Great Sand Dunes Elopement
Photography: Sheena Shahangian Photography LLC
Jared and I met as toddlers. Growing up in a small town our families knew each other before either of us were even born. Our story begins with play dates and birthday parties when we were little and grew into a close friendship as we got older. Our friendship grew and lasted through middle school, high school, college, and moved to opposite sides of the country. After seven years of Jared living in Dallas, and me living in New York, some big life changes brought the two of us face to face again and we realized we wanted to be together.
Jared proposed in our hometown, Ludington, MI, on December 28, 2019. He asked me to join him outside his parent’s house for a surprise, and when we walked through the woods there were photos of us together from when we were kids all the way through our thirties scattered along the path and strung up throughout the pine trees. When we arrived at the end of the photos, he proposed. Little did I know, he had a photographer hiding in the bushes to capture the whole thing.
Another Amsale dress with a similar back initially caught my eye and was a front-runner in my dress search. While I was still deciding what to do, I went shopping with my mom and spotted the Audrey gown at Nordstrom, Dallas, TX. It was the only one available, and it was in my size. I tried it on just to show her what the back of the other dress would look like, and I ended up loving this dress even more. I was so lucky to have found this dress, as our wedding was only a month away. It was perfect.
Our wedding was at Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. We decided to get married in Colorado because not only is it stunningly beautiful, but it is also one of few states that offers the option to legally marry with only the two of us present. We loved the idea of a small intimate ceremony where we could focus entirely on our commitment to each other. Jared and I also love an adventure and hiking to our wedding in the dunes surrounded by the mountains offered us just that.
My advice to future brides/grooms is to plan the wedding that feels right for you and your partner. Get creative with it, and whether you have a traditional wedding with a ton of people, or you hike up a sand dune in a wedding dress with just the two of you, make sure your day represents your relationship and what is important to both of you.
How did your wedding plans change due to COVID-19?
We didn’t start planning our wedding until the summer of 2020, so we knew going into it we would need to get creative. We always liked the idea of a small wedding, so a Colorado elopement was a perfect fit for us. Due to COVID, we decided to have a private ceremony without any guests, and we hope to plan a celebration of some sort in the future with our family and friends.