An Epic Elopement Hike on Beehive Trail and an Intimate Ceremony With Loved Ones

An Epic Elopement Hike on Beehive Trail and an Intimate Ceremony With Loved Ones

Gina and Doug planned a wedding adventure like no other. Their day included a morning elopement hike on Beehive Trail, one of the most challenging hikes in America, and an emotional ceremony with their friends and family after. This wedding adventure at Acadia National Park is one for the books and features tons of inspiration for couples who want the best of both worlds.

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About This Elopement Hike on Beehive Trail

Bridget tells us everything Gina and Doug did on their wedding day was extremely intentional and specific to their relationship, and it definitely shows in the photos she captured.

“Gina and Doug woke up before the sun to hike Beehive Trail in Acadia National Park (on the most dangerous hikes in American list due to the iron rungs you climb to get to the top). They decided to do the hike in their wedding attire and Gina even created an apron-like contraption in order to climb the rungs in her dress. They made it to the summit just in time for sunrise and found a private area overlooking the ocean and surrounding islands to share a picnic of chia tea and granola. After their breakfast, they headed down a different trail, explored the nearby beach, and headed to Jordan Pond where they ended their morning.

We met back up at their rental house outside of Acadia for a pre-ceremony champagne pop with their guests before heading down to Otter Cliffs for their ceremony. They chose a stunning private cliff to have their ceremony right at sunset, with a view of Beehive summit right behind them! Their ceremony was extremely emotional. Each of their guests shared letters and poems they brought for Gina and Doug and cried with them as they read their vows to each other.” [Bridget, the photographer]

Planning an Elopement Adventure at Beehive Trail

This elopement took place in Acadia National Park, but more specifically on Beehive Trail. Beehive Trail is coined one of the most challenging hikes in America due to the ladder-like rungs that are used to scale the face of the mountain. Bridget tells us this means a lot of park visitors are usually waiting in line to hike, depending on the time.

Bridget’s biggest tips for eloping on Beehive Trail in Acadia are:

  1.  Start early! The earlier you start the trail the less likely you are to have to share the trail with other visitors. Gina and Doug started hiking just before sunrise and were the only ones that morning climbing. When we got to the summit there were a few people there (who had taken a different trail to the top) but we were still able to snag a private spot at the top.
  2. If the weather is bad, choose an alternative. The metal rungs can be very slippery when wet so the park advises against climbing the trail if there is any chance of bad weather. The last thing you want is to hurt yourself on your wedding day.
  3. If you plan to hike in your wedding attire and are wearing a dress, buy/make a dress holder like Gina did! Gina created an apron-like dress holder that allowed her to lift up the skirt of her dress and tie it around her waist. This allowed her full range of motion and the ability to use both her arms while climbing.

If you’re thinking about eloping somewhere in Acadia, then you need to team up with an elopement photographer who knows the hidden gems. Bridget can’t recommend an experienced vendor more for this national park since it is smaller, and you want to ensure the best spots and the right time to avoid crowds.

The Couple’s Reason to Elope

So why would a couple decide to elope versus plan a traditional wedding? According to this couple, lots of reasons!

“I (Gina) have never wanted a formal wedding. It would be anxiety-inducing for me to do something as intimate as exchanging vows in front of so many people, and I’ve just always loved the idea of getting married quietly and in a beautiful location. Doug took a bit of convincing because all he’d ever imagined was a traditional wedding, but he quickly got on board with the idea of an elopement-style wedding with just immediate family present. He really wanted to be able to celebrate with friends and family, so we also threw a party a few days after we got married for about 50 extended family members and friends, which was so fun and low stress!” [The couple]

Check out our guide on planning your post-elopement celebration.

Including Family and Friends During Your Adventure

Besides planning an epic post-elopement party, these two invited a handful of loved ones to witness their ceremony together. They had each of them write letters they read during the ceremony. Bridget tells us it was one of the most emotional ceremonies she has witnessed. Everyone was crying at some point or another and she had to stop and dry her eyes more than once because it was getting too blurry to see!

“Including guests on your elopement day can be extremely meaningful and exciting. Gina and Doug invited their closest friends and family to join them during their ceremony. If other couples want to do the same, it’s important to keep your guests’ activity level in mind. Gina and Doug chose a very adventurous spot for the morning of their elopement, which they went to alone, and a more accessible spot in the evening so their guests could join them. The spot they chose for their ceremony was a short walk from a parking lot and down a relatively gradual trail to ensure all of their guests could make it there safely and stress-free!” [Bridget, the photographer]

Memorable Moments During This Elopement

From the Couple:

“There were two major highlights in our minds: Hiking/climbing Beehive at sunrise – we were the first on the trail and got to the climbing part just as the sun started coming up over the horizon. It was so gorgeous and peaceful and was just the best start to our wedding day! It felt like we had the park to ourselves and could just soak in the joyousness of the day! And of course, our ceremony. We’re so happy that we included our families – they ended up sharing poems and stories and just the sweetest words that made our ceremony more beautiful and emotional than we could’ve imagined! We feel so lucky to have such incredible memories of our wedding day and the most gorgeous photos to look back on!”

From the Photographer:

“Obviously the ceremony for sure. The energy during their ceremony was full of love and even as an ‘outsider’, I was able to see how much everyone cared for each other just in the few hours I was with them all…The sunrise hike was also one of the books! It just was the four of us for the entire hike up which made it so peaceful and allowed us to truly soak in the stillness of the park. As we climbed higher and higher the sunrise got better and better and we made it to the summit just in time to catch the best parts and relax.”

Advice From The Couple

“You should do whatever you want for your wedding – don’t let tradition dictate your day! We essentially had the best of all types of weddings and weren’t ‘wedded’ to making it fit into any particular definition! We got the intimate elopement experience by planning the morning of our wedding day for just the two of us – climbing the Beehive in our wedding attire at sunrise and exploring Sand Beach and Jordan Pond. The early morning hiking gave us the secluded and private experience we wanted.

Then we were able to self-officiate our ceremony (Bridget signed our marriage certificate to make it official!) with our immediate family there with us at sunset on Otter Cliff. Our family members shared stories and read poems during our ceremony, making it all the more special. And finally, we were able to celebrate at our reception a few days later with friends and extended family at Sols Cliff House overlooking Frenchman’s Bay. Every bit of it was so special and perfect!” [The Couple]



Photography | Bridget Stephenson Photography
Venue | Acadia National Park
Rental Property | Sols Cliff House 
Florals | Fern and Sunpalm
Catering | August Moon Catering 
Dress | Galeta by Willowby
Earrings | Mline Jewels 
Vow Books | Ox and Pine 

Photos From This Elopement Adventure in Acadia

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