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A Zest For Adventure

Apr, 24, 2024

Pooja and Rutwij’s “zest for adventure” brought them right here to Moab for their version of a “mini elopement” last fall. Their adventures together stretch across North America and the rest of the globe, starting in Toronto where they met, and they’ve had all kinds of adventures since then.

Their first-ever trip together was a backpacking trip in northern Ontario. “I think that was very defining for our relationship, that we both really enjoy nature. And so it was fitting to do that elopement in the place that we did.” Their mutual love for nature and history of visiting beautiful places together culminated in the perfect destination to celebrate their love.

From City Hall to Arches in the Fall

The couple originally wanted to do an elopement with just the two of them, but it was important enough for them to invite their families to an intimate city hall wedding where they currently live in San Francisco, a month before they came to Utah. 

“We wanted to do something where it would just be the two of us because we didn’t want to plan and deal with all of the traditions and opinions and all that stuff—mostly the planning. We had thought we’d love to do Mexico or something like that, but then we thought, ‘No, we still want our family there.’

“So we kind of ended up doing like some version of that, in that we had a few people here. We did our city hall legal stuff, and then we got to just have fun when we went to Moab.” 

Their photographer Julia was the one to lead them here for their mini elopement. Pooja knew she wanted to hire Julia for her wedding—but she wasn’t available on the day of their city hall ceremony. “She does so many adventure shoots outdoors and I was like, ‘This is something out of a dream’ to be in some of the locations she’s shot in.” The two decided to embrace their original plan of an elopement and bring their love story a few states over for Thanksgiving weekend. 

Moab’s Breathtaking Beauty

When Pooja saw the beautiful majesty of Utah’s signature red rocks, she was blown away. Neither of them had been here before, but when they saw it for the first time, and again in the background of their stunning pictures, they couldn’t believe how grand it was.

“This is not anything I had even imagined. Not just the place itself is so grand, but it really feels like you’re in a timeless place because you know, it used to be all under an ocean before, so it’s humbling in a way.”

Speaking of humbling—Pooja and Rutwij’s photos, the gifs of them dancing, and their huge smiles are wildly captivating. Next to the gorgeous backdrops that our favorite state is known for, their photographer captured the sweetness of their love in such an intimate way that it feels like we were right there with them. From the traditional Indian wedding dress Pooja wore, to their private vows for each other, we can’t help but feel humbled that they were willing to share that moment with us.

Last year, Pooja and Rutwij took a lot of trips, including their engagement in Nevada and their honeymoon in Hawaii, but their trip to Moab was by far her favorite. “When I think about 2023, honestly that trip was my favorite trip, not only because it was an unreal place, but there was like this fondness to it. It was really relieving because I had already gotten married, so all of that pressure was off.”

Red Rocks, Red Dupatta

But the beauty doesn’t stop with the red rocks. Pooja wore a traditional Indian wedding outfit with a little bit of a twist. “Initially I wasn’t sure if I’d wear a traditional Indian outfit, because I knew I wanted to wear a white dress, but in Indian weddings, you don’t usually wear white to weddings. I envisioned the white dress but in a traditional way, so it was like a fusion because I grew up in a few different parts of the world. I’m Indian originally and I was born in India.” 
The skirt she wore is called a lehnga, made out of a material called lucknowi chikankari, a hand-embroidered cotton, and the scarf she wore is called a dupatta. The red dupatta was made in India, and it was what she wore when she and Rutwij exchanged their vows under the beautiful arches. When we say our jaws dropped at the sight of her, we mean it.

Just Us Two

“My vows were actually a journal entry that I wrote maybe like three weeks or a month after we met, so this was in 2021. All of it was still true, and it was about our zest for adventure and our aligned values and all that stuff. In that moment when we were doing the vows there was no one really coming in or passing through, it was a very special moment.”

For Pooja, the most important part of her wedding experience was having that moment to just be together with her new husband. “When we did the elopement it was just the two of us, and we really got to just be in each other’s company, and see the good, and be happy, and all of that special stuff. 

“Sometimes when you’re around people, and there’s a party to plan, it can affect your dynamic. So I think like doing that little ‘special thing,’ maybe other people don’t do an elopement, but they do something just the two of them either before or after, just to make something special with the two of you—that’s a really good thing.” 

Take it from Pooja, there isn’t anything more romantic than a moment to bask in the joy with your brand-new spouse. Her and Rutwij’s stunning Utah elopement has us seriously considering moving our headquarters down to Moab for the foreseeable future. 

Photography: Julia Goldberg
Gown: Custom made in India
Suit: Suit Supply 
Rings: David Yurman

Utah Valley Bride

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