Emily & Matt’s Sunrise Elopement at Sprague Lake in Colorado
Emily & Matt can say they met in kindergarten! However, it wasn’t until college that they clicked. This couple shares a love for state and national parks, so there was no question where they would get married! The only question was which park it would be! They decided on eloping at Sprague Lake in the Rocky Mountains National Park. The wedding gods were with them as their sunrise elopement was simply magical. Serene, quiet and awe-inspiring. How many people can say that two moose joined their ceremony to give their blessings? Simply Eloped helped this couple celebrate being together with a naturally beautiful elopement.
How did you meet? What was your first impression of one another?
Emily: We met in our Kindergarten classroom! We went to elementary, middle, and high school together but weren’t close friends until college, when we started dating.
Matthew: I don’t remember Emily from kindergarten, but we have a picture together! In high school, I thought Emily was cute but way too cool for me. Thankfully, in college, our friend groups overlapped, and I got to hang out with her.
How did you propose or accept the proposal?
Emily: I was working nights during graduate school and really struggling. I came home one night and opened the door to twinkly lights, candles, and music playing. Matthew was on one knee in the middle of our living room!
Matthew: Initially, I wanted to take Emily on a hiking trip to propose, but after holding on to the ring for two long months and the pandemic not letting up, I couldn’t wait any longer and decided to just propose in our living room. I tried to make it as romantic as possible with lights and music. At least our dog got to be a part of it!
Where did you choose to elope, and why did you choose that destination?
Emily & Matt: We chose a sunrise ceremony at Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. We love to travel to various state and national parks, so we always knew a national park was our dream destination. We had been to Colorado before but hadn’t explored the Rocky Mountains yet. So RMNP became an easy choice for us.
What attracted you to the venue you chose for your elopement? What were your favorite parts about eloping there?
Emily & Matt: We always knew we wanted to get married surrounded by nature, and Sprague Lake provided a beautiful backdrop of both water and mountains. A sunrise ceremony made for great lighting and weather. I think we only saw maybe 1 or 2 other people the whole time we were there. Minutes after we said “I do,” two moose walked across the lake! It was magical.
How would you describe your elopement venue to someone who has never been there?
Emily & Matt: From the parking lot, there’s a short, paved trail that goes around the lake. There are many large rocks and benches to sit on and take in the views. The snowcapped Rocky Mountains sit just behind the lake. There is a wooden dock situated over the lake that offers beautiful photo opportunities.
What did you do before the wedding? How did you get ready? How did you feel in the moments leading up to your elopement?
Matt: One thing we did not do was properly acclimate to the altitude, so Emily got pretty bad altitude sickness the night before our ceremony. Otherwise, we had a very stress-free morning getting ready together in our tiny Airbnb bathroom.
How was your experience with Simply Eloped?
Emily: Simply Eloped made everything super easy and stress-free! All we had to do was pick a location, and Simply Eloped did the rest of the wedding planning for us. We only needed to plan our trip. We saved so much money versus a traditional ceremony by paying for only the services we wanted. Our officiant and photographer were amazing and consulted with us several times before our wedding day to customize all the details. Our officiant even saved the day when Matthew realized he forgot to pack a shirt at 10 pm the night before!
How did you choose to celebrate your elopement?
Emily & Matt: We celebrated by spending our day doing exactly what we love without any stress or obligation. Immediately following our sunrise ceremony, we got coffee at a local place in Estes Park and sat by the river to enjoy it. Then we spent the rest of our day hiking and relaxing in the hot tub. It was so nice to just spend the day together alone with no other obligations and reflect on our life together. We spent the rest of the week traveling around Colorado. About three weeks after our wedding, we had a “Happily Ever After” party to celebrate with our closest friends and family.
What words of encouragement do you have for those considering eloping?
Emily & Matt: Eloping allowed us to have a beautiful and meaningful wedding day. We were able to be stress-free, be present, and focus all of our energy on each other, which was very important. We feel our wedding reflected our personalities and relationship, and we didn’t have to fake it through traditions that didn’t mean anything to us or worry about family politics. It was authentic to who we are. Our family and friends were able to see that, which made them very supportive of our elopement. It also allowed us to easily pay for our wedding and not stress about entering our marriage with additional debt. We also had the added benefit of lots of memories together from a fun week-long trip! We found so many benefits to eloping and don’t regret a single thing!
Officiation by: Brandon Baker
Photography by: Paige Weber
Planning by: Simply Eloped
Venue: Rocky Mountain National Park, Sprague Lake, Colorado