Ahren and Courtney met while both working at REI in Washington State. Having an adventure elopement in nature seemed like the perfect way to tie the knot in celebration of the outdoors and how it has brought them closer together. Not to mention give them the opportunity to have a day focused around what matters to them with an intimate group of people. When they first reached out to me they had quite the list of amazing elopement locations already in mind from Mount Rainier to the North Cascades and beyond. The list quickly got narrowed down once they started refurbishing/rebuilding a small sailboat. The decided on Sucia Island out in the San Juan Islands off the Washington coast. This place already had a spot in their hearts from exploring there in the past, camping and being on the water. They worked diligently leading up to their elopement after work and on the weekends to perfect the boat and get her in tip top shape to row the two miles form Orcas island to Sucia on the big day.
Bill and I had the privilege to meet Ahern and Courtney a week or so before the elopement at a local bar in Seattle. Immediately you could tell the stoke was high to get the boat into the water for a test run after some final varnish touches and for the big day on the island. Their love for each other, travel and the outdoors was also immediately visible. We chatted about hiking the enchantments, big hikes in Wyoming and more. Before long the day had arrived and it was time to board the ferry from Anacortes to Orcas. I met up with their make-up artist, Joey, at the ferry dock to ride over to the beautiful cabin they had rented on Orcas as a stay for before and after the camping elopement. We were welcomed with the smell of coffee and breakfast that was just starting in the kitchen, Courtney and Ahern had started their wedding day doing yoga on the balcony with their small group of friends who had gathered for this special day. After breakfast everyone went their own separate ways to get ready before heading out. Courtney got into hair and makeup as friends took turns sitting with her and chatting, Ahern went to the dock slips to prepare the boat for the launch while their friends finished the olive oil cake. Their friends also finished packing and loading up the cars, squeezing limes for the margaritas, rehearsing the ceremony and practicing a song on the ukulele.
Once everyone was ready and the tides were just right, the friends loaded the ferry over to the island and Courtney, Ahren and I set sail into the big blue in their boat, Madrona Moon. You see, there was a lot of purpose and meaning behind every element of their elopement day. It was truly one of the most special things I had witness. All the thought that went into everything, tying together something so real and raw. Madrona is the name of their favorite tree, which happens to be native to Sucia Island. Their elopement date was centered around the Strawberry Moon. So Madrona Moon was the perfect name for their boat. They had labored so much love into. Courtney started off the rowing across the ocean as we admired the mountains surrounding the waters and chatting about all the different islands they had already explored and plan to explore in the future that we could see. Once Ahern started his turn at rowing we were visited by several seals in the water. Before you knew it we were at the docks for Sucia where their friends stood waving and greeting us. We all undocked and carried our things to camp. Courtney and Ahern had booked a group camp site so we all got to stay together, some of us in tents and some of us in the open bunk house. The group changed into their wedding clothes as dinner was set up and Courtney and Ahern started to prepare the oysters and dinner. The table was a beautiful set up, complete with one of their favorite wines they had found in Port Townsend, the area they worked on the boat for most of the time. Dinner started with a toast to the evening, their love and the start of their marriage.
After dinner Courtney and Ahern got dressed at different areas of camp with the help of friends. Courtney had gotten a beautiful gown that would show off her warrior woman tattoo, but she made it her own by adding a cape, the gold tassels and even doing some of the beading herself. They shared a private first look by the water as friends started to head out for the hike where the ceremony would take place. We hiked to the West side of the island for a sunset ceremony. Along the hike we passed several of the Madrona trees, sailboats in the water and we shared laughter with friends. We arrived to the spot overlooking the water and mountains where the ceremony was to be held. Courtney and Ahern walked into their ceremony hand in hand with big smiles as their friend played a song on the Ukulele. They joined both hands as one of their other friends officiated the ceremony. Each friend in attendance shared beautiful words throughout, some of the readings came from a book, Braiding Sweet Grass, which means so much to each of them and their relationship. Each friend also blessed their rings before Courtney and Ahern exchanged them. Ahern ring was hand made in Colorado with rock form Michigan, where Courtney is from, but also with left over wood from their boat. Courtney’s ring was also stunning and unique. She designed it with the ability to add stones/stars for when they have children. The vows were the most truly open words I think I have heard. I am not sure there was one dry eye in the group, I know I teared up behind the camera as Courtney read her vows. Before the ceremony ended they shared a unity cocktail with strawberry purree (to keep with the strawberry moon theme) Mescal and several other ingredients. As the ceremony ended everyone shared hugs and we made it official signing the marriage license. As we took their couples portraits along the water I looked back and saw all of their friends smiling looking on sitting on the hill overlooking the sunset and their two newly wed friends!
We all hiked back together and as we turned the last corner back to camp we saw the huge stunning strawberry moon coming up over horizon line, giving light to the boats in the water. It was quite the sight. Back at camp they enjoyed a spontaneous first dance to a classic love song and shared a first bite of the olive oil cake before everyone else dived in. The night was spent under the beautiful moon by a campfire sharing memories, telling stories and bonding in friendship.
The next morning as we all slowly awoke from the night before, friends starting cleaning up the dinner area and others started working on whipping up some coffee and breakfast. Courtney and Ahern and I took the boat out for a little row for some bridal portraits. We were greeted with many other older couples who boat-life and they were all awe struck by it all! I think the entire island knew Courtney and Ahern got married on Sucia by the following day. The entire morning folks would walk by camp and congratulate them! We hung out at camp reminiscing on the evening, wedding planning and boat building. We had time before we had to leave the island so we all packed up our camp and set out to go explore! We hiked to an area where you could see Mt Baker. We watched eagles hunting for fish, searched for star fish and fossils. Since the tides were a bit rough and the water was white capped we decided we would all ride the ferry back to Orcas. As we waited on the ferry, some snacked, some took naps in hammocks and several folks hopped into the ocean for a quick dip! It was a perfect day with friends, exploring and hanging out. Upon arrival back to the main island I had to part ways with the group, but they were all set to enjoy a nice dinner on Orcas in celebration of the elopement and had planned to end the night with an epic dance party!
This entire two day experience was one of the most special experiences I have been apart of. It is almost hard to put into words, it was beautiful, authentic, raw and meaningful. It was so special getting to know their group of friends and see how much love each of them had for this couple. Courtney and Ahern’s bond is so beautiful and true and their love for the water and exploring the great outdoors was so present and celebrated. Each bit of the day was designed to bring them to life in wedding day form. I personally can not wait to read Braiding Sweet Grass now and look forward to seeing these two out on the trails later this summer.
If you have ever heard the false claim that elopements are not special my friends, just look at Courtney + Ahern’s elopement day.
