14 March, 2022 SNOWY QUEER ELOPEMENT ASPEN
When I dream of perfect elopements, I think of a couple scenes. One is in the desert, and one is smack dab in the middle of the mountains surrounded by the tallest trees with thick snowflakes that get stuck on my eyelashes. In 2014, Angel and Monica got married in Arizona and made all of my queer desert elopement dreams come true, and Natalie & Deidre got married in Jackson Hole, WY back in 2017. It’s the first time I had shot waist deep in snow. You can imagine how thrilled I was in December when Kate & Lauren invited me to adventure with them to Aspen, CO. Little did we know on their wedding day we would get the most magical snow. Safe to say more of my snowy queer elopement dreams are right here in this blog post for your viewing pleasure.
I hope you feel like you were there with us and that it makes your tiny heart happy like it did mine. I always cherish those moments leading up to the big day… the meeting for the first time in the airport, the 4 hour road trip conversations and playlists, exploring favorite spots in town with you. It feels REAL. Deeper. There are just some memories you can’t make together during a quick 8 hour wedding, and I am always thankful when couples book the weekend package with me so we get TIME. Time is valuable, and allowing space for those connections and conversations really fuels me. Meet Kate and Lauren…
WHERE DO YOU TWO LIVE?
We live in Denver, Colorado. We have three doggies which we spend most of our time wrangling and herding while enjoying all the cuddles and walks. We enjoy hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, craft beer, and all of the wonderfully typical Colorado things. Lauren has a private practice in Denver and I work for a nonprofit based in LA and we both are very passionate in our chosen professions. We also spend a good amount of time with my two brothers who have moved to Denver and with our close friends.
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU REMEMBER ABOUT THE OTHER?
I remember being immensely attracted to and simultaneously frightened by Lauren’s demeanor (arms crossed, looking pissed off, stupid hot). We met at an LGBTQ event in Denver that happens monthly.
HOW DID THE PROPOSAL GO DOWN?
Month 3 of Covid lockdown rolled around, and Lauren told me she wanted to plan a surprise hike as a treat for me, as I typically was the hike planner in the relationship and we had recently found out most of our summer plans would be canceled due to COVID including a Taylor Swift concert which had basically broken my heart. The morning of the hike came and she put on makeup (saying it was because we hadn’t left the house and she wanted to look nice, knowing I would also follow suite) – she also had a backpack packed with everything she said we would need. I seriously had no clue, I just pointed out how thorough and prepared she seemed. We got to the hike, which was a front range hike in Colorado (because everything else was closed due to COVID). I typically avoided front range hikes because Lauren is deathly afraid of snakes, and they chose to hang around those ones, but chose to keep that information to myself as she seemed nervous and excited for her planned day. But sure as shit, ten steps in, we see a black snake slither across the path. Lauren cartoon jumped into my arms and I suggested we head home, noting it won’t be the last snake we see, but she insisted that we continue on. During the hike, I (as I tend to do) veered off trail to which Lauren kept redirecting me towards certain views and directions. At one point, she called me Magellan, noting my exploratory ways; to which I (seriously) jokingly asked if she was planning on proposing due to her “stay on the path attitude”. At a certain point, I was singing the song that was my very first ring tone “I’m In Love with a Stripper” and Lauren asked me to grab the water out of our backpack for her. I asked if she was sure she wanted to to be with me, someday marry me. As I was grabbing the water I explained: me being the someone who sang a very, very old T-Pain song very loudly on a hike, over and over. To which I started handing her the water, turned around and she was on one knee saying “I’m very sure I want to marry you- will you marry me?”. She had hired photographers, a small group of our closest family and friends were socially distanced and waiting in our yard at home outside with celebratory signs, and she had hired our favorite food truck to provide the most delicious food.
WAS THERE A MEMORY FROM YOUR WEDDING THAT STICKS OUT MORE THAN OTHERS?
Funny one being locking ourselves out of the room after the first look. Serious one being the first look. As typical as it may seem, preparing for one of the biggest days of your life, if not the biggest, without being able to see or really talk to your favorite person on earth prepares for quite a monumental moment when you finally do get to see them. Especially when they look completely stunning.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to other couples planning their wedding?
We spent a year trying to figure out during the time of covid and other impacting events if we were going to have a wedding or elope. We eloped because at the end of the day for us it was about the two of us committing to a life together rather than apart, in love, friendship, respect, trust, and an unwillingness to stay stagnant. We realized that we could find a way to celebrate with everyone that loves and supports us (with a celebration at a later date) and while making sure we were able to be present and mindful on the special commitment of a wedding day, focusing on the revered nature of our relationship. It took a while to get to that point, so taking the time to realize what is the most important for both of you in experience and then following through with that to ultimately make yourselves happy, satisfied, and present for the day that is about you.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE WEDDING VENUE/LOCATION YOU DID?
Lauren’s favorite place on earth is Aspen. She’s a huge foodie, loves art, and the diverse culture. The first getaway Lauren took me away on was to Aspen, which had been my first time there. I was taken aback about the prejudgements I had about it and how much in reality I enjoyed the people and what the mountain town had to offer. That trip was a foundational experience in our relationship, spending that time in the car together talking, exploring the town together, and falling more in love. We have been back to ski and every time we visit, it takes us right back to how it first started and how far our relationship has come. We knew we would have the ceremony in the mountains somewhere near Aspen and the morning of the elopement came and things had fallen into place.
Top 3 things that make a marriage last?
Healthy conflict, humility, laughter.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE STEPH TO DOCUMENT YOUR LGBTQ+ ELOPEMENT?
We wanted someone who could really understand love in all forms, ways, it’s nuances, and the fleeting moments. Picking an LGBTQ photographer was a must, and Lauren had been following Steph on instagram for years, watching her portfolio expand and expand, always being impressed with the inclusiveness of her work and the way in which she captured a couple’s biggest day with the big and small moments. It was pretty much a no brainer once we decided on the month and we were stoked that Steph was able to shoot the wedding & that we would be able to road trip up to the mountains together.