When Katie & Dom first reached out to me, they were first interested in an elopement in northern Arizona around the Monument Valley area. They had fallen in love with the southwest during a 3 month long road trip.
Katie & Dom both got laid off on the same day from the company they worked at in 2018. After some initial nerves, they decided that same day that they should just take the opportunity to take a dream road trip around the country. Over the next few months, they spent the days planning out a route across the country with cities, national parks, & every other type of attraction they could find. All of the planning was done together & eventually a solid plan came into place & was carried out over almost three months.
While planning the route Katie & DOm never once disagreed about what they wanted to do or see & it really shows how close they are. They spent the entirety of three months together 24/7, doing fun things as well as stuck in a car for long durations & had a blast the entire time. This whole experience showed that they were a rock solid team, genuinely enjoy each others company all the time, & are truly best friends.
Sunrise Elopement Ceremony at Lake Mead
I met Katie & Dom at my AirBnB near Las Vegas, Nevada early in the morning to make the drive out to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. This area has a variety of restrictions on where & when you can go, what you can do, & requires photography permits. There are certain areas that are designated as wilderness that are off-limits, even for small ceremonies so it is important to communicate with rangers & get permits & approval for the areas you want to go. I worked with the rangers & permit officers at the park beforehand to get approval & insurance for using certain areas at Lake Mead for their elopement ceremony at sunrise. Katie & Dom helped each other get ready beforehand so they could be ready to go for their sunrise ceremony.
Once we got out to the point, it was just light enough to see & they picked out a spot for their elopement ceremony right on the shores of Lake Mead. But we had to be very careful with the dirt & mud cliffs along the lake! The cliffs are not solid rock & are just compacted dirt so they can crumble. So if you go out to the area, be very careful & don’t get too close to the edge!
Katie & Dom both read their hand written vows in the early morning light & then sun came up from behind the ridge & started to warm us up. November was a perfect time for eloping in the Las Vegas area. The mornings & evenings are pleasant & cool. During the day, it gets warm but never too hot. A lot of people overlook Lake Mead but it is truly a beautiful area to elope! Depending on what you want to do & where you want to go, you could even paddle board or kayak on the lake, or rent a boat to take out on the lake. Get more ideas to make your elopement day special.
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Elopement Photography at Valley of Fire State Park
After their ceremony at Lake Mead, we headed just a few minutes down the road to Valley of Fire State Park. We chose an area & branch of Lake Mead that was closer to the eastern entrance of the Valley of Fire so it wouldn’t be too far of a drive from one area to the other.
Valley of Fire State Park can be busy so going there during the early morning just after sunrise is a good time to go so you can get parking spaces & beat most of the crowds. I helped Katie & Dom plan out a timeline with specific times & places to go so we could go to busier spots first without running into parking issues & then less busy times later in the day.
The Valley of Fire also has various restrictions & rules on permits & insurance, along with where you can & cannot go. A planning meeting with the rangers is also required for any photographers or videographers. The good thing about permits in the Valley of Fire is that they only allow one photographer per location, per day. So there won’t be any overlap of photographers or other couples! This is unlike places such as Yosemite where there can be a line of photographers & couples waiting for the most popular spots! When you work with me, all of this is one less thing for you to worry about because I help with locations, timelines, best times of the day or year, permits, choosing spots with more privacy, & so much more!
Usually sunset or sunrise is best for photos, but honestly, sometimes I love a bright day with full sun! The way the sky pops against the rocks is just so beautiful. Another fun thing we saw when taking photos in the Valley of Fire was a desert tortoise! Read more about eloping in Nevada.