Sometimes, wedding plans change. And as a wedding photographer, I’m always ready to go with the flow. That was the case for this couple, who originally planned to get married in Positano. But, because of the pandemic, they decided to do a beautiful Joshua Tree elopement instead!
All around us, there was nothing but expansive desert, rocky plateaus, and ancient Joshua trees, for which the national park was named. For a moment, I wondered… were we on another planet, entirely?
But as I began to capture all of the special moments that came with this Joshua tree elopement, I realized the location was perfectly chosen. It felt like we were in another world, which was exactly what the pair wanted for their private ceremony.
It was one of the most epic locations I’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing for a gorgeous couple’s intimate ceremony.
Here’s how it unfolded:
Every wedding I photograph comes with its own unique story. This one started with one of the worst things that can happen to a destination wedding photographer.
I stepped off the plane in Los Angeles to head out to the national park as the couple’s Joshua Tree wedding photographer, when I discovered – my camera bags and all of my equipment had been stolen from my rental car.
I was devastated. My camera is how I interact with the world around me. Not to mention, the last thing I want for my couples is to not have a way to capture the story of their day.
So, I quickly regrouped and created a Plan B. And off I went to pick up all of the rental gear I needed for their celebration. As soon as I arrived at their chic, modern AirBnB and saw the beautiful couple again, I immediately found the energy and inspiration I needed to artfully curate the photographs for their gallery!
Speaking of inspiration, one of the most incredible parts of photographing this elopement was how the couple and their planner embraced the beauty that lived within the national park.
Rather than try to compete with the location and transform the ceremony and intimate reception site, they allowed the landscape to be the focus. And they used wedding details to accentuate what was already there!
Each detail was intentionally chosen, and it created an incredible, cohesive story through the photographs.
For any wedding, the color story sets the aesthetic for the entire celebration. I always love capturing details of the color palette and incorporating those into the photography gallery first. Since it’s the first thing anyone sees as they view the gallery, they’ll immediately feel a sense of what the wedding will be like.
For this wedding color palette, the couple opted to use earthy tones, such as tans and browns to match the rugged landscape. Pops of white and soft pink created a gorgeous visual contrast that showed up so well in the photographs.
As a former fashion photographer and self-proclaimed “wedshion” photographer, I swoon over gowns that look as though they’ve been designed for specific aesthetics.
The bride’s wedding gown, a full-skirted, off-the-shoulder Milla Nova gown could not have been the more perfect selection for the aesthetic of the day.
With a corset-style bodice and large ruffles throughout the skirt, it looked as though the designer created it specifically for a Joshua Tree elopement. And the bride was a perfect fit for it!
The couple chose an incredible location in all of the desert for their Joshua tree wedding ceremony.
And rather than have large arches that interfered with the beautiful spot, they kept to an altar-style site.
With a rattan altar backdrop, a jute rug, and floral arrangements handpicked from the surrounding location, the ceremony site was made of bohemian dreams. The view of the rugged landscape and rocky plateaus behind them created the backdrop for their ceremony photographs.
I always find it so enchanting when couples decide to toss the rules of traditions to the side for their wedding day. It makes for such an incredible story to tell through photographs because it’s truly written by the couple, nobody else.
This couple took the idea of a modern-day elopement to the next level for their Joshua Tree wedding ceremony. Rather than having a small attendance of family and friends, they wanted it to be a two-person ceremony.
The only witnesses? The wide-open desert landscape, the officiant, and my camera (naturally) as their Joshua Tree elopement photographer.
The results were nothing short of breathtaking. From emotion-filled vows that left the bride and groom wiping tears from the corners of their eyes, to beautiful smiles and excitement from finally tying the knot. These photos are the essence of the pair and their celebration of one another!
Find more destination elopement inspiration on our blog!
Photographer: Lilly Red Photography
Wedding Planner & Designer: Mae and Co
Floral Design: Blue Pansy Floral
Venue: Sol to Soul
Rentals and Decor: Adore Folklore & Catalog Atelier
Officiant: Let’s Get Married by Marie
Wedding Gown: Milla Nova