Welcome back to the Ready to Wander Podcast EP12: Real Elopement Stories | Glacier National Park Elopement! As always, I am your host, Sydney Breann. I am so freaking excited for today’s episode, because it is the first of the “Real Elopement Stories” series! This series is where I bring on past couples of mine that have hired me to shoot their elopements in epic places. I wanted to start this series, because there is really nothing like it in the podcast world.
There is not a place you can go to actually hear a conversation about someone’s elopement. From the highs to the lows, to what they wish they would’ve done, and even just to dream with the couple as they recap. I wanted a way to allow my past couples to share their stories so that maybe someone planning an elopement, or someone who needs some encouragement or is on the fence can hear a real elopement story.
Today, I am joined by an amazing couple, Alexis and Chase, who eloped in September 2022. They actually had a two-day elopement weekend in Northwest Montana and even ventured into Glacier National Park. The first day was spent at a rental near Whitefish, Montana with their families, and then the second day was dedicated to private vows and hiking in Glacier National Park. Without further ado, let’s hop into the first of our Real Elopement Stories series!
SYD: The biggest goal of this series is to give listeners and future elopement couples a look into what an actual elopement looks like. So if you could help listeners paint the picture of your elopement, that would be great. Maybe tell us what you did, who you had with you, what your itinerary or timeline looked like, and what you were feeling/experiencing in the moment. I’m sure listeners would also like a glimpse into your love story (including all the mushy details, of course)!
ALEXIS + CHASE: When we envisioned our wedding day, we really wanted to have the best of both worlds. So we decided to have a 2-day adventure. Day 1 included our parents and siblings for a traditional ceremony experience and dinner celebration. That morning, we woke up and all had a fun breakfast with everyone. Aside from Chase scrambling to write his vows, the morning was super low key (exactly what we wanted). We said, “I do” tucked in a cozy grove of trees on the cabin rental’s property. Being immersed in nature on our wedding day was something so special for us.
Day 2 was just for us (plus Sydney and Hunter). Not many couples can say that they got to wear their wedding apparel twice. So it was really sweet to be dressed up just as a couple. We headed into Glacier National Park for some hiking and private vows along Lake Josephine. We ate some cheesecake as we watched the sunset and soaked up a stunning blue hour. Exploring the park was truly a core memory that I don’t think either of us will forget.
SYD: You guys definitely chose a stunning location. Now that we’ve heard about your sweet love story + journey to eloping, I would love to get into the nitty gritty of your decision making and planning. Can you describe the location of your wedding weekend/elopement and what drew you to it?
ALEXIS + CHASE: We’ve always been adventurous, outdoorsy people. Road trips and camping have been something that we really bond over. Being from Minnesota, we’ve spent plenty of time adventuring to the Black Hills and around the North Shore. But some place that was always just a little too far away was Glacier National Park. There were countless times that we talked about traveling to Glacier, so what better time than our elopement!? It was a dream location and really a full circle moment since we both individually always dreamt of it. The views were unparalleled.
SYD: What was the biggest challenge you faced when planning your elopement, and how did you overcome it or what resources were the most valuable to you when planning?
ALEXIS + CHASE: The biggest challenge was being so far from vendors. We really didn’t have the ability to trial certain things that ‘normal’ brides would. Navigating communication was also something that was unexpectedly difficult with some vendors. Whitefish is such an incredible location, but it’s a unique combination of being a popular wedding spot and also not overly populated.
We found it to be a tricky balance of finding vendors that weren’t already taken, because there just weren’t as many local vendors as there are in more populated destinations. We just had to be patient and flexible, and sometimes we had to pivot plans when a vendor fell through or took on a larger wedding. As a bride, too, I had to be a bit trusting that my hair would work out because I didn’t have much time to trial it out ahead of time. It all ended up working out, though!
SYD: Did you have any unique or personalized details that made your elopement feel special and meaningful to you?
