Updated: Apr 30, 2022
An Elopement with a view...
I had this awesome couple who wanted to have their Elopement Ceremony in Colorado, but they needed some help finding the right location. Being that they were from Kansas, they wanted an epic change of scenery for their Elopement. I absolutely concurred that Colorado was a great choice! They knew they wanted a beautiful view and a field of wildflowers, and since this would be sight-unseen until their Elopement, I offered them several choices that would fit the bill via email. They ultimately decided on Horsetooth Reservoir in Northern Colorado's Front Range in Fort Collins. I have spent the last three years exploring the Horsetooth Reservoir and surrounding areas and had the perfect spot in mind for their Ceremony! I went ahead and took some photos of the area to send over to my couple to make sure that it was exactly what they wanted. The photos were of a nearby field and a rock outcropping above the edge of the reservoir. I'm not exactly how high up this area is from the lake, but the boats below did seem to be the size of toy boats (toy boat, toy boat, toy boat, go ahead, say them fast). Ok, back to business. Literally. Now that my couple had seen the photos, they were certain that it was the perfect spot to have their ceremony, and I agreed!
When their day arrived, we met in the Rotary Park Parking Lot. I am going to post this address below, because as part of my search for my couple's perfect location, I did have trouble finding the right area near Horsetooth that would tick both of their request boxes (a view and a field of wildflowers). The reservoir has views for days, but there aren't exactly fields nearby in abundance, as it sits at the foothills with pretty steep sides above it. But this location has both! You just have to cross the highway (it sounds scarier then it is) and bam you're in a field! The field itself actually has it's own views to the east of Fort Collins- so double bam. There are even deer grazing in it! I didn't realize that my Bride was super into animals (yay, me too!) and loved that there was wildlife in the area. Now, you will have to contend with mountain bikers and hikers, since this is a pretty popular trail, and make sure that if you choose to have your Elopement here that you are aware of this and ok with it! The great thing is that when you walk around with a couple in obvious wedding attire, that everyone is very excited to cheer you on as you make your way down the trail, which is always fun.
We had decided on taking some Bridal Portraits first in the field, and then just before sunset, we'd hike back to Rotary Park and make our way down the trail a bit to one of the many huge boulders that sit up along the ridge of Horsetooth Reservoir. As a side note: I had scouted the area a week before and knew exactly which rock I wanted to use for this occasion and based my decision on the nearby landings that I could easily get the best shots of the couple- without falling off the cliff. Ok, it's not really a cliff, but it's pretty slanty for a long way down. More on this later. So, as we approach the parking lot and begin on the Foothills Trail towards our rock, our Bride begins to slow, taking her Husband-to-be's arm and begins an obviously cautious pace. I ask her if everything was alright, and was worried that maybe some last minute butterflies showed up. She assured me that she was ready to do this, but that she actually suffers from a serious fear of heights. She told me that it once took her family 3 hours to get her down from a parking garage. Now understanding her sudden change of pace, I was prepared to shift our plans back to the field across the street, but she was adamant on having her Ceremony on the best rock with the best view of Horsetooth Reservoir. To my amazement, she was able to block out her fear and find complete focus on her loving husband as they recited their vows overlooking the cool, blue water as the sun was setting across the mountains. The color of the sky was incredible and the light July breeze did not disappoint. They shared their first kiss and I felt so lucky that I got to be their one and only witness to their most special day. Elopements really rock, and I'm not just saying that because of the whole rock business before. They are so honest, pure and simple.
It was definitely time to celebrate, not just one accomplishment- getting married, but also another surprising one- the conquering of a deep-set fear, even if only for a few minutes. Our Bride was able to breathe calmly and even enjoy the scenery from way up on her rock and forget for a bit that she was in a location that she normally wouldn't attempt to challenge herself with. I was super proud of her and knew this was an even bigger moment for her, and them, because of all the effort that was put into it. Now, it was time to pop the bubbly and... our Bride suddenly moved, deciding that she thought it would be best if we made our way off the rock and onto the trail before getting any extra lightheadedness from the bubbles. Good call on her part!
So, if you're looking for an amazing place for an Elopement in Fort Collins, Colorado, check this area out! You'll need a photo permit to shoot here, so just be sure to have one ready in case the Rangers need to see it. Also, I took note from the woman who I've now seen twice on that rock enjoying her dinner at sunset, and will bring tacos with me next time! Cheers!