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Alicia & Zach

It was still dark when I arrived at the cabin Alicia and Zach had rented near downtown Estes Park for their elopement in Rocky Mountain National Park. When they finished getting ready in separate rooms, we started our drive to the top of Trail Ridge Road, where they were going to have their first look.

Alicia and Zach had never been to Trail Ridge Road; they saved that first awe inspiring look for the day of their wedding. As we drove, Zach was so inspired by the height of the cliffs on the side of the road and no guardrail. We made it to the top just as the sun was starting to rise and the most perfect light was bathing the mountainside. They saw each other for the first time in, as Alicia and Zach put it, the most beautiful place they’d ever seen.

As we explored the mountain top together, the fog and clouds and one of the most incredible cloud inversions I’ve ever seen rolled into the valley below. Cloud inversions occur at high altitudes where you’re literally above the clouds. They make for some of the most magical photos and Alicia and Zach looked like they were on top of the world as the clouds hugged the valley. Every time I look up during a really cloudy, moody, grey day, I imagine what it’s like above the clouds at a high elevation like Trail Ridge Road. Even if it looks grey down here, at high elevation it’s sunny and beautiful. It’s a change in perspective and that’s why I love elopements on top of Trail Ridge Road. High elevations have a top of the world environment that changes your perspective and it’s an incredible thing to experience with couples on their wedding day.

I think a huge reason couples elope at national parks or in scenic wilderness areas like Trail Ridge Road is to be not only connected to each other but also to feel connected to nature. They want to experience something awe inspiring and be in places that make them feel small. I also firmly believe more couples should do something new together on their wedding day. Alicia and Zach faced the cold, the elevation and the slippery rocks together. It was amazing to see them have this new experience together. To have a totally new adventure together and have no expectations about it creates such a lasting memory.

Once we finished Alicia and Zach’s couple portraits, we drove back down through the clouds to meet their families at 3M Curve inside Rocky Mountain National Park for their ceremony. The drive was low visibility and foggy but very magical. Just six family members met us there and Alicia and Zach had a beautifully heartfelt and intimate ceremony. When the people closest to a couple also get to be a part of their wedding day, the emotions and love runs very high. It’s inspiring to be in the presence of that and it was clear that everyone surrounding Alicia and Zach wanted them to have the best possible day.

Alicia’s mom gave a beautiful heartfelt toast of Italian food at their cabin. Their first dance was on the balcony of the cabin with the most amazing views of the mountains. We got very lucky with the weather that day; it only rained when we got inside. Not a drop of rain on them. Alicia and Zach are some of the most kind, generous and loving people and it was an honor to be a part of their day.

 Wedding details for the bride and groom for an intimate elopement ceremony in Rocky Mountain National Park, outside Estes Park, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 It was still dark outside when Alicia and Zach were getting ready for their intimate elopement ceremony in Rocky Mountain National Park. The bride’s dress hangs near her bouquet inside their cabin in Estes Park, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Alicia, the bride, gets ready in her cabin before her intimate elopement ceremony in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Alicia and Zach did their first look for their intimate adventure elopement wedding ceremony at the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Standing on a rocky cliff at the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, Alicia taps Zach on the shoulder for their first look before their intimate elopement ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Alicia’s bridal gown blows in the wind at the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park during her first look. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Alicia and Zach embrace at the top of Trail Ridge Road for their first look before their intimate elopement ceremony in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 With her bouquet beside them, Alicia and Zach embrace during their first look before their elopement ceremony at ‘the most beautiful place they’d ever seen’ Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Alicia and Zach share a sweet kiss at the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park before their elopement ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 With the snow capped Rocky Mountains behind them, Alicia and Zach embrace at the top of Trail Ridge Road for their first look ahead of their elopement ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 The snow capped Rockies behind them, Alicia and Zach embrace standing on top of the rocks at Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park for their first look before their elopement ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Alicia and Zach walk through the meadows at Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park as the clouds roll in and create impressive cloud inversion behind them. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 The clouds roll in for an impressive display of cloud inversion at high altitude during Alicia and Zach’s couples portraits before their intimate elopement ceremony at Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 The clouds roll through the valley while Alicia and Zach walk through Trail Ridge Road during their first look before their elopement ceremony in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Alicia and Zach embrace while the clouds show off an impressive display of cloud inversion during their first look at Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Alicia and Zach embrace at the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park with an impressive display of cloud inversion behind them. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Bridal bouquet for an intimate elopement ceremony at Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Alicia and Zach embrace at the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park during couple’s portraits before their elopement ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Alicia and Zach walk through the top of Trail Ridge Road for their adventurous couple’s portraits in Rocky Mountain National Park before their intimate elopement. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Surrounded by close friends and family, Zach waits for his bride to walk down the aisle for their intimate elopement ceremony inside Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Alicia walks down the aisle towards close family and friends for her intimate elopement ceremony inside Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Alicia and Zach bow their heads in prayer led by their officiant during their intimate elopement ceremony in Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Tears fell and emotions were palpable at Alicia and Zach’s intimate elopement ceremony at Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, Alicia and Zach chose to elope at Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 A tearful and emotional moment during Alicia and Zach’s intimate elopement ceremony at Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Zach places the wedding band on Alicia’s finger during their intimate elopement ceremony at Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Alicia and Zach have their first kiss as husband and wife during their intimate elopement ceremony at Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Alicia’s bridal bouquet rests next to the wedding cake that mimics the Rocky Mountains plentiful aspen trees following their elopement ceremony at Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Friends and family toast to Alicia and Zach at a cabin in Estes Park following their intimate elopement ceremony at Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Alicia and Zach share their first dance as a married couple surrounded by family and friends at a cabin in Estes Park after their Rocky Mountain National Park elopement. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Alicia and Zach spray champagne to celebrate their intimate elopement ceremony at Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
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We're Maddie Mae, Amber, & Tori. We are adventurous elopement photographers & guides based in Colorado that travel worldwide to help fearless couples like you create your unforgettable, wildly different wedding experience—that is completely yours.

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