Brittany & MaKenzie - Intimate Woodland Elopement Session

Updated: Feb 7

At the end of 2020, my lovely friend Brittany reached out to me saying that she and her wife would be coming home for the holidays and they wanted to plan a family session. While we were working out the logistics, I was considering the fact that I was going into my slow season and should really use this time to work creatively. It sparked the idea to ask if they'd be interested in doing a styled shoot with me and I was met with overwhelming enthusiasm!

Winter Elopement Bridal Portraits Indiana Photographer Ashley Vandervelde Photography

I had a few ideas already running through my brain: winter tundra vibes, pine trees, and dried bouquets. With warm reception to my ideas, excitement, and lots of brainstorming, we started to craft this fall-winter transitional theme together.

In our planning, Brittany shared with me that they were really looking forward to having some photos of themselves done. She said that when they got married a few years back, they weren't happy with their wedding photos, and never took the time to have any taken any since then.

Winter Elopement Bridal Portraits Indiana Photographer Ashley Vandervelde Photography

Immediately, I launched into "we're giving you the wedding photos you deserve" mode! Brittany isn't the first person to tell me they were disappointed in their wedding photography and each time I hear it, it breaks my heart. You don't get a second chance to capture those moments! For them, this certainly wasn't their wedding day, but it celebrates their love as it has grown since then, which is joyful, playful, and passionate.

Life and love should be documented throughout every phase of life. There is beauty in each and every moment, even if you can't see it. I'm honored to have been able to photograph this moment in time for Brittany and MaKenzie.

Brittany is a watercolor and textile artist, founder of Eco Stitch & Cycle-ers. One of her missions is to show the ways you can reduce waste with mending and recycling clothing. I'm already a very eco-conscious individual, but I knew I needed to go the extra mile to make sure this session really fit her lifestyle. Everything we used was either secondhand, borrowed or preowned. This entire session cost me less than $40 to create and most of that cost was in fresh flowers.

Breathing new life into well loved things is also a reflection of their strong relationship. Marriage is about doing life together. Supporting each other through both the good and the bad times. We all need a person who would put the extra love into us when we feel worn down.

Woodland Adventure Elopement Indiana Photographer Ashley Vandervelde Photography

The true magic of eloping or having a small intimate wedding, is that it really enhances all the choices you made for your day. Your location, attire, the notebook you're reading your vows from...documenting the small things is big part of capturing any wedding day, but when you choose to focus on spending this day with just your closest friends and family, or just each other, those decisions just shine differently.

MaKenzie grew up near the place we chose to shoot at and while she had never ventured this specific woods, there's still something special about bringing your partner home and sharing where you grew up with them. I barely needed to instruct them during their session, because their sense of togetherness was so strong. It was just so beautifully natural.

I'm thankful for the adventure these guys went on with me. Especially in sticking out the cold Indiana winter weather and allowing me to share some of their story. I can't wait to see where the winds take you two next.

Thinking about eloping? Whether you want to do it near or far away, I'd love to help you start planning: Learn more here

Find Brittany's work here:




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