The more I photograph elopements, the more I realize that for most couples, eloping isn’t about whisking away to a secluded location–it’s about blending the perfect balance of intimate privacy along with moments they can share with the people they love the most.
Marissa and Bryan’s Breckenridge mountain elopement was the perfect example of that.
Though they knew they wanted to carve out private moments, a just-them vow ceremony, and plenty of intimate time to themselves, they also knew that they wanted to share this day with their people.
Marissa and Bryan’s family-included elopement was set for just before sunset in a gorgeous, accessible spot on an alpine lake–a place everyone invited could access that didn’t skimp on gorgeous Colorado views.
But first, Marissa and Bryan wanted to make sure they were taking time for meaningful, intentional, and private moments on their wedding day. I met up with them early on in the day–leaving them plenty of time to get ready, spend intentional time together, and sneak away from the group of loved ones (almost 20!) they’d invited to celebrate their love alongside them.
In their wedding attire, we hiked up to a secluded spot in Breckenridge, exploring around, soaking in the views, and giving them time to enjoy a small–but important–slice of their day fully dedicated to time together.
With Colorado’s mountains towering in the background, Mariss and Bryan took hands and shared their personal vows with each other. Their decision to elope right in the seam of summer and fall (early September) gave them a beautiful blend of Colorado’s last whispers of summer and the first pops of autumn color all over the base of the mountain range.
Marissa and Bryan had a full day of elopement activities planned, but they didn’t rush this moment. To them, it was equally important to balance time together with time with their people. They treated this part of their day as the sacred experience it was, soaking in each moment with a mindful intention I wish for every couple.
They hiked, explored, and had their own private ceremony–and when they felt fulfilled with that experience, we made our way back down the mountain, starting our trek
to where they’d have another elopement ceremony.
We all walked an easy trail to a stunning alpine lake in Breckenridge, where they’d have their second ceremony–this one with all their family and friends in attendance.
Before the ceremony began, though, Bryan and Marissa had their first looks–but not necessarily with each other. Bryan and Marissa loved the first look concept, but they each wanted to put their own spin on it.
Marissa had a first-look moment with her mom, while Bryan had a first-look moment with his mom. Seeing this tried-and-true experience unfold with a bit of a twist is exactly what elopements are all about.
Like I always say, there are no rules when it comes to eloping. Do you love the idea of a first look with your spouse? Go for it. Do you hate it? Don’t do it! Want to use this idea and make it your own like Marissa and Bryan did? That’s perfect, too.
There are no rules–you should be able to do everything you want on your elopement day.
Their second ceremony of the day was just as special to them as the first. They had 17 guests attend, and Marissa’s mom officiated their ceremony. We grouped up for some captures of them with their family and friends before we moved on to another special part of their day–the first dances.
Marissa and Bryan included their families in this moment, too. Bryan danced with his mom, while Marissa danced with her father. But Marissa had another surprise up her wedding dress sleeve. About halfway through the dance, Marissa and her dad made their way over to her stepfather–and to his surprise, Marissa’s father asked her stepfather to cut in.
Both men had played such important roles in Marissa’s life she wanted to include each of them. As an observer, I couldn’t look away from this moment–Marissa’s stepfather was so surprised, then so overcome with joy to be included in such a special moment.
Before the dancing was over, Marissa and Bryan had a first dance of their own–another special moment they could share, both for themselves and for their loved ones.
The day began with moments spent just between the two of them, and it would end that way, too. After their ceremony with their family, Marissa and Bryan stuck around longer, eager to explore the area just the two of them and spend soak in the sunset as husband and wife.
They lit up a few lanterns to guide them and began their adventure, finding the best views and sharing intentional moments with each other as the sun sank low behind the mountains. As the sun dropped and the alpenglow lit up the peaks, the sky turned pink and purple, putting on the perfect show for their Colorado elopement day.
The temperatures had started to dip lower and lower as the sun set, but they weren’t ready to leave just yet. Marissa wrapped herself in a blanket, Bryan huddling in close to stay warm.
As the sun continued to set and we lost the light, the last few moments I captured were their silhouettes–just Marissa and Bryan cuddled in close on their wedding day.