COLORADO ALPINE ADVENTURE HIKING ELOPEMENT | COLORADO ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER | ON DAILY PROJECT | JUSTYNA E BUTLER PHOTOGRAPHY | TARA + JAY
Last week, on our 10-year anniversary, I married the man of my dreams. The love of my life. The only man who truly understands, accepts and revels in all my weird quirks, independent and dreamer ways. We are a balance. We complement each other’s strengths and each other’s weaknesses. I could not imagine my life without him. My love. My Jay Jay Evy. My Sweet Jay.
We met 20 years ago when we were just kids at summer recreation. Although we went to separate schools, we eventually had mutual friends. We would see each other out at concerts and local shows. He was this incredibly cute, guitar playing boy in a punk rock band. How could I possibly resist that!?
It took a couple years, but one faithful day at a punk show our paths crossed. This was the beginning of our love story. I was completely smitten with him, but totally had to play it cool. Apparently, he was playing it cool too, because even though there was definite chemistry, it still took another 6 months for us to go out on our first date. I was 18. He was 17.
Our first date was on Valentine’s day, in protest of Valentine’s day, of course. He was so sweet and such a gentleman. He opened doors, insisted on paying (even though we were both two broke teenagers), he even burned me a Pennywise CD AND made me a cassette tape of the album for my car. He had me right then and there. Thoughtful, kind and so darn sweet.
It was a beautiful, whirlwind teenage romance. We were head over heels for one another. However, like most teenage romances, it did not last. I was still so in love with him and he with me, but we had to set each other free to live out our youth and explore life. Recently I found an old journal entry from that time. I wrote that I knew he was the one I wanted to grow old and gray with, but that we needed to live our lives first.
As fate would have it, years later, after we both had gone to college, done stupid things, road tripped with friends, and whatever other shenanigans we had gotten into, I moved back to Buffalo and we ran into each other at a wedding. This was the first time we had seen the other in years. The spark was still there. It was undeniable. Still, nothing happened that night. Like all great things, we needed time to simmer. It was just a night that ignited the spark once again.
Months later I saw his dad at a 4th of July festival. I stopped over to chat with him, and of course casually ask about Jay, and before I left, I gave him my number to give to Jay. That was the moment that sealed the deal for us. We went out on our second first date that week. I was so nervous and excited. I could barely even put on my eyeliner while getting ready! I think I redid it 3 times. It didn’t matter though, because he saw me for me. We immediately fell right back into each other’s arms and have been there ever since.
It has been 10 wonderful and amazing years. We have been through so much together and through it all have always come back to rest in each other’s arms. Throughout the years we have taught each other so much and have grown together. We have had thrilling adventures together; backpacking through Thailand, jumping out of a plane, exploring new places, and road tripping the country. We have shown each other strength and trust through vulnerability; laughing, crying, ugly crying during movies (okay that’s just me), holding each other’s hand every day, and saying good night every night. Three years ago, we took a chance on a new adventure and moved across the country, landing here in Denver. Since then we have made new and wonderful friends, hiked mountains, explored valleys, bought a house, made a home, and continued to create our life together.
Just like our life, for our wedding we decided to have an adventure. To continue exploring together. To stand in awe of the wonderous beauty the uncertainty exploration brings. At 3:45 in the morning we began our hike with just us, our sweet pup, Gypsy (aka our witness), and our photographer, Justyna. It was cold, but we had each other to keep warm. It was not easy hiking a mountain in a wedding dress (nothing worthwhile ever is), but I had my love to help carry my train and pick pinecones out of my tulle. We were running on pure adrenaline and emotion. There was no time for sleep that early. I mean, who could sleep anyhow! We were fueled simply by our love for each other and our love for the adventure. We explored and hiked. We took photos and laughed. Gypsy ran gleefully through the snow field as we helped each other not fall on slick, compacted snow. Eventually, through our exploration, we found the perfect spot to say our vows.
By this time, the sun was up, and its warmth radiated the mountainside. We hiked over a snowfield, with a stream ragging below, up to a rocky, wildflower filled plateau overlooking an alpine lake. There, with tears in our eyes, the wind in our hair, and Gypsy asleep on the train of my dress, we said our vows and pledged our love to one another.
Throughout the entire day, from the moment we met Justyna at 3:30 in the morning, she was absolutely amazing. Her excitement mirrored our own. I was never the girl who wanted to plan a wedding, and Jay and I were the couple who never did anything by the book. She understood this and was with us every step of the way.
From the very first time we met with her we loved her enthusiasm, dedication and passion for adventuring with couples on their big day. She was so helpful and responsive in the time leading up to our elopement date. A week before our elopement we needed to change our location due to avalanche pack still in the area we were going to hike. She was amazing in helping us find a new location to hike and explore. We just knew we wanted to marry each other that morning and it didn’t matter which mountain it was on! Since it was something we had never hiked, it was even more of an adventure. It was exactly how we wanted our wedding to be; intimate, adventurous, full of wonder and love, and a snippet in time that we will remember and cherish forever.
Adventure Wedding Photographer: Justyna E Butler Photography
Florals + Collar Designed by Mountain Lily Studios
Adventure Wedding Bridal Gown : BHLDN
Adventure Groom’s Suit: Suit Supply Denver
Bowtie: Knotty Tie Co
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