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Annelise and Duncan really wanted a wedding day that was focused on the union of marriage, two people and two families over a large event full of distractions. They were most stoked on getting to spend a day together that was so meaningful and celebrate their love with their family and of course their puppo - Wallace. These two met in Seattle, WA but have since moved to San Diego together. Throughout their relationship a steady bond has been spending time in the outdoors together back packing, camping in their van, hanging out with Wallace, but also their own personal adventures. When it came time to pick a place to get married, most importantly they wanted to be outside, somewhere that reflected this part of their relationship together. When these two reached out to me they had already booked their ceremony location in the park and it was time to plan the rest of their beautiful elopement in Joshua Treat National Park! Covid hit and shifted their plans a little bit. So they decided to get married officially before the wedding day celebration in Joshua Tree. They eloped at the court house in San Diego celebrating with donuts on the beach after. This did not make the day in Joshua Tree any less special thought, from the dress, to the gathering of family, the beautiful vows and dinner.
The day before the elopement we met them at their epic Airbnb to scout it out as most of the day would be happening there, and for good reason. The home they had found to rent for the event was this beautiful old cabin and stable on the hillside in the desert. It had withstood many years and was full of character and space for the family and friends to really enjoy the evening with everyone. The day of the elopement we arrived to the Airbnb to capture them writing their vows and getting ready for the most special moment. Those quiet moments before joining up with everyone else reliving the words you have written for this very special person are everything! While getting ready, Duncan realized he had left his suit shirt back at their hime in San Diego, but they did not let this effect their day, instead with joy decided to wear a hawaiian shirt he had brought along. They shared a casual first look together in the house as they were all setting out and the joy, smiles and love was so evident. After everyone was ready to go we all hopped into our vans and cars to head to the park for the official ceremony. it was a short walk to the spot we had chosen with a joshua tree that had a perfect natural arch for a wedding. Friends carried benches for the family to sit on and soon we were there. One of Annelise’s friends played a sound bath to start the ceremony, followed by a beautiful poem written and spoken by Duncan’s grandmother. They shared their commitments to each other in front of the folks that mean the most to them followed by hugs and congratulations before heading back to the trail head. We took a few portraits of the newly weds at the iconic split rock and headed back to the airbnb for champagne and snacks.
Following toasts we headed out for sunset portraits with just these two and of course Wallace! We had to get portraits in their new van, Vannallise. This will be the second van they have built out for all of their epic adventures and camping trips together, I can only imagine how many awesome memories will take place in it throughout their marriage. After dancing around the Joshua Trees, we headed back towards the house for dinner with the family and grabbed a couple of cocktails that a family member was whipping up in the ole bar area of the home. They hired Chef V, a private chef local to Joshua Tree, to prepare the most delicious dinner with the most romantic desert setting I have ever been a part of. From a perfect salad, to mussels and yummy vegetables, it was fantastic. We are so lucky and thankful for our couples saving us a seat at the table to join the dinner. We loved getting to know their family more and hearing stories from their lives together so far. Before dinner ended they cut into a cake complete with a Toyata 4runner in true fashion for Duncan. After dinner, several of the folks headed out to bed, but some gathered around the camp fire in the courtyard of the Airbnb to enjoy their stay. We waiting until the milky ways appearance was over the hill and we hiked out for some the last shots of the evening under the stars. Quiet and beautiful, it was the perfect ending to a perfect day.
Before we dive into the eloping while pregnant guide, I want to share with you Alicia and Matt’s beautiful elopement day story that took place in Sedona this spring. Matt and Alicia had come to me looking to help plan their elopement. Their love story started out at one of Alicia's favorite bars in Detroit, after she had just moved to the city and was venturing out by herself for a Moscow Mule, which happened to be the same bar Matt was at with his sister at the time. When Alicia arrived, there were only a few people sitting at the bar and Matt says that right before Alicia got there, the bar was full, but then cleared out for her. Either way, shortly after sitting down, Matt attempted a pick-up line. An amoretto-7-up and a few Hop Slams later, Alicia and Matt couldn't stop talking and Matt couldn't stop winking. Matt and Alicia went on their first date the very next day at the Detroit Institute of Art. They were inseparable ever since. During the first month of their relationship, Matt had met most of Alicia's family. The next month, they went looking for houses together and ended up taking home a stray cat. It wasn't before too long that they were officially living together with 2 cats (Alicia brought home by surprise) and they moved to an apartment overlooking the water in Detroit. Meanwhile, Alicia and Matt would do fun things like go on motorcycle rides, hike Angels Landing, be avid goers of the theatre and comedy shows, tan in Jamaica, and much more. Eventually, right before Alicia started grad school, they moved to a green little suburb where they settled in a home with their sweet pup named Teddy. Alicia and Matt are now pregnant and are so overjoyed that they are able to share their love and life with someone else.
When it came to looking into eloping, they were interested in going this route because "We are both not ones for big parties, especially ones focused on us. We also wanted to do something sooner than later, with COVID and the baby on the way. We just felt like something more intimate feels more like us and what we value." So we planned a beautiful sunrise hike, headlamps at the ready, to get married on a plateau overlooking much of Sedona's beautiful red rocks. Before getting on way to hike, we did a first look at their bed and breakfast, with the moon still high in the sky, where they took a moment to soak in the approaching "I do". Alicia had hiked all the way up Doe Mountain, in her beautiful touch of pink ballgown dress all while pregnant. Once we reached the top, the sun was starting to peak, and they spent some time admiring the views and enjoyed a light hearted first dance together. As we had prepared for the ceremony, a birthday celebration group cheered them on and gave them many congratulations, the birthday girl signing as one of their witnesses for their marriage certificate. They had decided to self-solemnize on the rock ledge, for a beautiful and intimate vow exchange. After their ceremony, they sat down to enjoy a breakfast picnic, complete with a one tiered cake, and Alicia's favorite chocolates from back home, that actually moved to this area, Gayle's chocolates. It was a sweet surprise to find a small chocolate shop she used to work at, now local to where she had got married. Matt and Alicia had drank coffee from Matt's grandmothers cups, and the day before their elopement, they had saw a hummingbird and a butterfly and it reminded them both that their grandmothers were present with them throughout this experience. They were both so excited that their little one also got to be a part of their wedding day experience. They are so excited for this next big chapter of their lives.
What makes a great location for a pregnant bride to consider when planning their elopement is partly is this accessible? You don’t want to go on an intense off road adventure while pregnant and probably want to avoid extremely long or hard hikes. It may also be important to pick a location that is not too remote from a city with amenities depending how far along you are, not too far from a hospital. Here are some of the areas/location that I think offer a lot of options to our expecting brides:
Tip from the bride herself when it comes to an adventure elopement while pregnant:
“I would say my tip would be if you're hiking a mountain (or anything rigorous) do it between months 3-5. It’s now month 5 and my body is changing rapidly and I am much more sore and I can't tolerate heat so well. Some mommas have a rough trimester 1, so as long as they're up for it closer to month 3, go for it! Also, about the dress, make sure it is not tight or restrictive, and opt for an empire dress, or something that hits above the baby bump. Your boobs and belly and (most likely other parts too) will grow!”
