This White Mountain Native American (or American Indian / Indigenous depending on preference) Elopement felt like a blessing just by being there. Beforehand, I met B and M on zoom to talk about their special, spiritual American Indian centered elopement. From there, I knew I was going to end up working with them. This is why I follow up with all my inquiries with a zoom session: to see if I am the best fit to photograph two people about embarking on marriage together.
Right away, the passion in the fall elopement planning was contagious. Just the two of them, Mother Nature around them, and honoring B’s American Indian culture. I was freaking sold, and I was HONORED to witness such an emotional White Mountain Native American Elopement (waterworks central).
When approaching the art of photography, I try to keep advocacy at the core. After all, elopement photography is a people-centered industry. Moving forward, I want to continue to further my knowledge of American Indian history, experiences, modern day living, marriage traditions, and how to better shine light on this community. Wedding and elopement vendors have such a platform, and I love continuing to learn how to best use it. YAY the power of one’s voice!
In their own ways, B and M were celebrating starting over with their best friend, the love of their life, and growing old with someone who makes them feel young. They are fellow New Englanders who just wanted the simplicity of mountains around them. They wanted a day that felt authentic to them.
First, B and M wanted to prioritize honoring B’s Native culture, people, traditions, and keep their elopement in a private getaway. Heck-yes. Their vision aligned with my passion for adventure elopements. After we booked, it was time to envision some answers to these helpful planning questions:
2. “What do we want to do?” (Rent a private cabin in the mountains for a week, honor tradition, climb a tower to witness the foliage.)
3. “What do we want captured through the art of photography?”
They wanted their thoughtfully collected heirlooms, Native American-inspired decor and floral/feather arrangements, them helping the other get ready, the tradition of their ceremony, and of course the freaking stunning New Hampshire foliage of the White Mountains!
4. “What do we not care about?”
Luxury details, centerpieces, catering details, formal portraits.
2. getting ready: I arrived at the cabin where we captured them helping the other with final touches. They showed me each piece of their ceremony objects and taught me a bit about what they were incorporating and why.
3. sage ceremony: just outside the cabin, their AMAZE officiant, Sharon (“Weddings with Spirit”) conducted a private sage ceremony to bless this union. This was my first time experiencing this bonding moment of spirituality, cleansed energy, and starting a big day on a CALM note. I took note of this one!
4. marriage ceremony: the couple was SET on getting married in this cozy, surprisingly spacious, teepee on location. It was just us, incredibly emotional, and a highlight of my year. Susan cast her magical spell on us with practical poetry for words, and B and M shared their (sob inducing) vows that they had typed up. They poured water from a river trip they took into a single drinking vase, and drank the crisp water together. This is a Native American wedding tradition: each person takes water from their own vase, pours into a single vase, and drinks together as a symbol of union and coming together.
5. post-ceremony: we took a stroll along a pond which had the white mountains reflecting upon it, scaled a tower, and took in the sunshine together. The rain stopped literally minutes before their ceremony, so by the time we entered post-ceremony pictures, the clouds were mystically peeling away and the sun was poking about. Magic.
6. food– their dinner plans were takeout and snuggles. Again, freaking magic.
Witnessing real life stories and preserving them are a freaking blessing. I can’t wait for more White Mountains adventures.
2. Learning for Justice (one of my favorite resources for teachers/educators/classrooms!): Click here for a great article on the truth behind Native American history, how to continue the journey of learning, and more!
3. Native Knowledge 360 ( National Museum of the American Indian): from accurate terminology, to arts, to policies, to land preservation, this is a helpful, organized website. Click here.
Love jewelry? Me freaking too.
4. Giizhig Design Co: run by Brittany, an Indigenous woman, who runs her BEAUTIFUL jewelry business in Claire, WI. Seriously, check her out. I speak from experience, her stuff is stunning. CLICK HERE FOR SITE 🙂
*none of these are affiliate links. Instead, these are just resources I have found, products I like, and only the start of more resources I hope to accumulate in time.*
Do YOU have helpful resources? Add them in the comments! Here’s to learning and growing in community 🙂
Kayla | Babel Photos
Easy-to-follow steps on your New Hampshire Elopement journey as well as a sample timeline to help guide you. Just a TINY part of my Client Elopement Guide!