What is a mountain elopement?

April 1, 2022

What does eloping in the mountains look like?

Getting married on a mountain is an experience unlike any other.

Picture this: A slow morning getting ready at your cabin by the river with your absolute favorite people. Follow that with a meandering drive to your ceremony site through ‘can you believe this is real?!’ scenery. Park your car and get ready to walk to your elopement ceremony site. Excited butterflies and nervous laughs abound as your boots slowly make their way up the dusty trail. Finally, you’ve arrived, you’re at your breathtaking and unique elopement ceremony location. Close your eyes and imagine reading your wedding vows to each other in the shadow of a stunning mountain, surrounded by evergreen trees and wildflowers.

You can have a mountain elopement just like this!

Mountain Elopement Definition

What is a mountain elopement? And is it the right choice for you?

Put simply, a mountain elopement is a small wedding that takes place in the mountains. Most mountain elopements consist of six people or less – the couple, an officiant, two witnesses, and the photographer. Some mountain elopements involve a short hike to a ceremony site and some take place at easily accessible viewpoints.

A mountain elopement is the right choice for you if:

– You feel comfortable in the outdoors

– You want a small private wedding

– You want a one-of-a-kind experience

– You want epic mountain wedding photos

Mountain elopements are incredibly unique wedding days. They’re deeply personal adventures in low-stress environments.

A Timeline for Cascade Mountains Wedding

Timelines for mountain elopements can vary widely due to different factors. Weather, time of year, drive times, specific locations, etc. Because of these reasons, the example timeline below won’t work for every single mountain elopement day. But it is a good starting point and it happens to be my favorite timeline for Mount Rainier elopements in the summertime. For more detailed timeline information, read this blog.

  • Noon: Photographer arrives at your mountain cabin.
  • 1pm: Getting ready photos and elopement detail photos.  
  • 2pm: First look and photos around the cabin.
  • 3pm: Head to your elopement ceremony location.
  • 4pm: Arrive at ceremony location parking.
    Take a short walk to the perfect spot.
  • 430pm: Ceremony.
  • 5pm: Now is a great time to have a picnic and relax for a while.
  • 630pm: Head to sunset hike and photo location.
  • 7pm: Sunset photos surrounded by stunning mountain landscapes.
    Now is a special time to read private vows if you choose to.
  • 830pm: Photography coverage wraps up.
    Hike back to our cars and part ways.
  • 9pm: Drive back to your cabin under the stars.
  • Reminisce about the best day ever.

The Best Mountain Top Elopement Locations

Are you dreaming of a mountain top elopement but thinking ‘okay, but where?!’. Well you’re in luck, here are my top twenty places to get married in the mountains!

  1. Mount Rainier, Washington State
  2. North Cascades, Washington State
  3. Mount Hood, Oregon
  4. Mt St Helens, Washington State
  5. Hurricane Ridge, Washington State
  6. Artist Point, Washington State
  7. Mount Shasta, California 
  8. Olympic National Park, Washington
  9. Denali National Park, Alaska
  10. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
  11. Glacier National Park, Montana
  12. Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
  13. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
  14. Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina
  15. The Adirondacks, New York
  16. Three Sisters, Oregon
  17. Sawtooth Range, Idaho
  18. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  19. Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, Hawaii
  20. San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Eloping Ideas

Do you need some ideas for different aspects of your day? I’ve witnessed and captured countless mountain top elopement days. Each one is special and unique, but there are certainly similar components that go into each day. Ceremony elements, activities to do, how and what to pack? I gotchu!

Elopement Ceremony Ideas

One of the best things about elopements is that your ceremony can be as traditional or non-traditional as you want it to be. Put simply, you should do whatever the two of you want for your ceremony. But here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Read handwritten vows
  2. Unity ceremony 
  3. Ring warming ceremony
  4. Exchange rings
  5. Handfasting ceremony
  6. Read letters from friends and family
  7. Cultural and/or Religious Ceremony
  8. First kiss
  9. First dance
  10. Yell out ‘WE JUST GOT MARRIED!!’ like these two did! ↓

Activities To Do When You Elope In The Mountains

Another awesome thing about getting married on a mountain is that you can throw out that traditional wedding timeline and do whatever the heck makes your heart sing AND makes you feel the most connected with your partner! Want to hike or backpack? You can! Want to kayak in an alpine lake at sunset? Let’s do it! Feel like having an epic charcuterie picnic? Hell yeah, we can make that happen!

Check out this fun blog for 10 activities to do on your mountain elopement day!

Eloping In The Mountains: What To Pack

You’ve heard of The Ten Essentials for hiking and camping? But have you heard of The Ten Essentials for eloping in the mountains? Oh, you haven’t? No worries, I got you covered! Check out this informative article on the essentials you’ll need for your elopement day.

I’ve also put together a free packing checklist for my mountain eloping folks! Download below! ↓

Full-Day Elopement Packing Checklist

Mountain Elopement Vendors

Let me tell you, luckily for you there is absolutely no shortage of mountain wedding vendors. But this can make choosing difficult. My #1 tip for choosing your vendors is to choose folks you feel comfortable around.

You will spend a significant amount of time communicating and planning with your vendors. You’ll also spend time with them on your elopement day, arguably one of the most intimate and important days of your life. Make sure you love their style AND you vibe with their personality and approach.

For reference, I’m a very chill, laid-back vendor – and my clients are often this way as well. I like to add a calm presence to my clients’ days. Some vendors are high-energy and loud. Maybe that’s what you’re looking for and that’s totally okay! You just won’t find that in me because I’m a quiet and calm personality.

I’ve put together a list of my favorite mountain wedding vendors. Planners, florists, officiants, and more! Reach out here to receive my vendor guide. All of the vendors listed on my guide are vetted by me. They are professional, have similar approaches as I do, and they have mountain elopement packages.

A final note on vendors -I ALWAYS help my couples plan, book, and dream up their very best mountain wedding day. I highly recommend booking me as your first vendor so you can take advantage of my planning and expertise in this area!

That Brings Us To Mountain Elopement Packages

Dreaming up your perfect mountain wedding day will help you choose the elopement package that’s right for you. And whatever that ends up being, I’ll be there to capture it all, in an authentic and artistic way.

Now’s the time to start dreaming about your mountain top wedding! Does spending time in nature sound like the best day ever? Do quietly shared vows at sunset come to mind? Do you think about being surrounded by your very closest friends and family? Where will you get ready? An a-frame in the mountains? Will you hike or picnic? Will you end the night dancing under twinkle lights? Or soaking in a hot tub?

Check out my mountain elopement packages here. And don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re dreaming up something unique and need a custom quote.

Are you feeling excited about your mountain elopement now?

Well folks, that was A LOT of information thrown your way. I hope it left you feeling ready and excited to start planning your very own mountain wedding!

If you’re on the search for more info about mountain elopements, check out these resources below!

How to Elope in Washington State: 10 Steps to Follow

How Much Does It Cost to Elope? 

Cara + Zach’s Mount Rainier Adventure Elopement

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