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My Olympic National Park Adventure Wedding

All photography in this post by Running Wild Studio

Today I’m spilling all of the details about my Olympic National Park adventure wedding! My husband, William, and I got married during the fall equinox on September 22, 2022. We had a micro-wedding with 6 guests and prioritized the day around the things we love most- hiking, spending time in nature, quality time together, and our closest friends and family.

We chose to get married in Olympic National Park because it has a number of diverse environments throughout the park. I wanted mountain views and William wanted big trees, and Olympic provided both. The fact we could get married on the shore of a turquoise lake, and spend our honeymoon at the beach AND backpacking in the mountains made it even better! Another reason we chose Olympic National Park is because it’s fairly dog-friendly, which meant that our dog, Becket, could participate in the ceremony (unfortunately he wasn’t able to join us on either of our hikes).

We had never visited Olympic National Park together prior to the wedding (William went once when he was like 5), so it now holds a special place in our hearts. We both liked the idea of getting married somewhere unfamiliar so we could start a new tradition as a family. With so much to see and do in the area, it’s definitely a location we’ll be returning to in years to come to continue creating memories!

How to Get Married in Olympic National Park

Getting married in Olympic National Park is a fairly easy process. You have to obtain a special use permit from the National Park Service in advance. The permit costs $50 and can take a few months to process, so apply for your permit as soon as you know you want to get married in Olympic National Park.

There aren’t any restrictions on where you can have your ceremony (although if you’re having a larger wedding there might be), but there are a few spots throughout the park where most weddings occur, including on the shores of Lake Crescent. Your permit will come with restrictions about what you can and cannot do at your ceremony.

A wedding party including 2 dogs stands with their arms up celebrating after a wedding ceremony on the shores of Lake Crescent.

Vendor Spotlight

Before I get into the details of our wedding day in Olympic National Park, I have to highlight a couple of our incredible vendors. I’ll share details about all of our vendors below. If you want to jump right into the juicy details of our wedding day, you can head there now

Photography: Running Wild Studio

Photography was by far our biggest investment for our Olympic National Park adventure wedding and we couldn’t be happier with what we received from Running Wild Studio. Brooke & Sanne not only shot INCREDIBLE photos (I mean just scroll to see how stunning they are), they also provided high-level service from the moment we reached out.

We met with them numerous times via Zoom in the months leading up to the wedding to make sure we had the perfect timeline for the day. The photos Brooke and Sanne took are literal pieces of ART and I would highly recommend working with them!

If you’re planning on having an adventure wedding or elopement your photographer(s) should be one of the first vendors you hire. A skilled adventure elopement photographer will obviously shoot incredible photos, but they’ll also be able to plan out the timeline for your day and help you navigate any permits that may be required for your wedding. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with your photographer(s), so it’s important to find people you vibe with and who will hype you up!

Airbnb: Cabin on Lake Crescent

One of our top priorities on our wedding day was finding an Airbnb that could serve both as our accommodations and the location for our reception dinner. We found the perfect cabin on Lake Crescent that predated the establishment of the national park- the Olympic Thompson Point. The listing said that events were allowed and we let the host know our plans about hosting an intimate dinner before booking.

The cabin has 3 full bedrooms, in addition to 2 other beds in the loft. There’s a full kitchen, grill on the patio, and multiple decks overlooking Lake Crescent. There’s a sauna and rope swing next to the lake, as well as some kayaks. Thompson Point is dog-friendly, and comes with a dog bed and plenty of toys. Our host, Holly, also left us a bottle of wine to celebrate our wedding!

Thompson Point is a popular Airbnb rental, but William and I definitely want to return in the future. It’s in the perfect location for exploring Olympic National Park and provides a cozy vibe that makes it feel like it’s actually your family’s old cabin.

View from above a yellow cabin on the shore of Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park.

Recap of My Olympic National Park Adventure Wedding

Sunrise First Look 

Our wedding day started off on a crappy note- literally. Our dog, Becket, got sick not once, but twice in the middle of the night before our wedding, with the second accident occurring shortly before our 3:30am alarm. After making sure Becket was comfortable, we quickly made coffee and left to meet our photographers for our sunrise first-look.

A white Jeep drives through a forest on a dirt road with its lights on.

The original plan for the first-look was to hike up Mount Angeles from the Hurricane Ridge area of Olympic National Park. A couple of weeks before the wedding the National Park Service abruptly closed the road for construction, which meant we needed to come up with an alternative plan.

After doing some research to find new mountain views we decided to do the first-look at Blue Mountain, which is in a lesser-visited area of the park up Deer Park Road. We met Brooke and Sanne at a movie theater parking lot in Port Angeles at 4:45am and began the drive up the mountain. Deer Park Road is a windy dirt road that is passable for passenger vehicles, but has some tight curves and steep drop offs that you should be aware of. 

A couple stands in front of a white Jeep with its headlights on in the early hours of the morning pointing up at the stars.

