Sunrise Self-Uniting Ceremony in the Rocky Mountains

Sunrise Self-Uniting Ceremony in the Rocky Mountains

Monifa and Wyatt ditched the small wedding idea and opted for an adventure elopement in the mountains instead. This self-uniting ceremony in the Rocky Mountains is the inspiration you need to plan your elopement in Colorado.

“These two wanted to adventure somewhere private in the Rocky Mountains. Where they could hike to get away from it all. They loved the idea of eloping at sunrise before the rest of the world wakes up. We eventually decided on having their ceremony on one of my favorite hiking trails on a mountain pass right outside of Aspen, and oh my goodness, the day could not have been more perfect.” [Sheena]

Get all the details from the self-uniting ceremony and what you need to know when planning to elope in Colorado. Already know where you want to elope? Team up with one of our elopement vendors to get started.

Details From This Elopement

This self-uniting marriage ceremony in the Rocky Mountain is pretty epic if you ask us. They shared their vows at 12,000 ft with picturesque mountains towering behind them and no one but their photographer around them. How epic is that?

After their romantic ceremony, just look at the gorgeous light as they exchanged vows, they ran around the mountains together and celebrated with a picnic and champagne. After coming down from their hiking adventure, they explored a mountain pass, making stops along the way including running down the middle of the road and getting into the lake in their wedding attire.

Self-Uniting Ceremony in The Rocky Mountains

One of the coolest perks about eloping in Colorado is you can plan a self-uniting ceremony, which essentially means you can marry yourself. This perk is awesome for couples who want to have an intimate elopement experience because there’s no need for an officiant or witness(es) to be present.

“I personally love these types of ceremonies because they allow for the most intimate and private ceremony you could possibly have. As someone who also eloped, I know how nerve-wracking the process of writing and sharing your vows can be. There’s this constant awareness about a room full of people hearing your thoughts and feelings. It can honestly be a bit scary. But these types of weddings essentially take away that fear. They put the focus back on you as a couple and how you feel about each other, which is just about the greatest gift you could have on your wedding day.” [Sheena]

Check out our guide on eloping in the Rocky Mountains.

Top 3 Tips Eloping In Colorado

When you’re planning an elopement, especially in the alpine tundra in Colorado, you want to be aware of a few things. Here are the photographer’s top 3 tips:

Understand the Weather Patterns and be Prepared

This particular location was 12,000 ft in elevation, which can be a dangerous place if a storm is coming. Lightning storms in the summertime afternoons are common, so Sheena recommends eloping during sunrise for the added safety and privacy. Team up with a professional in the area, so you’re prepared to hike in the dark safely before the sun rises.

Colorado’s Seasons are Unlike Most Places in the US

Many higher altitude locations and mountain passes are closed during winter and spring in Colorado. If you have a particular vision for your elopement, prepare ahead of time with your elopement team. If you’re eloping in high elevations prepare for cold temperatures in the morning and evenings (even during the summer), Sheena recommends bringing layers, along with hand and toe warmers.

Not Every Trial can Accommodate Larger Groups

A lot of people who decide to elope plan on eloping just the two of them or bringing a few guests. It’s important to talk about the importance of group size because “adventure weddings” are becoming more popular. If you want to have more people present during your ceremony, pick a location that can accommodate your group size. Keep in mind you don’t want to impact the terrain and environment of the trail.

“I tend to recommend reserving a designated ceremony site when you get to group sizes greater than 10 people. You have to think about where everyone can stand. Is there a good site for a ceremony? Is it possible to fit everyone while standing on stable surfaces or on-trail? Will my photographer have space to move around and still be able to capture those epic shots of my ceremony? These are all good questions to think about.” [Sheena]

Check out more tips when planning your elopement in Colorado.

Planning Your Elopement

Monifa and Wyatt planned their elopement in less than a month. Sheena tells us they were both up for anything, and this is what made their elopement so much fun!

“I think that’s one of the coolest things about elopements. Since they’re truly customized to you, you don’t really have to spend a set amount of time planning things. Some locations require reserving permits months in advance (like many national parks) and other locations might not need them at all. Some couples want to have a few vendors present during their day or want to incorporate activities that book up months in advance. Those couples probably need to have more time in the planning process than others. But the truth is, the time you spend planning all really varies on what you and your partner envision your elopement day looking like. With elopements, you get to craft your own unique journey, and that’s exactly what Monifa and Wyatt did.” [Sheena]

Check out our guide on how to elope to start planning your adventure. 

Memorable Moments During This Elopement

Sheena tells us this elopement was really amazing, and there are 3 memorable moments that really stuck with her. The first being the hike in the dark to their ceremony site in the cold alpine tundra, their self-uniting wedding ceremony, and when they got into a nearby lake at the end of their adventure.

“It goes without saying, but their ceremony was probably my absolute favorite part of the day, though. They chose to have their ceremony as the light began to glow out from behind the Rockies and listening to these two share their story and their vows basically had me in an emotional puddle. It’s crazy how I can witness so many ceremonies in this line of work, but every single one manages to have its own unique and beautiful touch that leaves me walking away being in awe of what an incredible experience love can be.” [Sheena]

Should You Elope?

Sheena admits that her elopement story inspired her to transition from photographing larger weddings to elopements. They both chose to elope during a time when eloping wasn’t as popular. Despite this, Sheena and her husband’s elopement decision has made her love her job more and more every day.

“For Monifa and Wyatt, eloping was the perfect way for them to take back their wedding day and get married in a way that felt true and honest to them. Their day, rather than feeling like a stale list of traditions, embodied their sense of adventure. They had the chance to be honest and open with their vows, knowing it was just the two of them present to hear them. They knew that, by eloping, they were able to craft a day that set the stage for the rest of their lives together.” [Sheena]

Are you thinking about eloping? Sheena wants to remind you…“If you choose to elope, you might come across people who might not be in love with your decision at first. But at the end of the day, if someone cares about you and your experience, they will understand that there is nothing more incredible than having a wedding day that feels right to you…”

Check out our top tips when announcing your elopement


Photography |Sheena Shahangian Photography LLC

Dress | Martin Thornburg Adele Dress

Bride’s Crown | Judy and Madeleine

Bride’s Shoes | Columbia hiking boots

Photos From This Self-Uniting Ceremony in The Rocky Mountains


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