Lago Di Braies Elopement - Pragser Wildsee Wedding - Italy Destination Elopement Photographer - Dolomite Mountains Italian Alps Elopement Photographer

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Lago Di Braies Elopement - Pragser Wildsee Wedding - Italy Destination Elopement Photographer - Dolomite Mountains Italian Alps Elopement Photographer

I have known Rachael for almost 10 years now, so when she told me that she was engaged to her girlfriend Emily and planning to elope—I was absolutely thrilled out of my mind. I got to know these two through their long-running tradition of "Adventure Tuesdays." They both had Tuesdays off due to their work schedule, and would each week plan a new hike, road trip, or place to explore. I joined along whenever I could, and they inspired me to make this a tradition in my own relationship. So when they got engaged, it was only perfectly fitting that Rachael & Emily chose to have an adventurous destination elopement in a new place they hadn't explored before—the Dolomites (Italian Alps)—their most adventurous Tuesday ever. 

One of the most fun parts of the process of working with couples planning destination elopements, is assisting in the dreaming & exploring process and giving all of my best suggestions for locations for their ceremony & portraits. I spent countless hours scouring all of my favorite resources of maps, forums, and software to find the absolute most gorgeous views in South Tryol—which in my opinion is the most beautiful part of the Dolomites. I found a series of mountain passes that we could explore as well as the beautiful & iconic Lago Di Braies as a perfect place to say their vows in a bit of a warmer place than on top of a snowy mountain pass.

We started the day with a first look at sunrise right outside of their amazing AirBnB, which had the most incredible views—we could have happily stayed their all day, but we hit the road, and headed on our journey through the most beautiful scenery I've seen in my life. The Dolomites in May were very cold, with brutal winds at the top of these vistas and still plenty of snow—but these two kept each other warm—and when it came time to say their vows, I had a hard time looking through my viewfinder through all the tears. The scenery that we saw that day was unlike anything I've ever experienced. The Alps are truly world class, and as a die-hard mountain lover, I was in absolute heaven and I can't wait to go back. 

