Mountain Bliss: Emily and Clay’s Buena Vista Elopement Adventure
Nestled in the heart of Colorado, Buena Vista is more than just a mountain town—it’s a haven for adventurers seeking the perfect blend of rugged landscapes and untamed beauty. For Emily and Clay, this hidden gem became the backdrop for their intimate elopement and the unique bond they share. Get all the details from their day below.
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A Love Born in the Mountains of Buena Vista
Emily and Clay’s love story unfolded against the stunning backdrop of Buena Vista, Colorado. Having relocated from Michigan to the Centennial State, they discovered a special connection to this quaint mountain town. When Clay decided to propose, he went the extra mile—literally. Weekends were spent mining for a local Topaz stone, a symbol of their love and connection to Buena Vista.
“Emily and Clay’s elopement started out with a first look in Buena Vista’s rock tunnels, where Clay waited at the end of the tunnel for Emily. Their day then took them to a local favorite – Buena Vista Coffee Roasters before heading out on their alpine lake hike. The hike had every weather element – from fog, rain, wind, and then finally… when reaching the bright blue basin – sunshine broke through as they read their vows to one another and exchanged rings.
Emily and Clay’s day ended with an off roading adventure to a remote campsite that overlooked the Collegiate Peaks. They tailgated with family and friends who made the trip out to Colorado to celebrate, and had a second ceremony where everyone gathered in their camp chairs as Emily and Clay emerged from a camping tent, and walked down the isle. Everyone then watched the sunset over the mountain range as they popped champagne, and all headed back in their assortment of Jeeps, X-terras, and 4-Runners.” [Sydney, the photographer]
Off-Road Extravaganza: A Remote Campsite Celebration
Even though no permits were needed, Sydney shares what you need to know about this elopement location:
- All garbage associated with the elopement must be picked up and removed. Any and all fire restrictions require full compliance. Introduction of non-native species is prohibited and is not limited to – rose pedals, bird seed, rice, etc.
- Sparklers, bubbles, plastic or fake spreadable flowers, confetti, and any other spreadable non-native, long lasting, or potential fire hazard is prohibited. If planning on having guests, please ensure they are following these rules.
- Hire a location-specific photographer! The area is not well known to most couples coming from out of state to elope, so you will need someone that knows the area well in order to visit secluded alpine lakes and hidden spots.
- Most of the hiking (this lake included) is located on the mountain pass, so be aware of high altitude especially if you are coming from out of state – plan on arriving early and bringing lots of extra water.
Deciding to Elope
“Clay and I have always been a little less traditional and more go-with-what feels-good-for-us. When we met, our attraction to each other stemmed and grew from our love of the outdoors, adventure and the possibility of a life-long future together. When we got engaged (after 10 years!), we both knew that we wanted to celebrate by being surrounded by the beauty of Colorado we fell in love with but also something that wasn’t showy or over the top. Eloping with our close friends and family was the right way to go for us!
Buena Vista, CO in the Arkansas Valley holds a very special place in our hearts. We knew that finding the perfect spot that overlooked the valley and the mountains to begin our martial journey was going to be difficult, but with how many *perfect* spots there are, it was harder than expected! So, to make it a little easier for us, we picked a short hike to a lake for our own Vow-exchange and then another location for our mini-ceremony.” [Emily, the bride]
“Wanting to invest the money in the best way, we deprioritized attire ($1k total for both our outfits), nixed physical wedding invites/favors, I did my own hair and makeup, we stayed at a modest AirBnb, only served cupcakes and champagne at the reception, had everyone bring their own camp chairs, created my own aisle décor, and on top of that, since we found our ‘spot’ on public land the venue was free within the parameters of # of attendees. That being said, we wanted to be sure to capture the day as best as possible, so we knew we had to invest in the best photographer, and Sydney was just that. In total, we spent around $6k for everything related to an entire weekend of joy, love, and friendship.” [Emily, the bride]
Memorable Moments During This Elopement
From the photographer:
“Something about having this entire lake to ourselves & the sun peeking out during their vows after an afternoon of fog made this day as close to perfect as they come. The entire hike to the lake was filled with fog and short rainstorms, but by some stroke of luck – right as Emily and Clay started reading their vows the sun came out and warmed the entire basin. Their vows were filled with 10 years of emotion, excitement, and promises to one another. Their bond ran deep, and their love for one another was so apparent throughout the day.
Off Roading Ceremony With Friends – Emily and Clay were friends with some of the most down to earth, and coolest people I’ve ever met. For reference, they asked 15-20 of their closest friends to rent high clearance vehicles, and off road for over an hour to their ceremony location, which was just a pin drop in the middle of some aspens and mountain views. And to my surprise, everyone made it without complaints, and were waiting for Emily and Clay’s arrival with craft beers in hand. They met their tight knit friend group back in Michigan before moving out to Colorado – everyone had remained close, and made the trip to Buena Vista to help celebrate with their camping chairs.”
From the couple:
“From the very start of the day, we coordinated with Sydney on the where-and-when details to get the most impressive getting-ready shots and first-looks. After, we hiked up through the chilly wind and rain to our Vow-exchange location, where the sun finally came out to warm us as we said our forevers. The absolute best part was with the variable weather, no one else was on the trail or at the lake. All these reasons just compounded into the perfect day for *us* – we spent the day doing what we love, where we love, celebrating our love both alone and with immediate family and close friends.”
Photos From This Elopement