Ashley and Hayden came from Virginia to Colorado for an intimate elopement with a couple of friends and their close family. They wanted an outdoor experience that featured views of the mountains and privacy. They chose to say their vows at Brainard Lake and have the event shot by Jennie Crate.
How did you meet?
Hayden and I met at church. I had been attending off and on with my roommate and one day this cute guy was sitting next to my usual seat. I sat in my regular spot and introduced myself. Over time, we started grabbing lunch together and going on walks after church. He finally asked me out to dinner and we’ve been together ever since.
What is your proposal story?
We went on a few walks at a local state (Virginia) park during our early dating days. There was a big wooden platform there that we had dubbed ‘our spot.’ It was sprinkling on and off one cold day in March but Hayden was adamant that we go to the park. We take the usual route to our spot. We get there and take our usual selfies but Hayden hangs back longer than normal. He starts telling me how much I mean to him, pulls the ring out of his pocket, and asks me to marry him.
Tell us a little a bit about your wedding.
We knew we wanted to do an outdoor destination wedding with our closest family and friends. Hayden’s sea schedule played a big role in the timing of everything. The Navy gave us a small window in September so that pushed us to explore the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. After picking the general location, photography was next on our checklist. We were going the distance to have our wedding day be extra magical so the preservation of those memories were very important to us. When it came to picking the exact location within Colorado, it got a little harder. Our engagement was only six months long and by the time we had the Navy’s approval for dates, we were down to less than five months. A lot of the National Park elopement spots were already reserved or had head counts that wouldn’t allow our full guest list. So we turned to National Forests and eventually landed on Brainard Lake in Roosevelt National Forest. It was beautiful! For style, we still went a bit traditional even if our location wasn’t. I still wanted the big princess dress and flowers. I wanted my bridesmaids to feel comfortable in their dresses so I picked colors and they picked shape. After the ceremony and pictures, we went back to the cabin everyone was staying at and had a wonderful dinner together. Once we returned to Virginia, we had a backyard celebration to celebrate with everyone.
Tell us about your attire choices.
Hayden knew he wanted to wear his dress whites from day one so that was easy. I tried on SOO many dresses before landing on the perfect one for me. Because we’d be doing a lot of walking in uneven terrain, my sneakers were a no-brainer and added a pop of color.
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
Photography! Although that was pretty easy once we found Jennie. Hayden and I regularly look at our pictures in disbelief. The day flies by so it’s nice to reflect on them to see it really was that magical.