ALEXIS + CHASE: One of our favorite things that we did to make our elopement extra unique was having breakfast together the morning of. Our breakfast that morning was waffles, which was what we had on our first date at Black Coffee + Waffle Bar (exactly five years prior, to the day). That night, our dinner’s set up literally felt like a movie beneath the string lights + stars. It was more beautiful than anything we could’ve ever imagined.
Sydney also had an incredible idea to have lanterns lit during blue hour. To this day, those are our favorite photos to date. Everything of that weekend was so impactful.
SYD: I always recommend couples bring elements into their day that are meaningful to them. It is so fun to look through your photos or just be there living in that moment and be like “yeah, this day is so us.” And a lot of those feelings come from details or planning a day that is exactly your vibe or what you always dreamt of. Something that sticks out in my mind whenever I think of your elopement is actually the pocket watch you gave Chase, Alexis.
SYD: Did you have a particular budget in mind when planning your elopement, and how did you allocate your funds? You don’t have to share specific numbers, but maybe help listeners get a feel for what percentage of your budget went to what specific thing for your elopement.
ALEXIS + CHASE: We did have a budget in mind, although we were a bit unrealistic with it at first. Our biggest “costs” were our photography + videography because that is what we placed the most value in. Thankfully, we actually won a giveaway with Sydney + Chear Media. So we were able to save some money on something that was most important to us. The details and decor, on the other hand, were kept pretty minimal.
We didn’t have a venue, but we had the rental which was a bigger chunk of the budget. With our families visiting from out of state, they helped contribute for their individual lodging, but we took care of the overall cabin rental. While we splurged on a couple things, we DIY’d a lot of other things (florals, makeup, etc.). We were also quickly humbled to realize that it still was expensive, despite it being an elopement.
SYD: What advice would you give to couples considering eloping or planning a destination elopement?
ALEXIS + CHASE: There is something so charming about having your closest people surrounding you on the day that you marry your person. If it’s a thought in your mind, ELOPE! Do it unapologetically, despite the other opinions. Stick to your desires and do what feels best for you as a couple. BUT, don’t feel pressured to elope if it doesn’t feel authentic to you.
SYD: Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently? Or are there any details you would have added or changed to make your elopement even more special?
ALEXIS + CHASE: Aside from making things less stressful, it was truly the most special weekend we could’ve asked for. But looking back, there’s nothing that we would’ve done differently. (You’ll have to listen to the pod to hear Chase’s funny answer 😉).
SYD: You guys planned your day for SO long (it felt like), and everything came together perfectly. It was such a perfect weekend, and I wanted to end on a question that was meaningful to transport you both back to that day, but also to give listeners a piece of joy to take with them when this episode ends. What was your favorite moment or memory from your elopement day?
ALEXIS + CHASE: Hiking to Josephine Lake was the location in the park that we had always wanted to see the most. It felt just like every other time we went hiking, but while in our wedding apparel! After the hike, while we were waiting for blue hour, we really soaked up the last moments of our day (while eating delicious cheesecake). It was such a beautiful moment of reflection.
SYD: I mean, I personally really loved the bears we spotted in Glacier. But also, I loved your private vows. The meaningful, personal vows were such a sweet combination of inside jokes and sentimentality.
Having Alexis and Chase on for the first in the ‘Real Elopement Stories’ series was such an honor. Their wedding weekend was so special, and I couldn’t be more thankful to have been able to document such an incredible chapter in their love story.
Don’t forget to check out Alexis and Chase’s Montana Elopement Weekend for all the visuals and mountain elopement inspiration.
That wraps up the Ready to Wander Podcast EP12: Real Elopement Stories | Glacier National Park elopement. Stay tuned to the pod for more Real Elopement Stories episodes in the future. Be sure to follow me over on the ‘Gram (@sydneybreannphoto) to be the first to know when an episode drops. And you already know what comes next; Are you ready to wander?