This is the story of Michael and Rebekah, a couple whose love story was captured against the backdrop of Cathedral Rock in Sedona just as the sun started to rise.
Before the sun started to make its way into the sky, Michael and Rebekah started their elopement adventure. With the help of our headlamps, we navigated the trail leading to Cathedral Rock. As we hiked, the sky slowly made its way from pitch black to a soft glow.
Once we reached the summit, Michael and Rebekah decided to get ready separately, maintaining an element of surprise for their first look. Rebekah’s sister helped make sure that her dress was perfectly zipped up and her hair was touched up.
When the time was right, Michael and Rebekah had their long-awaited first look. Michael was left speechless as his eyes filled with tears. He simply couldn’t believe how stunning she looked.
I have witnessed plenty of first looks, but theirs took my breath away!
With the breathtaking landscape of Cathedral Rock as their backdrop, these two exchanged their heartfelt vows.
Usually, Sedona is crawling with hikers. But, since their Cathedral Rock elopement was at sunrise, they had a few moments of quietness before other people started meeting us at the top. The tears flowed as laughs echoed throughout Sedona’s canyons.
Together, Michael and Rebekah promised each other forever.
Then, it was my favorite part of the day… THEIR PORTRAITS. Because we had been planning their elopement for months, I knew the best spots to capture them, their love, and the beauty of Cathedral Rock.
As more hikers began to arrive, we decided that it was probably best to head to the next part of their day.
Michael and Rebekah shared their first dance as a married couple before they laid out a blanket for a romantic picnic. They enjoyed a simple meal of cold pizza and wings, their favorite. Wine played a significant role in their relationship, and they brought a special bottle all the way from Upstate NY to share at this special spot… on this special day.
As they ate their meal and drank their wine, they shared stories, admired the beauty, and reveled in the peacefulness of the moment.
Once we finished up, we headed down to the trailhead and the two continued their day on a wine tour with their two guests! Perfect sunrise elopement day.
“After having encounters with “traditional” weddings, we realized that there is such a high amount of stress with planning and ensuring that all guests are happy. We realized that with a traditional wedding, we would not be able to focus on ourselves and would be focused on meeting the needs of everyone else. Further, we are more of a private couple and did not feel comfortable sharing our personal vows in front of an audience. We decided that eloping would allow us to make our time personalized, special, and intimate (and we were right; it was the best decision!).”
“Our elopement was everything we could have dreamed of and then more! We turned our elopement into a week-long vacation, which we loved. Also, we first flew into Arizona and spent a couple of days connecting deeper as a couple and doing things that we loved. We went wine tasting, and hiking, explored the area, and ate great food. The bride’s sister flew in the day before the elopement to help out. On our elopement day, we set off super early to hike Cathedral Rock. Undoubtedly, we both really enjoyed this experience.
We hiked in the dark, which contributed to a greater element of surprise as we had never hiked at that location before. We shared a lot of laughs on the way and were guided by the incredible elopement photographer, Karen. The timing was perfect, as when we reached the top, the sun was just starting to come out. It felt like the location was gradually being revealed to us, which was a neat experience. We then were able to incorporate our “first look.”
When reading our vows, it was such an intimate experience that we were looking for. Even on such a public hike, we found a location that was very private. Reading our vows was one of our favorite moments of the elopement. We then were able to get some epic pictures, shared our first dance, toasted with our favorite wine, and instead of cake, had pizza and wings. After our elopement ended, we continued to do all of the things we enjoyed and connected on. We experienced adventures, enjoyed the outdoors, explored scenic routes, and bonded through the many laughs, love, and experiences.”
“None at all! We both would do it over and over again. Everything about the day was magical, intimate, and full of love. The way we were able to focus on each other, instead of a large guest list, was the best choice we ever made.”
“When we were planning to elope, we had feelings of guilt in the process. We did not have the full support of our family. It was difficult at first to tune out the noise and opinions from everyone else. Our advice is to make the decision that would make you the happiest; not what would make everyone else the happiest. After all, it is your future spouse that you will be spending the rest of your life with.
Eventually, everyone will understand and it will all be okay. We even did a small ceremony the following weekend to include family and that worked out well. If you want intimate moments, if you want the day to be just about the two of you, and if you want the opportunity to include all of your favorite things without the worry of meeting others’ needs- elopement is for you! The nice thing about getting eloped is that it can look any way you want it to look. You can truly incorporate ANY element that you would like. You will forever be thankful that you went with your gut instinct and you will be so happy.”
“We had the most amazing, unforgettable, memorable experience with Karen. She has so many skills and talents, is kind, and knowledgeable, has great organization skills, and is incredible to work with. Our elopement day was everything we had dreamed it would be (actually, even better) and that is mostly due to Karen’s work and the experience we had with her. When we received our pictures back, I was speechless. I was in absolute awe. The thing I appreciated the most after receiving the pictures was that Karen captured so many genuine moments. Of course, we had some incredible posed photos, but she included so many in-the-moment, genuine moments of our elopement. I love those pictures because all of the emotions can be seen and felt in those pictures. We will cherish that forever. I am amazed at how much she captured and her ability to capture all of the right moments. If you are thinking of eloping, and thinking of booking Karen, I would not hesitate at all. She is the BEST. I cannot thank Karen enough for making our day special and everything we truly wanted.”
5:00 am Meet at Cathedral Rock Trailhead: Get ready to start the hike up to the top
5:45 am Approx arrival at the top: Change into wedding attire
6:00 am First Look
6:15 am Vows and Ring Exchange
6:30 am Bridal Portraits
8:00 am Head down to viewpoint 2
8:10 am First dance
8:15 am Breakfast + Toast
8:30 am Head to Parking lot
9:00 am End Photos
INTERESTED IN WORKING WITH KAREN CASTOR PHOTOGRAPHY?