January 6, 2020

A Mountain Top Elopement with the Moon And The Most Beautiful Backdrop

I rarely see couples brave enough to get married at night, but I think I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen elopements do it. This amazing elopement has had me drooling since I saw the first few photos of it. I love how beautiful the entire setup was and that they did something so unique as to get married at night with the moon as their backdrop. Check out the rest of the photos by Jessica Rasmussen and fall in love with the beauty of them.

From The Couple

What was the most important thing to you while planning?

The most important thing for me to do while planning was to find the perfect person to capture the story of our elopement because that was going to be how we shared our wedding day with everyone who would have been guests, traditionally. I wanted someone with a keen artistic eye, but was able to capture authentic moments, Jessica was the perfect fit.

How did you find your vendors?

Finding a photographer with less than 6 weeks notice with the requirements of hiking almost 3 miles one way, up the sand dunes, & all after sunset was challenging to say the least. I contacted multiple photographers & all were interested, but none were available. I was led to Jessica Max Photography through the professional wedding photography community. After talking with several photography businesses, the name Jessica Max was deemed the best choice for professional pictures on the Michigan sand dunes & lakeshore. The camaraderie & support within this professional community was very apparent when all of the places I called were booked, each person gave me the name of another person who might be available. Our officiant & his wife are very close friends who excitedly agreed, the date fell on their anniversary & they said there was no better way to celebrate their marriage than officiating ours.

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What creative touches did you use throughout your wedding?

The venue was very significant to us, because it was the same spot where we went on our first date, & later shared our first kiss. This location overlooks North Manitou, which is where Hunter (my husband) proposed. As far as creative touches, there was a lot of uniqueness in our entire day, our 3 dogs had the duty of being the bridal party, & they did a great job (even the one who got caught napping!). My bouquet was wrapped with Spanish lace which was passed down by my great grandmother who immigrated here from Mexico. I had to continuously remind myself not to go too crazy on decorative pieces because we had to hike it all out to our location, in the end I was very happy with my romantic yet minimalistic approach.

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Did you forego any of the traditional aspects of weddings?

 As most other couples, we wanted our ceremony to be unique while representing our relationship. Inspired by one of our favorite films, Braveheart, we agreed that there was nothing more romantic than a secret moonlit wedding ceremony. We thought that eloping would be a fun & intimate way to share our love & say our vows. Hiking was really how we met & that has been our hobby, so it seemed fitting that we would hike on our wedding day to the location of our first date.

What was your favorite part of the day?

There were so many special parts of our wedding day, it is hard to decide on a single moment. The weather that day started out just awful, it was a thunderstorm for most of the day & when we realized that it simply was not letting up we just kind of laughed & said “Well, if it rains, we get married in the rain,”. As soon as we got out to the location the rain stopped & the sun came out, it was perfect. Later on we were so worried that the clouds would cover the moon, but when the moon came out, it was just huge & bright & absolutely spectacular. I think my absolute favorite part was being able to celebrate new love & also love that has lasted with my officiant & his wife on their anniversary. There are so many small beautiful moments that are overlooked or not properly cherished because of the stress & worry that comes with a traditional wedding, & we really just wanted to share our love & celebrate a new beginning with each other & it was really special, I wouldn’t change a second of that day.

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From the Photographer

How did you prepare your clients for your style of shooting?

I had the opportunity to have lunch with both Mariha & Hunter twice prior to their elopement, and we talked at length about our visions, about what type of work I photographed, and my approach and style. We had very similar thoughts!

What techniques did you use that were out of the norm?

We hiked about 3 miles out through forest, on a small trail, and up over super steep sand dunes. I also photographed with strictly natural/available light, and it took place and sunset & under the moonlight. So beautiful and so fun.

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