Angeles National Forest Backpacking Elopement

Val and Brian’s elopement session was the perfect adventure for this fun-loving couple. We loaded up our packs, and took off on a long hike in the hot California sun, toting an outfit change and a few wooden props in our backpacks. Brian and Val created such an easy atmosphere, and their relationship was so natural and fun. At several points throughout the day we were laughing, cracking jokes and poking fun. Lizards were crawling in the heat by our feet throughout the hike, and at one point, Val pointed out how salamanders always remind her of the scene in Matilda where Mrs. Trunchbull drinks lizard water––deep belly laughs ensued.

We got to our campsite, set up camp, and took a break for snacks. As we loaded up on pistachios, Val and Brian shared their Vegas elopement story from just a few months earlier. While both attending a conference in Las Vegas, Val asked Brian what they should do the next day. “Let’s get married!” he said. Val could not believe there was any way he could actually be serious, so she dismissed the notion right away. However, after asking again what the plan for the next day was, and receiving the same answer, she knew he was being serious, and those signature warm feelings began to flood her with anticipation. She knew this was the man she wanted to be with for the rest of her life, and her dreams were beginning to become a reality. They went shopping for their wedding attire right then–– Brian got all dressed up, and Val picked out a pair of shoes and a white dress. They headed to the courthouse to sign the wedding documents, and they said, “I do,” in the white chapel––traditional Vegas elopement style. I had joy in listening to their love story and in just hearing it, we could all sense the admiration and excitement Val and Brian have for one another.

I took some photos of the vow book while Val and Brian changed into their wedding clothes in their tents. They purposely hid from each other in order to do an amazingly simple and cute first look moment, and then they took a private moment to write their vows while sitting beside one another on large rocks by the creek. They found a sandy spot right next to the water to read their vows. Tears came to both of their eyes, and it was one of the most touching and beautiful moments of the entire day. 

After saying their vows, they tried to put their rings on, but the elevation had made their fingers too chubby. After trying a few different ingenuitive methods (the trick was aloe vera!), they got their rings on, shared a passionate kiss, and jumped into the creek. The next few moments were a joy to capture––Val and Brian splashing each other, laughing, sitting in each other’s lap in the cool creek water, which they said felt incredibly refreshing after the long hike in the sun. 

After the creek adventure, we eventually made our way to the top where there were sparkling waters for Val and Brian waiting. After a few failed attempts at getting them to bubble over, Val and Brian let their playful spirits get the best of them, and they began playing with the sparkling waters like little kids would on a perfect summer day. After this we took some photos of the newlyweds with their packs on over their wedding attire. Val’s dress had gotten pretty dirty from all of the adventures, but everyone figured it was okay because it told their own personal story of their elopement day, a day that was exactly what they wanted because it was free of every restraint. The newlyweds returned to their campsite for the night. Although they were maybe a little dirty and sleepy, they were perfectly happy. 

Thank you so much Val and Brian for letting me be a part of your elopement. Wishing you every happiness in your new life together. 

I’m Karen, a California adventure elopement photographer who empowers couples to create memories that will last a lifetime. I am dedicated to providing the tools you need to push the boundaries of tradition and create an unforgettable experience. 

I help all couples worldwide by providing personalized location lists, planning resources, vendor recommendations, permits, timeline-curation, and much more to curate elopement days that will be cherished forever.

Here's to co-creating an unforgettable elopement experience.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *