that time I got married in a ghost town…

by Kaylah Stroup

Two Guns Wedding, ghost town wedding

I don’t even know how to start this post. There’s so much to say about our wedding and honestly, so much I just want to keep private. I’m straddling this weird line between sharing something I’m proud of and excited about and keeping it all to myself because it really is so special. Either way, this is going to be a long, photo heavy post and I’m sure as soon as I hit “publish” I’ll think of a thousand other things I wanted to mention but here we go…

Jeff and I live to travel. It’s such a huge part of our relationship. Neither of us care for traditional weddings so it was a no-brainer we’d have a destination wedding. Based on our travel history and the fact we’ve made it an annual tradition to go there, the desert was also a no-brainer. We’ve spent the most time in Arizona, California and New Mexico but aside from Cisco, UT where he proposed there was only one other spot that we loved as fiercely – Two Guns, Arizona. I had always half-jokingly suggested we should get married there but never really thought it could actually happen or put too much thought into what the logistics of that would look like.

Shortly after proposing Jeff mentioned “So, I was thinking Two Guns?” I was too emotional to talk about it but I couldn’t believe he was actually suggesting it. I finally stopped crying for long enough to have a conversation where we decided that yes, Two Guns would be the perfect spot to get married but before we officially made the call we wanted to make sure our families were down to travel. I was worried that it would be asking too much. Much to my surprise, everyone was totally on board. Not a moment of hesitation from either side.

Seven months later a grand total of thirty people, including Jeff, myself and our photographer, made our way out to Arizona. Each group took their own route, came in on different days, and did a variety of different things leading up to the wedding but all eventually met up at one of our favorite places in the world, Two Guns!

Two Guns is a ghost town outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. It has a long, kind of wild history but currently just sits baking in the desert sun. The property contains many ruins, including old cottages, a campground, a service station and even a zoo! Can’t forget to mention the cave either. (Heck yes we got photos in the cave!) Truly a playground for Rt. 66 travelers!

It’s actually for sale! If anyone would like to give it to us as a wedding gift, that’d be rad.

Like a lot of the abandonment in the desert, it’s not really a big deal to visit. There are no fences to hop to access the property, and it’s literally right off a highway exit. We figured we’d just show up, get married and leave after we were done. We had no plans to decorate. It’s seriously perfect as is! Since the ceremony was going to be super short we didn’t even bother with chairs. We did however end up choosing a spot with lots of objects to sit and lean on which worked out very nicely. It was essentially a wedding flash mob.

One of my brothers officiated the ceremony. He got ordained just for us, and spent a good deal of time practicing by marrying my niece’s stuffed animals because he was so nervous (mostly just because he didn’t want to cry!) So sweet.

On June 9th, 2018 at 9 am Jeff and I got married on top of an old crumbling building in the ghost town of Two Guns, Arizona.

It was nothing short of incredible. I spent so much time stressing about everything from the dress to if we should decorate or not but it was legitimately perfect. I can’t think of a single thing I’d change. It was so perfectly ~us~. We’re both just over the moon.

I will not say this is my favorite photo because I could never choose but you guys, I am LIVING for how fierce I look up there. Was I just married or am I ready to go into battle?

All photos in this post are by Madeline Barr. Finding the right photographer was the biggest task in planning this wedding. Jeff and I were both really stressed about it. I cannot express how happy I am that we hired Maddie! She is a blast to be around, made us both feel super comfortable in front of the camera, and gave us the wedding photos of our dreams. I seriously can’t believe these are photos of us! I’m already plotting what excuse we can make to fly out to San Diego and have her photograph us again. She’s amazing, hire her!

more details
dress + topper –BHLDN
pink underskirt – Amazon
shoes – Palladium Boots
flowers – Sutcliffe Floral
pants + vest – Express

Most of these photos were just part of the preview that our wonderful photographer sent over the night of the wedding (what!?) and somehow she’s already finished up the rest of the photos. I’ve pored over them so many times. I’m completely obsessed!!!

At this time I’m not sure if I’ll be sharing many more photos. The day before the ceremony Jeff and I were sitting at a cute little coffee shop and we started talking about how the whole idea of a wedding was super weird. It’s such a personal thing. Even though we had only invited the closest people to us, it still felt like too much. Looking back on it now, I love what we did and I’m happy everyone who was there was there but I can’t even imagine how we would have been able to deal with a bigger or more traditional wedding.

When we went through all the photos Maddie had sent us, I felt that same way again – just like this is SO personal, how could I ever share these with someone else?! I want to hoard them away for just us. Does that make sense? Did anyone else feel like this? I never thought that I would and maybe I’ll end up feeling more comfortable about it all after it’s not so fresh. For now, I’m happy just sharing these.

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Nicole June 25, 2018 - 9:41 am

Dude… We’ve talked a handful of times and I’ve only followed for a few years but I legit cried at these. This is the coolest wedding ever!!! The photo with the split window where you’re outside and he’s in, gave me chills.
We have a ton of weddings to go to this year but none will be this cool!
Congrats one million times over and big ups for doing it your way!!

Kaylah June 25, 2018 - 9:50 am

Hehehe! Thank you so much!! ❤️❤️❤️

Mindi June 25, 2018 - 10:35 am

I want to cry! Kaylah, this is so beautiful! I love how special this is for the both of you and that you want to keep things so private. What a beautiful and special memory 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

P.S. I’m in love with that cave photo…and the way your hair stands out against the colors of the desert 🙂

Kaylah June 25, 2018 - 11:28 am

Thanks, Mindi!! ❤️

Angela Tolsma June 25, 2018 - 10:53 am

I shared very little about my wedding and I think I like it that way. That said I am so glad you have shared this amount because the photos are beautiful and I love that you guys did it in a way that worked beautifully for you both! You totally look like a warrior!

Kaylah June 25, 2018 - 11:26 am

Hehe! Thanks!! 🙂

allie June 25, 2018 - 10:56 am

What an honor to be included in such a lovely day! Definitely my favorite wedding that I’ve ever been to, and I don’t see that being topped anytime soon! These photos are incredible, and I’m glad you didn’t make us wait too long to see them I’ve been impatiently waiting to see them ever since the second you said I do 😉

Kaylah June 25, 2018 - 11:25 am

Thank you so much for coming, Allie!!!

She got the best photo of when I opened your card and saw the eyes. You, Jeff and I are both in it and each of us is making the perfect reaction face. I’ll have to send you some of the shots with you in them! 🙂

Allie June 26, 2018 - 9:28 am

Yes please!

Katy June 25, 2018 - 11:09 am

Love love love the pictures! I’m such a fan of yours and I have been looking forward to seeing these photos since you got engaged! You guys look great! I love your flower, and the hair…really just the whole thing, I love it! I know what you mean about the photos and the experience being personal too. Maybe it’s because the destination wedding is about you and this small group of people who chose to go out of their way to do this with you, you want to cherish their choice and effort to join you for this and you want to cherish that amazing time you had together because it was so intimate and amazing. I didn’t mind sharing a few photos and stuff on the internet, but so many of them, I wanted to keep to myself or only show people when I was with them. I haven’t even put a big one on my walls, only one little 3×5 tucked up in between other pictures. I have a huge photo album of ALL the pictures, but I only share that when I want, with who I want. Congratulations and I am so happy for you and your new husband!!!

Kaylah June 25, 2018 - 11:32 am

Thank you so much, Katy!! ❤️

Yeah, it’s weird. I definitely never expected to feel so emotional about the photos. I haven’t even been able to look through them all in one sitting because it just feels so overwhelming. I just look through chunks of them at a time. 😬

Sam June 25, 2018 - 11:13 am

Your photographer is 👌🏻 I mean, those window frame pictures are inspired! You both look wonderful and like you’re having the time. Of. Your. Lives!!! ♥
I totally know what you mean about not wanting to share too much: it’s your memory and giving it to people for ‘entertainment’ feels like cheapening it (that’s how I’d feel, anyway!). Thanks for sharing even this little snippet and being the cutest!

Kaylah June 25, 2018 - 11:24 am

I still can’t believe those are photos of us! Maddie was amazing. We couldn’t have picked a better photographer!

Cecile June 25, 2018 - 11:33 am

Congratulations! Your pictures are indeed perfect (the one with you and Jeff through 2 different windows, looking like frames… The composition, the light/dark contrast, the subjects… I’m not e photographer, but this picture seems like the perfect one to me!) and you were the cutest desert bride a ghost town could dream of 😉

Kaylah June 27, 2018 - 9:47 pm

Thanks so much, Cecile! ❤️

Ines June 25, 2018 - 4:14 pm

Woah, this post is so beautiful, I’m crying happy tears right now – you both look so happy together! I’ve been reading your blog for some years now, so it weirdly feels like you’re a constant in my life. I was excited to see how your wedding would turn out since finding out that you’re engaged – most weddings around me are so conventional, seeing how yours turned out makes me think of someday also marrying smaller and somewhere else 😀 Congratulations on getting married and thanks for sharing this part of your life with us!

