Long story short, we wished we had eloped.
Back when we got engaged in 2016, we didn’t even know that eloping was even a thing, let alone know how to plan an entire out of state elopement ourselves. All we knew is that we wanted to get married to each other in a beautiful place without a whole lot of stress. Don’t get us wrong, there was so much of our wedding day that did feel like “us”, but there was also so much of it that didn’t really represent us and our love. There were some moments of our day that still give us chills to this day- those moments of privacy as we explored the forest in Olympic National Park, newly husband and wife. The quiet moments at sunset when we escaped for a bit and watched the sunlight disappear behind the moments. Those are the moments that we wished would have lasted longer on our day.
This is a story of how I wish we eloped back in 2017, knowing what I know now as an elopement photographer and guide that has been lucky enough to go on over 75 elopement adventures over the past 3 years. I’m going to chat specifically about what we would have changed, as well as a timeline of what we wished our wedding day would have looked like if we eloped. I hope that this encourages you to dream up an elopement experience that fits you, and to pursue it. Don’t let anyone tell you what your wedding day should or should not look like. You deserve to have that day that feels so much like you and your love. Remember- I support you and will be here to cheer you on.
All photography credit goes to Olivia Markle 🙂
When Chad and I sat down to talk about how we wished we had eloped back in 2017, we both agree that there were some aspects of our wedding day that we would’ve kept the same, and others that we would definitely change. One of the aspects we would keep the same is our location- Olympic National Park in Washington. This national park is truly such an adventure, and feels absolutely magical every time we go. There is beautiful water, huge old growth forests, epic mountain views, and so much more. Olympic is the perfect place for all adventurers, and there’s no doubt that we’d get married there all over again!
One of the major things that we would change is where we stayed when we got married. Looking back, it would have been so fun and incredible to get a huge private house right on Lake Crescent for our immediate families to stay at for a few days. This would have saved a lot of stress, a lot of money, and it would have fostered so many memories with our families. Imagining the days leading up to our elopement just hanging out by the lake, finding nearby trails to explore, instead of worrying so much about table settings and other material things, would have been so incredible.
Another major element that I would have changed about our day was drastically reducing our guest list. Our wedding wasn’t big by any means (50 people!), but for two introverts like us, it felt like a lot. It can be so hard to reduce a guest list when you love everyone, but at the end of the day, we would have kept our list to only our immediate families and a few very close friends. We had done a reception back home before our wedding so we would’ve done the same thing so we could celebrate with all of our loved ones, just on a different day.
Here is a timeline of what our dream elopement experience would have looked like:
- Morning: Wake up, have brunch with each other and all of our immediate family at the lakehouse. No rushing, no worrying about all of the decorations, just quality time.
- Chad and I would go on a short hike in the morning to just spend alone time before getting ready for the day. We’d exchange gifts and letters and help each other be grounded before the day.
- We would have a very casual, short ceremony in the backyard of the lake house, right on Lake Crescent, in the morning.
- After the ceremony we would go off for our private adventure session with just the two of us and our elopement photographer and videographer (and our pup Harry of course!).
- We would go to Hurricane Ridge, explore the forests, and find a private waterfall on our adventure session for most of the day. We’d do a little picnic for lunch, have some of our favorite craft beer and ciders, and just relax and take in the beautiful surroundings.
- At some point doing our adventure session we would exchange our vows to each other- We really wish we would have done this on our wedding day! We are both really private people and this would have been so special to just share to ourselves.
- We’d share our first dance right by a waterfall, dancing to our favorite song with the sounds of nature intermixed.
- After our adventure session, we would go back to the lake house for a casual reception with our families. We’d have dinner prepared by a private chef, sit by the campfire and hang out with our family, and dance late into the night. Oh yeah and I would have actually had time to eat some s’mores and cake, haha!
I really hope that this can encourage you to not be afraid to elope- I know how intimidating it can be to do something different, but I promise you it’s so worth it! You’re allowed to ditch the stress and fluff of a big wedding and have a day that represents you. If you need a personal cheerleader and someone who can help you along every step of planning your elopement day, I’m here to help.
Contact us here to start dreaming up your elopement experience- so you don’t have any regrets like we had.