Colorado Elopement Planning

Eloping in Colorao with the sunset

When I was a girl, I fell in love with Braveheart… Not the movie but the secret, middle of the night elopement. The simplicity and beauty of vowing to love one another without the fan fare spoke to my heart. Maybe someday I will be able to capture a beautiful elopement in the Highlands of Scotland. I am blessed that as a Colorado Springs local I can capture couples who choose Colorado elopement every day.

It doesn’t matter if you have always dreamed of a quiet wedding with just your love or if COVID-19 caused you to consider it now. With beautiful scenery, easy to access spots, no residency requirement and the option not to have a minister – a Colorado elopement should definitely be on your radar! If you want a beautiful moment with little to no stress read my suggestions for a perfect Colorado Elopement.

Find a Photographer/Videographer

Why do I start with this for a Colorado Elopement? Hiring the right local professional photographer (and videographer if you want one) is a huge stress relief because we know our community. I help my couples by planning the perfect elopement day. Flowers, dessert, a picnic, a hike? I’ve got you on these points and more!

But finding the right photographer for your Colorado elopement is also about finding someone you are comfortable with. With self-solemnizing a choice in Colorado, I am often the only other person witness to your vows. It is important to me that we are a good fit because of this.

Pick a Location

Your Photographer will be able to help you with this. Couples start by telling me what views are important to them and from there they decide how far we want to go, how busy they want the spot to be and what area of the state we want to be in. For instance, there are red rocks all over Colorado – although Garden of the Gods is definitely the most popular spot. It also can often be the busiest. From your backyard to the great outdoors… I’m here to help create your perfect Colorado elopement. This link will take you to a few fun spots for engagements that eloping is also allowed!

red rocks behind bride and groom
Saying your vows along the trails at Roxborough State Park may be perfect for your Colorado Elopement.

Details

Choosing to Elope does not mean that you are choosing to ignore all of the details that couples love to add into their wedding day. Those details often show off a couple’s personality and are the pieces that brides leave their wedding loving the most. For me, the details of my wedding were the most exciting part to plan. Some details that couples have previously added are:

  • vow books
  • colorful rugs to stand on
  • floral pieces
  • rings
  • fun shoes
  • gifts to exchange
  • something old (this could be it’s own blog post it is so extensive)
orange and white flowers with brides shoes and vow book
Details of your wedding day deserved to be captured!

Pick a Date

If you have some flexibility in choosing dates, I suggest a non holiday mid-week. Why? Colorado is beautiful and your elopement day will potentially have witnesses hike in or out. This is less likely on a weekday. It is also less likely for a sunrise hike. While you really need to be a morning person – sunrise is a chance to typically have space completely to yourselves.

Sunrise and Sunset are both beautiful in Colorado with colorful skies and cooler temperatures than the heat of the day. The light is also better for portraits. Again, consult with your photographer because summer and fall both bring park closures for special events. Locals to the area are most likely to know about these and guide you to a date that is meaningful and works with your location!

While on the topic of seasons… Colorado looks very different from March to July to October. We go from brown and dead, to beautiful and green and then to oranges, reds and golds across our landscape. Eloping in any of these seasons is beautiful, but your time of day and location may vary. Our high country is often closed from October to May for trailheads. Not to mention, unless you are experienced – hiking in winter conditions in the mountains is not the safest idea (especially in a wedding gown). September and October both are gorgeous, with cooler temperatures and tons of color. If you are hoping for summer, I suggest early to mid June, but be prepared for the rain storms that often move through!

Enjoy a sweet treat with your love as part of your elopement day!

Final Thoughts

There is still a belief that eloping is running off and getting married. In reality a Colorado elopement is a great way to have a honeymoon along with an intimate vow exchange in an epic location at a fraction of the cost of a full wedding in your hometown. Brides are still able to have their full day of getting ready, preparing for the vows and even walking towards their love. There can still be cake and a first dance, too. Most importantly, you at the end of a Colorado Elopement you will still be married to the one that you love.

Right now, through executive order, marriage licenses are available online via an application system. You can use this link through June 30th for a Garden of the Gods elopement. At any time, feel free to reach out and I will happily walk you through anything you need for your dream Colorado Elopement!

If you want help planning your Colorado elopement – Contact me today!

