McKenzi and Matt are two of my dearest friends in Las Vegas. She happens to be an amazing wedding photographer and owner of Taylored Photo Memories. We met years ago at a wedding networking event and bonded over our love of photography, travel, nature and good beer. When she asked me to do a couple’s portrait session, I was happy to oblige, but the night before the shoot she gave me the full story – they were planning a secret elopement! The location was in the desert, and it’s one of the first places they ever visited together in Las Vegas. The two are avid rock climbers and lovers of the outdoors, so when they told me it would be a little hike, I knew to come prepared for a jaunt through the desert. Matt surprised his bride with a handmade wildflower and succulent bouquet, using flowers found in the desert. We hiked to a beautiful meadow and our friend Angie, owner of Peachy Keen Unions, performed a touching, intimate ceremony with just the two of them. The sun was setting behind the mountains, glowing light surrounded them, and the only sound was the breeze blowing through the trees.
McKenzi looked absolutely stunning with a bohemian white dress and hair and makeup by Smooth Brides. Their simple, matching rings were handmade by Cassondra Long, a friend of the couple who makes beautiful jewelry. Eventually, the couple hopes to learn the art of jewelry making and design rings for each other. After their ceremony, we did portraits in the desert and then the two opened a bottle of craft beer from The Bruery. It was another of Matt’s surprises – this was the first beer McKenzi bought for him when they lived in Orange County together. I thought it was fitting that the beer was called Mischief, seeing as how they were secretly eloping in the wilderness. The two shared a dusk first dance to “Free/Into the Mystic” by Zac Brown Band. This was truly the most romantic, genuine, and laughter filled elopement I’ve ever had the change to photograph, and it’s even more of a treasure because I got to be there with two of my closest friends. Happy tears. 🙂