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Friend, if you and your partner are racking your brains trying to figure out how to craft a celebration that incorporates all the best parts of an elopement AND a wedding, look no further – because Rachel & Riley executed it flawlessly! With a full wedding at Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theater + a killer party on day 1, and a wedding adventure session at Snoqualmie Falls the next day, they truly combined the best of both worlds to create one perfect, overwhelmingly lovely weekend. I cannot wait to show you more of this stunning couple and all the wonderful folks they had by their sides!
Rachel & Riley’s Gorgeous Snoqualmie Wedding Weekend
Wedding or elopement? The best of both worlds
I can say from firsthand experience that it can be really, really hard to figure out what kind of wedding experience you want to curate. Obviously I’m a total sucker for elopements, and that’s what we did for our special day at Mt. Baker (see it here!), but I also know that there are so many couples that really treasure the tradition & the theater of big weddings – so why shouldn’t you be able to have both?
There are a million different ways you could create your elopement/wedding timeline to really give you all the benefits of both; maybe you elope in private out in nature first, and then after your honeymoon, you celebrate with your loved ones back home. Maybe you invite your friends & family to witness your ceremony and join you for a cocktail hour, and then you spend the next few days exploring and celebrating on your own. There are no rules and no limits here, trust me!
Which is why I absolutely adored how Rachel & Riley crafted their celebration to be exactly what they wanted: not quite an elopement, and not quite just a wedding – but the best of both worlds. Day 1 was their full wedding day, featuring many elements you’d usually find in a wedding timeline: time to get ready, a first look, a ceremony, a lengthy cocktail hour, and a nighttime reception. That was their day to feel loved & supported by every one of their friends and family, whereas day 2 was a bit more focused around the two of them, highlighted by a hike down to Snoqualmie Falls in their wedding attire.
When you kind of want to elope but you also kind of want a wedding, THIS is the way to do it. Ready to see how it all unfolded for Rachel & Riley?
If you like the idea of eloping but you need a little more convincing, you should check out my blog post with five reasons to elope – it’ll help you feel confident in your decision that eloping is right for you (or not)!
Day 1: An enchanting Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theater wedding
The first day of Rachel & Riley’s Snoqualmie celebration was spent at Snoqualmie Forest Theater, the most gorgeous outdoor wedding venue on over 90 acres of private land. Just adjacent to Snoqualmie Falls, this venue offers a spectacular backdrop for any couples wanting to tie the knot in the middle of a lush PNW forest, whether you’re inviting 10 guests or 50.
Speaking of guests, one reason that many couples opt to have a large wedding instead of an elopement is the desire to have their closest friends by their side, just like Rachel & Riley! It was super important to them to have their loved ones there to support them, so they each invited 8 of their friends to be a part of their wedding party. It was a real ride-or-die group of friends on both sides, which made the wedding so much more fun & special to document – Rachel’s girls waited on her hand and foot up until the ceremony began, and all the boys cried throughout the ceremony and speeches! It was probably the most emotional group of friends I’ve ever seen at a wedding, and it was so beautiful and touching to witness.
Rachel spent the morning getting ready with the girls, completing some DIY hem jobs and fixing each other’s perfectly mismatched dresses – it was the definition of fun chaos! Meanwhile, Riley and the boys were trying to figure out how to tie a tie in the other room. Nobody knew how to do it, so his best man gave everybody a lesson while the others watched very intently, which was so cute.
Once they were all dolled up, they had a private first look & vow reading under the canopy at a little hidden overlook. I snapped a few photos to commemorate the moment, but stayed farther back down the trail since they wanted to have the moment truly to themselves. I didn’t hear their vows, but they must have been really special because both of them came out crying! Such a touching moment to document between such sweet people. From there, we took a few quick portraits and then it was time to go into hiding before the ceremony!
I absolutely fell in love with this venue when it came time for the big moment – the ceremony spot in the trees was absolutely stunning, and provided the perfect space for Rachel & Riley’s emotional ceremony. They enjoyed plenty of quality time with their guests afterward during a nice, long cocktail hour, and then made their way to the tent for dinner & speeches! And these speeches, by the way, were some of the most excellent speeches I’ve ever heard. Rachel’s best friend brought out her high school yearbook and read what Rachel had written years ago, which was hilarious. Everybody was laughing and it was such a sweet touch to show just how far back their friendship goes!
The newlyweds wrapped up day 1 with an epic celebration in the forest, made especially great by the killer DJ, a great group of guests, and a full dance floor. Everybody showed off their best moves, and Rachel even swapped dresses & threw on some fun sunglasses – loved all the party vibes so much, and also the way they created such a comfortable, relaxed environment for everybody present!
You can learn more about renting Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theater for your own wedding, micro wedding, or elopement here!
Day 2: Adventure wedding portraits at Snoqualmie Falls
The party wasn’t over yet for these two lovebirds – it was just getting started. The day after their beautiful wedding, Rachel and Riley dressed up in their wedding attire once again with just their two best friends for a hike down to Snoqualmie Falls. It was such a blast getting to explore this iconic spot in Washington with such a lovely group, and we got the most fab photos with the falls!
We started off exploring the lush greenery around the falls, followed by a delish picnic before heading down to check out the valley. The rainbow that stayed with us up top the whole time was absolutely magical, and we lucked out with a simply gorgeous sunset to end the evening! What a way to wrap up the most incredible Snoqualmie wedding weekend – it was an honor getting to document both days for Rachel and Riley, and to see the special bonds they had with everyone involved.
If it wasn’t already obvious from this wedding, I adore the Snoqualmie area and believe it is such a phenomenal place for couples to elope in Washington. Whether you’re dreaming of a microwedding under the trees at Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theater or you want to venture through the woods & say your vows atop Snoqualmie Falls, I’d love to be there to capture it all for you. I can’t wait to hear all the ideas you’ve got for your Snoqualmie wedding or elopement – get in touch here and let’s make it happen!