 Starting off in Ortisei in South Tryol (Val Gardena), in Northern Italy, the morning sun shone brightly while Rachael & Emily got ready for their intimate Italian elopement in the Dolomites. Photos by Maddie Mae Photography.
 Their simple wedding bands, a symbol of their eternal love, were some of the only details that these ladies brought for their adventurous mountain elopement in the Italian Dolomites.
 Wearing white and showing off her freckles, they anxiously got ready in separate rooms. Keeping the tradition of a first look before embarking on their Italian Dolomite mountain ceremony. Photo by Maddie Mae Photography.
 Making sure that they could wander and hike in their white wedding dresses was important to this wanderlust loving couple. Their love as wild as the wind and spanning taller than the Dolomites where they would hold their intimate wedding ceremony with photographer Maddie Mae in tow.
 Patiently waiting for her bride and taking in the grand view of South Tryol in Northern Italy had to offer, she found her nerves calm when she would have been so anxious on her on her wedding day. Photo by Maddie Mae Photography.
 Down in the valley of Ortisei, the town was lush green. A stark change from the high alpine terrain of the Dolomites where these adventurous brides would be heading to for their intimate mountain elopement ceremony. Images by Maddie Mae Photography.
 Meandering their way into the high alpine terrain of the Dolomite Mountains in Northern Italy, this couple was in for some of the most breathtaking views for their intimate elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae Photography.
 Taking their time to find the perfect intimate ceremony spot amongst the snow with the Dolomites looking down on them they began their hiking adventure for their non-traditional wedding ceremony. Photos by Maddie Mae Photography.
 As the fog began to roll out from the highest peaks of the Dolomites and the wind began to pick up, these adventurous brides continued wandering through the foot hills with an oversized bouquet to find their perfect intimate elopement ceremony location. Photos by Maddie Mae Photography.
 Pausing to enjoy the company as the high alpine Dolomite wind rushed around them. These stunning brides radiated love far beyond the Northern Italian mountainside where they were about to celebrate their intimate elopement. Captured by Maddie Mae Photography.
 As the fog rolled in slowly they stopped to take in the amazing Northern Italian Dolomite mountains where they had picked for their intimate elopement ceremony. Photos by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Their love could be felt through over the hills and well into the Dolomite mountains where these adventurous brides choose to have their intimate elopement ceremony. Inviting only their wedding photographer, Maddie Mae, to be their witness as they said, "I do."
 With the wind whipping through their hair these stunning brides continued their hunt for the perfect intimate elopement ceremony location high in the Italian Dolomite Mountains. Captured by Colorado wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 While keeping much of their intimate elopement simple, these brides did opt for an oversized spring flower bouquet brilliantly designed by Il Profumo dei fiori flower design in Northern Italy. Photos by adventurous wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Donning a fur stole and simple but stunning white wedding dress, the love that E felt for R could be felt for miles through the Italian Dolomites where this adventurous couple picked for their intimate elopement. Photos by wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 The simplicity of this intimate elopement, punctuated with the incredible oversized spring flower bouquet made with care by Il Profumo dei fiori flower design. It held up through their adventurous hiking elopement through the Italian Dolomites. Photos by Maddie Mae Photography.
 Making their way down from Gardena Pass in the Italian Dolomites the snowy landscape began to fade giving way to more lush valleys below. Photo by intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 There are few things as simply sweet as a long and loving embrace surrounded by snow and jagged rocks in the Italian Dolomite mountains where these brides picked for their intimate elopement ceremony. Photos by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 While most couples find themselves in a church or hall for their wedding ceremonies, these adventurous brides threw tradition to the wind and traveled to the Italian Dolomites for their intimate elopement with only their wedding photographer, Maddie Mae as their witness.
 Gardena Pass in the Italian Dolomites provided these adventurous brides with all the high alpine views and wild wind for their intimate elopement. Photos by intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Hiking their way down the Italian Dolomites' Gardena Pass and on to their next location for their intimate and non-traditional elopement through Northern Italy with wedding photographer Maddie Mae by their sides to capture every sweet moment.
 Watching the Dolomites get smaller and smaller and the landscape get greener and greener this adventurous couple made their way down to Lake Braise for their intimate wedding ceremony with photographer Maddie Mae in tow. 
 Taking in the sights, surrounded by the views of their dreams. These gorgeous brides picked the perfect spot along Lake Braise with the Dolomites behind them for their intimate elopement ceremony. Photos captured by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 With no one in sight, they put down their oversized bouquet and began their intimate elopement ceremony with only their adventurous wedding photographer as their witness. This Dolomite mountain elopement captured by Maddie Mae Photography.
 Holding tightly to each other and making promises for their future while the wind blew next to Lake Braise at the foothills of the Dolomite mountains where these gorgeous brides eloped. Adventurous wedding photographer Maddie Mae captured each tender moment of this intimate Italian elopement. 
 Sharing their first kiss at Lake Braise with the Italian Dolomites in the background was the most surreal setting for these non-traditional brides who opted for a hiking elopement through Northern Italy for their wedding. Photo by intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 There are few moments as sweet and honest as the embrace after an intimate elopement. With no one around, these gorgeous brides fell into sheer bliss at Lake Braise in Northern Italy where they had just said, "I do" at their intimate elopement. Captured by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 The old chateau style buildings were a real treat for this history loving and adventurous pair. They opted out of the traditional wedding and chose to adventure through Northern Italy for their intimate elopement. Photos by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Pausing to take in the moment, the one where they realized they were wed in their dreamy location of Lake Braise with the Italian Dolomites surrounding them. These brides had lived their dream of eloping together with only their intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae looking on.
 Walking along Lake Braise with the Italian Dolomites looking down on them. These adventurous brides knew they had found the place where they wanted to share their vows. Photo by intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 These stunning brides smiled and snuggled next to the Italian lake where they had just said their intimate elopement vows at the foothills of the Dolomites. Photos of this epic romantic destination elopement by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 With the sun shining brightly they spent their first few minutes of married life walking along the water of Lake Braise with the Italian Dolomites in front of them. This intimate elopement captured by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Running off into the forest, starting off their wedded life as they had always dreamed - with an adventure through Northern Italy, no one around but their intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae to capture each step of their incredible day. 
 The changing landscape of Lake Braise made for a gorgeous backdrop for this intimate Northern Italian elopement, photographed by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 After their intimate elopement ceremony, they wandered through the tall pines of Lake Braise, almost loosing their oversized bouquet by Il Profumo dei fiori flower design to the wind. Photos by wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 No wedding is complete until a bottle of champagne is popped! These gorgeous brides in the forests near Lake Braise in Northern Italy for their intimate elopement. Captured by Maddie Mae Photography. 

