Jessica and James’s Ouray elopement is exquisite. We have eight hours together divided between, and focused around, sunrise and sunset to capture the adventure of the day. The intricacy and detail in their photographs becomes even more vivid with the full day. This isn’t an eight hour photoshoot. It’s a mutual double date built on trust (and our cameras). Jessica and James completely trust us to scout and guide them through a full elopement day. Their desire for exploration and discovery with one another is vital to their relationship. Every stop, every moment of pause, is an adventure in and of itself – a story to be told. These are circular ceremonies, revolving around their vows, harmonizing with the revolutions of the clock. The symbolism and desire for creating a full day of adventure around their vows extends far beyond photographs. Alas, here are some prevailing images from the day.
Jessica finds the perfect dress. Her elegant, fluttering skirt flows naturally with every step, every turn. It is an extension of her personality, dancing with the wind on its own when James holds her tightly. The classy elegance of the lace top hugs her perfectly, accentuating her straight posture. James wears a tie and pocket square designed by his bride. The splash of color ties together perfectly with the florals in her hair. Simply put, Jessica and James radiate grace and confidence.
Song & Dance
James surprises his bride by serenading her near sunrise. The right moment presents itself beneath a towering mountain peak with a jagged top that resembles a castle, a crown. Pulling his queen tightly to his chest, James takes a deep breath, and lets the moment take over. His lyrics swish about the red terrain, softened by deep green pine needles. The glow of the early morning sun radiates and reflects from glistening patches of snow speckling the mountaintops. It is pure poetry.
Privately, Jessica has her own surprise for James. She choreographs and rehearses a dance for James bursting with passion and finesse. For us, it’s the encore of our day together. After meeting at dawn, we share a moment to refill and reflect on an unforgettable experience. The sunset reception fills us in anticipation for the moment. She tells her story with her expressions, her motion, her hips. It is purely poetry in motion.
Moments Like These
What’s more, each one individually emails us beforehand to let us know about their surprise. We did not need to necessarily coordinate or collaborate, but we are one step ahead in regards to preparation with our cameras. Plus, this inherently builds our team chemistry and creates mutual confidence and strong certainty.
Driving to the reception, we stop at one overlook for a few more portraits. Immediately, thunder crackles and crescendos overhead. Within a single moment, full rain droplets spritz the vastness of land, set the mood, and compliment the couple. Amid this prevalent romance, the moment personifies getting married in 2020. Perfectly imperfect. Rain becomes beautiful. Spoils become riches. Belief defines reality. Believe in one another. Believe in love. The rest will fall into place just like the rain and moments like these.
(The word ‘Love’ carved into the Aspen tree was already there when we arrived. Carving into the trunk of a tree is wrong and not a part of the Leave No Trace principles).
Getting Married in 2020
Furthermore, even though their elopement size is only 30 people, Jessica and James have to contact the city of Ouray for permission to host more than 10 people for their Ouray elopement. These are the regulations at the time (June 2020). These restrictions may remain or even become stricter. It is important to keep up to date and to keep an open mind if planning a marriage during a pandemic. If you really have your heart set on getting married, the best way to prevent alterations to your plans is to proceed with just the two of you in mind. Moreover, Jessica and James’s guests wore masks while close to anyone and hand sanitizer was readily available to anyone who needed it.
In regards to getting married, as long as you can travel to the location, most elopement and photography permits will allow you and two photographers (including one officiant) the opportunity to host a small elopement ceremony. When the time is right, you can still have a large gathering with all of your people to celebrate. And you know what? The pressure is off of you, you’ve already been married, and your guests will know and understand that.
Also, you can make your post-marriage celebration as personal or impersonal as you want. You can exchange vows again, have a first dance, or simply eat appetizers and talk to people. You can even just play music, drink coffee, and eat cake. It can be as simple as that. But simplicity can be enough and everything you need. Maybe make it accessible for dogs so anyone who wants to can bring their pups. Call it a Doggy Day Elopement. Or whatever sounds good to you 😉
Jessica and James, your Ouray elopement was such a warming and wonderful experience. Thank you for having us! From our penultimate stroll around the neighborhood together to the final toast and goodbye Saturday night, we loved every minute of it. Cheers to you and the years to come!
The Creative Team
Dress Design: Mariee Bridal
Suit: Jos. A. Bank