If you are flying or road tripping to your elopement location consider packing these items: travel in something comfortable shoe wise and outfit wise, have luggage that can be easily wheeled over carried, letter from your doctor approving travel (3rd trimester), ginger chews, compression socks, healthy snacks, water, list of local doctors to where you will be traveling to, etc
If you have guests at your elopement tell them all in person of the exciting news!
2020 was…. a doozy to say the least. With that being said it was honestly one of the best years for me finding peace on the road, falling in love with my partner, learning to get out of my comfort zone and working with so many people that have truly touched me. I don’t say that lightly because I know this year was extremely devastating on many levels between losing people dear to them, working to the point of exhaustion on the front line of this virus, not seeing loved ones, bringing new life into the world alone and the list goes on and on for the year 2020. I ask you to look at the positives though as we go into the new year, and look back on this year and move forward as a community and as individuals.
This year I photographed 35+ elopement days, photographed in 5 states, captured over 5 proposals. To all of my 2020 couples, I admire you, respect you and thank you. This year was not an easy year to get married, but you all pushed through together and celebrated your love in beautiful ways despite the hurtles thrown at you every direction from the pandemic; travel restrictions, wild fires and more. I am forever thankful for ever single one of you who trusted me in helping you plan a wedding day that speaks to who you two are and to capture all of those little moments purely and creatively to look back on forever. Being an elopement photographer for me means a lot, but it means the most to be a part of something so special and helping couples start off their marriage in the best way to them.
Throughout this blog you will find the top 20 photos from 2020! Trying to narrow down the countless thousands of images from this year was so emotional for me reliving each elopement or session. I definitely shed some tears. It is an impossible task to narrow down the images like this. I become attached to specific images for many reasons like composition, memories, conversations, color, artistically, conversations in the moments and more. I couldn’t just share the top 20 so in the slide show below you will find my personal favorite images from each session this year, which even this felt SO hard to do lol.
With all of the big wedding blogs and websites (The knot, Harper's bazaar, Brides.com and more) naming the biggest trends for weddings in 2021, I wanted to put together something extra special for elopement couples. Currently all of the stats are showing there will be more elopements (hell yes!) and micro weddings to come in 2021. So this my friends, is the top Ideas and Trends for Elopements in 2021.
Well what do you know, elopements already fall into the category of a more sustainable wedding! Elopements naturally also create less waste because there are no guests or just a few! This also means fewer people are traveling to the event creating an even smaller footprint. The question here though is how will we see elopements become more sustainable in 2021?
In the elopement world, bouquets, flower crowns and flower decor are still used. For most elopement locations the couple can only use flowers local the the area due to Leave No Trace principals, this helps in sustainability because flowers are most likely not being shipped or flown in. There are still ways though that we could see flowers changing for 2021.
Wedding dresses and men’s attire may also be something that we see change due to sustainabilty. Brides may purchase used dresses more! Some great resources for that is:
Another option rather than buying used we may start to see more of is brides wearing their mother’s dresses, just as they are or with some modern touches added.
For grooms a more sustainable option would be wearing something they already have or continuing to rent tuxes rather than buy.
Fashion wise we may be seeing a lot more bridal capes, which I am not mad about. Veils can often times easily find their way out of your hair, especially on top of a mountain (I’ve literally scrambled down a cliff to retrieve one once) so capes can give you that dramatic flowy shots without loosing them! Etsy is also a great place to shop for a bridal cape.
There is also a huge projection that we will see more short wedding dresses! Which I am also not mad about lol. Shorter dresses will be great on the trail and for rock climbing brides.
Once again, elopements for the win! Really I forsee elopements just being the number one trend in 2021 for weddings. Elopements come in many different forms. Here at Adventure and Vow, we focus on adventure elopements so much of our weddings happen in National Parks, on BLM land or in National forest land. If this isn’t your style you can also consider an elopement in a downtown place, in a garden, or in a home or an Airbnb.
If elopements are basically already outside then what does this trend mean for elopements?
This is my personal opinion, but as an elopement photographer I see it as, if people are wanting to more their weddings outdoors, it’s because they are seeking peace and fresh air. I am sure part of this is also due to covid and not wanting folks to be so close to one another. So my thought is with elopements this will mean couples wont want to get married in mainstream elopement locations where several other couples may be saying I do or that have a lot of other tourist. I think folks are going to want to elope in quieter spots or harder to get to spots.
This also ties into another wedding trend that has been cast for 2021, mutli-day weddings will be more popular. This has been suggested because folks are ready to celebrate and party! They are ready to gather. A lot of couples getting married in 2021 have been waiting over a year past their original date so they want to really enjoy it and go all out. On top of the 2020 couples who postponed, you have so many people who havent seen each other in so long, or some people who haven’t traveled in so long really wanting to enjoy these moments!
So if the eloping couple is wanting to really enjoy it, and get further out to quieter less crowded places, I am think we will see more off-roading and back-packing elopements that will be full day or two day events. A mix of this could be more couples doing multi-day elopements where one day they spend by themselves deep off into a National Park and the second day really spending quality time with friends/family. Here are just a few elopement ideas for 2021 that offer seclusion and are fit for multi celebrations!
The top trend sites for travel like Forbes, Travel Leisure and more are predicting that beach weddings will be huge this year! Once travel is back open, I think people will be ready to go explore again and get back to their favorite places/countries or go to new ones! I think we could see a lot more big destination elopements once travel is more open. Could be beaches in the states or beaches in Thailand, Kenya, Greece, Iceland or anywhere! Here are some of the places that are creating a lot of buzz lately that make for dreamy elopement destinations, along with an Airbnb recommendation. People are defiantly looking for more experiences in 2021, so I have pulled an Airbnb for each location that offers an experience, great space to get ready in together, or come back to for a romantic evening.
Tulum, Mexico - This ticks all the boxes, beaches and an adorable town. There’s lots to do here if you’re looking for a stunning beach get away for a honeymoon and relaxing elopement.
Iceland - This Nordic wonder seems to be at the top of any travelers list and especially for folks wanting to have an adventure elopement. Iceland is full of wonder, peace and beauty perfect for an elopement.
Alaska, US - Alaska always reminds me of Iceland, but with more….. home of the biggest National Parks in the states, wildlife galore and glaciers never ending. Whether you want to go on some epic adventures or relax and unwind with beautiful views this is seeming like a hotspot.
