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Melissa and Anthony’s Mt. Rainier waterfall elopement was the kind of day that couples fly in from all over to experience: warm sunshine, bright blue skies, greenery abounding, and clear views of the majestic mountain peak we all love and adore. It was the epitome of everything I love about the Pacific Northwest; all wrapped up neatly and tied with a bow seemingly just for these two, unraveling seamlessly as we explored the picturesque park, took in the scenery, and got Melissa and Anthony married. What a day, what a mountain, and what a damn couple—truly a dream adventure that I cannot wait to relive + share with you.
Melissa & Anthony’s Mt. Rainier Waterfall Elopement
Melissa and Anthony are one of those couples that you can just tell were meant to be; call it fate, destiny, or good timing. They met just before COVID hit and the world shut down, getting to know each other really well, and really fast. Given the timing and everything that was going on when these two first got together, what a gift it was that they connected when they did—and that they recognized just how special it was to form such a deep, meaningful connection so quickly!
I love hearing about why the couples I work with love each other; what attracted them to one another at first and what’s kept their relationship strong & steady ever since. It’s one of my favorite things to ask when we initially connect, and Melissa and Anthony’s answers just made my heart so full + really helped me get a better understanding of how to best document their day!
Melissa mentioned that her favorite qualities about Anthony are how silly he can be when he gets comfortable, how strongly and deeply he cares, and how he balances her out. She’s more of a feeler, and he’s a thinker—which makes them a perfect pair to move through life together. He loves how kind-hearted and empathetic she is; how she’s independent and strong-willed, but also maintains a great sense of humor to match his. I so loved seeing their ability to laugh together all throughout their elopement, simply enjoying and being grateful for the time together—plus the smiles were neverending!
Melissa also mentioned that she adores the way Anthony sings to their cat, Tootie, who did make a guest appearance in a few of their elopement photos 😉
A joyful morning at their cozy Ashford Airbnb
Before we get to the main parts of their day, I must take a moment to admire & appreciate the amazing Airbnb that Melissa and Anthony booked for their celebration! They chose the most wonderful house in Ashford just 3 miles from Mt. Rainier National Park with a huge backyard, a ton of greenery, 5 bedrooms, and even blackberry bushes outside. It was the perfect getting ready space with a darling tree out back, where they had their private first look and gift exchange. A fabulous option if you’re looking for a place to stay for your Mt. Rainier elopement with plenty of room to host loved ones!
A sentimental day through and through
One aspect of this day I really took note of was just how sentimental and meaningful it was, from beginning to end. Melissa and Anthony told me right away that they chose to elope because they wanted a more personal, memorable experience, and it was easy to see that desire infused in each & every part of their celebration. From their nontraditional first look, to the very personalized ceremony readings, to the champagne toast with their loved ones after tying the knot, every moment was planned with care, intention, and purpose. What an honor to capture such significant points that began Melissa and Anthony’s journey into married life!
A sunny elopement ceremony at Paradise
Melissa once told me that her three favorite sounds are 1) wind rustling through leaves, 2) waterfalls cascading down rocks, and 3) snow crunching under your feet. And guess what? We got all three during her & Anthony’s Mt. Rainier waterfall elopement. It was meant to be.
We made our way to Paradise to meet up with the group, and walked a little bit to find their ceremony spot amidst the snow and sunshine. Anthony’s brother Aaron actually officiated their ceremony and took his job really (wonderfully) seriously—you could tell he was extremely thoughtful and intentional about the honor that was bestowed upon him. It was beautiful hearing the way he talked about love as being the foundation of human existence; how we were standing at one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, but that little bit of danger being present making the moment that much sweeter. It was a really emotional ceremony without being overly sappy—just grounded emotion and reverence throughout the entire thing. Tears were flowing all around, and it was really lovely to witness.
Oksana and Jay also eloped at Paradise, and lucked out with the most beautiful sunrise over the mountains—take a glimpse at their Mt. Rainier Hiking Elopement here!
Elopement portraits at Carter Falls + Narada Falls
After a champagne toast and cake cutting with their family, Melissa, Anthony and I were off for the next part of the day: an adventure around the park! They later told me that it was lovely having family there for the ceremony, but both agreed that their favorite part of the day was when it was just the two of them and me exploring. It was special for them and just for them, and they got to solely focus on each other. Having that time to themselves was really precious to them and important to their day, so we made sure they had plenty of it.
Melissa and Anthony were troopers hiking to Carter Falls in the heat, and arriving at the falls was such a sweet reward for their hard work. Anthony was so stoked about taking pics in the riverbed with those dramatic views of Rainier in the background—I was so happy he got just what he wanted! We even had a couple of serendipitous moments on the trail, first passing a guy who told us he got married at the same spot 15 summers ago. Then we saw another couple who was celebrating their first anniversary after getting married there a year ago! Talk about a special spot 🙂
We ended the day at Narada Falls, where Melissa got her wish of hearing a waterfall granted for the second time that day. Getting sprayed by the mist and having the silliest, funnest time was a perfect way to end the day on a giddy, high note. She and Anthony told me that everything they wanted to do, they did, and everything they wanted to see, they saw. What a privilege to get to help this wonderful couple achieve every one of their elopement dreams in this magnificent alpine paradise.
Mt. Rainier elopement vendors
Makeup: Anne Timms | @mstimssmakeupartist
Dress designer: Willowby by Watters | @willowbywatters
Dress shop: La Jeune Mariee | @lajeuenemariee
Rings & jewelry: Brilliant Earth
Suit: Hugo Boss
Shoes: Allen Edmonds
For more stunning Mt. Rainier elopement inspiration, head over to Liz & Matt’s Cloudy Mt. Rainier Elopement at Tolmie Peak Lookout. And if you’re considering eloping at Rainier yourselves + want more info on how to do so, you won’t want to miss my Ultimate Mt. Rainier Elopement Guide!
I’d also love to help you plan your special day, as an experienced Mt. Rainier elopement photographer—get in touch with me here, and let’s start dreaming up an adventure of a lifetime that fully embodies you.