My + Rea’s Hiking Elopement in Colorado
My + Rea reached out to us just two weeks before their wedding date. They were living in Austin, Texas, and just got the word that they would be moving out of the country to South America for work at the end of the month. They were on a time crunch. The happily engaged couple wanted something more than just a courthouse wedding. Their idea was, “like Vegas, except cooler and more adventurous!” So they started their search on Instagram for ideas on elopements, and that’s when they found us! They reached out, we talked on the phone, and right away we started planning. These two knew exactly what they wanted for their hiking elopement in Colorado. Big mountain views, an alpine lake, and they wanted to be surrounded by evergreen trees. My loves evergreens, so that was one element that was non-negotiable! Luckily for her, Colorado is filled with evergreens 🌲 and we ended up finding the perfect location for these two love birds to get married. After just two short weeks of texting back and forth on the best dress choice, trying to find a Hair and Makeup artist kind of last minute, and nailing down the perfect timeline for these two, it was time to get these two married.
We met My and Rea at their Airbnb in Buena Vista right in the heart of BV. My had just finished getting her hair and her make-up professionally done, and Rea was dressed in his wedding day attire and ready to go. He was just about to start getting Franklin, their sweet dog, ready for the occasion. If you’re planning on eloping with your dog, check out this blog post. It’ll go over everything you need to know when bringing your furry best friend along on your hiking elopement in Colorado😊 🐕
I headed upstairs to meet My. She greeted me with a big hug. Even though we had just “met” two weeks prior, it felt like we knew each other for longer. She got her dress on and put her earrings in while Alex was downstairs capturing Rea and Franklin. My and Rea had DIY’d a little outfit for Franklin and bought a super cute bow tie for him as well. We snapped a few detailed shots of their vow books, rings, and flowers, and then once everyone was ready we headed to the first look location. Rea and Alex walked down to the river while My and I held back until Alex let me knew it was okay to head down. Alex and I always carry walkie-talkies for us two to communicate for situations like these where cell phone service isn’t the best. It worked out perfectly.
They did their first look down by the river, and then we stopped at a few good photo spots on the walk back to the cars. Next, it was time to head to the trailhead. It was time to get these two married! We arrived at the trailhead, and there was only one other car in the parking area! Score! These two might actually have this alpine lake all to themselves.
On the hike in, we made sure to stop at the areas with the best mountain views to take some photos. We knew there was rain in the forecast and knew the clouds would be rolling in. We are so glad we made the decision to stop on our hike in because we were right. During the hike out, the mountain views were sparse. Even after seeing rain in the forecast, we never heard one complaint from these two. They packed their rain jackets and were ready for the adventure hiking elopement in Colorado that was ahead of them!
My and Rea had mentioned to us that they really love the candid hiking photos. So we made sure to capture those for these two right away. This hike has the best evergreen forests. Evergreens follow the trail most of the way to the lake. 🌲
Once we reached the top of the mountain and saw the amazing views, the choice was easy. These two decided to have their elopement ceremony right at the top of the mountain overlooking the alpine lake, surrounded by tall mountains and views that went on for miles. Alex held Franklin’s leash while the two read their handwritten wedding vows and exchanged rings. (He also snagged some of the best photos!) It was absolutely beautiful. These two are officially married! 🕊
If you’re looking to learn more about how to elope in Colorado, click on the button below. We’ve written out a complete information-filled blog post for all of our couples looking to have their very own hiking elopement in Colorado.
At this point, we were not sure whether or not the happily just married couple would want to move forward with their plans of paddling around the lake, and over to the island to do some exploring on their own. The rain was still coming down, and we would not have blamed them if they weren’t up for it! But Rea looked at My, and My looked at Rea, Rea said, “we’re here, we should do it!”, and My said, “alright, I’m down, let’s do it!” And we were so happy for them. This adventure, this day. It takes a really special, unique person to want to paddle around an alpine lake in the rain for their wedding day. These two are super badass! The two of them paddled over to the lake, very carefully got out of their boat without falling into the water, and hiked around and explored the island that they had all to themselves! It was so cool!
After these two made it back to the mainland, we deflated their raft and realized it was not going back into the backpack as easily as it was before it was inflated for the first time. 😂 I (Kelly) had my large liter backpacking pack on, so we rolled the raft up as best as we could, and clipped it to my pack. I wish we had pictures of this! If there is anything we can do to make our couple’s day more enjoyable, we do it. Even if it means carrying a ten lb pack raft on our backs for the hike back to the cars! On our hike back to the trailhead, we were all taking in the beautiful scenery. Fall had made her appearance in the front range 🍂 and it was so nice being outside in the fresh mountain air, and taking in the views. Midway back, we spotted a moose! It was the biggest moose I’ve ever seen. Super cool! My is originally from Canada, so it was nothing super new to her, but for Rea it was! We love being able to experience these moments in the middle of the wilderness with our couples on their hiking elopements in Colorado. We were lucky enough to snag some photos of the moose with our zoom lens without approaching it. Never approach wildlife! It’s super dangerous. Alex and I are always prepared though in the backcountry with our couples. We always bring bear spray. It’s one of those things, better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. It’s super small and it fits right on the outside of our pack. A little peace of mind goes a long way when you’re hours away from the nearest hospital. If you’re wondering what other items you should pack for your hiking elopement in Colorado, check out this blog post.
After the alpine lake, our plan was to catch the sunset on a nearby mountain pass. We were driving up to the mountain pass, and the fog was so heavy you couldn’t see a thing! The views that we were all hoping for during their sunset photos were just not there. We quickly brainstormed, and we knew of a nearby pull-off right down the road, so we made the decision to keep driving and see if the fog parted further down. Once again, we were right! We went down just a little bit in elevation, the clouds parted, and we had beautiful views! My and Rea pulled out 4 glasses (2 for us 😊 ) of champagne🍾 , two bottles, their marriage license, and their wine box. The wine box was super special. Rea had wood burned details into a hand-made wooden wine box. They put a bottle of red wine, and their vow books into the wine box and nailed it shut. We love when couples come up with their own ideas on how to make their elopement day special. If you’re wanting to come up with something special for you and your partner for your elopement day, check out our blog post on 25+ Ideas for How to Make an Elopement Special. You’ll be sure to see something that piques your interest!
Picking an elopement photographer that is local to the area where you’re wanting to elope is a huge advantage for how your day might pan out. Someone who isn’t used to how quickly the weather changes here or isn’t knowledgeable about all the little pull-offs on mountain passes would not have been able to give this couple and a full gallery of photos of what they were dreaming of having. Our knowledge of the area is a huge reason why couples choose us to come alongside them on their big day. Just something to keep in mind!
Enjoy the photos below of this hiking elopement in Colorado. And congratulations to the happy couple! My and Rea, your wedding day was an absolute blast and one hell of an adventure. We will forever be honored that you picked us and trusted us with your wedding day!