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Full Day Adventure Elopement on Lake McDonald

Have we mentioned lately that we LOVE our job?! Around here at An Epic Elopement, each adventure elopement we work on is truly an adventure for both us and our couples. From hiking to the top of a mountain to exploring the emerald forests of Glacier National Park, every adventure elopement is vastly different. We love helping our couples make their adventure elopement uniquely theirs. We select a color palette and include personal details that showcase their personalities. We also develop a customized, detailed timeline that works best for them, whether that means eloping and taking adventure photos after, or turning their elopement into a full day affair!

A perfect example of this is Rachel and Pat’s adventure elopement! They invited their closest loved ones to be part of a full day wedding celebration! They kicked the day off with a morning brunch followed by a private first look. Then, they made their way to their ceremony on the shores of Lake McDonald in the coolest of ways (stay tuned to find out how)! After they tied the knot, they celebrated with cake, charcuterie, and adventure photos around Glacier National Park!

It was truly a fun celebration from morning until night and everyone had such a blast being together for the entire day. Since the festivities were spread out through the day, nobody felt rushed and everyone, especially Rachel and Pat, could simply relax and savor their big day.

With a vibrant wildflower-inspired wedding color palette, this full day adventure elopement and celebration was unique to who Rachel and Pat are. Keep reading to learn more about how we pulled off their fun-filled adventure elopement day! Trust us when we say that these are EPIC photos you definitely don’t want to miss!

A Bright Adventure Elopement Color Palette:

Rachel and Pat’s adventure elopement color palette consisted of vivid hues like tangerine, hot pink, orchid, teal, and pear green. They also included accent colors of periwinkle, deep violet, and ivory.

Rachel is an archaeologist who works in Peru and as a result, she collects Latin American folk art. This type of art typically utilizes bright colors and as such, Rachel wanted to incorporate similar hues in their wedding colors. She knew that the mix of colors from their wedding photos would perfectly complement the artwork on their walls. Plus, they just love the colors!

You can see these colors in Rachel’s colorful bridal bouquet, Pat’s boutonniere and tie, their wedding cake accents, and even in Rachel’s veil! Her wedding dress was an off-the-shoulder cream colored gown with a sweetheart neckline and buttons all the way down the back. Her veil was sheer white with delicate floral embroidery along the hemline.

It was downright gorgeous with its pink, yellow, blue, and orange flowers and creeping green vines. We’ve never seen anything like it and it was stunning!

The Morning of the Adventure Elopement:

On the morning of their adventure elopement, Rachel, Pat and their family gathered for brunch at Lake McDonald Lodge. They got the chance to enjoy good food and company in a casual setting before the wedding festivities officially began. While they were wined and dined at brunch, we picked up the floral, cake, and charcuterie that we would need for later in the day.

After brunch, hair and makeup started for the girls. Rachel's final bridal look was soft, dreamy, and romantic. She wore her curly brown hair pulled into a low chignon and her hair stylist affixed a half floral crown to it. Rachel then donned her beautiful wedding dress and veil, along with royal blue shoes (her “something blue”) and classic pearl earrings.

When she was ready, she did a sweet first look with her dad. This is always a sentimental moment between father and daughter, but we love that her dad helped her put the finishing touch on her look: a simple pearl necklace.

Rachel’s dapper groom wore a navy blue suit with periwinkle tie and bright orange boutonniere. It was a classically handsome look and was the perfect complement to Rachel’s bridal style! When he was ready, we brought him to the water’s edge at Lake McDonald Lodge for his first look with Rachel.

It was already a sunny, warm day in the mountains, but when Pat turned around to see Rachel for the first time, we swear it got sunnier!

Epic Pre-Ceremony Adventure:

Rachel and Pat chose to have their adventure elopement ceremony on Ryan Beach in Glacier National Park. They brought a handful of their family and friends to witness their nuptials. To actually get to Ryan Beach, we all could have taken a caravan and hiked to this more secluded wedding spot. This adventurous couple though opted to take the lesser beaten path.

