| January 25, 2018

Self-Solemnizing Elopement in Yankee Boy Basin, Ouray Colorado

Jen & Dan

Elopements have changed a lot in the past few years — and in the absolute best way possible. No longer do the majority of people see elopements as last-minute, unapproved, tacky events in Vegas. Couples all over the world are intentionally choosing to have incredibly meaningful, thoughtful, intimate wedding days that truly reflect who they are. 

From the first conversation I had with Jen & Dan, I knew they would have the most incredible elopement day — both of them are such passionate & intentional people — and it was so natural for their elopement to be the same. After getting to know them, I sent my favorite spots in Colorado that would fit the vision for exactly what they were imagining for their elopement — and they settled on the gorgeous are of Yankee Boy Basin in Ouray, CO. The San Juan mountains are my absolute favorite in the whole state — towering high above the little mountain towns — much like the Alps. Ouray is actually called “The Switzerland of America” and having been to the Swiss Alps earlier this year, I can attest that it has a similarly epic vibe. 

We hiked up to a waterfall they found and scrambled up its rocky face so they could get married directly above it — with the stunning mountain peaks in the background. Only the sounds of the waterfall cascading below, they tearfully said their vows to each other during their self-solemnizing ceremony. Colorado is just one of 4 places in the country that a couple can get legally married without an officiant or any witnesses. Read more about self-solemnizing elopements here.

After their incredibly emotional ceremony which left us all in tears — we explored around the basin, enjoying the fall colors and an incredible picnic basket created by a private gourmet Chef who I connected Jen & Dan with to make their elopement absolutely epic in the food department. Afterward, we headed back to their AirBnB, where Chef L Kent created the most spectacular meal and food experience I have ever encountered as a photographer. There was fire, liquid nitrogen (sometimes at the same time) — ingredients from all over the world — specifically picked for Jen & Dan’s pallets & needs. 

It’s super important to stay fueled & sustained during your wedding — especially if there’s hiking involved — but this experience was SO many million miles better than the normal granola bars & trail mix I’m used to as an adventure elopement photographer. It was almost like watching a magic show — that you got to eat at the end.  I love when couples go all-out for their elopement day, and choose to make it truly unforgettable. If there are any foodies out there, wondering how to make your elopement day incredible — hire an incredible private world-class chef like L Kent.

The scenery, the emotion, the mind-blowing food — Jen & Dan’s elopement will go down as one of my favorites. Elopements are the best way to get married and deserve to be made unforgettable — and honored as the important day that they are. 

Get in touch with me if you’d like to chat about your own dream elopement. I’d love to help you make something awesome. 

Private Chef: L Kent with ZCatering

Profile Pic

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.

Free guide

Get your free guide

To elopement planning