While some girls might dream of their tulle-filled, babies-breath-decorated wedding day, Katie-Sue’s wedding dream was a little bit more complex: to be on top of a mountain in her wedding dress. The rush of endorphins from the climb up the mountain, the thrill of just-married-ness with her husband, the joy of walking on sunshine and living on top of the world.
Basically, she wanted to create epic photos with her husband to put on her wall.
I dare say that everyone dreams of being in this kind of majestic photo: a glimmer of sunset, the sparkle of crisp mountain air, the swish of a wedding dress, the delight of a majestic view, the intoxicating joy of watching the expanse far below. But since these kinds of photos are not created on a tight timeline, we crafted an itinerary for adventure honeymoon portraits: a few days after their wedding, we were camping in the alpine and creating magical images together.
As we set out on the hike loaded down with tent and sleeping bags and food and cameras and dress and suit, our question was real: are we inspired or are we insane? Hiking 5km and spending the night 700 meters above the parking lot is probably a little insane. But I think you’ll agree: the result is absolutely inspired.
I will start with the very last photo I took: James playing with the dog, Katie-Sue swishing off to the side, sunrise framed by the tent. This image is everything.
Before you keep scrolling, I need you to understand three things: 1) I have a LOT of photos to show you. 2) They are going to be most impressive if you can view them on the biggest screen you have. I don’t want you to miss the reality that we were literally on top of the world and the mountains were literally stretching out as far as the eye can see. 3) Adventure honeymoon portraits are ridiculously fantastic.
(We almost didn’t make it all the way to the lake — it was dark by the time we finished shooting sunset and the last 1.5km was a mind-over-matter push for the sake of sunrise at the lake. I think you’ll agree the after-dark hike was well worth the effort. Also. The hill where we watched sunset was at the point farthest to the left in the picture below.)
Let me point out: yes, we did hike a wedding dress to the top of the mountain.
This series of images is inspired by one of the most magical scenes in Pride and Prejudice (the one with Keira Knightley). Your hands are cold, she said.
Sidebar: I have literally been trying for years for the stars, moon, sun, and clouds to align at sunrise for magic like this. Once it was raining, once it was foggy, and this time the magic was palpable.
I will even go so far as to say we met and exceeded the expectations of epic photos for their wall.
The last time I did a mountaintop bridal session, we hiked down after dark. While that has its own set of challenges and joys, for this session we stayed on top of the mountain — the goal was to take full advantage of both the sunset and the sunrise. And ohboyohboy, what a glorious both we had!
Here’s a tip for the next person who wants adventure honeymoon portraits: don’t forget to bring a mirror! Asking Jennifer to do your makeup is risky business . . . 😉 (I consoled myself that my eyeliner errors could be photoshopped . . . :-P)
Our night under the stars was magical and the pre-shoot morning coffee view was sublime (and that photo was only kindof staged). But the real magic happened the night before. You ready for the sunset part of the adventure honeymoon?
I think it was at about this moment that I started hyperventilating. But can you blame me?!
Adventure honeymoon portraits aren’t easy, but they’re so fantastically worthwhile. Don’t you agree?
Katie Sue & James had to put up with my random outburts. I only knew ONE LINE of ONE SONG but couldn’t help but spontaneously belt it out:
‘Cause I’m on top of the world, ‘ey
I’m on top of the world, ‘ey
(Imagine Dragons, if you’re curious.)
If you want to see behind-the-scenes videos from our epic adventure, I have them temporarily highlighted on my Instagram stories. No singing involved.
(Also: this was my first time hiking with poles. I’m never going back to a time without them.)
Dear Katie Sue & James: Thanks for letting me create adventure honeymoon portraits for you and with you. Celebrating your newest adventure by adventuring on top of the mountain with you is likely to be the highlight of my year. . . at least until the next mountain I climb. 😉