Shannon and Derek created an incredible celebration of their marriage by bringing their friends and family to an idyllic lakeside retreat on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. NatureBridge at Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park is a place unlike any other in the world! Nestled in between the cobalt blue waters of the glacially-fed lake and the soaring evergreen-clad mountain peaks, the venue has a unique history and sense of timelessness. Rosemary Cottage, which presides over the property, was built at the turn of the last century and has witnessed the seasons change around the lake shores for years upon years.
Scattered around a meadow and tucked into the treeline are a dozen or so historic cabins, each featuring a cheery color scheme of red, yellow, white, green, and rustic shingles.Surrounded by a bevy of ladies, Shannon donned her gown in one of the lakeside cabins, then walked down a short trail to greet her beloved. The blue waters of the lake twinkled through the trees under brilliant August sunshine as the bride and groom strolled through the little meadows hidden amongst the trees. After a few quiet minutes to themselves, they were joined by the rest of the bridal party and a handful of family members, whose laughter and happy chatter filled the air like so many joyful birds.
The bride and groom said their vows with the branches of firs and cedars whispering in the background. After the ceremony, they took a short sail on the lake as husband and wife! Upon returning to shore, Shannon and Derek were greeted by a receiving line of guests who showered them with dried petals! The reception was decorated with cheerful flowers and nautical elements that reflected the bride and groom’s love of sailing. I love how Shannon and Derek created an experience that allowed their guests to share in their favorite activities, like hiking and canoeing, all in an environment that felt like a grown-up summer camp hidden away from hustle and bustle of everyday life. This wedding was beyond beautiful, but it was even more meaningful, reflecting a a life and marriage that has been equally handcrafted with conscience and care. Shannon and Derek, thanks including me in your wedding!
Big thanks to all who made this day so lovely!
Photography: Adrien Craven Photography
Venue: NatureBridge at Lake Crescent
Flowers: Around the Table Farm
Gown: Cicada via BlueSky Bridal
Menswear: Nordstrom & Wool & Prince
Oh I’m still pinching myself over this one! Laura and Bobby flew out to the Pacific Northwest for an Olympic National Park engagement session, and we chose Lake Crescent and Second Beach at La Push for the locations. There’s nothing else like the way the waves crash agains the seastacks, layers of pale fog obscuring the farthest standing rocks far off in the ocean. Closer to the shore, jagged cliffs push out of the soft sand, and the surf swirls and eddies in between in rhythmic bursts. The ocean coast of Olympic National Park is one of the places on earth that I feel most myself, somehow balanced between the eternal and the temporal realities of time. There’s something transcendent about the rugged, cold beaches of Washington and I was so honored to share it with this lovely pair.
Laura wore two gowns from Anthropologie, one in a soft sigh of palest blush, and the other a deep aubergine that brought out her striking coloring. Deanna of Twig and Vine Farm provided the breathtaking florals—two lush bouquets that incorporated berries, pods, and grasses to reflect the season. We began with a stop at Barnes Point on Lake Crescent, breathing in the mist and the fresh aromas of glacial water, Douglas Fir, and hemlock that always scents the air around the lake. A light breeze off the water created the perfect amount of movement in Laura’s silk skirt as she and Bobby strolled along the lakeshore and into the shadowy forested paths around the lake.
From there we drove another hour or so westward. Access to Second Beach is a journey, as you leave the parkinglot and venture into the dripping, mossy coastal forest. Tall firs soar above, their pointed crowns stretching into the clouds. As you trek closer to the water, the trees begin to show the effects of the coastal winds, their forms bent and twisted into windblown shapes. Lush ferns grow on every exposed surface, crystal beads of moisture glistening on their green fronds. The stairway winds down to the beach, narrow and uneven, forcing you to watch your footing and only occasionally lift your head for a glimpse of the golden waves crashing beyond the trees. Then suddenly, you emerge from the forest onto a tangle of logs thrown up from centuries of storms, the roaring, glistening expanse of the restless ocean before you.
The sun was just beginning to touch the water, turning the droplets of ocean spray an unearthly gold as we reluctantly departed the beach. Climbing back through the misty forest, twilight fell early under the feathery branches of coastal evergreens. Like slowly awaking from a particularly vivid dream, we climbed back into cars and turned the wheels towards civilization, the memory of salt spray and golden light slanting through the fog to carry us forward.
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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
There aren’t words that can accurately convey the majesty and drama of standing next to a thundering waterfall. The falling water sends off a light spray that scents the air and the roaring sound surrounds you and fills your ears. I had the honor of hiking the Franklin Falls trail with Lauren and Gavin to capture their engagement photos this summer. We made the short hike from the trailhead as it follows Denny Creek up a gradual climb, winding around rocky outcroppings and between towering evergreens. The coolness of the evening air was so refreshing after a hot summer day! We emerged from the lofty spires of whispering evergreens onto a rocky riverbank surrounding the deep pool where Franklin Falls tumbles into a deep, azure pool. Cool mist heightened the smell of fir needles, moss, and water. I loved capturing this romantic waterfall engagement session with Lauren & Gavin! Stay tuned for the second part of their session!