Jimilyn and Kelly’s LGBTQ New Mexico Elopement will be a wedding I never forget in my life. When I got a DM from Jimilyn asking if I was available for their elopement in mid-February, I thought that surely they meant a year from now, in 2023. After sending a text within minutes of receiving their DM, I confirmed that they were inquiring for 2022 or 2023. They were planning on eloping in New Mexico at their favorite vacation spot, the Hotel Luna Mystica, in 6 days. Immediately, I fell in love with their spontaneous spirits and sense for adventure. I booked a flight immediately and said fuck. yes.
I love a couple who has stalked me thoroughly on Instagram 😉 These two found me on Instagram after I photographed another amazing LGBTQ wedding in New Orleans. They made me cry when they told me they’d dreamed of hiring me for their wedding someday after seeing Nicole & Bud’s wedding photos. It’s an honor to be an LGBTQ elopement photographer and even more touching when I hear couples say that they see can themselves represented in my work.
Jimilyn and Kelly share an inside joke that their relationship happened “backwards” from the start. They said “I love you” before they were officially girlfriend & girlfriend. And then they got married before they were officially engaged. Within a month of dating, they knew they were going to get married someday. They share a love for taking adventure vacations. They have stayed in amazing Airbnb’s and unique hotels around the country together.
However, the Hotel Luna Mystica was one of their favorite spots that left a huge impression on them in the spring of 2021. They fell in love with the gorgeous panoramic views of the New Mexico mountains outside of Taos. The vintage campers on site have their own personalities as well, with their own individual decor. Each camper is completely different from the next, which creates such a fun experience for returning guests to try out new/different campers each time. The sunsets are absolutely stunning. Jimi and Kelly told me they would never forget the memory of waking up to views of the mountains from their front porch of their camper.
Just a year later, they decided to return for another vacation. This time, though, they had the idea to elope there. When I got the DM, they had already booked a 5 night stay and decided if I was available for their elopement, they’d take it as a sign to get married there. I was available and together, we found a team of vendors to make their dream a reality!
the elopement day
The day I arrived in Albuquerque, I noticed a storm warning on my weather app pop up for Taos. I wasn’t going to panic until I needed to, but started to mentally prepare for a blizzard. When I picked up my rental car, the agent asked me at the last minute if I wanted to upgrade to a Subaru. I didn’t hesitate… and said yes immediately.
I arrived late at night and was greeted by Jimi and Kelly. Jimi and Kelly reserved a trailer for me to stay in as well so I could be on site. It came in clutch to stay in close proximity to help them with anything they might need. As an adventure elopement photographer, it’s my honor to be able to wear all the hats on an elopement day. Staying just a few campers away allowed me to share a glass of wine with Jimi and Kelly the night before the wedding. I felt like I got to know them so much better because I was staying so close to them.
After 10 years of shooting weddings, it continues to blow my mind that I have the privilege of being the sole guest & witness at many elopements. To be the person to stand by couples during every moment of the day… it’s such an honor. Jimi and Kelly felt like close friends immediately the first night I met them. It’s crazy to think that the first time I meet so many couples is the day of or day before their wedding!
The next morning, we woke up to almost a foot of fresh snow. Jimi and Kelly’s car was stuck, so driving into Taos to pick up their wedding cake wasn’t an option. Luckily, I had my trusty Subaru. We piled into my car in the morning and drove on snowy roads into town to get their wedding cake. When we returned back to our campers, we also made a last minute decision to set up their “reception” in my camper. It made more sense with the layout of my camper to have dinner in my camper!
One of my favorite memories will forever be Kelly & Jimi’s first dance. They decided to have their “first dance” outside in the snow…and in their matching bride & bride nightgowns. Who says you have to follow a traditional timeline on a wedding day!? On an elopement day, you make the rules! Over bluetooth speakers, we played The Bleachers. These New Orleans gals kicked off their shoes and danced in the snow. It was such a sweet moment. I could feel all the stress/anxiety melt away.
I always recommend couples plan a moment on their wedding day to remember what their day is really about- getting fucking married! Whether that’s spending the morning together, writing letters to read before getting ready, playing your favorite card game, or watching an episode of your favorite TV show together- having a moment to ground yourselves can be so helpful to set yourself up for an amazing wedding day.
the ceremony & “I do”
Jimi and Kelly decided to walk down the aisle hand in hand, together. The Hotel Luna Mystica has an amazing ceremony set up with gorgeous stone structures framing a view of the mountains. They took turns reading vows. To this day, their vows were some of the most beautiful I’ve ever heard. They each spoke of finding a “home” in one another. They found a safe space in their relationship together. It was so gorgeous to watch them promise forever together, surrounded by the New Mexico mountains and the fresh snow, as the sun set behind them. It was the perfect setting for these two brides. It was truly the most perfect LGBTQ New Mexico elopement!
After their ceremony when they were pronounced wife & wife, we took sunset photos as the alpen glow illuminated the mountains. Despite the stress of a blizzard the morning of their wedding, I couldn’t imagine anything more perfect. The snowy sunset took my breath away. I have grown up with snow all my life, but seeing Jimi and Kelly take in the snow was the best feeling. They were absolutely filled with glee skipping through the snow.
I love to remind couples that just because you’re eloping, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a special dinner together or a wedding cake. Jimi and Kelly had a cake made locally in Taos. Together, they cooked pasta (one of their favorite meals) and set up an intimate candle lit dinner in my camper. It was so perfectly them.
Thank you so much for letting me be the person to document your amazing LGBTQ New Mexico Elopement day.
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