Michelle and Paul were like Dylan and I’s twins. Michelle emailed me about a hiking elopement and said, “I just want to have fun. We are low key, I’m not even worrying about my hair.” GIRL, same. They were such a joy to work with—from planning and picking a location, to joking about how we all didn’t think we would make it back up the hill on the way in. We landed on Cole Mountain because it’s one of my favorite spots in Virginia. While I love Shenandoah and Skyline Drive, the crowds there can really get in the way of an intimate elopement depending on the trail. Cole Mountain is secluded in Vesuvius VA, with 360 sweeping Blue Ridge Mountain views atop a 6 mile hike.
Dylan and I left home at 1am in order to meet M & P at the trailhead at 4 to start our way up for a sunrise elopement. Driving up to Vesuvius is always an adventure….but this time especially as we hit a 130 pound deer on the way up (were fine…and we made it on time…but yes…almost totaled the car!) Nothing was going to stop us though. We LOVE elopements so much, not only because we eloped–but because of the typical reasons couples normally choose to elope and how intimate and beautiful the day ends up being.
4am we meetup at the trailhead and it is PITCH black, as we got a good amount of rain and storms the night before and it was still drizzling, foggy, with visibility of I CANT SEE 2 FEET IN FRONT OF ME! Seriously, we had to actually look hard to find the trailhead, which is a BIG sign right by the road. And we walked past it once, and then backtracked…..
Hiking up in the dark we really weren’t sure what kind of sunrise we would get, as it was already so foggy and rainy that we thought we may have very low view. Jokes on us….God always finds a way to make elopements special.
As we emerged at the clearing summit, the clouds were drifting so fast that you could literally see the sky clearing, and then a big wave of fog coming through you like a misty cloud, and then clearing again. We got some magical star and headlamp photos like I’ve never seen before.
Right as first light was coming up, M &P headed to the woods to change into their outfits. By that time, the fog had 80% cleared and I could tell it was going to be an AMAZING sunset. I also knew, and was low key betting, we would get a wicked cloud inversion from the drastic weather changes. Cloud inversions are my favorite, and are rare. It’s when a cold pack of air brings in condensed clouds that sweep through the mountain ridges and cover the lower visibility– so it looks as if you are legitimately in heaven above the clouds.
Sunrise hit, and they said their vows among the clouds with the groom’s brother officiating their love.
Paul was so funny, and reminded me (and Michelle) of a little boy who gets excited about worms, bugs, and exploring things outdoors. As we are walking around he is stopping and inspecting moss and lichens, getting so excited about them, and telling us what they are good for and what they do. It was awesome.
The way back down we joked about how his brother almost didn’t make it, how his brother preferred they just get a hotel like normal people, and how they were so glad they picked to elope this way.
Cheers to M&P and their epic adventure elopements in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia!!