Last week, after a series of “plan b’s,” my daughter got married amidst majestic red rocks and surrounded (but not too close!), by immediate family.

…to the man of her dreams.

…amidst a world pandemic.

And it was one of my favorite days.

There are still such beautiful things going on in this world.

We met up with Carson’s family at a mid-way point that took our breath away with beauty. Elle wore a dress she delightedly found at Target (she decided to save the wedding dress she had made for the sealing, and fell in love with this one for this occasion), borrowed a veil from a friend, Carson rounded up some clothes (since really, he only packed to be here for a few days and didn’t bring anything fancy), his mom brought him some shoes (hence no shoes in some of these pictures because we took them before she arrived), and Elle opted out of shoes all together. We gathered an assortment of nature for her bouquet, had a picnic lunch (a very fancy one lovingly prepared and sent with us some pretty amazing friends), and it was a perfect day.

There was something about the simplicity of it all that just made it perfect. Made it so that we could truly concentrate on what was most important: that these two were getting married.

We got there a little early to check out this spot my friend had recommended and my parents had scoped out earlier, and take some pictures.

And when we arrived we were all so happy because it was exactly what Elle had hoped it would be.

We ate lunch and came back with Carson’s family (and the rest of ours). I loved watching Elle help Lucy maneuver down that path to the spot.

Carson’s parents said a little something at the first…

…followed by us:

Dave walked his girl down the “isle” to some beautiful music:

And then my darling Dad, perched in the midst of all that beauty, pronounced the most beautiful ceremony.

He brought in all the symbolism of that spot, the beauty of marriage juxtaposed with nature. All the beautiful traditional phrases mixed together so beautiful: “dearly beloved,” “to have and to hold,” “this is my solemn vow,” “with this ring I thee wed.” And he suggested about eight symbols that could be taken from where they stood to remember that holy day going forward. It was all so beautiful, maybe I will post more of the ceremony here some time.

As much as I adored the ceremony itself, the vows those two had written out and read to each other were my favorite part of the whole day.

And then they were pronounced Husband and Wife.

I’m sure everyone’s cheeks were aching by this time from all the smiling. It was just so happy. Lucy was so excited to give that big sister she adores so much a big, giant hug:

As was everyone else:

…and that new brother too.

All my girls:

…and boys too (the seven I always wanted 🙂

New and improved family:

All the pictures of Carson’s family are on his sister’s camera so I don’t have those yet, but here’s one at least with his mom, who I adore:

Oh and gotta stick in the Lucy-signature-pose one:

How is it possible that I have two married children?? And two of the best in-law kids ever?

So grateful these dear grandparents could be there:

But most especially grateful that that day these two who were meant for each other were joined in marriage:

And that together they get to prepare to be sealed together when the temples open back up.

I love that we had the opportunity to separate those two sacred ordinances, and appreciate them with more depth for how beautiful they each are.

Dearly Beloveds. We love you.

Similar Posts


  1. Stunning. Brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations to the whole family. Feels like my daughter was getting married. I’ve watched her grow up on your blog.

  2. This brings tears to my eyes. Everything about this is incredibly special and beautiful! So happy for Elle and all of you, and for the beautiful way it all came together.

  3. In the middle of all this chaos, its so nice to have something like a wedding between two young people to just bring a smile to your face. I’m glad they were able to marry in such a scenic place!

  4. Absolutely stunning. This brought tears to my eyes and I don’t even know you all!

    Congratulations to Elle and Carson!

  5. so so beautiful…congrats to Elle & Carson! and to the rest of the family, love when a family continues to grow! what a beautiful day and so many memories to cherish forever!!

  6. Absolutely beautiful and perfect!!!! I can feel the love through your words and it literally jumps off the pages of this post! Congratulations!!

  7. I love how the Lord is in the details of all that we do. He knows the beginning from the end. He created this beautiful place and on that day, your family took that beauty to a whole new level. Congratulations! Thank you for letting us follow your journey. Congratulations Elle and Carson ❤️

  8. This is beautiful and perfect. So lovely that they were able to “make it work” even though it is so very different from what they envisioned their wedding day to be. (And truly, isn’t that a picture of marriage–it’s so different from what we expect and we have to learn to make it work!)

  9. Wow!!! perfect in every way. Looks like the day was a tribute to the power of nature, simplicity, and love. Looks like such a beautiful day without all the fwedding fussiness that comes with hundreds of people, themed decor, catered meals, matching bridesmaids etc. Elle has such great style…I love a barefoot bride.

