More Van Anything Best of 2018 | Intimate Weddings + Elopements + Adventure Sessions



Shooting adventurous elopements, intimate weddings, and working with all the lovely clients we did this year was beyond what we could have ever expected. Thanks to every one of you special lovebirds, and a lot of hard work—we were able to work everywhere from the fjords of Norway, to the deserts of Moab and Sedona, to the Yosemite Valley. It’s been an absolute honor to make new friends from all over the US and the World in pursuit of our passions. So before we talk about our year in review, we just wanted to thank each and every one of you for working with us + following our journey around the West.

12:30 AM, BLM Land outside of Moab, Utah

It was our first official night in the van. After traveling from Colorado, we were happy to set up camp somewhere very familiar to us. Our desert home away from home. But in the middle of the night, as we were about to fall asleep—we heard the scratches of a field mouse getting into our stash of oreos. And if you don’t know Jaclyn very well, oreos are the one, essential ingredient to a good life. We opened up the van in the middle of the desert, removing things from the van one by one until we discovered the field mouse hiding in our trash drawer. We’re still not sure how it got in the van—or how the damn thing got out. But there we were in the pitch black thinking to ourselves, “What the hell did we just get ourselves into?”

The next few days were rocky, no pun intended. Jeep Week and some competitive campers ended up taking our campsite multiple nights. At one point, we shared a single campsite with a small RV rig and some tent campers. But it was all worth it for our first sunrise session of the year. After escaping Jeep Week, we struggled to call a place home for early Spring. It wasn’t until a week into van-life that we stumbled across a dirt cheap campground outside of St.George/Zion. We got comfortable, got work done, and really started to build a brand new lifestyle from scratch.

If you had told me a couple of years ago what I would do in 2018, I’m not sure I would believe you. I thought I’d be doing Peace Corps in rural South America, or on my way to PhD at some university. Living in a van in Utah? It never would have crossed my mind. But when we took our month long road trip together, we fell in love with van-life. Coming across van-dwellers while we worked and lived in Grand Teton National Park only further solidified our future plans together.

We didn’t own new cars. We didn’t own a home. We didn’t have a bunch of expensive stuff to sell. Yet alone any sort of savings from a 9-5 job. There was literally no momentum to help us build our van + business. In fact, with the struggles we had, it almost seemed like the world constantly wanted to remind us: “Yeah, that’s not a good idea.”

But with great thanks to our close and rock solid friends Becky & Jake, we were able to build our van and get on the road.

2018 Stats:

29 Sessions | 5 National Parks | 8 States | 2 Countries | 22,979 miles

We were fortunate enough to visit our close friends in Denver before hitting the road. We stayed with Jackie and Casey on our first road trip together, and it was a good, safe start to our new life. We look up to Jackie and Casey a lot. They are some of the kindest, and most talented travel-hosts we’ve ever met. Homemade granola yogurt bowls are the standard in their household—and we cannot thank them enough for believing in our lifestyle and supporting us as much as they have.

We visited with family in Idaho (Boise is one of our favorite places out West, by the way). We’ve slept overnight in one of our bride’s driveways in Nevada. And we’ve had homemade soup with clients after a cold, snowy session up in the Utah mountains. We’ve had so many kind gestures from clients, friends, and family this year—we have no idea how we got so lucky to deserve you guys.

We photographed couples in the wildflowers of the Utah mountains, the coasts of Oregon, all over the deserts of Moab and Sedona, the sweeping landscapes of the Grand Tetons, in Yosemite a few times, and even got lucky enough to land a destination elopement in Norway! It’s been such a rewarding experience to not only visit the places we love the most out West, but to work in these epic places on such a frequent basis. Our work load was a lot more than we expected this year, and there wasn’t much separation between our personal lives and our business. We hope to slow down in 2019 and spend our time more deliberately with each other, and with all of our clients.

