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If you’re a lover of all things fantasy, fairytale, and whimsy, then you’ve come to the right place—because Emily & Nick’s woodsy sunrise elopement at Tipsoo Lake was the embodiment of all of that, and more. They sprinkled little bits of magic into each and every part of their day, from Emily’s hooded cape veil all the way to their luxurious picnic in the trees, featuring cookies & other desserts that looked like they belonged to Rapunzel! I’m officially in love with fantasy-themed elopements now, and can’t wait for you to see just how unforgettable your day can be when you infuse your unique personalities, hobbies, & passions into every moment.
Emily & Nick’s Woodsy Sunrise Elopement at Tipsoo Lake
Before their elopement day arrived, Emily and Nick let me know that they were a pretty personal couple; that they really wanted their elopement to focus on their relationship, rather than having to cater to a crowd. I could tell the moment I showed up that they were simply ready to celebrate with each other and be present together, so I was mainly a fly on the wall for most of the morning.
Rather than have them pose for an endless portrait session, I focused on capturing the candid moments, and all the beautiful ways that they interacted with each other. I think their entire day just goes to show that you absolutely do not need to be super extroverted, or constantly be ready for your close-up in order to get gorgeous photos; all you need to do is be your most authentic selves, and the rest will flow naturally! I promise☺️
Fantasy-inspired details and whimsical fairy vibes
While it’s true that your elopement day will be completely incredible no matter how much effort you put into details, I do always love it when couples go all out on a certain theme. Details are an underrated part of elopements, but they can be a really great way to, like I said before, infuse your personalities and the things you love into every aspect of your day!
Emily and Nick came to me knowing exactly what they wanted for their day: to lean into the “fantasy look” of Mount Rainer National Park; into the magic of the mountains, the colors of the wildflowers, the whispers of the breeze. The two of them have really intricate, nature-focused rings, and Emily chose to wear this insanely epic hooded cape veil, so they were going for a bit of an elven-fairy vibe that elevated the natural beauty of the landscapes around them. I love that they brought a mutual interest + an important part of their relationship into the details, because it made a huge difference in the vibe and overall atmosphere!
Random fun fact about Emily and Nick that I thought was appropriate to mention in regards to their fantasy-inspired theme: they have a pet tarantula named Aragog. Absolutely iconic.
Now onto their colors and attire for a brief moment (I say brief, but I could simply gush forever if I really wanted to). These two picked the summertime very intentionally; specifically, for the wildflower blooms at Rainier, so that they could really lean into the magic + color palette of the wilderness. Nick picked out a deep blue navy suit, a perfect color that meshed well with the earth tones of the park and allowed the vibrant florals of the day to stand out.
Emily chose a stunning, multi-colored bouquet that stood out against the natural palette of the mountains, and wore one of my favorite gowns I have ever seen. Designed by Allure Bridals, this gown embodied everything whimsy + magic, featuring a beautifully dimensional bodice covered in delicate blossoms, a romantic A-line silhouette, and soft champagne undertones. The star of the show, however, was the hooded cape veil that Emily added on—that is what brought out all the mystical elven queen vibes!
Wondering how you can make your elopement as photogenic and beautiful as Emily & Nick’s? Luckily, I wrote up a guide with my top 4 Tips for a Breathtaking & Photogenic Elopement Day just for you.
Retro Polaroids & sentimental home movies
I also wanted to make a quick note of an adorable touch that Emily and Nick incorporated into their day: they love everything retro, so they had a couple of Polaroid cameras floating around for guests to snap instant pics throughout the day! Nick is also super into film and editing, so he filmed a little bit here and there on an old Panasonic to make a home movie-style wedding video. Such a charming and personal way to add variety to your memories of the day, both tangible and digital!
Sweet private vows at Tipsoo Lake
Now that I’ve raved about Emily and Nick’s elopement vision + details, let’s get on with the show!
We met up at the Tipsoo Lake parking lot just as the world began to light up at dawn, the moon high up above the trees and soft purples + pinks painting the sky. We spent a few minutes on some finishing touches and then Emily and Nick walked along the trail to a perfect little spot by the lakeshore for their sweet, sweet private vow exchange as I stayed back a bit and captured it all from afar. Emily looked like an absolute goddess in her gown, amidst the pink wildflowers, the purple sky, and the vibrant summertime greenery, while Nick looked killer in the blue suit he chose. I could not believe what a gorgeous sunrise we got for this vow exchange by the water, such a special moment for these two to share before gathering with their loved ones.
If you’re in love with these wildflower meadows and lush, green landscapes, you’d also LOVE the Paradise side of the mountain! Take a look at Oksana & Jay’s Mt. Rainier Hiking Elopement at Paradise to see another one of my favorite wildflower hotspots in the park.
A sunrise ceremony along Naches Peak Loop
As the sun rose higher in the sky and daylight began to glisten through the tree line, Emily and Nick made their way back to the parking lot to meet up with their loved ones. We walked along the Naches Peak Loop trail to find the perfect spot for their ceremony, and I’d say we found it—can you even believe the delicious, glowing golden lighting we got on our way there?! I was simply blow away by the way these sun rays shone down right onto the soon-to-be newlyweds, making Emily look even more like a fairytale queen than she did before. Washington, you sure showed up for this one.
Emily and Nick’s ceremony was just as lovely as their private vow exchange was, the couple surrounded by just a few family members and friends, exchanging rings as blue skies began to appear. It seemed that the skies were in our favor every single moment of the day, from the moment we arrived at dawn until it was time for post-ceremony portraits along the trail; Emily’s bouquet and the blooming wildflowers were the epitome of summer in the PNW. Colorful, vibrant, and so spectacular, you’d think that the scenery belonged on a postcard.
Feeling like Mt. Rainier might be exactly the type of elopement location you’re looking for? Once you’re done reading through this blog, head over to my Mt. Rainier Elopement Guide for in-depth tips + all the important info you’ll need.
An elevated picnic celebration in the woods
Once we’d snapped about a million portraits of the newlyweds overlooking the layers of Washington mountains, the green forests, and the blue skies, it was time for Emily and Nick’s adorable picnic in the woods with their loved ones. Now, this wasn’t just your typical picnic; no, they went all out and really said let’s make this pure MAGIC. From the elegant white cake to the tiered cookie platter, filled with cookies covered in pastel colors & sparkling decor, to the Snow-White-esque mirror signage, every detail was well-thought-out. I was simply in awe at their breathtaking stationary and attire accessories—do those invites not look like they’re actually invites to a royal ball in a fairytale novel, set somewhere in a dramatic castle? And what about the velvet green ring box + Emily’s floral-covered white heels? What a dream come true, and a magnificent way to end an already amazing day!
If you love this elevated picnic idea, then you’ll no doubt adore the guide I put together with What to Eat at Your Elopement: 10 Creative Food & Meal Ideas.
Kind words from the bride & groom
I can’t thank Emily and Nick enough for the sweet review they wrote for me after their special day—
“Marla was absolutely incredible!!
Her website caught our eye, and she got back to us quickly when we reached out for the elopement information. She was incredibly helpful with the planning process and sent us so much information about how to pace the day, along with a ton of fantastic recommendations for vendors! She was always available for any last minute questions and was able to perfectly capture the exact vibe (wildflowers, fairy, woodsy) we were going for on our wedding day, which was amazing!!
Marla went above and beyond on the day of and made the entire process so easy! My husband and I are super introverted and were worried about looking awkward in our pictures, and Marla was able to capture the love between us perfectly! She had amazing cues to help us feel less anxious about our pictures and captured the most gorgeous candids I’ve ever had taken. We couldn’t be happier with Marla and her work!!
Absolutely hire her, she made the eloping process feel effortless and our pictures are literal perfection!!💖”
I’m beyond thankful that I got to play a small role in bringing this day together and more importantly, that I had the honor of documenting it.
Tipsoo Lake elopement vendors
Dress shop: I Do Bridal
Dress designer: Allure Bridals
Suit: Men’s Wearhouse
Invite template: ForeverPrintDesign
Cape designer: MooreSee
Emily’s custom ring: Laurie Fleming Jewelry
Nick’s custom ring: WeddingRingSet
Tipsoo Lake Elopement Photographer
Searching for a photographer to photograph your own dream day? Whether it be a fantasy-inspired celebration in the mountains like Emily and Nick’s or a grand hiking adventure through the backcountry, inspired by nothing but the natural beauty around you, I’d love to be there to help you tell the story of your special day. Get in touch with me here and we can chat all about your dreams + visions for your elopement—I can’t wait to create magic with the two of you!
Hi, I’m Marla! I moved to the PNW from South Florida in 2020 and have, of course, fallen in love with our mountains here in Washington. I spend my free time in the summer exploring new corners of this beautiful national park, looking for the very best spots for my couples that choose to elope here.
I’m here to help you throughout the entire planning process, from choosing your perfect location to finding the best vendors, creating a timeline of activities and helping you apply for the right permits. I’d love to photograph your Mt. Rainier elopement! Click to view my pricing, or head directly to my contact page.