Adventurous Green Mountain National Forest Engagement | Granville, Vermont


“When you’re a mountain person, you understand the brilliance and beauty of contradiction. The way land can be your greatest teacher. How something can be both grounding yet elevating, intoxicating yet soothing, wild yet serene, intensely primal yet patient, and cycling yet predictable within the shifts and rhythms.

Mountains keep us on edge yet wrap us in the sensation of safety all at once.

I don’t know of anything sweeter, or more magic inducing, than that.”

Victoria Erickson

So much can be said about the beautiful souls that are Courtney and John.

Our connection began on Instagram, where the couple was searching for a photographer to capture their camp wedding in the late summer. They expressed their appreciation for the natural tones and earthiness they saw in my work, and told me about their wedding plans in the woods of Maine - a communal place very dear to their hearts.

The more I learned about Courtney and John’s partnership and way of life, the more excited I became to explore that story through my lens.

They met during their respective careers as wilderness therapy guides in Hawaii, working together at a horticultural therapy program for young adults. While there, they connected through deep conversations about their lives’ journeys, spirituality, symbolism; all the while settling into the idea that perhaps there was something more between them than a working friendship.

Now Courtney and John live in Vermont, where Courtney serves as a case manager at an assistance program for adults with learning disabilities, and John serves students with autism one-on-one in a public school setting. They are very much creative souls who express themselves through music, art, craft and meditation. And of course, they live to explore the natural world, with a love of camping, hiking, and exploring the woods around them. They even have an interest in growing their own food and living sustainably one day. Amazing.

For their wintry engagement session, Courtney and John took me to a favorite natural retreat of theirs in Granville, Vermont: a small sliver of the 400,000 acres of land that encompass the Green Mountain National Forest. Naturally, we had to include their sweet pup, Cricket, who was eager to enter the frame on more than one occasion (you’ll see).

We had the snowy paths to ourselves, embracing the emptiness and expanse of our surroundings that centered beautifully on Courtney and John's connection. 

Their partnership is tender and steady. Compassionate and calm. Deeply thoughtful and rooted in intentionality. It is clear that these two identify themselves as healer-types, with a grounding energy and spiritual connection to the earth that feels so comforting to witness and take part in.

While revisiting the images of Courtney and John's engagement session, I keep coming back to the word home. The trails they took me on hold many memories for them, having been a favorite camping destination and base camp for their past wilderness guiding careers. But this sense of home goes beyond place, I think. I feel home in their connection - in the simplicity of their expressions and gestures, and that love rooted deeply in every frame.

There is a deep peace in the mountains when the earth is blanketed in snow and the branches are bare but the evergreen.

Rugged and cold - maybe so. But also beautifully hushed and soft. Unassuming and stripped to its purest form. Much like the love of those two who wandered its trails hand in hand, very much at home.

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Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont wedding photographer, Alanna Hogan Photography, is for the adventurous at heart and the wild with love. For intimate weddings, elopements and engagements across New England and beyond, you’ve come to the right place. Lose yourself in love and stay awhile, won’t you?