‘Elope’ has historically meant “to run away secretly with the intention of getting married usually without parental consent.” It has also meant—and still means—”to escape.”
Throughout this post I am going to use ‘elope’ with the meaning of ‘escape’. While these two are not (yet) engaged, we created this shoot to celebrate their relationship and each other. I think that there are a lot of really amazing couples out there who have such incredible stories and connection. Just because you are not having a big ceremony or officially tying the knot doesn’t mean you can’t run away on a romantic trip, get dressed up and have someone document your love!
Nantucket is a really special place for me, a place to reset and recharge. Around the time of this shoot, I also needed a little escape and some space for creative work. I love celebrating love and am so inspired by Uli and Elyssa’s story. I had them write private notes to each other about why they love one another and had them read their letters to each other. There was laughter and tears and a great celebration of each other. It was so special. I think that doing things like this with your partner, even if you are not dressed up or being photographed is really important. Its these moments that you will think back on when things get difficult. These moments are the reminders of WHY, they are the light in the dark.
Their story is filled with freedom, leaning into the unknown, and always a sense of adventure. With that bit of wanderlust, Nantucket was the perfect place to ‘elope’.
Let me start this story by giving you a bit of background… and this blog is going to be a lot longer than I generally write because this series of images is very near and dear to my heart as are the two lovers featured. I met Uli about 8 almost 9 years ago when I first relocated to Upstate NY. One of my first photographic jobs in this area was as the Director of the Photo Center of the Capital Region. Now that place is a story all on it’s own, so I will save that for another day. But none the less that is where I was introduced to Uli by Zach (who was one of my interns at the time) and their other great pal, Dave. Uli, Zach and Dave were three peas in a pod and I affectionately referred to them as my “Lost Boys” as I was the “Wendy Lady” as I always (and still am) looking out for them. I was fresh out of college at the time and they weren’t that far behind me. So, wouldn’t you assume that in all my looking after them I would be seeing girls coming and going? But I never did. Zach and Dave are with the same AHHHMazing women (who I just adore) that they were in College. Pretty flipping epic love stories there people! I have just loved watching their relationships blossom and grow – they couldn’t be luckier to have each other. Uli, however was a little bit of a different story. He was quite timid to meet anyone and was, well let’s put it bluntly, pretty awkward and weird. I adore him and all of his quarks but that is through the lens of a protective big sister, so anything he does is adorable. But, it didn’t usually home with the ladies. For Uli, it wasn’t the end of the world, he was really focused on his mother and siblings and expanding his career in acting.
This is the part where I have to tell you about fate, and magic and how when it happens it’s like a lightning bolt through your soul… blah blah blah… BUT that IS what happened to Uli, and her name is Elyssa. Two times in my life a guy has gushed over a girl like that. The first was when my little brother called me to tell me about a girl who he met at school who he stayed up all night talking with and ended up taking her to breakfast. That was their first date, and that girl is now my beautiful sister-in-law… When Uli described Elyssa to me the first time he really didn’t have words just a giant grin and these little points where I thought I saw some extra moisture in his eyes. He was so excited, so connected so ______________ insert any adjective, adverb or verb that describes being in love and that feeling has not faded. When I met Elyssa I totally got it. She is brilliant, strong, determined, funny, kind, and is committed to making a difference in this world. She is stunningly beautiful inside and out. I had a shoot with Sawtooth Jewelry studio in Troy (you totally should check them out), and we needed couples to “pose” while making custom wedding bands. I asked Uli if he would want something like this for his portfolio and if he knew any girls that also might want to be his “wife”. He said yes, and asked Elyssa. They had only been dating a short time and I was a bit nervous that this would be another awkward moment – “hey we just started hanging out but do you want to be my wife?”. Elyssa was intrigued to see more of his acting/modeling work and agreed to come to the shoot. Just the way they made each other smile in this quite but deep way, I knew this was the real deal. Over the past few years, I have watched them pack their entire life up and run away on an adventure to a new city, with new promises, new problems, new lessons and even deeper love for each other. Just a few weeks ago I squeezed them goodbye as they again set out on their next adventure to another new city with new hopes and dreams.
-Let’s all be brave, Believe in Magic and Love-
Location: Nantucket National Seashore
Photography + Videography YTK Photography + Film by Katherine Wright
Dress: A Love Story Bridal, Troy NY