Rainy Waterfall Elopement Adventure!

Elopements - Us Two & Crew

What’s the most common trait in couples who choose to do an adventure elopement? FLEXIBILITY. Why? Well, what happens when the weather is “bad”* for your adventure elopement? This is where the true flexibility of my elopement packages and coverage—and how rad my eloping couples totally are!!!!—shines through! And, Stephanie and Armando’s gorgeous & lush waterfall adventure elopement package with family was a perfect example…

Here’s their story below –enjoy the TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) CliffsNotes version, or, Full Story version as you’d like! ?

“TL;DR” Mode—(I get it!) —

Wowzers, so many last minute weather complications, Batman!

Original backpacking location to a back country campground & waterfall elopement package location was rained OUT. Hard decisions debated. New elopement location & plan was built and activated in ~2 days for Stephanie & Armando and their Crew. Despite the changes, it turned out SO AMAZING you’d never even know that it wasn’t the original plan.

In sum—adventure elopements are rad. Couples who choose to do an adventure elopement are even more rad. And nimbleness and thinking and talking about how we’ll roll with the punches in the moment during your elopement will make ALL the difference in how well you (and your Crew!) can adapt to a change in “plan” ?♥️?

Scroll below to see images of how their adventurous waterfall elopement package came to life!

“I’ve Got My Coffee in Hand & I WANT THE STORY” Mode—(Let’s do it!) —

In our initial conversation, Stephanie & Armando shared their absolute love of waterfalls, and that throughout their relationship, they found themselves on travels to take them out in search of new and beautiful falls to explore.

So, once they found me on Facebook and realized that something totally different could be out there for them in terms of weddings, they decided to reach out. They knew they wanted adventure, but there was no way they could imagine getting married without their immediate family and best friends there with them.  Their question to me was…

[su_expand more_text=”Click HERE to Read More!” height=”0″ more_icon=”icon: expand” less_icon=”icon: compress”] “Would a backpacking waterfall elopement package with our family out to our favorite waterfall on the California coast be possible????” My answer was, “heck yeah!” ?

Working about a year out from their planned elopement weekend, bit by bit the pieces came fell into place as we worked together.

  • Special Use permit to have their small ceremony at the waterfall. ✔Check!✔
  • Enough back country campsites + permits for their group of 11? ✔Check!✔
  • Wedding garments & florals that would shine under tougher conditions? ✔Check!✔
  • Rental & crowd-sourced gear to equip the Crew for the adventure? ✔Boom! Got that too!✔


Then it was just time to wait…

…Fast forward to the week of the elopement,

and excitement is high as the time is finally here! And then, Mother Nature, in fine California style, throws us a crazy wild card.

During a time of the year that should see normally low 60s and sun, the forecast is for upper 40F degrees and rain. And not just cute with a clear umbrella rain, like DELUGE rain for the 4 days leading up to the kick-off of Steph & Armando’s hike out to start their waterfall elopement.

That meant that trail conditions were likely to be pretty gnarly on the long approach to the back country camping to position for the day hike to the waterfall.

Forecast for the two days in the back country for camping and the waterfall for the elopement ceremony were iffy—50%+ chance of rain both days, and over the overnights. No thunder storms forecasted, as that’s a show stopper, but even still it was wet, wet, sloshy conditions.

If you’ve ever camped or hiked in 40F-50F degree rain, you know how that feels. Bone chilling. And relentless—without the warmer air to soften it, the rain and dampness is what makes the cold feel so much stronger.

The Fork in the Road– Elopement Location Decision Time…

And so it was a choice… On a Zoom call a day prior to my arrival to California, we ran through pros & cons of staying the course with the 4+ mile backpack out to the original waterfall or, activating Plan B (or Plan C, D or E!) for their elopement.

