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  • Writer's pictureLarissa Johnson Photo

Deb + Cody: A Rocky Mountain National Park elopement


Eloping has been a rising trend since the pandemic began. I think it is such a blessing for some couples who have no interest in the big wedding day and want to focus on their vision only. Once you see these photos you might be feeling the same way.

Deb first came to me with her idea of eloping in Colorado years ago. It was one of those comments that people say as a dream statement but probably not going to turn into reality. Well Deb is the one in a million who makes her dreams a reality!

We started the planning process through text messaging from our respective states. Deb and Cody live in Missouri (I met Deb through our mutual friend when we all lived in Saint Louis). She texted me photos of the engagement ring when she received it, bridal dress shopping photos and possible jackets to wear with the dress since she was coming into a Colorado winter. I LOVE being in the loop and included in my client's plans. It brings me so much joy when we can be excited together.

Deb and Cody quickly decided on RMNP sunrise hike as their dream wedding location. We secured a permit for a Friday morning and everything came together from there. Deb has a daughter so they made a vacation out of the trip including ice skating, tubing and lots of Mexican restaurants.

The night before the wedding morning Deb texted me a photo of some grocery store flowers on her passenger seat saying she secured her bridal bouquet. Elopement planning at it's finest.

Friday morning my alarm went off at 305am (because 3am was too early). My friend and fellow photographer Kristin met me at my house at 4am to stop at a 24 hour McDonalds and get on the road. We pulled into a completely empty parking lot at the Bear Lake Trail head. We all struggled to put our spikes and layers on in the dark. Deb was in her bridal gown with sweatpants underneath, Cody had snow pants on over his suit, Deb's daughter was in her snowsuit and Kristin and I were in what felt like hundreds of winter weather layers and headlamps. The hike was perfect. Our spikes dug into the icy layered trails for 2.2 miles. We let Deb's daughter pace the hike. She was good at telling us when she needed a break by throwing her entire body on the ground. Each time we stopped to soak in the view she said, 'This is pretty let's just get married here." Which is true, you can get married most places in Colorado and it will be pretty. But we hiked on. There were falls, steep slippery slopes and some fresh snow fall but we made it.

Miss girls signal that she needed a break.

The vows were sweet and to the point. Cody + Deb switched out their hand written vows they were holding for hand warmers to enjoy a few more moments on the frozen lake together.

Just because it was an elopement doesn't mean we didn't take some traditional ~family photos~. If you've worked with me in the past you know I offer to bring champagne to engagement and elopement sessions. Since we had an underage girlie with us I brought her a sparkling juice so she could participate in the bubbly spraying ceremony. LOOK HOW CUTE!

This day was so special to me. Thank you so much to this sweet family for inviting me into this special moment and to Kristin for joining me on this photography journey!



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