New Zealand - This country has been gaining some interest over the years and for great reason, mountains and ocean. Stunning, relaxing views. Great place to elope and get away. Think Iceland, but SUNNY!
Wherever 2021 takes us, may the adventure have high stoke and the love be bound in deep connection. Keep scrolling for more from 2020 and a final note into the new year!
Favorite photo my second shooter captured this year ———>
<——- Favorite personal photo from this year <3
Back during lock down the trails in Sedona in the back country stayed open. Bill and I (and sometimes Indy) would go scout locations taking photos together on the tripod for what would become the huge pdf of the Best Places to Elope in Sedona guide. I chose this photo because its all three of us & easily has become my favorite place in Sedona.
This year one of my photos received honorable mention in the best of 2020 wedding photos by photobug/june bug, I was interviewed live with one my couples by Good Morning Arizona, was featured in my first podcast with the “Southern Girls View,” and was featured on many blogs like Aisle Memories, Diversity Weddings, Wandering Weddings and more. The most meaningful recognition to me are the words that come from my couples though. With over 30 of you leaving 5 star reviews on my google page I am speechless and so thankful for the connection with my couples. I also held my very first workshop for aspiring elopement photographers, Love on Earth Workshop, this year which was so incredible and I can not wait to announce next years workshop! This year was BIG, it was wild, scary, spontaneous, adventurous and changing to the core. I am looking forward to stepping into 2021. Stay tuned for a few big anouncements and changes coming in 2021, we are excited to always be learning, growing and being a part of your big day! <3
Well, look no further! I am an elopement photographer living the best life in a van! I am available for elopements in the Southwest, Pacific Northwest and Iceland. We have a 2021 travel schedule you can check out to see if we are in your dream elopement location at the time you want to elope, but feel free to inquire for your date and location even if it’s not on the list as we are always adding new locations and dates! Here at Adventure and Vow, I believe helping you create an elopement day experience that is true to who you two are as a couple, just imagine your best day ever together, no limits, restrictions or what you should be doing conversations. I believe in capturing this day authentically to who you are, creatively so you can have pure, beautiful images in your home. I will be with you every step of the way from on the trail to those initial stages of figuring out how to narrow down those options!
Starting in 2021 we will be offering officiating at no additional charge to all of our packages, a second photographer at all elopements and video services. Big things are coming in 2021 and we can’t wait for you to join the Adventure and Vow experience! <3
Have you ever wondered which of those magical beaches in Oregon would be the best one for your elopement!? Welp I am here to give you the complete low down! From the location, to planning, to the towns near by, adventure and more! Oregon is one those places that doesn’t seem real offering everything from forests, mountains, high desert, cliff side beaches, waterfalls and hot springs! When it comes to things to do along the Oregon coast for your adventure elopements you have all sorts of options like hiking, surfing, picnic on the beach, fire on the beach, horseback rides, search for sea life or fly a kite! The state is truly an elopement gold mind, but where are THE best spots?!
All of these locations will be the most beautiful at sunset! Although, if you want to avoid crowds consider a sunrise elopement or private vow reading. The best time of year is late spring to mid fall, but these are all locations that could be used year round too. Beaches can be busy on the weekends during the summer so consider a weekday elopement!
Do not be fooled by the fact that these beaches are not the easiest to get to, because they are the most dramatic in their cliffs creating unreal sunsets and more privacy than most of the beaches in the state. Some of the beach trails range from a half mile to over three miles so there is plenty of adventure along the coast here. Not to mention near by parks, gardens and trails through forest. Just about 15 minutes south of the beaches you have a Red Woods trail that goes through groves up to 800 years old! If you are coming in from California you can stop and see the Red Woods at the State Park as well. This location truly offers the best beach location for a full day elopement.
How do you get to it?
The closest town to these beautiful coast line is Brookings, Oregon. So if you are going to elope here you could fly into Portland, Bend or San Francisco. You will most definitely want to rent a car to be able to get to your destination and different parts of the shore.
Where to stay in Brookings, Oregon
The Wild Coast Lookout - This Airbnb is a modern look and a perfect nook for just the two of you. It comes complete with a hot tub, perfect for those 60 degree nights along the coast and for some steamy photos after your elopement day! The space has a lot of greenery, offering a great spot for a first look before you head out for your big day!
The cabin in the mountains - This beautiful cabin is sure to bring you relaxation prior to your elopement day, tucked back in the mountains! Offering two bedrooms, but 4 beds so if you plan to bring along any guests this would be a great spot to consider!
Beach front luxury - If you are looking for a place to stay for your wedding that has all of the bells and whistles this is it! The stay has beautiful bedrooms, perfect to get ready in, hot tub, a big deck with ocean views, a great kitchen and more! This place will also accommodate you two and a few guests!
Almost in the center of the state and probably the closest to many waterfalls is a beautiful surfer’s paradise perfect for an elopement! Here you can surf together on your big day or grab a beer right on the water. This beach is a great beach to have a little fire at the end of the night to roast marshmallows, have dinner or read letters from family! Not only can you explore this beach by foot, but also by horseback! Nearby there is opportunity for kayaking, going to the Tillamook factory for lunch or ice cream and or fishing!
How to get to Pacific City, Oregon?
The closest town is Pacific City to this beach. To get here the closest airport is Portland, Oregon. From there you will most likely want to rent a car. If you are driving in from the North or South I highly recommend driving the 101 or highway 1 all the way up the coast for some pretty epic views along your trip.
Where to stay for your elopement at Pacific City?
Ocean Front - This Airbnb is right on the ocean! Literally sand coming right up to the front door. Beautiful place with great views and a classic look.
Ocean Front perfect for Guests - This home is super spacious perfect for you and your guests if you have folks coming along with you. It is also dog friendly and has a hot tub!
Home on the River - This spot is a cute cabin right on the river with its own dock. The Airbnb offers kayaks if you want to venture out onto the water! This spot is perfect for just you two!
Cannon Beach is probably the most popular iconic spot along the Oregon coast and for good reason. The town is full of life, great coffee shops and the rock has lots of sea life around it. The state park in town, Ecola State Park, is a known spot by local surfers, but also hikers. The nearby town, Seaside, is typically a little less busy with great restaurants, swings on the beach and of course this is a perfect spot for a campfire along the shore. Whichever town you end up in this area is great for morning walks on the beach with coffee in hand to ending the evenings on the shores, both are relaxing places to be! What this area has to offer doesn’t stop there though, if crowds arent’ your thing there are plenty of other beautiful beach accesses just south of the town!
How do I get to Cannon beach?!
