Jessica and Jason | Maroon Bells Elopement
Savannah Chandler Photography | Aspen Elopement Photographer
The Maroon Bells – a Colorado Mountain icon. These stunning 14,000 ft mountains are the most photographed peaks in the state – and for good reason! Maroon Lake, at the base of “The Bells”, is accessible by vehicle from early Summer through the first large snowfall of the year. During Peak times (typically late June through early October), a shuttle is required to access Maroon lake from Aspen – unless you reserve the Amphitheater for your intimate elopement.
This past August, Jessica and Jason came out to Aspen to elope under the backdrop of the Maroon Bells. After decided to pivot from their large wedding plans back home in Illinois due to Covid-19, they opted to stay at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen and invite their families and friends to celebrate with them via. Zoom.
As if Covid didn’t bring enough challenges, this past August a large fire erupted 30 miles outside of Aspen just a few short days before Jessica and Jason’s elopement. The main roads into town, i-70 and Independence Pass, both shut down due to fire activity. I had been staying in Lake City the previous day for another hiking elopement, and was fortunate enough to already be on the West side of the fires. Jessica and Jason’s wedding cake and second shooter, however, were stuck in Denver with no way into Aspen. If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that the human spirit is amazing. With just 12 hours before their elopement, I was able to find a secondary photographer that lived just a short drive from Aspen (you’re a true life saver, Amber S.!) and the chef at the Hotel Jerome gladly offered to make Jessica and Jason an exact recipe replica of their cake that was stuck in Denver, down to the cake filling. If you’re looking for a truly extraordinary experience while staying in Aspen for your elopement, or just visiting for fun, the Hotel Jerome is unmatched.
Once the stress of replanning for a second time was starting to pass, we met Jessica and Jason in their hotel suite for some getting ready photos/video and their first look in the downstairs bar area. Before heading out to on the 10 mile road that leads into the Maroon Bells wilderness, we hopped on a video call with Jessica and Jason’s family and friends.
With the pandemic limiting event sizes and many couples opting to elope just the two of them, I’ve begun to offer basic video services once again. Jessica and Jason decided to get a highlight video with ceremony audio to share with their family and friends back home. You can see the video at the bottom of this post!!
When we arrived at the Maroon Bells amphitheater, we were greeted with lush green hillsides and teal waters. The weather was slightly windy, but as I told Jessica and Jason, it was just mother nature’s way of blessing their marriage.
After their vows were sealed with a kiss and a “woo-hoo”, we set out for the rest of our afternoon adventure. On the shore side of Maroon Lake, Jessica and Jason had their first dance as husband and wife to the tune of Bruce Springsteen (a personal favorite). Following the tunes of “The Boss”, we set out to hike up to Crater Lake. Jessica’s seamstress had sewn in a system of ties and elastic to the bottom of her gown that allowed her to pull up the skirt of her dress for easier (and less dirty) hiking!
Once we arrived at 10,175 feet at the base of Crater Lake, we enjoyed a nice seated picnic break. Leading up to their elopement, Jason had sneekily asked their family and friends to Email him letters for them to read. Under the welcomed shade of the pines, Jessica and Jason read all the emotional and heartfelt emails and cards that countless family and friends had sent. Again, seeing the human spirit in action during 2020 has me all choked up.
After a dip in the cold alpine water, we made our way back down the trail and to the Hotel Jerome for cake and toasts. Calling more family to join in on the elopement day celebrations, Jessica and Jason ate delicious cake and made their union legal with the signing of their marriage license. To cap off their evening, the Hotel Jerome had a private dinner on the rooftop waiting for the newlyweds.
Thank you again, Jessica and Jason, for adventuring with me for your stunning Maroon Bells elopement! I hope that you enjoyed your time here in Aspen and I wish the two of you a lifetime of hapiness.
Maroon Bells Amphitheater
Second Photographer: Amber S.
Due to family not being able to attend their Aspen elopement, Jessica and Jason opted to add basic video coverage. Check out their elopement video below!