This moody PNW elopement in Mount Rainier National Park perfectly captured the feeling of being in a magical PNW wonderland. We all woke up to a moody, rainy day and decided to embrace the mystical beauty of it all. This gorgeous elopement adventure took us all over Mount Rainier National Park, and we wouldn’t have traded it for “better” weather even if we could.
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A MOODY PNW ELOPEMENT IN MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK
When you choose to elope in the great outdoors, you can’t control the weather. You can plan to elope during the best weather months, but even then Mother Nature can throw a wildcard at you. But the great thing about eloping in the PNW is that it’s beautiful no matter what kind of weather you get. Some of the first images we ever saw from the PNW were these moody, misty mountain photos where clouds clung to the hillsides, obscuring the tops of the tall evergreen trees. It was mystical. It looked like nothing we had ever experienced anywhere else in the country. Although they were hoping for a clear sunrise, this was exactly the type of day that Nathan and Hala woke up to on their elopement.
Want to see more pics from Mount Rainier NP? Check out this intimate Mount Rainier Wedding
We had planned to meet at Reflection Lake in Mount Rainier National Park for a sunrise ceremony. On a clear day, Mount Rainier looms directly in front of you, reflected perfectly in the lake. As luck would have it, we didn’t even see a sliver of the hulking mountain that we knew was just behind those clouds. But te most important part of dealing with adverse weather is embracing it, and that’s just what Nathan and Hala and their friends did. They had seen the weather report and came prepared with cute umbrellas, waterproof bags, and rain gear, ready to play in the rain and have a blast. They started their day with an extremely beautiful and intimate ceremony beside the lake. It felt like we were all in a cozy little bubble, insulated from the world beyond the clouds.
AFTER THE CEREMONY: A MOODY PNW ELOPEMENT ADVENTURE
After the ceremony, we had originally planned to hike around the Paradise area of Mount Rainier. But seeing as we wouldn’t be seeing Mount Rainier anytime soon, we made a spontaneous decision to switch up our plans a bit. One of the best things about elopements is the ability to be flexible, even short notice. We always keep a backup plan in mind in case of bad weather or other unexpected events. This is when it’s particularly helpful to really know the area well. Gabi and I have done quite a bit of exploring all over Mount Rainier National Park, so we had a few ideas of places to check out that would be fun and beautiful in the rain.
For more lush forest vibes, check out this Washington Mountain Wedding
The first stop was Grove of the Patriarchs. This short trail takes you through an ancient grove of giant Cedars, Hemlocks, and Douglas Firs. There’s no better time to explore an old-growth forest trail than in this wet, misty weather. Droplets of water cling to the ferns and moss, and the soft light filtering down through the canopy makes everything glisten a bright green. This is the kind of weather that allows these monstrous specimen to grow so big. The damp earth softens your footsteps and everything is quieter, adding to the mystical vibe. Though we hadn’t originally planned or even talked about going here, Nathan and Hala absolutely loved it! They were so in awe of the huge trees and we all had a blast wandering the trail, which we pretty much had all to ourselves since it was shortly after sunrise.
ONE MORE PNW ELOPEMENT ADVENTURE: IN SEARCH OF MOUNTAINS
Experiencing the Washington mountains was a big reason why Nathan and Hala wanted to elope in the PNW. So after exploring the forest, we decided to drive to a mountain pass on the east side of the park where we thought there might be some breaks in the clouds. In Washington, precipitation tends to come in from the ocean, moving west to east. When the clouds hit the Cascades, they dump most of their rain or snow on the western slopes. So the eastern side of the mountain range is typically dryer (read more about Washington’s diverse climate). Knowing this, we drove to a mountain pass on the east side of the park where one of our favorite trails is located. Sure enough, we caught a glimmer of the sun!
Excited by the now visible mountains that surrounded us, we all trekked out to a spot Gabi and I knew of just a short ways down the trail. It was still moody as clouds moved quickly through the mountains. They’d occasionally hide the view, and then reveal it again as they suddenly lifted, all in the span of minutes. Seeing a landscape constantly experiencing such changes was super cool. When we made it out to the small, scenic alpine pond, we gazed at the mountains around us in awe. It was a scene that epitomized the magic of this PNW wonderland, and it was the perfect way to end this amazing PNW elopement.
For more PNW wonderland mountain magic, check out this North Cascades Backpacking Elopement