Mariah & Lance’s Hoosier Pass elopement was one of my absolute favorites, largely because of all the things they did to make the day truly what they wanted. First of all, it was technically *two days*. Like many couples, they struggled with the decision to have either a small elopement or a large wedding. They are both avid hikers and feel most at home in the mountains. But they also have tons of friends and family that they couldn’t imagine not including. So the compromise was to have a small, sunrise ceremony on Thursday and then a more traditional reception on Saturday. They chose Hoosier Pass because you literally feel on top of the world up there, but there is also a (rather precarious) road to the top, so Lance’s grandmother could be driven. While she waited for us up top, the rest of us began the hike as the sun rose.
Now, I’ve lived in Colorado and Wyoming most of my life. I consider myself no stranger to altitude. Perhaps it was the early start time or the vast amounts of caffeine, but I struggled a bit almost as soon as we left the parking area. They were super nice about it and Mariah’s mom even insisted I take half of her muffin. I don’t know if muffins are a scientific cure to altitude sickness, but it did make me feel better! Point is: even if you think you’re adjusted to high altitude, give yourself a little extra time and patience when planning a hike like this. You never know how you’ll feel on any given day.
After my legs got a little less wobbly, we made it to the top just in time for some perfect morning light. Their ceremony was short, but super meaningful. Mariah and Lance said their vows at the top of Hoosier Pass with about a dozen of their closest friends and family watching.
We took a few family photos with those brave enough to get up at four in the morning. Then a champagne and truffle break before heading back down the mountain, stopping for portraits along the way. As we began the descent, we started passing more and more hikers on their way up. I became increasingly happy that everyone had agreed to get up so early. We had the entire mountain-top to ourselves!
After the Hoosier Pass elopement, the second part of their wedding was in Manitou Springs.
Since the “official” wedding details had been taken care of already, Mariah and Lance were able to really relax on Saturday. Plus, Mariah had a reason to wear her dress a second time! I’m all about squeezing value out of things. We took a quick stroll through the Penny Arcades nearby before heading to the reception. Guests had fun with giant Jenga and a Nerf war. Then the usual cake, dancing, and drinking you might expect. A fun bonus was that Lance and Mariah brought their laptop and hooked it to a TV. Since we had two days in between, I was able to edit a quick slideshow from their ceremony for the other hundred people to view. It was a great way for the rest of their guests to experience their intimate ceremony!
I truly loved the thought that Lance and Mariah put into their wedding. It was the perfect combination of the different elements that were important them. And an important lesson for everyone else: your wedding really can be whatever you want it to be!