5 Reasons You Should Elope in a National Park or Forest.

5 Reasons to Have an Adventure Elopement in a National Park or Forest

Adventure Elopements are the best. In my years of experience as a traditional and adventure wedding photographer-adventure elopements are easily my favorite to capture for a multitude of reasons. I love all weddings, but there’s something about elopements that I truly adore. Here are 5 reasons I’ve found in my own personal experience and in what my past clients have shared:

Reason 1: Intimacy


Elopements in themselves can give you a level of intimacy that you would not have if you chose to take the traditional route. Eloping on a beach in Mexico can be intimate, but you can also be surrounded by strangers, depending on the location you choose. The same could be said about Adventure Elopements, especially in specific locations (Yosemite). I cater to all comfort levels of my clients, but I truly aspire to give them an intimate experience- one completely away from the crowds and eyes of spectators. If you choose a photographer who understands your vision and values giving you an intimate experience, you may come away from the experience feeling as though you had the entire park to yourself.

What do you want to experience while you’re saying your vows? Do you feel uncomfortable sharing your heart in front of large crowds? Do you want to deepen your vow exchange experience, sharing intimate feelings/details in regards to your relationship? If so, an elopement may be a fantastic choice for you.

Reason 2: ADVENTURE!


If you and your fiance’s relationship was built on a foundation prioritizing adventure, this might be your dream. Do you both love hiking? Do you both love backpacking? Do both of your cragging hearts dream of having El Cap. in the background of your wedding portraits? If you answered yes to any of the following- I’m convinced you need to elope now in a National Park/Forest. Many couples do not realize that adventure elopements are a thing, but they are! There are photographers who love nature and then there are photographers STOKED for the entire experience they want to provide you with- adventure being their top priority. Nothing makes me quite happier than carrying my camera AND backpacking gear up 3000+ ft of elevation gain to get you married at a remote location at sunrise. It gives me LIFE!

Reason 3: Location


Can we talk about how the cost to get married at a National Park is pennies compared to the cost of getting married at a church and for a reception venue? Permits to National Parks can get up to a couple hundred of dollars, but the location is gorgeous/epic and sometimes includes florals if you get married during peak wildflower season. Bonus- the lighting at sunrise will always beat the lighting most churches have- giving you truly magical and crisp images of one of the most important moments of your lifetime!

In addition, if you and your fiance share special memories together at a particular national park, you now have the perfect excuse to always visit year after year- maybe reciting your vows at the same location every year!

Reason 4: Stop the Stress


Are you stressed at the thought of planning an entire wedding? Do you even know if a traditional wedding is for you? This is a bit controversial, but I’ve heard so many of my friends and my past clients share how stressful planning a wedding is. I personally would not know. Couples put so much time and energy into planning their day and then the entire day they are running around with a strict timeline as to what they need to do and they can’t fathom how they will have no time to take intimate photos with their spouse since they have to be on the dance floor for the bouquet toss at 7PM. They’re constantly being pulled away from their spouse to talk to their 3rd cousin they hardly know, but their mom pressured them to invite. Some people thrive in these extremely social environments and love being surrounded by everyone, while others feel completely drained. This is your day- it’s not your mom’s day, it’s not your dad’s day- it’s not your grandma’s day. It’s the day you vow your life to another person- it’s YOUR day. If anyone has any issues with how you envision your day, talk to them as to how you can come to a compromise to include them (a reception later or a videographer to document the moment), but set the boundaries- you are eloping. Take a deep breathe- you got this.

Reason 5: Intentional with Your Day & Details


So many couples get caught up in the stress of choosing colors of the napkins or the table displays when they would rather strictly focus on the more important details of their day- the photographer, the location, the vows, the florals, the IMPORTANT people- not your 3rd cousin you haven’t seen for years. I know when I planned my mini reception after my husband and I had an intimate ceremony at a park local to Omaha, NE, my poor mother-in-law got very little from me in regards to questions like- what color of napkins do you want? Do you want me to rent tablecloths? Want to know what questions I replied enthusiastically to? The food we ate and the people who were invited. I don’t remember the napkins or the tablecloths even though they were there, but I remember the wonderful company we shared our meal with and the incredible photographer who gave us documented memories of our special day. If you’re stressing about the details you have to choose on your wedding planning to-do list- just say no and ELOPE!

The ability to be intentional with your day is the key ingredient to a wonderful and perfect day that captures what your personalities are and what your relationship is about. Maybe your mom hates sailing, but you and your fiance dream to sail the world together. You decide to share your vows at sunrise on a mountain peak and you then choose to spend your evening snuggled up on a sailboat and enjoying your first sunset as a married couple- really letting those vows sink in; planting the seed to continue to dream fearlessly- together. I’m a firm believer in intentionality and chasing dreams fearlessly- if I’m your photographer for your adventurous special day, I can assure you that none of your dreams for your wedding day are crazy or impossible- lets make them a reality.

Are you ready to elope?

Marie Vanderpool is an adventure elopement and intimate wedding photographer who travels to adventurous destinations like Mount Rainier National Park, the North Cascades, Mount Baker National Forest, Yosemite National Park, and destinations like Arizona and Utah. Marie focuses on capturing energetic and adventurous spirits in their natural elements- hiking, backpacking, and exploring this vast world.