Summer elopements in the mountains are so dreamy. Everything is green, the wildflowers are blooming, there’s lots of blue skies, and sunrise is early enough that you can still have areas to yourself. We planned Bree and AJ’s elopement in just a few weeks. They wanted to do a little bit of hiking, go to a lake, and exchange vows at sunrise. You definitely don’t have to hike in Colorado for great views, but gosh hiking really does allow you to get to some of the most beautiful places.
We met at the trailhead on a clear August morning at 4am. It had rained a lot the night before, but thankfully the clouds had cleared and the sky was full of stars. Bree and AJ were opting to hike in their wedding attire. I was so impressed the Bree was able to do the whole hike in the dark and in a wedding dress. I’m not sure I would’ve been able to do that without falling at least once! We put on our headlamps and backpacks and headed onto the trail in total darkness. If you’ve never hiked a trail in the dark before it can be a little intimidating. I’d hiked this particular trail at least half a dozen times before this morning which helped me lead the way. We talked the whole time and nearly all of the trail was above tree line through alpine meadow so it was easy to not focus too much on the thought of animals hiding in the dark. We got to stop along the way and do a couple star photos, but the bright moon and clouds rolling in made the starry skies disappear just a little bit.
We reached the lake and waited a little bit for the sun to come up more. Bree and AJ picked out their ceremony spot and when it was bright enough exchanged the vows they had written to each other complete with HIMYM references. The sun came up even more during their vows making the mountains and water glow. After vows the couple read letters from their friends and family and had pineapple juice mimosas.
During their picnic I turned around to check where the sun was and saw a giant antler sticking out of a nearby bush! A moose had snuck up on us! I had lived in Colorado for six years and had never seen a moose. We all got excited and slightly nervous (moose are not always nice), and upon hearing us the moose took off. Making sure to be extremely careful, we walked to the top of the hill overlooking a valley just before the lake, and there, standing in a perfect beam of sunlight, was the moose! He looked up at us as if to say “I know I’m majestic” before carrying on his way. Such a special addition to Bree and AJ’s elopement day!
After their mountain breakfast we explored around the stunning lake. The water was a deep turquoise and the grass sparkled with dew. One of the most fun details of the day were the pins that Bree and AJ had on their backpack. They couldn’t bring their cats so they had their pictures printed onto pins! They have two cats and had 4 pins total. Each cat had two photos- one majestic and one goofy. It was perfect! As the morning wore on we headed back down the trail and saw another moose!! This time a mom and her baby. So special!
It was such a great morning and, most importantly Bree and AJ had the wedding day of their dreams.