Samantha and Tu definitely went through the Covid Wedding Rollercoaster this year. Their original wedding date was in March, they were my first wedding couple to deal with the decision to cancel or not. We were so sad, they had a whole snowboard down Purgatory in their wedding attire plan, I was so stoked to capture their epicness, and over the year we had been in contact since they hired me we had become friends. So I was sad for them as their photographer and their friend.
After that they had multiple different wedding dates, each with its own issues and drama, eventually they just cancelled all together.
So I was so excited when Samantha reached out to me about transitioning to an adventure elopement this year and a family and friends celebration next year!
She mentioned Ice Lakes and I got even more stoked (stoked is our word haha), this was going to be an adventure!!!
If you have never hiked Ice Lakes, first of all you should because it is amazing, but also you should know it is a 8 mile round trip hike. I know that doesn't sound very far, but it is the elevation gain you really need to be aware of. There is over a 2,600ft elevation gain throughout this hike, so it may be on the shorter side but it is straight up the whole way.
Our main goal was to avoid the afternoon storms that tend to roll in up in the high country, especially in the fall months.
So we woke up at 3am to start our adventure!
We began hiking with headlamps at 5:30am, and in not too long the sun started peaking over the mountains. Between the fall colors and the beautiful sunrise we had such a beautiful hike up to the lakes, tough, but beautiful!
My husband Natan came with us to help haul all my equipment up, so it was just the four of us, Samantha, Tu, Natan and I. Wedding days are normally so hectic, there isn’t time to just hang out and chat, but we had so much time hiking to chat and get to know each other. Enjoying the beautiful scenery, pep talking each other up the especially difficult parts, and laughing together along the way!
Once we reached the top, if felt like we were the only people in the world! Normally this trail is packed and there are tons of people around the lake, but this early in the morning it was just us and a few distant tents. We pulled out our delicious Bread bakery sandwiches and rested up a bit before our last leg from Ice Lakes to Island Lake where we planned to have their beautiful intimate ceremony away from all the hikers who would inevitably be showing up at Ice Lakes very soon.
Once we had eaten and felt refreshed, we hiked on over to Island Lake. Samantha set up a little getting ready location near a rock and did her hair and makeup beautifully. She and Tu got dressed in their beautiful wedding attire, and we started their wedding ceremony on the edge of the lake under the epically beautiful mountains.
Samantha and Tu shared their vows, stories, laughs, happy tears, rings, and kisses, and it was the cutest little ceremony ever!
Then Natan and I pulled out a surprise toast! We gave them each their own little bubbly bottle to celebrate!
After their beautiful ceremony and our little celebratory toast, we started our photo adventure around each lake capturing both the beauty of our epic mountain surroundings and our epic new married couple.
Once we wrapped up our photo adventure, Samantha and Tu changed back into their hiking attire and we started our way back down the mountain. By the time we reached the car (around 5:00) we were all pretty exhausted, but also still riding the excitement of the day! So we decided to all have dinner together in town at 11th Street Station.
It was so great getting to sit down and decompress together about our grand adventure. At this point we all felt like we had been friends for a long time, and that is what I love about what I do! The relationships I get to build with these amazing couples!!!
It was such an amazing, beautiful, epic day! I cannot express how awesome and special it was, and I am so glad the Samantha and Tu finally got the marriage celebration adventure they deserved!