Couples can sometimes struggle with the decision to elope because they’re torn between wanting intentional alone time with bae, but they also want family there to experience such a big moment. And I get it! Family is important, which is why I think intimate weddings are such a perfect balance.

Taylor and Nick were already going to be in Colorado for a friend’s wedding, so they took the opportunity and had a Blue Lakes intimate wedding while they were here! These two met in high school back in Illinois, drifted apart, and then found each other again. They love their special story, so being together as much as possible on their day was important (peep the deets for proof). To incorporate their family, they sent out the wedding date and location. That was IT. Damn it, I love it. They weren’t on the hook for coordinating lodging, supplying meals, or planning activities. It was primarily their time to be together, and their Blue Lakes intimate wedding was exactly what they wanted.

The Details

  • Spend-time-together Step 1: Taylor and Nick got ready together in the morning, which really set the tone for the rest of the day. Her dress was gorgeous and had a zillion buttons, but Nick was a CHAMP and buttoned every single one.
  • Step 2: They also exchanged gifts together and I was able to get shots of their details, like shoes, rings, vows, etc. You don’t have to give up things like that for an intimate wedding or elopement!
  • Step 3: Before the ceremony we had a pizza picnic. This was the perfect time for them to just chill and be present with each other before going to the ceremony in front of their fam.
  • Nick has a son who was part of the wedding and damn near melted by heart. He wrote a little letter to Taylor about how excited he was for her to officially be his step mom. I die.
  • Nick’s dad passed away when he was young, so it was important to him to incorporate his dad into their day. He kept a poker chip in his suit pocket, which is dad also has in his. I love little sentimental details that make a wedding unique to each couple.

Must Knows

  • Blue Lakes is South of Breckenridge Colorado, about 2 hours from Denver, and is really only accessible during peak summer months. Make sure you plan accordingly!
  •  The road up to the trailhead is unpaved and unmaintained. Read that again. I HIGHLY recommend driving an SUV to get up there. Your little sedan doesn’t stand a chance.
  • Nick and Taylor put all their trust in me, which I didn’t take lightly. Locations, poses, photo ideas – they let me be creative and now they have epic, original photos that no other couple has.
  • They weren’t afraid to be different in order to be intentional, and you shouldn’t be either. Get ready together. Have some alone time before or after your ceremony. Smoke a joint. Your wedding is about you as a couple, and your choices should reflect that.

"Hiring McKenzie to photograph our wedding was single-handedly the best decision we made when planning our wedding. Wedding planning and vendor research was so stressful, and once we had Kenzie, she stepped in as support and helped us with narrowing down things that were important to us and to figure out what we really wanted.  wish we could get married over and over again just to recreate these and work with Kenzie again! "

Nadia + Daniel

"You will not find another wedding photographer who has the McKenzie signature style- she can capture the absolute beauty of the area and people all at once. She can shoot in a variety of settings and lightings and the photos are all gorgeous. One of the main reasons we booked McKenzie was the fact that she showcases a diverse clientele and finds beauty in all beings- something not all photographers can say.As a plus size bride who was extremely worried about looking back at my wedding pictures with dread that I wouldn't look like those gorgeous girlies on Instagram- this meant so much to me. "

Sydnie + Nathan

"When we got engaged, we searched near and far for an elopement photographer - & we met with several different photographers but none felt right until we met McKenzie. My husband, my dog and I are avid hikers - we wanted a beautiful hike and view, but it was also very important that we could be our authentic selves and intimately celebrate our 10 years together in the way we wanted. I'll be honest, I was shy about wanting to elope (ya know, family opinions and such), but McKenzie made us feel so comfortable in our decision. She wholeheartedly welcomed us being.. us! We couldn't have asked for more."

Maranda + Sam