Intimate Elopement | Portland Lovers | Tracy and John | The Burgers | Colorado Elopement Photographer

Wedding planning is never easy, but 2020 has taken the struggle to a whole new level. I’ve been seriously in awe of my clients this year. And so lucky to help my couples embrace a spirit of flexibility, creativity, and courage in finding ways to celebrate their love despite the challenges of this year. Portland couple Tracy and John are a standout to me for those reasons and so many others. The precious love story of these two almost-high-school, then almost-college sweethearts deserved a celebration that captured the sweetness of their journey. 2020 had other plans, though, and Tracy and John found themselves adapting their long planned, originally large wedding to a small backyard ceremony with immediate family.

Though the marriage license was signed, this wasn’t the celebration they had dreamed of. I was over the moon when they contacted me to photograph and help coordinate a small, intimate elopement ceremony in Grand Junction with just the two of them and their adorable pup! The day was stress free and so fun. I had such a great time hanging out with them and their pup (if you’re considering bringing your pet to your elopement, I’m telling you now, DO IT!).

Grand Junction was the perfect location choice for their elopement celebration. Grand Junction captures the similar desert scenery of Portland where the couple reconnected post-college and fell in love. Junction also has strong ties to John’s youth – the added nostalgia made their location choice even sweeter. We started the day at the coolest Airbnb in Grand Junction that perfectly matched the boho, desert-vibes aesthetic of their celebration. Finding ways to replicate the big moments missed from their original wedding plans was important to Tracey and John. So, after a relaxing morning of getting ready, Tracy and John shared their first look – which was especially precious after so many months of anticipation.

After exchanging their vows,

the two shared a gorgeous, backyard dinner that included a fantastic charcuterie board John had spent the morning preparing. I was so happy to contribute décor to make their dinner an experience. One of my favorite finds was an incredible jewel-encrusted skull that served as the centerpiece for their brightly colored bohemian table. I was also stoked to be trusted with grabbing their main course for dinner – I came in clutch with the puns on this one and had cheeseburgers (aptly named “Burning Love Burgers”) delivered for the new Mr. and Mrs. Burger.

After dinner we ventured up to the National Monument for their couple’s portraits in the golden hour. I love how their playful energy is captured in these shots – these two are beyond dreamy dancing on the cliffside in cowboy hats and bolo-tie, laughing in front of the setting desert sun, holding hands with the backdrop of glittering lights in Grand Junction. Also, am I the only one who just learned how well hiking boots pair with white lace?! Big adventure wedding vibes.

And while we’re talking epic vibes, can we talk about these rings?!

Here’s what Tracy had to say about them:

“John chose the perfect vintage Tsavorite 22K gold engagement ring which represented the green of Portland and the Pacific Northwest. He helped design my wedding bands with our jewelry designer, Nested Yellow Jewelry. The top band represents our beloved Mount Hood at sunset made from 18K gold, diamonds and a sunset stone. The bottom band represents the coast of Oregon made from 18K gold, sapphires and diamonds. They perfectly wrap around my “Portland” stone and perfectly represent our love for the PNW and our Portland love story.

John worked with our jewelry designer at Nested Yellow, who dreamed up the most gorgeous ring design. Made of 18K gold, soft enough to bring to Mount Hood with our puppy Addison, and use a rawhide mallet and mandrel to imprint the ring with the side of the mountain. Both sets of rings represent our experiences and love of the outdoors.” I love how from beginning to end of their wedding experience, engagement through to post-wedding Colorado Celebration, was so intentional and filled with love.

Being a wedding photographer is SO much more to me than taking photos.

Helping Tracy and John find their location, hunting for décor, and grabbing a quirky dinner for the two of them will make this elopement a forever standout for me. I will always go the extra mile for my clients – and love every minute of it. Are you in the process of creative-problem-solving for your wedding? Subscribe to my mailing list here for tips on elevating your elopement, or contact me about your upcoming event!




  1. Jason Karpinski says:

    Ran across your name as sister was looking up the singer I have a terrets over and seen you got married. Congratulations! John, you found your dream wife and I knew you would turn out successful. May both your futures be blessed and I’m totally proud of the man you grew up to be. I know things went sour for some reason but that’s life…I’m just so proud and respectively want to send my greetings. Your married…kids on the way? Our first real job started at a Culver’s and I knew you would turn out successful and happy. Thoughts and prayers to you both and a long
    prosperous forever long life together! Please don’t hate on me but seeing the man you became and how beautiful your wife is, Great Job John!

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