As wedding photographers, we have the incredible opportunity to be a part of one of the most significant days in the lives in our couples.
This experience has been eye opening at times as we’ve met so many people and experienced so many different approaches to weddings – from traditional Catholic & Jewish ceremonies in churches to more humanist ceremonies in the woods.
April & Ted opted to elope at Hawk Falls in Hickory Run State Park – a really incredible little location in the Pennsylvanian woods. So often when people think of elopements, their minds run to traveling to some far off and exotic location, but so often our back yards have beautiful spots for it, too.
What makes elopements so special is that our couple’s decide to have a mini-wedding of sorts, inviting only the closest people in their lives to take part in the ceremony. In their cases, it was just immediate family that came along for the marriage ceremony, and they had a little reception party with others later in the evening. It’s a truly great and simple way to approach getting hitched!
If you are thinking about having a small wedding or elopement, we hope these photos show you what kind of photographic potential can come from something like this. While the gallery of images below really tell a great story of how their day unfolded, we want to share with you just a little bit of backstory so you can see how we play a role in making things happen!
How we made this little elopement come true
Much like a “regular” wedding day, elopements require a little bit of planning to have go on without a hitch. We had many emails going back and forth with April early on in this process – before she was even certain of where she wanted to elope!
We were involved very early on in the planning process to help suggest locations and give ideas. She came back to us and let us know she decided on Hawk Falls in Hickory Run State Park after communicating with the park and paying the (pretty minimal) permit fee to use the space for a wedding. Also incredibly valuable was the offer to use a little chapel in the park as a rain back up plan – not always something people who elope have an option for.
Leading up to the elopement, we visited Hickory Run on our own to check out possible ceremony spots, as well as get an idea of where we’d like to take them for portraits. They had booked one of our elopement packages that included 4 hours of coverage – which ended up being perfect to get everyone down to the chosen ceremony site (right at the falls), take some family pictures, and end with a bunch of couple’s portraits of the newly married bride & groom!
About a month before the big day, we also met with April, Ted, and their officiant to go down to the ceremony site and run through ideas. This helped everyone get to know each other, and figure out how the day would flow.
We returned home and put together a timeline to help add some structure to this little elopement. We decided because it is about a half mile walk that Chris would walk down with Ted and his family, then about 15 minutes later April and her family would arrive and walk down with Jes. This allowed us to make sure they didn’t see each other before the big reveal during the ceremony.
As you’ll see in the photos below, hiking boots were also worn. In some really cute pictures, April set up a little spot just down the path from the falls to slip into some dress shoes for the ceremony with the help of her mom. Super cute!
From there – the elopement was all smooth sailing with a great service and great reactions from everyone involved! We absolutely loved this unique elopement in the woods, and will definitely be shooting more like it in the future!
Celebrant – Lois Heckman
Part 1: Ted Walks to the Ceremony Location
Part 2: April walks to the Ceremony Site
Part 3: Ceremony
Part 4: Bride and groom portraits
Made it this far? Thank you SO much for taking the time to scroll through this beautiful elopement we captured!
Now – if you are thinking about eloping yourself, and maybe not totally sure what to think about it, get in touch with us. We’re happy to chat and see what we can do to make your day that much more special!