It’s hard to write these end of year posts. In my 8 years of being a wedding photographer, this will be my first end of year synopsis.
Besides the fact that I took over 200,000 this year—and narrowing down to any reasonable set of “favorites” is nearly impossible—this year has been absolutely something straight out of a dream for me, and looking back over a full year of experiences is incredibly humbling & awe-inspiring.
I can say for certain that when I photographed my first wedding back in high school at age 17, I never would have imagined that just 2 years out of college, I would get to have a life like this.
It looks the craziest to me when I look at the numbers.
2017 At A Glance
- 55 Adventure Elopements & Intimate Weddings
- 13 Countries Traveled
- 300+ miles hiked (I lost track ;)
- 200,000+ photos taken
- 3 Scuba Diving certifications & 36 dives (not bad for living in a land-locked state ;)
Before I say anything else, I have to say thank you. Thank YOU, the incredible couples that make the brave choice to have the type of wedding day that truly reflects & celebrates your relationship—thank YOU for daring to have a wedding that truly is about you two. I could never have this life that I have without all of the amazing couples that gave me the honor of documenting their day—who trusted me enough to invite me into the most intentional & heartfelt of moments, and to document their love story.
When I photographed my first elopement just a few years ago, it was a life-changing moment for me. It was the first wedding I had ever been to that I could imagine myself doing something similar someday. I knew right then, at that 12 person elopement in Rocky Mountain National Park—that photographing adventurous outdoor elopements & intimate weddings was all that I wanted to do in life.
Couples who choose to elope are my type of people. The wedding industry is this giant $60B capitalist machine, that survives by creating a huge list of “have to’s” when it comes to a wedding. From the engagement ring, to the dress shopping—in the midst of 16-person wedding parties, 250 guests, table garlands, 4-tierd wedding cakes, stilettos, garter & bouquet tosses—it’s easy for a couple to get lost, and get spit out by the wedding industry machine $40-60k later asking themselves “what was really the point of all that?”
Saying instead, “How do we really want to celebrate our commitment to each other? What kind of wedding day would make the most sense for us? How could our wedding be a true & authentic reflection of who we are as a couple?”—yields such different answers than what the wedding industry dictates is necessary.
If you’re the type of couple that spends their weekends camping, hiking, backpacking, rock-climbing, paddle boarding, snowshoeing, road-tripping, traveling, or exploring—if being on a mountaintop, the edge of a canyon, the base of a waterfall, rocky beach, or high alpine lake feels more at home to you than a “venue” where hundreds of other couples have already gotten married—having an adventurous elopement or intimate wedding is the way to go.
It’s funny to me that having a wedding day that’s really about “YOU TWO” is such a novel idea—that it’s “non-traditional” for a couple to want to celebrate their commitment by planning the most awesome day together for just the two of them, and say their most heartfelt and personal promised to each other with no one around.
Having photographed over 200 weddings, I can say with confidence that elopements are the absolute best way to get married—whether just the 2 of you want to jet off to Iceland, or if you and your 25 closest family & friends want to celebrate together in Kauai, or you want a small mountaintop ceremony with your parents or best friends followed by a first dance & picnic around a campfire—whatever you imagine could be the best day for the two of you and the perfect way to celebrate your commitment—that’s what you should do.
I’m so inspired by couples that take their wedding day back into their own hands with a vision to authentically reflect who they actually are, instead of “doing what everyone else does.” All of you who made the brave choice to have the wedding day of your dreams—that truly reflected you and as purely about celebrating your love & commitment—YOU are the reason I exist. You are my inspiration—you are my passion. You are my heros.
Here’s a brief collection of some of my favorite moments from this year… read on below for a special announcement.