location to start our hike. When we arrived on location and in the early part of the hike, we opted for some star photos. Jesse wore the cutest white bridal jumper for the hike she found at Anthropology. Throughout the hike Hailey would express often “wow” or “this is SO cool!” It made the excitement so much higher for the day and I couldn’t stop smiling as we hiked. Hailey changed into her stunning Rue De Seine dress on a separate cliff side than Jesse as he wrote his vows onto paper. The beautiful first morning light started to show, turning the sky a stunning blue and purple. Once they were ready, we set up a first look where Jesse and Hailey opted to go back to back and hold hands chatting until they were ready for the big reveal together. First looks are always that one moment of yep, this is real!!!
After the first look we hopped over to the other side of the cliff sides to select where they wanted to stand to read their vows to each other. They picked a lovely location with mountains in the background and cacti near by. We stepped away to give them some privacy as they chose to have a “self-solomnization” style ceremony. A few tears were shed as they shared these words with each other and they finished their ceremony with a tight hug and kiss. After a few portraits following the ceremony they set up their breakfast picnic. They popped open a bottle of champagne to drink in celebration, joined with their snacks.
As the sun rose higher in the sky Jesse and Hailey changed back into their hiking clothes to start their descent back to the parking lot. As we hiked down the trail was visible to us, as though it was our first time hiking it since it was dark on the way up. It was a beautiful day in the Sedona desert. Once we were back in the cars we signed the marriage license asking a few fellow hikers to sign as witnesses. We said our goodbyes and congrats on what was such a special morning. Jesse and Hailey were all set to continue celebrating their marriage with exploring Arizona before heading back home as newly weds!!!