With just a few weeks of planning, Mike and Maria kicked off a 2 week trip along the coast in their VW campervan, with a spontaneous elopement at Joshua Tree National Park near Palm Springs, California.
Mike and Maria met while Maria was on vacation with girlfriends. Her and her friends had traveled down from the big apple in NYC, to a little slice of paradise outside of West Palm Beach where Mike lived. For most people –this story is just a fling. Not these two. They spent a year doing long-distance when finally enough was enough.
maria & mike's story
I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to photograph Mike and Maria’s elopement in Joshua Tree. I knew the moment I saw that they were eloping in less than 3 weeks, that they had a bad ass story. I was right.
Seriously — how often do people meet on vacation and hit it off – then change their whole lives around to be with that person? Not enough! After vacation these two continued to see each other long distance, Mike traveling up to NYC when he could, trading the surfboard for a winter coat, Maria using her vacation time to come down to see him and take trips out of the country together.
In this crazy world today – with so many distractions, especially being in NYC, I do -not- know how they did it. But they made it work. A year after going back and forth, they decided it was time to make it permanent. And Maria moved down to Florida to be with Mike.
winds of change in joshua tree
When I showed up in Joshua Tree, the energy was real. Some strongggggg wind storms gave us a visit just hour before their elopement. I shit you not, we all thought we would have to reschedule. The visibility was so low, the wind was blowing desert dust so strong you couldn’t see 20 feet in front of you.
We drove into the park anyway, hoping it would die down. I swear not 10 minutes before they started their ceremony — the gusts of wind, turned into a small breeze. The dust settled and the visibility cleared up just in time for them to have their ceremony. It was fucking magical.
maria & mike's joshua tree elopement gallery
why we loved their adventure
We sat at the dinner table after they eloped, shooting the shit, talking about life, travel and their story. My jaw was dropped and my heart was filled the entire time. Like the big baby I am, I choked up talking about their elopement with them. I just couldn’t believe the dedication, bravery and passion behind that big of a move (Maria moving to Florida and then deciding to elope within a few short weeks). People move all the time, but this was a huge lifestyle shift for Maria. Love is powerful my friends and this story still brings tears to my eyes. I have so much love for these two and their adventurous spirit and admiration for one another.
It’s rare to meet two people who love each other so deeply that they put everything on the line for each other. But those, those are my couples.
Cheers to adventure, love and lifelong happiness one of the most rad couples I’ve ever met.