How to Plan a Wedding Last Minute Based on This Colchuck Lake Elopement in WA

How to Plan a Wedding Last Minute Based on This Colchuck Lake Elopement in WA

We all know one of the most dreaded things to deal with on your wedding day is last-minute changes. Couples who plan adventure weddings are all too familiar with making sure they have a plan A, B, C, and even D when it comes to their wedding day. Joe and Amanda had to reschedule their elopement 3 times before settling on their epic Colchuck Lake elopement. Their story is the perfect one to help others when wondering how to plan a wedding last minute.

Ready to start planning your elopement? Use our directory to search for your perfect wedding vendors

Dealing With Last Minute Wedding Changes

The pandemic has made more couples familiar with last-minute wedding planning. For Amanda and Joe, however, they were forced to reschedule only 6 days before their wedding day the third time around.

“Wildfires broke out where they had already planned to have their ceremony and host their families, so everything, literally everything, had to be rescheduled in less than a week’s time. From the locations, to the Airbnb, to the caterer and rentals… Everything was planned in just a few short days.” [Emily, the photographer]

Throughout all of this, the couple stayed calm, despite it being their 4th attempt at planning a wedding. They tell us, “It may seem like all of this was thrown together last minute, but we believe in something called ‘Trip Magic’. When you set out with an intention, but no formal plans, and magically everything turns out just wonderful.”

Planning an Adventure Wedding in Less Than a Week

Despite the last-minute changes, Emily shares her top tips when planning a Colchuck Lake elopement in WA. She tells us to make sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and hiking poles for the epic Aasgard Pass. 

“Start early. The area is very popular with hikers so if you’re looking for solitude, a true alpine start is a must for sunrise. You do need to obtain a day-use permit to day hike in the Enchantments. Their ceremony location was in a Washington State Park and a permit is needed for that as well.” [Emily, the photographer]

Check out more epic places to elope in Washington.

About This Elopement

Amanda and Joe tell us they always hoped for a small and intimate wedding in the mountains. However, they ended up starting to plan a bigger wedding to incorporate more friends and family. Then 2020 came and instead of continuing to wait, they decided to downsize and elope!

“Our day started at 12:30 am at the trailhead for a 12-mile roundtrip hike to get to an incredible view for sunrise, and didn’t end until midnight drinking whiskey and eating s’mores back at their Airbnb. I told them they could write a book called ‘How to Plan an Elopement in Less Than One Week’.” [Emily the photographer]

Overcoming Obstacles During Last Minute Wedding Planning

The couple originally planned on eloping in North Cascades National Park, with a reception in Rolling Huts following their ceremony at Diablo Lake. However, the week of their wedding, a wildfire broke out just 8 miles from the venue. Their plans were uprooted and they had to decide on a location within 72 hours. The smoke was their biggest barrier, they told us. However, they made it happen.

The biggest tip they have is to tackle each obstacle one by one. Once they did that, things started to fall into place.

“Our priority was always planning our first look in the mountains, and we did a great job checking that box. However when it came to scouting a location for the actual wedding ceremony… we kind of dropped the ball. After finishing that 12-mile hike we were exhausted, the chefs were almost ready with dinner and we still hadn’t officially tied the knot.

We made a call to the ranger station at Wenatchee state park and asked if we could have a quick ceremony on the lake, in about 20 minutes. And graciously, they agreed! (As long as we paid for parking)…We set up our chairs and one of our closest friends performed our ceremony with our immediate family in attendance.” [the couple]

Teaming up with an experienced vendor sometimes makes all the difference for some couples. Check out our elopement directory to search for vendors in your area.

Memorable Moments During This Colchuck Lake Elopement in WA

From their hiking boots to the delicious s’mores they had for dessert, this elopement is one for the books. Emily, the photographer, tells us Amanda and Joe are glass-full kinds of people, and there was zero complaining about one of the hardest hikes she’s done as a photographer.

Photographer’s Favorite Moment:

“These two quite literally planned an entirely new wedding day (ceremony site, caterer, everything) in less than a week. It ended up being absolutely beautiful and incredible.

They found a little grove in the trees beside the lake that was private and intimate, it felt like we were the only ones around for miles. The way the sun poured in through the canopy above, their heartfelt vows, the tears, to be able to see everything come together for them so beautifully was very, very special.”

Couple’s favorite moment:

“Our first look hike on Aasgard pass. We were changing on opposite sides of a giant granite Boulder as the sun was rising. We were filled with excitement and butterflies after hiking overnight beneath the stars. I think the greatest part of choosing to elope was that we truly had a full wedding day with a jam packed 24 hours as opposed to the typical 4-5 hours of a traditional wedding.” [The couple]

Check out these 25 elopement ideas to inspire you to elope. 

Maintaining a Positive Attitude During Last Minute Changes

The best thing we can learn from Joe and Amanda is how to remain calm and positive when something doesn’t go right on your wedding day. “No matter what is thrown at you on your wedding day, if you’re positive and have your love by your side, you can do anything.”

“Shout out to Emily Klarer who was an everlasting source of optimism and excitement. She was so supportive throughout all of our changes and was down with all of our wild spontaneity. I don’t know many photographers who could or would hike 12 miles, with 5k ft of elevation gain, carrying all of their equipment without any sleep… and still be yipping with excitement all day long. We are lucky to have her as a friend and to have been such an important piece of our day.” [The Couple]

Are you ready to plan something more intimate and personal? Check out our how to elope guide.


Photography | Emily Klarer Photography

Hair | Revive Salon

Makeup | Makeup by Jessica Ruiz

Amanda’s Dress | BHLDN

Amanda’s Boots | Kodiak Boots

Joe’s Suit |Indochino

Joe’s Boots | Danner Boots

Caterer | Salt and Honey Cooking

More Photos From This Colchuck Lake Elopement in WA