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Kourtney & Chris • Kauai Hiking Elopement • Hawaii Adventure Wedding Photographer

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Kourtney & Chris • Kauai Hiking Elopement • Hawaii Adventure Wedding Photographer

Hawaii was one of those places that I was pretty skeptical about visiting—I really didn't think I would enjoy it. I imagined Hawaii being full of overrated beach resorts, too many tourists, and not enough real adventure for my taste. Wow...was I wrong. 

Kauai was one of the most magical places I have been and it absolutely captivated me. Particularly the Koke'e State Park & Waimea Canyon areas were simply awe-inspiring. Kauai is the oldest of Hawaii's volcanic islands and the 4,000 ft cliffs of vegetation-covered cliffs going straight into the sea is a crazy sight. It's almost an optical illusion to be that close to the ocean and also so high above it—the line is almost blurred where the sky meets the sea on the horizon. 

When Kourtney (a great photographer herself) invited me to document their intimate wedding on Kauai, I was incredibly honored. She tasked me with finding the most epic views for an epic day-after session for them and I scoured the Island for just the right hike. I absolutely love helping couples find incredibly unique & secluded locations to say their vows and have a one-of-a-kind adventure.

This particular trailhead is totally unmarked—it starts when you open a secret gate and start hiking down an insanely steep & muddy trail. It's more of a locals secret—probably because it's one of the scariest trails I've done in my life. We hiked along the 4,000 ft ridge with steep drop-offs on each side—this one was definitely not for the faint of heart. If it was any muddier, it would be nearly impassible without dying. We met at the trailhead before sunrise and had it all to ourselves—truly an absolutely unforgettable morning. 

I'm so happy to be heading back to Hawaii in April! Get in touch if you'd like to chat about an adventurous session or elopement while I'm there. 