Cannon Beach and Seaside are both closest to Portland, Oregon’s airport. Although, if you are making your elopement be apart of a bigger trip, say you’re honey mooning after then I suggest flying into Portland and then out of Seattle so you can explore either Olympic National Park or Mt Rainier after! There is a bus that goes from the Portland area to Seaside so you may not want to rent a car, but note taxi service and Uber are very limited in this area.
Where to stay at Cannon Beach?
Whimsical Cottage - This cottage will give you all of the PNW vibes with the wood fire place, trees surrounding it and ocean views. This is tucked away and perfect for just you two to enjoy your elopement!
Dog Friendly perfect for Guests - This is right on the beach! Complete with hot tub, dog friendly and a deck for grilling and dining.
Mid-Centry Home - This home is in Seaside, OR with beautiful indoor and outdoor space to spend with just you two or you and your guests. It is a short walk to the beach and the local shops and restaurants.
Washington coast is much like Oregon, but moodier in my opinion. Washington is known for its mountain ranges, national parks, the big ole’ city of Seattle and coastal life of sailboats and islands. Washington coast elopement locations offer whale watching at certain times throughout the year, eagle watching, surfing, hiking and campfires along the coast.
The best time to elope on a beach in Washington is the Summer months to early Fall, but you can brave the rainy season if you wish! Sunset is the best time to elope at these locations, but again sunrise will offer less crowds and quiet vibes. These beaches are pretty vast so you can for sure find your own nook at them. It is important to plan ahead with your guests and photographer because many of these spots have limited cell range.
Olympic National Park is by far one of the best elopement locations in the United States in my opinion 🙂 I have recently written an entire blog about how, when and where to elopement, but this blog I will be focusing strictly on the beaches! The entire park has multiple epic beaches with dramatic rocks, forests and you guessed it moody vibes on your typical pnw day. Some beaches you park and you’re right there and others you have to hike in. You can backpack and camp on some of the beaches with a permit from parks.gov. Either way eloping here can be a full day adventure exploring the different beaches, hiking through the forest, surfing or watching eagles!
How do I get to Olympic National Park?
The closest airport is SeaTac in Seattle, from there you will need to rent a car. You can drive your car the whole way from the airport to the area or you can take your car on a ferry to Port Angeles and drive from there. Port Angeles is the closest bigger town, but inside of the park is Forks, WA (where they filmed a lot of Twilight).
Where to stay in Olympic?
Tiny Cabin - This cabin is closest to the La Push area so closest to Rialto beach and Third Beach. It is perfect if it is just you two and you want something cozy with a hot tub.
Secluded Oceanfront Cabin - This place is super cute with a great out door space and to get away from it all. There is a good spot to do a first look before heading out on your elopement day. It is located closest to Ruby Beach.
Stunning Home - This super cute little home with it’s modern look is located in Port Angeles, so the closest town. It is perfect for just you two or you and one other couple. It is near the shops, ferry and restaurants complete with a fireplace to cozy up to.
The islands are located in Northern Washington and offer a variety of things to do, places to see and adventure! You can find in my blogs a complete guide to eloping on the San Juan island with the town of Friday Harbor, but for this blog post I will be talking about all of the islands and what the offer, how to get to them and where to stay. Among the Islands you have the town Friday Harbor the largest town and island, then you have Orcas Island, Shaw, Lopez, Sucia and MORE! Orcas and San Juan are the most popular among tourist offering the most things to do, but the more secluded you get the more privacy and intimacy you can have for your day.
How do I get to the Islands?
To get to the main island, Friday Harbor area, or Orcas you can take a ferry from Anacortes, WA. To get to the ferry you can drive or bus from the SeaTac airport. To get to the other islands you will need to ferry from other ferries on the islands. Other options are boating or a sea plane! You want to make sure to make a reservation with the Washington Ferry system and make travel plans ahead of time.
Where do I stay on the Islands?
Ocean Front Cabin - This cabin right on the water faces West, aka all of the sunset! This is a perfect nook on Orcas island perfect for a romantic get away with just you two for your elopement!
Modern Stay with Guests - This home has a hot tube and pool table. With its three bed rooms it is perfect for you two or you and two other couples. The home is located on Orcas Island.
3 Cabins! - Located on Lopez island is this little gem with three separate cabins, yard space and a private beach entrance. Perfect way to stay with your guests, but also keep some privacy!
My soul was deeply captured by the magic at Olympic National park many years ago and set me on this path, becoming an elopement photographer. Since then I have deeply explored the Oregon coast and Washington coast scouting out elopement locations, capturing couples love stories and of course vacationing lol. I am your go to gal for helping you plan your epic adventure elopement day in the Pacific Northwest and capturing the moments of your love story to preserve forever. My partner/officiant spend our June - October in the Oregon and Washington area traveling all over in our van and we can not wait to connect with you two about your day!
Imagine a day filled with exploring, stillness, adventure, love and travel. A day that is literally the best day the two of you could come up with. A day spent doing what brings you two together the most. This is your elopement day. Sharon and Mason have traveled countless countries together and have been to many of the states. They soon plan to move to a different country for the ultimate life adventure together. They currently live in Phoenix, and what better way to celebrate their lives together here in the desert than exploring corners of the Southwest that are almost untouched and working together outdoors to get there.
These two met while Sharon was traveling for work in Texas. After starting a long distance relationship and traveling together, Mason eventually moved to Phoenix to be with Sharon. That did not stop these two from traveling though! They try to travel to a new country once or twice a month. One of their favorite places they have gone together is Bali because of all the coastal beauty there. Sharon grew up traveling with her family all over the United States which planted curiosity in her to see more of the world. Mason’s urge for travel really sparked after meeting Sharon and he loves all of the doors it has opened to new opportunity. For these two, there truly couldn’t be a better day spent together than traveling to new places they had not seen before right in their back yard of Arizona and Southern Utah.
Keep on scrollin’ for more on this amazing day <3
This elopement day lasted ALL day! You may be wondering how the heck you fill a whole day with your elopement, but typically a wedding lasts all day, right? I am excited to share with you this day of adventure filled with love and connection. Each location was hand selected for the couple based on video chats between the videographer, myself and the couple. We selected locations we knew we could fly a drone to create a video to truly tell their love story, locations that would give them the personal experience they wanted that did not have crowds of people, spots that they had never been to and places we could do this in one unforgettable day.
The day started just before dawn at what I call the VERY BEST camping spot in the Southwest. After many miles of an off road adventure you can have Lake Powell basically to yourself to camp right under the stars. As the couple got ready in different parts of the area it was so peaceful and still. They enjoyed a first look and admired the area as the sun came up. I think it is hard to find the right words to describe the feeling of this place. It is incredible, inspiring, romantic, peaceful and beautiful. It is a 10/10 way to start your elopement day. Camping here, having breakfast and coffee, waking up and writing your vows and taking in the sunrise, pure heaven. As Mason and Sharon had explored Lake Powell the day before jet skiing on the lake and seeing Horseshoe Bend; Mason said he thought Horseshoe Bend was one of the coolest things he had ever seen in the Southwest. As we left the campsite in our review mirror I asked him what he thought, did it top Horseshoe? He said it was right there with it if not better just for the experience the location offers.
