If you had told me 5 years ago that I would be shooting an adventurous elopement in Colorado, I would’ve passed out on the spot. This was always a dream of mine; to combine my love of travel, hiking, and nature with my job. So when Kat and Nathan messaged me telling me their plans to hike to a remote lake in Colorado to elope, I couldn’t respond “YESSSS” fast enough.
The journey started early in the morning, with me gripping the steering wheel of my Corolla like a madwoman on the dirt road from Leadville, Colorado to the Windsor Lake trailhead. The crap I put that little car through…
The views were already getting breathtaking. Looking out to the right, there was a mist rising over Turquoise Lake. I knew it would be an amazing elopement.
I met up with Kat and Nathan at the trailhead, with no one else in sight. We had the mountain all to ourselves! Joining Kat and Nathan were Kala and Lyra, the best adventure dogs the world has ever known. They started off with putting flowers on everything. A flower crown for Kat, a boutonniere for Nathan, and little wreaths for the puppies. Colorado hardly ever needs an extra pop of color but for a cloudy, rainy day, they gave the state the extra boost. There can never be enough flowers!
We then started our hike up the mountain and we were immediately faced with how…uh….vertical it was. 2.8 miles isn’t bad. An elevation gain of almost 900 ft within that 2.8 miles is a PAIN. We knew this in advance of course, but there’s nothing you can tell your calf muscles to make them stop screaming on the way. Shoutout to Kat for carrying an entire wedding dress on the way up. These two were DETERMINED. I told them multiple times that if they needed a break or wanted to stop and do the thing where we were, we could. No pressure. But they knew what they wanted and we were getting to that lake, dammit.
It was so worth it. All that pain washed away the moment we stepped out into the clearing. This place was straight out of a dream. The deepest green grass, peppered with pine trees, the glistening lake with clear, clean water, the mountains in the distance that just scream Colorado. Yup. So worth it. This is the place to get married.
As Kat tucked herself away in a cluster of trees to get into her wedding dress, Nathan, Kala, Lyra, and I explored around to find the best spot for their first look. It was a bit tricky, as the grassy area turned out to be mostly muddy marsh. Kat wanted to wear the dress a second time for a reception later in the year and knew she would have a rough time keeping her dress clean. We did our best though!
Once settled into a spot, Kat almost floated down the hill in her dress. It was was sooooo pretty!! Just lacy, airy goodness. The sleeves were my favorite part. She came up to Nathan, tapped him on the shoulder, and both of their excitement just exploded from there.
They were ready to get married! In Colorado, you don’t need an officiant to get eloped and instead, they exchanged their own vows. In the background, I put on some music (shoutout to the playlist “maybe love does exist??” on Spotify.) This moment felt like a movie. Nathan went first, then Kat. Kala and Lyra stood by as reliable witnesses. There were so many laughs, so much joy. All the pain in my calves went to my face, as I was smiling so hard.
They exchanged their rings (zoom in on Kat’s rings, they’re so unique and beautiful!), and shared their first kiss as husband and wife.
We spent some time wandering around getting photos, having a blast while doing so. These two are hilarious and such a blast. The best kind of people to work with.
A cold front suddenly started setting in, bringing rain along with it. It was time to head back and grab some hot coffee.
I’ll never forget this elopement, and hope this wasn’t the last. Who’s bringing me to Colorado next?!
To book your own adventurous Colorado elopement with me, click here to inquire!
Adventurous Colorado Elopement
Andrea Van Orsouw Photography