Kelsy and Lenny crossed the country to exchange vows amongst Washington’s iconic trees. “They are huge fans of hiking and outdoor adventures,” photographer Ellen Synenko shares. “It was such a blessing to be a part of their intimate elopement… I [have] always wanted to work with a couple who is ready to explore, doesn’t mind the weather, and [is] ready for everything.” Undeterred by Mother Nature, the bride and groom shared a first look on the docks and said “I do” in the pouring rain. “The ceremony was short and sweet, [and] after that, we hiked to Marymere Falls,” Ellen says. “I didn’t try to pose them [and] let them be themselves… I tried to present them as part of this beautiful world.”
Soaked to the bone and numb from the cold, the newlyweds felt nothing but pure bliss, and these images make it easy to see why – this Pacific Northwest elopement is a dream!
Photography by Ariena Photography
CHOOSING AN ADVENTURE ELOPEMENT:
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“I always knew I didn’t want a big, traditional wedding. We had been contemplating getting married on a boat with a few friends and family but ultimately felt like even that was too elaborate. When the opportunity to visit Olympic National Park came up, we threw the other plans out and decided to just elope. The outdoor setting, the national park, and the WAY cheaper options were just more us.”
[Kelsy, The Bride]
CHOOSING AN ELOPEMENT LOCATION:
“I had a work trip to Washington and [used] that as a jumping off point for some national park adventures, something we try to do as often as possible. Soon enough, adventure planning became elopement planning. We simply fit the wedding into our hiking and travel plans for the week. We chose the specific location due to its proximity to the Lake Crescent Lodge, where we had decided to stay on our wedding night… It was nice to have a little bit of a more luxurious place… while still being in the national park – that was really important to me.”
PLANNING AN ADVENTURE ELOPEMENT:
“The planning process was really easy! We put a lot more work into our hiking plans for the week. Budget was one of our biggest concerns, so that really helped rule out a lot of the extras that can take so much planning time. I talked to two photographers and chose Ellen based [upon] her photos, flexibility, and cost. There was one available officiant in our price range, so that was an easy decision. We wore hiking boots, I did my own hair and makeup, [and] I found an inexpensive dress and did the tailoring myself. I picked up a $20 bouquet in Seattle and harvested a few ferns from the forest for greenery. I’m really glad we didn’t spring for any extras on our ‘getting ready plan,’ because it rained so much, everything was soaked [and] filthy within minutes!”
THE ADVENTURE ELOPEMENT EXPERIENCE:
“There were no nerves, no pressure, no expectations – it felt right… My favorite part was walking out of the woods with my new husband. We were soaking wet, cold, and just so happy… It probably isn’t for everyone. My husband would have been happy to have a big ceremony with his huge family. I’m grateful he was willing to scale way back and do something just for us, [although] I do think we missed having family and friends [there]. We did what we could to incorporate them [such as] Facetime calls while getting ready, a planned ‘toast time,’ [and bringing] sentimental items with us. Our family also surprised us with champagne and cake, which made us feel like they were there in spirit. Those things really helped… because it really made it more special and gave some of the traditional aspects of a wedding.
Beyond that, I’d say do it. Save yourself the stress, work, money, and go for something that will let you enjoy your new partner and the beautiful Earth you are going to be sharing together.”