| March 5, 2019

Epic Off-Road Mountain Wedding

Colorado Adventure Elopement

Brian + Ernie

Ouray, Colorado

Brian and Ernie knew almost immediately where they were going to elope.

Like a lot of couples who choose adventure elopements, they knew they wanted something beautiful. They knew they wanted something intimate. And they knew they wanted something uniquely and perfectly them.

The location almost instantly came to mind.

Ouray, Colorado.

Brian and Ernie — both from Florida — had spent summer after summer working together in Ouray. They knew that it was the perfect spot to pledge their lives to each other (it was where they’d gotten engaged, after all), and even better, they knew the perfect time of year to do it.

Golden Colorado Fall.

(As a side note: If you’ve never seen a Colorado Fall, you’re about to witness a seasonal sensation unlike anything you’ve ever laid your eyes on. Everything is a striking shade of either gold, yellow, orange, or red).

When I arrived at their cabin in downtown Ouray on their elopement day, all of their unique details were already laid out.

The peacock feather bow ties.

The watches.

The beautiful black diamond cuff links.

One step inside their crooked, adorable cabin and I knew right away — these two were more than ready for their unique, just us day.

As an elopement photographer who’s captured so many couples during their small intimate weddings, I have to say, seeing couples so in the moment and so ready to step into their new, enormous adventure together never gets old.   

Brian and Ernie chose to get ready together inside their cabin, and after a few final adjustments — helping with a cuff link here, adjusting a bow tie there — they were ready to begin their adventurous day.

We climbed in the car and took off to a beautiful lake where the aspens were at their peak. We hopped out and Brian and Ernie spent time enjoying the landscape, basking in the golden glow of Fall, and honestly, just having a blast playing in the Aspen grove together.

But that was just the beginning of their adventurous day.

When Brian and Ernie were planning their small wedding, they both wanted something beautiful, meaningful, and intimate for their elopement day. But they also wanted a dose of rugged adventure, too.

That’s where the side-by-sides came in.

Brian and Ernie rented a UTV so they could zoom around some of the off-road trails in Ouray and, most importantly, zip up to the special spot where they got engaged — their intimate location choice for their ceremony.

They both wanted to include immediate family in their elopement ceremony, but they also wanted to ensure they had plenty of privacy for their own intimate moments. Before their guests arrived at the ceremony spot, Brian and Ernie stepped out to the edge of a jaw-dropping cliff by themselves, took each other’s hands, and said their private vows alone.

Then came the rest of the party, zooming up the mountain in their own off-road vehicles.

Their godson — only 9 months old — was their ring bearer and their tiny niece was their flower girl. As for an officiant, Brian and Ernie had told their family they were flying someone in to marry them during their ceremony.

That wasn’t exactly the truth. That’s where I came in.

I jumped up, handed out scripts to every member of the (very surprised) family, and informed them of something so unique and special—they’d be the officiants marrying Brian and Ernie.

The couple had typed up blurbs for each of the family members to say so that they could be the ones marrying the couple. There was lots of laughter, but most of all, total excitement. It was such a meaningful way to include family members in their elopement, and it meant the world to the people who were there.

Once the ceremony in their epic location was over, Brian and Ernie went for the traditional pop the champagne ritual — but, in total Brian and Ernie fashion, they put their own fun spin on it.

Ernie whipped out a Samurai sword — you heard me, an actual Samurai sword — and cut the champagne cork clean off. We took a moment to toast the couple.  We toasted to them and the life they’d build together. We toasted to their adventurous day they were brave enough to create. We toasted to their most epic adventures yet.

Everyone climbed back into their off-road vehicles and zipped back to the crooked cabin in downtown Ouray. We spent the night drinking wine, mingling, and exploring little caves (while getting covered in cobwebs).

Brian and Ernie’s day was a lot of different thing things.

It was laid-back. It was gorgeous. It was adventurous.

But above all, it was entirely about them and wholly unique to who they are.

To us, that’s what eloping is all about in the first place.

It’s about standing next to the person you’re pledging your life to and knowing that in that moment — in that intimate, beautiful moment that you hand-selected and made entirely yours — you’re exactly where you want to be with exactly who you belong with.  


THINKING ABOUT HAVING YOUR OWN ADVENTUROUS

OFF-ROAD WEDDING?

Hey there! We’re Maddie Mae, Amber, & Tori, elopement photographers & guides who are based in Colorado and Washington. We would love the chance to talk with you about helping you craft your dream elopement. Not only will we help to document your intimate, meaningful elopement experience in a laid-back and exciting way, but we’re also able to help you pinpoint the greatest vendors, the dreamiest locations, and more! We can’t wait to connect with you.

DON’T LET THE WEDDING INDUSTRY DICTATE HOW YOU PLAN YOUR EPIC DAY.

LET US HELP YOU CRAFT YOUR IDEAL DAY THAT’S PERFECT FOR YOU.

Get in touch with us and let us guide you.

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Maddie Mae

Elopement Photographer

& Planning Consultant

Three photographers

About us

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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