 High on the hilltops above the shorelines of Kauai where most people think of when they envision Hawaii, Kourtney and Chris said their vows privately at an intimate elopement ceremony with their traveling wedding photographer, Maddie Mae.
 With the Hawaiian sun behind them, causing them to glow Kourtney and Chris hiked down the Kalepa Ridge Trail in Kauai to a private location to say their intimate elopement vows privately with only their traveling adventure wedding photographer Maddie Mae as their witness. 
 They found a clearing in the trees and suddenly felt like they were transported from their tropical destination elopement in Hawaii to another world of tall grasses and random twisted trees. They smiled affectionately at each other as their intimate elopement photographer Maddie Mae captured each romantic moment.
 Hiking their way along the narrow path of Kalepa Ridge Trail, Kourtney and Chris paused to take in the incredible sights of Kauai where they were about to elope privately with only their intimate traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae as their witness.
 The Hawaiian sun high in the sky lighting up this romantic adventurous couple. The twisted trees of Kokee State Park framing them perfectly as they meandered their way to the perfect location for their intimate elopement ceremony. Photos of this epic Kauai hiking elopement by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Deep in conversation, as though no one was around, Kourtney and Chris made their way through Kalalau Valley where the ferns at their sides were a mess of shaggy greenery and the twisted trees looking perfect to climb. Photos of this intimate Kauai hiking elopement by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Climbing the trees like they were kids, they stopped to realize how truly magical their elopement day was - celebrating each minute of it exactly how they wanted to, with adventure. Photos of this awesome Hawaiian elopement in Kauai's Kokee State Park by intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 They hiked their way around the bend of the Kalalau Lookout in Kauai, high above the beach, ocean and clouds. These adventurous lovebirds threw tradition to the wind and opted for a destination elopement to Hawaii where they hiked Kokee State Park with only their intimate elopement photographer Maddie Mae.
 Among the warm Hawaiian sunlight and hight above the Kauai beaches along the Kalepa Ridge Trail Kourtney and Chris had found the perfect location for their intimate elopement. Their destination wedding was nothing traditional as they hiked in Kokee State Park for a private elopement ceremony with just their traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 The sun hung low in the afternoon sky as Kourtney and Chris said their vows at Kokee State Park on Kauai. Their adventurous Hawaiian elopement avoided the touristy beaches and instead they chose to hike to Kalalau Lookout with their intimate traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Taking a detour off the beaten path Kourtney and Chris shared an intimate moment among the spindly trees in Kokee State Park where they had just privately eloped high above the Kauai beaches, getting to see a part of Hawaii most people don't even know exists. Photos of this romantic adventure around Kalaulau Valley by traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae.
 Basking in the warm Hawaiian sun and realizing that they had just begun the adventure of a lifetime with the most epic hike through Kauai's  Kokee State Park for their intimate elopement. They chose to say their vows privately high above the touristy beaches with only their traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae as their witness.
 They wandered in and out of the trees to the cliff sides of Kalepa Ridge Trail on their intimate Hawaiian elopement adventure. Kourtney and Chris along with their traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae, hiked in the warm Kauai sun through Kokee State Park for this romantic elopement.
 Kourtney and Chris didn't want the traditional wedding in a church and when they decided to elope in Hawaii they wanted to find a different view than just the white sand beaches. With the help of their intimate elopement photographer Maddie Mae, Kourtney and Chris were able to hike around Kauai's Kokee State Park giving them a view of valleys and the green mountains of the Napali Coast.
 While Hawaii is often known for it's incredible beaches and bright blue oceans, Kauai can offer an incredible landscape of jungle, grass lands and mountains making it an epic location for an adventurous elopement or hiking intimate wedding. Photos of this romantic afternoon Kalalau Valley elopement by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 They paused for one last look over the calm ocean, the afternoon sunlight on their faces. Kourtney and Chris threw tradition to the wind and hiked up to Kalalaua Lookout in Kauai with only their intimate elopement photographer Maddie Mae to snap their most private moments of their ceremony. 

I'm so happy to be heading back to Hawaii in April! Get in touch if you'd like to chat about an adventurous session or elopement while I'm there. 

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Jen & Dan - Self-Solemnizing Elopement in Yankee Boy Basin, Ouray Colorado - Destination Adventure Elopement Photographer

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Jen & Dan - Self-Solemnizing Elopement in Yankee Boy Basin, Ouray Colorado - Destination Adventure Elopement Photographer

Elopements have changed a lot in the past few years—and in the absolute best way possible. No longer do the majority of people see elopements as last-minute, unapproved, tacky events in Vegas. Couples all over the world are intentionally choosing to have incredibly meaningful, thoughtful, intimate wedding days that truly reflect who they are. 

From the first conversation I had with Jen & Dan, I knew they would have the most incredible elopement day—both of them are such passionate & intentional people—and it was so natural for their elopement to be the same. After getting to know them, I sent my favorite spots in Colorado that would fit the vision for exactly what they were imagining for their elopement—and they settled on the gorgeous are of Yankee Boy Basin in Ouray, CO. The San Juan mountains are my absolute favorite in the whole state—towering high above the little mountain towns—much like the Alps. Ouray is actually called "The Switzerland of America" and having been to the Swiss Alps earlier this year, I can attest that it has a similarly epic vibe. 

