What do you do if you want an adventure elopement but also want to combine parts of a more traditional wedding? You take your favorite parts & combine them into an adventure wedding! JD & Caroline had a sort of hybrid elopement/wedding in Ouray, Colorado in summer. The town of Ouray, Colorado is a cute little mountain town with a ton of hiking, climbing, Jeeping, & all sorts of other adventures just minutes outside of town. Other towns nearby such as Telluride may be a little more known & popular but Ouray really holds a special place in my heart & I think it has some of the best wedding locations in Colorado. I helped JD & Caroline choose a unique location because they wanted to hike to their ceremony location but they wanted it to be easy to access for their guests. This location is sort of unique because they were able to have an adventure together & hike while their guests got a little bit of a Jeeping adventure in Ouray.
First Look Above Ouray at a Lake & Hiking to a Waterfall
JD & Caroline were staying at Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs which is a great place to stay with amazing views & some great little hot springs on the property. They got ready their first in their separate rooms. We then had JD wear a blindfold on their way to the first look location so he wouldn’t see Caroline until they were up in the San Juan Mountains a little more. They had their first look at a beautiful lake overlooking the Red Mountains above Ouray. It was perfectly cloudy without being overcast.
I set up Caroline near the lake & left a radio with JD & then radioed him when Caroline was set up. He came over & was emotional & excited to see Caroline in her dress. It was kind of fun to hear them talking to each other in the car with JD blindfolded before we actually got to the first look location near Ouray. After their first look, we went to the location where they would hike to their ceremony & also went to the waterfalls near Ouray. The sun came out for a little bit & usually the mountains have reasonably cooler summer. But with the sun out it was feeling so hot & we were sweating a bit, so when a little bit of light rain came, it felt nice to cool off but it wasn’t enough to really get us too wet. The stylists at Salon Envy Ouray did such an amazing job with her hair & makeup, it held up with the sweat & rain we got. For elopements, it really can be worth it to get a professional hair & makeup artist so that your look will last. It gives you a little less to worry about!
Afternoon Ceremony in the Mountains of Ouray, Colorado
We then hiked the trail that would lead to their ceremony location. We got to go to an overlook of the mountains, we stopped for photos along the way, & I just took photos of them along the way as they were hiking. When we got close to their ceremony location, we took a break for a bit near the stream. Caroline set her small bouquet of flowers from Alpenglow Growers in the stream to keep them fresh. As they finished up lunch & snacks we got ready to head down to their ceremony location.
While Caroline & JD hiked up to their ceremony location, Colorado West Jeep Rentals took their guests up the rough road that led to the same spot. Jeeping their guests in was a really fun elopement idea as it allowed them some alone time to hike & also allowed for easy access for all of their guests for their adventure wedding in Ouray. Some of their guests took their own UTVs, Jeeps, & trucks up to the location. Taking the Jeeps up also meant that JD & Caroline got to ride the Jeeps & trucks back down to Ouray.
They had a friend officiant their wedding ceremony in Ouray & it was a very special ceremony for them & their guests. They both walked down “the aisle” together & another thing that made their Ouray wedding special was them passing the rings around & they had everyone give their blessing out loud for them to hear. After the ceremony, we got family photos super quickly because it started raining a bit. They were fine with their rain but their guests… not so much. An adventure wedding in Ouray isn’t exactly traditional so sometimes you (or your guests) have to adjust your (or their) mindset because there are a lot of things you can’t control.
Another thing to keep in mind when planning your Colorado elopement is that, in summer, we get small rain storms almost every afternoon. Locations, landscapes, & overall weather patterns can affect weather a lot in Colorado, which is why I offer so much more than just photography with my elopement packages!
Ouray Wedding Reception at Twin Peaks Lodge
After the ceremony, JD & Caroline, along with their guests, headed down the mountain to their reception space at Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs. Twin Peaks is such a cool place to stay at. Fresh mountain air is right outside your door, there are hot springs there on site, you are a short walk from the river, & downtown Ouray is just minutes away by car or by walking. At Twin Peaks, they had an outdoor wedding reception with tents set up there on site.
Their reception in Ouray was complete with yard games, great views of the surrounding mountains, lots of outdoor areas, decor with potted plants, & amazing food provided by The Mineshaft. The Mineshaft is kinda known for its broasted chicken & it was delicious! They also had some homemade cakes that a friend made for them. Caroline cared more about the taste of the cakes rather than having something big & fancy. They had a dance floor set up & danced & had fun with their guests.
Learn more about planning your Colorado elopement.