With all of the clients we got, we worked hard for each one. We scouted locations, we helped each one plan out their perfect day, and we witnessed two people in love say their vows in some pretty epic vistas. We woke up at 3:30am for sunrise sessions. We hiked back in the dark with couples after the last drop of sunlight dipped below the horizon. We had great conversations with each couple learning about their lives, their love, and what brought them to each place. After shooting traditional weddings for years, working with our clients in the great outdoors just spoke more to who we are as a couple. The emotions and experience of each elopement + intimate wedding stays with us to this day. It’s such an incredible job to get to plan elopements for amazing couples in these amazing National Parks. We cannot say enough about how fulfilling it is to combine our love for nature + documenting elopements/intimate weddings into one job. When it’s just the two of you and your intimate friends + family, your photographers become a bigger part of your day. We’re not just in the backdrop snapping photos. We’re a part of it, and usually a big part in the planning process. People put a lot of trust in our knowledge of the great outdoors and intimate, meaningful locations across the West. We’re the people you hike with after your first look. We’re the people passing you the champagne. The ones you share stories with. The ones who pass you a headlamp. It makes our work a lot more meaningful for us, and in turn, we think it makes the photos you get to keep more meaningful too.

While we’ve looked in the past of 2018, we can’t help but look at the map and see where we are going in 2019. It’s going to be amazing with revisiting locations we love and finding new locations to explore.

What would this blog be without some New Year Resolutions?!

What we want to work on in 2019:

  • Have a more cohesive travel schedule.

  • Work more often in fewer places. While we loved working literally anywhere, we’d like to focus on working in certain states + National Parks for 2019 and beyond.

  • Stick with around 30 clients because it’s a good balance.

  • Watch more sunrises and sunsets together just the two of us.

  • Fix problems with the van and give her some more TLC.

  • Visit more of the PNW and maybe even a few new countries.

  • Share more BTS in the van because people seem to like that!

Thank you for reading this long post and for following along with our adventures. We hope 2019 will be just as awesome. Cheers to the past, the present, and the future!

Adventurous Desert Engagement | Sedona, Arizona

Trisha + Guy’s Adventurous Sunset Engagement Session on top of Cathedral Rock

After a few snowy days in Flagstaff, we ventured south to meet Trisha and Guy for their engagement session in Sedona. The weather is almost always perfect this time of year—but somehow rain managed to find us. The forecast said the rain would taper off around 5pm, which still gave us plenty of time (if we were lucky) for a beautiful sunset.

Trisha and Guy are both ER doctors, and after hearing about their hiking experiences overseas, we knew this hike was a great fit. Guy lives in Phoenix, while Trisha lives in San Diego. But they’ll be moving soon to Northern California to start their lives together. These two were flexible, and they trusted us—despite the looming clouds above us.

When we started this short, but very steep hike, it was lightly raining with intense winds. The odds didn’t look that great. But we also couldn’t see over the rocks in front of us to see what the clouds looked like. This hike had quite a bit of scrambling, which was a lot of fun for us. Because of the light rain, there was hardly anyone on the trail.

Making it to the top, we could see that the clouds were clearing up—and that we had a beautiful view all to ourselves. We hiked around, visiting some of the lesser known parts of the trail. After the sun had set, we busted out the headlamps and headed back down. Although we had already scouted this hike, getting out there with Trisha and Guy just made us fall more in love with the Sedona area.

We’ve spent so much time in the Zion/Moab area, but I think we just might have a new personal favorite in the Southwest. Trisha and Guy, you two were awesome to work with. We can’t wait for your Yosemite wedding next year! 🥂

Adventure Destination Elopement in Flam + Bergen, Norway

Austin + Brendan’s Destination Elopement in Norway | Sunrise in the Fjords | First look in Bergen

We were so excited when Austin reached out and wanted us to document his proposal and then fly off somewhere overseas for their elopement! Like what to the what what? That sounded amazing and we had so much fun planning the whole trip with them.

We met in Rocky Mountain National Park to hike with them and that is where Austin proposed to Brendan. On a huge rock, surrounded by a beautiful lake and no one else around. After Brendan said yes, he told him that they were flying off to Norway the next day to elope and that we were coming with! Again, what to the what what?!

Being in Norway was a dream. The cities were dope, the landscapes were breathtaking, and we all couldn’t stop gazing out at the beauty. Our favorite day was their two day elopement. Day one consisted of Austin making Brendan breakfast, them getting ready together and having a first look overlooking Bergen before driving out to Flam. Day two consisted of waking up super early, getting ready quickly and hiking up to this AMAZING vista for them to exchange their vows. It was beautiful, we all cried a little bit, and had a great time.

