| April 21, 2021

Crested Butte Elopement

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Kali and Jeffrey’s elopement in Crested Butte, Colorado occurred at the height of autumn color in one of the thickest aspen groves I’ve ever seen—the bright golden leaves created a stunning backdrop to their sweet ceremony with family.

If you’re at all familiar with Colorado’s aspen trees, you know there’s no way to guess what date will be “peak season.” The subtlest changes from fire season, drought, and early frosts can affect whether there even is a moment of deep color! Luckily for Kali and Jeffrey, their early October date turned out to be absolutely perfect for catching the famous fall colors.

An Intimate Wedding Ceremony with Family

We began the day at their cute Airbnb rental—there was a quaint courtyard attached to the building where they had set up tables and chairs for a dinner that evening with family. I wandered around the property taking some detail photos—the blue table cloth, the faux fur coats hanging on the backs of the chairs, and of course portraits of their dogs!

Kali was getting her hair and makeup done when I arrived, and I took photos of her mom helping her into the gorgeous sparkly dress wedding dress she’d chosen. Jeffrey was getting ready elsewhere, but met up with us at the Airbnb when he was all ready, so they could begin the day with a first look in the courtyard outside.

As with all first looks, it was sweet and emotional! They did it privately while their family members waited inside, but I noticed that their parents snuck a peek out the window with smiles on their faces. I love getting to witness the support and endearing love of family members on elopement days—it’s even more special because there are only a few people present, so everyone has the chance to enjoy quality time together without catering to hundreds of guests.

After the first look, we got into our cars and headed out to the ceremony site. Keli and Jeffrey had gone days earlier to scope out a spot for their ceremony—they chose a dispersed camping site along a mountain pass that was absolutely covered in aspen trees! Honestly, I don’t think I can name another mountain pass anywhere in Colorado with so many golden branches, and the height of autumn color turned this elopement into a magical experience.

For the ceremony, Kali’s dad walked her down the “aisle”—a tradition that can be included even when you’re off the beaten path in the wilderness! Alongside their immediate family members and their dogs, Kali’s brother led the ceremony. It was a really sweet, kind ceremony—there were laughs, and probably a few happy tears from everyone present! Brilliant yellow leaves covered the ground around us, and at one point we all started laughing because the dogs were entertaining themselves chewing on some sticks in the background. Kali and Jeffrey exchanged vows and rings, then high-fived their family as they walked by!

Sunset Wedding Portraits in the Mountains

After the ceremony, we walked to a nearby spot to get some photos of the whole family together. Where they had said their vows we were deep in the aspen trees, but this new spot for portraits also had a view of the nearby mountains. I had such a great time with this couple and their family—their whole day was special, and they were all super sweet to each other! 

Kali and Jeffrey’s family headed back to the Airbnb rental while we headed a little farther up the mountain to explore. We drove farther up the pass to a trailhead, but didn’t go all the way to the top—we just hiked far enough to get above the treeline and witness a different perspective. At one point we found a beaver dam, but no sign of the residents. The weather was absolutely perfect—not too cold, but the heat of summer had definitely passed. 

We wandered back down the trail and stopped on the shores of a nearby lake for portraits with alpenglow on the nearby mountains. At this point we parted ways, but Kali and Jeffrey went back to their Airbnb to spend the evening with their family. They had a dinner planned, and the whole set up was going to be gorgeous!

If you’re interested in planning your own Crested Butte or Colorado elopement, please check out our list of the Best Places to Elope in Colorado.

Or, if you’re ready to start planning, reach out! We’d be honored to help you craft your perfect wedding, whether it’s in Colorado or anywhere in the world!

Maddie Mae

Elopement Photographer

& Planning Consultant

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Adventure Instead

Your Elopement Photographers & Planning Consultants. We are Maddie Mae, Amber, and Tori. We're your photographers, your elopement consultants, your cheerleaders, and your go-to adventure buddy on the day you say your vows.

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