Celebrate Motherhood with Portrait Sessions

This Mother’s Day a Mommy and Me Portrait Session is the perfect way to celebrate Motherhood.

Even before I took portraits professionally, I took a lot of pictures of my children. I also insisted on having portrait sessions at least once a year. I put the images into albums and frames as well as storing them digitally so that they can be something that my children look back on long after I’m gone. But mostly, I do it for me and encourage moms everywhere to do the same. Read on for some reasons why a Motherhood Session is the perfect way to celebrate motherhood this year.

Each stage of motherhood is unique and worth memorializing.

Motherhood sessions aren’t just for mommy’s with cute squishy babies. Every stage of motherhood presents a unique sets of gifts and challenges. When I ask my mother which stage she has loved the most she hasn’t been able to tell me. Maybe she is just sparing my feelings or maybe she really can’t decide. Either way, the gifts she has appreciated the most are the moments where I have surprised her with portraits so that she can have new images of us. And it is a gift for me too, because I want to remember my mom with grandkids as a person who guided me through difficult parenting moments. After all, this will pass.

adult mother and daughter portrait
Thanks to the beautiful Suzanne Marie for capturing this portrait of my mother and I.

MAJECK Motherhood Sessions present an opportunity to slow down.

When I do a Mommy & Me session, it is done with the intention of truly understanding what is special and unique about your personal journey as a mother. No two sessions are alike because each of us are different. Every session comes with the encouragement to slow down and enjoy the time with your children. These are designed so that you can read the story, count their toes and take a deep breath. Allowing mom to cherish this moment in her journey of motherhood.

mother and children reading a story

Motherhood Sessions take the Stress Out of Portrait Sessions

We have all had the session where our little ones won’t hold still or we stained our shirt in the process of chugging coffee on our way. My custom designed motherhood sessions remove those stresses as the gowns are provided and I encourage kids to play and interact with their mommy. These are not posed portraits, but emotive ones. The goal is to capture the moments and details that you will one day miss. You can view a session here.

a mother holding her son during a motherhood portrait session

Motherhood Sessions make the Perfect Gift

Most moms are the person behind the camera. I have dozens of pictures each year of my children and their father, but very few that include me. Moms are so busy mothering and trying to capture and remember these moments that we often forget to jump in. So, as you consider what gift you can provide to the special moms in your life, consider a Motherhood Session.

But don’t take my word for it… This was shared by a recent Mommy & Me Session…

“The boys had so much fun and when they saw their pictures they asked to go back and do more! This was a great experience and a memorable experience I will get to keep forever.”

Contact Me Today to Schedule your Mommy & Me session  or to purchase one as a gift! What better way to celebrate motherhood!

mother holding infant daughter

Documenting Moments in the times of Corona

documenting our family baking girls in the kitchen

March has been a long month and it looks like April may get longer. I’m sitting here in lounge pants (because who needs to be fancy when you can’t leave your house except for a random walk) and missing documenting all of the moments in my client’s love stories during these strange times. I first fell in love with photography as I would pour over old images my parents had saved from my grandparents and great grandparents. These images documented moments in time. They brought me back to a time in history and made it real. I wanted to do that for people.

Photographers are Non-Essential but Pictures are…

Right now, photographers and so many other businesses are not operating because we are considered “non-essential”. While I understand the social responsibility portion of this… I’m thinking about my grandchildren and yours too. Someday, there will be questions… “Did you live through that?” “What was it like to stay home for a full month?” I want to be able to grab a photo book that documents these moments thanks to Corona and share it with them. Much like pictures from the dust bowl tell a story to you and I today.

Taking pictures brings a reality to a situation, a gravity to it. During these times, I can’t be going out capturing your families on your porches or documenting birthdays. That doesn’t mean you can’t capture these strange times. You are absolutely capable of documenting moments within your family and I want you to! Why? Because these may be important some day.

documenting moments as we look at our plants

Documenting Moments

But Mary Elizabeth… I have a cell phone camera not a real camera. How am I supposed to get any beautiful images with that? You would be surprised at how many gorgeous images have been captured and moments documented with just a cell phone camera. For an easy guide to do this you can go here!

What I’m really concerned with is you making sure that at the end of this time in our lives we have documented what this looks like for our families and ourselves. Afterall, we are spending a lot of time at home… We might as well be creative!

little girl climbs on dome
My sweet girl learned how to climb on our dome in the backyard during this time.

