Jacob & Taylor wanted a fun, unique day where they could really focus on themselves as a couple. They both have bigger families & planning a big wedding can sometimes mean getting everyone involved & big families can be stressful at times! Everyone seems to have an opinion on things or wants to share unsolicited “advice” & it can make planning a big wedding hard. I should know, I have a big family as well!
Taylor loves the fall colors & as an engineer, Jacob really wanted to see some of the historic structures & ghost towns around. And he wanted to dress up like the movie Tombstone! So I got to do something really fun & unique & helped them plan a fall color elopement with some touring of historic sites. Once they told me more about what they were wanting for their elopement day, I just knew western Colorado was the perfect spot. Western Colorado has some of the best fall colors & it has a high amount of various historic structures such as ghost towns, mines, & even old rail roads!
First Look at an Old Mine
To start the day, Jacob & Taylor got ready in their little vacation rental in Ouray. I always recommend Ouray as a good sort of “basecamp” for elopements in the San Juan Mountains of western Colorado. It’s a smaller town, has some amenities, but doesn’t quite feel like a tourist trap sort of place. Jacob got ready first & then he got into the vehicle & he was blindfolded so we could ride to the location together but still have a first look. We drove up to the trailhead & then hiked down to the mine overlook for their first look. And of course their dog Maggie had to be included!
Taylor had an amazing custom black dress that a family friend made for her. They talked about ideas & even went to the Fashion District in Los Angeles to look through fabrics. Jacob wore all black with a Stetson hat & even Maggie matched! Sunnyside Floral did an amazing job with all the florals & even a floral dog collar! I always like to do photos of the florals right away when they’re fresh, because it wasn’t even a minute later that Maggie kinda destroyed her florals. Jacob also wore some family jewelry & had his great grandfather’s watch, all nice touches to make their elopement special.
Exploring Historic Areas & Fall Colors in the Mountains
After exploring around the mine, it was time to head to some other cool historic sites in the mountains. We went to an old railroad track where they shared some vows & got to read about the history of the place. The fall colors during their elopement in Colorado were just the perfect mixes of green, orange, & yellow. It really made for a colorful display in the mountains! The best time for fall colors in Colorado is usually the last week of September into the first week in October although the colors can come sooner or later depending on the weather conditions of the year.
After the railroad depot, we went to some different mines & then to a ghost town in the mountains. They got to see & read about a lot of the different historic buildings. What I love about a lot of these sites is they have signs & even old photos of what the places used to look like. It was really fun for me planning out this elopement & taking them on a bit of a tour of so many different historic sites! They then had lunch at a random picnic table we found near the river. Even the river is colorful! It’s called the Uncompahgre River which means “dirty water” or “rock that makes the water dirty” in the native Ute language.
Hiking to a Hidden Waterfall
I was really excited when Jacob & Taylor chose this place from the location list I provided for them! I’ve shot at this waterfall when it was frozen in winter & I don’t know if winter or summer is my favorite here! This hidden waterfall is a bit hard to find & there’s no direct route to get here. But I know all sorts of hidden gems like this & love sharing them with couples! We had to time this location just right so we could get some good lighting within these steep canyon walls.
Also I had a slight nerd out moment when we came across some native Colorado orchids growing wild here! We came across a small patch of blooming Goodyera pubescens (aka downy rattlesnake plantain orchids). If you’ve read a little more about me, you know I love all things nature, especially plants, & especially orchids & native flora. This hidden waterfall was the perfect end to their fall color elopement day & it just looks like a place out of a fairy tale!
Malachi gave us the most perfect day we could have ever imagined. He was amazing right from the start of the process. He was incredibly responsive & gave us all of the help and instruction we needed. My wife & I were both a bit lost when it came to what we actually wanted. We knew we wanted fall colors & ghost town vibes. The locations that Malachi came up with & the schedule he built surpassed all of our expectations. Even though we were the ones that were pretty unresponsive & very little help, he was still able to provide the perfect day & the most beautiful pictures for our day. And if all that wasn’t enough already, he was amazing with our dog that was apart our day as well. From the start of the process to the end of the day of, Malachi was truly amazing. He helped direct us through the perfect day that we will have forever. –Jacob & Taylor