Kaitlyn and Austin’s two-day elopement in the North Cascades took place at my favorite elopement locations in the Pacific Northwest––Artist Point and Winchester Lookout. The first day, we all met at the base of Mount Shuksan for an intimate family ceremony at sunset. The next day Kaitlyn and Austin went on an adventure, just the two of them, to watch the sunset from a fire watch tower with 360-degree mountain views. If you asked, I’d have to point to this elopement as one of the most perfect ones I’ve witnessed –– everything exceeded expectations, and the timeline structure over two days meant zero stress and a lot of fun. Keep reading for photos from these gorgeous locations, plus more on how Kaitlyn and Austin planned a family-friendly elopement and still found time to celebrate in a “just us” authentic way!
ELOPEMENT WITH FAMILY IN THE NORTH CASCADES
Kaitlyn and Austin got married in August in Washington state. Late in the summer, the mountains here are blooming with wildflowers, and the grassy meadows are picturesque in every sense of the word –– a truly magical setting for an elopement!
We met at Artist Point, which is the eastern end of highway 542. The road literally ends an hour out of town at a trailhead that brings hikers to a gorgeous viewpoint of Shuksan and Mount Baker. It’s a remote place that exists for nature lovers –– endless hikes in the summer, and bountiful skiing in the winter.
Kaitlyn and Austin hadn’t seen each other before we all got to Artist Point, so their first look was a super emotional and sweet moment between them. After many hugs and a few tears, we walked over to meet up with their families and witness their sunset ceremony. We explored a bit before finding the perfect place, and the ceremony location turned out to be ideal for guests, despite the remoteness. Kaitlyn and Austin’s family members brought blankets to sit on, and they all settled in amongst the rocks to form a casual circle around the couple. It was wonderful to see their family members be 100% supportive of Kaitlyn and Austin as they chose to get married in a place that meant so much to them.
In the middle of this circle of friends, Kaitlyn and Austin exchanged their vows with each other, while their officiant declared their marriage and everyone blessed the couple. The super-casual setting felt very intimate –– Kaitlyn’s sisters took part in leading moments of the ceremony, and everyone was so loving and supportive throughout the whole process.
Kaitlyn and Austin went the extra mile to curate super personal and intentional details into their elopement day. Austin is from Hawaii, so he and guests were wearing leis, which was really fun and festive! This was a great example of how elopements with family should be –– intentional, authentic, and all about the couple getting married. Kaitlyn and Austin have an amazing family support system, which was a beautiful thing to witness!
After the ceremony, we explored more of Artist Point and took family portraits. The most amazing picnic spread I’ve ever witnessed was brought out –– everyone just hung out in the mountains, picnicking amongst the rocks and wildflowers, laughing, and spending time together around this gorgeous array of food! As the sun began to set, casting a gorgeous glow on the mountains, Kaitlyn and Austin stepped away from the group to get couples portraits. The alpenglow on Baker and Shuksan was stunning, and they popped champagne to celebrate their marriage.
Everything about this elopement ceremony embodied what a wedding should be –– everyone was there to fully support Kaitlyn and Austin, and this family-oriented elopement was full of love all around!
FIRE WATCHTOWER HIKE DAY-AFTER WEDDING CELEBRATION
I met back up with Kaitlyn and Austin the next day. I love when two-day elopements do the family ceremony first –– now, there’s nothing to worry about or plan, and the couple can be fully present and enjoy their “just married” life! Kaitlyn and Austin were all smiles as we spent our second sunset in a row together, this time hiking to one of my favorite viewpoints in the North Cascades.
Winchester Mountain isn’t a super long hike, but it’s steep. When you reach the top, you’re rewarded with 360-degree views of the jagged Cascade peaks! The fire lookout at the summit is the perfect place to sit and watch the sun go down –– the peaks turning orange, then red, then purple. On the hike up, the wildflowers were gnarly hip-high in places and we stopped many times to soak in how magical it was to be walking through such a colorful display! When we reached the top, there was a patch of snow still on the ground. So, of course, Kaitlyn and Austin started a snowball fight!
After many moments of pure joy and laughter, we walked up the stairs to sit on the balcony of the fire lookout. Kaitlyn and Austin pulled out letters from their family to read each other –– further extending my belief that theirs was the perfect family-oriented wedding, filled to the brim with support all around!
On this particular evening, the setting sun was poking through the gaps in the mountains around them and casting a pink glow throughout the sky. The already stunning mountains became even more beautiful! It was an emotional evening –– Kaitlyn and Austin were surrounded by immense beauty, reading heartfelt letters, and coming down from the high emotions of celebrating with their loved ones the day before.
We ended up staying at the viewpoint past blue hour –– the mountains had turned to a dark purple, and the sky was the deepest blue before we started back down the mountain with headlamps.
Both of these days were immensely enjoyable, and I was honored to document such a deeply intentional and well-planned emotional experience –– we got to visit two of the most beautiful places to elope in Washington state, and this will always be remembered as one of my favorite elopements ever!
ELOPE IN WASHINGTON – THE NORTH CASCADES
The North Cascades are some of the most dramatic mountains in the world! The range is sometimes called “The North American Alps” and they live up to the hype –– jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys, rushing waterfalls, and a wild winter define this region as one where Mother Nature rules.
Thousands of miles of trails crisscross these mountains and provide endless opportunities to experience the beautiful Pacific Northwest from a higher elevation. The Cascade Range of mountains account for peaks extending from northern California into British Columbia –– the mountains in Washington state, north of Mount Rainier (the tallest peak in the range) are referred to as the North Cascades. Part of which is actually a national park!
North Cascades National Park is only a portion of what makes up the Cascades, but it’s one of the largest parks in Washington state –– more than half a million acres! If you wanted to elope within the park itself, you’ll want to get a permit. But even outside the national park are SO MANY incredible places to host an elopement or intimate wedding!
Visit the North Cascades and you might see some curious mountain goats, who have been known from time to time to wander close to hikers. You’ll also see alpine lakes so blue it’s hard to believe they’re real! Towering ancient giants stand amongst the trees in these thick forests, and thick clouds tend to hang low in the glacier-carved valleys after a rain. If you love the moody PNW, you have to come to the North Cascades!