We hiked up to a waterfall they found and scrambled up its rocky face so they could get married directly above it—with the stunning mountain peaks in the background. Only the sounds of the waterfall cascading below, they tearfully said their vows to each other during their self-solemnizing ceremony. Colorado is just one of 4 places in the country that a couple can get legally married without an officiant or any witnesses. Read more about self-solemnizing elopements here.

After their incredibly emotional ceremony which left us all in tears—we explored around the basin, enjoying the fall colors and an incredible picnic basket created by a private gourmet Chef who I connected Jen & Dan with to make their elopement absolutely epic in the food department. Afterwards, we headed back to their AirBnB, where Chef L Kent created the most spectacular meal and food experience I have ever encountered as a photographer. There was fire, liquid nitrogen (sometimes at the same time)—ingredients from all over the world—specifically picked for Jen & Dan's pallets & needs. 

It's super important to stay fueled & sustained during your wedding—especially if there's hiking involved—but this experience was SO many million miles better than the normal granola bars & trail mix I'm used to as an adventure elopement photographer. It was almost like watching a magic show—that you got to eat at the end.  I love when couples go all-out for their elopement day, and choose to make it truly unforgettable. If there are any foodies out there, wondering how to make your elopement day incredible—hire an incredible private world-class chef like L Kent.

The scenery, the emotion, the mind-blowing food—Jen & Dan's elopement will go down as one of my favorites. Elopements are the best way to get married and deserve to be made unforgettable—and honored as the important day that they are. 

Get in touch with me if you'd like to chat about your own dream elopement. I'd love to help you make something awesome. 


