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Buena Vista Elopement | Erica and Andrew

Erica and Andrew | Cottonwood Pass Elopement

Savannah Chandler Photography | Buena Vista Elopement Photographer

Sitting between the towns of Buena Vista and Almont (just outside of Crested Butte) is a stunning mountain pass topping out at 12,126′. Cottonwood Pass looks out over parts of the Elk and Collegiate mountain ranges, and sits right along the Continental Divide.

With it’s ease of access in the summer months, Cottonwood makes for the perfect morning elopement location.

I met Erica and Andrew in the dark to hike up to the top of the adjacent mountain on the pass for sunrise. The hike to the top is one that’s quite pleasant, roughly only a 1/4 mile with under 200 feet of elevation gain. There are a few other peaks and connectors to the CDT/CT to hike along the same route if you’re looking to continue hiking.

As the sun began to break the horizon, we approached the top of our summit where Erica and Andrew said their private vows to one another. I absolutely love that I’m seeing more and more couples have a private morning vow reading just the two of them before meeting up with their family and friends.

After spending some time adventuring around on our morning hike, we headed down to meet the rest of the wedding party and family. We headed down to Cottonwood Pass Lake, where Erica and Andrew hosted a larger ceremony overlooking the backside of the Three Apostles (a favorite mountain grouping of mine here in Colorado). As part of their wedding party, I had my first experience with a Flower Man – and to say I was in stitches as their friend strutted his stuff down the aisle would be a severe understatement. He had a fanny pack full of rose petals that he ever-so-gallantly threw in the air as he strode down the aisle. Everyone should have a fanny-packed Flower Man friend at their wedding – 10/10 recommend. (*As a side note, everyone in the wedding pitched in to pick up every last flower petal off the ground since we were in nature and strewn petals are not naturally occurring. Always, always practice LNT and pack out what you pack in*)

After committing themselves in front of their dearest family and friends, some family photos, and of course a champagne spray to celebrate – we all headed back into the town of Buena Vista for a late morning brunch celebration at the Surf Hotel.

Just before brunch and coffee – Erica brought out their wedding invitations to photograph with their rings. All 4 of them due to the many Covid reschedules. I think having a sense of humor is what is making the world go-round in a Post-Covid world. We all had a chuckle looking over the previous invites now that they finally got to host their beautiful wedding.

Capping off our time together, Erica and Andrew shared their first dance in the Surf Hotel with the morning sun streaming in. An intimate wedding doesn’t mean that you can’t partake in the wedding day events that sing to your heart.

Congratulations again, Erica and Andrew!! I’m so happy to have (finally) celebrated with you and your families.

Cheers –

Savannah Chandler Photography | Buena Vista Elopement Photographer | Cottonwood Pass Elopement
Based in Denver, Colorado | Available for Travel Worldwide

Photographing Colorado Elopements across the Rocky Mountain Region and Beyond
Buena Vista | Telluride | Silverton | Ouray | Crested Butte | Leadville | Aspen | Breckenridge | Silverthorne | Vail | Steamboat Springs

Surf Hotel in Buena Vista –