Shortly after getting engaged in Italy Kristina told me that she didn't want a big, traditional wedding. Why would she tell me this? Well folks, this beautiful human happens to be my longtime friend! We were roommates living in London in 2011, and despite living in Colorado and Pittsburgh we have stayed extremely close and see each other at least twice a year for girls trips and, recently, wedding events. Kristina was a bridesmaid at my own wedding and I was thrilled to support her and Phil by photographing and filming their July elopement at Lake Tahoe.
When designing their perfect elopement day they knew they wanted to have a relaxed and grounding morning. They opted for a scenic hike in Emerald Bay State Park. Afterwards, Kristina went to a salon in South Lake Tahoe for her hair and make-up while the rest of the group relaxed at our adorable Airbnb. OK, technically I was out location scouting with my husband slash film crew! Our morning consisted of hiking in several different areas looking for the perfect ceremony spot that would have uninterrupted views of the lake and as few people as possible.
We arrived back at the Airbnb in time to see Kristina and Phil transferring vows from phones to a shared vow book. They opted to gift each other a perfume and a cologne, creating a scent memory connected to their wedding day. After steaming their clothes and packing their elopement bag (not to mention a cooler of hard seltzers and champagne!) we drove to their portrait location. Another non-negotiable for these two was doing all of their portraits before the ceremony so that they wouldn't be photographed post-elopement tears! The couple changed in the parking lot, helping each other into their formalwear.
We wandered among the boulders taking romantic portraits for nearly an hour before packing up to drive to our second location with wide lake views and zero people. Their elopement ceremony was performed by Phil's best friend and his wife, who then played their first dance song on ukulele! We hiked back to the cars in the late afternoon sunlight and drove to the Edgewater lakefront resort for a fancy dinner. We all toasted with countless glasses of wine, beer, and old fashioneds before finally returning to the Airbnb to sit under the starts until midnight in the hot tub. The perfect ending to a phenomenal day!