The desert in Southern Utah is beautiful in the spring. The cacti is in bloom, the moss on the rocks is bright and colorful, and everything is so green! I had been wanting to shoot at this location for awhile so I asked my talented friends if they would like to do a small creative shoot and this is the result! I wanted a bold, almost retro look for the bride’s hair and makeup, so we went with a messy, textured updo that felt like a twist on a French twist! The bold eye makeup paired perfectly with the bright red earrings and I just love that pop of color it gives. The bouquet is just dreamy, with the bright yellow flowers and velvet ribbon. It’s so bright and cheerful. I shot mostly film during this session, all Portra 400, developed and scanned by The Find Lab. Thanks to all of the vendors who contributed!
I photographed McCall and Aaron’s wedding at the St. George LDS Temple in early March a few years ago. It was such a beautiful wedding! I’ve been updating my blog lately and realized that I hadn’t shared this one with you yet so here you go! I loved the classic and modern feel of their wedding day. I absolutely loved McCall’s sleek and modern two-piece wedding dress by Illume Gowns. She was such a gorgeous bride! The bride and groom were married in the LDS Temple and held their reception luncheon at the Cliffside Restaurant overlooking downtown St. George. It was a sweet and intimate wedding celebration. They chose just to have an intimate gathering with wedding toasts so they could just relax and visit with their family and friends. I was thrilled that we were able to get the last of the spring blooms at the temple for their portraits as well.
“Say the most important day of your life is quickly approaching. And you’ve got two paths ahead of you. You can do what’s expected, or do something that truly represents who you are: Wild with love and crazy for adventure. To Ariel and Andrew, their path was clear: Take off and elope! To the canyon lands of Utah.”
Ariel and Andrew had the most epic adventure elopement in Moab back in 2015 before it was even a thing. When Ariel first contacted me about photographing their wedding in Moab she mentioned that her father is a backcountry pilot and that they fly together a lot, and that she was thinking about flying one of these planes to her wedding ceremony. As you can imagine I was pretty excited (and also terrified that I would have to ride in the plane, which thankfully, I did not). Joey and I photographed this wedding together and we truly loved it! Andrew and his production team/best friends were awesome to work with and the whole two days was like a big party. We started our day bright and early and followed the Jeeps into this beautiful landing strip at the base of a canyon, right near the river. The road getting there was a bit sketchy but Joey had a blast navigating it! We were on standby while the guys scouted the location to make sure it was still safe to land after the rain that week, but all looked good and clear, so we started our pilgrimage to this epic spot.
Ariel and Andrew built their wedding around their own ideas and relationship and said adieu to any traditions that didn’t felt authentic to them. I loved this. They made a pretty amazing film about it too. Andrew owns a film production company so the whole thing was incredible. Their film made its rounds on the internet when it was first featured on Style Me Pretty. I highly recommend watching it! The reason I say that they are the ones who made adventure elopements a things, is because, well they are! I can’t say I’ve a single bride after this who has flown a plane to her own wedding, or any groom who built his own chuppa the day before the wedding by foraging sticks from the desert where they would exchange vows.
The night before the wedding, we joined Ariel and Andrew and their families to photograph their lovely rehearsal dinner at Sorrell River Ranch. We met up with the couple before the dinner for a fun portrait shoot near Fisher Tower. The Moab desert is incredible. The day after the wedding we hiked Arches National Park and I got to see Delicate Arch for the first time. It was an incredible experience.
Thanks again to this wonderful couple, their production crew, and families! You can see the feature over at Style Me Pretty here.
And watch their wedding film below!
I’ve been photographing weddings and couples in Zion National Park for the past eight years, and before that, I grew up exploring the mountains and trails in Zion. I was born and raised in St. George, Utah, a lovely town in the southwest corner of the state that is within driving distance to some incredible national and state parks, including Zion. It wasn’t until I moved to Southern California for college that I realized how much I need the mountains and desert landscape in my life! The desert is my home, it’s in my heart and soul, and it’s a place that I’ll always return to.
Over the past few years, I’ve watched Zion grow in popularity for weddings, elopements, and engagements. Even family photos. It’s become one of the top destinations for weddings and elopement in the region, and I can certainly understand why! The beauty of Zion is unparalleled and there really is a magical energy to the place. I grew up surrounded by the backdrop of these red mountains and it’s not something I take for granted. I think the experience of being with couples and families as they explore Zion taking photos helps me fall a little more in love with it every time.
Here’s the different thing about me as a wedding photographer: My goal isn’t just to capture the beauty of the landscape in Zion, which of course I will do, but rather to capture you within that space. Your joy, your love, and the special thing about your relationship that makes you choose this place to be the place where you exchange vows and make that lasting commitment to one another. Think of me like the perfect combination of beautiful scenic photos of your day but also those images that capture how it felt.
