I love the cool colors of Colorado, especially in the winter – blue skies, white snow, green pine trees. You don’t see many reds, oranges, and yellows here, but if you’ve ever been to Arizona, you know those warm colors are friggin everywhere. Steffie and Jesse gave me the opportunity to shoot with those colors in the background of their Cathedral Rock elopement in Sedona, Arizona.

They had their hearts set on sharing vows in the desert, so they flew me out to Arizona in July. July in the desert, I know – that state is a damn OVEN in the summer. But I knew it was what they wanted and what fit best with their demanding schedules, so I suggested eloping at sunset. That way we could start the hike while the sun was still up, but enjoy the drastically cooler temperatures once it went down. The results were pure magic.

The Details

  • Both Steffie and Jesse described themselves as anxious in front of a crowd, so the choice to elope was super intentional for them.
  • The hike to Cathedral Rock is only a mile, which I love, but it’s also straight up, which I don’t love. Jesse is a big hiker and was really encouraging with Steffie the whole way up. If I wasn’t already melting from the sun, I definitely was from how sweet they were.
  • Steffie colored her hair specifically for their elopement because she wanted it to match the rocks. The myth that you need a “natural” color hair for your wedding day is bullshit. She looked like a baddie and I loved it!
  • Even when it was dark we were able to get some gorgeous pictures. I’m confident in my nighttime photography skills, but that’s not true for every elopement photographer. If you know you want darker, moodier shots, you NEED to make sure your photog knows what they’re doing. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Must Knows

  • Cathedral Rock is a very popular hiking spot, especially on the weekends, so plan accordingly. Get there early to find parking (which costs around $5) and don’t park where you shouldn’t. Leave No Trace, remember?
  • The hiking trail is dog friendly, so if having your doggo there is important to you, you’re good to go!
  • Arizona DOES require an officiant and witnesses on a marriage license.
    • Steffie and Jesse also flew out one of my besties who got ordained online! She signed as their officiant, and their witnesses were yours truly and a random hiker we found along the way.
  • Unlike a lot of other popular eloping spots, you currently do not need a special permit to elope or take photos here. This could always change though, so make sure your photographer double checks before you commit to Cathedral Rock.

Let’s go to the desert.


"She is so good at making sure that your day goes exactly how you want it - even when you want to get tattoos on your wedding day and have them photographed! If you're looking for a photographer... STOP because McKenzie Bigliazzi is the only option. Trust me, they don't get better than this wonderful human and her team!"

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