Our next stop was a slot canyon in Southern Utah after driving down more dirt roads. It time for some adventure action hiking and maneuvering down the rock walls. Slot canyons always feel a little fun and romantic, especially if you manage to be the only ones there! They always remind me of being a kid again, filled with excitement to see whats around the corner. Slot canyons naturally make you feel close to each other giving the perfect amount of space to walk hand and hand through a canyon together. You could tell Sharon and Mason enjoyed the space playfully kissing each other, walking through the slots together and helping each other during the scramble sections. Keeping the fun going through the afternoon, on the way to the last location we made a pit stop to jump into Lake Powell to cool off a bit from the desert sun! It is always fun to get your toes in the sand and just unwind together. The water was perfect on the middle of this late spring day. It was super refreshing before getting back on the road to Sedona.
As we arrived to Sedona we prepared for the hike and climb ahead of us and Courtney, the elopement hair and make up guru, met with us to give Sharon a new look! We started the hike out going straight up the red rocks of Sedona as the sun began to set, stopping for breaks to take in the beauty around us. We got to the base where we needed to climb and where my partner had already prepped all of the ropes so we did not waste any of the light during sunset. This was their first time climbing and they were both stoked to try something new. The route is super easy and Mason opted to even solo it. It was so much fun to watch them encourage each other and have a whole new experience to get to this last epic place. As we all ascended to the top the bride and groom got changed into their wedding attire. We headed to the other side of the cliff for a jaw dropping 360 degree view of Sedona, that we had all to ourselves. With not another soul to be seen they shared beautiful words with each other to celebrate the future they have together and give respect to the time they have had in Arizona together. As the desert cooled down we all hiked down under the stars. One day, four locations, one climb, seven miles of hiking, many miles of off road driving, but an unforgettable, priceless experience. These were all places that Mason and Sharon had not seen before and I am certain they will never forget them and will always remember them with their love in mind.
While this elopement day had a ton of travel packed into it, planning a full day elopement can look like a lot of different things. They can involve picnics, camping, canoeing, a helicopter ride, a ceremony with family, a vow reading without ceremony, different locations, star photos and so many other things. Planning a full day really comes down to thinking about what would the best day of your lives look like together?? That’s what your wedding day is all about have the most you day as you become forever partners, connecting and deepening your love. This is the most important day of your lives together it deserves attention and celebration.
Video // John // Jocund Bliss
Photo // Traci // Adventure & Vow
Hair & Makeup // Courtney // Seventh Ave Beauty
Flowers // Nicole // The Wildflower AZ
Vow Books // Lauren // Lauren Yvonne Design
Ear Rings // Celeste // Sun + Rise
Wedding Dress // Alis Fashion Design // Bespoke Designer
Other Dress // Flutter Dress
Couple // Sharon + Mason
Other Items from Free People & REI
If you are looking for an elopement photographer that will hike miles with you, get in the water, climb up a rock all while carrying your flowers….I am your girl!
I truly believe that eloping is the most connective and authentic way to get married. I am here with you every step of the way to make sure you have a wedding day that reflects who you are as a couple. I am dedicated to finding the best locations to create the experience you want to have, connecting you with the right vendors to make your dreams come alive and capturing the day beautifully. I am endlessly scouting Sedona and Northern Arizona for the most beautiful places to get married and I can not wait to share them with you two <3
Check out the video that Jocundbliss put together from this elopement day!
Welcome my friends to the blog post all about Sedona Elopement Spots meant to leave you saying Holy Sh*t…… Living in Sedona I was set on finding the MOST dreamy elopement locations in town outside of the ones we all know about and see all the tourist hiking. Here at Adventure and Vow I believe your elopement day is sacred and if you want a spot that is just as rocks your socks off as much as the popular spots, but without the crowds, I was going to find it for you. And I did. You have no idea how excited I am about this! So let’s dive straight in!
Sedona has millions of tourist a year and for good reason, it is a stunning hiking mecca. These are the trails that are super well known on the internet that just so happen to also be epic for an elopement.
Most importantly if you are coming to Sedona to get married let’s talk about how to make it all legal! In the state of Arizona you need an officiant and two witnesses. If you are working with Adventure and Vow for your elopement we have you covered. We are a two person team and we are both ordained, so you can self-solemnize or have us perform your ceremony. Or we can count as a witness if you want to hire an officiant out, which we have recommendations for. Do not worry if you do not have guests coming to your elopement it is never hard to get some fellow hikers on the trial to sign as witnesses or folks back in town near where you are staying. To get your marriage license if you live in state you will can (currently due to Covid-19) get it mailed to you by ordering it online. If you live out of state you will need to make an appointment online to pick it up at any Arizona clerk office.
The top three elopement locations in Sedona based on location, light and their popularity are :
I call this THE classic Sedona hike. There is just something about this rock that is beautiful and draws people in from all over. The hike itself is straight up the rock and about two miles round trip. Cathedral rock offers amazing views, epic and easy places to get to for a ceremony with friends and family. The location is best at sunset, but can also be amazing at sunrise. It is one of those hikes everyone is happy on!
Another staple of Sedona. Probably the most shared photos of Sedona are those of the bridge or people on the bridge in general. The hike is longer than cathedral giving you more of an adventure through the red rocks, but if you have an off road vehicle you are in for a treat on this trail! The natural bridge is stunning itself, but the view is awesome! You can also take a trail under the bridge if you wanted. At the trailhead is a perfect spot for a ceremony with family and friends.
This spot is big! Yes, I mean big like spacious so it is great for a ceremony, but also big for all of the jeep tours in Sedona, hikers and folks with their own off road means. This place is so worthy of whatever journey you take to get there. Easily one of the best views at sunset in Sedona. Since the Jeep tours come here it means you can get to your elopement location without the hike and you get can bring anyone in the family along for the adventure!
First, what exactly makes an elopement location THE BEST?
This depends on you two as a couple. In my personal opinion as an elopement photographer, what makes a location the bomb are a few things: lighting, accessibility, the adventure to it creating the experience, the views and the privacy. When working with couples to help them select a location we go over what is important to them and narrow it down. After that it comes down to what spot feels the best to you, what spot do you want to get married at?!
