| November 1, 2018

RangeFinder’s 30 Rising Stars in Wedding Photography features Maddie Mae & Amber Savorsky! | 2018

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Wow friends, this is big — today is a HUGE day for the world of elopements.

We are thrilled to announce that today we are the first elopement-only specialist photographers to have won Rangefinder’s 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography. 

To be named with the top wedding photographers from around the world feels absolutely surreal — especially for a team who unashamedly isn’t a fan of traditional weddings and has created a business that is set up as an alternative to everything the wedding industry stands for — we help couples adventure instead.

We have been elopement specialists for the last 3 years now, and been nominated and submitted to Rangefinder for the previous three years too, but weren’t successful. It’s been difficult at times to feel like lesser photographers — to be told what we’re doing is as difficult, diverse, artistic, as impactful, as meaningful to our couples, or as requiring of hard work and skill as photographers who shoot large, traditional weddings. Some people have viewed elopements as “frivolous photoshoots on mountaintops” — and don’t see the incredible, deep meaning that comes from documenting the whole story of a couple’s intimate wedding day. It’s felt at times that because we don’t ever shoot 20-person bridal parties, rows of farm tables with elaborate garlands, or big receptions with crazy dance parties — that the photos we are taking aren’t as important as other wedding photographers.

Today changes that.

Elopement photography is incredibly important. Couples who elope don’t have 100 guests with phones, documenting every moment. Having an elopement photographer document your day the only way to share the experience & story with your friends & family members — which is why we are passionate about being documentary elopement photographers. We believe the whole elopement day is deserving of being captured beautifully & artistically. To us, elopements aren’t just a quick ceremony and a few portraits. It’s standard for couples who have traditional weddings to have 8 – 12+ hours of coverage — so why don’t elopement deserve the same intentional documentation? (Spoiler alert — they do!) It’s your wedding day just like anyone else’s — and will be your anniversary for the rest of your life.

This honor by Rangefinder magazine is recognition that elopement weddings are just as artistically beautiful & important as traditional weddings. The type of weddings our heroic couples are choosing to have is just as valid of a way to get married as a huge event. We’ve fought for three years to prove elopements matter. We didn’t submit a single “wedding” image to this competition — and to have finally won is really amazing because it means the industry is changing.

Our couples are truly the heroes of this story.

When Maddie photographed her first elopement four years ago, it changed her life. It’s been our intention since then to work with couples who really believe their wedding mattered that much and how they got married mattered that much. To find couples who didn’t want to let their wedding be a default choice. They wanted to think critically about their decisions and make decisions that mattered to them. They don’t let other people’s expectations of them, tradition, or what is the norm affect what they decide to do on the day they commit their lives to each other. That matters. These couples are heroes. We firmly believe no one should dictate who you love or how you choose to get married — it’s your choice to make.

And how can you have a more intentional day than an elopement? Creating the most perfect day that represents your relationship, choosing to spend the entire day just the two of you, choosing to have an adventure and setting aside time to say vows that are exactly what you want to say, unaltered or impacted by anyone else’s opinions or judgements – that’s incredible. That’s heroic. It’s incredibly brave to make that choice and the only reason we exist is to help more couples make that choice. An elopement isn’t a cop out. It’s an intentional choice that you want your wedding to be private, intimate and truly about the two of you. To bring your wedding day back to what it means and what it’s actually for, to carve out space and time to commemorate how important the lifelong commitment you are making to each other is, matters. 

Below is our submission, the 30 images we feel showcase what it means to have a destination adventure elopement the best. You won’t see bridesmaids or groomsmen, venues, table decor and centerpieces, DJ’s or dancing in any of the photos in our submission. What you will see are real true moments that tell the stories of the wedding days for our incredible couples from start to finish. These photos required getting up at midnight or 1 am to get to a trailhead by 2 am. They required hiking ten miles at 3,000 feet elevation, carrying a packraft, and a drone. They required couples packing up their wedding clothes, putting their bouquets in a backpack, and carrying them up a mountain to say their vows. That’s how much our couples believe their relationships matter — that where they say their vows matters. That’s how much we believe in them and their choice. To see that celebrated and be listed among this list of truly talented artists from all over the world is incredibly validating and exciting.

Being named the top wedding photographers in the world this year means the brave choice our couples are making to elope is a valid choice. We’re so thrilled about this announcement and what it means for the wedding industry. More than that, we’re excited for what it means for couples who have been worried about if eloping is just as special, meaningful or artistic as a traditional wedding. These couples overcome astronomical challenges and take a huge risk to have a wedding day that is truly about them. We celebrate our clients today and we celebrate elopements. We’ll continue to lift elopements and fight for their recognition that elopements are just as important, just as valid, and just as beautiful as traditional wedding days.

Your wedding is not a default. Your choice matters. ELOPE!

Bride and groom hold hands and climb up a grassy hill covered in yellow wildflowers. They are wearing wedding attire and there are mountains in the background.
Bride and groom driving in a Jeep on their elopement day. They are wearing wedding attire.
Bride and groom paddle boarding on a lake on their elopement day.
Groom lifts up bride in a grassy meadow and they are both laughing.
Bride and groom with their dog in the dark, surrounded by stars, on their elopement day. They are both wearing headlamps and hiking gear.
Bride and groom share an emotional first look on their elopement day. The bride is wearing a white dress, holding a bouquet, and wearing a matching flower crown. The groom is wearing a grey suit.
Groom jumping in the air above a dog, while holding the bride's bouquet. There are mountains in the background.
Groom holds bride and she has her arms and legs wrapped around him.
Groom standing on the top of a mountain. He is wearing a black suit.
Bride walking in a grassy meadow, wearing a white dress, flower crown, and holding a bouquet.
Bride and groom holding onto each other's shoulders and smiling on their elopement day.
Bride and groom with a man and woman on either side of them during an intimate elopement ceremony in a forest.
Bride and groom standing on an island in a blue alpine lake, surrounded by mountains.
Bride and groom sitting in the back of a Jeep, with their arms linked, eating  pastries. They are both smiling and wearing wedding attire.
Close-up of a bride writing her vows in a notebook. There is a diamond ring on her ring finger.
Bride helps groom put on his bowtie on their elopement day. They are both smiling, wearing wedding attire, and standing in front of a lake.
Young girl wearing a white dress, fur shawl, flower crown, and carrying a basket. There are flower petals creating a path in front of her, and snow-capped mountains in the background.
Two brides lean in for a kiss on their elopement day in the mountains. They are wearing hiking gear, and one has a bouquet sticking out of her backpack.
Bride and groom holding hands and running through a grassy meadow on their elopement day. There are snow-capped mountains in the background.
Bride walks arm in arm with her father on her elopement day. She is wearing a white dress, holding a bouquet with pink and purple flowers and has a matching flower crown.
Bride holding a flower crown on her lap. She is wearing a long dress and her hair is curled.
Groom puts on a purple tie and looks out of a window on his elopement day.
Bride and groom pop champagne on their elopement day and are both smiling.
Bride and groom embrace while standing on a top of a mossy green canyon on their elopement day.
Bride wipes away tear during intimate elopement ceremony. Her long hair is flowing in the wind behind her, and the groom is facing her.
Bride approaches groom on a snowy peninsula, in a lake. There are tree covered mountains in the background and the sky is foggy.
Two brides hug while standing on coastal rocks, on their elopement day.
Bride and groom reach their arms out towards each other.

A huge congrats to all of the other incredible winners this year that we are honored to be named among! Check out the whole list of 2018 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography here on Rangefinder Magazine’s website.

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Maddie Mae

Elopement Photographer

& Planning Consultant

Three photographers

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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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