A Garden of the Gods Elopement

Planning an elopement during the Covid-19 pandemic can be difficult. Especially when you want it to be at a destination like Garden of the Gods in beautiful Colorado. There are many issues currently facing couples that can become deterrents: travel restrictions, businesses closing, resources becoming scarce, and health concerns of populations mingling. Yet, finding ways to celebrate nuptials as a couple doesn’t have to create undue stress to what should feel like a magical moment.  Because I love to help couples create and capture days that are authentic to them as well as document them in a timeless fashion through the art of photography – both in Colorado and beyond I provide elopement planning as part of my services! Keep reading to find out how planning an elopement at Garden of the Gods can be stress free and fun!

The couple walking along their new path together.

Love Always Finds Its Way

Camilla and Troy are an outdoor loving couple who have had a somewhat unconventional and challenging love story. They originally met on a blind date, and have grown together in love through many trials and tribulations, including living in different countries for four years after the first six months of their relationship. Originally, their plan had been to have an intimate wedding with their families in Spain after years of traveling the world. However, 2020 threw a wrench into that plan.

On a whim, they decided not to wait and keep their original date… Spain will be there when the pandemic is over. When they reached out to me in mid-September they were hoping I would have a last minute, mid week availability. They were in luck and we started to plan a sunrise elopement! What a wonderful alternative to a Spanish Elopement.

One of the services that come with my elopement packages is help in planning the perfect day. Every couple has their own vision of the way they will begin their marriage. My goal is to help that vision come to life and capture it with vivid, beautiful imagery. With my contacts locally, I am able to help create a day that sticks to a couple’s budget and then capture it authentically. The couple gave me their ideas and away we went!

Your Wedding Story can truly be YOURS. Done in a way that is authentic to your favorite things.

 

With less than two weeks before “I Do” I was able to suggest a Tuxedo shop, a tasty bakery to provide a small cake and suggestions for the bride’s DIY floral arrangement.

DIY wedding florals

Couples looking to elope should be able to work in tandem, be open and flexible, but communicate with each other and their elopement photographer about what’s truly important when trying to plan the events.  (You can see my earlier blog about Planning Colorado elopements here with more information.) The thing that I loved the most about working with Camilla and Troy was that their love was an easy, content kind of love. They worked with each other seamlessly. Because of this, it appeared effortless for them. I loved capturing this!

Starting as the Sun Rose

We met at a favorite spot among locals and visitors alike. A lot of people start in one space, but I like to follow a path and use a little bit of a more remote spot to see the Central Gardens. It gives the perfect opportunity for an “Aisle Walk”.

The Aisle Path at Garden of the Gods for an elopement

 

From there, the Bride and Groom  exchanged their rings and we captured portraits along the path back to the parking lot. This beautiful park has plenty of spots perfect for portraits! This spot is perfect at sunrise or sunset for a private moment to pledge your love. The best part for couples who want a little adventure but have accessibility issues is that this location is close to parking!

Garden of the Gods is an easy spot to elope with Colorado’s easy rules about self-solemnizing and no permit to use in the park. They only ask that we use Leave No Trace rules and adhere to the Park signs and rules!

Exchanging Rings at Garden of the Gods during an elopement

bridal portraits in Garden of the Gods

Elopement at sunrise in Garden of the Gods

Journey to a Sacred Space

After the vows, we took a quick hike to another beautiful spot at Garden of The Gods Park. This spot is known as Siamese Twins and was quite the sight to see a Bride and Groom cutting through the dusty trails in a spotless white lace gown and finely pressed black tux. The pair wearing shoes stained from their past outdoor adventures of hiking and camping together trekked forward.

The sun shone a fire red as it rose up through the morning sky, burning off the dew from the juniper branches and the changing autumn leaves of the oak brush. As they arrived to the top, it was a perfect moment. 

A union: two towering monoliths, joined as one. A firm, strong, solid relationship, able to weather all the varied elements of nature and truly withstand the test of time.

A Toast to the Couple

It was here that we decided to toast their marriage with sparkling grape juice as the sun continued to rise. In September, Colorado mornings are cooler but as the sun rises the temperature can quickly increase to the 80’s. While planning, I had guided Camilla and Troy to consider the weather and I brought an extra blanket for them to snuggle on. Then, it was time for more portraits around the structure and a hike back to our cars.

Toasting your Elopement at Garden of the Gods

Part of what I love to do with Garden of the Gods elopements is to play tour guide of sorts for couples. I remember coming to the park as a young married woman with my husband and falling in love with how every set of rocks varied and every view brought a new kind of beauty to the full scape of the park. Since then, I am constantly back finding new spots and views and falling in love over and over again. When we headed out of the park, we stopped at a spot people have been having their portraits taken for over 100 years!

Balanced Rock provided it’s own beauty and a nice farewell to the park!

A Reception of your Own Making – Elopement Style

The Airbnb that the bride found was a traditional Colorado rustic cabin. With a brown stained knotted-log siding and dark green trim it was hidden just outside Colorado Springs in the tall swaying pines. As I moved through I realized it had a beautiful back deck overlooking a sloping hill with mountains in the distance.

There, we set a modest reception for the newlyweds.  More grape juice and out came Long Drink and Finnish gin. It was time to party at 9am!

 

The cake – from a beautiful local Dutch bakery was lemon with flowers designed on the side. A simple dessert for a simple day. Then came a second toast and some Finnish traditions – like seeing who could toast and then promptly stomp upon swigging their gin. In Finland, they say that whomever stomps first will “control” the relationship. The bride and groom agreed that they both stomped at the exact same time – and I plead the fifth!

Finally, upon enjoying their refreshments and fun, the couple took to the back yard hill for their wedding dance. Under the spotlight of the gently climbing  sun I quietly snuck away and they began their happily ever after.

 

   

The Couple’s Response to the Gallery

Upon receiving her gallery the bride’s response was…

Thank you so much for the gorgeous photos!!!
We have been looking at them all week in an awe.
You made our day absolutely perfect in every way and cannot wait to share our moments with our family and friends.

And thank you again for accommodating to our cake cutting at the cabin – it truly sealed the deal and made the “wedding” ours.

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

Mary Elizabeth is a Colorado and Florida based, adventure-loving, traveling storyteller and photographer. She loves to capture the magic and joy experienced in relationships. Through the lens of her camera, she captures meaningful memories that will last a lifetime. For her, that is how she can #createMAJECK

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