Written by our rad team member, Jessica Dastous
Stunning Mount Rainier Elopement
A fall Mount Rainier elopement can truly be unpredictable due to the seasons shifting. When Maggie and Billy postponed their elopement day from February to October, I gave them all the possible weather scenarios that could occur due to the change in seasons. As luck would have it, we didn’t need to use any of our back up plans because Mother Nature pulled out all the stops to make sure these two had one of the most stunning autumn days. Keep reading to learn how to plan your very own Mount Rainier elopement, what essentials you need for your best day ever, and all the inspo to get you dreaming for your epic mountain adventure!
Meet the couple of this stunning Mount Rainier Elopement
Meet Maggie and Billy, the couple of this absolutely breathtaking fall Mount Rainier elopement. From the beginning, Maggie and Billy wanted to include two important aspects into their National Park elopement: family and hiking. Originally, Maggie and Billy had planned to have a winter wedding at Mt Rainier in February, but due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, they decided to postpone their best day ever to October. Fall months like October can be a hit or miss with weather due to the changing seasons, but as luck would have it Maggie and Billy had the most beautiful fall day at Mount Rainier!
Maggie and Billy started their Mount Rainier wedding day off at this amazing GIANT cabin in Ashford, which is just outside of one of the entrances to the national park. Maggie and Billy stayed in this incredible cabin with their entire family and got ready for their best day ever (for recommendations on where to stay, click here!). From there we did their first look before heading out to the first trail where they would have their ceremony. Maggie and Billy chose to have their elopement ceremony in the heart of the national park surrounded by their family and Mount Rainier towering overhead. Something really special Maggie and Billy chose to incorporate into their Mount Rainier elopement day was recognizing and acknowledging the Native land, the tribe that owns the land, the Native name for Mount Rainier and even included some of the Native traditions into their ceremony. So instead of saying Mount Rainier, Maggie and Billy would use the native name, Mount Tahoma, throughout their entire elopement day.
After Maggie and Billy’s Mt. Rainier elopement ceremony, we headed to a picnic area where we celebrated these two! We enjoyed delicious food with their family and friends before heading off to the second trail for a sunset hike (my absolute favorite!!). Maggie and Billy truly had one of THE MOST beautiful sunsets I have ever witnessed at Mount Rainier (keep scrolling to see what I mean!). We ended their national park elopement hiking down by headlamp with the stars putting on quite a show for us. (Looking for more on how to elopement at Mount Rainier? Click Here! Or maybe you are hoping to elope at a different national park?! Don’t you worry, I’ve got you covered! Click here for my entire National Park Elopement Guide!).
Three essentials for every Mount Rainier elopement
Leave No Trace Mentality
To have a Mount Rainier elopement, you must purchase a permit from the national park. With adventure weddings and elopements gaining in popularity, it is essential for preservation and sustainability that you get a permit for your national park elopement. Permits are really easy to apply for and cost around $60 at Mount Rainier. To apply for your ceremony permit you can head here! You will also need to purchase a pass to get into the National Park. There are two options for passes, you can either purchase a day pass or a national park annual pass that gives you unlimited access to the park. To purchase one of those passes click here and scroll down to the fees and passes section!
Mount Rainier makes its own weather, so it tends to have many different microclimates all around the national park. With this, weather can move extremely fast shifting from sunny, cloudy, to rainy in minutes. It is so important no matter what time of year you are planning your Mount Rainier elopement to have a backup plan for at least rain, smoke and road closures (trust me, I plan for all of these and more with each and everyone of my elopement couples!). These situations can happen often since you are in the mountains. By having backup plans in place prior to your best day ever, it is just one less thing to worry about on your day. So instead of stressing about rain, you can can easily pivot to a pre-planned backup adventure! Lastly, it is also so important to have an elopement photographer that is experienced in this national park to help you craft the perfect backup plans for your big day (hint, hint I know a gal who would be perfect!).
Wanting inspo for what a rainy elopement day looks like?! Click below to get inspired and for more tips and tricks on how to embrace all types of weather on your day!
