Secret Location | Utah Desert

the hearnes » adventure wedding photographers

Keith and Brianna Madia’s Elopement-Style Vow Renewal celebrating their 10 year anniversary in the dunes with their dogs Bucket and Dagwood | Collaboration with Rue De Seine

If you saw last week’s post or follow us on Instagram, you’ve already seen what we were up to with our buddies Keith and Brianna Madia (and their dogs Bucket and Dagwood!) out in the desert this month! Brianna and Keith have been together for 10 years this summer and they planned a few simple, desert adventure days to celebrate! Brianna knew she wanted some photos too, so over a year ago she texted me to save her a date for her and Keith to “stand in a canyon and read some words to each other” this summer. As the date got closer and we actually started planning, Brianna told me she was considering getting a Rue De Seine dress to wear, and I reminded her that Rue De Seine would be LUCKY to have her wearing their beautiful dresses 😉 Sure enough, we got in touch with their marketing team and they loved our idea, so we got to collaborate with them and pick out three beautiful wedding dresses for Brianna to wear out in the desert. She had originally fallen in love with one dress, but once they arrived and she tried them on, her favorite ended up being the one I picked out (that she wasn’t so sure on when we ordered them!! What can I say — I know wedding dresses 😜). Brianna decided to keep the third (favorite) wedding dress a little bit of a secret from Keith and save it for the canyoneering day. On our first day, we photographed the first two dresses in two remote desert locations. Brianna is going to write the blog post for their “wedding” day, but I decided to share the other dresses as their own posts because each dress (and location) is so unique and can be inspiration to any boho bride wanting to plan a desert elopement! Oh, and if you missed part one and need to catch up, here it is:

Keith + Brianna' Madia’s Vow Renewal, Part 1 (Rue De Seine’s West Gown)

If you need an intro to who Keith and Brianna Madia are, you can find them in some of our previous blog posts:

An Adventure session in the desert (the first time we ever hung out!)

An interview with Brianna Madia

A follow-up interview with Brianna Madia (a year later)

or, Follow Brianna Madia on Instagram

After braving the sandy stormy weather our near some hidden desert towers (lets be honest though, we had no idea what we were in for thinking that first spot was sandy 😅), Brianna told me we were headed to some secret dunes and I couldn’t have been more stoked! We drove a long ways, turned down a few more dirt roads and bumped along for what felt like forever, but I didn’t mind because time driving through the desert with Brianna and Bertha (the big orange van!) is always time well spent in my book. We chatted about all kind of things, and as always, both felt wildly refreshed to be talking to someone who understands our own struggles and agrees with things that it seems like the world is against. I don’t even know if that sentence made sense, and if Brianna wrote it it’d be phrased much better, but hopefully you get my point 😉 As we bumped along, the storm that seemed so threatening back at the towers just passed on by, never even showing us a drop of rain. We pulled up to the sand dunes and had the entire place to ourselves. Coming from Moab, which tends to be a little crowded these days, I started to really understand why Brianna finds so much peace out here away from it all. Our campsite had no cell service and the sand felt hot on our feet…I’d give it 5 stars if it had a rating system.

The boys arrived shortly after us and we opened the doors so the dogs (Charlie, Bucket, and Dagwood) could all run wild. They chased little sand lizards into bushes for hours, never catching a single one but having all the fun in the world. We had plenty of time before sunset, so we pulled out the lawn chairs, whiskey, and tequila and settled in for the afternoon. The wind whipped sand straight into our eyes, and after attempting to migrate the chair circle around our giant rig a few times, we finally gave up and sat “inside” with all the windows open so we could keep an eye (or eight) on the dogs. We sat around the little table in our camper for what felt like hours (I truly don’t know, the desert seems to warp time) and somehow got the silly idea that I should throw on one of the beautiful Rue De Seine dresses! Callen and Keith went out to fly the drone or something, and I dug out the Nahla Gown from the back of the van. I slipped it on with my toes in the sand and immediately felt like a desert princess! One thing led to another, Brianna offered to take a few photos of Callen and I in the dunes, and Keith lent Callen a nice shirt so we could look a little more fancy. Brianna grabbed one of my cameras and Keith grabbed the other and we ran out into the sand having the time of our lives! I’ll share those photos in their own post, but I have to mention it because that part of the story was SO fun and made us feel SO special! It also gave us a taste of our own medicine as we were the ones in front of the camera (and side note, Brianna and Keith might put me out of a job because the photos turned out AMAZING 😜).

Once that settled down (ha), I jumped back into comfy clothes and handed the traveling wedding dress over to Brianna (quite the sisterhood!) for her and Keith’s sunset portraits. She looked absolutely stunning in the Nahla gown (no surprise there) and we had such a blast in the dunes. Rue De Seine’s Nahla Gown is probably their most popular dress and I’m not at all surprised! The bodice is an absolute work of art with the most intricate and intentional lace lining a gorgeous floral print fabric. The sleeves are billowy but sexy with their off-the-shoulder neckline. The dress is quite fitted in the waist down to the hips and the lace lining is extremely flattering! But the best part of the gorgeous Nahla gown is the wildly flowy skirt! It is long and light and absolutely stunning. We had quite a bit of wind, which I’m certain the Nahla gown was made for, and Brianna had such a blast letting the skirt flow all around her.

We played music, sipped tequila, and danced our way around the sand dunes while the dogs had the time of their lives keeping up with us. These photos are some of my favorites we’ve ever taken because of how much they radiate child-like joy, especially considering these two are so good at having fun together. It felt like such a true and wonderful way to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. As the sun dipped to the horizon, the clouds in the distance dropped desert rain and turned all kinds of colors around us. Bri and Keith cuddled up in the still-warm sand and the dogs laid down right next to them. As I watched behind my camera I couldn’t help but think this was 100% where these four Madia’s belong, and they almost looked like they could just drift away together like the sand that blew around them. Again, I was left in awe of these people (and dogs) we get to call dear friends, and so thankful to get to tell their story with my photos. From desert towers to never-ending sand dunes, this day was such a blast and we went to sleep that night absolutely exhausted with big dumb smiles on our faces. Little did we know, the next week would be even better in it’s own epic-everything-went-wrong-but-so-very-right way! I’m letting Brianna tell that part of the story, and man is it a good one!

The Hearnes Adventure Photography is run by Abbi and Callen Hearne, a husband & wife wedding photography team with an emphasis on adventure. They live on the road as full-time nomads, allowing them to serve a large portion of the western US. You can typically find them in Moab, Utah or Yosemite National Park, California, with side-quests to Patagonia and Alaska. They believe love is the greatest adventure and strive to create photos that are epic, romantic, true, and timeless.