Chilly Morning Preparations: 5:30 AM
I met Rocio and Francisco on a chilly late May morning before sunrise at the trailhead parking lot. Fun fact: the Shenandoah Mountains are about 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding areas, even during the summer. So, be prepared for cool temperatures, wind, or even fog. With extra layers and rain gear in tow, we were ready to take on the day.
Hiking to the Summit Of Shenandoah
As the sun began to rise, we used flashlights to light the trail and started our ascent to the summit. For their comfort and convenience, I always provide couples with packing lists to ensure they have everything they need. Once we reached the summit, the soft morning light painted the clouds in a golden and red glow.
Capturing Sunrise Magic: 6 AM
Rocio and Francisco took this opportunity to do their final touches of hair and makeup. With the wind blowing, we had to be patient while navigating the rocks for some epic mountain portraits. Despite Rocio’s dress and hair flying in the wind, we embraced the elements, and with the golden glow of the sun behind them, they cuddled each other for warmth and created stunning and intimate portraits.
Exploring Skyline Drive: 7:45 AM
After descending from the summit, we made our way back to the cars, taking in the magnificent mountain views along Skyline Drive. This iconic drive offers numerous overlooks that don’t require hiking, making it the perfect location for couples who want to enjoy breathtaking scenery without physical exertion.
A Serene Lake Ceremony: 8:30 – 9 AM
The next destination on their elopement journey was a serene lake. The couple soaked in a peaceful moment together. Our next stop was a picturesque lake, where Rocio and Francisco had their ceremony. Against the backdrop of the mountains, they exchanged personal vows and rings, celebrating their love in a truly idyllic setting.
Luxury Picnic and Time to Relax: 9:30 AM
Following the ceremony, Rocio and Francisco indulged in a luxurious picnic, savoring delicious snacks and taking in the panoramic views around them. This relaxed and intimate moment allowed them to enjoy each other’s company, soak in the beauty of their surroundings, and share their first dance as a married couple. Taking time to unwind and embrace spontaneity is an essential part of an elopement day.
Celebratory Moments and Wind-Down: 10:30 AM – 1:30 PM
To commemorate their marriage, Rocio and Francisco popped open a bottle of champagne and captured sweet moments with a “Just Married” sign. Packing up their picnic, they then began the journey to their Airbnb, where they continued their celebration. Cutting the wedding cake, enjoying an in-home session in cozy PJ’s, and possibly indulging in a relaxing hot tub experience provided a perfect wind-down to their elopement day.
Embracing Your Unique Vision
As we conclude Rocio and Francisco’s incredible elopement day, remember that there is no right or wrong way to elope. Elopements allow you to create a unique experience tailored to your preferences, whether it’s exploring mountains, visiting local breweries or restaurants, or indulging in sweet treats. Your day should reflect your love story and the activities you enjoy most.
How To Plan an 8-Hour Elopement In Shenandoah + Extra Resources
There are some rules on how to elope in Virginia and you will have to fill out some paperwork beforehand. Luckily, I have a whole blog post about everything you need to know about how to legally get married in Virginia! Make sure to read over that here!
I also have a full guide on eloping in Shenandoah National Park that has everything from how to get there, the best locations to elope, and what you should pack. I highly recommend reading over that blog as well! All of these resources will be your go-to on how to plan an 8-hour elopement in Shenandoah!
The Freedom to Create Your Dream Elopement
Elopements offer the freedom to slow down, savor every moment, and focus on what truly matters – your love and the experiences you share. It’s about cherishing beautiful locations, creating memories, and celebrating your unique journey together.
In planning your own elopement, remember that I’m here to listen to your vision and provide you with options tailored to your preferences. With a million different locations and variations of timelines, we can create the perfect elopement day for you.
So, whether you dream of embarking on a mountain adventure like Rocio and Francisco or have other ideas in mind, let’s work together to make your elopement day an unforgettable expression of your love. Don’t forget, I’m here when you need help on how to plan your 8-hour elopement in Shenandoah.