Elopement in the Shenandoah National Park | Charlie and Kelly

wedding elopement in the Shenandoah National Park

As I drove up to Skyland Resort in the Shenandoah National Park for Charlie and Kelly's elopement, I was excited. Spring was here (although no green in the park yet) and it was one of our first truly warm days after a string of cold. Skies were clear, the wind was relatively low; conditions were perfect for an outdoor ceremony.

I joined Kelly in her room where my good friend and makeup artist Finn Mauritzen was putting on the final touches of makeup. Charlie didn't want to see Kelly until after she was done an in her dress, so he patiently waited outside with their officiant and his wife. The light coming into her room was dramatic and I love the stories we captured!

From there we drove south to Big Meadows. They knew they wanted the scenery of the Big Meadows area and a backdrop with mountains. We walked up a short hill, found the perfect spot, and they were married! But why the Shenandoah?

"We fell in love easily, if unexpectedly, and with a deep appreciation of one another."

That beautiful line encapsulates much of Charlie and Kelly's relationship and the reason why two New Yorkers decided to elope in the Shenandoah National Park. Let me explain.

Charlie and Kelly have always enjoyed traveling, exploring, and visiting spectacular places, national parks especially. The years before their wedding had been fraught with some difficult circumstances for them both, with each having to say goodbye to dearly loved people in their lives. It was in that time of heartache that they learned to lean on each other.

They knew they wanted to get married, but it didn't make sense for them to have a large, full-scale wedding event. Instead, they knew it would be best for them to go somewhere where they could explore, celebrate, and focus on each other, and the Shenandoah was perfect!

We spent the rest of the time after their ceremony and before the sun went down exploring Big Meadows and a nearby overlook trail. As much as we were focused on getting get images and telling their story, we couldn't help but stop and savor the moment when the sun set below the horizon. 

Enjoy their photo story below, and let me know, if you had to choose a location to elope, where would it be?