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CHRIS + MAL // sweet Christmas elopement ceremony

The Prequel No One Saw Coming

There’s a date on my calendar I’ve been looking forward to for half a year now. October 14, 2024. The day I get to capture Chris and Mal’s self-described ‘candid elvish fairytale wedding.’ When I first got the inquiry I had to pinch myself quite a few times! And since our first virtual hang, and every convo since, I’ve been counting down the days until Chris and Mal’s ‘I Dos’. That is, until they reached out and asked if I’d be open to capturing a little change of plans…..another wedding, in just 7 weeks. A smaller celebration 10 months ahead of schedule! Sometimes a love is just too great to wait, and isn’t that the best kind? Thank goodness I wasn’t booked because I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

An Intimate Christmas Eve-Eve Ceremony

Knowing they’ll fully lean into a nature-filled elvish celebration next October, Chris and Mal sought a different experience for these first vows. They decided on a church close to where Mal used to attend, Immaculate Heart of Mary, and chose to share the moment with their immediate families. With the Christmas season in full swing, the sanctuary offered plenty of beautiful decorations they were happy to lean into. As they mingled with arriving family, I captured a few pre-ceremony details, including their unique ring boxes. (super cool, you have to check them out below!) Chris shared he had the boxes customized with engravings of meaningful places – Mal’s with the location where he proposed, and his with their October wedding venue.

When it came time, a pianist serenaded Chris and Mal down the aisle and meet their families, eagerly awaiting them in a small semi-circle of chairs in front of the altar. The intimate setup permitted in the chancel area felt extra special in its rarity. Brothers from each side shared readings, there were songs, intent listening, and giddy joy.

mom pinning boutonniere on her son the groom

A December Summer

Once all was official it was time for pics to celebrate! We decided to take advantage of the GORGEOUS warm weather uncommon for this time of year and moved outside for most pics. Immediately it was evident Chris and Mal don’t fall far from their respective trees (or orchards maybe?) Everyone was so warm, welcoming and effervescently sweet just like Chris and Mal! Family photos were a breeze (even with brothers!) and then onto a few pics of just the newlyweds before their celebratory lunch at Favazza’s together. As we snapped our last pics outside, a passerby honked their horn in celebration and Mal melted into her signature giggle. All was pure joy.

black and white blurry shot of young newlyweds laughing in front of a church in reaction to (off camera) a congratulatory honk from a passerby
close up of two engraved wooden ring boxes, one with the bride's golden rings on top and the other with the groom's
centered direct-flash colorful shot young newlyweds kissing in a traditional church chapel between two lit christmas trees

The Final Love Story of 2023

And thus concludes the final love story of 2023! I thought I’d put up my camera for the season not once, but twice this year, and I’m so glad I didn’t! Each time I got coaxed out of my winter hibernation by couples who feel more like friends then clients, a rare privilege I don’t take lightly. How lucky am I? And how excited I am for next year’s love stories – including Part II with Chris and Mal!!

ceremony | Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church
photo | Kara Hoganson: Photography +Design
florals | Moody Blooms

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