In the words of the Groom:

I met Johnna on an online dating site where we had texted back and forth for about a week before I asked her to go out on a date. I kayaked often and had an extra one that I offered to let her use while I used the other one.  When we met in the parking lot of a local restaurant, she warned me that she had shared her location with her best friend, just in case she didn’t make it back to land.  I thought she was joking. She wasn’t! 

We headed out to a local wildlife and fishing area, where we paddled around and got to know each other better. As we shared more of our lives with each other, I let her know how much I admired her ability to overcome a lot of adversity.  Later I found out that this had endeared me to her early on. After catching a great sunset, we went back to the restaurant and had dinner.  We ended up losing track of time and closing the place down. Luckily for her, any nightmarish situation she might have imagined did not occur, and she felt I was worth seeing again.

Although we had opposite paths that had led us to where we were, we shared a strong sense of adventure.  We both wanted traveling and experiencing new things to be a priority in life.  Falling in love was not a priority, however, it happened fairly soon after we started dating. Ironically, early on, we both had no desire to be married again.  We spent the next couple of years going on adventures together and merging our families with the goal of making as many epic memories as possible.  We frequently went to music festivals and concerts.  We bought a scratch off map and made it a goal to scratch off as many states as possible. It was important for us to include our children whenever we could, and all members of the family had to be present for a state to be scratched off.  We also fell in love with the idea of trying to visit as many national parks as possible in our travels.  We are fortunate to have family coast to coast to visit. We have taken road trips to the east coast, had adventures in the south, and probably our most epic trip to date was visiting family on the west coast and Yosemite.  After all these adventures, we found that life would not be complete without taking that final step and it only seemed fitting to have a wedding that was another adventure.  We chose our wedding date to be the third anniversary of our first date. We knew we wanted a destination wedding but struggled between leaving the country or something in the states.  We landed on going to Rocky Mountain National Park.  We wanted it to be as simple and as stress free as possible and luckily came across a site called SimplyEloped. We found out that they have a package that included an officiant and photography and they also obtained the required permits for having a wedding ceremony in the areas we wanted.

When the big day arrived, the weather was overcast and our ceremony at Sprague Park was hastened by rain that was moving in.  Our original plan was to hike to several lakes for pictures after the ceremony.  It was clear that the weather coming in should not be taken lightly.  Lucky for us, the Trail Ridge Road, which had been closed for the season up until this point, opened up that morning and we were able to change our plans to avoid the bad weather. Trail Ridge Road is the highlight of Rocky Mountain Park, a high mountain pass and the highest continuous paved road in the US! This incredible road takes you right up to the fragile alpine tundra, past incredible rock features, lakes, tons of wildlife, and eventually the continental divide. The views are amazing as you can see for fifty miles in any direction. Our photographers suggested that we drive up the trail to 12,000+ feet of elevation for the rest of our photo session to get some epic shots and stay in front of the weather.  We stopped at several locations with breathtaking views, and we even made the local Colorado news when they spotted us while they were shooting a story for the opening of the road. Our mission, although it didn’t go as originally planned, turned out to be more memorable and enjoyable than we could have hoped for.   The rest is history. 

Making Magic:

Photographer: Simply Eloped

Officiant – Simply Eloped

Ceremony: Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Photo Locations: Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park

Flowers: Rocky Mountain Wildflowers