Where to Start

Perhaps you are like me and you crave routine. So even in these days of Stay-at-Home orders, you need to get up and do things in an orderly way. I feel you. You could also be like my husband who sees this as an excellent reason to sleep in even later. His introvert self might be enjoying this all a little too much. No matter what your style is… You start with what matters most.

For me, that means I’m taking a lot of pictures of my family. I take my camera with me on our daily walk – that thirty minutes of fresh air as we walk around our neighborhood is my favorite time of day right now. What shocked me is that my husband will most of the time join us, along with our dogs. This time has become something special and a moment where we get to bond.

I’m also capturing the growth of my garden. We have gardened every year, albeit a little half-assed. This year it seems more important and the whole family is getting in on the care of our seedlings. Watching them sprout up is definitely fulfilling. I also see this as a year where my children could really become more aware of what it takes to create food. I want to document these moments for my family because this is a time of change.

Documenting Growth

It really doesn’t matter what you start with – from board games to cooking to cleaning up the yard – this is your story. You get to choose how to tell it.

Tips to Get you Going

A few things you should pay attention to as you grow and create more images…

– Light – You need light from some source to create a balanced photo. In a dark room, you could capture your child or dog looking out of the window. By coming to the side you can view their features, from behind you create a silhouette. In broad day light you may blow out your picture, most newer camera phones will allow you to adjust your aperture – pop it up higher and you will be able to adjust how much light is in your image.

– Composition – Photographers are taught to pay attention to the rule of thirds. Your eyes will begin at the left of the image and naturally move to the right. When you compose your image, have the big piece the “pop” be towards the right side.

– Frames – Pay attention to what is in your frame. Things that are unimportant can also be potentially distracting. Try to stand in such a way that the only things in your images are the things that you want to see when you look at it later.

– Tell a story – Throughout my career and when I am capturing my family I want my images to tell a story. What were we doing? How did we feel? I already know that when I look back on these weeks (I’m praying it’s not going to be months) that I will smile fondly at the walks. It only took a global pandemic for our family to walk together – something I’ve been asking for us to do for YEARS.

documenting a father and daughter walking together with dogs

Mary Elizabeth Fabian is a photographer and storyteller based in Colorado who travels the world capturing moments. She is also a featured sponsor of Global Learn Day – through which she mentors teens to improve their photography skills. She believes that every moment carries a bit of magic with it and loves to capture that for others.

Right now, she is quarantined in her home, watching countless cooking shows, drinking gallons of coffee and capturing the simple joys of family life. If you are interested in a photography mentorship, feel free to email! You can follow her 366 in 2020 posts on her family instagram account @3.times.blessed and see how she captures daily life.

10 Ways to Prepare for Engagement Portraits

couple standing on a bridge in the forest

YAY! You are engaged and you’ve booked your photographer (or at least you are planning an engagement portrait session). Congratulations!!! Now, it is time to prepare for your engagement portrait session. For a lot of couples the engagement session is the first couples portrait session they have done. What do we wear? Where do we do pictures? What should we expect?

Engagement Sessions are some of my favorite sessions! So, I thought I would share some tips on how to prep for yours in the hopes that you have a blast!

1. Pick a Photographer

Some photographers offer engagement shoots as part of their wedding packages (casually raises hand). Other couples would rather not commit to the whole enchilada and treat the engagement session as a way to feel out a photographer. Maybe you want to do a destination session and you need to find someone local to that area. No matter what, you need someone with a camera and who can share your vision or has their own vision you love!

2. Pick a location.

First, think about what type of background you would like in these portraits. Do you want to be itty bitty with the landscape as the big wow or do you want this session to be all about your connection? What backdrop do you want? Urban? Mountains? Rural? Fun? Eclectic? From there, I can offer suggestions for a few awesome spots. I really like spots where we can get a couple of different looks in one space. Sure, you can have a full session in a 10×10 space, but do you want to spend an hour like that?

