An Alpine Lakes High Camp wedding is the perfect way to escape to the mountains and experience some peaceful solitude for your elopement. This area is a hub tucked into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and a rare opportunity to have both guests and a true outdoor experience. It’s also the only way to get professional photos taken in this particular Wilderness area! It’s not legal for photographers to operate in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness outside of High Camp. Fun fact.
Typically, once the guest count starts to creep up to double digits, your ceremony locations become severely limited. But here, you have the use of nine charming cabins and a ceremony space, all up in the backcountry.
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To get up to Alpine Lakes High Camp, you need to ride in a Jeep, which takes about 35-40 minutes. High Camp is a collection of rustic, a-frame cabins. And I do mean Rustic with a capital R (think no running water, no electricity), but they have propane generators, and you can chill your beverages in the stream.
Natalie and Zach’s elopement came right in the middle of an unseasonable heat wave. Which came right on the heels of a Year Without Spring. So the stream cooler (and inexplicable snow) was much appreciated by all.
Natalie’s father hung her dress from the upper balcony of one of the cabins. He really wanted to hang it from a tree–a man after my own photographer’s heart–but we couldn’t find one with a low enough branch. Alas. Still beautiful though.
Natalie got ready with her mum, sister, and two friends. Zach mostly got ready in the sauna and then finished getting dressed “behind a tree.” His choice, his wedding day. These two shared a first look near the cabins, and then the three of us set off on a hike.
We went up to Sunset Meadow, where Natalie and Zach exchanged private vows. Snowcapped mountains watched over the proceedings like the classic PNW witnesses they are.
After we hiked back down, the entire group headed up to Glacier Point for the ceremony. It’s probably one of the loveliest ceremony sites I’ve been to: 360-degree views, with mountains and the glacier in the background.
They set up a memorial for Zach’s father with a framed photo and his favourite tie.
During the ceremony, they decided to do a coin toss to see who would go first, using the largest coin I’d ever seen. Afterwards, everyone cuddled up for group photos. I then snuck Natalie and Zach away for some time alone to soak it all in. They sat at the end of the overlook together, and then we took some portraits just for them. (Highly recommend taking a few moments alone after your ceremony!)
As the sun began to set, we headed back down to camp for paperwork signing and a dinner celebration with their loved ones. There was a row of tables lined up under the fairy lights and decorated with flowers. Everything glowed in the evening light, wrapping up this charming Alpine Lakes High Camp wedding.
Venue: Alpine Lakes High Camp
Beautiful topo wedding bands: Arn Krebs
Catering: A Taste of Plain
Want to have your very own Alpine Lakes High Camp wedding? You absolutely can, and I can help you pull it off. Here’s a starting point for you:
I may be biased, but autumn in Washington is one of the most beautiful things. Picture it: you light the wood stove in your cabin as the sun comes up over the peaks. You step outside, feeling a nip in the air and experiencing rich, warm colours. The larches are turning golden, and that late summer/early autumn light makes everything glow.
Summer is lovely too, for sure, but autumn is magic.
Normally I’d recommend avoiding winter and early spring up in the mountains, as the snow often makes these 5000 ft peaks inaccessible. But High Camp has got you covered: they cater to all sorts of winter activities, too. So if you’re looking to do some cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and winter hot tubbing, go for it!
I suppose the “best time of year” is really up to you, my darlings.
The very first thing I would do is lock down some dates. You need to reserve the camp for your wedding, and dates go quickly, so sort that out. Find the dates that work for you, check the availability at High Camp, and then check with your prospective photographer to see if they’re free too.
Determine how many guests you’re inviting, then coordinate with High Camp to figure out transportation up the mountain. Sort out details with your other vendors, and you’re good to go.
It is very much to toot my own horn when I say I’ve (clearly) been to High Camp myself, I’m familiar with the area, and I’d be happy to photograph your very own elopement there! Send me a message, or book a free vibe check to see if we’re a good fit (: