Lauren + Mike
Lauren and Mike met at the University of Buffalo where they both work in sports medicine, Lauren with volleyball players and Mike with wrestlers. After three years together, they got engaged while on a hike at Lake Tahoe. Toward the beginning of the hike, they passed a gorgeous waterfall, and Mike decided that it would be the perfect place to propose. And it’s a good thing he did, because shortly after the proposal, they got lost and ended up on a completely different trail. What was meant to be a short hike, quickly became a long hike. But fortunately, the giddiness of the proposal made it not seem so bad!
From the start, Lauren and Mike knew they wanted to have a small wedding. The idea of being the center of attention and having hundreds of eyes on them made them uncomfortable. Lauren dreamed of a winter wedding in the snowy mountains. She had grown up visiting Colorado a lot as a child and an adult, so it was a pretty easy choice to come to Colorado for their wedding.
They invited 21 family members to travel up into the Colorado mountains with them for their elopement, and rented a large cabin that could accommodate everyone for the weekend. Before the wedding, many of their family members had never met before, so it was a great way for everyone to get to know each other. We know we say this all the time, but one of our favorite parts of being elopement photographers + videographers is getting to see the love and support that surrounds our couples.
In the months leading up to Lauren and Mike’s wedding, we took three trips up to Winter Park, where their cabin was located. We created a map with nearby ceremony ideas as well as ideas for their post-ceremony hike. Lauren and Mike narrowed the ceremony sites down to two options. One if the weather was good, and one if the weather was bad. The only problem was that none of us could have anticipated just how much snow the Colorado mountains would get in the week leading up to their wedding. Both of their ceremony sites were covered in deep (but soft) snow, making it impossible to access without falling hip-deep through the snow. We needed a Plan C. Luckily, Lauren already had her eye on a small balcony off to one side of the house that was surrounded by aspen trees.
On the morning of the elopement, we brought our copper arch and set it up in the corner of the balcony. Lauren’s aunt did a beautiful job of decorating it with flowers and branches. Lauren’s cousin, Kathryn, officiated their ceremony and it was so beautiful! Emotions were high and everyone was wiping tears from their eyes! After the ceremony, everyone exchanged big hugs and then all of their guests celebrated by tossing flower petals in the air.
We also had to think fast with their post-ceremony hike. Lauren and Mike fell in love with a nearby lake with mountain views, but when we drove up to Winter Park the day before the wedding we found that the trail wasn’t going to be very hikable. We parked our Jeep and as we made our way down the trail, it was impossible to take more than a couple steps before sinking down into the snow. We needed snowshoes if we were going to do the hike. None of us had ever snowshoed before (unless you count the time Lauren snowshoed in gym class), but we were all up for the challenge!
So, the next day we rented snowshoes and headed to the trailhead. We were pleasantly surprised with how little time it took us to get used to walking in the snowshoes. Lauren and Mike decided to do the hike in normal clothes and then change back into their wedding clothes once we arrived at the lake. This ended up being a good decision because the snowshoes flick snow up onto the back of your legs whenever you take a step, which doesn’t bode well for a wedding dress and dress pants.
When we made it to the lake, they changed their clothes in the shallow snow under a tree. Luckily, we were the only people around for miles, so they didn’t have to worry too much about someone seeing them. We hiked around part of the lake and played in the snow before it was time to hike back to the trailhead.
When we arrived back at the cabin, Lauren and Mike’s families greeted them with cheers and champagne. Then, everyone gathered in the living room in front of the fireplace for first dances and toasts. They capped off the wedding night with a home cooked meal of spaghetti and meatballs.
The day may not have been what Lauren and Mike expected, but everything surely seemed to turn out the way it was meant to be!
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We're Lisa + Alex, the goofballs behind Vow of the Wild. We live in the beautiful state of Colorado, but we are passionate about traveling to new places and meeting new people along the way. We are lucky enough to have what we consider to be the best job in the world (other than a professional dog petter). We get to create films and photos for adventurous Colorado Elopements and adventurous Destination Elopements across the globe! Feel free to reach out to us, we'd love to meet you!