English sweethearts Stacey and Joe turned their nuptials into the ultimate road trip adventure.
The couple left the heart of England for a three-week holiday touring the American west and its natural wonders. They had a true adventure elopement in the Arizona desert, saying “I do” in the midst of a storm. “In the UK, you cannot actually have a ceremony outside,” photographer Amy Painter shares. “You have to be married inside a building that has been ordained, thus the couple wanted to do something a little different for their wedding… They thought it was amazing that a couple could get married anywhere they wanted.”
Though Mother Nature prevented plans for a sunrise wedding, Amy was able to skillfully adjust their schedule and fulfill the couple’s hopes for a Lake Powell ceremony. The group then travelled to Horseshoe Bend where the newlyweds enjoyed their first sunset as husband and wife. The next day, Stacey happily donned her wedding dress once more, and the couple spent the day amongst Arizona’s iconic slot canyons, each moment flawlessly captured by their photographer. “It was relaxed, adventurous, and fun!” Amy recalls. “They kept things simple and focused on having fun which I think every couple should do. There is no perfect wedding, but there is a perfect way to celebrate your unique love, whether that [be] a large traditional wedding or eloping on vacation. Everyone can have their dream wedding.”
Photography by Amy Bluestar Photography
CHOOSING AN ELOPEMENT:
“When we first started wedding planning, we made a list of our wants and do not wants. From that, it became clear [that] we wanted a party and a road trip, not [a] formal wedding. We’re also not a couple who enjoys being the center of attention, and we wouldn’t have felt comfortable saying our vows in front of our family and friends… eloping made perfect sense.
We could combine it whilst on a three-week road trip, have the ceremony outside, write our own vows, and explore the local area without the pressure of pleasing family and friends. The added bonus was we could throw a party back home in Sheffield with food, drink, and a band to make sure we celebrated with all the wonderful people in our lives but with none of the pressure… Despite having two photographers, a party, wedding dress, flights, car hire, and accommodation for three weeks, it was still cheaper than the usual formal wedding!”
[Joe, The Groom]
CHOOSING AN ELOPEMENT LOCATION:
“Picking a location was difficult, mostly because we were doing a three-week road trip and visiting a lot of amazing places. We picked Lake Powell on the basis that it looked incredible in the photos, [and] it’s a landscape we don’t have in the UK… The only unforeseen problem I guess was when we left Monument Valley to come over to Lake Powell, we witnessed quite the desert storm which followed us all the way to Page and meant we didn’t quite get the expected sunrise ceremony, but the beauty of eloping is that it didn’t matter… The weather did mean that our slot canyon [session] was rearranged to the next day, but again, because Amy was dealing with all that, we didn’t feel stressed about it!”
PLANNING AN ELOPEMENT:
“Given that we do not live in the US and we’d never been to Lake Powell previously, we thought it would be a bit of a nightmare. Actually what we found was that Google is super helpful, and once we picked Amy as our photographer, she did most of the leg work in terms of permits for the locations, location scouting, and recommending our officiant… We simply needed to remember to bring wedding rings, get dressed, and arrive on time. It’s fairly easy when the only people you need to worry about are each other. We stayed in an Airbnb to make getting ready easier. We got ready together, drove to Lake Powell in our rented Mustang, played music, and got married… Don’t try and book a cheap photographer, pick one that you feel comfortable with on Skype, that is experienced, and helps plan your day! Amy definitely doubled up as our wedding planner.“
THE ELOPEMENT EXPERIENCE:
“Shortly after our vows, we were minding our own business, and a coyote crashed the wedding photos – a pretty cool thing to report back to family and friends who were waiting to hear how the day went… If you want to elope, do it! It’s cheaper, stress-free, and it means you get to spend your entire wedding day just focused on each other, which is the entire reason you’re getting married! It’s nice to know that you’ve started married life without the pressure of pleasing anyone except each other.”
Thank you to Amy Painter for sharing this session, and congratulations to Stacey + Joe!