Intimate Weddings and Elopements - Why Can't Your Marriage Start with an Adventure?

Adventure Elopement Photography
Mount Rainier National Park

Hello! It's me, the girl who never updates this thing, even though it's in my best interest.

I'm breaking my blogging silence to bring you up to speed on what's been going on behind the scenes over here (and maybe share a few recent photos from my new favorite part of the country) - We've all be affected in some way by the pile of garbage that is 2020, so I won't bother reminding you of the details, but wedding season has, unsurprisingly, ended before it even started.

I had a lot of time earlier in the year to not only sit and mourn the loss of so many beautiful wedding plans, but also ponder how we as vendors and engaged couples move forward together in this new normal. I had to totally break down what it means to be a wedding photographer and redefine what weddings will be in the immediate future.

I know many of you had to look at your original plans and figure out how to make the most of new restrictions. I know there are also a lot of recently engaged couples who are afraid to even start the process, or, alternatively, feel insane pressure to book everything right away to make sure your favorite vendors aren't booked solid from all the postponements. I’d like to encourage you to enter into your wedding planning with an open mind, and consider crafting a celebration perfectly intimate and tailored to who YOU are as a couple. All the extra bits of a traditional wedding day, the large guest lists, big ballrooms and dance floors, all the moving parts centered around guest experience instead of couple experience, can sometimes distract from the entire reason we are gathering together. This is about love - it’s about the way the stars seemed to align and brought two extraordinary and one-of-a-kind people together. It’s about two humans who know it to be an unequivocal truth that their lives would be best spent intertwined together. That’s a profound concept, and one that doesn’t always receive the attention it deserves.

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time unplugged out in the woods, on mountain tops, and along rocky shores. The views were overwhelming and humbling, and I found myself sad that my passion for the outdoors wasn’t better integrated into my daily life. I felt sad words never seemed to fully describe what I was seeing and feeling, and found myself daydreaming about the magical photographs that could be captured there, should anyone be willing to trust me to take them there. I made a promise to myself that the moment I returned, I would begin my work towards providing something truly special for my couples, that would invoke the same emotions experienced then. I’ve been sitting on this particular passion of mine for a few years now - one that combines the most intimate wedding day moments, creative expression and, ideally, total immersion in nature. One that facilitates safe distancing and beauty and sweet moments all wrapped up in one.

So, with all that rambling in mind, I’d like to share some fun news!

Aside from my regular wedding day coverage, I am now offering full day adventure and elopement services.

Let’s talk about what that looks like. Elopements are so much more than what you may initially imagine. They don’t require an exotic location far away, you don’t have to compromise on all your wedding day details, and they aren’t limited to just two people. Elopements are an intimate gathering where the focus is exclusively on the couple and who they are - a day free from distractions and chaos - and a day that can be spent safely away from the masses. They are happening everywhere, all over the world. You don’t need to climb a mountain (although count me in if you do) - you can elope in a small town, a random field, your favorite city, or a place special to you. You probably don't even need to leave your backyard.

Maddie Mae, founder of Adventure Instead, (and a very big inspiration behind the decision to pursue this) asked the question, "If you two had a free day with absolutely no limits - what would that look like? What would an absolutely awesome enjoyable unforgettable day together be?"

What I’d like to do is help put together something special just for you. This is so much more than just a photoshoot or a few hours together. I also want to be your travel guide, planner, adventure buddy and late night idea person. Adventure elopements include guidance for location, lodging, permits and vendors.

I will match you with your perfect location or multiple, connect you with an officiant (even one who likes to hike), help you find the perfect attire, florals and anything else you’d like to incorporate, and then capture incredible images of you in a stunning setting, while leaving no trace (This is of major importance to me - we are there to capture and appreciate the natural world, not influence it.) I will provide you with endless resources and guidance to make your dream elopement a reality.

Want a mountain top sunrise ceremony? I’ll bring the headlamps, hand warmers, and coffee and set you up in the perfect spot at the perfect moment. Imagine reading each other your vows as the sun just starts to peak over the ridge to greet you. We can gather in the afternoon with your closest relatives for a small celebration and then come back together in the evening for golden hour portraits somewhere new. We can be creative and have fun and you can truly spend the entire day cherishing each other and the commitment you’ve made to one another. This is literally one of millions of ways you can plan your day, and no two elopements will ever be the same. That's the beauty of it.

You and up to 25 of your closest friends and family can come together and just BE together, without all the stress of a wedding day timeline and its moving parts. It won’t be a blur, and it will be lovingly documented by myself and my partner.

Elopement and Adventure Photography Location
Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument
Adventure and Elopement Photography
My partner, adventure buddy, and second photographer Trevor.

Maybe a full day isn’t what you need, and in that case, there are half day elopements as well, with most of the same services. This can be a day long adventure, or just a few hours in stellar golden light. You also do NOT need to be adventurous or a hiker to elope! Urban elopements are also wonderfully romantic - you may not have considered a first look at the top floor of a parking garage overlooking a skyline, but let me just show you how insane those photos can be when you know how to capture it. We can wander the streets or venture anywhere else you can conceive. Again, this is about what YOU envision for your ultimate wedding day.

I really just want to facilitate a wonderfully intimate day, share my favorite locations with you, and ideally make lifelong friends in the process! I will continue to offer my standard wedding packages as well as some less intensive elopement options right now, but it’s so important to me to make this type of experience available to my clients. In the coming weeks, I will be rolling out further details on why elopements are a great alternative to a traditional wedding and a breakdown of what the planning process looks like. If we plan your elopement together, expect help with everything you need to prepare, wherever we go.

Small weddings and elopements are going to be the norm for a while, but they aren't a compromise. It's an opportunity.

Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve