Written by our rad team member, Amanda Winther
Sunrise elopement at mount rainier
Although I’m not usually a morning person, nothing gets me out of bed faster than a sunrise elopement. And this sunrise elopement at Mount Rainier was definitely worth getting up before the sun! In this blog post, I’m sharing everything you need to know to plan your dream sunrise elopement. From things to keep in mind about sunrise elopements, to packing must-haves, this blog will have you ready to jump out of bed before the sun comes up for your own sunrise adventure elopement in the mountains.
Meet the couple of this sunrise elopement at Mount Rainier
I met Nikki and Jarrett, the couple featured in these stunning sunrise elopement photos, over a year ago and even had the pleasure of working with them on their engagement photos. When we were planning their day, they both mentioned how much they absolutely love to fly fish… and that the best time to do that is first thing in the morning as the sun is heating up the river. On our call, Nikki and Jarrett had this awesome idea for their elopement day: let’s wake up early, have our sunrise elopement, then go fly fishing. So that’s exactly what we did!
Planning an epic sunrise elopement usually requires flexibility, and this was definitely no exception. We had originally planned to include a short hike in Nikki and Jarrett’s day, but the week of their elopement Jarrett ruptured his achilles, so we switched our location to a more accessible one. (It seriously brings me so much joy to help my couples find the location that works best for them. If you’re looking for accessible elopement locations, check out this blog post with my top ADA accessible elopement locations). The good news is that it looked like we might be rewarded with better weather at the new location, and hopefully even views of Mt Rainier, if we were lucky! (Getting that incredible sunrise or sunset show from Mt Rainier is not guaranteed. In 2012, a mountaineer and researcher recorded a timelapse of his view of Mount Rainier from Seattle every single day and only saw clear views on 83 days of the year, or on average once every 4-5 days. How wild is that?!)
When we met in the parking lot bright and early for their sunrise elopement, we were completely clouded in. But then, during their first look we got our own first glimpse of Rainier, and the alpenglow painted her a perfect pink. She literally appeared out of nowhere. And, it was the most epic thing! After the first look, the day just kept getting better. Nikki and Jarrett had their ceremony and exchanged vows surrounded by a small group of friends and family. After the ceremony, they had picnic with breakfast sandwiches and coffee from their favorite bakery (um..yes please!). And then, after breakfast it was time to fish. Nikki, Jarrett and I headed out to the river, and guess what?! Nikki even caught a fish! It was the best day with such a cool couple! And if someone who doesn’t call herself a morning person says that about a sunrise elopement, it really must be the best day!
Three things to keep in mind for a sunrise elopement
Want to plan your own sunrise elopement? Here are three things to keep in mind:
Sticking to the timeline is key
Be sure to build in a midday nap on your elopement day
Plan a post sunrise ceremony activity
First, it’s especially important to stick to the timeline for a sunrise elopement. This means you’ll need to get up and go before the sun rises to capture that perfect shot. The sun isn’t going to wait for you, for me, for anyone. Once it’s risen, it’s risen! If you’re thinking of a sunrise elopement, you really have to be willing to stick to the schedule. If this doesn’t sound like your dream day (and that’s totally okay if it doesn’t!), you have a bit more leeway with a sunset schedule, so that might be a better choice.
Usually sunrise is super early, especially in the summer, and especially if you’re going to be hiking (but even if you’re doing a drive-up location). Make sure to set aside a few hours midday to relax, recharge, and maybe even nap!
Finally, because sunrise is so early, it’s a good idea to plan activities for after your sunrise elopement. In Nikki and Jarrett’s case, they had a super delicious breakfast with family and friends, and then went fly fishing. But you have so many options for your day! Want to go rock climbing, horseback riding or kayaking after your sunrise elopement? I’m so down! You can totally incorporate all your fun ideas into your day.
What to pack for your sunrise elopement at Mount Rainier
Not quite sure what to pack for your sunrise elopement at Mount Rainier? I got you!
Here’s what you’ll want to bring:
Layers of clothes
Coffee or mimosas and snacks
Special permit pass
Since you’ll be starting your sunrise elopement day before the sun is up, it’s a good idea to bring a headlamp (and extra batteries, just in case) to light the way as you hike or walk to your first sunrise location! Also, it’s really important to bring layers. Since the sun is rising the temperature will be changing rapidly over a short period of time. Did you know the coldest time of day is right before the sun rises? So, definitely bring something warm to wear as you start your day. After sunrise, you’ll probably be ready for a little breakfast celebration. So be like Nikki and Jarrett and bring coffee, mimosas, and snacks to enjoy. Also, keep in mind: depending on your sunrise elopement location, you may need a special use permit from the national park.
If you’re planning a Mount Rainier elopement, check out my Complete Guide to Your Mount Rainier Elopement for a longer list of things to pack, places to visit, and everything else you’ll need to plan an epic Mount Rainier elopement.
Sunrise Elopement Packages
Oh hey…I know of a pretty cool sunrise elopement photographer who would love to document your mountain top wedding day…just saying (lol). But, truly, hiring the right elopement photographer is a really important step in your sunrise elopement planning process! Of course, you’ll want photos of your day to treasure for years to come. But, you also want to book a photographer with experience in adventure and mountain elopements. From day-of timelines, Pacific Northwest weather patterns and uniquely scouted locations (and backup locations, which we do sometimes need to use, like in the case of Nikki and Jarrett!), it’s so important to work with a photographer who is well-versed in adventure elopement photography. I work really hard to care for my clients to make the planning process simple and their sunrise elopement day unforgettable.
Click the link below for the different sunrise elopement packages I offer. I recommend the full day elopement package the most often to my couples.
Loving this sunrise elopement? Check out this sunrise engagement session!
It’s not only at Mount Rainier, but it also includes a fire lookout (one of my absolute favorite things!).
Meet your sunrise elopement photographer
I feel most at home outdoors, so it is no surprise that is where I gravitate towards as a sunrise 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 sunrise 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 sunrise 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 sunrise elopement photographer!
Are you ready to start planning your own sunrise elopement? Let’s do it! Reach out and let’s start planning your greatest adventure yet.
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.