Boho Mountain Elopement at Cheaha State Park in Alabama
Last October, Jake and I decided to take a camping trip for my birthday to Cheaha State Park in Alabama. It was right in the middle of the fall wedding season, but we just really needed to get away for a couple of days to rest. Ironically, it was pouring down rain & super windy when we got there to set up camp. It was like a mini hurricane on top of the mountain, haha (never trust the local weather apps & make sure you check the call the visitor center + use their weather website instead)! It pretty much rained our entire stay, which made it insanely foggy while we were there, but it was totally worth getting to see the gorgeous woods & mountain overlooks. Two days after I got home, I had an email from a bride about wanting to elope at Cheaha State Park. I thought she must have seen the handful of pictures I had posted about it, but turns out that she actually had found me through the #alabamaweddingphotographers hashtag. I knew that the timing still couldn’t be a coincidence.
Lauren told me that this was actually the 3rd time that her & Gavyn had tried to plan their wedding. The first time, they planned on getting married in New York with all of their family & friends. It got a little stressful, so they decided that they were going to elope in Europe. Not long after, their military base was hit by Hurricane Michael & they lost everything. So they decided to elope in Alabama instead to make it easier on themselves & so that both of their immediate families could witness it. When she wrote, “We have decided that being together is the most important thing in the world to us”, I knew that these were my people.
Lauren & I met for coffee maybe two days later & talked for almost FOUR hours. It seriously felt like we had known each other our whole lives, haha! Less than a week later, I was shooting their elopement at Cheaha.
Lauren & Gavyn rented this gorgeous Scandinavian cabin about 30 minutes from the park (thank you airbnb). Both of their family & friends (and Lauren too) help put together details & food for a post-elopement celebration at the cabin.
Since Lauren didn’t have bridesmaids, her mom + sisters helped her get dressed & put on her details.
I’m a sucker for bridal portaits. During Lauren’s little session, I showed her a few shots from the back of the camera & she started crying. I was wrecked, y’all.
I mean, what a freaking beautiful human (inside & out).
After I finished with Lauren’s bridals, I went to go check on Gavyn & he was cutting his brothers hair (a job you should never trust me with unless it’s my own hair, lol)! Once he finished up, we grabbed a couple of shots of him + his momma putting on his boutonnière (would you really believe that’s his momma?!).
Before heading off to Cheaha, Lauren wanted to do a first look with her dad & have a moment alone with Gavyn (he couldn’t see her, I promise)
And off we headed to Cheaha for the ceremony. Lauren’s dad walked her down the trail (thank Jesus for the person that built this ramp) to Bald Rock where Gavyn + their families were waiting. A friend of theirs officiated their ceremony. Lots of tears. Lots of sweet words. Lots of special moments with these two that I will never forget. I am so so so thankful for that rainy camping trip & the Lord’s perfect timing.
Before sunset pictures & festivities back at the cabin, Lauren & Gavyn wanted their family to pray over them + have a little sendoff (with leaf confetti that Lauren made herself).
Finally hitched faces.
We really weren’t sure what to expect with the weather just because it had been windy & overcast all day. But the sun came out just in time for golden hour.
Back to the cabin we went for a little eating, dancing, & birthday-cake wishing (it was Lauren’s best friend’s birthday & she bought a cake for the occasion).
I’m honestly sad to be wrapping up this blog post, BUT:
My favorite part of the whole day: I had brought several things for Lauren to choose from to wear on the outside of her dress (she texted me a few days before & wasn’t sure what to wear because it was going to be cold out). One of the items I brought was my wedding kimono. That was what Lauren chose to wear with her dress & I literally almost cried when I saw her in it. It was such a special moment for me & it certainly completed that boho vibe she was going for with her gorgeous Rue De Seine gown.
Venue: Cheaha State Park
Dress: Rue De Seine
Everything Else: lovingly done/put together by their family & friends