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!

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.

Its A Boy

You may remember Corinne & Jeremy from a few months ago… (read about their session here) Corinne reached out last month and asked if I would help them with their gender reveal. Of course, I said yes, but I wanted to be responsible with the way in which we did a reveal. I suggested a color overlay but they really wanted the surprise in the moment.

Having never done confetti, smoke bombs, paint, chalk I wanted to be sure that we were following city and county requirements for safety and taking care of mother nature. Confetti specifically can be a huge mess and wildlife who consume it can become ill. Smoke bombs are considered a fire hazard and only allowed on private property where I live. So, I searched for a public park, with lots of fallen leaves and we decided on a “safe for nature” color cannon. I had never worked with these before and brought my husband along to shoot off the cannon so that I could capture the moment.

We started off with some fun family portraits (because why not) and then it was time for the main event. The first cannon didn’t really explode the way it was supposed to… It misfired a bit, but they were able to see and after some editing magic so are the rest of you!

It’s a BOY!

But my favorite picture was when they double confirmed with the envelope from the ultrasound. This family is so happy about their precious baby boy. Congratulations on your tie breaker!

It is important to me that reveals be environmentally responsible as well as emotional and exciting for families. I help with location planning and what methods will come the closest to “leaving no trace”. If you would like to schedule me for your reveal – message me today!

Fall Mini Wardrobes

It seems like Fall is that perfect season in Colorado for family portraits. August and September have been very busy for me and October is not slowing down. I actually recently had my own family portraits done as well (I’ve got to be in some of them!).

A common question from my clients is “What should we wear?”. Pinterest has tons of inspiration and I have a board that I steadily build onto for clients to reference.

But I thought it might be helpful to take you through wardrobe choices from a photographer’s point of view…

Colors/Patterns

Navy, Burgundy and White – add in plaid and an abstract floral for some fun!

For my home and business I have a color palette that I like to keep with. Colors that you find as you move throughout your home are always a good inspiration point (unless you are about to completely remodel in brand new colors). These are typically colors you are visually drawn to and will use time and again. Unless you are only going to print Black & White versions of your images this is something you may want to take into consideration.

Navy, Pale Blue, Pink & White – note the gold accessories and floral bow

For my family, I choose navy as a starting point more than any other color. In the spring it can be lightened up and in the fall it can be darkened with accents. Other colors that work the same way are black, brown, grey and cream. Once you have your base color, pick 2-3 other colors or patterns to coordinate with. More than 3 and you start getting too busy for your images and it can get distracting. Don’t do more than 2 patterns and try not to choose two busy patterns (flowers and polka dots). Instead, flowers and stripes, or plaid and solids that tie into the plaid.

 

Finally, consider your session location and any potential theme. Will there be props provided by the photographer that you will need to coordinate with? For instance, if a gold chair is going to be provided, you may want to avoid mustard or gold in case they aren’t exact matches.

Movement and Theme

Ask yourself what look you are trying to achieve with your family portraits. My fall minis are all outside

Both girls had flow so when dad danced, you could see the movement.

with wide open spaces. These are spots that you can move in and for women/girls especially I suggest finding dresses with some flowiness or movement to them! Slits in long dresses are also fun and visually interesting!

What does that mean and why should you think about it? Dress movement can add visual interest to your images. Twirling, swishing a dress and having skirts draped around you all keep the eye moving around an image. It means little things that might make you self-conscious are less likely to be noticed by you and your image will be a bit more artistic. It also allows your images to be less stiff and posed in their overall feel. Hats, scarves, sweaters and more are all great options as well. Cardigans and kimonos can give incredible movement even if you are wearing jeans and a tshirt! These can give your hands something to do and let you play a bit!

The slit in this dress allowed for mom to have a flowing effect as she ran across the field.

Be Careful

There are a few things I suggest that families be aware of when picking outfits. Especially with minis, if you are worried about these things we lose precious time and editing out/fixing these issues is an additional cost later on.

  • Bra Straps – there are a lot of gorgeous dresses out there that bra straps regularly pop out of. When picking options for women, test out the bra you want to wear with it.
  • Length – every once in a while someone orders a dress and it is way shorter than expected and you can see their discomfort. If it looks cute with leggings or stockings, go that route. Otherwise, message your photographer. I keep a stock of gowns and dresses that are meant to flatter multiple body types.
  • light shines through cream dresses – prepare accordingly
  • Logos – I don’t have a problem with these but if you are going to be annoyed seeing “x company” across a polo you might want to have the guys wear a different one.
  • Shoes – High Heels are gorgeous, they make my calves look awesome. However, when doing outdoor photos, you may be comfortable in dirt with heels.

One last tip… Wearing form fitting dresses is often gorgeous. If you are going to do this give your body a chance to breathe for 8-12 hours ahead of time. Tight underwear and pants can leave lines even after they are off.

At the end of the day, all I care about is capturing the connection that moves within your family. Wear what you are comfortable and come to your session ready for fun!

 

 

 

If you are interested in booking a session and creating “MAJECK” with Mary Elizabeth – you can contact her here!

Breckenridge at Sunrise

couple embracing at sunrise

I love my job. I seriously love waking up every day, meeting new people and creating art to go on people’s walls. Even better, there is travel involved! Adventure is everywhere if you just look and that what I did with Nicole and Ryan.

Teaching her how to skip rocks

I posted on a military page that I was looking for a couple willing to wake up and do a sunrise session with me in Breckenridge and these two awesome newlyweds drove over 2 hours before the sun to do just that. For an hour we hiked around Sawmill Reservoir, skipped rocks and laughed so very hard. It turns off they had run off and gotten married but had no pictures and Ryan’s mom wanted them. This was perfection!

 

When couples reach out to me for their elopement and engagement portraits and have visions in mind, I work very hard to bring those visions to life. Sunrise isn’t easy on everyone – but when you can do it – it is so worth it. The sun glows on everything and begins to fill the earth up with warmth – it’s kind of like how love makes you feel. Out of body. Etheral. Just incredible.

Of course, not all of our images were specifically lifestyle – although my style is to let every session naturally move through the paces and create it’s own story. I am here for elopements and couples sessions to tell your love story through photography. I’ll pose when needed but I much prefer to do a combination of prompts and observing your interaction. Love is beautiful. I don’t need to force anything.

intimate moments captured

As I have moved through 2019, I have discovered just how much I love working with couples planning their elopements. In 2020, I will be offering a new line of elopement packages for those adventurous couples wanting a photographer to capture their moment and breathtaking natural backdrops. If that is you – message me for my 2019 prices!

To see the full album, including some crazy antics, click here!