Mammoth Lakes is my absolute crown jewel for full-day adventure elopements. The variety of jaw-dropping landscapes, an accessible town, and sparse crowds compared to neighboring Yosemite make it my favorite place to take couples. Add in the seasonal magic of Eastern Sierra aspen season–– when the trees pop off in shades of bright gold–– and you’ve got the recipe for the happiest elopement photographer.
When Kelli and Robert reached out to me, they wanted fall colors, adventure, and a sense of intimacy in a grand landscape. Mammoth immediately came to mind, and we picked a date that would pretty much guarantee peak fall aspen colors. Kelli asked for advice on her alternative-color wedding dress so I sent her a link to one of my dream gowns–– the gold Foliage Crown Gown by Teuta Matoshi–– which she ended up choosing for her big day. The dress matched the golden fall aspens perfectly, and she was basically the queen of autumn.
The three of us spent a full day making our way around some of my favorite spots in Mammoth Lakes. We started their elopement day with a sunrise dip in local hot springs. Honestly, few things make my heart sing more than a hot spring elopement. Kelli and Robert went back to their AirBnB in town to get ready, with Kelli in her Teuta Matoshi gown and Robert in a gorgeous green suit (that I also had the honor of recommending). The colors complemented each other and the autumn landscape perfectly. One of my favorite things about their ensembles were the vintage jewelry pieces that each of them wore. Kelli’s floral earrings and hair pins belonged to her late grandmother, and magically matched her dress perfectly. Better yet, they made her feel close to her in absence.
After their first look at the AirBnB, we gathered at a backpacking trailhead with their closest friends and family for the ceremony. Something about seeing a group of people making their way down a trailhead dressed to the nines brings my soul so much joy. It’s basically like Met Gala meets dirtbag, which is my whole personality in a nutshell.
Kelli and Robert exchanged their vows with Mt. Aggie and Mt. Morrison towering above them. They were surrounded by their loved ones and the golden aspens of the High Sierra. After their guests departed back to the AirBnB, the three of us spent the afternoon strolling through the sagebrush trails and taking a creekside walk at the neighboring campground. They were surrounded by gold and it felt stumbling into a magic world.
We then drove over to Convict Lake to dip our toes in the water, go for a walk, and take in more of the beautiful views. Convict Lake is an incredible spot for elopements, but we decided against it for their ceremony spot because it can get more crowded that equally beautiful locations nearby. It was exactly right for a mid-day jaunt, after many of the anglers and lake visitors had cleared out.
Afterwards, we made our way to a nearby overlook to catch sunset and blue hour as a grand finale to their adventurous elopement day. The views here are unmatched. We were lucky enough to pass by a family of deer making their way through the sparsely populated trail as the sun came down. As last light passed, we drove back to Mammoth Lakes to be treated to a private dinner prepared by chef Daniel Molnar.
All in all, this was a dream Mammoth Lakes elopement day that would have been impossible without the trust of Kelli and Robert. They let me guide them on anything and everything, and the vision came together more beautifully than I knew possible.
Catering– Daniel Molnar of Mammoth Private Chef
Dress– Foliage Crown Gown by Teuta Matoshi
Suit– Suit Supply
Hair & Makeup Artist– Shelly Gribben
Jewelers– Pebble & Polish, Fetheray Antique and Vintage Jewelry
Robe – Natori