A couple holds hands running on the beach together as birds fly by.

Summer Elopement with Family at Lake Crescent

Rylan and Claire love traveling to different national parks together and exploring the outdoors. They even got engaged during a hiking trip to Zion National Park! When it came to planning a wedding they knew they wanted to be outdoors and somewhere beautiful with diverse landscapes. They love to hike, camp, kayak, drink coffee, spending time with family and check out different breweries – which was a perfect fit for Washington and even more specifically for the Olympic National Park area.

These two Texans drove to Washington state for their elopement celebration with their parents and siblings. It is always wonderful when the elopement becomes a whole trip, time for everyone to enjoy. The day before their elopement we met up with them at a coffee shop to meet over crepes. They told us their day plans of exploring the mountain and going to their “reception” location. We decided to go with them to scout the perfect spot on the beach for a picnic.

The bride gives her mom and the grooms mom a gift as they share a laugh together.

On the morning of the elopement they got ready separately with their loved ones. With it being such a smaller group it was nice to see everyone spending quality time together as they prepped for the day, without having to rush through the experience. The florist came to Claire’s Airbnb to prep all of the gorgeous florals for the day while Claire got ready with her mom and sisters. Rylan got ready in a separate Airbnb with his parents.

Once ready, we traveled to a waterfall for the first look. Rylan was most excited about seeing Claire for the first time in her dress for the elopement day. It was all smiles and laughter when they finally saw each other for the first time, their connection was apparent right away. Claire looked amazing in her dress. Getting to share their first look privately tucked away in the forest by a waterfall was so surreal and special, like they had their own little private nook in the park to just soak it all in. They shared their personal vows with each other with just the sound of the waterfall around them recalling their story that has lead them to this day together from meeting on a mission to road trips and visiting endless REIs together. Sharing their unique promises for the life they will build together throughout their marriage. It was a beautiful moment together in nature to kick of their day together.

Then we were off to the ceremony on the lake shores of Lake Crescent. Rylan, fell quite sick as the day went on and we changed the plans for the day. He was for sure going to marry Claire this day though no matter what though. The original plan was to elope on the shore of the lake. Instead we moved the arch and flowers to a meadow closer to the parking lot and held the ceremony! It was so beautiful with the tall green grass, giant evergreens and their family surrounding them. I think it also ended up being a bit more private. They signed the paperwork in their duo camp chair with their parents as witnesses, making it official! That was it for the day with how Rylan was feeling, we all agreed it was best for him to get some rest and relaxation. The rest of the day was supposed to be on the beach for sunset by a picnic. We decided to chat in the morning about the game plan to see if we could continue their celebration!

Luckily by the late evening after some naps and light food he was feeling much better! We planned a back up option that would be similar to their original plan. We met at sunrise at a local rocky beach side backed up by the mountains. We hiked out and explored the coast, looking for starfish and crabs as the sun came up through the coastal trees. It was an absolutely stunning morning, and we practically had the whole place to ourselves. They made morning coffee to share and take it all in and we even popped a bottle of champagne before heading back to the lake shores!

Their family had help them set up a beautiful picnic set up with florals, plate settings, pillows to sit on, candles and snacks with the stunning mountains and crystal clear blue water as their backdrop. They got to cut their cake and start the celebration with their families enjoying the place, some champagne, conversation and food together on a perfect sunny warm PNW day. Everyone even opted for a quick dip into the lake as the day warmed up. It was a perfect way to end their elopement – laughter, relaxing, quality time somewhere stunning.

The groom dips the bride for a kiss as the sun rises behind them through the beach trees.

While their elopement may not have gone as planned, it truly shows the beauty of elopements. We always say elopements are just like marriage, you never know what’s going to happen in life, it’s about being a team and navigating together for the best, sweetest outcome. Elopements keep you free of being tied to an event space, a plated dinner with timed events and tons of people to interact with. Giving you the freedom to do what you want and make it what you wish. The important thing is that the core values to their elopement day still happened. They got to share their love and explore this area together at such a special time together with those they love the most! They put so many special details into their elopement from the gifts Claire gave her mom and Rylan’s mom, to Rylan carrying the pack on the beach with them that he carried on the day of their engagement in Zion National Park and being with those they love the most sharing a new national park with them. It was truly so beautiful in every way, filled with so much love, compassion and joy and fun!

I think it is important to remember that you elopement is based on experience. You can plan your dream experience. The key is to enjoy the experience you have no matter what, immerse yourself into. I love so much that Claire and Rylan not only had their elopement day as an experience, but time with the family before and after the elopement. They also had planned for their road trip home to travel to many other National Parks in Canada, Montana, and more as they traveled back south to Texas. The entire thing was magical and I am sure a lifetime adventure they will never forget.

The groom and bride cross a river flowing on the beach shore.