30 Sep 2016
There is some otherworldly magic about the places where the ocean meets land. The Pacific Coast of the Olympic Peninsula is undeniably one of those magic places. From the northwesternmost point at Cape Flattery to the postcard-perfect cottages of Seabrook to the dunes of Ocean Shores, the Olympic Coastline is a wild and breathtaking stretch of sandy beaches, rocky seastacks, and windswept conifer forests. I get goosebumps when the car rounds the last bend in Highway 101 and you begin to glimpse the twinkle of the ocean through the coastal forest. South of the town of Forks by an hour’s drive through some of the most rural parts of the Olympic Peninsula, Highway 101 follows the Pacific Coast for just over ten miles before veering eastward again towards the forested foothills of the Olympic Mountains. As you drive those miles of isolated road, the sun flickers between the trunks of fir and hemlock, and little vistas open between the trees, offering a glimpse of windblown evergreens, sandy beach, and wild open ocean.
When Erin and John contacted me about photographing their elopement on the Washington Coast, you can only imagine how excited I was to document a wedding in one of the most breathtaking places on earth. John and Erin had scouted up and down the beaches from Ruby to Kalaloch and finally landed on a lesser-known spot designated only by a green road sign as Beach 3. Erin’s brother walked her down a winding trail from the highway to the beach and over a stretch of sand to the spot they had chosen for their ceremony, designated only by a beach log and the colorful attire of the handful of family members waiting for them. On the shining sand under the windblown branches of the coastal forest, Erin and John said their sweet vows and were joined in marriage.
After the bride and groom and their guests celebrated by dipping their toes in the waves, we took some time on the beach for relaxed portraits of their couple and their nearest and dearest. The guests departed for a reception dinner at Lake Quinault Lodge, and Erin and John stayed behind a little longer to stroll arm-in-arm across the sand. The bride’s intricate gown and romantic bouquet were lovely accoutrements of the wedding festivities, but by far my favorite part of the day was the joy that John and Erin shared during their first moments as husband and wife!
Gown – BHLDN
Officiant – Autumn Pappas, Happy Heart Ceremonies
Ceremony Site – Beach 3, Olympic National Park
Florals – Thatch Floral
Reception – Lake Quinault Lodge
Hair and Makeup – Sara McCarter