From train rides where they wrote their vows, to hiking the fjords to say I do, to roaming the streets in Norway…these two had an epic elopement and we were so happy to be a part of it!

Yosemite National Park Destination Elopement

Yu Xin + Melyn’s Sunrise Elopement in Yosemite National Park | Destination Elopement Photographer

Ahh…Yosemite melts my heart with it’s Sunrises. Each one this year has been spectacular and each couple has been spectacular! Yu Xin + Melvyn were no exception. They were so kind, so beautiful, and so in love. Yu Xin was a trooper to fling her dress up so I could get the perfect shot. Melvyn held her flowers for her and held her dress up anytime we needed it. And we all had such a great time getting to know one another while we explored Yosemite together.

Brewery Engagement Session in Salt Lake City, Utah

Emily + Eric’s Engagement Session at their favorite Brewery in Salt Lake City, Utah

When we met up with Em-n-Er at Fisher Brewery we instantly clicked. I (Jaclyn) said a cuss word, they loved that I said that, we drank beers and we walked away with new friends. Then we took their engagement photos in that brewery! How flippin’ cool is that!? (I won’t say the cuss word on the blog, but you get the idea…brewery photos of a cute couple is awesome).

A beer in hand, smiles on their faces, Em-n-Er were a blast to work with. We cannot wait for their wedding next Spring!

Adventurous Wildflower Engagement | Albion Basin, Utah

Tatum + Mitch’s Wildflower Engagement | Utah Mountains | Adventurous Photographer

We were so excited when Tatum + Mitch walked up. They were stylish, covered in tattoos (both Ryan and I want sleeves), and a bit timid to ride the ski lift. I say I like that they were timid because we like to have people try new things, nothing crazy scary, just different.

We had a fantastic time with these two. We instantly connected. Ryan and Mitch chatted away about guy stuff while Tatum and I chatted about wedding details and life. Their proposal story makes us giddy because he proposed to her last summer near the Grand Tetons, which if you didn’t know, Ryan and I lived and worked there last summer. So Mitch proposed there while we were there too! It was meant to be that we got to photograph them in the wildflowers of Utah.

Antelope Island State Park | Family + Couple Adventure Session

Swiss Family comes to America for road trip | Antelope Island, Utah

The Senn Family reached out to us along their American road trip. They flew over this summer from Switzerland, and met up with us at Antelope Island State Park for an adventure session. 

While it was a hot summer day and there were bugs all around the island, this family had a great time playing in the water. Laughs and splashes until the sun set, we had a fantastic time with them. :)

We love our adventure sessions with people who are fun, relaxed, and trust us to capture their joy. We love our job and are so happy to have met wonderful people like this family.

Wildflower Engagement Session | Albion Basin, Utah

Elisa + RJ’s Sunset Engagement among the wildflowers of Utah

We love love loved being able to visit these wildflowers this past summer in Utah with multiple clients. Elisa + RJ were amazing to work with. Not only did we get great shots of them, we chatted about all the places we’ve all explored in this world. They were so great to talk to, listen to their stories, and they were up for any photo we wanted. We loved it!

Elopement on the Rugged Oregon Coast

Lauren + Moustafa’s Moody Adventurous Elopement on the Oregon Coast

We love that Lauren used Instagram to get all her ducks in a row for her elopement. She found her dress, hair + makeup gal, flowers, his suit, us...we just love how this amazing community of Instagram folks brings clients our way. :)

This hike is one of our favorite hikes of all time. We found it long ago on one of our personal trips. We've been dying to share it for an elopement, because who doesn't want a remote cliff all to themselves? Plus the 100ft you have to repel down the side of a cliff really gets your heart going!

These two have had a beautiful long distance relationship, and Lauren is about to move back to teach in Qatar again. Moustafa had never been to the PNW, and Lauren really wanted to share this beautiful place with him. So we were happy to bring them closer in the PNW before they part ways again for a brief while.

Places like this are where we call home. We love it when people trust our travel plans, and just go with it! 

