Jess and Kris had a beautiful vision for their elopement in Gateway Natural Area which sits just outside of Fort Collins, Colorado. The two planned to self solemnize in front of their close family before hiking back into the reservoir with just me and their Videographer Nate, from Look Company. While prepping for their elopement, it was important to both Jess and Kris to keep the photos casual, natural, and relaxed. They desired for the photos to capture their day, unposed and unstaged; but neither particularly love being in front of a camera. This is a common feeling and my biggest goal is to make working with me enjoyable! I don't love standing in front of a camera myself, so I always create a space that my couples feel present with their honey and totally at ease with me.
Jess and Kris's elopement day arrived and we literally couldn't have asked for better weather. Getting married in Colorado in March can mean anything from 80's and sunny to 20's with a blizzard. Colorado chose to warm up a bit for us and we awoke to clear bluebird skies. It was the morning of daylight savings so I grabbed an extra large cup of coffee and hit the road with Nate and my wonderful second shooter Melissa. After pulling into the parking lot at Gateway Natural Area I realized very quickly that this sweet, amazing couple, had totally lied to me. Yep, you heard that right. Flat out lies. See Jess and Kris told me they were awkward to photograph but then they showed up as though they'd modeled their entire lives. When I say they're in love, I mean - they are in LOVE! Their smiles are so big and the laugher they share is infectious. I found myself doubled over with tears finding their way down my cheeks and smiling so much it hurt at the end of the day when we said our goodbyes.
Jess chose the most gorgeous long sleeve dress to elope in and changed in an old Westfalia camper van while Kris tossed flower petals onto their ceremony site. Jovi, Kris's pup, was the most handsome Golden Retriever in his green polka dot wedding bowtie. He waited anxiously for the ceremony to start and watched curiously as Jess walked by to find Kris waiting for her by the river bank. Jess tapped Kris's shoulder and he turned around for their first look. First looks are always so special and Kris's eyes lit up as he pulled Jess close. I like to take a step back after the initial moment and let my couples soak in some alone time before the day starts. Everything you worked hard to plan has come together and special people have traveled from near and far to see your lives intertwine. For these few minutes you can feel the soft breeze against your skin and hear the sound of it as it rustles through the leaves. Warm sunshine falls on your neck and its just the two of you on the day you say "I do."
Jess and Kris had a small and intimate ceremony choosing to self solemnize in front of a few close family members. Their vows made everyone tear up, both sharing sweet sentiments and ending with Kris promising to let Jess bring home whatever animals she wants to take care of! (Jess is in school to be a Veterinarian and I told her I'd 100% hold him to that promise.) Their elopement was stamped with a kiss and celebrated by cracking beers with their family around a picnic table. As the family packed to head to their dinner reception, Jess and Kris changed into hiking boots and we set off to hike towards Seaman Reservoir.
These two hike like there is no tomorrow! Rage hikers was our coined term of the day and I was so impressed with Jess in her long gorgeous dress. She crushed the adventurous hike and loved that the white lace had acquired some dirt along the trek. We hiked all around Seaman Reservoir, catching gorgeous views and enjoying the sunshine before taking the path back to the VW Westy. As we packed up, we watched Jess and Kris roll away in their adorable van, out of Gateway Natural Area and off to Fort Collins at sunset. Enjoy taking a glimpse into their elopement day below!