Between their Camp St Malo wedding ceremony, their Taharaa Mountain Lodge reception catered by Twin Owls Steakhouse, and their sunrise adventure session in Rocky Mountain National Park at Dream Lake and along Trail Ridge Road, Amymarie and Sebastian created an intimate wedding experience that could have easily checked every item off of an Estes Park bucket list!
Camp St Malo Church, also referred to as Chapel on the Rock and Saint Catherine of Siena Chapel has a story that deeply signifies having a strong foundation. This historic landmark in Allenspark Colorado has survived both a wildfire and a flood. Even though a lot of the terrain surrounding this church has been affected by acts of Mother Nature, the beautiful chapel still stands and has an epic Colorado backdrop fit for a postcard.
As if their Camp St Malo wedding ceremony taking place at this historic Rocky Mountain chapel on the rock wasn’t awesome enough these two really stepped it up for their Colorado wedding experience! They woke up before sunrise to meet me for a hike in the dark with all of their wedding attire up to Dream Lake for a beautiful first look during sunrise and the perfect kick-off to their morning adventure session! We were all crossing our fingers (and biting our nails) in the few days and hours leading up to their wedding day when the weather forecasted a heavy rainstorm and the potential for mudslides. Thankfully, Mother Nature did us a solid because the ominous forecast kept most of the hikers off of the trail and mountain that day even though it ended up being a gorgeous, rain-free morning with a cloud inversion nestled just below Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak (the gorgeous mountains that are the backdrop at this subalpine lake in Rocky Mountain National Park).
The adventure continued after our time at Dream Lake and these two hopped in their jeep and followed me up Trail Ridge Road for more bride and groom portraits with Colorado’s most epic backdrops! Fun fact: “Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in the US. Known appropriately as the “Highway to the Sky,” it crosses the Continental Divide at a whopping 12,183 feet.” (NPS) After enjoying the views and a glass of bubbly we ventured back to lower Estes Park and spent some time relaxing and getting ready for their wedding ceremony!
It was no surprise after getting to know these two that their wedding details would be as awesome as they are! Even though their pup, Milo, wasn’t able to travel from the East Coast for their nuptials I love that he was incorporated into their invitation suite and as a little figurine taking a bite out of their wedding cake too!
After the ceremony, portraits with their family members, and a handful more of Amymarie and Sebastian at the church (with a gorgeous rainbow, to make things that were already the best even better) we headed back to Taharaa Mountain Lodge for their intimate reception catered by Twin Owls Steakhouse! They enjoyed the evening with their families and low and behold ANOTHER rainbow came out, this time completely unobstructed by clouds and with each end dipping into the valleys nestled behind this beautiful Estes Park wedding venue! I swear it was nature’s way of saying sorry for giving us such a scare with the forecast leading up to the wedding day ;)… or maybe my own personal reward for lapping my apple watch ring closures so many times on a single day with all of the adventurings that took place!
Pssst… Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to see one of my favorite “photographer hacks” for a mountain first look in mud or wet weather without getting the dress filthy before the ceremony!
Time for that pro-tip, or as I like to call it, photographer hack, that I mentioned earlier in this post! If you’re doing portraits before your wedding or elopement ceremony and don’t want your dress to get dirty, consider bringing along a clear shower curtain (or a few, if it’s super wet or muddy!). They’re cheap, lightweight, and easy to hike with. You can either stand on the shower curtain for your photos and carry your dress in between OR if your train isn’t too long you can even slice a couple of feet holes in a clear shower curtain and use it to scoop up and carry your dress off of the ground between photos! I’m a firm believer that getting a little messy on an adventurous wedding day is all part of the fun, but no one needs to roll up to their church ceremony with nature’s ombre (aka a whole lot of dirt) covering the bottom of their dress ;)! Here is a fun before and after from our muddy, but epic time at Dream Lake for wedding photos!
First Look: Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
Portraits: Trail Ridge Road
Ceremony: Camp St Malo / Estes Park Chapel on the Rock
Lodging and Reception: Taharaa Mountain Lodge
Catering: Twin Owls Steakhouse
Dress Boutique: Vows Bridal
Dress Designer: Pronovias
Menswear: Brooks Brothers
Makeup Artist: Leilani Drum Makeup Artistry
Ring Designers: Kevin’s Fine Jewelry
Ceremony Music: Elope Music
Wedding Cake: A Cake Come True
If you’re considering an Estes Park wedding, check out this free guide!
If you’re planning a Rocky Mountain National Park elopement or hoping to incorporate portraits there on your wedding or elopement day, this resource is for you!