Amy and Travis, high school sweethearts, knew that when it came to tying the knot, an intimate Olympic National Park elopement was the path they wanted to embark on. After contemplating various options, they decided on Olympic National Park because they’d never been before. These two were from the same small hometown in Minnesota as me. This ultimately led them to entrust their special day to someone familiar. Soon enough, us Minnesotans found ourselves on a flight to Seattle, eagerly anticipating the scenic drive to Port Angeles, home to the awe-inspiring Hurricane Ridge.
Nestled by Lake Sutherland, Amy, and Travis found themselves in the most beautiful Airbnb. It’s a hidden gem adjacent to the more well-known Lake Crescent, boasting those mountain lake vibes and mesmerizing blue waters. The evening before their elopement, we headed to Lake Crescent for a playful couples’ session, capturing some extra moments and photos before the main event.
Bright and early on their big day, I found myself at the Airbnb around 6:30 AM, camera in hand, ready to document the behind-the-scenes magic. Amy and Travis had agreed not to catch a glimpse of each other before the ceremony. While Travis got ready outdoors, the ladies put the finishing touches on their preparations inside. Amy’s sister and mom lent a helping hand while Travis’s dad assisted him with his boutonniere. With everyone primed and prepped, it was time to hit the road towards Hurricane Ridge for the ceremony. It’s a scenic 45-minute drive through the picturesque mountains to Port Angeles from Lake Sutherland.
Once we arrived at Hurricane Ridge, we cruised past the visitor center toward the picnic spots further up the road. Thankfully, the park authorities had kindly granted Amy and Travis permission to exchange vows at this tranquil picnic area, all for a mere $35. The rangers here were incredibly accommodating, making the whole process a breeze.
We made sure that Travis, along with his parents and Amy’s family, were comfortably settled before Amy came from the car. She stood prepared to walk down the path with her arm entwined with her father’s. Nature provided the soundtrack, as we decided on a countdown instead of traditional music. The morning air filled with anticipation as the breathtaking mountain vistas set the stage for a ceremony to remember, creating happy tears from the couple. What made this wedding truly special was that Amy’s sister assumed the role of the officiant!
After their ceremony, there was an exchange of hugs, accompanied by the pop of champagne bottles. The family set off to grab some lunch for later while we stayed behind to capture some precious moments of the newlyweds. The views were stunning, and we were fortunate to be blessed with a rare 75-degree day of constant sunshine in Washington. We explored the nearby scenic trails, taking in the vistas, before moving on to the visitor center. More trails awaited and we could have easily spent the entire day there.
Upon our return to the cozy Airbnb, Amy approached me with a mischievous look and asked if it would be alright for them to plunge into the water while still dressed in their wedding attire. I left the decision entirely up to her. As the family stood by, equipped with life jackets, Amy and Travis dashed down the dock at the beach at Lake Sutherland. The cheers of bystanders and excited children filled the air as they fearlessly leaped, emerging from the water with smiles.
We met at the Airbnb for lunch, where pizza awaited us from a local shop in Port Angeles. We gathered around the table, sharing lots of stories and laughter. Amy, Travis, and their parents shared their first dances on the deck of the Airbnb. Afterwards, everyone changed into their swimwear, since we couldn’t resist the temptation to swim in that crystal blue water. As the day progressed, Amy and Travis, still in their swimwear, sat at the kitchen table to sign their marriage license. It was a playful reminder of their adventurous day.
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