It’s not every day that a record breaking snow storm comes in at the end of winter in Sedona, Arizona. Gabby and Mike originally planned for a sunny adventure in the red rocks but instead were greeted with a foot of snow! To say we were all shocked in an understatement. Sedona rarely gets more than a few inches of snow. Some winters Sedona sees NONE. We all made the most of the rare weather that caused highway and trail closures and it ended up being one of my favorite days yet.
I immediately clicked with Gabby and Mike when we had our elopement phone consult! These two love adventure and their pup which if you know anything about Wilder West, that’s so us! Unfortunately their pup Hank couldn’t make the trip out but don’t worry, he was still included (check out those adorable cuff links with his face!!). They nailed down a date in the beginning of March hoping for a typical Sedona late winter day. Most years that means sunny and possibly a little chilly or windy.
The first six months of 2023 broke records here in Arizona for being extraordinarily cold and wet. It was so abnormal for the desert! Sedona got record breaking snow multiple times and so much rain. As we were nearing Gabby and Mike’s wedding date a huge winter storm was rolling in. Some parts of Arizona got three FEET of snow. Yep, that’s not an exaggeration!
Meteorologists suspected that this storm was going to be a doozy for Arizona and they weren’t wrong. Sedona ended up getting over a foot of snow and nearby towns got three feet. The problem with snow in our little town is that there are very little winter resources like snow plows to help out. That means when a big storm like this rolls in everything, and I mean everything, closes. Highways, shops, roads, etc.
The brunt of the storm ended up coming on Gabby and Mike’s original wedding date. A few days before we chatted about the possibility of moving it to the following date. After checking with all vendors involved it was no problem! Hallelujah! I always block off the day before and the day after an elopement date for this exact reason. You never know what could happen, especially in the winter.
Our next hurdle was making a backup plan since many trails got so much snow. The couple’s dream location was closed but luckily I knew of some spots that were just as epic and more accessible in snow. These two trusted me for their adventure and I couldn’t have been more grateful for that trust!
I packed lots of extra layers for not only myself, but for the couple as well as I loaded up my camera bag. Mittens, hand-warmers, scarves, a ton of extra camera batteries, and maybe a shot or two of alcohol for the cold adventure ahead! Thank goodness I have a Jeep with incredible off-roading capability because my neighborhood had not been plowed by the time I needed to leave! Talk about a scary drive!
I was beyond excited to finally meet these two and embark on this adventure. They both had amazing attitudes not only during all of the planning craziness, but while they froze their butts off in the snow! It goes to show that your attitude truly changes everything!
One of my favorite details from the day was their all black wedding attire. I ALWAYS love a black wedding dress but holy cow, I think it was destined to be in the snow! Gabby had texted me months before nervous about her wedding dress pick but we all quickly realized just how perfect it was. Her boldly colored wedding bouquet stood out even more!
They shared a private ceremony with a rare desert waterfall as the most beautiful background sound. I loved the ceremony that the officiant on our team, Ira, created! Following the ceremony we adventured at a couple of other spots before enjoying some champagne and cinnamon buns on the trail. Gabby and Mike always dreamed of ending their wedding day stargazing and unfortunately there were dense clouds. No worries though, photoshop can make some magic happen.
I just have to state again just how incredible Gabby and Mike were for having amazing attitudes throughout the entire planning process and on their cold adventure! I know it’s not always easy changing plans and being freezing in wedding attire! They both made my job so easy and fun. And damn, they looked GREAT in front of the camera!
Another huge thanks to all of the vendors who were flexible to help make this adventure happen.
Florals: Sedona Mountain High
Hair & Makeup: Desert Sage
Officiant: Ira with us at Wilder West Elopements
Gabby’s Black Wedding Dress: Love, Lillian
Want some more help planning your Sedona elopement? Check out our ultimate Sedona Elopement Guide!
Looking for a warmer elopement day for some inspiration? Check out this warm and sunny Summer Elopement Story!
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