Nicole + Ian | Valley of Fire Elopement

Eloping is one of the best ways to make sure that your wedding day is totally about you & yours. There’s much less planning stress, you get to choose whether you want a super cool desert wedding, or a cozy spot on the beach, and they’re perfect with this COVID-19 world we live in.

Nicole has been one of my friends since the early high school days, so when she reached out to me to shoot her wedding, I was immediately in. Originally, we were supposed to go down to Joshua Tree – but, the universe had other plans in mind, and somewhere along the way, we landed on Valley of Fire. Needless to say, this location is a photographers DREAM – so I went from super excited, to literally jumping for joy.


We spent the morning getting ready, and when the time came that we were almost ready to leave, Nicole decided that she HAD to do a first-look, even though she swore up and down that she didn’t want to do one. Alas, the nerves set in, and so we schemed a way to surprise Ian with this first look.

Here was the plan: we hide Nicole in Chris’ (the officiant) bathroom – we’ll bring Ian into the room and out onto the balcony to do his solo portraits. Then, when he’s least expecting it, we’ll bring out Nicole. Perfect.

IMG_3024.jpgWe all had to try VERY hard not to cry during this moment. Nicole made the most beautiful bride, and the shock and adoration on Ian’s face was just the most precious thing. Seriously, where are the tissues??  We had to move quick to get to Valley of Fire after the first look because we were losing light quick, and we could see storm clouds rolling in. Of course, I jinxed us and said “oh it barely rains in Nevada, we should be fine”……… learn from me, and maybe keep your mouth shut and hope for the best if you see storm clouds.  We get to Valley of Fire, and the wind is VICIOUS. Like whipping sand at us, freezing cold, kinda vicious. But Ian & Nicole were just absolute badasses the whole way through. They had a super small and quick ceremony, which left us just enough time to take portraits… for like 20 mins. The storm was HERE and the rain had started just as the ceremony ended. IMG_3123.jpgCue up Iconic by Alanis Morissette, but everyone I’ve talked to says that rain on your wedding day is good luck. This is easily one of those elopements that I will hold close to my heart forever – between the sweet moments along the way, seeing a good friend take on this new role as a bride, and this dream location, everything was perfectly imperfect. If you’re thinking of eloping, I say DO IT!!! I will help you plan, help you get permits, and everything in between. The intimacy, lack of stress (both planning wise and financially), and freedom that an elopement allows for is something you can’t get with a traditional wedding – with COVID, they’re perfect for staying within gathering restrictions and social distancing guides. If you have any questions, or are on the fence about eloping, reach out to me & let’s chat about your dream wedding!