This winter elopement in the North Cascades easily goes down as our most adventurous shoot in 2017. In mid-December, we traveled high up into the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Wilderness for a snowshoe ceremony in a blizzard. The powder was thigh-deep and spirits were as high as the elevation. It was a wintery blast!
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Most adventurous elopement to date. I mean, they got married in a blizzard. How awesome is that?!
A Winter Elopement in the North Cascades
When Kelley and Colton contacted us about photographing their winter elopement in the North Cascades we knew there’d be a lot of snow. But we didn’t know there’d be THIS MUCH SNOW. As their date got closer, we kept checking the weather to see if we’d be treated to a clear day and a view of Mt. Shuksan looming behind Picture Lake. As it turned out, the weather was calling for a storm. A rather big storm predicting 18-24″ of fresh snow. We all kind of smiled at each other and chuckled uneasily as we joked about the conditions. One thing was for sure – this would be a very memorable winter elopement.
Down at Kelley and Colton’s cabin in Glacier, WA it was raining. The temperature was hovering just above freezing, making for an exceptionally damp and dreary day. Dealing with weather is always something you have to contend with when having an elopement, especially a winter elopement in the PNW. But the plan was in motion and no amount of rain or clouds were going to dampen anybody’s spirits. We assured ourselves that though it was raining down here, it would certainly be snowing up on the mountain. When Kelley and Colton were done getting ready, we did a quick umbrella-first-look in front of the cabin, and then everyone piled into their cars, shifted into 4-wheel drive, and set off up the mountain.
Snolopement [snow-lope-ment]: A winter elopement with an abundance of snow
If “snolopement” was actually a word and not a word we just made up, this elopement would be the visual definition of a snolopement. On the drive up, we actually started to get nervous that it would be raining at the top as well. The temperature reading in the car wasn’t dropping at all even though we were rapidly gaining elevation as we drove up switchback after switchback. But sure enough, just as we rounded the last turn before Picture Lake, the rain turned to big, thick, heavy snowflakes. Our hearts started racing with excitement, knowing that all was right with the day and we’d have a magical snowy adventure in the North Cascades.
Everybody had acquired snowshoes for the occasion, and it’s a good thing we did because there was no way we would have been able to make it through the snow without them. Even Kelley and Colton’s parents made the trek through the deep powder to witness their crazy kids say “I do” in a blizzard. To get to the ceremony site we had scouted the day before, everyone had to surmount a towering mound of snow next to the road. There was literally no other way to get up and this was the easiest patch we found. Everyone pitched in to help each other up and soon we were all gathered in front of Kelley and Colton in a winter wonderland.
Kelley and Colton’s best friends co-officiated (the first time we’ve seen this done and loved it!) and they knocked it out of the park, bringing out equal amounts laughter and tears. You could literally watch the snow pile up on everybody’s heads as the ceremony went on. By the first kiss, we were all starting to blend in with the snowy landscape. It was beautiful. Afterwards, we hiked around with Kelley and Colton, putting our snowshoes to the test as we plowed through uncharted powder, never quite sure of how deep we’d sink. At one point, Kelley and Colton found a sled to borrow for a just-married sled ride down a big hill. They followed it up by tackling each other in the snow, and I (Brandon) learned a lesson about walking backwards in snowshoes…snowshoes aren’t really made for that and you WILL trip and fall. By then end of it all, we were all covered in snow, soaking wet, pretty dang cold, and completely in love with life. It was a blast and an elopement we’ll always remember!
One last thing: we gotta give a huge shoutout to the two other adventure vendors that joined us out here to help make it all possible – Erika of The Greatest Adventure Weddings & Elopements did florals and helped with planning the day, and Anne Timss worked some serious magic with hair and makeup, because Kelley looked amazing throughout the whole blizzardy adventure! Both of them are all about getting outside, hiking, and going the extra mile to make these adventure elopements beautiful and possible. If you’re looking for elopement vendors, look no further than these two!
The Foxes are Brandon and Gabi Fox, an adventurous husband and wife elopement and wedding photography team living full-time in their DIY renovated 1972 Airstream. They are loosely based in the Pacific Northwest, but travel for work and play throughout the western states. Their work is best described as candid photography that captures couples as they are, where they are, blending images of love and natural beauty in the great outdoors.