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intimate joshua tree elopement among the rocks // james + zoe

These two incredible humans and I collaborated together to create the Joshua Tree elopement day of their dreams. And, it was truly so dreamy! I felt so honored, because they fully trusted me to help them plan this beautiful day.


When James and Zoe first reached out, they mentioned their desire to elope, steering clear of the traditional, staged wedding scene. Throughout our planning, we stuck to this idea — a day that was genuinely about them, celebrating their relationship without the performance.


Here are a few ways I assisted James and Zoe in crafting their day, keeping these sentiments in mind:


CURATED AIRBNB OPTIONS FOR JOSHUA TREE ELOPEMENTS

I've compiled a list of fantastic Airbnb options in Joshua Tree. Each promises not just stunning views but also interiors with a vibe perfect for elopements. From this list, James and Zoe chose one that resonates with their vision for their day.


STRATEGIC ELOPEMENT TIMELINE PLANNING

Together, we created a general timeline for the day. They didn't want to have to stick to a detailed timeline, but they wanted a general idea of how the day would unfold. We planned the day so that they could get ready together, do a first look, change into retro outfits for a playful mini shoot, enjoy some private time together, and then finally, exchange vows and soak up all the love at sunset.


PERSONALIZED ELOPEMENT OFFICIANT SERVICES

I officiated their ceremony and surprised them with a custom ceremony script crafted just for them.


LOCATION SCOUTING IN JOSHUA TREE

Even though their Airbnb had incredible views, we wanted to switch up the location for some additional photos after they exchanged their vows. I scouted the area around their Airbnb ahead of time, so that we could head straight to a gorgeous spot for photos and not waste any of that beautiful desert golden hour light.



The whole day felt so intimate, so special, and so perfect for them. This is why I love elopements! Aaaaaand, these two left me the kindest review ever!


"Run, don't walk, to book Marissa as your photographer!!! We booked her as our elopement photographer and got THE BEST PHOTOGRAPHER, and (inadvertently), an elopement planner, officiant, and stylist all in one. Marissa went ABOVE AND BEYOND at every point, and I could not recommend her more highly.
Here are a few things we got when we booked Marissa that we were not expecting:
  1. Elopement Planner — Marissa helped find our dream elopement venue with her curated list of gorgeous airbnbs and saved us the fees / regulations associated with getting married in Joshua Tree (she will save you from your own mistakes). She also gave great vendor recommendations.

  2. Stylist — I accidentally booked hair and makeup way too early in the day, so she (SO KINDLY) offered to throw in a couple's session for us, and even made my pipe dream of doing a retro photoshoot come true with a week's notice by providing styling tips and even bringing sunglasses (again she will save you from your own mistakes).

  3. The comfort queen! — Her clients call her that and for good reason - we are not the most comfortable in front of the camera, but NEVER ONCE did my face feel frozen from smiling / never once did we feel awkward. She made the process SO FUN, effortless, comfortable, and like "us." She felt like a true guide throughout the process. It was also important to us (an interracial couple) for our photographer to be inclusive - we could tell from Marissa's page that inclusivity (photographing people with all skin tones, and photographing all love) was important to her, which helped put us at ease.

  4. Officiant — We had Marissa surprise us with officiating so we had no idea what to expect, and the ceremony was perfect! It felt exactly right.

  5. THE BEST PHOTOGRAPHER — I will never get over these photos. They captured our day perfectly. We have gotten so many compliments (and someone reached out to ask about Marissa upon seeing our photos) - her work speaks for itself.

We will always be grateful to Marissa - thank you, thank you!"


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