an elopement featuring gold stars, moon phases, and mountain views
I spent the morning before this elopement travelling to Flagstaff, Arizona in a heavy rainstorm. I was in constant contact with the bride, Rachael, about the developing weather along the way. She was the definition of calm. The weather was not going to affect their dream of a small mountain celestial wedding with only their two closest friends and an officiant. Besides, she told me, they loved the rain and it was only fitting. A couple after my own heart.
I pulled up to an AirBnb in the heart of the little college town where the bride and groom first met. Nestled in the mountains with pine trees everywhere you look, it’s hard to believe this is Arizona. I met the groom, Calvin, at the door. The sounds of Fleetwood Mac drifted from upstairs, where he told me Rachael was getting ready. This couple shares my love of the 70’s, and that definitely reflected in their style and details for the day.
Celestial wedding theme for this mountain elopement
When I first spoke with the bride, she told me they had been dreaming of a celestial themed wedding day. Even with no decor, this couple was able to keep that theme perfectly in every detail. The star of the show was obviously Rachael’s celestial wedding dress (created by Louise Black Designs), which is covered in gold shimmers, stars, and a custom fringe belt featuring a moon phase. Rachael also had the pictured Steve Madden heels covered in star-shaped rhinestones, but opted for some knee-high platform go-go boots to help shield against the wet, chilly weather.
Calvin had an unofficial “first look” at his bride when he met her at the bottom of the staircase. He wore a vintage-inspired tan suit with suspenders and a tie patterned with planets and a golden sun. Rachael helped pin a boutonniere on his lapel before leaving for the ceremony. I loved capturing these little moments so much – they weren’t a big reveal or setup, but there is so much emotion and meaning behind these simple shots.
Small celestial-themed wedding ceremony
The city of Flagstaff is a gateway to the San Francisco Peaks and surrounded by mountains. This means mountain views, fields of wildflowers, and groves of ponderosa pine trees are easily accessible for a small wedding day, even with no hiking. The location for this elopement is the perfect example of Flagstaff’s beauty. Although it had been pouring all day, as soon as we got to the wedding location, the rain stopped. Mt. Humphreys peeked it’s cap, covered in snow for the first time that season, out through the clouds just in time for the wedding ceremony.
The best part about eloping? You get to spend your entire wedding day with only the people you choose! Rachael and Calvin brought along their best friends to hold their rings, sign their marriage certificate, and party with afterward. These best friends are actual goals.
During the ceremony, the couple stood in their favorite place in the world then and read each other personal vows. Tears fell freely and the tissues were in high demand.
They exchanged rings that they picked out together. Keeping with the theme of the day, Rachael’s unique wedding band features a moon phase with a round ruby as the center stone, representing a full red moon.
The ceremony ended with a traditional hand-fastening ceremony and kiss. The newlywed’s best friends gave a short speech (complete with bonus tears) before they all shared a toast of whiskey to help warm everyone up.
Celestial Star Braided Bridal Hairstyle by Kelsey Rouiller
Mountain celestial bridal bouquet and boutonniere by Wyld Root Florals.