Vail, Colorado and Our Elopement

What if I told you that before this, I had only seen mountains once in my life? 
I know. I’m 25 years old and I’ve basically never been anywhere. I’ve lived in Missouri my entire life, and the only trips I’d ever really taken was to Branson. I mean, there was a mission trip to Jamaica with my church in high school. We did get to take a beach day on the last day of the trip. And my best friend took me to Florida with her family when I was 18. But other than that, I’d never even seen the ocean until adulthood! Not to worry, all that is changing now. Because, I’m making sure it does. You see, for a while now, I’ve heard of this sickness – the “travel bug.” I figured I knew what it was, but I hadn’t ever been bitten. Or so I thought.

In the 6th grade, my grandmother took a trip to Colorado Springs, and invited me to go with her. It was a business trip, so we didn’t do too much site seeing. But we did at least do a quick stop at the Garden of the Gods. Even at 11 years old, I had such an appreciation for my 20 minutes in the Garden of the Gods, and I spend the next 14 years dreaming of going back to Colorado once again.

My husband is in the military. We started planning wedding things, but setting a date became impossible with all of his unknown trainings. I bought a dress and looked at so many venues, but in the end, we eloped in our church with our immediate families present. Then we spent a night at a local hotel and a few days later he was off to duty again. We never had a big wedding, or a honeymoon. We dreamed of renewing our vows and having a big celebration, but life just got in the way. Last year we took a trip to the Dominican Republic when I got the opportunity to photograph a wedding there. I dragged him along and we decided we’d call it an official “honeymoon.” 

This year we took a trip to Colorado. We hired a photographer, wrote our own vows, and my honey finally got to see me in my wedding dress. As it often happens when traveling, NOTHING went as planned. On our drive in to our Airbnb it began snowing like CRAZY! We were only 30 miles out, and it took us 2 hours to get there. All of the hiking trails were closed down. We stayed in Vail hoping to make the drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park, but it snowed so hard every single morning. We were snowed in, and we weren’t going anywhere. And yet, we had the time of our lives!

Our photographer, Shelby, was so awesome. She did an in home shoot with us at our Airbnb, and they’re some of my favorite photos ever! Then she hung around until the snow melted enough for us to step out of our Airbnb and have a first look. We’d been waiting for this moment for 6 years. 

Then we decided to brave the snow on one of the only trails we could find that was open, and hike up a little farther! And we found the perfect spot to exchange our vows. These two trees had fallen and made the perfect little arch! I’m not going to lie you guys, I felt God spoke to me in that moment saying these are for you. This moment was so special to me you guys. My husband wrote the most beautiful vows, and they just blew me away. If you are debating on writing your own vows or not, please consider. My husband is NOT word savvy. His handwriting is literal chicken scratch. (Bless his heart.) But his vows were so beautiful, and I will cherish them forever!

Even with all the unexpected snow, I can honestly say that destination elopements are still the way to go!

I wish we would have done it in the first place! Because destination elopements are so flexible! We could have invited our families. We could have brought a party back to our Airbnb. Even with the snow! But I loved it just the two of us. It was so romantic. Then we got to snuggle up in our Airbnb next to the awesome fireplace, and listen to the river right outside the sliding glass door. I’d be lying if I said we haven’t talked about moving to Colorado like a million times since. I can assure you, there will be many more trips to Colorado in our future.

But for now, here’s some more photos from our Airbnb shoot, and all of our other adventures!

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