This 2-day Hurricane Ridge elopement weekend in Olympic National Park was jam-packed with adventure and lots of laughter! Originally from Illinois, Paul and Jessica love spending their vacation time hiking and adventuring to different parts of the U.S. As they planned their wedding, the couple stayed true to their main goal – to have a celebration in the mountains surrounded by their closest family and friends.
Why Elopement Backup Plans Are So Important
Paul and Jessica had initially planned their wedding for a location in the Methow Valley near Central Washington. Just months before their elopement, wildfires, and smoke took over the area and closed their original location. Within a few weeks, they made a major pivot and decided to elope in Olympic National Park. As an adventure elopement photographer in the Olympic Peninsula, I always recommend having a backup plan for your elopement as things can often change unexpectedly and it’s always best to be prepared.
Paul and Jessica’s Full-Day Hurricane Ridge Hiking Elopement
For their ceremony location, we found a beautiful lookout at Hurricane Ridge! One of the reasons I love this spot for elopements is because it is easily accessible and can accommodate guests. After the ceremony and picnic lunch with their guests, Paul, Jessica and I traveled to Lake Crescent for couple’s photos. We finished off the day with a sunset hike back up at Hurricane Ridge for more wedding portrait photos.
This sunset hike was truly one of the highlights of Paul and Jessica’s day. The weather was absolutely perfect with no wind or clouds. On the way up we spotted several deer who even joined us for a few photos on the trail. As the sun started to drop behind the mountains, Paul and Jessica enjoyed a champagne toast and first dance together. They had the whole place to themselves and it was an incredibly special moment. As the sun dropped below the rugged mountains, highlighting the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Canada in the distance, the light continued to get more and more beautiful. There are not many places where you can view the ocean and mountains all in one location, so it was a really special experience.
The elopement day ended with stargazing into the clear September sky. These photos were something I knew that Paul and Jessica really wanted but I had told them that star photos are not always possible as they are totally dependent on the weather conditions. As luck would have it, we were able to time it perfectly before the moon started rising and we grabbed a few shots with the Milky Way in the background. We finished hiking down in the dark with our headlamps and took the short drive back to town tired and happy.
How Paul & Jessica Eloped with Family & Celebrated Their Wedding
On day two of their elopement weekend, the couple focused on the celebration with their friends and family. Almost 100% of their guests were from out of town so Paul and Jessica wanted to have one central location where the whole group could stay. They rented a large Airbnb in Port Angeles which ended up being the perfect place for their day-after wedding celebration! That afternoon they held a casual BBQ dinner at their Airbnb on the bluffs complete with firepit s’mores afterward. The weather was absolutely perfect, showcasing the beauty of the surrounding area and giving these out-of-town folks an incredible experience. It was a really casual and lovely celebration and you could tell the couple was just feeling the love from everyone around them.
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