I was pretty excited to get to photograph a wedding at the beautiful Holmstead Ranch in the mountains of Southern Utah. It was a beautiful venue for a fall wedding! The venue has cabins all surrounding a beautiful little lake, so the wedding party stayed there for the weekend. Kelcie and Ryan were an awesome couple to work with. Joey and I both photographed their wedding together, which always results in some of my favorite work! It was important to the bride and groom that they have photos of each of them getting ready with their friends, so Joey went with the groom and I went with the bride. Kelcie also told me during our consults that it was really important to them to capture the moment when they first see each other. They opted out of the first look because they wanted that special moment as Kelcie walked down the aisle. I’m so glad they hired a second photographer because the look on Ryan’s face is priceless and so sweet! After the ceremony we hopped in some golf carts and took photos in a lovely alfalfa field and then they joined the wedding guests for an awesome dance party! Overall, this wedding was a dream to photograph. Thanks for having us, friends! I will always dream about that amazing lemon bundt cake.
“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.
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
For this editorial shoot in the 2017 issue of Southern Utah Bride magazine, I really wanted to do something fun and different. The idea was inspired by the Wes Anderson film Moonrise Kingdom and the vintage Scout camp sketches from the 1950s and 60s. I teamed up with my favorite gals Forvermore Events and Bloomers to make the vision come to like! I’m so happy with how it all turned out. It was the most relaxed and fun styled shoot to date, even with our little adventure with the canoe. Thank you to all of the talented people who contributed!
Design: Forevermore Events
Videography: A. Green Films
Hair and Makeup: Sarah Boling at Lunatic Fringe
Catering: Kitchen 435
Dress: Illume Gowns
Paper Goods: Hey Hay Designs
Cake: Mary Lou Timpson
Film Lab: The Find Lab