Since we were closer to “go time” now, the confidence that the weather forecasts was right was higher, so looking together at projections, weather bands, and how far the unseasonably wet and cold weather was stretching, I left them with a homework assignment… Think about the feelings and experiences that matter most for your elopement weekend, and that will tell you the right answer on what to do. 🙂

Arriving to California, I joined them at one of their favorite local restaurants for an amazing brunch, and we talked…

…Y’all. I’m not going to pretend that change isn’t hard. IT IS.

But the nimbleness and the focus on what matters most that Steph & Armando showed to say, “Yup, we could make it work, but it won’t be the joy we want. Let’s do Plan B” is pretty damn amazing.

So confirmed Plan B location in hand, I was off to test our luck with calls on permitting and lodging…

A Waterfall Elopement becomes… A Waterfall Elopement!

…And as reward for their flexibility, fate smiled on us. Plan B was a wonderful state park about 3 hours north of their home, who agreed to let us come in for their elopement ceremony —even with the family—at an area near the waterfall with no permit needed! ? AND, as evidence of further blessings, they had two side-by-side camp cabins available in the park for the days we needed. We were completely ready, having pivoted a year of planning on a dime.

And while it was still on and off rain and cold, and, a different feel than the original waterfall they’d picked, the final ceremony and celebration location had more comforts in the conditions along with the tenets of what mattered most:

  • Rustic cabins (no electricity or amenities!) + outdoor cooking + a cozy campfire mirrored back country camping
  • A day hike around the park replaced the back country approach
  • The lush waterfall framed them beautifully
  • And, family ♥️️

An amazing adventure followed, with fun, family, and gorgeous surrounds. It was another adventure elopement when “Plan B” turns out so wonderfully that you wonder if it was actually meant to be “Plan A” all along! ?

Learnings for Planning Your Own Adventure Elopement Package

That’s the beauty of elopements–with fewer vendors and other other “stakeholders” (ie oodles of guests!), you can be more nimble on shorter notice and still have amazing outcomes!  So my suggestion as you plan your own elopement?

  1. Keep top of mind your goals for your experience and your points of what matters most as you visualize what it’ll be like prior to your actual elopement.
    • Sometimes it is about a place, a view, a journey… BUT… often, you’ll find that it’s an emotion, a feeling, or an energy that you want to capture most in your elopement. And that can happen in a way and in a place that unfolds as “right” when it’s time for your elopement.
  2. Anticipate that change will happen and know that we’ll find a way to be nimble!
    • That way when it happens, your mind will already have been in that place of expecting something different.
  3. Talk to your Crew well ahead of time (whether or not they are coming along!!) about the possibility of change to your original plan.
  4. Trust your Elopement Photographer! As you explore photographers for your elopement, ask them how they manage Plan B or “bad” weather.
    • A seasoned adventure elopement photographer will be very open to talk about this as it is a reality! For my clients, I book each elopement package with a contingency window bookending your elopement day(s). This window gives us flexibility to move forward or delay a day to flex in challenges like this. Luck favors the prepared!
  5. But the most important??? Know that whatever happens, it will be beautiful and amazing and will be just want you need in that moment. At the end of the adventure, all that matters is that you’re married! You’ve made that commitment to each other and the details of how it happened are ALLLLLLL part of your amazing, unique adventure elopement story that you two will remember always . ♥️️

Scroll below to see images of how their adventurous waterfall elopement package came to life!


How do I take into account the weather?

The weather will be unpredictable no matter how much we try watching our apps. Instead of adding stress to your day, I urge my couples to embrace the weather. Having unexpected weather actually brings new adventures, new beauty, and some surprising positives to any adventure!!

Hi! I’m Kate, 

and I’m in your corner.

Lifelong “sporto.” Traveler. Organized optimist. Adventure accomplice.

With my whole soul, I believe that you and your partner should marry in a way that feels like you.   SO... Four years ago, I completely reworked my photography business to honor that vision.  To create a safe space for couples to create a wedding experience that feels right.

I changed course so that you can too.

Freeing couples to get married exactly how they want to, with no limits on what that looks like.   Is that bold?!?  Maybe, but you're ready!  

Reach out below and let's get started🙌

Let's build your elopement adventure!