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Wondrous Elopement at Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO | Mandy & Corey

great sand dunes national park colorado winter elopement wedding

Husband and wife Nate and Megan Kantor are the creatives behind Cedar & Pines. Together they form an adventurous photography team that specializes in taking intimate weddings and elopements to the next level. “It’s one thing to go to an epic place and take your photos and leave,” Megan says, “but it’s another to let the environment truly sink in and have a real experience aside from taking photos.” For this elopement, Cedar & Pines worked with couple Mandy and Corey to create a truly breathtaking day.

“Creatively, this elopement was so inspiring,” Megan recalls. “When Mandy and Corey originally reached out, they asked for location recommendations in Colorado, and when they told me their favorite place they’d been to was Joshua Tree, I knew exactly where to recommend for their ceremony. Great Sand Dunes has that same mind-blowing, vast desert feel that Joshua Tree has. It’s a place that truly makes you feel small and awestruck by the crazy formations. As photographers, Nate and I are often inspired by movement and light, so the overcast weather, soft light, and the breeze in Mandy’s dress [were] all so exciting for us. There were several points in the day where I just had to stand back and take it all in.”

The bride and groom enjoyed a unique first-look experience, donning hiking books and crampons that allowed them to enjoy a pre-wedding trek to a frozen waterfall. Megan shares, “It was magical because in addition to seeing each other for the first time, they were seeing this crazy geological formation too… Being in a place as huge and awe-inspiring [as] that really gives perspective and makes you feel the weight of all the day means.” This emotional experience was followed by an intimate ceremony at Great Sand Dunes National Park and exploration of the vast landscape as the sun set in the distance. “It only seems fitting to start an adventure as big as marriage with a real adventure in the outdoors,” Megan says. “I don’t care about having the ‘epic shots’. I shoot in places like this because they have such a deep effect on my very core… learn about the local plants, the weather patterns, the rules and regulations, and how to give back… don’t let these places just be tokens in your portfolio or Instagram. They are so much more than that.”

Photography by Cedar & Pines


“We are big adventure seekers and have always done things to the beat of our own drum, both individually and as a couple. We dated for 10 years before we got married, and we just wanted it to be the most epic adventure yet. What better way to do that than run away to a place you’ve never been and confess your love to one another?!”



“Megan and Nate, our photographers, actually picked it for us! We were emailing back and forth just getting to know each other, and we got to talking about how we love camping and going to national parks. I told them my favorite park so far has been Joshua Tree, and instantly they knew the spot for us. They sent a picture of a styled shoot they did at Great Sand Dunes National Park, and I kid you not, as soon as a saw it I started crying. I was so in love with the colors and the unique landscape… As soon as I was able to show [Corey], he knew it was the place too.”



“We actually really lucked [out] by finding Megan and Nate. I can’t begin to express how awesome they were. They basically planned everything for us! Corey proposed February 3rd and on March 11th we were married. Megan and Nate picked our location, gave us recommendations on places to stay, who to use for my bouquet, and even planned out the first look for us! All we had to do was book our flights and find an officiant… All in all, it was very effortless, which assured us even more we made the right decision in eloping.”


Florals | Rancho Verde Flowers
Bridal Designer | Chic Nostalgia 
Bridal Boutique | It’s a Date Formals
Boots | Danner
Jewelry | Montgomery’s Jewelry
Officiants | Reverends Steven & J.R. Miller
Pre-Ceremony Venue | Surf Chateau

Thank you to Cedar & Pines for sharing this session, and congratulations to Mandy + Corey!

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