BRANDIN + BRITTANY'S MAROON BELLS DESTINATION ELOPEMENT
COLORADO ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER
Brittany and I originally connected on one of my favorite facebook groups - Girls Love Travel. Brittany and her fiance Brandin were trying to plan a destination elopement in Aspen, Colorado. They had their hearts set on one of my very favorite locations, Maroon Bells Amphitheater for their intimate ceremony. We talked for months before hand and then the time came for Brandin, Brittany and their immediate families to travel out to Colorado from Illinois. Their wedding day was a gorgeous sunny day, the wildflowers were in bloom and it actually wasn't too busy for July! I am so glad I was the photographer Brittany and Brandin had their hearts set on, it was so much fun to do a wedding for a fellow GLT'er!
Not a lot of people can say they got ready for their wedding in a forestry bathroom stall. It was dark, pretty much a bunker under the rock, but the perfect place for Brittany to get dressed.
HOW WE MET (told by the bride) We met September 2009: There was this guy I went to school with that asked me out on a date randomly one day. Our entire relationship had been very platonic up to this point, but I decided he was pretty cute so why not, right? He picked me up, and we went hiking at a local state park. It was pretty awkward but first dates usually are. After the date, we decided we didn't get to spend much time talking so he asked me if I wanted to go park at the library and talk and I agreed (this is what kids in my small Illinois hometown did for fun by the way). While we were talking, we ran into another guy we went to school with and we got out of the car to say hi. Our mutual friend had another guy with him as well, whom I had never met. The stranger introduced himself, Brandin. We talked for a moment and went our seperate ways. I got home from my awkward first date and signed into my computer, and I had a friend request from Brandin. We started talking a little. And then a lot. And then he was my best friend. And then we were in love.
THE PROPOSAL (told by the bride)
Brandin proposed June 2018: Flash forward almost 9 years to our engagement. We don't have a very sentimental or extravagant engagement story, it was just time. We had always talked about marriage but had so many dreams that we thought were priority at the time. At some point we had a conversation and agreed it was time to make marriage our priority. We were looking at houses to buy, we both had a good idea of where we were in our careers and where they were going, we were in the best spot we had ever been in financially, and in our relationship. Year after year, things have always seemed to only get better in our relationship. I would have married him after a year together. But after two years, I was REALLY sure. And after three years, I couldn't believe I thought I was ready at two years but now I was definitely ready and this has continued ever year. We got together so young, so we really grew up together. We have grown into people we are proud to be, we have built a relationship that we are so thankful for, and a life better than we ever imagined. Getting married was our final step, and we were so ready. Brandin asked me to marry him in our bedroom the day we found out our offer was accepted and we were going to be homeowners. I don't remember what he said or how he asked exactly. I just started crying and covered my face with both hands. After a minute, Brandin said "are you happy?" I nodded that I was. He asked "are you sure...because you look really sad?" We laughed, hugged, and kissed. And I think I spent the rest of the day staring at my ring.
THE WEDDING DAY
(told by the bride)
We were married July 2019: I have always said "I'm a better person when I'm in the mountains" and it's where I'd spend all of my days if all of my family and my career weren't in Illinois. So, it was the obvious ceremony setting. Maroon Bells is my second favorite mountain destination in the world, second to Garmisch, Germany. Brandin isn't keen on flying so we chose the 18 hour drive to Aspen! Planning our wedding has been, so far, the most exciting time in my life. Not only was I getting to marry the most incredible man I have ever known, my first love, and best friend. But I was also getting to share my second love, travel, with all of the most important people in my life. Aside from our wedding - we spent time fishing, getting nails done, hiking, star gazing, having fires, talking, cooking, enjoying nature, white water rafting, going to dinner, shopping, exploring the Rockies, and just all around enjoying our time together with both of our families, as one. It was the most quality time I've spent doing anything in my life. The day of our wedding leading up to our ceremony is a major blur. Poor planning is the name of the game. We decided to get our marriage certificate in Colorado as our work schedules coincide with court house hours. We left for Colorado on Friday after work and our wedding was Monday. So, we had to get our marriage certificate 3 hours before our ceremony...over an hour away from our ceremony location. Getting ready was rushed to say the least, the drive there was quite stressful, and I was finishing my vows the entire drive. We arrived and met Callie in the parking lot, she told us the guys were in position and ready to go. Major sigh of relief. We were pretty late at this point, I changed into my dress in a restroom. My youngest brother officiated, and I cried through almost the entire ceremony. We paused at one point because my eyelash came unglued, and during his speech my brother declared that I would be "the best husband" to Brandin. Brandin paused at some point while reading his vows because he couldn't read his own handwriting, the rest of us laughed. There were so, so many things that didn't go as planned but it genuinely didn't matter. As imperfect as it was by definition, it really was the best day of my life and so much more than I ever could have asked for. I didn't need a perfect wedding because I was getting a perfect husband. Perfect for me, and perfect to me. More than I deserve, and more than I could have even dreamed of.