Then, chat with your photographer about those desires. I offer suggestions to my clients for locations as part of my engagement photography services. As your photographer I have resources and a lot of spots I visit. Within my network I am able to I ask my clients what type of “feeling” they want.

man and woman dressed formally sharing a romantic winter kiss portrait session

3. Wardrobe time!

What do people wear for engagement sessions? Seriously, I’ve had couples in suits and cocktail attire and others in jeans and tshirts. Think of it as a way to introduce the world to you as a couple, as a unit. What are you hoping to portray with that image? As you prepare for engagement portraits keep these tips in mind…

  • I suggest that women wear gowns with a bit of flow to them if they are looking for a more formal or bohemian vibe. As your photographer, I have a client closet that I open up and can also help you rent some gorgeous pieces for your session.
  • Men almost universally look good in dark blue jeans or slacks (I kind of hate how easy it is for them) and a coordinating shirt.
  • If you are going for a more casual look, jeans and tshirts are cute and timeless!
  • Wear shoes that you will be comfortable in.

My biggest advise it to just be aware of how your clothes look and make you feel ahead of your session. If you feel like the pants are too tight or bulging a bit, the camera doesn’t hide that. Same with skirts that are on the short side. These sessions often include different positions and activities. Being worried about your clothing might make it a bit harder for you to enjoy and I want you to be having fun because your pictures will show that!.

4. Don’t forget the ring!

This seems like a no brainer, but plenty of couples forget their engagement ring on the day of their session. So, set a reminder on your phone so that you don’t forget it.

5. Have clean nails.

You will be showing off your ring, and I work hard to capture detail shots (such as the way you hold hands). Clean nails, even if they aren’t painted, will make you feel a bit happier with the end result!

ring on leaves

6. Props.

Oftentimes when a couple gets ready to prepare for their engagement portraits they ask about props. Props are a ton of fun for sessions and we can definitely incorporate them into yours! I’ve had couples bring signs, balloons, blankets and champagne and more. We can incorporate whatever is meaningful to you into your engagement session as long as they abide by the rules of our location. For instance, many state parks do not allow alcohol, but having a little champagne is often a nice ice breaker for your engagement portrait session.

man and woman sharing champagne at engagement portrait session
That ring though!

7. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive on time.

Besides the obvious fact that the sun waits for no person… When my clients are on time to their sessions, they are typically way more relaxed throughout the engagement portraits. The more relaxed you are, the more likely you will be able to enjoy the session which leads me to the next tip…

This starts when you prepare for engagement portraits – so don’t rush to get ready if you can avoid it!

8. Treat your Engagement Session like a date.

What do I mean? Get excited about it, take the extra five minutes to primp and be ready to really fall in love with your fiance’ all over again. This session is about you, your love, your relationship. Plan dinner afterwards, or at least coffee. You won’t regret it!

9. Get to know your photographer.

For my clients and I, the engagement session is where we get to know each other. I share bits about my love story and I want to hear about theirs. This is our opportunity to get comfortable with each other before I follow them around all day with a camera. Lean in and really have fun fun! Feel free to crack jokes and share stories. This will help you have connection when your big day arrives!

prepare for your engagement portrait session by having fun and being ready for it!
Your engagement session should be fun!

10. Have fun!

Going back to treating this like a date. Your engagement session should be fun so as you prepare for engagement portraits, be ready to fall a bit more in love! I want my clients to have fun. I want them to play, joke around and really be themselves for their engagement session. You guys fell in love with each other and I want to see the expressions that make your heart melt. I know how to get us there, but I want you to have fun. Even if you don’t like portraits or you feel self conscious… Tell me going in but be prepared for me to let you know I have never had a client say that and not get amazing images. Your engagement session is an important part of your love story and I can’t wait to photograph it.

Let’s #createMAJECK!

Mary Elizabeth Fabian is a photographer and owner of MAJECK. Her focus is on telling stories and capturing emotions that highlight moments in time. To book her for your engagement session or wedding click here.

C&J

Boho wedding portrait at Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods Styled Elopement

Corinne and Jeremie met in high school and have been sweethearts ever since. Jeremy is a Marine Vet and Corinne is Active Duty Army. They reached out to me because they had eloped with no wedding pictures and she wanted beautiful images for them to have to cherish. By the time Corinne found me, they had already been married for 18 months and had two little ones at home. It was important to her to have images of their love to display and have their children look at whenever they wanted.

Corinne chose an inclusive package – the dress, flowers, location planning and all portraits were

Showing off her dress!

included.  I helped her plan every detail for her boho wedding portrait dreams to come to life. This is one of my favorite aspects of being a photographer, being able to hear a vision from a client and help create it.

