There are some people in life who think over-caring is a bad thing. And hey, maybe in some respects they’re right, but when it comes to elopements, I don’t believe in doing anything less than putting my entire heart and soul into my couples and their elopement days. I truly, deeply care about your elopement. Your day is my priority. Because the way you treat people matters. And I’ve been in your shoes with my own elopement, too. I made this jump myself, and I know firsthand what you’re going through.
I’m Sheena, an elopement photographer based out of Fort Collins, CO. Camping, winding mountain roads, national park hopping, and the sound of dirt beneath my hiking boots are my love language. If you can’t tell, I’m an enneagram 2. If you ask me what my favorite part of this job is, I’d probably say it’s the joy I hear in my couples’ voices when they have that “aha moment” that they can have their wedding their way. That giddy, over-the-moon excitement? That’s my “why.”
I’ve been in your shoes, planning a large traditional wedding that didn’t feel like me…and then making the bold decision to plan an elopement in one of my favorite national parks instead. I know what it feels like to feel pressured to have a wedding that didn’t feel like my vibe. That’s why I’m here: to help you make that bold decision too and be there for you when you make that exciting jump. It can be scary to step away from tradition, and I don’t want you to have to go through it alone. I’ve got your back.
I’m not that photographer with the typical story about growing up and getting my first camera and being hooked. I’m actually the photographer who spent most of her childhood running away from people taking my picture.
Let’s just say that my dad is shutter-obsessed, and he tried documenting literally every aspect of our lives he could. And I just remember hating that with a passion. I get it now, sure. But what I understand even more is the perspective of the people who are nervous about a camera being near them. I get it, because that’s me too. And I promise, it doesn’t have to be awkward or uncomfortable. Take it from someone who now enjoys a good adventure photo session and who actually goes out of her way to document her life.
Photography is no doubt something I love and am passionate about, but the camera is not my everything. You wanna know what my core purpose really is? It’s you. It’s your experience. Your adventurous love story. Your determination to break from tradition and elope.
Personally, I don’t believe in photographing outdoors elopements simply for the beautiful views (although, I do love a good alpine lake or mountain overlook). And I don’t do it for the sake of being trendy. I do this because I know how special these outdoors spaces are for my couples. I believe in chasing that amazing feeling you get when you work your way up a trail in the Rockies in the dark to eventually see it magically light up when the sun hits the tips of the mountains at sunrise. And I do this so my couples can have that feeling on their day. I want you to experience THAT freedom during your elopement…not feel confined to some stale, indoor wedding venue.
Ya girl just can’t get enough of the outdoors. I’m a curiosity-chasing, mountain-hiking dork who’s pretty much always itching to plan my next camping trip. Favorite one so far? Our 22 hour trek from CO to Jasper up in Canada (with stops in Banff, Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Parks). Ask me about it, and I’ll pretty much talk your head off. An odometer with a crazy high number of miles on it is a badge of honor in my book, and trust me when I say that our car has earned that badge.
Life’s about finding the joy in the small things, because the small joys in life can add up to something great (confession: this is a lesson I’ve learned from watching my dog be amazed by all the little things in life). And this is the same mentality I apply to photographing my couples’ elopements: find joy in the little things you want, whether or not they follow traditions. Those small things? Those are the ones you will remember.
Oh man, y’all. The excitement of wandering down a dirt road in the mountains to a secluded hot spring after a long day in the sun? You just can’t beat it. It’s like tracking down little gold nuggets. Sometimes it seems like the outdoor world is becoming more and more popular. Trails are overpacked. Alpine lakes are getting crowded. And I LOVE that so many people are getting into the outdoors and enjoying it for how awesome it is. But when I want to get away from it all? I find myself a remove hot spring and watch the sun set. Nothing better. Especially when there’s a can of cider in my hand (shoutout to Stem Ciders, my absolute favorite local cidery).
I don’t just throw around the term “adventurous elopement photographer.” I make it a point of living that life. When I’m not shooting tiny mountain weddings, you can find me hiking the Rocky Mountains and the high desert with my husband Ed, and our pup Zari (scroll on down to the bottom if you’d like to see some photos of us in our element in the outdoors).
But beyond my love for the outdoors, I know what it’s like to feel like the wedding industry didn’t get me. I distinctly remember how crappy it felt when I kept getting told what my wedding day “should” look like, when all I wanted was a simple, adventurous day with a minimal guest list and maximum outdoors time. I literally spent a YEAR planning a large, traditional wedding I knew I didn’t want to have. And I spent most of that time dreading the whole process, until we finally took the dive and had the type of wedding we’d really been dreaming of: an elopement.
Ever since then, I told myself that I wouldn’t let any other couples feel the way I felt. You shouldn’t ever have to feel like your day is something you want to “get over with.” This day should be fun, and it should most definitely feel like YOU. There’s nothing I’m more passionate about than helping you have that day: your wedding, your way. Together we can start a movement and redefine elopements.
October 28, 2016
Sheena + Ed Get Engaged In Seattle
Ed proposes to Sheena on a crisp fall afternoon in Seattle, Washington.
October 29, 2016
They Fly To Atlanta, GA
And Sheena begins planning their big traditional wedding, all the while dreaming of a more low key, adventurous day.
Sheena and Ed pick up their lives and make the bold move out to Colorado to live amongst the mountains. They use this time as a perfect opportunity to ditch their traditional wedding and plan an elopement instead.
September 14, 2018
Our Colorado Elopement
After a few months of re-routing our plans, Ed and I elope at our favorite national park in Colorado: Great Sand Dunes. Only our parents and siblings are in attendance, and Ed’s childhood best friend officiates.
I’ve been lucky enough to have had my photography work featured and published internationally, from wedding publications, news sites, various feature pages and brands. Here’s a quick list of some of the places my work has been showcased:
I’m a firm believer that the places where I photograph elopements are more than just wedding backdrops; these locations are incredible ecosystems and homes to so many amazing animals and plant life. For that reason, I don’t just photograph in these places for the way they look. I also ensure that I’m an advocate for these special spots, too. Not only does leaving no trace help others enjoy these outdoors places long after we’re gone, but the LNT principles allow you to go back and visit your elopement location decades from now, knowing it’ll be just as beautiful as it was the day you said your vows.
Not everyone loves tradition, but that doesn’t make your adventure wedding or elopement any less important.
colorado . washington . oregon . utah . california . wyoming
Empowering You To Have Your Adventure Wedding, Your Way