There are moments in life that feel so innately perfect; it’s like everything somehow came together exactly as it was supposed to. Moments where the simple act of just being in a place at the perfect time brings life to something so much bigger than you could have possibly imagined.
These are the moments when time seems to freeze–small seconds painted into place that you wish would never end.
And when Halley and Austin experienced their hiking elopement at Lake Isabelle, that’s exactly what that felt like.
I imagine that wasn’t the first time this sweet couple felt that way. Maybe it happened to them when they met in middle school art class. Maybe their first kiss was perfect, too. Maybe even their first “I love you” felt that way.
All I know is that watching them elope at Lake Isabelle was like watching something unfold that was always meant to happen. Something that had been in the works for a long time.
Halley and Austin chose a sunset elopement because they wanted to experience a day without rush or stress. We met at the Lake Isabelle trailhead in the middle of the day. The weather was beautiful, but we anticipated that less-than-beautiful weather might roll in later. We couldn’t be sure, but we had plenty of backup plans in mind in case the rain didn’t hold off.
Thankfully, though, our hike up the mountain was clear, beautiful, and filled with the gorgeous July sights you’d expect out of Colorado–sunshine, wildflowers, and even a moose.
Halley and Austin chose to do the hike up in regular clothes so that when we arrived at the lake, they could wander off their separate ways, get ready, and have a first look at their wedding attire.
When they were each changed and ready, Austin stood at the edge of the lake, his back facing the beautiful forest we’d hiked through. Halley, in her beautiful gown, walked up behind him. She tapped him on the shoulder, and he turned. Though Austin was certainly a more reserved person, glimpses of emotions made their way throughout the day–and the first look was one of those moments.
They embraced, soaked in their first few moments seeing each other in their wedding attire, and Austin pinned a beautiful boutonniere to his lapel.
The two of them explored around, hiking up and down the lake and looking for their perfect elopement ceremony spot. At the edge of the lake, Halley and Austin took hands, brought out their vow books, and read their handwritten vows to one another. Halley and Austin took turns reading, slowly wiping away subtle tears from each other’s faces. They exchanged rings, had their first kiss, and took a few moments to soak in that; finally, they were married.
As the two of them explored the area, hiked around, and just enjoyed all the beauty in front of them, I snapped photos, documenting their day and their love story. They popped champagne, they ate a delicious spread, and they even had a first dance among the snow-crested mountain tops.
What I appreciated most about Halley and Austin is that they were never in a rush. The only expectation they set for their day was to get married–no matter how that unfolded. They even took the time to set up a hammock, snuggle up close, and soak in the magic of their elopement day slowly.
Unfortunately, we did have to make our way back down the mountain, but something tells me that Halley and Austin (and even I) could have stayed up there forever. After exploring all over the lake, we started to make our way down.
We snapped a few shots of the hike back down, but ultimately, we kept our eyes on the prize–descending before it got too dark.
With the rain moving in, we didn’t get to see an epic sunset, but that didn’t matter. Halley and Austin’s day was beautiful, it was genuine, and it was an authentic representation of their love.
All that matters when you elope is that you and your partner are happy–and Austin and Halley were determined to have exactly that.