An Authentic Sun Valley Elopement

Unique traditions and genuine love were defining aspects of this breathtaking Sun Valley Elopement.

In August, I had the opportunity to capture Andrew and Vivien’s gorgeous Sun Valley elopement. I left this elopement inspired by the beautiful Sun Valley sunsets and a warm heart from this couple’s family-focused elopement ceremony.

Bride and groom hug looking over a mountain landscape with their backs to the camera during their Sun Valley elopement.

Personalized Traditions

Andrew and Vivien had chosen a ceremony location for their Sun Valley elopement that provided an incredible view of the dynamic Boulder Mountains. Family was an important part of this elopement celebration. Andrew’s 92-year-old grandma made the trek to attend their ceremony and acted as a witness on their marriage licence. The couple also included their dog Bolt, who looked and acted exactly like the cartoon character from the movie Bolt. 

Eloping couple includes their dog in their elopement by making him a flower collar and taking photos with him at sunset.

When it came time for their ceremony, Vivien’s mother and father walked her down the aisle, followed by Andrew, arm in arm with his parents. Both mothers officiated the wedding and told stories about the couple in a beautiful display of combining two families into one.

Mother and father walk their daughter down the aisle at her Sun Valley elopement. They are walking arm-in-arm and across a clearing and there are mountains behind them. Family and friends are seated to the side of the photo and the groom is standing in front.
Family members perform a ring warming ritual during an elopement ceremony.

The couple included a ring warming ceremony in their celebration, an Irish tradition where wedding rings are passed around to those in attendance, so each individual can put their warm wishes directly into the rings. Then, the rings were exchanged, along with handwritten vows.

A Leave No Trace Sun Valley Elopement

The ceremony ended with a champagne toast – and rose petals were thrown to celebrate the new couple. As an elopement photographer that gets to experience some of the most awesome outdoor locations, Leave No Trace (LNT) principles are an important part of my job. To leave the ceremony location exactly how we found it, we picked up the rose petals before leaving the site, and continued to keep LNT principles at the forefront of our outdoor elopement adventure.

Family members throw rose petals as a couple exits their elopement ceremony in Sun Valley, Idaho. To follow Leave No Trace, all the rose petals were picked up afterward.

After the ceremony, Andrew, Vivien, and I loaded up the car and drove twenty minutes down the mountain to an open meadow with a fresh view. We spent sunset taking photos that featured the warm alpenglow the Boulder Mountains get just before sunset.

Bride holds a bouquet of dried strawflowers and is wearing a cream colored wedding dress.

Authentic Love at a Sun Valley Elopement

One of my favorite things about photographing elopements is having the opportunity to learn more about the couple, how they met, and the bond they share. I have all of my couples fill out a questionnaire before their elopement day. The stories and sweet moments each couple shares on the questionnaire become conversation starters that I use to help them connect on a deeper level during their photos. 

Bride and groom dance during their Sun Valley elopement. The couple is dancing in a meadow and the setting sun is casting a yellow alpenglow on the mountains behind them.
Bride and groom exchange a quiet moment in a mountain meadow during their Sun Valley elopement.

Andrew and Vivien’s photos in the meadow are examples of a genuine and authentic connection captured on film. As we snapped photos with the epic mountain backdrop and sinking sun, we talked about places they had been and their engagement story. The joy and closeness they shared created intimate moments that fit beautifully into the sunset-warmed mountains. Images and moments like these are why I believe elopements are the most authentic way to get married