Planning a wedding can be a big sticking point for couples: some feel pressured to put on a big event; others get stopped by the number of details involved; and others interact with businesses that cannot fulfill on their promises. Whatever your hold up, we don’t want it to get in the way of celebrating and declaring your love legacy to the world. Read on for the inspiring story of a couple who ran into wedding planning roadblocks at home and joyfully transformed their plans into a Pacific Northwest elopement adventure.
Cree and Lo are two very special humans. They met one another at a taco shop on an off-day where Logan reached out to start a conversation with Cree that continues to this day. Lo’s empathic ear and ability to make anyone laugh is one of the things that Cree holds most dear. He has taught her to temper her independence and open up to sharing more of her life with those around her. Logan, in turn, admires Cree for her fierce sense of commitment to her beliefs and pursuits. She has taught him to become more independent and confident in the way he chooses to live his life. Together, these two hold space for the whirlwind and the calm in life and share unwavering commitment to their partnership.
When they decided to get married, Cree took the reins on planning a wedding to rival any of the others she had attended.
Cree is a photographer herself and loves everything about weddings: the bride getting ready with her dearest friends, the groom dressing up to his best, the nervous laughs, the vows, the DANCING- literally everything- because that's her job. As a wedding photographer, she documents 20-30 weddings a year. While she didn't have time to plan a wedding (and really just wanted to elope in the mountains with the man she loves most), that sense of obligation to throw a wedding remained and caused her to stress over every little detail. Just two months before the big day, they had a band, fine silk table runners, gold plated decor, dusty blue bridesmaids dresses, and exquisite food at a winery that had a beautiful view in Kentucky.
About 45 days before their original wedding, their plans were abruptly brought to a halt with some bad news: the venue cancelled their contract due to a change in ownership and everything they had planned fell apart. It takes a special set of humans to set aside their plans and joyously embrace that which life presents them, and that is just who these two are.
“Instead of sobbing, we celebrated. This huge wedding wasn't US, it wasn't how we wanted to remember our engagement. We decided we were going to elope the way WE wanted to.”
When their venue cancelled less than 2 months from their date, how did they create a new game plan?
Luckily, these two had already planned their honeymoon in the Pacific Northwest. They made sure their photographer was down to take her first trip to the Northwest; reached out to vendors who mattered and made a difference in the local market; and made arrangements to fly Lo’s dad out to witness their special day. Lots of research went into identifying potential trails and monitoring weather conditions via AllTrails and the Washington Trails Association websites to ensure that the adventure matched what they wanted out of their day and was a feasible hike for their first-time mountain-climbing photographers. Cree scouted Pinterest for PNW elopements and reached out to photographer and hiking groups on Facebook for Washington State advice, specifically. She fell in love with Artist Ridge and Huntoon Point and kept returning to those locations.
On the day of their wedding, Cree slowly rolled out of bed after hours of cuddling Lo and talking about how excited they were for the day. She put some wood in the fireplace of their A-frame cabin and made pancakes for the family. The vendors met up and the cabin and everyone spent the morning giggling, swooning, and relaxing while getting ready. Both Cree and Lo have a rushed and busy life back home, so the opportunity to relax and slow down enough to remember the little details and feelings was very important to both of them.
Cree, Lo, Lo’s dad, and their photographers drove up to the Artist Point trailhead to meet with their officiant (me!) and get walking. As fortune would have it, the drive to Artist Point was open for the first time that year, so we could conveniently meet and park at the top together. We hiked out toward Huntoon Point through slushy snow in our hiking boots and stopped when Cree fell in love with the location. One of Cree’s favorite memories is of her photographers—who had never been on a mountain before nor owned hiking boots prior to the trip—who kept marveling at the snow pack and commenting, “ GUYS! THESE ARE THE TOPS OF TREES!” We all loved seeing someone react to something you know and love so dearly for the first time. During the ceremony, some skiiers stopped at the top of the small hill facing the ritual space so as to not interrupt. When Cree and Lo officially sealed the deal, the small collection of outdoor enthusiasts cheered and, in Cree’s words:
“Along with Kate adding words form our loved ones back home, it really brought that sense of family and friends celebrating us in real time. It was like we had everyone we cherished right there with us through the hearts of others.”
What did the rest of their trip look like? And would they recommend eloping to others?
Cree and Lo spent two weeks hiking, camping, and exploring from Vancouver and Garibaldi, Canada down through Snoqualmie, Mt. Bandera, and Mason Lake. They spent a day in Seattle exploring Pike Place Market and the coast with a few friends who had recently moved to the area, then ventured to Mt. Baker area for their elopement and the remainder of the trip. Cree and Lo fell in love with the varying landscapes in such a short distance; they are avid hikers and climbers in Kentucky and loved the playground here in Washington State. It may or may not have stolen their hearts.
Telling the truth fast: they would ABSOLUTELY recommend eloping to other couples! Every couple is different, but if you truly want to elope and are feeling the pressure to throw a big event for your family and friends, Cree and Lo give all their love and encouragement to do what feels right. Take a moment before you dive into planning and think about what matters most to the two of you. It was important to include family in the celebration for Cree and Lo, so to add that layer into their elopement, they held a reception with their loved ones upon their return at their family’s brewery with cupcakes and beer. It rocked.
I would love to meet the two of you. I want to hear your values and vision for life together. Click the link above, tell me a little bit about you two, and you’ll hear from me in the next 48 hours to schedule our first face-to-face hang. Thanks for taking the time, beautiful humans!
The Vendor Team, introduced by Cree herself.
Our Bad Ass Officiant: Kate Faoro Wright // Tapestry Event Co. // @tapestryeventco // tapestryeventco.com // Seattle, WA & Beyond
The World's Prettiest Florals: The Floral Babe // @thefloralbabe // Seattle, WA
Hair that never budged: Areca Hollinsworth // Hair by Areca // @hairbyareca // Ferndale, WA
The fastest Calligrapher ever: Kayla Hutchinson // Lucky Dog Mail Club // @luckydogmailclub // luckydogmailclub.com // Lexington, KY
My favorite Photographer: Tracy Burch // Tracy Burch Photography // @tracyburchphotography // tracyburchphotography.com // Owensboro, KY
Makeup that Withstood a Flood of Tears: Natasha Gendron // @tashamaemua // natashagendron.com // Bellingham, WA
The Dress that Never Got Dirty: Rebecca's Bridal Boutique // @rebeccasweddings // rebeccasweddings.com // Louisville, KY.
The Dreamiest Veil: Julie Smereky // Jules Veils // @julesveils // julesveils.etsy.com
The Rings that Sparkle: Olive Avenue // @oliveavenuejewelry // oliveavenuejewelry.com
Custom Jewelry that made me Sob: Hair Piece & Earrings --- Gilded Shadows // @gildedshadows // gildedshadows.etsy.com // Phoenix, AR
Memorial Necklace--- TSK Silver // tsksilver.etsy.com
The Boots that Were Made For Hiking: Columbia // @columbia1938 // columbia.com