Moab, Utah

the hearnes » adventure elopement photographers


sam + zac’s intimate elopement in a secret canyon near moab, utah | moab elopement photographer

As follows with most Moab adventure weddings Sam and Zac's wasn't your typical reception. Dust kicked up in the light coming from the headlamps of Sam and Zac's Subaru, illuminating the desert dance floor. Instead of a DJ's light set up, there was the hazy dusk light right before the stars come out. Instead of an extensive guest list and a huge cake, there was a couple in love eating red velvet cake in the middle of a red desert.

Sometimes, simplicity shows what a million plans and months of work is trying to say - this, is love. When Sam and Zac came to us, we understood their idea, the desire for a simple day, their personality speaking towards the serene calm and beauty the desert brings. They're rock climbers, and thus campers and hikers, so their adventures had taken them to Moab before, and ultimately drew them back for their wedding day!

When we started talking about their elopement the thread of simplicity that brought their whole day together started when they thought that Callen and I should pick the location for their ceremony. You can argue there's not a bad place to get married in Moab, but it means a lot to us when couples trust us so much. Picking out a special place for a couple to say "I do" is something I look forward to doing every time. With the amount of land and roads leading to various textures of valleys, towers, and canyons, the challenge isn't to find a uniquely beautiful place, but rather to pick one.

The fun thing about our adventurous brides and grooms is how often we can feel their joy coming through in every situation. This joy isn't always there because they have every detail planned out, but because there is a freedom in knowing nothing other than it will be beautiful. This brings about the feeling of spontaneity and excitement which makes up a lot of what adventure is. So when we met Sam and Zac for their first look, we could tell they were excited that the exact location was still somewhat a mystery. I often not only think about where our couples would like to go, but where they would want to come back to for years to come. We knew the area we would go to, but there was still room to hike out and pick the specific ledge unique to them with the perfect backdrop for their wedding ceremony.

Today, Conner (brother/artist/Strickland) officiated their desert elopement, and Zac and Sam's parents served as witnesses. The ceremony was short and sweet, and right afterward we had a picnic reception. There were beers and the aforementioned red velvet cake. Their parents, the only witnesses to the wedding, gave the sweetest toasts to their newlywed children. 

We used the last of the light to hike around and do sunset portraits. There was a purity in the day. The day felt like underlining your favorite sentence in a story and then writing a whole book using that sentence as the plot. That's kind of what we do, and today felt like the purest - simplest - form of what we do for our couples.

Their day showed how happiness comes from finding what you love - the people and the places, and underlining them like favorite sentences before writing it all into your story. The sun had set over the desert, mountain bikers rode by, and the day ended with a couple holding hands, moving their feet and kicking up dust, proving anywhere you dream up can make for the perfect dance floor.

Elopement Location: Moab, Utah

Photographers: The Hearnes Adventure Photography


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.

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