Liz & Benton’s Lake San Cristobal wedding

When Liz’s mom first reached out in search of a photographer and other vendors for a Lake San Cristobal wedding, one of my sweet previous Lake City couples immediately sent over my information to help her plan Liz and Benton’s big day. (Did you know -> Lake City is my home away from home- so no added travel fees!) We immediately hit it off- and jumped into planning the perfect mountain wedding!

Designing the perfect day

First we worked on a timeline for the day. Anytime you are working on a summer wedding in the San Juan Mountains, you can pretty much count on afternoon rainstorms. With that in mind, we decided that a morning ceremony would be ideal so Liz’s vision of a beautiful Aspen Chuppah decorated with sheer fabric and live florals would have the best chance of not being rained out.

From there, we left the rest a bit free flowing, with ideas on where they wanted to go, but we let the weather forecast decide the when!

Pre-Ceremony Morning Jeep Off-road Adventure

Our day started bright and early when the fantastic hair and makeup artist Manda came over and worked her magic to make Liz feel like a princess for the day while the guys decorated the chuppah. After a quick impromptu first look, we decided to load up the chainsaw in the 4runner (me) and their jeep, and head up to one of the local’s secret off-road mountain trails for some romantic pictures in the aspens overlooking the valley. The chainsaw garnered a few raised eyebrows from their guests, but I explained that in extremely rural areas like this, it is not unusual for trees and branches to fall into the road, so having the right equipment to clear the area can be the difference between a fun story to tell, and a bad experience.

We drove up to a clearing with a long narrow path that leads directly into a thick aspen grove I had scouted out earlier that week. It was the perfect place for the two of them to have some time to themselves, and enjoy the music of the wind through the trees before heading back down the mountain to be with their guests.

Incorporating Liz’s Jewish heritage

Liz knew that although she chose a more adventurous mountain wedding, she still wanted to incorporate her Jewish heritage and traditions into the ceremony.

One of the main traditions is for the bride and groom to stand under a chuppah while they say their vows. It is a four cornered structure with a cloth covering the top and placed directly under open sky, symbolizing the new home the bride and groom are building together. With extremely limited rentals and vendors anywhere near Lake City, I offered to help build one in place with the help of my father who was a contractor for over 20 years. Liz and I exchanged pictures during the months leading up to her wedding, and worked together to design and build a gorgeous DIY Aspen Chuppah from logs my father and I harvested from friend’s property a few days before. (A post on how we made the Chuppah is in the works!) It was covered by a thin white fabric chosen by her mom, and decorated that morning by Benton and Liz’s brother.

The family read the Seven Blessings, with toasts of wind, a vow exchange, the breaking of the glass, and of course who could forget Kaia-possibly the cutest doggy flower girl you have ever seen!

Playing in the Rain

After we spent time taking family pictures, the white fluffy clouds began to make way for their grey counterparts bringing with them a promise of summer showers. With all of the stresses of the wedding day behind us, we loaded up Kaia and jumped into the jeep to head out to the peninsula in the middle of the lake. We hiked up with the wind swirling around us, making way for giant rain drops that lasted just long enough to have a bit of fun.

Once we drove back to the cabin, Benton had one last surprise in store for Liz. One of their favorite things to do together back home in Boulder is to one wheel around town. He grabbed their one wheels, and their bon voyage was rolling up the gravel driveway hand in hand. A perfect end to a perfect day!

Every beautiful wedding day is made possible by the hard work and talents of amazing vendors!

Below are the wedding vendors who brought this Lake San Cristobal Wedding to life!

Love the location? More about Lake San Cristobal

Lake San Cristobal is Colorado’s second largest natural body of water. Located high up in the San Juan Mountains at over 9000ft, this high alpine lake was created over 700 years ago after the Slumgullion Earthflow (one of the most studied slow moving earth slides) created a natural dam across the Gunnison River. Tourists come from far and wide to stay on one of the cabins overlooking the lake or nearby in Lake City and enjoy kayaking, fishing, SUP boarding, camping, hiking, and off road driving the Alpine Loop that goes right by the lake before heading off into the San Juan’s to Silverton. Nestled between five nearby fourteeners and located within Hinsdale County, the most remote county in the lower 48 contiguous states, it is not as busy as most of the lakes and mountain towns on the front range. Although less traveled, it is very difficult to book housing with limited lodging options that fill quickly.

Shannon Durazo- Arizona Elopement Photographer

Hello! I’m

Shannon Durazo

and I want to be your Elopement or Wedding Photographer!

I love helping couples visualize and craft an experience that feels true to you. The way your marriage begins matters, and I would love to help you tell your story. Set your marriage up for success by allowing yourself to get married your way!

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  1. The one-wheels are SO cool for a bride and groom. Great details and moments you captured on their day.

  2. These are so fun and sweet!! This looks like a wonderful day and you captured it all so beautifully.

    1. Shannon Durazo says:

      Thank you so much Traci <3

  3. Ann Marie says:

    Stunning!! What a gorgeous location, fun adventures they included in their day along with personal touches and … just LOVE this so much!! Beautiful!!

    1. Shannon Durazo says:

      Met too! It was such a wonderfully unique experience all around!

  4. Loving this beautiful location and all the personalized special touches to their day!!

  5. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this. And I love that you spoke about and featured the part about Liz’s faith too. This is such a gorgeous elopement! Thank you for sharing such a dream day for them.

    1. Shannon Durazo says:

      Thank you Nate! It was a perfect mix of traditional with quirky just them elements!

  6. These are so amazing!! I love how unsual they were, with the one wheel and the PUP is a MUST include. all the family members, right?! <3 Gorgeous story telling!!

    1. Shannon Durazo says:

      Give me doggos at every wedding- and I am a happy camper!

  7. Such a unique celebration – can’t say I’ve ever seen a bride and groom cruise a one wheel on their special day! Awesome photos too, thanks for sharing.

    1. Shannon Durazo says:

      Agreed! I was laughing with joy when they busted out the one wheels. This is what getting married should look like 🙂

  8. Wow! What an awesome elopement! I love that they went one-wheeling! It’s so great to do things that you love on your elopement day! You’ve captured it all so beautifully!

    1. Shannon Durazo says:

      Thank you so much! We had such a great time. I truly love my couples!

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