If there was ever a reason to believe that everything happens for a reason, Justine + Peter’s Valley of Fire elopement as captured by Gaby J Photography is it. Justine had actually always dreamt of a small wedding in the desert—a complete change of scenery from New Jersey. But it wasn’t until their venue fell through that they were actually able to make this dream come true… in four months, no less! Luckily, she had a pretty distinct vision by then, so everything came together just right.
Justine explains, I knew from the moment I saw an elopement in Valley of Fire that it would always be a special place to me. I held it as our dream wedding place for years, so the fact that it actually happened and we did it there still feels like a dream. I love the desert terrain with its beautiful pastel colors sprinkled with sage brush. It was just something we had never seen before nor been to and that made it so unbelievably special.
The bridal bouquet Cultivate Goods dreamt up: coral anthuriums, white O’Hara garden roses, blueberry roses, mustard roses, Sahara roses, blue thistle, and baby blue eucalyptus.
We had about 45 people attend our wedding weekend. I have always dreamt of having an intimate wedding but to be honest in New Jersey that is not a common thing at all. So we actually went forward with planning a wedding at home at an alpaca farm. In an act of kismet, our venue unexpectedly shut down which left us with no wedding whilst losing out on our deposits and plans! I briefly worked as a second shooter in the wedding industry during college which led me to discover Gaby J years ago. I always held a desert wedding inspired by her work as my ideal but unachievable day, until it wasn’t. I am not a “center of attention person” and the idea of sharing such a private and intimate moment, like getting married, in front of so many people just felt so weird for lack of a better word. We took this moment as a sign that we should follow through with what felt right for us, which was something intimate and different.
They wanted their colors to reflect the desert, so they chose an ethereal and romantic palette with pale pinks, goldenrod, sage, and a bit of coral.
Pete’s father passed away in his childhood and I really wanted to incorporate him in a subtle yet meaningful way. I had his sister send me letters written by their dad and was able to have the saying “I love you Peter” engraved on a tie clip in his handwriting, which he wore on our day. Our ceremony felt like an otherworldly experience, being in this dramatic terrain in the middle of the desert surrounded by our family with no one else around. Just as Pete was waiting under our floral arch for me, these beautiful light beams erupted from the clouds and rocks behind him and surrounded him in this ethereal way. We could truly feel his dad’s presence in that moment, it was incredible and unforgettable.
Such a sweet destination elopement. Thanks so much for sharing, Justine + Peter!
Photography: Gaby J Photography / Ceremony Location: Valley of Fire State Park, Las Vegas, NV / Reception Location: Carson Kitchen / Event Coordination: Bride / Florist: Cultivate Goods / Hair: Cora of Ruby Finch Salon / Makeup: Alexa Silvs / Cake: Cake Lava / Invitations: By Invitation Only / Welcome Bags + Itineraries: Doodles Designs / Officiant: Flora Pop / Wedding Dress: Casablanca Bridal via from Still White / Veil: Britten Weddings Skylar Cathedral Veil / Shoes: Badgley Mischka Sabrina Pump / Groom’s Shirt: Topman / Pants: Bonobos / Shoes: Bar III