PS: I also think the photo where you look so fierce is really rad 🙂

Kaylah June 27, 2018 - 9:48 pm

Awww, thank you so much Ines! ❤️❤️❤️

Bonnie Luhman June 25, 2018 - 4:29 pm

Please keep sharing your photographs!!! At least re-consider it. #1 The photo’s are totally awesome! (She [Madeline] is very talented. I couldn’t come up with those photo poses if my life depended on it. The one in the cave is over the moon great! I agree with Nicole on the split window one. That is so clever! The one that looks like you two were dancing…….be still my heart. We who follow you religiously, love every square inch of you both and enjoy seeing two people in love. It gives us hope and joy and that is your gift to us. The fact that he loved your fur-kids right from the get go made me love him too! You are so right for each other. Love, love, love you and your blog. Every blog day is like…………Christmas morning. You were born to do just what you are doing. Love y’all so much. xoxo

Kaylah June 28, 2018 - 9:18 am

Bonnie, you are too sweet. ❤️

Steffi June 25, 2018 - 4:38 pm

Wooowwww these pictures look amazing! You both look so beautiful and happy! And it’s so “YOU”. Ahhh fangirling over wedding pictures of someone you’ve never actually met. I’m very happy for you both and I hope you’ll share a lifetime of fun adventures together! <3

Kaylah June 27, 2018 - 9:48 pm

Hehehe! Thanks, Steffi! ❤️

Stacey Zaborowski June 25, 2018 - 8:51 pm

Congratulations Kaylah! Such a beautiful wedding, and your pictures are really amazing. May God bless you and Jeff!

Kaylah June 28, 2018 - 9:18 am

Thank you so much! ❤️

Lisa June 25, 2018 - 9:25 pm

These are incredible! And I’m so glad everything went smoothly with your wedding! I’m not the biggest fan of weddings and wedding photos because so many seem so generic, but these are so thoroughly…you two…that I got a little choked up going through them! Thank you for sharing them!

Kaylah June 28, 2018 - 9:24 am

Awww ❤️

Stacy hyatt June 25, 2018 - 11:04 pm

Stunning photography and what a beautifully unique location for a wedding. I’m a new reader of your blog and I’m so glad you shared even this sneak peak!

Personally, for my wedding 4 years ago, I couldn’t wait to share the photos — I think because I spent 15 months planning it and designing everything myself. I felt like I NEEDED friends and family and even acquaintances on FB and my blog to see it so they could see all the details I labored over for so long. I was really proud of all the work I’d done and I like that all that energy and love and decision-making can live on in photos for others to (hopefully) enjoy. We also did a destination wedding (to a small wooded town in the Sierras) and even tho it was fairly decent sized (85 people), it felt special and intimate because everyone who traveled all the way into the boonies were the ones who truly wanted to be there.

Congratulations on your marriage! 🙂

Kaylah June 28, 2018 - 9:23 am

Thanks! ❤️

Marine Leisy June 26, 2018 - 8:28 am

I have never seen wedding photos I love as much as ours, but dude. Seriously. When you first shared previews on Instagram I started wondering how and when I could hire Madeline to shoot Shawn and I! Haha. These are perfect for you guys, and thank you so much for sharing. I still get that teary eyed lovey dovey feeling whenever I look at our wedding photos- it seemed so frivolous at the time of planning for us too, but you’ll be so happy you have these photos to relive every juicy emotion – and to feel fierce and beautiful! 💕

Kaylah June 28, 2018 - 9:20 am

Hahah! Yeah, she’s seriously just amazing! It definitely wasn’t cheap but I’m SO glad we splurged on photos. 10000% worth it!

Susan June 26, 2018 - 11:27 am

Amazing photos! Thanks so much for sharing this glimpse into your wonderful day!

Kaylah June 27, 2018 - 9:50 pm

Thank you, Susan! 🙂

Kristina B June 26, 2018 - 1:23 pm

Kaylah these are HEAVEN. You both look amazing and I love everything! Your photographer is a magician! So happy for you guys. CONGRATULATIONS x 1,000,000,000

Kaylah June 28, 2018 - 9:16 am


Mary June 26, 2018 - 1:30 pm

I knew your wedding would be incredible, just like the two of you. Thank you for sharing what you have don’t feel like it is weird to want to over share or under share. I think you already have a great sense of what to keep to yourself. Your magical wedding day should feel personal and I do not blame you at all for wanting to keep it close to your heart. I do have to say that my postcard from your trip is hands down the best one I have ever received! Thank you for thinking of me! Now I am dreaming of a desert trip of my own sooner rather than later.

Kaylah June 28, 2018 - 9:16 am

Thank you so much Mary!! ❤️

I think you’d love it out there!

Kate BK June 26, 2018 - 1:44 pm

Your photos are so gorgeous. What a perfect day!

