When you bring a Poet and an Artist together on an elopement day, well, the universe will bring them all her feels. If I were to be asked what’s the most romantic moment I have witnessed in front of my eyes, in my life, it would be the moment Ro told Mel “let’s say our vows here” - in the middle of a thunderstorm, soaking wet on a foot bridge in the woods.
Ro & Mel’s Hocking Hills Elopement day started with vintage touches, tears and gas-station-bought walkie talkies. Not to mention an emotional support heirloom tomato from their home garden as well, who btw, travelled 13 hours with them in the car.
The story about this Hocking Hills elopement will go like this, because, there’s simply no other way to tell it to its fullest. So here’s the story of the most romantic elopement day I have witnessed in my life.
Getting Ready at a ‘Something Blue’ Hocking Hills A-Frame Cabin.
When I entered through the door of Ro & Mel’s Hocking Hills A-Frame cabin, I already felt at home with them, almost as if I have been friends with them since forever, we hugged and greeted and they showed me their wonderful details and told me the age-old stories that comes along with them. Every elopement day’s details can look different, and there’s truly no limits to what can be added in, I felt that this was something Mel & Ro loved thinking about together. They each had something borrowed, from Ro’s mom’s vintage charm bracelet to Mel’s best friend’s brooch, and handwritten letters from their loved ones which they took some time to read before heading out on their adventurous day. See that stunning veil Ro is wearing, that was Mel's grandmother's when she got married in 1960! See these beautiful first moments on their rainy Hocking Hills elopement day.
A Hocking Hills Elopement at Ash Cave.
There was one spot that Mel & Ro really wanted to visit in Hocking Hills and it was a spot they first saw from some of my previous photographs of it, Ash Cave. Personally one of my absolute favorite waterfalls in the Hocking Hills area. Ro & Mel absolutely loved it, from spotting bird nests in the crevices of the massive arch to witnessing the sparkling water drops and mist falling down the waterfall, of course who can resist the urge to touch it… these are the moments they’ve imagined on their Hocking Hills elopement day so far.
Reading Vows During a Thunderstorm on their Hocking Hills Elopement.
Mel & Ro really valued some seclusion for their elopement day, so I recommended a lesser known spot for the ceremony part of their day, and that’s where we headed to next. The plan was to hike to the waterfall and read their vows there, followed by a picnic. We started the hike and passed beautiful marshes of wildflowers being visited by numerous butterflies, not knowing yet, what lies ahead, and going along on this perfectly beautiful journey that’s theirs.
The woods surrounding us started to get darker and more mysterious as we hiked along the thin path. Stopped by massive downed trees completely blocking the path we should continue on, and just seconds later a thunderstorm poured down on us! We decide to turn back to find a spot to read the vows. There was not much opportunity, or so we thought.
Soaking wet, Ro crossed the foot bridge till halfway, stopped, and told Mel, “let’s do it here!” The moment Ro said it, Mel was all for it. Losing the battle of Rock Paper Scissors, Ro read her vows first followed by Mel. With their vows perfectly typed on a type writer, soaking-wet paper-ripping in their hands and rain still pouring down on them. This is a moment that goes down in history.
Spontaneous Touches Continues on their Hocking Hills Elopement.
We got back to our cars, I was totally amazed at what I just witnessed and pretty speechless for days after as I am writing this now. Back at the cars Mel helped Ro out of her soaking wet shoes and showed us the amounts of water they gathered in their own shoes on the hike back. When we got back to their Hocking Hills A-Frame they decided to get into the canoe for a little spontaneity and because, well, if they were to tip over they are already soaked right?
Hocking Hills Elopement First Dance on Custom Vinyl.
There might be too many favorite things for me on this incredible Hocking Hills Elopement day of Mel & Ro, but one thing that I absolutely adored as a fellow vinyl lover was the custom vinyl Mel made for their first dance, (I might have to ask them for a copy). The front cover featuring a photo Mel took of them right after their engagement. Have you noticed by now that Mel is the artist in this once in a lifetime love story?
Hot Tub Celebrations on their Hocking Hills Elopement.
For every beautifully crazy story there’s gotta be a time of gathering and reminiscing about what was just experienced, and a hot tub can be the perfect gathering place for that. Ro & Mel celebrated by popping some champagne and lighting a cigar while simply indulging in one another’s company. What a way to slow down on a day where the universe threw some totally meant-to-be curveballs!
A Closure to a Romantic Hocking Hills Elopement.
So remember when I said that the moment I entered their A-Frame I felt at home? Mel, Ro and I ended their elopement day sitting and chatting about life experiences, universal curveballs and all the things Ro could write a poem about from what we experienced today. They made me forget I was there as their photographer and our conversations could have gone on for hours into the night, but we said our last goodbyes (and I love you’s) and departed until next time.
Being the documenter for memories like these gives me life in ways I have never experienced before becoming an elopement photographer, saying that I love what I do is an understatement, but I hope that the story of Ro & Mel’s elopement day will act as a true reflection of how much I love what I do.
Here's what they had to say about the experience of working with me as their Hocking Hills Elopement Photographer:
"Working with Shanmari and Avonture was the experience of a lifetime for my partner and I. She is so, so, SO much more than a photographer—she was our guide, co-conspirator, friend, hype squad, and more. Her passion for her work and for helping couples have the best experience and create lifelong memories is so evident in every interaction with her. Our elopement was a dream. It was romantic, wild, adventurous, and unexpected, and Shanmari was there through it all with wisdom, encouragement, expertise, and so much warmth and kindness. We felt special and truly seen by her. I genuinely cannot recommend Avonture enough. I wish every couple could have someone like Shan in their corner not just on their elopement day but all the days leading up to it like we did. Rating her five stars just doesn’t seem like enough because she is so out of this world. We are so lucky to have found her!"