Jaime and Robert's Low-Key, Intentional Elopement at the Landscape Arboretum

Usually I work with engaged couples over a whole year, so I was surprised when Jaime and Robert contacted me on a Tuesday in July to photograph their elopement the following Friday! After chatting with them about their story and what they wanted from their wedding day I knew we’d be a lovely fit.

Jaime and Robert met while both working in Alaska, Jaime as a doctor and Robert as a teacher. Jaime had started to make plans to move back to Illinois (where she’s originally from) when she met Robert and their connection was instant. Within just a few months of falling in love Jaime and Robert knew that they wanted to continue their story together and began thinking about a wedding.

But the more they thought about what a traditional celebration might look like, the more they missed their important people. For both of them, many immediate family members had passed away and their remaining community was scattered far and wide - making it impossible to gather everyone in one place. So instead of planning a wedding day where they’d be mourning all the people that couldn’t be there, they chose to elope and plan a celebration that would be intimately about them and their relationship together.

By happy chance for me, Jaime had a family friend in the Twin Cities who was an officiant and they decided to marry each other in midsummer at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

When they contacted me, they told me their photography needs were simple: they didn’t need hours of photography coverage, or have a million attendants to photograph, but they did want to create an album to tell the story of their day.

If you follow along with me you know how much I love creating tangible art for couples and so after meeting up with Jaime and Robert the following day to chat about art and their vision for the wedding, we designed a custom elopement package together with just a few hours of photography time and some art pieces for their home.

I met them at the Arboretum on the morning of their wedding day. They chose the Willow Garden for the ceremony and had scattered brilliant blue hydrangea petals under two huge willow trees. Together with their officiant and two folks to serve as witnesses, Jaime and Robert exchanged vows and rings and toasted each other. It was simple and sweet and these two were so happy together!

After the ceremony, we walked around to some of my favorite spots in the Arboretum to capture them together. The wedding was in the morning, so by the time we were taking portraits we were into midday light, which can be challenging for photos; the sun is high in the sky, casting direct light and defined shadow rather than the softer light at sunrise and sunset. My focus here was to find snippets of beautiful light: we chose patches of shade and places with indirect sun to soften that light and create more even exposure. The silver lining is that we were able to pose Jaime and Robert under and around all the Arboretum’s amazing trees!

The final photos of the day were in this grove of evergreens, with the sound of the Arboretum’s waterfall in the background. The day was simple, joyful and calm, and felt very true to Jaime and Robert’s vision for their celebration.

Jaime and Robert, thank you for this serendipitous moment in time. I loved being able to help you tell the story of your wedding as you continue your adventure together!

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Alyssa L-K