They went on an epic pre-ceremony boat ride!

They chartered a private boat for an hour to explore Lake McDonald and make their way over to Ryan Beach. We all boarded the boat after Rachel and Pat's first look and then ooh'ed and aah'ed at the incredible sights on the lake. It could not have been more of a beautiful day for a boat ride with the sunlight glistening off the water. The surrounding mountains looked picture-perfect as we glided in between them.

Even the boat played into this adventure elopement’s color scheme by bright turquoise accents all over it! It’s like it was meant to be!

Adventure Elopement Ceremony & Cake Celebration:

When we sailed onto the banks of Ryan Beach, we all disembarked and set up for their adventure elopement ceremony. One of Rachel and Pat’s close friends, Ashley, officiated. Rachel’s dad escorted her out from the trees into the ceremony along the shores of Lake McDonald. Then, Rachel and Pat exchanged rings and vows before sealing the deal with a kiss!

After they tied the knot, the newlyweds and their guests made their way to the adjacent area called Apgar Picnic Area for the celebration!

There, they found individual charcuterie boxes waiting for them. They also marveled at the beautiful cake table that displayed Rachel and Pat’s one tier white wedding cake and glasses of sparkling champagne.

Their wedding cake had a white buttercream exterior with a mountain design. We gingerly placed colorful floral accents at the base of the cake to match Rachel’s bouquet and Pat’s boutonniere. We then poured champagne into the newlyweds’ personalized “We eloped” glasses, which echoed our signature “We eloped” wooden sign.

Once everything was set up and the guests arrived, we left everyone to munch on the charcuterie, enjoy the vanilla cake with huckleberry filling, and celebrate the newlyweds!

Adventure Elopement Mountain Photos:

After everyone’s stomachs and hearts were full, Rachel and Pat headed off with their photographer to trek around Glacier for spectacular adventure photos! Our photography partner and friend, Marianne Wiest, took their photos and she always finds the best spots for our couples!

They found an emerald green forest, rolling hills, cliffs, and of course, hiked up to a mountain peak! They even discovered the most perfect meadow filled with fuchsia wildflowers! If that’s not a sign that this adventure elopement was fate, we don’t know what is!

Check out some of the fantastic shots they got!

All-Day Adventure Elopement Timeline:

Is a full day adventure elopement right for you, like it was for Rachel and Pat? Whether you are eloping with just you and your honey, or with a close group of loved ones, a full day wedding celebration is a fun and laidback way to spend time together. Check out this abbreviated sample timeline based off of Rachel and Pat's adventure elopement. This is just one of the many ways you can spend your elopement day!

9:00am: Brunch at Lake McDonald Lodge

11am-2pm: Get all dolled up for the wedding

3:00pm: First look between bride and groom

4:15pm: Private chartered boat ride to ceremony site

5:15pm: Arrive to ceremony site / Pre-ceremony photos

6:00pm: Ceremony at Ryan Beach

6:45pm: Cake, champagne, and charcuterie celebration at Apgar Picnic Area!

7:15pm: Adventure photo session around Glacier National Park

And then you'll live happily ever after!

A Word from the Bride:

Q: What piece of advice would you give to couples planning their wedding?

A: “If you want a stress-free experience, Katie is your girl!! Starting early is also another way to make sure you get great vendors for the dates you want, but Katie I’d also a miracle worker who can probably make anything happen.”


A Word from Katie:

Rachel and Pat, congratulations on an absolutely gorgeous adventure elopement! It was so incredibly fun getting to hang out with you guys throughout the whole planning process. I was happy to see you both so happy on the day-of! This is definitely a day I will never forget! Cheers!


Venue // Glacier National Park - Ryan Beach

Planner // An Epic Elopement

Caterer // The Kopper Kitchen

Hair & Makeup // Melanie Hobus

Let's Plan Your Full Day Adventure Elopement!

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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