The top three well known elopement locations listed above are truly amazing. They are ranked as the best of the best for good reason, but in my book they are not THE best in Sedona. These three spots are still places I recommend to my couples, but I do not think they are always good spots for the elopement experience. Like a lot of the other best locations in Sedona i.e. Slide Rock State Park, West Fork Trail, etc it is all about planning. Avoiding Sedona for your elopement mid May - mid September is smart if you want privacy on any trail. Sedona can also get into the triple digits in the summer so you do not really want to hike a long distance in that heat! If you can, avoid the weekend, because honestly Sedona is a small town with limited trail parking. If you can not avoid the weekend, for sure try to have a sunrise elopement! So what do I consider the best of the best?!
There are so many trails with epic views equivalent to the popular spots that rarely have anyone on them, and those to me offer the best elopement experience! Imagine eloping in a place that is stunning, tucked away in the red rocks and makes you feel like the only two people in the world? I have put together a 54 page guide to ALL of the very best elopement locations in Sedona!!! The guide goes through in detail the trails distance, difficulty, how long it will take, trail traffic, parking, bathrooms at the trial head or not, location and what time of day is best to elope there! The guide has many photos of the locations, couples at the locations and links to further galleries from previous couples elopements at these spots. The locations range from areas with water, family friendly, in Oak Creek, in caves, amazing vistas, areas you have to off road to and even some spots you have to rock climb to! The majority of the trails take 4-8 hours to complete including the time for the elopement and portraits. At the end of the guide you will even find locations that are near Sedona that offer incredible elopement options as well and all of my recommendations on places to stay, food, drink, camp and coffee as a local of the town!
Check out a sample of one of the locations in the guide!
Now you are asking, how do I see this guide??? By booking with me of course! This guide will only be available to couples eloping with Adventure and Vow.
I truly believe in the magic of a location, what type of feeling and the experience it can give you on your elopement day. I also believe that location knowledge is what really sets apart a lot of elopement photographers. Sedona still leaves me in awe even after living there. It’s stunning and surreal. I am dedicated to this place as much as I am dedicated to your day, your experience and telling your love story authentically.
You may be wondering why I am not sharing more of the locations here on the blog with you all! As an adventure elopement photographer and an avid hiker I do my best to follow Leave No Trace Principals. Due to the amount of tourism Sedona receives, social media attention and some of these locations not being on main trails I feel it is best not to disclose them publicly.
Looking for more information while planning your Sedona elopement? Check out this blog post on the top places to stay while you are in two and places that will accommodate groups of guest!
As your adventure elopement photographer I am always super stoked to bring ideas to you for your elopement day! Adventure elopements do not always have to involve a hike, they could involve a plane! Arizona is spectacular with Sedona and Northern Arizona being prime locations for couples to tie the knot, but they are also prime locations for tourists. Most of my couples that elope say the number one thing when they consider a location is privacy. By using a flight service to get to a location it couldn’t get more private. I am super excited to introduce to you some local Sedona vendors for your elopement day, show you this beautiful shoot with Tim and Ashley and tell you more about your elopement options here in Arizona and in Alaska using AlaskZona and Fly Denali Inc!
" role="presentation">Ashley and Tim are based out of Scottsdale, Arizona which is also home of the AlaskZona flight company! These two had a more traditional wedding a few years ago, but were super stoked to get dressed up again for this adventure. They are always in the desert and beyond exploring together. Their most recent adventure being remodeling their new home together. Ashley’s off road adventures in her Tacoma and travel photos have inspired me for a while on Instagram and I was stoked to work with her and her husband to bring this alive for all of you. Their day for the shoot was much like what your day could be like for your elopement. They got ready in Scottsdale and headed North to Sedona to meet at the Airport. If you wanted to though you could take the plane from Scottsdale to Sedona for your elopement. We took a few portraits along the Airport Mesa Trail for some of those red rock desert vibes before heading into the pines. We met, Eric, the pilot at the airport for a brief introduction and then flew East to Rim Country. The flight was incredible over the red rocks to over the untouched Arizona canyons with snowy pines. You could even see Humphreys in the distance! It was an amazing snowy night the evening before in the desert so we landed in fresh snow. There was not another soul around for miles. These two were able to play in the snow, dance around, share moments together and warm back up in the plane. Our flight back landed us at the airport just in time for a beautiful Sedona sunset. These two headed back to Scottsdale soon after to get home to their pups. While if you were eloping you could enjoy a dinner at the restaurant in the Sedona airport, which I hear good things about! Or you could dine at any of the other amazing local spots. If you didn’t have to go back into Phoenix you could stay in town (check out the top places to stay on this blog post) and explore the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell or Flagstaff over the following days.
Sedona Elopement Vendors and Beyond:
One of the best florist for your elopement right here in West Sedona off of the 89A. Working with Martha is smooth and she has beautiful floral designs to go perfectly with the red rocks.
If you are looking for unique beautiful jewelry that wont over power your elopement day look and supports local Sedona artist then you want to check out Eirthie. Danielle makes hand crafted ear rings, necklaces and bracelets fit for any bride eloping in the Northern Arizona desert.
The wedding dress Ashley wore was designed by Reclamation, which you may have seen some of my other brides wearing! While this designer, Trista, is not based in Arizona she creates one of a kind dresses specific for you. Her dresses are always so easy to move in too, giving you lots of freedom for your adventure elopement.
AlaskZona is the flight company that took us from Sedona to Rim Country. The experience was amazing! Their flights go out of Sedona or Scottsdale. You can take tours or you can take flights and land elsewhere. Other landing locations in Arizona include Sunrise Park Resort (a ski resort), Pleasant Valley near Young, Arizona, the high country desert in Southwest Arizona near Wickenburg and Yuma and to any other Airport in the state. Flights are available in Arizona from late October to April 15th. The plane that we used in this shoot can hold four passengers, giving you two room the photographer and one other person which could be an officiant. In 2021 there will be an additional plane available that will hold more passengers if needed. Flying AlaskZona here in Arizona is great for an anniversary session, an elopement or a proposal! As the pilot said during our flight on the shoot, there is so much of Arizona people will never see from the ground. He is so right! The experience is romantic, exciting and the privacy it offers is incredible.
Totally feeling the idea of flying in to your elopement location, but not in the desert?! The same pilot also flies in Alaska for part of the year! You can take this idea to the complete next level and elope in Denali National Park on a glacier. Flights are available with Fly Denali May 15th through September 30th each year. They are based in Healy which is 15 minutes from the National Park and can land within the park on glaciers, outside of any of the wilderness areas, in some of the Alaska BLM and state land range. They could also fly you to a stay at the Wood River Lodge where you could elope and stay for your honey moon. It is remote and has stunning views all over. They can also taxi you from Fairbanks or Anchorage airport to transport you easily and you would not need to rent a car.
