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DONA & MALISA
I am thoroughly convinced that Colorado is the best place in the U.S. to elope. Besides having some of the most gorgeous mountain views in the world, and over 300 days of sunshine a year, Colorado is one of just 4 places in the U.S. where you can “self-solemnize” or get legally married without an officiant or any witnesses. In Colorado, you can “marry yourselves” or “self-officiated,” or “self-perform” your own marriage by signing both of your names on the officiant line of your marriage license.
Self-solemnizing gives each couple the ultimate freedom to celebrate their commitment in whatever way they see fit for their ceremony, and keep their day as absolutely intimate and private as possible.
Dona & Malisa had one of the most heartfelt self-solemnizing ceremonies I’ve ever seen. We started the day driving up a remote mountain pass in the early hours before sunrise. When we got to the top, we hiked up to the location they wanted to say their vows, and they parted ways for a bit to put on their wedding dresses as a surprise for each other (they hadn’t yet seen what each other was going to wear). Just as the sun rose over the gorgeous peaks, Dona & Malisa saw each other for the first time in their wedding gear for an emotional “first look.” It was an absolutely incredible moment and the emotion continued as they immediately started reading their personal vows. After many tearful moments, and they had exchanged rings, Dona had a special surprise for Malisa. She had secretly collected hand-written letters of support & love from Malisa’s family members, and brought them to read on their wedding day.
I can’t think of a ceremony that made me tear up more behind my camera — these two were absolutely made for each other, and I could not feel more lucky to have gotten to capture their day. These two spent hours cuddling and frolicking around the mountain top in their gorgeous dresses — I thought they looked like “mountain mermaids.”
Maddie Mae is a Colorado elopement photographer specializing in adventure weddings and intimate elopements for fearless couples worldwide. If you are considering planning a dreamy Colorado elopement, get in touch to receive location ideas, planning advice, and all the tips & tricks to make your adventurous elopement uniquely you.