#OfWildestLove: Our Campground Elopement

You read correctly. We exchanged vows by the lake, and celebrated in a campground.

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

The reality is, I didn’t really want a wedding, and I almost skipped the ring altogether. Had it been up to us, we would have simply escaped to exchange vows — just the two of us. But we thought about our families, and the guilt took over us. Plus, our families had not all officially met, so it felt right to gather everyone for the occasion.

These are not our official photos. You can find those in my previous post, HERE. These were simply snapshots taken throughout the day by my sister and other family members :)

Meet the parents.

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescentMeet my family… 

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent…And Seni’s family.

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

Our brilliant idea was to camp over the weekend, exchange vows by the lake, celebrate with a simple BBQ at our campsite, and do what we do best during a camping weekend.

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

But I strongly dislike planning. In fact, we both do. So you can imagine how everything actually played out :)

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

What was supposed to be an easy, small get-together turned out to be a bit of a headache for us. Hahhaha. My stomach turns just thinking back…But I’ll get to all that in a sec.

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

CHOOSING THE DAY

We honestly didn’t care for a specific date, but we wanted it to be before June. So we chose Saturday, May 20th and only gave our families maybe a one-month notice.

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

EXCHANGING VOWS

Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park has been a favorite location of ours through the years. Bonus points for having a campground along the lake. We felt it was the perfect location to exchange our vows.

We hired an officiant from around the area, and we obtained a Special Use Permit (free) from the national park for our small gathering.

THE DRIVE

My family lives in Central Washington, and most of Seni’s family lives in the Greater Seattle area. Highway 101 is the only road to the lake, so the drive is slow and painful for anyone who is not familiar with the area. Oops! :)

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

THE DRESS

I searched online for weeks because I didn’t want an actual ‘wedding dress’. I wanted something with lace, long sleeves, and super low-key. The Escape Dress from The Jetset Diaries was exactly what I was looking for, but it was out of stock everywhere. I finally found the last dress in my size at Largo Drive (I also didn’t pay full price ;).

I made my own flower crown and bouquet.

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

THE RINGS

…Because everyone asks about this. I don’t like diamonds. In fact, the entire idea behind a ring is something I strongly rejected. However, Seni really wanted me to have a ring, and so I asked for a pebble. I’m not even joking :) To make his life easier, I chose my own pebble. A pretty pebble. A turquoise, to be exact. It is a single stone that sits on a tiny gold band. I’m obsessed with it! We paired it with a second tiny gold band in the shape of a branch, because outdoors (duh). Seni’s ring is a gold band with silver accents.

Originally, I chose a turquoise stone because I fell in love with turquoise during our first long road trip through the Southwest. Later, I stumbled upon the meaning behind turquoise, and I knew this stone had actually chosen me:

Turquoise is perhaps the oldest stone in man’s history, the talisman of kings, shamans, and warriors. It is a stone of protection, strong and opaque, yet soothing to the touch, healing to the eye, as if carved from an azure heaven and slipped to earth.”

Of course, I forgot to photograph the rings, but you can sort of see them here (I’ve taken lots of photos since, so you’ll  see them eventually :)…

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

THE CAMPGROUND CELEBRATION

Fairholme Campground has several large campsites, flush toilets, and potable water. Campsites are first-come first-served, so Seni and I arrived early in the week to reserve. We also reserved an AirBnb in Port Angeles for our parents (and for food prepping).

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescentSeni and I decorated with twinkle lights the day before and even brought our own white canopy, just in case the moody PNW celebrated with rain. Lucky for us, it was the first sunny and dry weekend of spring.
OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

Two weeks before the nuptials, we drove to the campground hoping to speak to the campground host for our own sanity. We didn’t want the host or anyone to feel like we were just crashing the campground for an event, especially if we had to raise the canopy (and attract unnecessary attention).

But it was too early in the season, and though the campground was already open, there was no host yet, even on the day of.

Flowers and foliage, courtesy of the nearby forests :)

We were both very sleep deprived and ended up getting sick right before our nuptials. Different family members helped by bringing food, the grill, and other items. But like every wedding day, everyone was running behind schedule.

All the food prepping we needed to do the night before, we weren’t able to do until the morning of. We were stressed. We were sleep deprived. And we were in a rush in the morning…

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescentBut Seni and I wanted to do it all by ourselves. Really, we didn’t want our parents to feel like they needed to do anything. Seni was a champ. He did 98% percent of the cooking and grilling. His boys helped with the rest.

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

I made this macrame backdrop for a little photo corner, because everybody likes photos, right? :) But Seni and I didn’t get a chance to take photos together here. Le’sigh.

How adorable are these three, though? <3

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

When you give your family the camera, you get what you get (hehehe)…

My brother and niece…

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

We waited for 5PM before having to meet with our photographer. Unfortunately, we didn’t calculate our timing right, and a two-hour photoshoot turned into four or five. In between driving from one location to the next, time just slipped away (our photos turned out uhhhmazing though!).

I really wish we had timed everything better.

We didn’t get a chance to spend time with our parents + lounge around the campfire like we had hoped. It was 10PM when we came back to the camp. Our parents had already gone back to the AirBnb to rest. Either way, we had to leave right away to check into our own AirBnb. Agh.

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescentTHE WEDDING-NIGHT GETAWAY

Had I known our timing would be all wrong (LOL) we wouldn’t have rented this treehouse for the night. We were so tired, our tent would have been just fine. But alas…it was the cutest rental!

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

This little gem sits on a farm in Port Angeles. My only regret is not having spent more time here.

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

The host was so sweet and was so happy to have us. “This is an exciting day,” he said. “My parakeet hatched her first egg today, and a new Corgi puppy has joined our household and we have honeymooners!!”

He provided a bottle of champaign for us and brought us a delicious country breakfast in the morning :)

THE DAY AFTER THE WEDDING

My family left early Sunday morning to tackle the long drive back home. After checking everyone out of the AirBnbs, Seni and I headed back to the campground to finally relax. We spent the rest of the day with Seni’s family.

Goodness gracious, what a weekend! Please never let me get married again (hahahhaha). Sunday was actually my favorite. We sat around the campfire, played games, ate, swam in the lake, ate some more…and we all finally drove back home around 9 PM.

Video stills:

FINAL THOUGHTS

Don’t ever get married…jk. But really, can we get a wedding re-do? :) We are just terrible planners, and we do not like fussy events for ourselves. Do we regret it? Heck no. Should we have planned better? Probably. I was again reminded that no plans ever go as planned. At least not for us. That is why we would rather not plan anything at all :-D

But that is life —a wonderfully chaotic and well put-together mess! And I’d marry this man all over again if I could :)

Love & Adventure,

Denise

OfWildestLove, campground elopement, olympic national park, lake crescent

PS: Find us on Instagram under the hashtag, #OfWildestLove. Sorry this post didn’t come until now…two mos after tying the knot.  Lots has happened since, including another incredible trip through the southwest :) Bare with me as I try to catch up on old and new content <3

Find our actual elopement photos HERE.

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Comment below to let me know your opinions or simply share stories. If you have any suggestions or would love to see other content on Of Wildest Heart, let me know.

Want to see more photos, recent travel updates, and inspiration? Check out my Instagram or Facebook. Interested in working with me, or simply want to meet? Email me at ofwildestheart[at]gmail.com

Stay curious, wild hearts!

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7 responses to “#OfWildestLove: Our Campground Elopement

  1. Pingback: #OfWildestLove: Our Story (Just married!) | ☽ Of Wildest Heart·

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