  10. The most perfect wedding EVER!!! CONGRATULATIONS and may they have a beautiful life of extraordinary happiness!!!

  11. This legitimately is one of the prettiest weddings I have ever seen. The spot is gorgeous but I think it’s also beautiful because of how much joy there is there! I’ve seen a few of my friends get married during this and it’s been great to see because of all the gratitude enveloped. They’re just happy to get married and everyone is happy to support them. I love it so much!!

  12. I’m welling up looking at these gorgeous pictures. Beautiful memories that you are making through this crazy time. Congratulations, Elle and Carson!

  13. Elle was a beautiful bride! Congrats and best wishes to a lovely couple! I adore that you all made the best of a hard situation and focused on what is most important. The celebrations later will be joyous! 💕

  14. What a beautiful wedding. I wish all weddings were this simple and from the heart! Just a simple picnic lunch, a small gathering of immediate family and the beauty of nature. Congratulations!

  15. I don’t think it could have been any more perfect! Wow! God’s timing and the beauty of simplicity. Love. Family. Stunning! Congratulations!!!

  16. Majestic! I love the simplicity of it, because it makes it seem “bigger” (if that even makes sense?). At some point, would you mind sharing where this is?

  17. This is truly a stunning spot for a wedding, and I can empathize with how hard it must’ve been to have wedding plans turned upside down.

    But I am genuinely curious about the reasoning the family had that made it seem acceptable to host an event that goes against the recommendation of the states of Arizona & Utah’s governors and health services along with the federal government and CDC to NOT host gatherings that exceed 10 people.

    There are women that are having miscarriages or giving birth that cannot have their families present, and those unable to hold a dying hand and attend a funeral. There’s no way around those occurrences, but a wedding is still an event that can be delayed. It’s very triggering and insulting to see a wedding being flaunted on social media that is completely disrespecting this pandemic. Disrespectful to the essential employees that are literally risking their lives to work in hospitals, staff grocery stores, e.t.c.

    What “doing hard things” would’ve been, was waiting until an appropriate time and help in contributing to the betterment of mankind.

    If everyone was making the exceptions your family is, things would be a million times worse than they are. Luckily, most of society doesn’t feel as entitled as yours.

    1. As readers of this blog we know that 9 of these 17 people (the Pothiers and Carson) have been sheltering together. The 2 pairs of grandparents are 3-6′ apart from everyone else and have masks in their hands that they clearly took off for the photos, and then Elle’s fiancé was joined by just his nuclear family. They are all outdoors and observing social distancing. 4 self-isolated households, made up of parents, grandparents and siblings (essentially 4 people if you think about it, since each household is exposed daily and only to each other) came together in the middle of (stunningly gorgeous) nowhere to wish this sweet couple well. Sometimes it’s hard when we’re unhappy to witness the joy of others with generosity of spirit. At risk of sounding self-righteous myself, I would offer that you might want to examine what part of this is truly triggering you.

    2. I’ve removed a few of the comments here to keep this spot a positive place. I understand everyone is extremely concerned about the virus, as are we. Just because I haven’t posted those worries in detail and depth doesn’t mean they are not there. I’m so grateful there is still light and goodness in the midst of it all.

      1. As a nurse, an essential employee, I have to say this post brightened my day! It brings love back to the basics; God, family and nature, everything was so simply beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations to the happy couple!

    3. You know, I’m just so heartened to see something as beautiful and truly life-giving as the celebration of a sacred covenant, a marriage! In the midst of all the fear and uncertainty that people are clinging to, it really does seem like we’re allowing the reality of our nature as spiritual and physical persons slip away. Why it’s still considered essential to feed the body but not the soul when we’re in the midst of crisis is beyond me. Taco Bell, liquor stores, and Target can carry on business as usual with precautions which may or may not yield actual scientifically demonstrable safety benefits, but we should indefinitely postpone weddings, baptisms, funeral rites? Insanity. Thank you for the glimpse of the sacred in the midst of the increasingly and relentlessly secular. Yes, we should exercise prudence and precaution, as you demonstrably did. But stop living our lives and relinquish all reason as card carrying adults? No thanks.

      p.s. It’s worth noting that for a couple who are chaste and who are looking forward to consummating their union only after marriage and not before, it’s not an easy thing to suggest just “putting it off” until the government deems things safe enough to move ahead. Clearly these two preferred to marry and start their life together as man and wife with all the graces contained within. And I applaud them for their virtue and the levelheaded maturity to know that the marriage is more important than the big fancy dream wedding, however wonderful that will be once they can celebrate with a crowd later.

