Plan the Dreamiest Winter Elopement: Tips From Jenny Smiley Photography

September 22, 2021
Plan the Dreamiest Winter Elopement: Tips From Jenny Smiley Photography

Whether you’re headed to the mountains for your winter elopement or looking for the best tips to stay warm during your first portraits as a married couple, we’ve got you covered. We chatted with Rocky Mountain Bride Vendor Collective member and local photographer, Jenny Smiley Photography, for her top tips and tricks to staying warm and getting the dreamiest winter photos.

Golden Hour vs. Blue Hour

When in the mountains, the sun may tuck behind the mountains earlier than expected for sunset or take longer to rise for sunrise. Jenny’s tip is that it’s best to arrive one to two hours prior to golden hour just in case. If you’re unfamiliar with golden hour, it’s typically two hours after sunrise or two hours prior to sunset where the sun is the perfect height in the sky to make you glow in photos. Blue hour is another beautiful time following golden hour, or just before in the morning. While blue hour is stunning, it is typically quite a bit colder in the winter, which means you’ll only have a 15 to 20 minute window for your blue hour photos.

What to Pack

Better to be over-prepared than under-prepared is our motto for weddings; especially when you’re headed into the mountains with lots of snow and minimal places to cozy up. Jenny gave us her top items to pack with you during your winter elopement:

  • Nude/skin colored fleece leggings to wear under your wedding dress
  • Long sleeved dress if possible, or a dress with removable sleeves
  • Neutral colored shawl – knit or fur
  • Hand and feet warmers
  • Thermos of hot coffee/cocoa/tea
  • Practical shoes and warm socks
  • Fresh flowers are best, but dried flowers or paper flowers work well if planning on a more adventurous hike
  • Pine tree branches or pinecones are great for bouquets and boutonnieres
  • Sunscreen! The light reflecting off of the snow can get quite intense!

Winter Accessories

Your wedding day is where you get to shine, and a winter elopement is no different. Below are some of our favorite winter accessories to include in your special day! If you’re looking for a more extensive list, check out our article on the best winter wedding dresses and accessories.

  • Snow Shoes
  • Skis/Snowboards
  • Microspikes
  • Sled
  • Winter blanket
  • Fur/Faux fur coat
  • Faux fur headband or hand muff
  • For the adventurous: Dog Sled

Last Minute Tips

Winters in the Rocky Mountains can be treacherous, especially when driving through mountain passes, but winter also produces some of the dreamiest backdrops for our special day. Don’t forget to check that the location or roads to the location of your elopement are open in winter months. You might also want to bring a 4WD car or rent one to get over snow or through ice. For those who love the winter, a winter elopement can easily showcase an activity a couple loves to do together: skiing, snowboarding, dog-sledding, ice skating are examples of popular winter sports that can coincide with an elopement.

The biggest tip Jenny can give when planning your winter elopement is to make sure you’re prepared and everything is planned to a tee. Your winter elopement might be adventurous with epic mountain shots or glamorous with a chic mountain chateau as the backdrop. The options are endless when planning your winter elopement, but you’ll have some of the dreamiest photos in the Rockies!

Venue: Ranchlands Zapata Ranch Hair + Makeup: Jaded Beauty Co. Model: Mari Hair Accessories: Untamed Petals Florals: Lehrer's Flowers Cake: Ty's Treats Invitations: Paper Garten
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