Epic Destination Wedding in Stehekin, WA North Cascades National Park

So here’s the thing: this is quite possibly the longest blog post I’ve ever made, and I refuse to apologize because every photo in it deserves to be there. Ben & Elise created the most insane, beautiful, out-of-this-world, 3 day long wedding in one of the most logistically difficult and visually stunning places we’ve ever laid eyes on: Stehekin, Washington. The amazing thing about Stehekin is only accessible by boat or plane, has 1 road, limited vehicles, a handful of residents, not to mention: there's no cell service to speak of. All of which makes planning a wedding and organizing decor, people, and events very difficult: the logistical feats for this day were second to none! The staff at the North Cascades Lodge were incredible, and Elise and Ben did so much out-of-the-box thinking to make their dream wedding a reality. It was really such a fucking blast, and I can’t even really describe it all, but I’ll try. To begin with: Elise and Ben were up against some difficult odds the week before their wedding. Elise’s dress was a victim of pandemic postal nonsense, and her original wedding dress disappeared into a shipping void, so she had to scramble and find a new dress the WEEK of her wedding. Luckily, Brides for a Cause exists, and came to the rescue. With some help from a tailor friend, she had an incredible replacement gown. Next up though, the wedding tables and chairs that were supposed to come up on the barge from Chelan to Stehekin had missed the barge, so they had no way to seat any of their guests for their reception! No matter, they were undeterred, and gathered up every spare folding chair and miscellaneous table the town had to offer. 

As for us, we rode out on the 3 hour long ferry from Chelan to the northern end of the lake, where we met up with Ben & Elise, before popping over to the North Cascade lodge for our walkie talkies. With no cell service and limited vehicles, it was the best way to get in touch with everyone for the weekend! They gave us an adorable gift basket, filled with snacks, and tons of info about Stehekin. After everyone was checked in, they took their whole wedding party on an amazing bike ride tour of the area (one of the best ways to see Stehekin is by bicycle!), where we splashed in some waterfalls, ate some amazing pastries, saw old farmsteads, and got to pet some very cute goats at the community garden. Then, we slept in our campsite, before walking up early to bike out to the bakery for more pasties (you guessed it, we ate a lot of food from Stehekin Pastry Co. that weekend) We went for a kayak out to see some incredible 8,000 year old petroglyphs carved into the rocky shore of Lake Chelan, before meeting up with Ben and Elise for their wedding day.

From the very start, their incredible community welcomed us like old friends, and it was truly a delight to spend so much time with them all. From the INCREDIBLE floral talents of Halee from Marmol Farms to the intricate jewelry skills of Taylor from Cascade & Canyon to chatting with their good friend, officiant, and professional archeologist officiant, we made so many connections and had an incredible time getting to know everyone, not to mention giving lots of love to their very sweet pup Lily, all while getting the chance to explore one of the most amazing places in Washington. Their ceremony was held in a small park off the main road with just jaw-dropping views of the North Cascades and Lake Chelan. Their guests sat on colorful picnic blankets under the trees, while the floral triangle arch and the views took center stage. After their ceremony, we went for a quick canoe on the lake before heading to their dreamy reception at the old Orchard. It was my first time kayaking & photographing at the same time, and I was pretty nervous but they were so sweet and the images we got were INCREDIBLE. Ben & Elise’s reception was held entirely off-grid in a wide open grassy field with incredible views of the mountains surrounding Stehekin. They powered everything remotely, and held their reception dancing to their favorite bluegrass band under the light of the moon and some bulb lights (before those ran out of juice & we all danced to the light of some car headlights instead!) Their guests received favors of national park candles from Good&Well supply co, because Elise happens to work for them, and she got some incredible deals on those amazing candles (Yes, I shoved like 3 leftover ones into my pockets at the end of the night because those candles smell amazing, ok?) We came back to our campsite, happy and exhausted. We slept in (only a little!) before walking up early, grabbing some espresso from the lodge, and riding out to the iconic Rainbow Falls for their incredible day-after adventure session. We were able to get right up to the base of the falls, getting blasted from the tall and magnificent waterfall, surrounded by endless carpet of wildflowers. It was truly an incredible experience.

To wrap up the entire weekend, the entire group enjoyed one last delicious breakfast from the Lodge staff before getting on the long, sunny ferry ride back home. This wedding, start to finish, was just so utterly an iconic Stehekin experience, and it was like nothing else we’ve ever photographed. From riding in the iconic red shuttle buses to entering (and exiting!) their ceremony by canoeing on Lake Chelan to a wedding cake from Stehekin Pastry Company to taking the little polaris rangers everywhere and anywhere all over town to helping set up the incredible flowers and watching the moon rise over the valley to getting blasted by the incredible Rainbow falls, all of it was like an unbelievable dream. It’s truly one of my favorite weddings we’ve ever shot, and I hope all these images can convey 1/100th of how fucking amazing this entire weekend was. It was such an honor to be a part of, and we have some delightful long-time friends out of the whole experience as well.

P.S. Elise runs an amazing podcast with her florist extraordinaire friend Halee called Easy Bake Coven, and you should definitely all go give it a listen. It makes me so happy that I get to (virtually) hang out with these two dope ass babes on a regular basis! 

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