Virginia, with its beautiful national parks, is the perfect landscape for your adventurous wedding. Linda and Chris’ Shenandoah National Park elopement showcases how breathtaking and romantic it is to exchange vows during golden hour secluded in the mountains. Every detail of their elopement was intentional and full of adventure to celebrate their marriage in a way that captured who they are as a couple.  

The Beauty of Elopements

The beauty of elopements is that there is no right or wrong way to do it! A lot of couples are drawn to the appeals of a private elopement, but they are sometimes hesitant because they perhaps still want to have a few people – the good news is you can! You get to celebrate your love story in whatever ways you want. 

You can get ready with everyone at a hotel or a Vrbo / Airbnb rental, do a first look, and go on a private adventure with just the two of you. 

Or you could have half of the day completely alone with just the two of you, then meet up with your guests for your celebrations. This structure can even apply to a 2-day weekend getaway! Imagine celebrating with your family the first day, and then going on your own epic elopement adventure the next day to soak in that “just married feeling.” 

The options are truly endless! Below is the beautiful story of Linda and Chris’ Shenandoah National Park Elopement with private vows on the mountain during golden hour, romantic blue hour couples portraits, and a joyful, intimate reception with their family at an Italian restaurant the following day. 

Linda & Chris: The Story of Their Shenandoah National Park Elopement

Their Initial Meeting

Before we dive into the beauty of their wedding day, let’s go back to the beginning! Linda and Christ first met on a cross-country cycling trip right after their college graduation. They biked from Maine to Santa Barbara, CA. It took them 10 weeks to complete! As they biked across the United States, the new graduates bonded over their love of outdoor activities. What started as a post college trip turned into the beginning of an adventurous, lifelong relationship. They love to spend time together biking, hiking, and exploring National Parks. 

Golden hour wedding photos in the Virginia mountains as the couple embrace each other in Shenandoah National Park

Why Linda & Chris Chose to Elope at Shenandoah National Park

From March to August 2019, Linda and Chris hiked the Appalachian Trail. Chris carried the ring with him the entire way, for weeks, and proposed on the top of Mt. Katahdin. Winding through Shenandoah National Park is 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail – a significant part of Linda and Chris’s proposal and memorable adventure. 

Plus, by eloping at Shenandoah National Park, Linda’s family would be able to easily come to celebrate as they are located in Virginia. Linda and Chris knew they wanted to have a mountain elopement while still including family members in their celebrations. They decided to split their time between hiking in the mountains for their ceremony and celebrating with a reception at a restaurant with family afterwards. 

Getting Ready at the Airbnb in the Mountains

Their mountain elopement started with getting ready and photographing details at the Airbnb. Linda and Chris had their vow books, invitations, ring boxes, and other details that made their elopement day personal. Their getting ready photos were done separately, so they could build the anticipation for their first look down by the creek. 

Golden Hour Elopement Ceremony

When we reached the summit of the mountain in Shenandoah National Park, golden hour just started. This was where they had their intimate ceremony, exchanged vows and rings, and had their first kiss! There was no one else in sight for their ceremony. They had this whole incredible location to themselves. With the sun setting behind them, they were beautifully backlit with a stunning view of the mountains. Isn’t it breathtaking?

Elopement ceremony in the Virginia mountains during golden hour with officiant in Shenandoah National Park

Blue Hour Wedding Couple Portraits at Shenandoah National Park

As it neared sunset and blue hour, we moved to another nearby location with more epic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I love the blues and purple hues the mountains give off. Afterward, we hiked back down to our cars in the dark using flashlights and headlamps. It was time to rest before celebrating this sweet couple at their reception the next day!

Downtown Clifton Wedding Photos

Before heading into the reception, I met back up with Chris and Linda in downtown Clifton, VA, so we could take some photos around town. There was an old train cable car that made for unique photos! Then, we stopped at a local park with a gazebo where Lind and Chris practiced their first dance. With multiple days of their elopement, they were able to receive a variety of wedding photos that will bring their adventurous wedding elopement to life in the years to come. 

The Shenandoah National Park Elopement Reception

Linda and Chris wanted a moment alone before joining the reception, so I headed into the upper floor of Trattoria Vilaggio, an Italian Restaurant, where their reception was hosted. I focused on getting photos of the tables and details as the guests arrived and mingled with one another. The excited chatter paused briefly as Chris and Linda made their introduction and the celebrations could begin! 

They enjoyed the cocktail hour with their family, and we did a few group family photos before dinner (4-courses of delicious Italian cuisine!) was served. As the elopement photographer, I focused on candid photos of everyone hanging out and spending time together. They even did a cake cutting, first dance, parent dances, and a few speeches. It’s still possible to include a few traditional wedding elements into your elopement or microwedding if you want to!

Juliana Wall Photography | Virginia Elopement Photographer 

Get inspired by more of Linda and Chris’ Shenandoah National Park elopement wedding photos below! Save your favorite photos to Pinterest, then continue reading to check out an underrated tip for planning a smooth, adventurous wedding. 

the wedding rings and wedding bouquet for the mountain elopement

Love these elopement photos? For more elopement inspiration, you can check out my blog and Pinterest Boards! To book with Juliana Wall Photography to capture your adventure elopement, fill out an inquiry form, and I will be in touch soon. 

An Underrated Tip for a Smooth, Adventure Elopement

There are lots of tips and elopement planning resources that support you in bringing your dream elopement to life (check out my blog posts!!), but this destination elopement tip can often get overlooked. 

Legally get married first, then have a symbolic elopement.

Different locations and states have different rules, permits, etc. for getting married (to learn how to get married in Virginia, check out this blog post!). In some cases, there is less hassle to legally do the paperwork at home before your destination elopement, so you can avoid the stress and confusing paperwork different locations might require. Your “symbolic” elopement will be just as special, memorable, and spectacular! 

Linda and Chris legally got married in Florida, so their private vows in Viriginia was symbolic. They flew in from Florida for their Shenandoah National Park elopement with a close friend “officiating” their intimate mountain side ceremony. Their ceremony was heartfelt and breathtaking, and I feel so honored that I was able to witness and document such a significant moment of their love story. 

Do you want to elope at Shenandoah National Park?

Whether you’re eloping in Virginia or anywhere else on the East Coast, I’ll be here to support you on your adventure and cheer you on! I’m here for the couples who crave personal connection and intentional experiences. To authentically capture the moments of your elopement and help you plan an incredible wedding experience, inquire here. The way I help my couples plan their elopements allows for flexibility, so we can be prepared for every adventure a part of your wedding day.

Plus, if you’re curious to know more about eloping in Shenandoah National Park, this blog post is a complete guide on How to Elope in Shenandoah National Park

The Amazing Vendors and Wedding Details from This Shenandoah National Park Elopement

Dress: Lillian West (Justin Alexander)

Earrings: Jennifer Behr Maye Studs

Shoes: Bella Belle

Suit: Men’s Wearhouse

Hair & Makeup: Lace Beauty Co

Florist: Cedar and Lime

Venue: Trattoria Villagio, Clifton

Shenandoah National Park: Elopement Guide Shenandoah National Park

Name Cards: Etsy Shop // ABloomStationery

Cake Topper: Etsy Shop // Cactus Woods Studio 

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