When I think about the reasons couples should elope, it's for the fun, the adventure, not being stressed all day, the romance, the new experiences shared, and the ability to spend the entire day with the person you love most having the best day ever. When I tell you that this wedding day is the embodiment of that vision, I'm definitely not lying! Because I've not seen a happier couple on their wedding day, and I'm thrilled to have been there to document it. So get ready, because this is a photo-heavy post that I hope inspires you to have the wedding that you deserve!
Annie and James booked a little cottage in the woods a bit south of the park and had a slow morning just being together - having coffee, reading, and relaxing. Annie filled me in on a little prank she wanted to play by wearing a white shirt for their first look to see his reaction. I swear she could have just gotten married in that because James looked just as must in love with her in that outfit as the dress. And let me explain - some grooms give big reactions to seeing their brides for the first time, and others give you their happy smiles - both are loving reactions that reflect their personality and that's wonderful. James' face when he saw Annie (for real that time) was a man in awe just taking that moment in emotionally and thoughtfully - ready to embark on an amazing journey with his soon-to-be wife.
Originally the couple wanted to get married at Falling Waters - a house designed by the innovative Frank Lloyd Wright - but unfortunately, we had to change wedding days at the last minute because of inclement weather, and Falling Waters was not open on Wednesdays. So we pivoted to Kentuck Knob - another house designed by him within a few miles that ended up being an even better option because it had an amazing overlook as well! Management was super kind and accommodating, even gifting them with a beautiful plate to commemorate the day.
After a walk around the unique property, we made our way to the overlook where they set up a blanket for their ceremony. Annie and James each read their own vows that they had written for one another and were able to do so unfiltered because it was just for their ears only. These two are both avid readers, so I imagine the words they spoke were quite poetic! Especially because as soon as Annie was finished reading, James grabbed the notebook from her hands, threw it down, and embraced her for a kiss - that moment was straight out of a romantic novel! But if you see them laughing and wiping their faces, it's because Annie's vibrant red lipstick left James' lips a little colorful too. After they exchanged rings, they shared their "official" first kiss and a shot of whiskey to celebrate the occasion.
Before we move on - let's take a moment to appreciate the honesty behind the next pic, because the reality of summer weddings is that they get sweaty and buggy! So tip for summer elopement brides - find bike shorts that won't show underneath your dress! And don't forget bug repellant.
Back to our story - what I loved about this couple is that they allowed their personalities and the nature of their relationship to shine through! After their ceremony, they had that post-ceremony "just married" high and had so much fun being goofy and literally frolicking in the field. These are some of my favorite moments from the day!
After our time at Kentuck Knob it was time to eat! One thing that's difficult with elopements in more remote areas is finding places that can accommodate dietary restrictions, so rather than take the chance of not finding something, they made their own food and brought it with them to the Christian Klay winery. They indulged in some wine and were gifted with some wine cordials as well!
After dinner, we went back into the park to explore Cucumber Falls, probably the most beautiful waterfall in Western PA, if not the entire state. Sometimes on wedding days, it feels like you always need to be doing something with a purpose, but I'm glad that for these moments they just took a little time to explore, relax, and enjoy the scenery. We continued our journey on a trail past the falls and scaled down the side of the gorge to a super secluded spot among the boulders on the Youghiogheny River, and then finally ended our excursion with a little light creativity using lanterns after dark! Such a fun way to make photos at night look intimate with an adventurous vibe without using flash.
Back at their cottage, they popped champagne and toasted to a lifetime of happiness, and just as James got the fire started, a storm rolled through! So they had their first dance in front of the campfire in the pouring rain, and it was AMAZING. It was a struggle for me trying to keep my camera lens dry, but I'm so in love with how real and messy, and romantic that moment was.
Days like this are why I started making the move toward adventure elopements! This was the embodiment of what weddings should be - spending quality time with your life partner, doing what you love together, and being fully present with each other.
The weekend after their wedding they went back home and had a big celebration with their family and friends! But the day they made their commitment to one another was just for them, and it was perfect.
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Hey there! I'm Carly D'Angelo-Hall - a photographer specializing in documenting weddings and elopements across the U.S. If you love the idea of a wedding with adventure, excitement, and a little romance sprinkled in, let's talk about how I can help you create and capture the wedding day of your dreams! Visit wildnorthweddings.com to view all-inclusive wedding day and adventure session photography packages, and fill out the contact form to get connected!
Wedding and Elopement Photographer documenting weddings in Pennsylvania including Pittsburgh, Cook Forest, Allegheny National Forest, The Laurel Highlands, Ohiopyle State Park, The Poconos, and more!