  18. Congratulations Elle & Carson! You and your families are beautiful inside and out. It was a beautiful wedding! If you couldn’t get married in the temple you were able to get married in another beautiful spot. Love conquers all 🙂 I’m sure you look forward to your sealing in Hawaii. May God bless you and your new union. How special your Grandpa could marry you 🙂

    1. I know that you, as we all are, are extremely concerned about the virus. You can see in the pictures that precautions were taken. It is wonderful to see something so beautiful with all that we are all going through. It brought joy to me as I know it did others. We all need that as well. Congratulations to Elle and Carson. Your wedding was beautiful. I wish you the best as you begin your life together.

  19. Wow. I don’t know you but somehow I still found myself in tears. I felt hopeful looking at these and I needed to feel hope today. Thank you for sharing.

  20. This is lovely.

    Congrats to Elle & Carson, I’m really happy for them. x

    I love Elle’s dress & that she didn’t wear any shoes.

  21. I would love to respond to all these comments individually but I’ll just say right here, thanks for all the love and well wishes, sending love right back!

  22. Oh Heavens! This is just too awesome! How absolutely fitting for Elle. She is such a natural, simple beauty…this is just so perfect for her…simple and beautiful at the same time!

  23. Beautifully simple and perfect and enveloped in love, the best way to start a new union. I am certain that all considerations and precautions were measured and observed. Most importantly, Carson and Elle were joined together in the perfect spot with love surrounding them. As a very long time reader I could not be more happy for you! Congratulations!

  24. Congratulations!!! Such a beautiful wedding. So Elle. Nature is the most beautiful church. I love the simplicity, decorated by God and surrounded by love. Much happiness and blessings to all. 💚🙏🏻

  25. Incredible! Simple and stunning! So happy for them, Shawni. I love all the huge smiles, the love and happiness is almost tangible!

  26. This is the most beautiful thing I have seen all week. I am crying happy tears for your sweet girl. This will be a day they never forget full of so much meaning and wonder and love. Congratulations to the happy couple. Here is a poem for them…
    “I loved you first: but
    afterwards your love
    Outsoaring mine, sang such a
    loftier song
    As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
    Which owes the other most?
    My love was long, and yours
    one moment seemed to wax
    more strong;
    I loved and guessed at you, you
    construed me
    And loved me for what might or
    might not be-
    Nay, weights and measures do
    us both a wrong.
    For verily love knows not ‘mine’
    or ‘thine’;
    With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free
    love has done,
    For one is both and both are
    one in love:
    Rich love knows nought of
    ‘thine that is not mine’;
    Both have the strength and
    both the length thereof,
    Both of us, of the love which
    makes us one.
    -Christina Rossetti

  27. So beautiful Shawn, so great to see these pictures. It almost makes us feel like I got to be there. This is the perfect way to unite these two, wild and free.

  28. Two Souls. Right energy. Beautiful setting. Beautiful family. So cool they had their shoes off for some of this. There is something, about grounding to the earth, that just feels right. Thank you for sharing!

  29. While I am trying to keep this post focused on the sacredness of a wedding, I totally understand the concern for social distancing in the world at this time. I do want to reiterate that we thought long and hard through every precaution we could to make this work respecting the circumstances at this completely unprecedented time. I chose not to outline every detail of that (which would take forever and also would never satisfy some people) and I intentionally left out the pictures with masks because to me, somehow that took away from the sacredness of it all. But know that the thoughts and awareness were fully there. Maybe that’s what made it extra beautiful to me, that a union of two people in love can still happen in a world turned upside down.

    1. I get your point. Let’s keep the sacred celebrations separate and not taint the post with the ugliness of the pandemic. Perhaps you could do a separate post outlining your views and approach to social distancing and address your readers’ questions this week?

  30. I teared up seeing the photo of your husband walking Elle down the isle. The oldest & first daughter to get married :’)

  31. What a gorgeous wedding! Love these pictures and how your family was able to celebrate such a sacred occasion during this difficult time. Cheered me up just by reading. Thanks for sharing and congratulations your daughter and new son-in-law.

  32. Just so beautiful! The scenery, the smiles, the love, all just breath-taking. So happy for you all that you found a way to make their day special and sacred! Thanks for sharing

  33. This brought tears to my eyes. I saw snippets on yours and Elle’s Instagram, but I loved your storytelling and extra pictures here. So beautiful, all of it. What a lovely day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *