Southern Utah Off Road Elopement | Full Day Elopement in the Desert
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!