This past winter, I had the pleasure of photographing Maya and Sean’s Grand Canyon Elopement. Was it cold? YES! Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! This Grand Canyon elopement was nothing short of grand. In fact, it looked like something from a movie: white snow glistening in the sunlight; panoramic views of layered rock; a lively breeze that brought incredible energy to their photos — it was an experience I’ll never forget! I can’t wait to share their big day with you and provide some inspiration for couples looking for adventurous elopement options.
When you elope, you can splurge a little more on all the details that you truly care about. The whole experience is a little more intentional. Maya’s bouquet was a stunning array of winter-themed florals with lush greenery mixed in. The peonies and eucalyptus complemented the colors and tones of the Grand Canyon as well as Maya’s dress and Sean’s attire. These are some of my favorite colors and hues to photograph! Most of deciding how to plan your elopement is about simply figuring out what you like.
Elopements allow couples to leave some traditional wedding components behind and add in unique aspects that really fit your personality. For instance, for attire, Sean chose a burnt umber jacket to match Maya’s flower crown and the rich tones of the canyon. Plus, his jacket added a bit of warmth.
In addition to the spectacular location, these two incorporated a few untraditional-yet-meaningful details into their elopement: ring tattoos and touching readings from family members. Bringing family members into the ceremony with their own speeches was a special touch that was important to Sean and Maya. When you marry someone, you’re not just bringing two people together. You’re also joining two families, two sets of friends, and two communities together. Maya and Sean did a wonderful job of including their families into their wedding day.
This does NOT have to be overwhelming — Sean and Maya rocked their vows that they wrote themselves. Whether you read them beforehand for a little privacy or during your ceremony, writing your own vows adds a special touch to your wedding. Including hand-written vows personalizes your commitments to one another. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant or even poetic. Maya and Sean kept it sweet and simple, yet their vows had us all reaching for tissues.
If your desired location requires a permit, some of this advice may not be for you since some permits come with specific requirements. To find out where you can hold your ceremony, start by doing a little research on Google, then talk to your officiant and photographer. Most elopement photographers already have a few preferred locations available upon request. Be sure to ask if your desired location requires permits or has certain policies in place.
Once you have a location you want, and you know about the permits and policies in place, we recommend spending a bit of time just walking around together. Find a spot that speaks to you. Breath deep as you walk, close your eyes, and feel your way through the area. Take in all the views and surrounding scenery. You’ll find the location that speaks to you as a couple.
For photography, try to pick a spot that has a bit of distance between you and any backdrops. Try not to put the sun behind you (backlighting you), and it helps if a location has consistent light or consistent shade (without speckled sun/shade from trees or landscape features).
If you’re looking to elope or get married in the Grand Canyon check out the permit policies here. For elopement inquiries, connect with me via my Contact Form, and I will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Your wedding day is meant to be fun and carefree. You want your portraits to reflect that. To prepare for your wedding day portraits, turn on some music that you enjoy and dance around the house. Be goofy, and take intentional time to just enjoy one another before your wedding day. Then, on your wedding day it will feel more natural to have your photographer documenting it all.
On your wedding day, it’s important to have pockets of time to use for portraits — that’s easy with an elopement, because its just us! But if you have guests, formals, and events all day, it becomes a little harder. Make sure to schedule pockets of time, and give yourself time to pause throughout the day — it goes by fast.
If you feel inspired by Maya and Sean’s elopement, learn more about our elopement packages and how to plan your elopement here.
Phoenix wedding photographer preserving memories all over Arizona and beyond.