Kaylah June 27, 2018 - 9:51 pm

Thanks, Kate! 😀

Claire June 27, 2018 - 2:52 pm

The photos are AMAZING and you two are absolutely gorgeous! Lots of love from Switzerland! 🙂

Kaylah June 28, 2018 - 9:19 am

Thanks Claire! 🙂

Indya | The Small Adventurer June 28, 2018 - 8:50 am

I’m always such a sap when it comes to weddings – or anything love related, really – but this post is tugging at my heart strings even more because I swear it seems like yesterday when you two moved in together! It’s been amazing reading your story on this blog; you two really do seem perfect together – and I love that your brother thought he was going to cry, that is the sweetest thing ever 😭 I’m so glad you had the perfect day together, and I hope you both have a lifetime of happiness together!

Kaylah June 28, 2018 - 9:15 am

Thank you so much, Indya! ❤️❤️❤️

Crystal June 29, 2018 - 10:08 am

First off, CONGRATULATIONS!! Second, these pictures are amazing!! I love how unconventional they are, and how the location was incorporated so beautifully into them. Excellent job, Madeline!!

Kaylah July 3, 2018 - 9:17 am

Thank you! I still can’t get over what excellent photos she got of us. I’m so so so happy!!!

Kaili | Weirdwonderfulwanderlust June 29, 2018 - 11:47 am

These are so beautiful! I absolutely love how you guys made this whole wedding 100% your own. I am loving your boots + dress. Everything here is just so wonderful. Your photographer is amazing! I would love to see more photos but I also completely understand keeping things to your self. It is absolutely such a personal thing. I am glad you shared these though! <3

Kaylah July 3, 2018 - 9:17 am

Thank you so much, Kaili!! 🙂

Andrea June 29, 2018 - 9:59 pm

Crazy beautiful. All of it: the photos, the buildings, the couple, the clothes, the CAVE!!!

Kaylah July 3, 2018 - 9:00 am

Thank you so much, Andrea! 🙂

Parker June 30, 2018 - 7:36 pm


Kaylah July 3, 2018 - 8:59 am


Laurali Star July 2, 2018 - 8:17 pm

Sorry, I’m late to the party. I just wanted to say how happy I am for you. I actually got tears in my eyes reading your story and looking at your pictures. I’ve been reading your blog for such a long time and this just touched my heart. You look absolutely beautiful. The pictures are magical. You’re right, from what I know of you, that wedding is totally you! Just thought I’d add some love to all;the love in your life.

Kaylah July 3, 2018 - 9:32 am

Laurali! Hey! Long time, no see!!

Thank you so much!!! ❤️❤️❤️

Lysa July 3, 2018 - 6:26 am

Just found your blog when I searched about hair color. I’m a blue hair don’t care and I love your blog. Your wedding was supper wonderful! Something my family would of loved. Growing up my Dads vacation was driving somewhere in the desert and pulling off the road. To camp. We went to a lot of ghosts towns and my dad was a Spelunker so been to a lot of caves too.
Just wanted to say thank you for bringing back some great memories and the info on the hair color and the question you always wanted to know. 🙂

Kaylah July 3, 2018 - 9:33 am

🙂 That’s the best kind of vacation there is!

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Kaylah July 12, 2018 - 7:30 am

Thank you, Emily! 🙂

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Kaylah July 31, 2018 - 8:18 am


steph August 4, 2018 - 12:07 pm

Catching up late but congratulations on getting hitched! It’s because of your blog that the mister and I knew to check out Two Guns on a trip awhile back and (tho I don’t really know you) it seems like the absolute perfect spot for you two to have tied the knot. And your wedding photos– simply beautiful!!

Kaylah August 8, 2018 - 8:11 am

Thanks so much, Steph!! 🙂

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FRAN January 11, 2021 - 3:10 am

I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole and stumbled upon your house restoration videos. Being curious as to the location of your home,, i decided to check out your blog to see if it had more information and stumbled upon this post. Two Guns is on of my favorite places! I can definitely understand the draw it can have on you! It is such an amazing place to photograph. How amazing that you were married there! I live nearby and get to visit often. I just thought it was funny that a random post if an old house back east (Ohio? My grandmother in western Pennsylvania used to have no-touch-ems too) lead me to another post of a place that’s very special to me too in my own back yard! The date in the closet also has a special meaning in my life! Is anything really random?

Good luck with the house. I grew up in a couple old houses in Pennsylvania. We found the best treasures under the floor boards in the attic. They didn’t go all the way to the walls so we could lay on the floor and look under with a flashlight. Never know what you might find!
Happy renovating!

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