Cloudy Mt. Rainier Elopement at Tolmie Peak Lookout

When a bride tells you that she’s praying for clouds to fill the skies during their summertime Mt. Rainier elopement in the Pacific Northwest, you tell her that you’re going to do your damndest to make that dream come true. And come true it did for Liz and Matt—although I’m not sure I had much to do with it, since the PNW mountains are kinda famous for being cloudy 95% of the time. 

These two were the blueprint of an adventure couple: ready to embrace any & every kind of weather, thrilled no matter the views (or lack thereof), and excited to start their married life together after a 6-mile hike to a fire lookout! They sound pretty rad, do they not? 😉 I couldn’t wait to share this oh-so-dreamy—and ever so cloudy—Mt. Rainier elopement at Tolmie Peak Lookout with you.

Liz & Matt’s Cloudy Mt. Rainier Adventure Elopement

Liz told me very early on in the process of working together that the most important thing for them was not that they got flawless sunny weather, or that they kept their attire crisp & clean during their adventure—but that the two of them were together with all the people they love most. Their top priorities for their day were fun, adventure, flexibility, and presence, aiming for it to be as stress-free as possible so they could focus on why they were there: to get married. It was clear from the start that Liz and Matt knew what they wanted, and had a shared vision for this day, and whew did it all turn out so beautifully!

A quintessential PNW day in the mountains

I’m not sure I’ve ever had a client tell me that they were wishing for clouds on their elopement day; typically, I get couples who are crossing their fingers for sun, but are going to be down to go with the flow and embrace whatever conditions they get. Liz, though, changed that real quick when she and Matt inquired with me, telling me they didn’t want to see the view and that they really just wanted fog & clouds. Fortunately for them, the mountain delivered on that and we ended up with the most classic PNW day we could’ve asked for: clouds, fog, and that dreamy overcast light that makes the greens of the trees shine.

And trust me, I get it—when you plan your elopement around a certain view, the thought of not getting that view can be nervewracking, especially if you’re traveling from afar to see it. But I hope that these images show you just how gorgeous and unique a whiteout can be, and that you leave feeling inspired to embrace whatever may come your way! I truly believe that there’s no such thing as “bad” weather, but if you’re feeling a little unsure, I’d love to encourage you to check out my guide to How to Embrace “Bad” Weather On Your Elopement Day. I promise it’ll make you feel more prepared to have an incredible day exploring the great outdoors, rain or shine!

A first look among the trees

Who says you have to get ready for your elopement in front of a shiny mirror inside of your hotel room? Not me, that’s for sure! Liz and Matt got 90% ready before heading to the trail, and then had a final little getting ready moment in the trees to put on the final touches of their outfits. We had some gorgeous mist rolling in through the trees just in time for them to have a sweet first look on the trail with family, and then we were off to hike to Tolmie Peak Lookout just the three of us! These two did great on the hike up and were so happy with the cool weather and moody vibes, just like they wanted.

Breathtaking elopement portraits at Eunice Lake

Our first stop along the trail was Eunice Lake, an idyllic blue glacial lake in the middle of the mountains that you could only see in your wildest dreams (or here in the PNW!). Liz and Matt were so stoked for portraits, which of course I loved, and Liz even broke out her veil for some insanely beautiful shots of the two of them standing on the lakeshore. I could not have imagined a more picturesque day on this lake, because with only a gentle breeze keeping the water fairly still, the reflection of the lush green foliage on the lake paired with that of the bride & groom was absolutely immaculate. We enjoyed a brief rest at this picturesque spot before continuing up the steepest push of the hike, which Liz and Matt were more than ready for!

A mountaintop vow exchange at Tolmie Peak Lookout

We arrived to the top of the mountain right smack in the middle of the clouds, which these two were obviously stoked about. The sun even shone through to give us killer lighting, and with that plain white background of nothing but clouds & fog behind them? It felt like we were shooting in a pure white studio with *flawless* lighting—except we were on a mountain top! They read their vows to each other on the Tolmie Peak Lookout tower, and it was so sweet and emotional to witness in such a phenomenal setting, with nothing but the mist, the trees, and the birds around to hear. Being up in the mountains like this brings a sense of serenity like no other, which is why it’s such an incredible atmosphere for intimate ceremonies & vow exchanges.

You’ll probably notice that Liz’s dress was totally filthy from the hike up and all the dirt at the lookout, and we loved it. Throughout the many portraits we took up in this magical mountain wonderland, Matt became a total expert at fixing the train of her dress & her veil to help her look her best—I meannn just look at the delicate draping of her veil against the foggy backdrop! Kudos to Matt for being a pro veil-fixer and partner to this gorgeous adventure bride 😉 

Want to see another one of my favorite spots at Mt. Rainier for adventure elopements? Take a peek at Oksana & Jay’s Mt. Rainier Hiking Elopement at Paradise!

Back down the mountain for a lakeside ceremony

After getting enough portraits of the newlyweds to last them a lifetime, we made our way back down the mountain and took a little bit of a breather before getting ready again for a ceremony with family. Liz and Matt rented a beautiful VRBO on the water, and once Liz had gotten a makeup touchup, changed her hairstyle, and switched our her big bouquet for an even bigger bouquet, they held their ceremony in the backyard on the dock. It was a beautiful way to celebrate with family after having their own private ceremony on the mountain, followed by a lovely evening reception! We snapped plenty of golden hour portraits, the couple paddled away to sip drinks on the water, and then re-joined everyone for cake, toasts, and dinner.

What a lovely day spent with Liz and Matt that was full of excitement, celebration, love, and smiles galore—honored to have gotten to guide this couple on the foggy PNW adventure of their dreams!

Mt. Rainier elopement vendors

Dress: LUV Bridal

Hair/Makeup: Rendering Beauty

Bouquets: Pike Place Market

Mt. Rainier Elopement Photographer

Hey friend, I’m Marla, and guess what—I’m that Mt. Rainier elopement photographer. If big weddings aren’t really your thing, you value adventure and authenticity, and you’re into the idea of an epic outdoor experience to celebrate one of the biggest days of your life, then you’re in the right place. I’d love to connect with you and start chatting about your own Mt. Rainier elopement, and help you plan an epic day just like I did with Liz and Matt—reach out here and let’s get this thing going!

Mt. Rainier Elopement Guide

I’ll never get over how cool it is to live so close to an epic place like Mt. Rainier, let alone getting to explore it with couples as my “job.” If you’re considering eloping at Mt. Rainier, then I highly recommend reading through my full Mt. Rainier Elopement Guide to get an in-depth look at all the info you need in order to plan your perfect day in the mountains!


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