It was still dark when we reached the parking lot at the summit, so we played around by taking some nighttime photos with lights that Brooke and Sanne brought. Then we began getting ready for the first-look. William wore a maroon, wool suit that he purchased off of Etsy that he paired with a floral tie that had been carefully selected by a sales associate at Dillards. I wore an Allure bridals dress that I purchased from Annalise Bridal in Grand Junction, Colorado. I also wore a Patagonia puffy that my mom bought as my “something blue” and left my Lululemon aligns on during our first-look and sunrise hike because it was so cold out!

There was a scenic clearing next to the parking lot that provided a stunning view of the Olympic mountains in one direction and Canada in the other. This is where William waited for me to make my grand appearance. I had been hyping up my wedding dress since I bought it, but kept its appearance a secret to everyone but my mom who picked it out.

The first-look went off without a hitch! William was pleasantly surprised by the dress, but agreed that it was SO me. From the flowy skirt, to the low back, to the plunging neckline with intricately beaded floral appliques, it totally embodied forest fairy princess energy which was the vibe I was going for. 

A bride with a flowy wedding dress with a plunging back and groom with a maroon suit have their first look in the mountains in Olympic National Park.

After the first-look we started the short hike up to the summit of Blue Mountain. The trail is a ½ mile loop with a couple hundred feet of elevation gain, so it was an easy hike to do in my dress. Since this area of Olympic National Park isn’t super well-known we ended up having the trail to ourselves most of the morning until another couple arrived. At the summit of Blue Mountain was a craggy rock outcropping that provided the perfect location for epic mountain wedding photos!

A bride holding a bouquet and a groom in a maroon suit stand on a rocky outcropping in the Olympic Mountains during their Olympic National Park adventure wedding.

I know it’s normal to have wedding day jitters, but getting to start the day in the mountains with fresh air and a gorgeous sunrise was so peaceful, and set the tone for the rest of our wedding day. Once we got back to the car after our hike I whipped out some Donut Pub donuts that we had ordered from Goldbelly and shared them with the group.

A bride and groom eat donuts with interlaced arms while sitting on a plaid blanket on a white Jeep in the mountains.

Getting Ready

The drive back to our Airbnb from the parking lot was almost two hours long. We had to get back in time to meet my hair and makeup artist, so we quickly changed out of our wedding attire and started driving down the mountain, through Port Angeles, and back into Olympic National Park.

We arrived back at the Airbnb shortly after my hair and makeup artist, Latecia, so we immediately got to work. I usually don’t wear makeup or do my hair, so I wanted to have a bold look for my wedding day that included a dramatic eye and mauve lip that matched my nail color. I kept my hair simple with a small twist on each side and loose curls. 

A white v-neck wedding dress with lace appliques on a handger with a bouquet, white birkenstocks, and a wooden sign in the shape of a national park sign that says "welcome to our adventure The Coopers.'

Brooke and Sanne met back up with us at the Airbnb as I was wrapping up my hair and makeup and started taking some detail shots. Then I met William down at the dock for a second first-look with my hair and makeup fully done. We both have a very natural look, so it was special seeing each other fully glammed out for our big day!

After the second first-look we drove to the Lake Crescent Lodge area for a second hike to Marymere Falls. This hike originally wasn’t on the agenda, but since our sunrise hike ended up being much shorter than we initially planned, we had enough time to squeeze in a second short trail. The hike is only 1.5 miles round-trip with limited elevation gain until right before the waterfall. 

A bride and groom stand in front of Marymere Falls, a towering waterfall with green moss, in Olympic National Park.

The hike to Marymere Falls is very popular and heavily trafficked. It also serves as the beginning of the hike to Mount Storm King, another popular hike, so we passed a lot of hikers who wished us congratulations. Even though the trail was fairly busy, we still had plenty of opportunities to take photos without getting in anyone’s way. The day felt like a blur from the moment we got back to the Airbnb in the morning, so it was nice to have an opportunity to slow down and connect with William before the ceremony.

The Ceremony

After the hike we headed over to our ceremony location, Bovee’s Meadow on the shore of Lake Crescent, where our guests were waiting. We had 6 guests at the wedding- my mom, William’s parents, William’s sister, and my friends, Lauren and Steph (who are also sisters). Unfortunately my dad wasn’t able to be there in person due to health issues, but he was able to watch the ceremony via Facetime (fortunately we had service since we were right next to the Lake Crescent Lodge). We wanted to have a sacred, intimate ceremony with only the most important people in our lives and we are so grateful for everyone who was able to make it!

We kept our ceremony decor simple (per our special use permit) and laid out a rug along the shore of the lake. Since my dad wasn’t able to make it, William and I walked down the aisle together. Our officiant crafted a beautifully intentional ceremony that honored the equinox and our love for each other. We incorporated a Celtic hand-binding ceremony to honor my ancestors and free-styled our vows to each other on the spot. I cried throughout the ceremony, in part because it was such a special experience, but also because the sun was so dang bright (a problem we didn’t expect on the Olympic peninsula)!

