Lemme scream it louder for the people in the back – IT’S REAL. As an elopement photographer based in Denver, I spend pretty much all of my time out in nature and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But the direction our planet is heading is scary – just seven months ago Rocky Mountain National Park was burning and I could see the smoke from our apartment. I take so many of my couples there and it was heartbreaking to see it that way. It’s a privilege to have your wedding day in Colorado with the most breathtaking backdrops – but with this privilege comes great responsibility. Having an Eco Friendly Elopement is a non-negotiable.

Despite that doom and gloom I just dumped on you, the good news is there are a lot of different ways we can protect our earth – voting for government officials who believe in science, thrifting instead of buying new clothes, recycling, using reusable grocery bags – I could go on and on. There are also ways to make your elopement, intimate wedding, or huge-ass party eco-friendly too. The wedding industry has been a huge culprit of not going green, so try to do your part and keep some of these tips in mind as you’re planning. You’ll thank yourself later.

How to have an Eco-Friendly Elopement


Limit Your Guest List to keep it Eco-Friendly

If you’re eloping or having an intimate wedding, check this one off this list! There’s been a lot of research that’s found the average amount of wedding guests has been dropping, even before the Panorama (plz get vaccinated). This is such good news for our environment! Basically, when there are fewer guests there is less waste – fewer invitations being sent out and thrown away, less food being prepared and leftovers tossed out, fewer people getting in cars or planes to come to the ceremony. Keyword here – less. While we are talking about it – no more party favors. Those almost ALWAYS get thrown out. No one needs more shot glasses or koozies.

Hire Eco-Conscious Vendors

If having an environmentally-friendly elopement is important to you, that’s something that should be important to your vendors too. When you have like-minded people on your side, it’s almost impossible not to create what you want. That could mean finding a florist who only uses sustainably-sourced flowers, a private chef who only cooks with locally-grown meat and produce, or an invitation website that provides different stationary options, like recycled paper.

Leave No Trace

When you’re eloping out in nature, whether it’s a mountain, beach, or field, the number one rule is to Leave No Trace. You can learn more about it here, but the biggies are disposing of waste properly, leaving what you find, and respecting wildlife. If you pack it in, pack it out. Simple Simple.

Find New Options

There are so many alternatives in the wedding industry that allow couples to make eco-friendly decisions. If you’re hosting a party after your elopement, choose online RSVPs to cut back on paper waste. When you’re trying to decide what to wear on your big day, explore local or online thrift shops – you can find some gorgeous AND affordable options while cutting back on the waste that comes with buying something brand new. Once you’ve said your “I do’s,” consider donating your wedding flowers to nearby hospitals, churches, or nursing homes. It’s a win-win – you’re making your elopement more eco-friendly while brightening someone else’s day.

These are such small, easy tweaks any couple can make when planning their elopement or intimate wedding. Progress is more important than perfection, so don’t get overwhelmed if every single part of your day doesn’t qualify as “going green.” Anything you do can make a real difference. It’s just about taking steps to be more thoughtful and intentional when it comes to our planet.


"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