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A Bowman Lake Elopement with Unity Sand Ceremony

Here at An Epic Elopement, we can both coordinate and officiate your elopement! Not only do you get two vendors in one, but we get to have twice the fun! We love doing both because officiating brings us even closer to our couples and we get to learn even more about their relationship.

For Katherine and Aaron’s Bowman Lake elopement, we included a unity sand ceremony as part of their wedding. Since we always strive to make the wedding ceremony as personalized as possible, we got to know Katherine and Aaron’s love story from beginning to present. Thus, we chose to include a unity sand ceremony because this tradition was especially meaningful to them and the journey they had taken to get to that point.

Is a unity sand ceremony (or another type of unity ceremony) right for you too? In this post, we’ll explore a few different unity ceremony options to help you determine if it’ll be a good fit for your wedding. Plus, you’ll fall in love with Katherine, Aaron, and their sweet story, filled with family, love, and plenty of adventure!

Boy Meets Girl:

Katherine and Aaron eloped at Bowman Lake within Glacier National Park on a gorgeous September day. The breeze was gentle, the sunlight hit just right, and Katherine looked like a real-life princess. But this day was a few years in the making.

This sweet duo first met on a ride along. Yes, you read that right! Aaron is a police officer and Katherine got to go on a ride along one night. On that fateful evening, an unruly patron had run into a fence and the first time that Katherine saw Aaron, he was cleaning up the debris. Later on that night, they had picked up a stray dog that Katherine immediately fell in love with. She begged to have him, but couldn’t just take him home in that moment. Following protocol, the dog went to the pound.

A few days later, Katherine found out that Aaron had adopted that dog from the shelter. That was a sign to her that she just had to see Aaron again! So she arranged to get his number from a mutual friend and they connected.

Their first date was at the dog park, where they spent hours getting to know each other and playing with Aaron’s new furry friend. From the beginning, they both felt comfortable with the other and knew that they wanted to be together. So when life threw a curveball at them by blessing them with a baby, they were ready.

A Christmas Surprise:

Katherine and Aaron’s son, Braylin, completed their little family. Family is everything to this couple, so when it came time for Aaron to propose to Katherine, he knew he had to have their family members surrounding them. He chose to pop the question on Christmas Day with all of their family present. They wore their matching Christmas pajamas and in spite of his nerves, he got down on one knee and asked Katherine to be his wife.

Of course, she said a big YES!

Planning an Elopement with Unity Sand Ceremony:

When I first met Katherine and Aaron, I could see they simply glowed from the love they had for each other and the anticipation of getting married. From planning their Bowman Lake elopement together, I quickly saw that they just enjoy spending time with each other and Braylin, no matter what they are doing. So it made sense that they were planning to elope with just a handful of their closest family on the shores of Bowman Lake.

This locale would give them the perfect ceremony backdrop with the pastel mountains and serene lake. On a sunny day, the sky, mountains and trees reflect off the water, making them all look infinite. It’s a naturally stunning setting, so we never need to bring ceremony décor for our couples at this spot.

All we brought that day was the unity sand ceremony items, cake, and champagne!

A Unity Sand Ceremony:

A unity sand ceremony became important to Katherine and Aaron because it visually represented the union of their families. A unity sand ceremony is a tradition where each partner pours a different color of sand into one larger vase so that the sand mixes together.

For Katherine and Aaron, not only would a unity sand ceremony symbolize the blending of their two lives, but it would also signify each of these parents coming together for their son. As soon as we explored this option for their wedding ceremony, we knew it was a good fit for them!

Other Types of Unity Ceremonies:

If a unity sand ceremony isn’t quite your vibe though, don’t worry because there are so many different types of unity ceremonies! Check out these options as an alternative to a unity sand ceremony:

  1. Unity Candle Ceremony: Similar to the unity sand ceremony, each partner holds a small candle and uses it to light a larger candle together.

  2. Wine Barrel Ceremony: The couple seals a wine bottle inside a wooden wine box to be opened on a significant anniversary later on. A twist on this unity ceremony would be to have each partner pour a different yet compatible wine into a center decanter!

  3. Jigsaw Puzzle Ceremony: Perfect for couples with kids, each family member would fit together a piece of a jigsaw puzzle with their individual name or initial on it.

  4. Hand Fasting: The officiant wraps a rope or cord around the hands and wrists of the couple.

  5. Tree Planting: The couple has a small sapling and during this unity ceremony, they take turns watering it. Then, they either plant it or take it home to plant it at their house.

No matter which unity ceremony you select, it should only special meaning to you, just like a unity sand ceremony did for Katherine and Aaron.

Katherine & Aaron’s Big Day:

On the day of the elopement, Katherine donned a white gown with long sleeves and all-over lace. She paired this with a long, trailing veil and sparkly headband. She was an absolute vision with just the right amount of sparkle and shimmer! Aaron looked equally dapper in his navy blue suit, light pink tie, and matching boutonniere.

Everyone arrived at the banks of Bowman Lake that afternoon when the sky was as blue as could be and the clouds provided just enough coverage for some shade. We set a small black table atop which we placed their unity sand ceremony items. Katherine’s sand would be blue and Aaron’s would be red. Their center vase was emblazoned with the words “Better Together” and the date.

When we started the ceremony, Katherine walked down the aisle on her father’s arm. When they reached the altar, Aaron joined hands with Katherine. As their officiant, I recounted their love story up until that point. I made sure to note that family was everything to them, especially their little boy.

When it came time for the unity sand ceremony, they each poured their sand color into the larger vase. The blue and red sand blended together perfectly, like waves overlapping each other on Bowman Lake.

After they exchanged rings and traditional vows, I pronounced them husband and wife! They were officially Mr. and Mrs.!

Cake, Champagne & Adventure!

After the newlyweds officially tied the knot, they signed their marriage license then cut their wedding cake. We adorned their cutie one tier naked cake with white floral, strawberries and blackberries. We set it up on a nearby wooden bench with a navy blue gauze runner, glasses of champagne, and our signature “We Eloped” sign.

Katherine and Aaron dug into their cake and enjoyed some bubbly with their family before setting off into Glacier further for adventure photos. They got to explore Glacier’s lakeside, forest and mountains to their hearts’ content, reveling in the fact that they were finally married.

The photos really speak for themselves! I would venture to say that they were the two happiest people in Glacier that day.

A Word from Katie:

Katherine and Aaron, you were a joy to work with! I so enjoyed getting to know the two of you, your love story, and your families. I hope you treasure your blended unity sand ceremony vase for many years to come. It was beautiful to witness! I wish you nothing but the best in your lives together!


Venue // Glacier National Park - Bowman Lake

Coordinator // An Epic Elopement

Photographer // Kelly Kirksey Photography

Videographer // Flourish Films

Hair & Makeup // Melanie Hobus

Let's Plan Your Wedding with a Unity Sand Ceremony!

Based in Kalispell, Montana, An Epic Elopement specializes in all-inclusive elopements, micro-weddings, and intimate weddings. Here, you get the full experience of having a traditional wedding, but with a little more adventure included!

Are you ready to start your elopement journey? Send me a note describing your elopement vision and let’s make it happen!


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