A bride and groom walk away from the altar holding hands with their arms in the air with their guests in the background on the shore of Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park.

Reception Time

After the ceremony we took some traditional wedding portraits with our guests and then snuck off to the woods for a few more bridal portraits. The light in the forest was absolutely incredible and our photographers captured some truly stunning photos! After a short walk in the woods we drove with Brooke and Sanne back to the Airbnb where our guests were waiting for the reception.

Our original plan was to wrap up our Olympic National Park adventure wedding by paddleboarding on Lake Crescent before dinner, but the wind made the water choppy and I wasn’t confident I’d be able to keep my balance standing up in my dress (I was still recovering from a severe ankle injury). It worked out for the best because it gave us more time with our guests, which I realized I hadn’t factored in enough of in our packed wedding day timeline.

The vibe for the reception was relaxed and laid back. Some of our guests changed out of their formalwear into more casual attire right away. My father-in-law cooked salmon on the grill and heated up some chicken parm we also ordered from Goldbelly. William and my mom assisted with appetizers, pasta, and sides. Unfortunately it was windy during dinner, so our food got cold quickly, but it was still a lovely meal with our friends and family.

A group of people sit outdoors at a long farmhouse style table at a wedding dinner. The groom is standing and people are cheersing champagne glases.

We hired a vendor to set up one long table on the patio overlooking Lake Crescent and hung some string lights on the house. I was hoping to have the string lights hang over the table, but we didn’t plan well enough to make that happen. I was still very excited about how the table turned out. It was simple and didn’t distract from the lake and mountain views.

A table decorated for a wedding dinner with candles and wooden slices in front of a tree on the shore of Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park.

We ended the evening with cake in front of the fireplace before winding down and heading to bed. It was the most incredible day of my life, but I was exhausted by the end of the night! We checked out of the cabin the following morning and spent the next 5 days honeymooning in Olympic National Park.

A bride and groom sit in front of a stone fireplace and feed each other cake with their black dog sitting in front watching.

Full Wedding Vendor List

Photography: Running Wild Studio Instagram: @runningwildstudio

Dress: Boutique: Annelise Bridal Instagram: @annelisebridal Designer: Allure bridals

Dress Alterations: Kate Stammler Studio (Grand Junction)

Wedding Shoes: Birkenstocks

Something Blue: Patagonia Nanopuff

Suit: Etsy

Hair & makeup: Company: Angie Evans Artist Instagram: @latecia.artistry

Officiant: Northwind Nuptials Instagram: @northwindnuptials

Rings: Hers: Olive Ave Jewelry His: Etsy

Airbnb: Cabin

Cake: Middle Name Baking Co. Instagram:

Cake Topper: Etsy

Rentals: Kim’s Creations & Tulle Shed Instagram: @kimscreationsandtulleshed

National Park Sign: TimberAndStain on Etsy

Florals: OneTree Bridal on Etsy

Hiking Backpack: Osprey Sirrus 24L Backpack

A bride and groom hike in wedding attire at sunrise in Olympic National Park with mountains in the background.

How Much Our Olympic National Park Adventure Wedding Cost

I love seeing people share the behind the scenes costs of their wedding because I think it helps people get an idea of what they may need to save for their own wedding. Expenses can add up surprisingly quickly and our Olympic National Park adventure wedding definitely cost more than we initially budgeted for.

I shared a Reel & TikTok breaking down the cost of our wedding that went viral, reaching millions of people. And boy did they have a lot to say! One thing I’ve learned being on social media is that people have very different relationships with money that makes “cost” very relative. Some people may think that we spent way too much money on our wedding, while others may think we got a great deal.

If you’re planning your own wedding the best advice I have is to prioritize your day and spend your money on what YOU and YOUR PARTNER want. We wanted a destination wedding that prioritized hiking and photography, which meant having to limit the number of guests we could invite. I also splurged on my dream dress, while William was able to score a great deal on his suit. At the end of the day, you’re entering into a union with your partner and the day should be a reflection of your love and commitment for each other!

Wedding Expenses For Our Olympic National Park Adventure Wedding

Photography: $4400

Dress: $1843.76

Dress alterations: $425

Airbnb: $2,223.20 (3 nights)

Rentals: $1,156.75

Hair & makeup: $735.88 + $60 tip

William’s outfit: $360

My wedding band: $975

William’s wedding band: $514.77

Officiant: $385

Welcome sign: $119.45

Food that we covered: $531.85 (my in laws covered some of the food costs)

Cake: $65

Florals: $138.82

National Park permit: $50

Wedding license: $106.21

Gifts for guests: $223.58

Miscellaneous things (wooden signs, Mr. & Mrs. sign, string lights, etc.): $40.66 (my mom also bought some miscellaneous things including my shoes and our cake topper)


Is that more or less than you expected?

Bride in v-neck chiffon dress and groom in maroon suit hold a sign that says "Welcome to Our Adventure" shaped like a national park sign with a black dog lying in front of them on a dock on the shore of Lake Crescent with Mount Storm King behind them.

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