A Leave No Trace Mentality
One of the things Mount Rainier is known for specifically in the summer and fall months are the stunning wildflowers. The wildflowers are beautiful and come in a wide range of colors (I mean like hundreds of colors, it’s truly magical!). You may feel inclined to walk through these gorgeous meadows and pick the wildflowers, but these beauties are extremely delicate. It is SO important that you understand you have to stay on the trails when having your Mount Rainier wedding. By staying on the trails you are helping to preserve this beautiful land and are practicing a Leave No Trace Mentality. You are also helping to maintain the ecosystem these wildflowers provide to all the other plants and animals that live at Mount Rainier. If you leave the trail and stomp on these precious wildflowers, you can actually kill them and it may take years and years to grow back. I cannot stress this enough, make sure no matter what you do, stay on the trails and Leave No Trace. An experienced photographer should be able to frame your photos in a way so it looks as though you are in the wildflowers, but both you and the photographer are safely on the trail. To learn more about Leave No Trace and how to have your own Leave No Trace elopement, click here!
Mount Rainier Elopement Inspo in all types of weather
If you are totally swooning over Maggie and Billy’s national park elopement like I am, then you’ll want to be sure to check out these other Mount Rainier elopements. You’ll get to see what the national park looks like in the different seasons and what types of weather you may experience on your elopement day! Keep reading for some inspo on planning your best day ever!
Mount Rainier Elopement Packages
When choosing to have a Mount Rainier elopement, I highly recommend two elopement packages for my couples – sunrise to sunset and the two-day elopement. Sunrise to sunset is one of my most popular elopement packages booked by my couples and there is a huge reason for this. When booking a sunrise to sunset elopement, you are going to have golden hour and blue hour at BOTH sunrise and sunset! This means you are going to get the best light on your day (twice!!) and get to experience multiple locations. As I’ve said earlier in this blog, Mount Rainier has micro climates, making weather patterns extremely unpredictable. If it is clear at sunrise and cloudy at sunset or vice versa, you will have Mount Rainier in part of your photos during your day, while also getting those beautiful moody PNW photos (truly the best of both worlds!). Choosing a sunrise to sunset elopement package allows for a higher opportunity to see Mount Rainier and all Her beauty.
The other package I recommend to my couples is the two-day elopement package. This is the package I typically recommend when couples have family and friends with them on their National Park elopement day. The reason being is on the first day you can have your elopement and celebrate with friends and family without the distractions of timelines and taking photos! You’ll have the chance to spend the full day with your family, while I capture your day from start to finish. The next day, you and your partner will have the opportunity to go on a long hike with me. You’ll get into your wedding attire, exchange private vows and reflect in one of the most beautiful places on Earth! The two-day package allows you to spend quality time with your guests and also have an epic adventure with your partner. To learn more about my elopement packages, click here!
Meet your Mount Rainier Elopement Photographer
I feel most at home outdoors, so it is no surprise that is where I gravitate towards as a Mount Rainier elopement photographer. In college, I was known as the “granola girl” because my outfits were always fit to go to class or hiking (not that I ever skipped class to go to the mountains, lol). From my days of exploring the hills of the Ozark Mountains, I am now hiking mountain trails across the Pacific Northwest, exploring the bases of waterfalls in Kauai and experiencing as many mountain top views in Washington as possible. I am passionate about this job of mine and adventuring to the most beautiful locations to document Mount Rainier elopements with the best couples. I’m a Pacific Northwest-based elopement photographer who knows the state of Washington, the national parks, forests, state parks, and other Mount Rainier elopement locations well. Basically, I’m dying for a reason to head back to the mountains, and I’d love for your adventure to be the reason! Click here to learn more about me, your Mount Rainier elopement photographer!
Ready to explore more elopements, weddings and adventures? Wander away below!
Between the Pine is an adventure elopement and wedding photography brand created by Mollie Adams. Based in the Pacific Northwest, Mollie travels with her camera in hand to document “I dos” in epic landscapes including Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii.