There’s a major distinction between perfection and authenticity on your wedding day.


Written by Diana Lustig

A perfect wedding is a large, indoor wedding with hundreds of guests. The couple spends their last night as unweds in separate rooms. The groomsmen and maids of honor are dressed to the nines. The bride and groom—after undergoing hours of primping and dressing—are perfect.


The ceremony is rehearsed and rehearsed until everyone has their placements, vows, toasts and even dramatic pauses mastered. A perfect wedding reception has ideal table settings. The special couple gets to indulge in exactly one piece of cake before making their rounds to spend 30 seconds with every guest. At the end of the night, the couple poses for a threshold selfie in their five-star hotel. That’s perfect.


And then there is authenticity.


My Wedding Day, My Way

While everyone is entitled to have their wedding their way, I wanted my wedding to be different. The last thing I wanted was perfection. What I craved, what I longed for in my heart of hearts, was authenticity.


I have never been the girl who spends hours on her makeup making sure every false eyelash is perfectly spaced. I am the rough and tumble hiker who is always looking for a new adventure. 


My Joshua Tree elopement was perfect because it was authentic. The guest list was small, consisting of only immediate family members, wedding photographers and the officiant.


I woke up at 4 AM to don my dress while on the trail, so my to-be-husband and I could have our first look as the sun rose behind the Joshua Trees that make the park so special. We spent our last moments as fiancé together in the quiet early morning, my dress picking up twigs and dirt along the way.


Our ceremony was quick. A flash, really. Later that night, we read our vows to each other during sunset on top of Keys Point—both of us crying as the cold wind blew against our faces.


It was perfect because it was authentic. And I personally can’t imagine doing it any other way.


And Now, Let’s Make Your Wedding Day Yours

As your outdoor elopement and wedding photographer, I want to take pictures of your authentic wedding. I want to wake up too early on a Friday to hike up a mountain with you two, so you can greet the morning sun during your wedding ceremony.


I want to see you and your special someone dressed to the nines, but with windswept hair and dusty boots. I want to share in that joyous moment when your eyes well up and your voice cracks as you read your vows to the only person in the world who makes you feel this way.


I have never wanted to be the center of attention. People glowing over me with rehearsed speeches is my absolute nightmare, even with their best intentions. I don’t want a climate-controlled indoor venue. I want wind-swept hair, dust on the fringes of my dress, and unstaged emotion. I want raw and real moments.


I want authenticity. And maybe you do too. This is why I decided to elope with my spouse. 


Now, let’s get your elopement started. 


Ready to get hitched? Send us a message and we’ll help you plan your amazing elopement or wedding.

A man and woman embrace on their authentic wedding day at Lost Dutchman State Park in Arizona.
The morning sun shines through an embrace on an authentic wedding day in Arizona.
A couple embraces on their authentic wedding day at Lost Dutchman State Park in Arizona.
Two wedding rings rest on a rock in Lost Dutchman State Park in Arizona.
A man and woman embrace on their authentic wedding day at Lost Dutchman State Park in Arizona.
A couple embraces on their authentic wedding day at Lost Dutchman State Park in Arizona.
Two hands touch with their wedding rings on their authentic wedding day in Arizona.
A man and woman embrace on their authentic wedding day among cacti in Arizona.
A couple kisses on their authentic wedding day in Arizona under the Superstitious Mountains.
A man and woman walk together on their authentic wedding day in Arizona under the Superstitious Mountains.