A Self-Solemnized Elopement in a Red Dress in Colorado

No pomp and circumstance

Laura, Editor & Mark, Hair Stylist

One sentence sum-up of the wedding vibe: A magical evening elopement during the peak of autumn’s golden glory.

Soundtrack for reading: “Bloom” by The Paper Kites

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We were planning to do a bigger celebration—big white dress and all—the following summer, but the whole time we were planning, it just never felt quite right. I find large groups of people pretty overwhelming, and Mark isn’t really into the whole “big wedding” spectacle (plus, they’re SO expensive!), so on a few levels, it just wasn’t a good fit for us as a couple. I was losing sleep and feeling stressed about all the planning details, even though it was still a year away. We already had picked a date and booked a venue, and the day I bought a poufy, white monstrosity—ahem—a traditional wedding dress and brought it home, something inside me was just like, NO! So we scratched those plans and decided to get married two weeks later, in one of our favorite hiking spots. And I bought a dress I actually loved. The month of September, Kenosha Pass can get pretty crowded with hikers in search of fall foliage, but we decided to go at sunset on a Monday, and it was completely private and peaceful.

Favorite Thing About The Wedding

I love that we were able to self-solemnize our wedding (one of the many perks of living in Colorado), which means that we didn’t need an officiant to conduct the ceremony. We were able to make our ceremony truly ours, with no pomp and circumstance—just heartfelt expressions of love and sincere promises to each other.


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  • KM

    oh.my.goodness. this is just so gorgeous!

  • AGCourtney

    I love that dress! And what a beautiful place to be married in. Good for you for being true to yourselves; it can be tough but I think it was definitely worth it for you guys.

  • That dress. I die.

  • vegankitchendiaries

    Good grief, my heart seems to be lodged in my throat! Bloody breathtaking.

  • Sara P

    Kenosha Pass!! So beautiful :). Congratulations!

  • MABP

    So beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

  • Hi. Can we be friends?

  • OMG! This is so beautiful! All of it. The dress/couple/fall leaves/photos. (The black & white closeup is the cutest thing that’s ever happened to my computer screen.)

    • Aubry

      I came here to say the same thing about that black and white photo. it is everything good in the world.

  • Sheila

    Jesus. This is everything.

  • SJ

    I’m thoroughly certain this is the wedding of my (introverted yet slightly dramatic) dreams. Congratulations!

  • Emily

    This is probably the most beautiful wedding I have seen on this site. The dress and the LOVE and the scenery!!!!!!!!

  • Rosie

    Thank you so much for sharing, such gorgeous pictures! Also, very pleased to see the type of beer listed in the info :)

  • Lawyerette510

    Red dress? Pixie cut bride and gorgeous locks on the groom? Amazing bouquet? Autumn leaves?AGGGGHGHHHHHH!!!! This is so fantastic!

  • jashshea

    GAH. Sexy red dress. Gorgeous flowers. Scenery off the charts. You guys are SO DAMN gorgeous. Love it all.

  • AmandaT

    This is so amazing and personal and breath taking. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Alice

    Lovely dress and really beautiful photographs as well!

  • Alison O


  • Oh man. Stunning!

  • Lisa

    What spectacular photography! All of the pictures are absolutely gorgeous. And I cannot get over your bouquet!

  • KJS


  • This makes me want to move to Colorado + Love the hue of that red dress.

  • Ashley Peterson

    STUNNER. The setting, the self-solemnization, the photos, all of it.

  • Heather

    This is all so wonderful, and the beer you’re sharing has got to be the very most appropriately named beer for this occasion: Lips of Faith Le Terroir. Love it.

  • KateS

    HOLY GORGEOUS. everything. just everything about this is incredible. i especially love the “hey, we just got hitched!” faces on you two/thumbs up after the vows.
    beautiful soundtrack song too, btw!

  • Amanda L

    I’m speechless at the beauty and meaning conveyed in these pictures. You’re gorgeous, you and your DH are picture-perfect, and the love radiates off the screen. Congratulations!!

  • Allison

    I just… I mean… *sigh* ..perfect.

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  • Goddamn it if this is the most perfect thing I have ever seen. I don’t think I’ve cried just from seeing the pictures before. Congratulations you guys, all the best for a happy marriage.

  • clairekfromtheuk

    Holy crap, this is awesome. that is all.

  • Erin E

    This looks so beautiful and so amazing! I have a logistics question, though, that I hope the OP won’t mind: were you able to feel “private” with a photographer there? How did that work… did you all drive/hike to that spot together and was that at all awkward? Did you mind having that person there during your vows to each other? I considered an elopement myself and had a hard time figuring out whether we’d have a photographer or not (and what, to us, constitutes “private”), so I’m just wondering how you handled that aspect!

    • Laura Mier

      That’s a great question, and it’s something I thought about quite a bit beforehand. We drove separately and just met at the trailhead, where we hiked up together. (It was about a 15 minute walk.) Before our “big day,” I met with the photographer and discussed wanting to have some privacy during our actual ceremony, and she was totally understanding. For our vows, she backed away from us quite a bit (you can see in some of the pictures how she’s farther away), and in some shots, she zoomed in closer. That way, it felt like just the two of us, but we still got some great shots. :)

      • Erin E

        Gotcha! That’s great – and it sounds like you had a very cool photographer (who obviously did a lovely job). Thanks for expounding on that process!

  • Sarah

    I think this might be the most beautiful wedding I’v seen on APW. I’m speechless.

  • Kelsey

    I feel like I just want to say ‘wow’ like 87 million times. Thank you for sharing this!

  • THIS is incredible, YOU are beautiful, and I am SO HAPPY that you did it your way. Thank you for introducing me to self-solemnization in CO, I always thought something like it was very much missing in CA.

  • amy

    I can’t tell you how much I love this!
    Self – solemnizing is a truly wonderful, sacred thing.

  • Hi,

    Red is perfect for wedding. Here comes perfect wedding dress ideas at http://madtungsten.com/tungsten-rings-us-blog2/choose-perfect-wedding-dress-madtungsten/

  • Wow! Love that red dress! Breathtaking images! What a gorgeous wedding!

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