When we first discussed their session, they told me that they would be moving soon and really wanted to capture Garden of the Gods as part of their journey together. With the location chosen, it was time to pick a dress. I have a client closet with dresses always available as well as the ability to rent high end gowns and boho lace dreams at multiple sizes and price points, when a client has a dream, I try to make it a reality. When we met for their session, I helped Corinne get dressed and perfect all the little details, including the flower crown for her hair. This is where she told me that she was now 8 weeks pregnant with baby number 3. This session was such a wonderful celebration for them!

We spent two hours together across three locations and I was impressed with the ease of their relationship and Jeremie’s desire to make his wife happy. He wasn’t really into public displays of affection or pictures in general but knew that this was important to her, so he was happy to do it. Being able to capture the loving way he guided her when she went without glasses for her portraits and the way he caressed her hand as they sat together made me feel like I was watching a Nicholas Sparks film in front of my eyes. Love like that exists and it was easy to tell how connected they are as a couple.

The day of this session had been massively stormy and Corinne was terrified that she wasn’t going to get her pretty sunset she had dreamed up. But the clouds cleared just in time and it ended up being one of the most beautiful Colorado sunsets I have witnessed all summer. As they watched the sunset, we finished our portraits and parted ways.

An Epic Colorado Sunset

I love to plan sessions like this and capture the intimate moments between couples. Because of this, I have set my rates and created payment plans to make sessions like this affordable for couples who want to elope or didn’t get professional pictures of their wedding. If you would like to learn more about my elopement packages or working with me in general, contact me here to start the conversation. I would love to hear your vision and give a little insight to help make your session one to fall in love with and your portraits something you cherish for the rest of your lives together.

Special Thanks to Samantha Jessup for assisting me with this post.

Smile!

Imagine meeting someone new and scary for the first time and then being told you need to smile for them. This person is up in your face with a big camera and you have never met them before in your life. Mom looks a little anxious and isn’t holding you – so you are worried because let’s be honest mom needs to be closer. I imagine this is what our kids deal with when they have photographs done with a new photographer.

It’s awkward for us as adults, but for kiddos it might be down right scary. My job is to help them overcome that fear and have fun! As a mom, I have some experience in this department. I’m constantly chasing my kids and capturing magical moments in my free time. This isn’t because it is my job, it is because it is my passion. I am daily working on improving my skills because I want to offer the best possible results for clients. Kids can tell that I like them and even after a quick twenty minute Mini session, I have them coming out of their shell.

Miss Lina was the shy and not so sure about this strange lady type. So, I set out to have fun with her on her 2nd birthday photo shoot. It was incredible to see her go from the typical coy and unsure smile of a toddler searching for her mama to a bright eyed smiling beauty! So, don’t worry too much if you have a kiddo who doesn’t love to smile. Either I will help them out of their shell or we will get memorable photographs of them discovering the world around them.


Welcome to Baby G-M

I recently got to photograph a lovely family who recently moved back to Colorado. Mom and Dad are expecting their second and their little guy was a bit camera shy. It was okay and he warmed up by the end!

Meanwhile, we got some beautiful shots of this growing family in just twenty minutes! That’s right – a mini session is enough to get 5-10 great shots of your family if you are on a budget or short on time. My maternity sessions are meant to be affordable… I was a young mom without a lot of spare cash with my first two children and it wasn’t until I had my third that we photographed that incredible period of our life together. For $40 you can have a twenty minute session with 5-10 edited images returned, so contact me today!

Enjoy these sneaks! (My personal favorite is definitely Big Brother holding Mom & Dad’s hands taking a look back!)


Events

Do you photography parties and other events? I get asked this question quite a bit. You spend a lot of time planning your baby’s birthday or graduation party and you don’t want to worry about getting good photographs of the set up and cake smash!

I totally get this, which is why I absolutely will work with you to photograph your event! KJ recently turned one and his grandma wanted to be sure that the family had great photos of the smash on his birthday! Mom spend lots of time working on the decorations and theme – “One I Am” and it was a Dr. Seuss Masterpiece!

The smash cake was INCREDIBLE! The decorations and attention to details spoke for themselves and this little guy had a blast! So, yes, I do events. Message me today to talk about your needs and my rates!