Private Chef: L Kent with ZCatering

 Jen and Dan got ready privately at a cabin before they adventured into the Ouray mountains in Colorado for their very private elopement - hiking through the tall grasses of Yankee Boy Basin with their traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae.
 With excitement and a dash of nerves, Dan finished his final touches at the cabin in Ouray they had rented for their private elopement celebration. He was on his way to an open meadow with all the autumn colors  in Yankee Boy Basin to wait for his stunning bride so they could have the elopement of their dreams, adventuring through the mountains with only their intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae in tow. 
 Although they through the traditional wedding to the wind, Jen kept a few details in tact. She go ready with the morning light peeking into the blinds, making the sparkles on her jeweled wedding dress light up the room. Photos of this epically romantic elopement in Ouray, Colorado's Yankee Boy Basin by intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Being sentimental, Jen brought along a family heirloom rosary. A something old keeping with a bit of tradition at her non-traditional private hiking elopement through Yankee Boy Basin near Ouray, Colorado with only her adventurous groom and their intimate traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae, to capture each emotional moment.
 With the afternoon sun at their backs, Jen made her way to her patient groom, ready to finally see him for the first time on their wedding day. This adventurous couple opted for an all day hike through Yankee Boy Basin with their intimate elopement photographer Maddie Mae so they could share their vows in private among the mountains.
 Taking a moment to bask in the mountain sunlight, Jen and Dan shared a private emotional moment before they headed for the adventure to begin a lifetime. This romantic  Ouray elopement hiking through Yankee Boy Basin was photographed by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae. 
 The San Juan Mountains, also known as Switzerland of America, is one of the most stunning landscapes that Colorado has to offer. With infinite miles of trails and roads through the high alpine terrain it's the most magical backdrop for an adventurous hiking elopement or intimate wedding gathering. Photos of this romantic elopement in Yankee Boy Basin by traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae.
 Tossing on a backpack of essentials, Dan and Jen began their hike up Yankee Boy Basin in Ouray Colorado for their epic elopement adventure with their intimate elopement photographer Maddie Mae. They chose to celebrate their nuptials non-traditionally with a private ceremony in the San Juan Mountains surrounded by the colors of autumn. 
 They trekked down rocky trails through Yankee Boy Basin with Ouray below them, stopping next to a waterfall that would soon be frozen with winter. These romantic adventurers took their elopement to the San Juan Mountains with their traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae so they could say their vows privately among the colors of fall.
 Yankee Boy Basin in Ouray, Colorado is a stunning hike anytime of year, but especially romantic when autumn hits and the leaves change colors to yellow and golds. It was here, among the golden tones of fall's Colorado that Jen and Dan chose to elope privately with only their intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae with them to capture each adventurous moment. 
 Pausing for one more embrace before they continued hiking on, the high alpine winds of the San Juan Mountains kicked up grabbing the tulle of Jen's dress sending it dancing behind her. She and her mountain loving groom eloped in Yankee Boy Basin with only their traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae with them to capture each romantic moment.
 Keeping with her theme of throwing (most) tradition to the wind, Jen donned a champagne colored wedding dressed, the bodice riddled with jewels. She carried a neutral rose and greens bouquet that was the perfect contrast to the bright tones of autumn in Ouray, Colorado where she and Dan eloped. Photos of this stunning mountain bride by traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae.
 Smiling and fixing his tie, Dan looked on at his stunning bride - the sound of a rushing waterfall behind him, and he knew they had made the best decision to elope in Ouray, Colorado with their intimate elopement photographer Maddie Mae there to capture each emotional moment. 
 This adventurous couple was all giggles and romance as they hiked up Yankee Boy Basin to find the perfect private location in the San Juan Mountains for their elopement ceremony. They decided to say their vows in a self solemnization ceremony with only their traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae with them to snap each magical elopement moment.
 Carefully helping Jen navigate the rocky trail in her wedding dress, Dan offered his hand as they made their way to the perfect spot for their elopement ceremony. Overlooking Ouray, Colorado and high in the San Juan Mountains they privately began their intimate ceremony. Photos of this emotional hiking elopement by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Her voice shook as she began to profess her truest  feelings to her groom. Gently he pushed the hair from her face and wiped away her tears. These romantic adventurers said their vows privately among the autumn foliage of Yankee Boy Basin in Ouray, Coloraod with only their intimate wedding photographer as their witness.
 Tears of joy falling down her face as she promised her husband a lifetime of happiness and adventure - beginning with this one, an epic hiking elopement to the most private meadow in Yankee Boy Basin for a private and emotional ceremony with only their traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae around for miles. 
 Jen wiped her groom's tears away as she finished her personal vows at their intimate elopement ceremony high above Ouray, Colorado in the San Juan Mountains. This romantic couple took off to the mountains with only their intimate elopement photographer Maddie Mae to celebrate their nuptials exactly how they wanted to, privately and with adventure.
 They paused for a moment, wiping away tears of happiness and taking in the epic views around them - soaking in each moment of their adventurous elopement through Yankee Boy Basin in Ouray, Colorado. Photos of this emotional elopement by traveling photographer Maddie Mae.
 Sealing her words with a symbol of love, a solid white gold wedding band, Jen slipped her husband's new ring over his finger and he began his vows with a joke reminding Jen of the first thing she ever fell in love with - her husband's sense of humor. Photos of this romantic autumn elopement in Ouray, Colorado by intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Dan told his bride of all the promises he would keep, the ways that he would continue to love and honor her in his intimate vows. He professed all these things high above the world in the San Juan Mountains near Ouray, Colorado where he and his bride had opted for adventure and hiked to a private location in Yankee Boy Basin with only their intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae for their elopement.
 Ending with a fond and funny memory, they giggled as their private elopement ceremony came to an end. The high alpine winds of the San Juan Mountains whipping around Yankee Boy Basin where Jen and Dan picked for their biggest adventure yet. Photos of this romantic elopement in Ouray, Colorado by traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae.
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