In addition to basically being obsessed with this place, I have a lot of experience with the process of having your wedding in Zion National Park. I greatly respect the National Park Service and so I’m familiar with their regulations when it comes to having your wedding in the park. They actually make it pretty easy to apply and it’s only $100 for a permit. You can find out more about that process here: https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/weddings-in-zion-national-park.htm
I often tell my couples that if it’s not feasible to have their ceremony in the park, I know a lot of beautiful spots outside that the park that still offer those beautiful views! And we can always go into the park for some gorgeous photos either before or after the wedding ceremony. I know some good spots for that too, especially with the crowds.
And speaking of the crowds… Zion National Park is the third busiest park in the nation and it continues to grow each season. Zion saw more than 4.5 million visitors in 2017, a 5 percent from the year before. The busiest season is June through August, although April through September can be pretty packed too. But don’t worry! I am quite used to the crowds and I know the best ways to avoid them when possible and work around them when it’s not! It’s totally worth it :)
If you want to learn more, I wrote a whole blog post in my ProTips series about planning your wedding in Zion National Park so you can check that out here!
You can also read this super helpful blog post from one of my lovely brides.
One of things I love most about living in Southern Utah is the beautiful location options we have here. Snow Canyon State Park is definitely one of my favorite places to shoot. I absolutely loved photographing Elissa for her bridal session over the summer. Elissa and Travis were planning their wedding in Pine Valley where they would be surrounded by mountains and greenery, so she chose the red rock desert landscape for her bridals. I love how the rocks in Snow Canyon contrast with her lace dress and cathedral veil. Elissa had so many lovely personal touches to her bridal attire: her dress was handmade by her grandmother, and her turquoise jewelry belonged to her grandmother on her other side. I loved it! If you’d like to check out the wedding day you can do so right here!
It doesn’t get much better than this lovely barn wedding in Southern Utah. Jordan and Evan held their ceremony in a beautiful straw field overlooking Kolob Canyon. The reception was held inside a gorgeous red barn that belonged to a family friend. Their wedding was focused on the things that were most important to them: family and each other! I love these two and their families. Joey and I were so happy to be part of their day. One thing that really stood out to us is the sweet and close relationship that Jordan has with both sets of her parents. As a stepmother myself, I was incredibly touched by the fact that Jordan wanted both of her moms with her while she got ready, and she did a first look and a dance with both dads. It really had an impact on us to witness such a special relationship. Also, I've never cried during the mother and son dance but this one had me in tears.
It was really important to Jordan that they have sunset portraits in this beautiful field so we made sure to set aside a good amount of time for that during the reception. It was definitely worth it!
Floral: Jocelyn’s Floral
Venue: Private Residence
Clay and Kyle had an editorial style, modern, and edgy wedding at a charming little bed and breakfast in Southern Utah. This wedding was everything. When Clay and Kyle first contacted me about photographing their wedding, I loved them right away. I felt like they had such a unique vision for their wedding photos and they completely trusted me to carry it out. There were so many fun DIY elements to this day- from the hand picked fabrics for the handmade dreamcatchers made by Kyle and his awesome mother. I loved the antique chairs that they used for their wedding dinner table. The umbrellas hanging from the air over the reception. It was so unique and fun!
After this wedding, I just wanted to photograph more same-sex weddings. It was like all of the love that is normally at a wedding was more magnified and special. Plus, these two grooms were just a blast to be around. They are truly genuine people and I fell in love with their families too! I left their wedding feeling rejuvenated and just so damn happy that I get to photograph such a special day in people’s lives. I’m so excited to share their photos with you!
It’s a snow day in Southern Utah today, which is both beautiful and strange. So I’m staying indoors and catching up on some blog posts! This lovely Zion wedding took place over the summer. I loved every moment of it! These two are the most wonderful people and I enjoyed being part of their day so much.
Josh and Claudia held their wedding at Zion Mountain Villa in East Zion and they really wanted some time for portraits in Zion National Park. In order to make their wedding day less jam-packed and allow more time for hanging with their guests and enjoying the party, we met up the day before the wedding for a bridal session. Claudia and Josh hiked a few miles in their wedding attire and we caught the most beautiful sunset overlooking Zion. The wedding day was full of fun events, surrounding by beautiful decor put together by Forevermore Events, and the floral arrangements by Bloomers were absolutely beautiful. It was a perfect day and I felt truly honored to be part of it. You should also take some time to check out the awesome videos at the end by the videographer Last Light Pictures, and the combination video of photos and video that Josh put together himself. He’s the genius behind Applified Marketing Group so maybe check that out too :)
Planning and Design: Forevermore Events
Hair and Makeup: Tracy Sotirakis
Cake: Cupcakes by Julie
Venue: Zion Mountain Villa
DJ: Festival Sounds
Videographer: Last Light Pictures