Tracy & Dale's Intimate Elopement

In my line of work, you'd think every wedding you witness would showcase two people who are soulmates, but that's just not the case. It's rare, but when you see it for yourself, you know that these two people were meant for one another. This is exactly what drew me in to Tracy & Dale's story. Their elopement at Log Haven Restaurant in Mill Creek is literally what dream weddings are made of: intimate, moody, and downright gorgeous. 


Saturday dawned cloudy as part of a weekend long moody spell throughout the Salt Lake Valley and the beautiful Wasatch Mountains lining the east side of the valley. You'd think I'd be afraid of rain or snow, but I actually love shooting in overcast conditions because the lighting is just superb.

I arrived at the Log Haven Restaurant eager and ready to start shooting, but I was not prepared for how extraordinarily beautiful the entire location was! Twinkling lights lined the log cabin-esque building, and solemn evergreens guarded the sides and backdrop. We were on a mountain after all, and the ampitheatre for the ceremony, to the meadow with its own waterfall, to the the countless romantic secluded spots that dotted the entire location made my detailed heart flutter. 

Tracy was hidden away in a room, having her gown laced up as I walked in, but she didn't appear nervous at all, just ready for the time to come when she could call Dale her husband. 

Even Dale, with his father, brothers, and other family members seemed so relaxed as they discussed the drive from St. George for some of their family to attend. If Dale appeared restless at all, it was only because he was truly ready to see his bride walk down the aisle. 

After a few detail shots, Dale and I left to find the perfect spot for a 'first look' moment between him and Tracy. The perfect spot practically screamed at me when I saw it: an ivy covered trellis. Dale patiently allowed me the few groom portraits I needed, but soon it was time to bring in the main event. 

Tracy's gown was covered in delicate lace making climbing concrete stairs a tad difficult, but wow was she gorgeous! Dale was so antsy waiting to turn to see her, the suspense rising with each click of my camera. Finally, it was time for him to turn around. Y'all, I've never seen a groom react like this before and it just made my heart swell. 

Tracy was so glad we decided on a first look because it takes some of the pressure off of the ceremony, and allowed them to see and speak with one another privately before everyone else gathered around them. Even their boys (two each) watched with smiles plastered across their faces and the youngest came up to Tracy afterward and said, "You look so pretty mama!" 

The ceremony was short and sweet, with hand written vows and testimonies from family in the crowd. It was certainly no less a tear jerker though and I was glad for the biting wind to blame my watery eyes!

After the ceremony was finished, we gathered for some family portraits, while Dale's boys exclaimed to Tracy, "Now you're our mom for real!" The smiles on all of their faces were so pure and genuine, it was so obvious that not only did they love one another, but that others loved them fiercely as well. 

It was cold out, so everyone quickly huddled back inside to drink hot chocolate by the fire and warm up before lunch was served. Books lined the backdrop of both tables, and waiters quickly and quietly served salad and bread before the main course. Tracy and Dale glowed as they visited with family and friends, and the children (secluded at their own table) were all so well behaved and fun. I even caught two of the boys toasting their hot chocolate like regular adults. 

Eventually, after heartfelt toasts and a few tears and laughs, Tracy and Dale made their way to the dance floor to cut the cake and share their first dance together. 

With every other detail finished, I wanted to make sure we got a few bride and groom portraits before I left. Tracy and Dale followed me out to the meadow where waterfalls, streams, and a pond awaited our arrival. Ducks swam and scavanged nearby as I posed my couple. I didn't have to pose much, because they seemed to be in their own world, laughing and enjoying one another's company. This kind of love story is rare, folks. It's a love story that heals heartache and provided redemption and grace for the past. It's a love story that blends a family together as if it were this way all along. 

Congratulations you guys! I wish you all the best in your new adventure together!