I remember when Taylor & Ethan reached out to me back on the Leap day this year asking if I would be interested in photographing their elopement on Tolmie Peak. Now I have to admit I had never heard of Tolmie Peak before and when I looked it up I was a little nervous about the hike, 3.25 miles each way. Since I am not really a hiker the thought of doing a 6.5 mile wasn’t really something I thought I could do so I decided I really needed to start training for this which I did in the beginning but in the end life got in the way and ended up not really doing the training I had planned on doing, oops! The reason Taylor & Ethan choose Tolmie Peak was they actually had googled most beautiful places in the US and Mount Rainier came up in their search. After they looked into Mount Rainier they looked for hikes within the park which lead them to the Tolmie Peak Fire Lookout hike.
Taylor & Ethan are actually from Florida but love the mountains, love hiking and they actually got engaged on a mountain top in Canada as well so it was pretty fitting they got married on a mountain top. They met in high school and even went to the same college and got engaged 2 years earlier but wanted to wait till they graduated college to get married, which gave them time to plan their mountain top elopement. I had told them in one of our conversations that I would hike Tolmie to check it out and see what time of day we should do the hike. Because of where Tolmie Peak is in the Mount Rainier National Park the road up to the trailhead didn’t open till the first week of July so we had to wait till the middle of summer to do the hike which meant trying to fit a hiking day in during my busy wedding season. But we did it and I’m so glad we did the hike before the elopement, I learned so much like: the 17 mile gravel road to the trailhead is pretty rough and I wouldn’t recommend taking a car up there. Or don’t do the hike in the middle of the day due to the bugs at Eunice Lake they were pretty bad when we did our prep hike up where I actually got chased by a swarm of bugs making me run the last half of mile up to the fire lookout. But once we got to the top I understood why they had chosen this location, the views of Mount Rainier were EPIC!!! So now that I knew what I had gotten myself into I knew when we should do the hike and I had my fingers crossed that we would have a clear day because if it was cloudy where we couldn’t see the mountain it wouldn’t be worth it.
So flash forward a week and half to the big day, the forecast was calling for clouds but I really had a good feeling that it was going to be a marine layer meaning that it would be not cloudy once we got high enough. Sure enough it was just that I remember when we turned the corner on the road and it was clear and we could see the mountain for the first time, I seriously got so excited that we had lucked out and it was going to be a perfect morning for their mountain top elopement. We got a little late start on our hike due to the officiant getting lost but we weren’t too far beyond and I had kinda planned on giving us a cushion in the time in case of things like this…. We did the hike up pretty fast and I was sure we were going to be the first ones at the top but to our surprise we weren’t at the top alone, there was a crew actually camped at the top because they were going to be working on the fire lookout so we ended up having an audience for the ceremony. So even though Taylor and Ethan hiked up together, Ethan hadn’t seen Taylor’s dress yet and so it was such a special moment him seeing her for the first time in her dress and flower crown. Taylor had a surprise for Ethan a boutonniere and a grape soda pin from the movie Up. We all got emotional when Taylor gave this to Ethan it was such a sweet perfect give to finish his outfit and match Taylors flower crown. After she got it pinned on his suspenders they started their ceremony, it was perfect, they each had written out personal vows and talked about their promises to one another it was so sweet. After vows and ring exchanged their officiant announced them as husband and wife and they sealed it with a kiss, now it was time for the fun part of doing their bride and groom portraits! Mount Rainier decided to hide a little bit behind some clouds but for the most part we did have the mountain in the background of their photos which was the ultimate goal. We really lucked out with the weather because I had heard that later in the day Tolmie Peak and the entire mountain was completely clouded over and you couldn’t even see the Eunice Lake or even 5 feet in front of you. I would love to do another mountain top elopement maybe not as long of a hike but it was with the views of Mount Rainier from Tolmie Peak it’s almost worth doing it again.
Elopement Location: Tolmie Peak Fire Lookout
Brides Dress Shop: Divas & Devils- House of Style
Dress Designer: Love + Harmony
Flower Crown: Etsy
Groom’s Accessories: Nola Leather
Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic
Groom’s Boutonniere: Ella Badge Pin from MyHoard & Flower from: Blue Orchid Creations
Officiant: Pastor Steve Brown