Are you planning a short-notice, small wedding or elopement?

Many couples don’t want to wait. They are planning to get married in the very near future, eloping, or rushing a small ceremony with their photographer, some close friends, and family but dispensing with or postponing the reception party. 

View WPJA photo stories from smaller weddings - WedElope | Choose love, not fear!

Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado Elopement Photo Story Award

Estes Park, Colorado Elopement Portrait and Wedding Photographer

Rocky Mountain National Park - Estes Park Colorado Elopement Photographer | bride and groom face-to-face in the night air, with only their silhouettes outlined

Here we see Andrea and Chad standing close together, face-to-face in the night air, with only their silhouettes outlined in light.

We met Andrea and Chad in person for the first time on the day of their wedding. They had traveled from Bellingham, Washington, to our equally beautiful state of Colorado for their Rocky Mountain National Park elopement.

When we first spoke with them on the phone, I knew we were kindred spirits when I found out that Andrea and Chad also plan trips around breweries and distilleries. After getting engaged in Rocky Mountain National Park, their first stop was Spirit Hound Distillers, both to warm up and for a celebratory drink. So, obviously, that’s where we started for their elopement.

Then, we headed into the park for a few photo ops before the main event. For their ceremony, we stopped at an unnamed overlook where Chad had popped the question last winter. The four of us trekked down the mountain away from people to a perfect outcropping of rocks with the most breathtaking view. There, Andrea and Chad read their amazingly poignant vows to each other through happy tears as the sun dipped behind the mountains.

What I loved most about Andrea and Chad’s elopement is how they tailored it 100% to their personalities. Before their first dance, Chad donned a jacket for a bit of “formality.” But instead of a suit jacket, it was a badass leather jacket. Andrea had selected a variety of ring options from which Chad picked his favorite before they exchanged rings. They also openly admitted that they regularly tell each other, “You bug me, but you’re my favorite.” Which, to me, encapsulates the reality of marriage in such a beautifully concise way.

But, perhaps my favorite quote from the day came when it was time to formalize everything for the state, and Andrea exclaimed, “Let’s sign that bitch!”

Colorado Rocky Mountains Elopement Wedding Photo - Spirit Hound Distillers

Estes Park, Colorado Elopement Picture at Spirit Hound Distillers | the bride and groom sit together outside a restaurant enjoying each other’s company

Andrea and Chad sit together outside a restaurant enjoying each other’s company. Chad has a book, but he’s abandoned it to talk and laugh carefree with Andrea.

Estes Park CO Mountain Wedding Elopement Ceremony Photography

Colorado Adventure Elopement Photo at the Rocky Mountain National Park | the two of them stand together on a Estes Park rocky cliff

The couple shows off their true personalities in this photo as the two of them stand together on a rocky cliff. The bride is barefoot and wears a leather jacket over her dress while the groom is wearing an impressive pair of leather pants.

Estes Park Colorado Elopement Mountain Ceremony Image

Estes Park - Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado Adventure Elopement Photography | The bold, modern couple stand together in their leather jackets

The bold, modern couple stand together in their leather jackets, and Andrea looks lovingly into Chad’s eyes.

Colorado Elopement Ceremony Image - Estes Park, Rocky Mountains

Colorado Adventure Wedding Ceremony Image | the groom reads his vows as the two of them stand on a cliff in Estes Park

The groom reads his vows to his bride as the two of them stand on a cliff overlooking a lush, green forest framed by mountains.

Estes Park CO Mountain Elopement Ring Ceremony Picture

Estes Park, CO Adventure Wedding Elopement Ring Ceremony Picture | close-up image of hands and rings

In this close-up image, Andrea puts Chad’s unconventional black wedding band on his finger.

Colorado Rocky Mountains Elopement Wedding Picture - Estes Park

CO Wedding Elopement Toast Picture | a glass of champagne immediately after their private, outdoor Estes Park ceremony

The newlyweds share a glass of champagne immediately after their private, outdoor ceremony as they happily clink their glasses together in celebration.

Colorado Adventure Elopement Detail Image - Estes Park

CO Wedding Elopement Detail Image | making the most of his Estes Park natural surroundings

The groom is making the most of his natural surroundings as he uses a large boulder to sign their marriage license.

Estes Park, Colorado Adventure Elopement Photography

CO Wedding Couple Portrait Photo | Estes Park wedding elopement portrait

The sun is beginning to set now, and the bride and groom hold hands at the edge of the cliff, watching as the sky turns orange over the tops of the mountains—a beautiful ending to a perfect day.