Getting married in nature or getting married in a national park is, in my personal opinion, one of the most intentional, soul-fulfilling ways to get married. My partner and I chose a forest over getting married in a church because of the feeling and connection we get when surrounded by trees, animals, weather, etc. I grew up catholic and am not religious anymore, however if I’m being honest, my spirit connects and lies best in nature.
I always feel so humbled. We live in a world of constant connection and attention to our phones, that slowing down at least for a second is difficult and scary. When I stop and slow down in nature, I am a tiny human in the massive world that I can’t control. I can only experience and trust Mother Nature will take care of me in that moment and be grateful for her beauty and protection.
My husband/partner and I went on vacation to Washington State in 2017 before we moved out here. We found a hike (Lake Colchuck) that looked absolutely incredible. It would be our first hike out here! This hike has everything – overlooks, trees, boulder fields, waterfalls, a creek, a lake, even mountain goats if you’re lucky, and lastly, Dragontail Peak.
We knew we were at the lake when we could start to see the trail open up. We rounded a bend and I stopped dead in my tracks. There it was. Dragontail peak. I’m not sure if it was where I was standing, the curvature of the earth, but you don’t need a long lens to bring the peak to you. It’s just right in your face! My stomach dropped and I just said “Oh my god. Oh my god. Wow.” I sat there for a moment, not knowing what to do, not knowing what to think, and immediately pulled out my camera. I’m not going to lie, that feeling has a lot of power to feel it’s easy to distract myself by trying to photograph it. To add the cherry on top, my then-fiance also proposed to me on this hike! I was so in shock, and couldn’t believe he carried my ring up a mountain and did so in such an amazing place.
We went back in 2021, this time during the summer – let me tell you. That awe and splendor did not go away, and I was able to experience it in a new way this time. In a few years, the trail had really increased in popularity, but we managed to find a little cove to ourselves for lunch.
The air was warm but the water was chilly and it was my goal on this trip to swim in the blue gem waters. I dove out, feeling the rush of the cold blue water on my body, and came up for air and then back to shore. I hadn’t swum in a big open body of water in a long time and my brain kept telling me something from the depths was going to come and eat me, haha, but there were only little fish below my feet. One of my last dips I trusted that I was safe and flipped onto my back and there it was again- Dragontail Peak. It hit me again- all the awe and splendor, being a tiny human in these waters, with a giant peak looming overhead. It was unlike anything I’d experienced before and I immediately flipped over and swam back to shore. I wish I allowed myself to float longer, but maybe on my next trip 😉 Regardless, I’m extremely grateful for what I got to experience!
I try to do this every time I hit the trail, but if I’m being honest, the feeling is hard to live in for me! I want to live in it, but it’s scary to be THAT in the moment and vulnerable, no distractions, no phones, just you and your brain. This is why I’m here, writing this blog post to give you a few tools on how to get the most out of every location you visit – whether it’s your wedding in a national park, a hike, or just a moment out on the street.
We’ve all grown up learning about the 5 basic senses – Touch, Smell, Seeing, Hearing, Taste. They all help us perceive the world around us. When you focus on one, you are able to pull out details around you that might be lost in the collection of feelings you get at once. We live through life so fast-paced, that many times we miss the majority of these senses. My goal is to help you concentrate on your experience and be in the moment so saying your vows to the person you love is even more powerful.
Even if you aren’t on a trail, step outside and practice this for a few min!
Start by shutting your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. What do you hear that you didn’t before? Maybe it’s:
***this is the point in the process that is usually extremely profound for me. I feel the power and warmth building in my body as I’m experiencing all these senses and then finish it with my eyes open. I start to feel vulnerable, grateful for everything around me, but usually can’t live in this moment for very long. It is something I’m continuously working on!
If you decide to have a picnic on your wedding day, use your senses to enjoy your food while looking at this amazing view!
Lastly, give thanks to your feet who carried you here, your boots that took the wear and tear,
the body that gave you breath and carried you up the mountain. Lastly, your mind’s openness to experience something amazing. Thank you!
If you get married in nature, I’m hoping you feel a connection to the world around you. Before you say your vows or even start your ceremony, I encourage you to stop, sit together for 5 min and go through your senses as I outlined above. If you work with me, I can make sure we do this prior to your ceremony too!
What do you see?
What does it smell like?
What sensations do you experience?
What sounds do you hear around you?
What do you notice now that you might not have seen at first glance?
Surrender and open yourself to feeling the scene around you instead of just jumping in. You may feel excited, nervous, and overwhelmed by the majesty, but just know this is the reason you’re getting married out here. You’re ready to say your vows to each other!
It’s such an incredible feeling to feel small in such a vast world and appreciate the splendor you get to experience. Remember to always practice Leave No Trace principles so you never have to stop experiencing this, go get married in nature, and hug a tree along the way!!
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