Eloping is a fantastic way to get hitched; it’s intimate, unique, and will definitely be a day you remember forever! And what better place to elope than in the shadow of one of America’s most stunning natural wonders – Mount Rainier? Hiking to the top of this beautiful mountain is the perfect way to start your married life together, and there are plenty of breath-taking spots along the way to exchange your vows. Just make sure you bring a camera to capture the moment; after all, not everyone can say they got married with an active volcano as their witnesses! So if you’re looking for an adventure and want to start your marriage off on an unforgettable note, consider eloping at Mount Rainier National Park.
From the Photographer: Beth and Andrew’s elopement day was absolutely magical. We started the day bright and early where I met them at their Airbnb in Packwood at 3:00 in the morning. Beth was downstairs, finishing getting her hair and makeup done and looked absolutely beautiful, while Andrew was upstairs drinking coffee and getting ready for the day ahead. I took some getting ready and detail photos as they got ready, anxious and excited for the day ahead. They had just arrived in from Texas the day or so before and were super stoked to see Mount Rainier and explore the park for their wedding day.
They wanted to have a first look, so I had fashioned a makeshift barrier in my car with a sheet and safety pins that Anne (the HMUA) dubbed the “chastity curtain” lol. We hopped in the car and started making our way up the mountain highway in the dark to a lake for their first look. When we arrived at the lake, Andrew and Beth had the sweetest first look in front of a lake with an incredible reflection of Mount Rainier. They were so happy to see each other all dressed up in their wedding clothes and excited for the adventure ahead. After watching the beginning of the sunrise, we then headed over to the trailhead to begin our hike!
We arrived just in time to witness alpenglow, a spectacular phenomenon where the mountains glow a reddish-orange hue (basically nature’s fireworks) and walked through a field of beargrass in the fog that was reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. We made our way to a spectacular lookout point when the sun started peeking over the ridge, when they set up a blanket and had a toast of tequila in their Mr & Mrs cups while enjoying the view! We then continued onward to our destination, as Beth’s dress got a glorious mud ombre appearance to it (which she couldn’t have been happier about) and we finally arrived at a turquoise blue, alpine lake surrounded by granite mountain peaks and greenery.
They sat and enjoyed the view and each other’s company (and drank more tequila!) until it was time to hike back so we could meet their families at their second location to hike to their ceremony spot. We drove to our next spot in Mount Rainier National Park, met their closest loved ones they had invited and started making our way to where they were going to say their vows, spotting lots of various wildflowers (and marmots!) throughout the way.
Their ceremony and vows were so heartfelt and incredibly romantic, everyone was laughing and feeling emotional right along with them. They also decided to perform a wine box unity ceremony before officially saying “I do” and sharing their first kiss as a married couple! We then took some family photos and explored the area a bit more before heading back to their Airbnb for a BBQ celebration where they cooked delicious food, ate cake, popped sparkling water, and had a wonderful time.
Beth and Andrew were such a fun couple who were so obviously in love with one another. They clearly have a strong foundation in their relationship and it showed in every minute of their elopement day- they are 100% meant to be together and their wedding was perfect.
How did you meet?
Beth and Andrew both moved to Dallas (separately) in early 2018. Both trying to find their way and meet new people, they met each other like most modern millennial couples – online. Busy schedules got in the way and they ended up chatting for 2 weeks without meeting each other in person. When they finally met, they had a long list of sushi restaurants and to-do’s they had already been developing.
Their first date was at Deep Sushi, a restaurant in Deep Ellum – the hipster district of Dallas. Sharing conversations over sushi, lychee martinis and old fashions quickly became a favorite past-time. Tradition started when they went to Dallas’ annual festival “Bastille on Bishop.” Neither one had a connection to celebrating Bastille day before, but strolling through vendor booths, watching acrobats, listening to live music, and tasting food & wine led the couple to call it “official” by the end of the night – and Bastille Day became more than France’s independence day.
What is your proposal story?
Having been quarantined for some time due to the Pandemic, Andrew and Beth spoke more frequently about their future plans together and where their lives may take them. They both agreed to first buy a house, and to hold off on any engagement or wedding plans until well after they were settled in their new home – toward the end of 2021. Andrew, however, had plans of his own. He decided that sooner was better than later. Knowing how intelligent and detailed Beth is, to give her a true surprise proposal, he would have to deviate from that agreed timeline.
Exhausted from the move, Andrew booked a couple’s massage, as luck would have it, at Beth’s favorite spa in the city. Beth feeling pampered and fully relaxed after the massage; Andrew had other things on his mind. Amongst the light aroma of lavender and eucalyptus, Andrew dropped to one knee. Confusion, followed by astonishment, and a tear-filled joy swept across Beth’s face. She will tell you her mind went blank – whatever Andrew was saying surely was romantic. She could hear and feel nothing but shock and joy, as she said yes, and Andrew slipped on the ring.
Tell us about your attire choices.
Beth paired a comfortable flowy dress with maroon hiking boots. The dress was a little boho, a little class, and perfect for hiking. Her shoes matched the color scheme of her flowers which were a combination of blue, maroon, and natural stems.
Andrew wore a grey 3-piece sui, custom-made with lining to match the flowers.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
One of our favorite moments was when Kathleen walked us through a connection exercise. She’s way more than just a photographer! Among the beautiful mountain peaks, she had us pause from exploring and connect as a couple. She reminded us to focus on why we were there – for each other, and reasons deeper than great views and gorgeous pictures. Our adventure became personal, witnessed only by the mountains and Kathleen. We knew then, that our adventure may have been on a path many traveled before, but it was and always will be unique to us.
Another great part of the day was the time we spend with family at our cabin later in the day. It was very casual – just grilling will immediate family. Our family bonded way more than they would have at a traditional wedding. It was a true union of the 2 “sides.”
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Plan your wedding for YOU, and no one else. Never lose sight of what you want. The best decision we made was to make sure we celebrated our marriage the way WE wanted to. We had to have tough conversations around why we chose an adventure wedding instead of a traditional one, but now we have a memory of a day we always dreamed of.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for other couples planning a mountain wedding?
We like to do things differently! We wanted an adventure – a full day of exploring, experiences, views and connection. We also don’t like being in the spot light so having a day full of getting ready, coordinating wedding parties, dances, all eyes on us, just isn’t who we are. We chose to make it our story – and it’s unlike anyone else’s!
Our biggest piece of advice would be to make sure you select and photographer you can connect with. Kathleen became a friend instead of a business partner and we were happy to share such a special day with her.