Adventurous Moab Elopement | Utah

Andrew + Ashley’s Pre-Wedding Session in the deserts of Moab, Utah

With a 4:30am wake up call, Andrew + Ashley were the most chipper couple before sunrise! For us, it was our 2nd sunrise session in a row (which is a big deal for Jaclyn since she loves her sleep, but she loves sunrise sessions more). We trekked out into the desert finding the perfect pedestal rock for Andrew + Ashley to stand one as the Earth began it's glorious painting of sunrise for us.

We like to ask our clients how the proposal went if we haven't heard it already through email or a meeting, so when we asked A+A, they both laughed and Andrew said, "You should tell the story." Ashley began telling us about this rock climbing weekend they did together and while they were hanging from the cliffs, she asked him to marry her!

Our time spent with these two was so easy. We all laughed, told stories of our travels, and talked about our futures. We love it when a session turns into friendships by the end. :)

Adventurous Desert Engagement | Photos in Moab, Utah

Rose + Neal’s Adventurous Sunset and Sunrise Engagement Session | Utah Desert Engagement

They came from Alaska to see these beautiful landscapes. She wore a stunning red dress, he wore his hiking shoes, and together the explored Moab with us. 

We love when couples want to explore somewhere they haven't been before and have us capture it. Rose is afraid of heights, but I feel she conquered a little bit of that fear when she was the one saying she could get closer to the edge. You go girl!

With a gorgeous sunset in the canyons and an early sunrise near the river, we had an amazing time with these two. Thank you both for being so chill with us!

Grand Teton National Park Adventure Wedding

Dionne + Justin’s Intimate Wedding in the Grand Teton’s | Adventure Wedding Photographer

We were ecstatic to go back to our second home, the Grand Teton, to photograph Dionne + Justin's wonderful wedding. Dionne booked us last summer while we were living in the Tetons and to finally meet them in person and see their wedding day come to light, was amazing.

These two have the most amazing friends and family. Friends from childhood, friends from school, friends from work, family from all corners of America, they all came together to celebrate two people getting married. :)

An first look with the Teton range as your witness, an outdoor ceremony surrounded by friends and family, and the best reception ever including: balcony drinks, horseshoe games, and a fire pit for smores, come on! 

We are so thankful for being a part of this day and to be back in these mountains. Dionne + Justin, we wish you the best!

Adventurous Yosemite National Park Destination Elopement

Chai + Jim’s Destination Elopement in Yosemite National Park | Adventurous Elopement Photographer

We were in Boise, Idaho visiting with Jaclyn's family when we got an elopement inquiry for Yosemite--which is where we were just shooting the week before. Despite the long drive we knew would be ahead of us--we were excited to get back to Yosemite for another elopement (hardly a month apart). After shooting with Olivia + Dallas, we booked it out to South Lake Tahoe (our overnight stop to Yosemite). 

But enough about us and our endless driving. 

Chai and Jim met in Singapore, where Jim was on a business trip. It just so happened that Chai was heading to California (where Jim lived) not long after. They kept in touch, Jim always staying up late to keep messaging her. It wasn't until Chai's last day in the US that they went on their first hike in Yosemite. They started dating long distance, taking work extensions to visit each other longer. Jim visiting her in Asia and Chai visiting him in the US.  Speaking of their adventures together--Chai even hiked Mt. Fuji in the same hiking boots she wore on the day of her elopement!

In an incredibly romantic fashion, Jim flew out to the Philippines to ask for permission from Chai's parents before he proposed. Jim kept with tradition and made the long sojourn from the US. What a statement of respect for her family! 

They had originally planned on a civil ceremony in San Francisco, but something didn't feel quite right. That's when Chai reached out to us and decided to elope in Yosemite--a place they visit up to 4 times a year. Their families were completely supportive--and they made the trek to Yosemite to watch these two elope at Cathedral Beach. 

Jim made sure that their families (and even us) were taken care of throughout the day. We always like to give our couples a moment to themselves to enjoy the beautiful vistas without us taking photos. And in turn, Jim and Chai insisted on the two of us sitting on the cliff edge and looking out across Yosemite Valley. 

We really can't thank these two enough. We felt right at home in Yosemite, especially working with these kind-hearted people. Chai and Jim officially live together in the San Francisco area.