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.
With his promises professed, Dan pulled out the box with Jen's wedding band - a vintage white gold ring with small diamonds around it. He gently pushed it over her knuckle as a symbol of his unending love and promises for a life time of adventure. Photos of this emotional elopement in Yankee Boy Basin by intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
Sealed with a kiss high above Ouray in the San Juan Mountains, they were wed in a private elopement ceremony. Colorado's self solemnization laws making it one of the most romantic destinations to elope. This intimate hiking elopement through Yankee Boy Basin was photographed by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
Putting on a fur stole and braving the high alpine winds Jen held onto her husband Dan and giggled as they hiked around Yankee Boy Basin after just saying their intimate elopement vows in private with only their traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae in tow.
Filled with excitement and romance, Dan swooped his bride literally off her feet in as they stood atop a rock in Yankee Boy Basin. Surrounded by the tall meadow grass and the jagged San Juan Mountains, they had said their intimate elopement vows in private with only their traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae around for miles.
As Jen jumped on Dan's back, her patterned leggings peeked through the tulle of her beige wedding gown. This playful couple threw tradition to the wind and eloped in the mountains near Ouray, Colorado in Yankee Boy Basin with only their intimate traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
Stopping at one last rocky edge for a different view before they made their trek back down Yankee Boy Basin, Jen and Dan embraced in the high alpine winds, smiling and almost glowing with delight at their magical elopement day hiking through the mountains near Ouray, Colorado with their traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
The sun lit up the autumn golds and yellows of the mountains near Ouray, Colorado where Jen and Dan said their vows in private with only their intimate elopement photographer there to capture each emotional moment of their ceremony.
Sweet embraces and holding hands - Jen and Dan's affection for each other was undeniable. He held her bouquet of fragrant roses as they hiked down the rocky trails of Yankee Boy Basin in Ouray, Colorado with their intimate elopement photographer Maddie Mae. They eloped privately in the mountains, the wedding day they had always dreamed of.
On their hike down from Yankee Boy Basin Jen and Dan stopped among the yellowing aspen trees for a little romantic picnic snack. Enjoying some of their favorite delights before they continued their hike down the Ouray mountains with their intimate elopement photographer Maddie Mae.
Eloping means truly getting to make your wedding all about you find the most important. Jen and Dan both huge foodies decided to splurge on a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring a world renowned chef into their home to make them a private elopement celebration dinner. Photos by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
No wedding celebration, no matter how big or small, is really complete without a piece of cake. Jen and Dan's was topped with a custom wooden topper with their adventurous theme. Photos of this delicious private elopement dinner in Ouray, Colorado was captured by intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
Jen and Dan's private elopement allowed them to focus on what was most important to them - adventure and food! After an epic hike through Yankee Boy Basin to say their vows in private they moseyed back to their cabin for an intimate meal prepared for them by a private chef. Photos of this all day adventure by traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae.
Watching the chefs use techniques they had only seen on television, Jen and Dan enjoyed an epic five-star meal in the privacy of their own cabin after their adventurous hike through Yankee Boy Basin to say their vows and celebrate their nuptials the way they had always dreamed. Photos of this romantic all day elopement by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
For this romantic couple, their elopement was about them and what they had fallen in love with together. After and epic hike through the San Juan Mountains to say their intimate vows in private with only their traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae, they settled back in at their cabin celebrating with a private five course meal prepared for them by a world renowned chef, an experience they'd be dreaming about for years!
With their meal soon coming to an end, the best was saved for last - dessert! They sat in awe watching the chefs dance around the cabin kitchen creating a specialized menu just for them to celebrate their epic and adventurous elopement through the San Juan Mountains with their intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
Ending their perfectly private elopement with an intimate first dance in the comfort of their own living room, with only their traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae there to capture each sweet moment.

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Resa & Grant - Mt. Rainier National Park Elopement - Washington Elopement Photographer

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Resa & Grant - Mt. Rainier National Park Elopement - Washington Elopement Photographer

One thing I love about adventure weddings is you never quite now how exactly they will turn out. You can have ideas, plan, and schedule—but the thing about wild outdoor elopements, is that nature always has the beautiful final word. 

