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Sprague Lake Elopement

 head due north

Nikki and Cullen’s Colorado elopement was one that perfectly illustrated the beauty of balance. 

They wanted a beautiful day of exploring in a stunning location, they wanted a day where family and friends could celebrate with them, and they wanted plenty of opportunities to spend intentional time together. 

Traditional weddings don’t often lend themselves to this kind of balance–but that’s what makes adventure elopements so incredibly special. Their Sprague Lake elopement in Rocky Mountain National Park was no exception to what I’ve now decided is a rule about eloping–you can truly have it all (and then some).

A couple looks out across Rocky Mountain National Park's gorgeous mountain overlooks during their Sprague Lake elopement.

We began Nikki and Cullen’s elopement day at their adorable Airbnb in Estes Park. They’d chosen to get ready separately so they could experience a first-look moment right there in the heart of this lovely Colorado mountain town. Though they got ready apart, they didn’t get ready alone. Both Nikki and Cullen chose to include some of their loved ones in this intentional part of their wedding day. 

We took our time soaking in the getting ready process. I captured some photos of each of them enjoying these intentional moments, made sure to snap a few photos of their unique wedding details, and anxiously waited for the rest of their adventurous day to unfold. At the Airbnb, they’d brought along one very unique detail–a dueling contract. Nikki and Cullen had drawn up a special contract they’d created that stated any disagreement they’d have in their marriage would warrant a “duel” to sort it out. 

This cute, fun detail is just another example of why eloping is the way to go–they wanted something quirky and unique to them, so they brought it along and planned to sign it after their marriage license. Of course, I had to capture photos of the dueling contract (and them signing it later in the day!). 

A couple holds each other close during their Sprague Lake elopement as they look over a Colorado mountain landscape.

A couple says their wedding vows on Sprague Lake in RMNP during their Sprague Lake elopement.

When Nikki and Cullen were ready, we ushered Cullen out to the patio of their Airbnb. This moment–their first look–wasn’t just the first moment they’d see each other in their wedding attire–it was the start of the intentional time they’d spend together on their wedding day. When they had their first look, first embrace, and first kiss, they hopped into their car. Nikki and Cullen were clear when they planned their day that they did want to include their loved ones–but they wanted plenty of time throughout their day to spend together, just the two of them.

That meant before anything happened–before their ceremony or their reception or their celebrations with their loved ones–they wanted to spend intentional, meaningful, and unforgettable time together. 

We embarked on the first adventure of the day–driving into Rocky Mountain National Park to explore. Nikki and Cullen had planned to spend a good portion of the day together. They drove and explored through the 3M Curve. They hiked around, soaked in the views in several spots, and spent several hours just existing together in one of the world’s most beautiful places. 

They wanted to share more than just time together–they wanted to eat a meal and enjoy their cake, too, just the two of them. We made our way over to Hidden Valley so they could unwind and relax over a gorgeous picnic full of charcuterie, bread, and wedding cake. 

After spending the first half of their day in beautiful solace, it was time to begin the rest of the adventure–the family celebration. We drove over to Sprague Lake to meet their friends, family, and loved ones for their RMNP elopement ceremony. There, with Cullen’s best friend officiating, they said their vows, had their ceremony, and officially became husband and wife. 

They signed their marriage license–and their dueling contract, too–to make it all official. 

A bride signs her marriage license during her Sprague Lake elopement.

A bride and groom kiss at an overlook as they experience their wedding day at Sprague Lake.

Before we left for the rest of the party at a brewery in Estes Park, I captured a few more beautiful moments between Nikki and Cullen. 

What’s always so amazing (and so rewarding) about eloping is that couples get the chance to do things their way–that means they’re at their happiest, at their most comfortable, and feeling the most themselves. 

Cullen had already mentioned he wasn’t always at his happiest when taking photos. But by the end of their elopement ceremony, he’d relaxed entirely. He wasn’t just comfortable in front of the camera; he was suggesting poses, opting for photos, and telling me when to snap. 

This is always such a big moment in my book. Because Nikki and Cullen chose to be true to themselves, they felt the most themselves–and that always comes through in the memories I get to capture. 

Nikki and Cullen didn’t compromise a single thing they wanted on their elopement day. And what they received was an outpouring of love, stunning views, and moments they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.

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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