What if we eloped? For some couples, they can’t understand why you would ever do that. For others, like us, it was the best decision we ever made.
It wasn’t easy getting to the point where we asked ourselves that question. I had always dreamed of a wedding with all of my family and friends, and having the only day of my life where everyone I knew came out to celebrate nothing other than me and Dylan. But the reality is, that wasn’t how it turned out at all. We got about halfway through the wedding planning process– including picking a venue, putting a deposit down for food, and getting a dress. Until one day we had to ask ourselves–what if we eloped? I come from a split family, and with that the dream I had of my wedding day being about me quickly descended into “who is sitting where, and I refuse to sit next to this person, and I don’t want this person there”. My dream slowly became a nightmare because certain members of my family couldn’t put the past behind long enough to realize how they were already affecting me, Dylan, and our lives together.
As a wedding photographer, I have naturally been to a lot of weddings. I’ve seen families get along for just one day. But I realized I was revolving this whole planning process around everyone but MYSELF and my future husband. At that point we decided we were eloping. And it was the type of feeling of combined idiocy and extreme relief. Why did we never think of this? Dylan and I had been together for 9 years at the time. We grew up together, he watched my sisters grow up from elementary school to college, and we have been through some really, really tough times. We owed it to ourselves to have this one day for us, and not a single other person. We sat down and thought about the things we love the most. Our dog, the mountains & hiking, and cold weather. We landed at Colorado. We had been to Montana, Wyoming, and Canada already so we wanted somewhere completely new to us and somewhere unique that we would remember forever and would “epic”. Of course my next step was finding a photographer, because well, how does a wedding photographer find the perfect wedding photographer?? After 2 minutes of googling “epic Colorado elopement photographer” I found Maddie Mae. She was the kind of photographer I wanted to be, and I knew she would take the stress of worrying about capturing every moment away from me. We booked an engagement session with her for when we were visiting to pick our elopement spot that summer and set our elopement date to August 6, 2018. We planned to take 2 weeks to drive out with our dog, hike a TON, and spend a week with a few important people that came out to celebrate with out after our elopement.
Our first trip out was in August of 2017. We stayed in Buena Vista & Estes and chose Trail Ridge Road at RMNP as our engagement photos location spot. Dylan & I can both tell you, the moment we got out of the car in Buena Vista we felt like we were home. We went straight to Cottonwood Pass before even checking into our Air BnB because we couldn’t contain ourselves. We had already picked out Cottonwood as a possible elopement spot based off how remote it was but yet still close to town. We originally didn’t plan on hiking because I felt a little overwhelmed thinking about having to get up at dark and freeze with a dress (see my later post about why I was SO WRONG!) What I saw in those first 5 minutes out walking out at the pass in the cold rainy fog is genuinely something I will never forget. On the plane home I cried that I had to leave, and Dylan won’t admit it but he teared up. He also started looking for jobs in Buena Vista the day we got back…
All engagement photos are credit to Maddie Mae!
For more details about our elopement day & our after party, see more posts below!