90% of my couples are from out of state, so it’s important to me that I facilitate an experience they’ll remember forever. I mean, they did fly all the way out here. My couples want to make sure they can look back in 50 years and think, “Holy shit that was so us,” and not, “I wish we would have done something more ‘us.’” They are always looking for non-traditional wedding ideas to celebrate their elopement or signify their ceremony. Wedding days are so much more than exchanging vows and getting a mountain backdrop. These non-traditional ways to celebrate your elopement will make you wish you could re-live your day over and over.
I love helping my couples totally immerse themselves in the Colorado experience. Nothing is quite more Colorado than unity joints, which are 100% a thing, and 100% a thing I support.
If you’re bridging the gap between an elopement and an intimate wedding, this is a great way to do it! Say your “I do’s” with only bae by your side, and then head back to your Airbnb to celebrate with your loved ones. Take the stress away by hiring a caterer to really make it a celebration to remember.
I love this idea if you’re adamant about eloping alone, but still want to incorporate friends and family. Reach out to the people who mean the most and ask if they’ll write something special for you. Whether it’s lovey-dovey well wishes, funny advice, or a favorite memory of you and bae, it’ll definitely be a special moment you won’t forget. AND you’ll have the letters forever!
Polaroids are trendy AF right now. Snap some pictures throughout your day and make a small album when you get back home. Obvi you’ll have your professional photos to show off too, but Polaroids are 1.) FUN, 2.) can capture more intimate moments your photographer may not be around for, and 3.) capture the moment in real time with instant printing. There’s something so special about that.
Remember in elementary school when your class made a time capsule that will probably never see the light of day? Similar idea, but this won’t go forgotten. Sit down with bae on the day of your elopement and record a video to watch together in the future. Maybe it’s about how you’re feeling that day, what you love about each other, or what your hopes are for your future. I’m tearing up just thinking about how sweet re-watching it will be.
If you’re not comfy with making a video, nothing beats a hand written letter. Just make sure the more responsible partner is in charge of keeping them safe… You don’t wanna lose these!
Y’all know I’m a foodie, so I love the idea of celebrating your elopement with food. Pack up a homemade PB&J (are we team grape or strawberry?) or get a little boujee with a charcuterie board complete with your fave goodies. Pack it all up for an intimate picnic with your boo as your first meal as ONE.
There are so many unique non-traditional wedding ideas that you and bae can signify becoming one. Take unity shots (Illinois peeps, we’re leaving the Malört AT HOME), take a Polaroid selfie you’ll have forever, or head to a tattoo parlor after to really seal the deal. My badass couples have done some crazy cool things!
Just because you’re not having a traditional wedding doesn’t mean it can’t have traditional elements. Pack up a portable speaker (or shit even your phone) and queue up your favorite song for a memorable moment. Be sure to download the song – most locations here in Colorado do not have cell service!
It’s a sad reality that some people who mean the most won’t get to witness your special day, but there are always ways you can honor their memory. Jewelry, watches, clothing, and even hats are a sweet way to make sure they’re part of your elopement. As a bonus, those items will live on forever in your photos.
This could be as simple as embroidering on a dress or suit, or as wild as personalizing your undies. I’ve even seen custom Vans, which are SICK.
After a long and emotional day, let someone else pamper you with a bomb-ass meal. Private chefs are super popular with my couples staying at Airbnb’s as a unique way to end their day. We can even talk about splurging on a canna-infused meal – hell yeah, welcome to colorado. Recommended Vendor: Harvest to Home
We ALL know the scent our partner wears that makes us go a little crazy (in the best way). Spritz it on as a special surprise for bae, or take a fun shopping trip together to pick out a perfume or cologne for the big day.
Instead of spending the morning apart like lame-ass tradition says, why not wake up and start the day together with your favorite breakfast? Share some alone time by helping each other get dressed for the day and put the finishing touches on your vows. This is the best way to give Auntie Karen a heart attack and embrace the non-traditional theme of your elopement day.
This could legit be anything that makes you, you. There are so many experiences in Colorado, like white water rafting, hiking, climbing, paddle boarding, breweries, museums, concerts, skiing. It’s a long list – how much time do you have?
Hot springs are amazing, and everyone that makes the trip to Colorado needs to check them out ASAP. There are plenty of options across the state, so wherever you’re eloping, it won’t be difficult to find a spot. Picture it – you and bae, soaking in a relaxing hot spring, reminiscing on your beautiful elopement. A dream. Recommended Spot: Mount Princeton Hot Springs
This is YOUR elopement. Why not take the extra time and go somewhere fucking awesome? Forget wedding venues – here’s the ultimate non-traditional wedding idea I’m so here for, and happy to help with. Some of my favorites are Ouray, Gunnison, Grand Junction, and Telluride, but I’m always happy to hunt around for the perfect spot for you and your boo. Think – road trip out west with the best punk-rock playlist with vows. Check out this list of Colorado Elopement Locations
If you’re picturing the getaway car that whisks couples away after their traditional wedding, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Strap a “Just Married” sign on your pack and dangle some soup cans off the bottom to have some fun on your way back down the mountain.
This is YOUR day. If you want to be comfy, I’m here for a custom denim jacket and Vans. If glam is more your thing, I’ll help hold your train on the hike to your special spot. Give me a black dress or a red suit – I love it if you love it! Vendor Recommendation: The Suit Shop makes Suits for all suit-wearing-peeps. I love them.
If you want to turn into a puddle of tears, personalizing your vows will get the job done. They’re also a memorable keepsake to look back on throughout your marriage. Don’t forget that here in Colorado, you and bae can marry yourselves through Self Solemnization. Oh, it’s your first time writing vows? Weird – Don’t worry, I provide all my couples with guidelines on how to write vows in your own personal elopement guide.
An elopement doesn’t have to be just you and your boo. If you want a couple people there that mean a lot to both of you, bring them along! Although, witnesses & officiants aren’t requited in Colorado, your friends can have a role in your day, like keeping the rings or officiating, or they can truly be spectators. Whatever you’re picturing, we’ll make it happen.
The most non-traditional wedding idea is honestly creating your own traditions. This will be totally specific to your personalities, but some ideas could be cracking open your favorite beer, going on a hike, say your vows to each other again, or getting white-girl wasted on ice cream. We all know what I would pick.
All of these non-traditional wedding ideas are unique & fun BUT the #1 priority should always remain celebrating your story the way it feels right to you. Speaking of, What other non-traditional wedding ideas to you have to personalize your elopement?
"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! "
"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. "
"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."
see more real reviews here