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Fall Vail Elopement

 head due north

Elopements offer couples something that traditional weddings can’t always give them–freedom. Sometimes that means they have the freedom to get married in an amazing–but sort of non-traditional–place. 

Other times, it’s about the freedom to invite (or not invite) whoever they might want so they can have the best, most “just-us” day possible. 

But for Tony and Marianna, eloping offered them a different kind of freedom–a way to beautifully blend all the traditional and non-traditional elements of getting married that they loved. 

Their Fall Vail elopement included everything that was most important to them–a gorgeous place, their love for travel, their closest loved ones, and some of the traditional elements that meant the most to them. 

When I met up with them on their elopement day in Vail, Marianna and Tony were getting ready separately. They knew they wanted a “first look” moment, but instead of sharing this privately somewhere before their ceremony, they both wanted to go all out and wait for the moment Marianna walked (or hiked) down the “aisle.” 

A bride and groom have their first kiss on a mountaintop during their Fall Vail elopement ceremony.

These side by side images show the bride and groom sharing their first kiss during their Fall Vail elopement ceremony.

Usually, during the getting ready moments, couples are preparing for their first look–but Tony and Mariana, who chose to wait until their ceremony, spent their time a little differently. After they each got ready separately, they opened up and read letters they’d each written to each other. 

And even though Marianna didn’t have a first look with her soon-to-be husband at the Airbnb, she did have a first look with someone. When she stepped out onto the balcony of her Airbnb for her father to see her in her wedding dress for the first time, everyone (myself included) was a total emotional mess. 

Watching Marianna share that special moment with her father was that unique blend of traditional and non-traditional that eloping offers, and it’s in moments like that I can’t help but smile and love the job I get to do. 

Once we’d all collected ourselves (again, myself included), we started getting ready to head out to Tony and Marianna’s elopement ceremony. 

Tony and Marianna hold each other close, savoring each moment on top of the mountain vista during their Fall Vail elopement ceremony.

Marianna’s dad was way ahead of us–he sat in the car a full half-hour before we were ready to leave because he was so excited to head out to the ceremony. (P.S. that’s the level of family support everyone should have on their elopement day, by the way). 

When we got to the ceremony spot, Marianna, her dad, and I parked and started the short, easy hike up to where Tony and Marianna chose to get married. Their super secret spot outside of Vail was a Fall dream–a gorgeous vista with sweeping views of Colorado mountain ranges (some dusted with snow, some already popping with the vibrant colors of Colorado autumn). As we hiked up, Marianna and her dad played around with some of the snow just for a few moments so he could savor his first experience seeing snow. 

When we arrived at their ceremony spot, Marianna’s father walked her down the aisle toward Tony. Finally, they had their first look–a beautiful traditional moment during a not-so-traditional wedding day. Once again, everyone (myself included) was an emotional mess. 

At that gorgeous vista, Marianna and Tony took hands, shared their personal vows, and had an officiant-led ceremony witnessed by their closest loved ones–another beautiful little touch of tradition in a non-traditional venue. 

A bride and groom have their first dance in the foreground while the image shows Colorado's mountain peaks in the background of this Vail Fall elopement.

A groom is shown from the back with his bride's hands carefully wrapped around his head, her engagement ring and wedding band shown.

The two of them shared their first dance at the top of that mountain vista in Vail, with stunning views of mountain peaks and Fall colors popping up in the backdrop. They snuck away for a little alone time, just the two of them, to explore the area and soak in the first few moments together, being husband and wife. 

For Tony and Marianna, choosing an adventure elopement wasn’t about an epic hike, iconic photos they’d remember forever, and even about adventure for the sake of adventure. None of those reasons for choosing an adventure elopement are bad or wrong, but if you just look at an adventure elopement from that lens, it’s possible to miss the real beauty of eloping. 

These two chose an adventure elopement for the freedom of it all. They wanted the freedom to have the perfect wedding day they always envisioned–somewhere beautiful, surrounded by their loved ones, doing exactly what they wanted. That was exactly what their Vail wedding in the middle of a Colorado autumn was for them. 


Join the Facebook Community, Mindful Elopements, filled with free resources, free videos, engaging conversations and questions, and other couples that are exactly like you, in the same place, trying to book an adventure elopement and intimate wedding photographer.



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Alex, Coastal Elopement

"We loved our experience having Marcela as our elopement day photographer.

What was even more special about our experience was her ability to set us at ease months before our day. Through constant communication leading up to, and during, the day we got eloped. Her personality is that, in just four days time, we felt as if we've known her for years. 

Ah, but you're wondering about her photos. We loved every thing about them especially the raw emotion captured in many of the shots."

Caitlin, Alpine Lake Elopement

"My husband and I have been trying to put into words how simply amazing working with Marcela was.

From the start we could tell she truly cared about us, our relationship, and our story. She asked us so many questions, valued what we wanted, and kept up with the ever changing plans that came along with planning a wedding.

She made us feel so comfortable, made us laugh till we cried, and captured our true wholesome love for each other."

"We loved every moment of the day she helped create. Marcela was the perfect photographer for our adventure elopement! She worked tirelessly to make our adventure into marriage happen after our first options were snowed in! Great Sand Dunes felt like the perfect unique place for two Floridians who met in the mountains.

She made us comfortable to be ourselves throughout the whole day while making her job look effortless and fun. Our cheeks hurt from smiling, laughing and a few tears.

Marcela captured every precious moment! Her photography is absolutely stunning every way! I highly recommend Marcela for your elopement or wedding!"

Lauren, Sand Dunes Elopement

Amy, Forest Elopement

"Instead of telling us how to pose or interact with each other, Marcela gave us prompts that seemed simple but made a huge difference.

She asked us to talk about our first date. We discussed the weirdest things we loved about each other (which made us laugh) and how we could fulfill each other’s love languages. Amy and I played games with each other and Marcela captured the energy that happened naturally between us.

I love this shoot because it perfectly captures the love we share. It’s incredible to see that love and admiration encapsulated in a photo! Thank you for this!"

Chris, Anniversary Session

"The photos we just got back from Marcela are giving me CHILLS!! They are absolutely stunning!!!

She did SO MUCH more than just photograph us — she created special moments that I’ll cherish forever. She encouraged Con & I to genuinely interact & share intimate moments together. She prompted us to tell each other things that we love about one other, ways that the other person inspires us, & how being together has positively changed us.

It was more than just a beach shoot. We ended up giving each other precious, heart melting encouragement & that makes these photos all the more treasured to me."

Andrea, Red Rocks Elopement

"We had a pre-meet with her before the big day which definitely helped me feel more relaxed going into the wedding day. She gave us great suggestions and things to think about to be ready with on the wedding. On the day of she showed up early to help scope out the venue. She was creative to try and pull extra joy into our photographs.

When I look at these photos I see more than just beautiful images. I feel the moments that Marcela helped us experience and the connection we had.

I can't thank Marcela enough! We will treasure these moments forever!"

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