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THE BLOG

OUR MT. BAKER ELOPEMENT: How we eloped at mt. baker as elopement photographers

mt. baker elopement

seattle wedding photographer

Hi! I'm Natasha! Your Washington elopement photographer, dog petter and donut eater. While photography is my first love, connecting with people is my love language. You'll find me lovin' on the big moments, the quiet moments, the silly moments – but especially the in between moments. The moments that are unadulterated and unfiltered. The ones where you are the real you. Here on the blog you'll find all of my favorite tips, tricks and resources for planning an elopement that's all about those moments.

NATASHA CARDINAL

WASHINGTON ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER

WHY WE ELOPED

Brian and I always knew we wanted to elope. It was something we had talked about from the beginning, before we were ever engaged actually. One of the perks of being elopement photographers is that the topic of marriage came up often, since it's something we're involved in every day! Before we decided to only focus on elopements, we were wedding photographers for almost 6 years, photographing your standard 100+ person weddings. And while most of the weddings we had been to were wonderful, non-traditional, we always knew that it was never us. Weddings came with a certain amount of production, stress, and drama that we just weren't about.

Not to mention the fact that we came from two divorced families, and starting to work on the guest list, thinking of our parents in the same room together, was enough to send both of us spiraling into panic. So from day one eloping was absolutely the easy decision! Logistics aside, being dedicated hikers/backpackers/travelers for so much of our lives, having an adventure elopement made sense for us. We wanted something we could include our dog Fern in, something fun, something with absolutely no pressure, and quality time with our friends.

WHY WE CHOSE MT. BAKER

There was never really any other option in our minds because from the first time we ever visited Mt. Baker we knew it was for us. It had the drama and the beauty of a national park, but without all of the red tape AND Fern could go anywhere and everywhere with us since it's in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. We wouldn't have to worry about crowds, or permits, we were familiar with all of the trails, annnnnnd since we live in Bellingham, WA it's only an hour away from us! Everything would be convenient, we didn't have to travel far.

We knew friends would be visiting from all over the world (Brian's best friend flew in all the way from Iceland even!) so our home could be everyone's basecamp and if we needed anything at all we could always just swing back home to grab it. Seriously, we wanted EASY and honestly we think Mt. Baker is one of the most stunning places in all of Washington state.

But it wasn't just Baker's beauty that sold us. The Mt.Baker Wilderness is one of the most pristine wilderness areas in the whole U.S., with more untouched wilderness than anywhere else in the country. The idea that we could seal our bond in a place that truly felt wild, a place that felt untouched, meant everything to us.

HOW WE ELOPED AT MT. BAKER

Wanna know a little secret? We actually had a courthouse elopement in Brian's hometown in Upstate NY in November 2022. It was a place where we fell in love, where we raised Fern, where we spent so many happy years visiting his grandparents, laying in the fields of farms we loved, of summer day picking berries. So we decided to honor our lives in New York by legalizing our marriage in a short courthouse ceremony with our two best friends by our sides (shoutout to Meg and Kevin, lifelong besties).

The beauty of eloping is that there are truly no rules! So by the time when we planned our elopement at Mt. Baker we essentially planned it as a week long hang out with our closest friends with no vows or real "ceremony".

The whole week of our wedding was filled with friends flying in, cooking up a storm (feeding people is my love language), showing our friends all of the beautiful places in our new home (we had just moved to Bellingham). When it finally came time to have our celebration in the mountains, we rented this AMAZING Airbnb in Deming, WA, just 40 minutes from Artist Point to act as our basecamp where our friends could stay with us, lounge in the hot tub, sit around the campfire, and we even made Korean BBQ for everyone the night of our wedding!

WHAT WENT WRONG

The whole reason we planned an early August elopement was so we could take advantage of the beautiful PNW summers, with little risk of smoke, but of course it was chilly, rainy, and cloudy the whole time lol. Initially we had planned for a sunrise ceremony right at Artist Point, but because we know exactly how to plan a badass elopement, we had a backup plan in place ready to go in case something like this happened! So day of, we opted for a 7 mile morning hike with our friends on the Chain Lakes Loop where we saw sooo many beautiful alpine lakes and tons of adorable pikas, and then had an evening ceremony in the Heather Meadows area instead.

And because we still wanted some sunny photos, we had a portrait session in the national forest with our best friend Kevin Ruano, who not only officiated us when we eloped in New York but also is an INCREDIBLE wedding photographer. All in all we had exactly the day we planned for: full of belly laughs, hiking, cuddling Fern, and sharing one of the most beautiful places on earth (this is NOT an exaggeration lol) with our wonderful friends. It was truly the best week of our lives.

PLANNING YOUR OWN MT. BAKER ELOPEMENT?

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Eloping at Mt. Baker for everything you need to have the best elopement from start to finish!

Want to see what a winter Mt. Baker elopement looks like? Check out Elissa + Josh's December Mt. Baker elopement!

VENDORS

Photos: Kevin Ruano Photography + us + our amazing friends!
Florals: Goldenrod Floral Design
Airbnb: The Hideout Mt. Baker
Dress: The Beverly by Scout Bridal
Suit: Studio Suits

WASHINGTON ELOPEMENT LOCATION GUIDES

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