You only get one elopement – don’t dream small. Maureen and Brian’s summertime Dolomites elopement will have your jaw on the floor and will inspire you to dream big, to craft your elopement with intention, and to have the damn time of your lives doing it.
It’s more than just an adventure, some travel, a service provided. Those words have come to feel trite.
It’s connecting with two people who you’ve never met before and them deciding to go somewhere brand new in the world for their best day, only because you would be there.
It’s the only thunderstorm day in the forecast with no breaks haunting us, and allowing ourselves to succumb to the menace of the alps, only for her to reward us with not a single drop or fogged view. Meanwhile, keeping the crowds at bay.
It’s popping into a well known restaurant with no reservations, and them letting us stay late and ushering out a beautiful surprise dessert — complete with a pastry that the groom’s mother used to make, bringing him to tears.
It’s more than a job.
It’s more than just travel.
It’s allowing the serendipity of the universe to bring us beautiful moments, beyond what we envisioned for our plan A.
Maureen + Brian, I was so moved by your day. By you two. By the fact that as a little girl I dreamed of adventures and connection and love like this. Thank you for letting me play a small part in it all. Let’s show it all off to the world now, yes?
Getting to photograph this elopement was truly a career highlight of mine – a life highlight, even. Maureen + Brian, a couple from Maine, booked me when I told them I was going to be traveling to Italy this past summer, and when I brought up the idea of the Dolomites as their elopement destination. They said yes, and it all began from there: the opportunity to work with the most incredible couple who I felt a connection with right away.
Once all the planning had been done, our travel booked, accommodations made, the time came to finally live out the dream we’d all worked so hard to curate. I met up with Maureen + Brian for dinner the night before their elopement once they got into town, and really got to spend some quality time with them before the big day – celebrating with some amazing Italian food of course.
Getting the opportunity to connect with couples in a meaningful way before photographing their elopement is the sweetest experience, and truly helps me to document their story in the most authentic, natural way.
We were facing one of the stormiest days on the forecast, which was really nerve wracking after traveling so far to see the views – but everyone had a great attitude about it. We ended up having to ditch the hiking portion of the day, but the fog & rain cleared up for us after Maureen + Brian got ready, right before their first look! The timing of the bad weather lifting could not have been more serendipitous.
A highlight of this day was getting to spend time with Maureen + Brian as they got ready for their elopement at the most amazing Airbnb, which was situated way at the top of a super rocky, four-wheel drive road. The hosts actually have to drive their truck to bring their guests up and down the road, and are truly the most kind, welcoming humans ever!
Maureen + Brian spent the morning getting ready in this quiet mountaintop home, writing their vows, putting on their elopement attire, and preparing for the day ahead. Photographing couples getting ready is always one of my favorite parts of elopements: emotions are building, nerves are hitting, and you’re finally getting to put on those outfits, that jewelry, those shoes you so carefully picked out. The stillness and seclusion of this Airbnb only added to the calm atmosphere of the morning, allowing Maureen + Brian to focus on the joy of the day they’ve prepared so long for.
This place was truly the quaint, Italian homestead of my dreams. From the Airbnb at the top of the road, you get the most amazing views of the town below + mountains all around you, with farm animals wandering about through the Italian landscape – cats, donkeys, goats, chickens, you name it! With lush greenery, gardens, and wildflowers in bloom, you could not ask for a better way to experience this stunning location.
The host of this Airbnb, Gregor Prugger, is an amazing Italian artist & woodworker. It was incredibly cool, as most everything on the property was built by him. After Maureen + Brian’s first look, he even invited us into his studio to take a look at some of his work!
His pieces were absolutely mindblowing, a favorite of mine featuring hands, faces, and shoes to represent the people who try to cross the Mediterranean in hopes of a better life, but don’t make it. It turns out Gregor & his art have actually been featured in some pretty cool publications – you can see one of his incredible pieces in an Italian church, featured in this New York Times article. Getting to experience his stunningly-crafted work was a beautiful, moving moment that I’m so thankful I got to be a part of.
We had to ditch the hiking portion of the day due to the weather, but still took the Seceda gondola up to where we were going to go. The ceremony site with views of Seceda actually ended up being super quiet and secluded, because many people stayed away thanks to the bad weather forecast! We were incredibly thankful for the non-stormy patch of weather we were gifted, and the amazing, personal views we got of Seceda, all to ourselves.
I had actually arrived in Italy a few days prior to their elopement, and spent time scouting different locations + finding backup spots in case we ended up needing them. I’m super glad I got well-acquainted before they arrive to make sure things would go as smoothly as possible!
It turned out so perfectly in the end, despite the weird weather and changes in plans. Maureen + Brian got to say their vows in a breathtaking location, surrounded by lush wildflowers, mountain views, and a quiet atmosphere – it was pretty perfect if you ask me.
After their ceremony, we took the gondola and strolled back down to the town of Ortisei, where we went to an adorable restaurant called Tubladel. It was super sweet and special of Maureen + Brian to invite me to eat with them at this lovely little place!
The restaurant was overjoyed that they were spending their wedding day there, and everybody was so kind + welcoming. We didn’t have reservations, but they let us stay anyway, and even brought out an amazing dessert platter filled with delicious bites.
Once we’d wrapped up our dinner, we took some more photos in town to end the evening, and said our goodbyes.
This elopement with Maureen + Brian was truly one of the most magical experiences of my life, and I am forever grateful to them for trusting me to go somewhere brand new with them, to capture their breathtaking, meaningful, special elopement.
Grateful, grateful, grateful that I get to encourage people to do their wedding day however big or small they want, and that they allow me the honor of documenting it.
I could spend all my mornings beneath the Dolomiti alpenglow. Exploring her ridges and patterns. Bathing in her wildflowers.
