Tonya & Derek

Gorgeous Sunday evening elopement at the wonderful Chocolate Turtle Bed & Breakfast!

First, let's talk details! Tonya carefully crafted this amazing bouquet with wood flowers and a touch of her momma with the hummingbird charm. Tonya's mom passed away in 2018, but there was NO doubt that she filled the entire wedding with her presence.

Derek, a big Star wars fan, was highly disappointed when he didn't get to have a Star Wars themed day, but Tonya agreed to the Darth Vader socks and he respected her wishes! After getting him pinned up by his mom we had a little surprise from his soon-to-be wife. A loving note and sentimental gift he can carry with him in his wallet for years to come! But this was not the only surprise Tonya had in store for him!

The gorgeous teal colors that surrounded the bed and breakfast were the perfect New Mexican touch on this beautiful day along with a stunning view of the Sandia's. Tonya had her sister by her side all day to be apart of the small details from getting dressed to playing the music!

Uhm grab your tissues please! How beautiful to have a chair in place for her mom, where they both delivered a flower to on their way to the alter. Capturing Tonya walking down the isle with her momma's picture was exactly the way I wanted that moment to be remembered! The flower cloth she is keeping close for tears was her moms that she kept in her bible bag. It was the perfect way to keep mom close during the ceremony!

There are so many fun traditions for unions during ceremonies and I can't really pick a true favorite because they are all super adorable, but I sure do LOVE the Unity Cross!

"The Unity Cross is a lasting reminder of the bride and Groom coming together with their faith in Christ, beginning their life long journey as one.

The bold outer cross represents the Groom. He is the strength and cover for his family and home, yet without his Bride, incomplete.

The intricate inner cross represents the Bride. Beautiful and multi-faceted, she brings her creative abilities and wisdom.

Together they bring their hearts and faith in Christ together, joining their pieces of The Unity Cross to demonstrate their commitment to each other."

The ceremony was full of laughs and tears, prayers and so much love. And can we just mention the amazing view of the Sandia's!!! The clouds rolled in JUST in time for the ceremony to keep us all cool in the humid heat! Also, surprise #2 from Tonya was having the Star Wars theme song playing as they walked away! He was super excited, but wait...there are even more surprises she had up her sleeve!!!

Tonya & Derek decided on having a small gathering with their closest family and friends! With a total of 18 guests, the intimate nature of this celebration was the perfect way for these two to join their lives and hearts.

I have been photographing for Tonya for 2+ years now and I just have to stop and say that I have never seen her smile so big and vibrant before Derek. They are absolutely a match made in heaven! Their playfulness and sarcasm with each other make for many many laughs...and then you throw in my personality...needless to say, we pretty much just laugh together while shooting!

Let me stop and talk about how cute this hidden gem of a wedding venue, Chocolate Turtle Bed & Breakfast is! I know I have said it already...but HAVE YOU SEEN THIS VIEW? Many Brides are searching for a view of the Sandia's for their big day and I must say, this is my favorite! My husband and I actually stayed the night at the bed & breakfast, (thank you to my amazing bride!!!) and it was nothing short of amazing! The rooms were adorable and the atmosphere was overall very welcoming. We were served a very yummy breakfast that was served on the patio with the owners and their furry friend! Breakfast was also greeted by their African Parrot who was too shy to speak to us, but that's okay, I don't talk to strangers either!

After taking some portraits under the gazebo, we all headed to eat dinner, which by the way, you cannot go wrong with Rudy's at your gathering! Heads up, Derek's face below brings us to the best surprise of all!!!!

Not only did she make sure to include Star Wars in the cake, but she even managed to sneak his figures out of the house and onto the cake! In the words of me "the whole gang is here now!" Tonya also had the cake topper custom made, which we can all agree is stinking adorable too! Remember how I said Tonya's mom was apart of the entire day? While I was editing through the gallery I noticed the subtle, almost camouflage hummingbird bell hanging above Derek's head during the cake cutting! There was also ONE hummingbird that stopped and watched the entire ceremony from a branch, along with all of the other hummingbirds flying around the property!

Okay, so I am notorious for the "go stand over there in those weeds" shot...but I can't help but love the New Mexico touch they add to photographs! It's all in your perspective! My clients are always so accepting of sand filled shoes while they trust my weird locations to stand in!

As the sun went down, we wrapped up the evening and headed out for one more photo under the gazebo! Shortly after, Tonya and Derek walked their guests out and my husband grabbed my hand (sweaty hand because it was hot and humid and things get sticky photographing weddings outside, TMI?) and guided me over to dance under the gazebo with the lights surrounding us. We never had a first dance as we eloped ourselves, so we took advantage of a perfect moment and had our first dance!

The entire day was beautiful and filled with so much joy and love. It is such an honor to capture such special milestones in other's lives. My heart is so full!!!!

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