Earthy Bohemian Elopement
All growing up, music was an integral part of my life. If you read my Valentine’s Day post, you’ll know I was raised in a LARGE family, but my parents, on just one income, made sure that every single one of us learned to play the piano, sing passably well, and learn another instrument. Their general rule of thumb was that we were always involved in one sport and taking at least one music class at school plus private lessons. I have siblings who learned clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, drums, piano, violin, and harpsichord. They played in orchestra, band, jazz band, marching band, and symphonic orchestras. I played the piano and sang in choirs throughout elementary school and then started to learn the violin in 4th grade and joined the orchestra in middle school, all while continuing to sing. Did we all hate practicing??? Absolutely. And do we all totally regret not listening to our mother and being more diligent in our musical studies??? Probably at least 4 of the 7 do. I know I do! Even now, I still love to sing in community and church choirs and dabble in violin performance with an occasional (passably decent) violin solo at Christmastime.
One of my favorite choral songs has always been the iconic Shaker song “Simple Gifts” by Elder Joseph Brackett. It’s earthy, rhythmic, and full of simple yet meaningful lyrics. Truly, the beauty in this song is its clean, melodic simplicity. So, when Ashley with Hawkeye Photography wanted to do an clean, earthy elopement shoot, I knew I wanted this song to be the basis for my inspiration, and I really feel like this shoot is a great example of how an elopement can take a bride and groom back to their roots, help them simplify, and slow down and enjoy the gifts of love and delight that brought them together in the first place.
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free
Emma at Harlow Brides worked with us to source ‘Dunaway’ by dress designer Elizabeth Dye and I can’t gush enough over the clean, flowing silhouette of this dress. The gorgeous deep-V neck in both the front and back create elegance and romance, but the minimalism of the dress keeps it from feeling stuffy. ‘Dunaway’ is simply graceful, yet gracefully simple.
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight
Whether you’re eloping or getting married, every couple wants to be here, in that place full of love and wonder and the venue you choose can make or break this feeling. We shot this elopement at Cactus and Tropicals in Salt Lake City, Utah and couldn’t be happier with the how it turned out. Wandering paths took our couple through lush foliage and house plants and along little narrow walkways of cacti. Bonus, greenhouses are such a great place for photography because it filters all the sunlight for you and is the perfect temperature year round. We especially loved seeing ‘Dunaway’ amidst all the clean, earthy lines of the cacti. It gave our bride and groom just a touch of warmth and desert sunshine during our cold cold winter weather!
And those cacti were the source of inspiration for my floral color palette and textures. I knew I wanted to evoke those images and feelings of the monochromatic desert sand dunes and harsher, native underbrush and scrub that somehow manages to survive there. I foraged much of this bouquet from the dried reeds, dead thistle, and bare branches in my community and then bulked it out with some fragrant brown eucalyptus, seed pods, and kiwi vine. I love love the effect of using a monochromatic color palette because it allows the eye to focus on details like texture and movement without being distracted by trying to take in all the color and decide if that palette is pleasing or not.
Really though, my very favorite detail in the whole bouquet was working with Emily from Ballantyne Design on a custom macramé stem wrap. Seriously though can we take a second and admire how cool that looks?!?! I don’t know when macramé woke up from the 70’s and decided to join us today, but I love it. I harvested my first deer this year, and I’m totally wanting Emily to work her magic on the antlers :)
“When true simplicity is gained”
Isn’t it funny how we are always caught in this balancing act of wanting and needing and striving for more, but then we realize we’ve acquired too much, or taken too much on, and then we need to simplify? Konmari anyone?!?! Haven’t tried that yet, but I keep meaning to read the book. Anyway, every once in a while, the universe and karma all come together and we achieve those moments of true simplicity and it’s such a great feeling. That’s the feeling I get when I look at Julie with Blushing Blonde’s hair and make-up (HMU) inspiration. There’s nothing false, pretentious, or over the top about what Julie did with Nicole’s make-up, but she still just seems to radiate clean, fresh beauty.
And the perfect finishing touch was Danani Handmade's beautiful, antiqued metal headpiece. You guys just can’t even imagine the artistry and talent that goes into each and every one of Dani's headpieces. Each piece is handmade and so so unique. I love the simple styling here without the elaborate bridal veil and updo. So perfect for those eloping couples who want to focus more on each other than the planning, the parties, the traditions, the trappings, and all the STUFF that goes into a wedding. Don’t get me wrong…I’m totally a “stuff” girl. I LOVED my traditional wedding with all its encumbrances and trappings, but that doesn’t work for everyone, and for those brides looking for inspiration to connect with nature and simplicity, I think this look is for them.
I also love the simplicity of Ashley’s photography and editing process. Right now, with heavy, moody presets being all the rage, I loved getting these clean, warm images back. They’re crystal clear, beautifully edited, and have the perfect balance of warmth and light. While the moody pictures are cool and popular, they also make it difficult to see the subject and the details. Ashley’s work is stylish but timeless and these images are the kind that will look good hanging in your home for all the years to come.
Tis the gift to be loving, tis the best gift of all
So, I have to confess that my favorite verse of “Simple Gifts” isn’t actually one of the original verses. It was added on later:
Tis the gift to be loving, tis the best gift of all
Like a quiet rain it blesses where it falls
And with it we will truly believe
Tis better to give than it is to receive
I love the lyrics in this verse because it embodies everything a relationship should be. Often, we go into a relationship because of what it gives us: i.e.: companionship, safety, support, etc. And I even remember as a young bride saying things like, “Oh I just love Phillip because he does so much for me.” But really, I need to reverse that and love Phillip, my kids, my friends, or my clients because of what I can do for them. Because my love should be a gift and a blessing wherever it falls, not held in reserve and gifted when someone else shares first. When we earnestly and quietly sow and share our love, we will reap the gifts and blessings of love in return.
This verse was the final inspiration for this simple, earthy bundt cake. I love the tradition of wedding cake and cutting the cake together, but I wanted to simplify it, bring it back to its home-kitchen roots, and make it a more personal, intimate experience for the eloping couple. Take away all the tiers, the frosting, the piping, the toppers, the florals, the fondant, the glitz and what are you left with? Simple, wholesome ingredients like this Cinnamon Pecan Bundt Cake.
Again, I love the artless, warm tones of the bare cake, dressed up only by the designs created by the bundt pan and the simple lines of the glaze. Even the flavor profile of cinnamon and pecan is subtle and delightful without being overwhelming.
We styled our cake on a simple wood platter and rataffia placemat and accented it with these darling baby cacti. It’s down-to-earth, warm, and inviting and I love it so much that I’m not embarrassed to admit I day-dream about baking it and eating, well, pretty much all of it :) If I were going to have an elopement do-over, this is the cake I would want to share. It’s quiet, unassuming, and absolutely delicious. If you’re looking for simple, earthy elopement cake inspiration, then this elopement cake is perfect for you.
I hope your elopement is like a quiet rain and blesses your marriage for all the days to come! Below, you’ll find a complete vendor list for this “Simple Gifts” Earthy Elopement Inspiration. All of these artists were amazing to work with and so talented!
"Simple Gifts" Earthy Bohemian Elopement Vendor List
Florals and Cake
The Pear Blossom
Cactus and Tropicals
Nicole and Tyson
Meet the Designer
Emily first fell in love with flowers while studying floral design at Brigham Young University-Idaho in 2002. She did her first wedding that same summer and has been designing weddings ever since. With over 12 years of experience in the floral and wedding industries, Emily loves creating flowers that bring beautiful colors, textures, and most importantly, memories to every event.