Forever changed by getting to play in one of my new favorite landscapes — until next time.
“My husband and I eloped in June 2022 in the Italian Dolomites. It felt a bit like the stars aligned when we came across Emma during our early planning. Only shortly after thinking “hey, why not get married in Italy?”, we came across Emma’s work, featuring shots of GORGEOUS adventure elopements, and saw that she just so happened to be planning to be in Italy in one of our targeted months. It felt like a sign.
Planning a wedding, even when it’s “just” an elopement vs. a traditional wedding, can be a lot. Especially when it’s in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language or know anyone. Plus, the “you can do whatever you want” nature of an adventure elopement is both incredibly freeing but also overwhelming. Emma asked great questions and provided abundant example itineraries to keep us on track and guide us to devising a wedding day vision we adored and felt was “us”. Working with Emma felt like how wedding planning SHOULD feel–bursting with possibility and excitement, with 100% focus on designing our most fun day to celebrate our love. No idea was too crazy, and Emma was not only down for anything but clearly and genuinely pumped for it all!
Looking back, I guess it does seem like quite a leap of faith to trust someone we had essentially never met with not only documenting, but also sharing in, one of our most intimate moments. But despite being a generally very indecisive and non-spontaneous person, I never had any doubts. Beyond that initial feeling of magic and fate, for me there were a few key reasons why we felt comfortable working with Emma. 1. Skill. Have you SEEN her work? She’s an incredible artist, and we loved her style in capturing the beauty of the natural landscape and also the realness of the elopements she’s photographed. 2. Personality. Emma is just a truly wonderful human, and we knew from our first phone call that we’d get along great with her. She shares a lot of our key values (e.g., Leave No Trace), is adventurous and outdoorsy, and is a positive, fun, easygoing person that we could tell we’d enjoy hanging out with! 3. Experience. Although she’d never been to the exact location we were targeting before, she had extensive experience with mountain elopements and all the uncertainty and adaptability that that entails and requires.
We got back our full gallery a few weeks ago, and everyone I’ve shared the photos with has commented with “wow, you got an amazing photographer!!”, and I agree! 🙂 Beyond those stunning photographs is the even more important memories, not just of the truly once in a lifetime experiences shared but also how Emma was the ultimate friend and support system, from the little things like jumping in to help me with my flyaway veil in crazy alpine winds to the big things like keeping me calm and centered as we had to adjust on-the-fly from our tightly orchestrated plan A to plan B due to thunderstorms. Emma is a true champion at expectation setting AND in making the absolute best of whatever situation may arise. She helped us remain eyes open to all the incredible beauty of the day–clouds and all–and we had the most amazing day, in many ways because of the changes in plan that Mother Nature required of us.
Emma’s photos of our wedding day are so raw and beautiful, and we will treasure them and our wonderful wedding memories for the rest of our lives. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, Emma!! We truly hope our paths cross again in the future!! ❤️” – Maureen and Brian
I couldn’t leave you just wondering where in the world this magical Airbnb was – so I found the listing online for you! If you’re planning your elopement and are looking for the perfect place to stay in the Dolomites, look no further than this stunning Airbnb in the mountains of Italy.
Located in Ortisei in Val Gardena, this restored apartment in a larger lodge sits on a farm with an attached artists’ studio, like I mentioned above. The mountain and valley views are absolutely unbeatable, with farm animals roaming around the surrounding lush, green grass and flowers.
The Airbnb sleeps 4 guests, with 2 bedrooms, 3 beds, and 1.5 baths, and is hosted by the most wonderful couple (read more about them above!). It costs $265 per night plus taxes and fees, which is an amazing price for such a phenomenal place that seems to place you right in the middle of a fairytale.
A bonus: pets are allowed at this Airbnb, so if you decide to bring your dog along on your trip with you, they are welcome to stay here with you! I truly cannot recommend this Airbnb enough if you’re looking for a place to stay in the Dolomites, and I wasn’t even the one who stayed here – I just got to spend enough time at it with Maureen + Brian to fall absolutely, head-over-heels in love with it.
This beautiful elopement could not have come together without the help of an incredible team of talented, creative vendors. Give them all a follow below, and check out their websites if you’re looking for a Dolomites florist, hair & makeup artist, and a delicious restaurant to eat at in Urtijëi after your Dolomites elopement!
Documenting this elopement in the Italian Dolomites was one of the absolute highlights of my life, and I am beyond ready to do it again. If you’re dreaming up your adventure elopement, whether you’ve decided on a Dolomites elopement or are still on the hunt for the perfect Italy elopement destination, I’d be honored to be by your side and document it all!
As a Dolomites elopement photographer who’s spent time location-scouting in the Dolomites + has some great locations hidden up her sleeve, I’ll be there to help you craft your perfect Dolomites elopement timeline, plan meaningful activities, and of course – photograph every bit of it.
You can find out more about me & my approach to elopement photography here, and if you’re feeling like your elopement would align with what I offer, contact me here. I can’t wait to help you curate the tailored elopement experience of your dreams, full of adventure, ease, and most of all – love!
I firmly believe that because your relationship isn’t cookie-cutter, your elopement package shouldn’t be, either. I offer much more than just your typical wedding package – my Dolomites elopement packages include intentional guidance from me, my knowledge & expertise as an elopement photographer, inside travel tips, and so much more.
If you’re ready to hire a photographer who crafts intentional elopement days so you don’t have to stress one bit, my all-inclusive international elopement packages begin at $10,000 (travel included!). Reach out here and let’s craft the perfect package for you!
You’ve been learning all about how to elope in the Dolomites, and have seen what your Dolomites adventure elopement could truly look like – why stop now? Below are some additional blog posts I know you’ll love, especially the Europe-focused one if you’re planning to elope in the Italian Dolomites!
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