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Holy shit y’all!! When I tell you this elopement was a dream, it’s an understatement. As many of you know, elopements have a special place in my heart and this one was just a little bit extra.
Not only did I get to work alongside my best friend – the amazing Jacey from Hey O’Neill Photo. And let me tell you, traveling and working with this one, is always a weird BLAST. Something we get asked on the regular is “are you guys sisters?” – no we’re not biological sisters but man oh man she’s that sister from another mister I love more than anything! We’re two weirdos that have the same morbid and sarcastic sense of humor that just compliments each other – so we have fun. Lots and lots of fun.
Alright moving on to our couple – I can’t even. I fell in love with Cynthia the first day we met on FaceTime. Her bubbly and adventurous personality is contagious. She is like a big ray of sunshine with an edge, and girl is as beautiful inside as she is outside. Rafael – well, he’s the sweetest, most gentle man who was just so incredibly happy to be with his bride. And he put up with the three of us like a champ!
We spent months planning, running ideas by each other and figuring out the layout of the day. An elopement photographer isn’t just your photographer, we are your sounding board, your investigator, the person who will figure out what permits you need and what spots are the best for what you need! You tell us the idea you have and we run with it like we’re mad!
The day after we arrived, me and Jacey spent half the day location scouting and it was fabulous! Photos of us being weirdos below…
We found three spots but the one that won was just so perfect. Not a soul in sight. It was me, Jacey, Rafael, Cynthia and their dog Chapo. No bystanders, no people overlooking from a distance. MAGIC. Fucking magic. While they were writing their vows out on the backs of Chapo’s pictures – Cynthia told me they actually had a date in that exact spot that was one for the books. And they had no idea what the spot was until we arrived for the vow exchange – It was meant to be!
They got ready in a beautiful historic Airbnb in Leadville, CO. Cynthia wore a STUNNING and incredibly unique gown that worked so incredibly with not only the mountain backdrop but the wind! All we wanted to do was make her spin and play with the skirt! They had their first look on the staircase which couldn’t be more perfect – from the lighting to the aesthetic, it worked perfectly.
Before the ceremony we made a stop at Turquoise Lake, about 10 minutes away from Leadville. The lake itself was frozen but the panoramic mountain views were absolutely breathtaking! There was a group of people snowmobiling on the lake at which point Cynthia ran up to one of them and asked to get a ride before we headed toward the ceremony spot! It was so Cynthia and so amazing, she took off on the back of a snowmobile, snow flying all around her – hair flying wild while Chapo cried by Rafael for his mama… just the perfect little celebration!
What you choose to do to celebrate your elopement is absolutely up to you, that’s the damn beauty of eloping! Wanna start the day with some sunrise yoga and brunch? Maybe some kayaking or paddle boarding? How about a hike? Your photographer will be there with you through it all – unless you truly want it to be just the two of you. But take it from me, you will probably want those photos!
After we went to this beautiful road me and Jacey found about a mile away from the ceremony site to snap some cool pictures on the road! Beautiful golden sun setting behind them, mountains in the background and I think we had to move aside for just one car the whole time. So so worth it.
We arrived at the location right on time – there were these picnic tables where Cynthia and Rafael could write their vows out from their phones. Chapo hung out on the table making sure everyone behaved. Me and Jacey made sure we had everything from the cars and I made sure to sneak Cynthia away for 2 minutes to get some stunning golden hour shots…. worth it? Fuck yes.
We made our way up the hill overlooking Twin Lakes, Cynthia and Rafael started out with a prayer and when it was time I turned on her music and they exchanged the sweetest vows I’ve heard. It was such magic – I know I keep saying that but it was!
I had to put in the poem Cynthia started her vows with because it was so incredibly beautiful:
“She is kind, heart made of honey. He is reserved, the opposite of sunny. No one would ever think they would be together. But they are the moon and the sun for each other.” – Heavensanar
We celebrated with giant, tear soaked hugs and champagne. Feel like I should reminisce on me standing on this cliff below them. Jacey was off to the side and about 10 seconds after I told Rafael to make sure he points the champagne bottle off to the other side so the champagne doesn’t go directly on me – he shook the bottle right at me and I cried from laughing! It was perfect (insert old lady laughing crying emoji here).
After some glorious pictures post vows we made our way down to the parking lot. We set up a beautiful rug outside the trunk of the car, Cynthia hung globe lights around the trunk and brought a delicious cake. They signed their marriage license along with their witness (Chapo), cut their cake and had their first dance to Stuck With U. Here’s a fun fact I learned that day – in Colorado, a dog can be your witness! Is your mind blown too? Afterwards we sat down and talked while drinking beers, eating Whole Foods cake, and crying (well that was me) because of the sweet gifts they got us. The joy of the day just made me one emotional mess, it was GREAT! That’s what you get when you have a Katie photographing your day… tears, snort laughs and lots of swearing. They went home to cook steaks and lobster and have a sweet celebration of their love.
You guys…. I know I like to preach about how much I love my job and how much I love elopements but this was truly such a special thing to be a part of. It justified my decision to switch to elopements exclusively and made me so happy that I got to work with these three amazing humans. I will never forget this day! It’s one for the books and I truly hope that if you’re planning your elopement as you’re reading this… I hope this will ease any of your worries. The beauty of elopements isn’t just in the scenery. You may choose to elope in your backyard and it will be just as special. The beauty is in the fact that they did exactly what you want to do without worrying about what your friends or family might say. They weren’t trying to impress anyone. They just wanted to be married and celebrate their love in their own sweet way, and so they did.
September 6, 2021
Have you ever wondered what an elopement day is like? Holy shit y’all!! When I tell you this elopement was a dream, it’s an understatement. As many of you know, elopements have a special place in my heart and this one was just a little bit extra. Not only did I get to work alongside […]