While I am an elopement photographer much of my job entails getting to know you two and helping you plan the most epic wedding day to tell your love story! If you are interested in eloping and flying to your location either in Arizona or Alaska or somewhere totally different reach out! I am here to help you figure out the location logistics of how, when and where! Never let planning stop you from have the most connective and you wedding day! (Also, shout out to Ashley for taking this picture of me and Eric during our flight!)
Rialto Beach is a very special place along the Pacific Northwest coast in the Olympic National Park, especially for an elopement. I met up with Hilary and Alejandro at the cutest tent Airbnb in Forks, which is just a few miles from the beach to get ready. The two are quite the duo! Alejandro moved to the Pacific Northwest from the South and eventually ended up meeting Hilary, a Seattle local, at a neighborhood dive bar. In the past several years of them dating they have shared many memories and adventures. Spending birthdays adventuring in places like Crater Lake National Park and along the Oregon coast, taking day trips to Canada and more! With these two you bet the hiking boots can always be found in the trunk of the car and laughter will be in the air. Alejandro may look like Noah from the Notebook, but sounds just like Matthew McConaughey and may remind you of him if you would’ve been there to witness him running along the coast drinking Keystone’s. Hilary is graceful, sweet and her whole face and smile lights up in the presence of him. She is ready for adventure and listening to her recall winter sport memories will bring you right along for the ride.
If you are looking to elope in the Pacific Northwest and some place like a rain forest, snowy mountain top, lake views or a beach sounds appealing to you look no further than Olympic National Park. This National Park has it all and is a perfect spot for a four hour elopement or a two day elopement! Rialto Beach brings some sort of peace and feels like quite a fairy tale place especially on a day where you can catch a stunning sunset. Olympic National Park has several dreamy beaches for you to consider eloping on though, giving you options for days. Other than the beach you can elope along the many rivers, waterfalls or under the magical HOH rain forest. Rain forest and unreal beaches not your thing?? Do not worry hop to the peak of Hurricane Ridge for amazing views and hang out with the friendliest deer ever. When snow is still gracing the pines it is quite a treat. I have always struggled to find the words for how I feel about Olympic National Park, but it really is such a magical place and as an elopement location it is mind blowing-ly beautiful and serene.
Read below for more National Park Elopement Locations!
In the last couple of weeks I have told you all about some epic elopement locations at State Parks and on Forest Service or BLM land. So you may be wondering why I have been telling you about all of these amazing places to elope over National Parks. Here is the thing, National Parks are grand, but they are also extremely popular destinations for hikers, climbers, families and elopements!! I fully support eloping in National Parks and encourage folks to elope there, but I also encourage couples to broaden their options and consider other epic places so locations do not get too much traffic. The best way to explain this is to tell you about one of the problems that Leave No Trace Behind strives solve, crowded parks. Consider Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. This place blew up on Instagram and in the last few years it is always super crowded, new parking lots are beening built, a bus system and railings have also been put into place. Rather than visiting a scared place it almost feels as if you are visiting a theme park. Yosemite is beyond amazing and the views will leave you feeling small and in wonder of the world. Taft Point has become an extremely popular elopement location and that is amazing! At the same time, there is a huge chance you may not be the only couple there eloping anymore when you arrive and the park is going to be closing down Taft Point and Glacier point for some time next year to build more parking! So here I am to say (again!) when choosing an elopement location, pick a place that feels special to you, your relationship and not based on trending locations on social media.
Of course, there are tons of other options for National Parks to elope at here in the states and outside of it! I am sticking to the advice I always give my couples and telling you of those that I feel the most draw to. No matter what if you are eloping in a National Park do your research, practice Leave No Trace Principals and contact the park’s rangers to pull proper permits, know your restrictions and be prepared.
So I am a total sucker for a florist that is ethical in their practices. Look no further if you are looking for a florist in Washington that does right by mother nature. She has DIY options as well and grows her own flowers! Check her work out here.
Joey is a badass hair and make up artist based in Washington. She will drive any distance to make you look like the most beautiful version of yourself. She is a delight to work with and professional! If you need a HMUA for your elopement day check out her work here.
Check out this boho chic Airbnb here.
When you think of Mt. Baker you may think of Washington winter sports, but it is also one of the most beautiful elopement locations in the state! Mount Baker is a part of the Forest Service Land which is, you guessed it, another great resource for searching out your own elopement location. The wilderness area of Mt. Baker surrounds the North Cascades National Park and sits on over 100,000 acres. You are bound to find your own slice of privacy if you choose to elope here. Besides privacy you will find thirteen glaciers and be surrounded by the fourth tallest peak in Washington. If you are looking for adventure on your wedding day, this mountain, or volcano really, will not disappoint! The forest offers great camp sites, beautiful lakes, beautiful pacific northwest waterfalls, winter sport activities, views beyond belief, and miles of epic trails. If you are looking for an elopement location that will stop you in your tracks and take the breath out of your lungs, you’re looking at it, folks. This place will make you feel so on top of the world and connected to your surroundings, which makes it a perfect spot to read your vows to your lover. Samantha, the beautiful lady in these pictures with her man Asa, kept saying “fairies must live up here” due to its insane beauty. Asa and Samantha have hiked these mountains for some time now. One of their dates early on in their relationship was on this mountain. Pro tip: Do not eat sushi on a date and then hike a mountain 🙂
Keep on scrolling for more information and elopement locations within Forest Service and BLM land. If you would like to scope out more information on Mount Baker check out the Forest Service website or epic adventure tips for this area on The Outbound’s website. Pro tip from the photographer/adventurer: I always search out the park or forest service land’s website first for any closure, permit or other important information when planning an elopement or heading out for adventure. Then my go-to is typically The Outbound for any advice from previous folks who have explored the area!
First off, what exactly is Forest Service land or BLM land??? The Forest Service land covers 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands, which encompass 193 million acres and is protected by the Department of Agriculture. BLM land covers 247.3 million acres and is managed by a branch of the goverment known as the Department of Interior. It is extremely important to practice Leave No Trace Behind Principals while visiting or eloping on these public lands. The great thing about eloping in these areas are often times they tend to be less crowded than National Parks and sometimes the State Parks, but can be equally as stunning landscapes and experiences for your elopement day. Since these public lands tend to be less built out and managed, you are more likely to be able to bring your pup-a-roos along on your elopement day. In most cases it is cheaper, if not free, to visit these areas. Just like an elopement within the National Parks, it is important to contact a ranger to make sure you do not need to apply for a permit and to get information on any other restrictions on where you can hold a ceremony if you are having guest along as well.
Just like last week’s blog post where I told you about some pretty magical State Park elopement locations, I could go on for days about all the specific locations you could consider. The advice I always give when it comes to planning your elopement and selecting a location is: stay true to yourself as a couple and communicate with your photographer. I hope this blog post was helpful or inspiring to you, feel free to reach out if you have any questions!See State Park Elopement Locations!