Resa, Grant, & I had spent months finding the most perfect epic hike in Mt. Rainier National Park (one that I definitely still want to do for an elopement), but by the time September came, Rainier had both forest fires, and early snow causing closures all over the park. We put our heads together, pivoted, and came up with several alternative plans the week of their elopement. 

Honestly I don't think it could have been more beautiful or perfect. It was rainy & cloudy all day, with no views of Rainer, but we found a perfect piece of rainforest for them to say their vows with their 2 closest friends (one of whom officiated). I got the honor of being their second witness on their marriage license. We played some more under the trees, until we were all soaking wet from the rain.

We decided to try for some more Rainier views the next morning before I headed to the airport—hoping for a gap in the clouds. Luckily that the wiley temptress, Rainier, poked through the clouds and put on a show for Resa & Grant, to wrap up their beautiful elopement story, frolicking around in the fresh snow.

I love that elopements boil down the idea of a wedding back to what really matters: 2 people, in love, committing their lives to each other. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you married the love of your life—and it's phenomenal when nature plays along and creates a magical day like this turned out to be. 

There are some things that you can usually count on when it comes to the Pacific Northwest...the trees, the moss, all the varying tones of the same pallet, and the damp fog giving everything a certain romantic feel. The PNW is a stunning place for an intimate wedding or elopement. This elopement adventure was originally scheduled for elsewhere, but there's nothing like starting your marriage off with an adventure. Photos of this Washington state intimate wedding by traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae.
Mount Rainier National Park is one of the most stunning green places. The tall evergreens that peek out from the fog and the tranquil breezes that bring movement to the lakes and streams make a magical flora and fauna backdrop for a romantic elopement in the forest. Photos of this Washington intimate wedding in the woods by traveling photographer Maddie Mae.
Grant wandered his way through the tall ferns and pine trees to a secluded place along the lake in Mount Rainier National Park where he would wait patiently to see his bride for the first time before their intimate wedding ceremony in the wood. Photos of this romantic woodland wedding by intimate elopement photographer Maddie Mae.
Resa walked out of the woods in the mist with her maid of honor. She saw her handsome groom waiting patiently for her in the clearing of Mount Rainier National Park in Washington where they would soon say their vows in a private ceremony attended only by their closest friends and intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
Resa held up her white wedding dress revealing her hiking boots as she made her way through the tall ferns of the clearing to her soon to be husband. As he turned to see her for the first time as his bride the excitement in his face couldn't be hidden. These adventurous lovers got married in an intimate and private wedding ceremony in the woods of Mount Rainier National Park. Photos of this PNW elopement by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
Resa and Grant both became emotional with excitement and joy. They threw tradition to the wind and opted for an intimate wedding ceremony in a private location in Mount Rainier National Park with on two witnesses and their intimate traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae.
They hiked away from the clearing in their wedding clothes and headed down Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier National Park for their private wedding ceremony in the woods. Resa and Grant were joined by only two of their closest friends and their intimate traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae. 
With the fog slowly starting to burn away they began their intimate wedding ceremony surrounded by the tall tress and wild ferns of Mount Rainier National Park. Flanked by two of their closest friends as their witnesses Resa and Grant glowed with delight. This romantic forest elopement captured by traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae.
Grant's best man began their ceremony with words of love and commitment, adventure and challenges. These two adventurous souls knew they'd found their perfect match and chose to express their love in their way by eloping in Mount Rainier National Park with their two friends and intimate traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
Grant pulled out his hand written wedding vows from his pocket. As he began with jokes Resa couldn't help but giggle at the memories of all they'd gone through. As he ended he told Resa of the promises of the life that he would make sure they would live. Photos of this emotional intimate Mount Rainier National Park forest wedding by traveling elopement photographer Maddie Mae.
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They held back tears of joy as their intimate elopement ceremony in Mount Rainier National Park among the ferns and tall trees started to come to an end. Photos of this emotional and private forest wedding by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.