//Jessica Christie photographing a couple on a snowy road. Photo provided by Christie.
Jessica Christie was 15 feet off the ground photographing a newlywed couple scaling a mountain when she thought to herself, this is it.
As the bride and groom were intertwined in ropes and other rock-climbing gear, rejoicing in love, Christie realized she wanted to create similar experiences for other couples seeking a unique way to declare their vows. Two years later, in 2020, she launched Roaring West, an adventure elopement business.
This past year called on everyone to reevaluate their priorities, and the wedding industry was no different. Christie says her goal is to empower people to craft the day of their dreams without the burden of external judgment.
Although based in Denver, Christie has taken clients to landscapes all throughout the West—ranging from waterfalls, mountain peaks and national parks—to say their “I do’s.”
“With elopements, you can have this memorable day that’s 100% about you,” Christie said. “That can get lost in regular weddings. [With elopements] you can focus on the reason you’re there: to celebrate the commitment you’re making to each other.”
In fact, COVID-19 may change wedding culture for years to come. People are realizing the financial strain doesn’t have to be the reality if one wants to get married. According to The Wedding Report, 46% of couples surveyed cut their wedding budget by an average of 31% due to the pandemic. It’s clear alternative weddings are proving to be more feasible.
While Christie still photographs traditional weddings—ballrooms, pink flowers and all—she is drawn to adventure and the outdoors. She has been running her photography business, Jessica Christie Photography, since 2010, and with Roaring West, she is a dual business owner.
As an entrepreneur, Christie says she is passionate about mentoring other female creators to follow their path.
“It lights me up to see a woman step into her power,” she said. “Fortunately, through my career, I’ve been able to mentor several women, not only photographers, but other entrepreneurs, and watch them grow and step into their fullest potential.”
Christie donates 10% of her earnings to Girls, Inc of Metro Denver and She Jumps. Both organizations work to empower young women to step into their fullest potential through educational and recreational programs. She hopes her work will leave a domino effect, inspiring women to support one another in their careers.
“We are our own worst critics, and we are so quick to tear ourselves down. Believing in myself has come with time and is still a conscious decision I make,” she said, adding how important it is to believe in the work you do. “You spend the majority of your life working, you might as well put that work towards something you’re passionate about!”
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