Nikita & Brendan’s Joyful Hiking Elopement at Maiden Peak

I’m not even sure how to condense this epic tale of a day into one small little blog post, but I’m sure going to do my best because let me tell you, Nikita & Brendan’s love story deserves it. I’m not sure I’ve ever been a part of celebration that was so full of joy and smiles all around, no matter if these two were in the middle of the lengthy 7.5-mile hike to the top of a mountain or were sitting around a dreamy waterfront tablescape with their loved ones. What an adventure this was around the Olympic National Park area – I cannot wait to take you through Nikita & Brendan’s joyful hiking elopement at Maiden Peak and Domaine Madeleine!

Nikita & Brendan’s Adventurous Hindi Elopement in Olympic National Park

I always love hearing a little bit about how my couples originally met & fell in love, because it gives me a lot more context going into their special day – I get to learn what’s meaningful to them, why they planned the day they did, and what makes their story unique. Nikita & Brendan didn’t hold back when I asked them to tell me more about their relationship, so I wanted to share a few of my favorite parts of their story with you, too, before we dive into their elopement day!

These two cuties work in the same field and actually met working on the same mission together, on the James Webb Space Telescope. He worked on instrument operations, and she worked as an engineer on the scripts that operated the telescope – talk about a badass, brilliant couple! As they began to learn more about each other at work, the more they were drawn to each other, and it was alllll over from there. The coolest (and most unique) meet-cute story!

It was only fitting that they had a proposal story that was just as unique and creative: Brendan proposed to Nikita via a “dope PowerPoint presentation,” as he called it – what a guy. It was their fifth anniversary and they were in the middle of packing up their home for a cross-country move, with no couch or chairs left in their place. So he made a cozy little nest where their couch used to be, bought a big-ass bouquet of sunflowers and roses, set up candles, dressed up the cats in tuxedo collars (are you kidding), and went through his presentation, while wearing his professor jacket, of course! I’m obsessed with just how them this proposal was – this is a story that will NEVER get old.

A PNW adventure elopement for the ages

Now that we’ve all fallen in love with these two and their PowerPoint proposal story, let’s get to the big day! Nikita and Brendan love to go hiking together but also love to dress up on occasion and get a lil’ classy, so they wanted their day to be the perfect mix of both – and man, did they nail it! Their elopement was also full of alllll the quintessential PNW elements: lush forests, an epic hike through the mountains, rich shades of burgundy & evergreen in their details, and an elegant waterfront dinner under the trees. What a dream!

A series of Hindi wedding ceremonies throughout the day

Nikita and Brendan kicked off the day by making things official, with a romantic ceremony at Domaine Madeleine, which they rented out so they could have it fully to themselves. But their ceremony wasn’t just a one-and-done celebration – no, it was important to them to celebrate Nikita’s culture by including various traditional Hindi ceremonies throughout the day!

First was the Ganesha Puja ceremony, which was performed by the officiant prior to the start of the ceremony to bless it so that it may proceed smoothly & without any obstacles, as well as to bestow good luck upon the soon-to-be married couple and their loved ones. The only obstacle that wasn’t covered by the prayer was the literal mountain the guest would have to climb later! 😉

Next was the Mangalashtaka, which is a series of hymns for a wedding ceremony. During this, the bride and groom stand separated by a veil, also known as an Antarpat, held up by two people. Guests bestow blessings upon them by sprinkling flower petals during the ceremony, and at the end, the veil drops and they see each other for the first time!

The Agni Puja, or the fire ritual, signifies the commitment between two individuals. They pledge to foster a nurturing marital home, and the ceremony is “a profound, symbol-rich way of expressing, ‘We are united, and we are committed to navigating life’s journey together.’”

The Saptapadhi, also known as Seven Steps or Seven Vows, was a ritual performed on the mountain that symbolizes the legal part of marriage. The couple takes seven steps together, making a vow with each step.

And lastly, the Uttar Puja concludes the ritual of the wedding ceremony, which took place back at Domaine Madeleine before dinner.

It was so special getting to learn about the meaning behind each of these ceremonies, and getting to document Nikita, Brendan, and their families participating in each one throughout the day to honor Nikita’s Hindi culture!

A lengthy hike to Maiden Peak for elopement portraits

In addition to the Hindi wedding ceremonies, Nikita and Brendan incorporated another meaningful part of their relationship into their elopement via a challenging hike through the mountains from Deer Park to Maiden Peak! Like I mentioned above, these two love to hike and spend time outdoors together, so it only made sense to trek 7.5 miles round trip to get some of the most spectacular mountain views in Olympic National Park. 

I was SO impressed with everybody that did the hike with Nikita and Brendan! 7.5 miles with 2,000 feet of elevation gain is no joke, but the entire group was just fantastic and were so up for the killer adventure. Almost everybody joined in on the hike and reached the peak, where we were rewarded with phenomenal 360º views. Nikita and Brendan looked like they barely even broke a sweat – plus they opted for comfortable hiking clothes for the trek up, instead of wearing their formal attire the whole time, which definitely helped!

Nikita and Brendan were also super smart and hired a transport van to get their guests to the trailhead, which was awesome for so many reasons:

  1. This guaranteed that neither they nor their guests would have trouble finding parking spots! Carpooling to trailheads is always a great idea, especially for trails like this that tend to have fewer visitors – meaning there’s less infrastructure and likely fewer parking spots.
  1. The forest road to get to the trailhead was pretty wild, and many guests wouldn’t have been super comfortable (or even safe) trying to navigate it on their own.
  1. It was so nice for everybody to be able to relax (and nap) on the way back instead of having to drive themselves. Leave it to the professionals instead!

A romantic elopement dinner under the trees at Domaine Madeleine

Nikita and Brendan ended the day with a fancy dinner under the trees back at Domaine Madeleine, which I was absolutely obsessed with. Their plans started as “we’ll go out to a restaurant,” went to “we’ll just set up a few tables,” and eventually ended up with a full-blown tablescape & them going bananas saving inspo photos on Pinterest. The guests were so impressed, as was I! They had help from Hannah, the genius behind The Hummingbird Event Co. and absolutely raved about her every step of the way. 12/10 recommend hiring her to help plan & design your PNW elopement!!

And Domaine Madeleine was the absolute perfect venue for their celebration. They rented out the whole boutique hotel so they could have the entire property to themselves! Each guest had their own lodging, but everyone was close enough that they could really make the most of their time together at this gorgeous space. Charming gardens, a lush backyard, and views for days – what more could you ask for?

Overall, Nikita and Brendan’s adventure elopement at Maiden Peak & Domaine Madeleine was just such a joyful day to be a part of. It was so heartwarming to see this couple be able to come together with their loved ones and truly just enjoy their day together – and what an honor to document it all!

Olympic National Park Elopement Vendors

I know these two adored the vendors they hired (especially their planner & the flower farm that provided their florals), so of course I had to shout them all out below!

Planner: The Hummingbird Event Co.

Venue: Domaine Madeleine

Florals: Graystone Farm

Rentals: Pedersen’s

Paella: Paella House

Dessert: Bakery Nouveau

Hair & Makeup: Friend

Henna: Family

Attire: Colors of Redmond

Transportation: Olympic Hiking Co

On the hunt for more PNW elopement inspiration to help you plan your dream day? I’ve got you covered, friend! Scroll through a few of my recent favorites below for allll the heart eyes!

Kathy & Austin’s Summertime Rialto Beach Elopement

Snowy Adventure Elopement in the Mt. Baker Wilderness

Intimate Luxury Wedding at JM Cellars Winery


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