John & Kate: Upper Dewey Lake
All brides, grooms, bridesmaids, mothers of the bride, planners and photographers know, weddings can be stressful. There’s the list of do’s and don’ts: don’t forget to invite your great-uncle you’ve only met once, do order food for the vegetarians and pescatarians, don’t sit Uncle Raymond next to cousin Gladys, do make sure everyone can make the journey, don’t be late to the ceremony, do make sure to talk to every single person you invited in between dancing and eating, don’t offend anyone, and if you have a second, spend a few minutes alone with your new husband/wife. Just typing the list has me stressing.
But I see it all the time. Brides become so consumed with the party, they forget why they are really there – to celebrate a bond with their most favorite person. Instead, the day is spent stressing over details, schmoozing with guests, not eating the food you paid so much for and watching it all slip through your fingers without enjoying the special moments.
So when couples tell me they want to elope, I am all for it. Why not make it what it’s really about – your love for one another.
That’s just what John and Kate did on a snowy day in October.
I was flown to Upper Dewey Lake on a food, beer, and firewood filled helicopter. And I was greeted by a blanket of fog and snow- not the best conditions for photos. John and Kate joined me shortly thereafter, with dog, Kai, in tow. We trudged through the forest, cutting down dead trees for extra fire wood, cooked our dinner in camp stoves, and sipped on hard ciders and cold beer- a far cry from the stressful weddings I’ve become accustomed to.
As the sun dipped below the mountains, the fog cleared and a beautiful twilight surrounded us. Twilight turned to night and the Big Dipper rose over the cabin. We were joined by friend Andy, who would act as officiant, and his girlfriend Meagan. Together we cooked s’mores, told stories and huddled together for warmth before snuggling into the cabin for the night.
And then the big day was upon us.
Once breakfast and mimosas were served, I sent the boys to a second cabin further in the woods, while Meagan and I helped Kate get ready. Meanwhile, the weather was changing from foggy, to snowy to a thick mixture of both fog and snow. But we didn’t stress.
Because of the fog, the original ceremony location wasn’t going to work, so we found something else last minute, and it turned out to be a gem.
The snow started falling in thick white flakes and as the fog parted, John and Kate joined hands and said “I Do” on the most beautiful Oct. 1 I can remember. And I am so thankful to have been a part of it.
Enjoy these photos from their most special day, and remember this – in 20 years, you won’t remember the broken boutonniere or the stain on the flower girl’s dress. What you will remember is how your husband smiled as you walked down the aisle, and the way it felt when he slipped the ring onto your left hand. Don’t stress over the little things – just embrace the love.