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Pray Lake Elopement with a Twist on a Wedding First Look

Have you heard of a wedding first look? It is a planned moment prior to a wedding ceremony when the groom sees his bride all dressed up for the first time. A wedding first look is becoming more and more popular these days because it gives the couple a private moment alone before the ceremony. It also allows them to take photos together before the rest of the festivities begin, so they can enjoy cocktail hour with their friends and family!

Madison and Ethan chose to have a wedding first look before their intimate Pray Lake elopement. But they put their own personal twist on it! What is the twist? Keep reading to find out!

Before the Wedding First Look:

Madison and Ethan’s elopement day in June was gorgeous! The sun shone brightly and cast a dewy glow over them all day. The sunlight also illuminated the surrounding mountains that still had remnants of snow scattered across them.

This couple decided to get married on the shore of Pray Lake within Glacier National Park. The lake is tucked into the Two Medicine Campground and boasts spectacular views of the sloping mountains. It’s not only the perfect place to camp, but also an ideal spot to tie the knot!

Madison and Ethan’s Pray Lake elopement was the culmination of a love story that spanned ten years! They first met in the 8th grade and grew up together, standing by one another through all of life’s milestones. Along the way, they developed fun hobbies together like puzzle making and video game playing. They even added a fur baby named Missy to their family in more recent years!

Needless to say, everyone was excited for the big day!

Pray Lake Elopement Décor Details:

Since their Pray Lake elopement day took place in June, Madison decided to have a mostly neutral wedding color palette with coral and blush pink accents. It also helps that these are her favorite colors!

We saw these hues reflected in her soft and romantic bridal bouquet along with the corresponding floral headpiece for her hair. Ethan’s boutonniere was also coral and was a beautiful pop of color against his deep blue suit.

Madison wore a long and flowing wedding gown with all-over lace and translucent long sleeves. It was free-spirited with bohemian vibes and she paired it with simple white flats. She was stunning!

We also utilized their wedding color palette for the cake and champagne table. They had a one tier wedding cake with buttercream smeared on the outside to look like mountains! Their cake baker also added in a buttercream forest tree to really complete the design. On the day-of, we added coral and white floral accents to the cake, and we laid a terracotta table runner out for it to sit on.

Madison and Ethan provided custom stemless champagne flutes with the phrase, “We eloped” etched into them. They were absolutely adorable, just like this couple!

A Twist on a Wedding First Look:

On the day of their Pray Lake elopement, I met Madison, Ethan, and their vendors at the Pray Lake parking lot. I brought along the floral, chairs, cake, and décor items that we would need for the evening, but before these two got married, we set them up for their wedding first look.

We found a picturesque spot with the mountains and forest trees in the background. We had Ethan face away from the tree line, so Madison could walk up behind him. When she did, she gave him the biggest and sweetest hug from behind before Ethan turned around for the grand reveal.

In this wedding first look, Ethan greeted Madison with a huge smile and an even bigger hug. They stood in each other’s arms, soaking up this moment together.

But it didn’t end there! Madison and Ethan put a personal twist on their wedding first look by reading their custom wedding vows to one another right then and there.

Having a private vow exchange along with their wedding first look was a fantastic idea! It gave them a chance to say these personal words and promises to each other in private. Although just a handful of their loved ones were attending the wedding ceremony, it still would have been nerve-wracking to pour their hearts out to each other in front of anyone else. Thus, this private vow exchange and wedding first look combo was the perfect choice for them!

After the wedding, Madison and Ethan both agreed that their wedding first look & private vow exchange were their favorite moment of the whole day!

Tying the Knot:

Then, it was time to make it official and get married! That day, I was both the wedding coordinator and officiant, so I took my place along the banks of Pray Lake to start the ceremony.

Madison entered the ceremony on her father, Kevin’s arm ever so gracefully while the song “You” by Akira Kosemura rang out. When they made their way up to the altar, Kevin hugged both Madison and Ethan before the couple came together.

As I’m working on a couple’s ceremony script, I like to weave in personal details about them. Prior to their ceremony, I asked Madison and Ethan each to send me a list of 5 things they loved about the other. During their ceremony, I read out their answers while they gazed into each other’s eyes. It was definitely a teary-eyed moment!

After they exchanged traditional vows and their wedding rings, it was time for the moment they had all been waiting for! I pronounced them husband and wife, and Ethan kissed his beautiful wife for the very first time!

An Epic Ending:

The first notes of “Light my Love” by Greta Von Fleet pierced the air after the newlyweds shared their first married kiss. They then took some time to celebrate with their family and take some photographs. At that point, I went over to set up the cake and champagne table nearby.

When Madison and Ethan were ready, they cut their adorable cake, and everyone toasted to them with champagne. They then talked and hung out for a while, truly reveling in the magic of the day.

Afterwards, the new Mr. and Mrs. journeyed around Glacier for their adventure photo session! From the pictures they captured, they definitely had a great time doing so!

And they lived happily ever after!

Final Word from Katie:

Madison & Ethan, it was so special being a part of your elopement! Thank you for inviting me into this exciting and precious time of your lives. I was thrilled to see you both so happy on the big day and hope that joy remains with you for the rest of your lives. Cheers to you!


Venue // Glacier National Park - Pray Lake

Coordinator & Officiant // An Epic Elopement

Photographer // Dina Remi Photography

Rentals // The Party Store

Hair & Makeup // Melanie Hobus

Lodging // Pine Lodge

Let's Plan Your Elopement with a Wedding First Look!

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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