Arielle and Mark were originally planning an intimate wedding at Lake Tahoe. But like many 2020 couples, COVID interfered with their plans. So they decided to elope in Shenandoah National Park instead.
I don’t often work with a wedding planner for elopements, but for couples who really just want to show up and enjoy the day, working with a planner can be a great choice!
Arielle and Mark worked with Lauren from Sweetly Southern Events for their weekend.
And, really, this celebration encompassed the whole weekend rather than beginning and ending on a specific day. Their immediate family gathered at a large vacation rental in Massanutten and Lauren planned a two-day itinerary for them.
Friday was the wedding day. They began with a chef-catered breakfast at the VRBO and relaxed until it was time to get ready. Arielle and Mark were planning a first look at Shenandoah, so after hair and makeup were done and Mark was dressed we all headed to the national park.
Arielle’s family rented a cabin at Skyland, which Arielle used to put on her dress with the help of her mom and grandmother.
We did the first look right on the road behind the cabin — the trees were beautiful and a light mist was coming off of the road.
Then everyone headed to Tanners Ridge Overlook in Shenandoah National Park for the ceremony. Mark’s sister officiated.
After the ceremony we took family photos and the family headed back to the cabin to enjoy a picnic dinner. Originally we had planned to hike Bearfence Mountain, but Arielle’s dress included a gorgeous, very heavy train (it had been purchased for the Tahoe wedding) and she just wasn’t feeling a hike in it, so we did part of my Skyline hop-on hop-off tour instead.
The beautiful thing about elopements is they are flexible. Want to change plans day of? We can! The whole point is for you to have a good experience so whatever you are feeling in the moment we roll with.
After sunset, Arielle and Mark re-joined their families at the cabin for dinner and then went to the VRBO to cut the cake and close out the night.
The next day, the family started off the day with a catered breakfast then went on a rafting trip run by Shenandoah Outfitters.
Rafting not your thing? I’m about to list fifty, yes FIFTY, ideas of activities to do on your wedding weekend in Virginia.
Remember your wedding weekend can look like whatever you want it to. So if you love music festivals, you might invite your friends and family to come listen to some great live music with you one day.
If you love trying new things, you might decide to do a small plane tour of Assateague Island.
If you want to sit back and just relax, you might book a long weekend at one of Virginia’s five star resorts.
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The Ultimate Small Wedding Planning Guide and Checklist