Pacific Northwest Wedding

Stunning Winter Adventure Wedding in the North Cascades | Swell & Stone- Elopement Photographer

Hannah & Collins Wed in Dreaming Winter Adventure Elopement in the Pacific Northwest Mountains

Swell & Stone / Adventure Elopement Photographer / Washington and Beyond

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When Hannah first contacted me about photographing her and Collins in Washington I was so excited...except it was going to be in the dead of winter, in the North Cascades. But I truly had nothing to worry about, they are the super adventurous, and tough as nails. Their ceremony was actually on Saturday in Seattle. After listening to their family and friends tell stories about taking on challenging outdoor endeavors with them I knew they would be troopers for our adventure shoot the next day.
We headed out in clear weather Sunday morning. I had found a webcam online that show beautiful sunny skies in the mountains, so even though they had a whirlwind wedding the day before Hannah and Collins were down to push up the timeline a little and get to the mountains. They chatted on the way there about how nice it was to be escaping to the mountains, if only for the day. When we drove in the weather was still nice, but cold. And the clouds where moving in, an indication of a storm building for the afternoon.
Hannah and I had exchanged quite a few emails regarding road closures in the North Cascades in the winter. We were able to park at Diablo Lake. We saw so many beautiful landscapes that day, from the mountains with a storm moving in, to ice waterfalls, to whirlwinds of snow on the dam. We explored the varied landscapes, and then warmed up in the car when it got too cold.
The laughed and explored together easily, even in freezing temps. To be honest everything with Hannah and Collins seemed easy- their love for each other and their family and friends' love for them.
The last place we stopped was the first place they ever camped together. They reminisced about that trip, and where they are now, and they walked down the road with Hannah's gown gathering an array of pine cones and needles in the train. It was an absolutely perfect way to end their weekend of celebration, and to continue their life together.

Winter Elopements: The Definitive Guide to Getting Married Comfortably Outside in the Winter

Adventurous Couples Brave Winter Weather and Get Unique, Jaw-Dropping Photos as a Result

Swell & Stone / Adventure Elopement Photographer / United States and Beyond

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When it comes to getting married in the winter the vast majority of people assume it will have to be indoors. But if you’re the adventurous type and plan on eloping with just your partner and maybe a friend or family member or two then you don’t have to worry about if grandpa is going to freeze standing outside. Winter landscapes provide an almost otherworldly backdrop, and talk about a memorable experience. So if you’re look for a wildly different wedding experience, consider getting married outside…in the WINTER! Here are a few important factors to keep in mind.

Footwear

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Keeping your feet warm is one of the keys to staying comfortable in frigid temps. Luckily most wedding dresses are long so women can easily wear wool socks and comfortable hiking boots with their dress. Choose something you will be able to walk around in for hours if need be. Depending on your chosen location for your ceremony you may need to hike in them for a little while. These boots are some of my favorites and they happen to look stylish under a wedding dress too. This is not one of those times to skimp on comfort. In fact, comfort is of the utmost importance here, because if you’re suffering, it will be difficult to want to continue. Danner makes a classic and beautiful boot that look great under dresses.

Long Underwear

Men can wear just about anything, thin, warm, and wooly underneath their suits, but classic long underwear is a good place to start. Women, on the other hand, need something warm but also not obvious, and for that I love nude fleece lined leggings. If the bride’s leg peaks out from under the dress while walking you can’t even tell she’s wearing leggings in the photos. Women can also opt for a long sleeve gown to make their top layer a bit warmer. However, I also recommend having a jacket you don’t mind being photographed in. Which brings me to my next point…

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Stylish Jacket

It doesn’t hurt to have a nice jacket you don't mind being photographed in. You can take it on and off as needed, but you might as well be warm while walking around. For a lot of brides it's a white down jacket or some other kind of white jacket. For men, it's often a black down jacket. But it doesn’t have to fall in line with the standard wedding color scheme, the beauty of it all is you get to be yourself and wear whatever you like, not what other people expect you to wear. So break norms and traditions, after all you are eloping outside in the winter- if that’s not already breaking traditions I’m not sure what is.

Foot, Hand, & Body Warmers

These things are pretty much the best ever. They are thin, warm, and last for hours, and they just might be your key to getting married outside in the winter even if you thought that was something you could never do. They come in different types- foot, hand, and body, and yes, it makes sense to get all the types because the hand warmers do not fit in your shoes comfortably the way the foot warmers do. The body warmers are larger and cover more surface area, so if you are really worried about being cold, pick up some of these and you might be sweating before you can say “I do!”

Blankets

If you have family or friends in attendance, offer them the above advice for sure, but also maybe have a couple extra blankets in the truck of your car if someone comes a little unprepared. They can be national park themed or just pretty blankets, but whatever you choose, make sure it’s warm and you don’t mind having them in your photos.

Hot Drinks

It does not hurt to have a thermos full of something hot to take along with you. Whether it’s hot chocolate, tea, coffee, or spiced rum- pick your favorite warm drink and carry it along in a backpack to help keep you hydrated and warm. Here’s a recipe for a delicious special occasion drink that will definitely keep you warm, even on the coldest of days.

Have a Car Nearby to Warm Up In

Finally, there is no shame in driving to a beautiful location and getting out for 10-15 minutes at a time. Most ceremonies only last about 15 minutes, so use all the above suggestions to stay warm during that time and then jump back in the car with the heat cranked up full blast! When shooting winter adventure weddings this is a common strategy, the couple gets to have the ceremony where they want, but also check out several other locations for photos. It’s easiest to do in the winter because there are usually fewer crowds. An important thing to work out with your photographer beforehand are any potential road closures. You don’t want to plan to drive to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, for instance, between December (or the first big snow) and mid-May.

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I hope this info was helpful and gave you a different perspective on getting married outside in the winter. As an adventure elopement photographer, winter weddings have been some of my favorite to photograph. Crowds aren’t an issue and there is something so quiet and peaceful about being outside in the winter that translates to a wildly different wedding experience for couples. If you’re looking for a photographer for your wildly different wedding experience get in touch with me ASAP! You can do that HERE- or by hitting the button below.