An Idaho Wedding Adventure With An Epic Alpine Lake

This Idaho wedding was a day full of adventure, laughter, happy tears, and epic views of the Sawtooth mountains! If you are looking for inspiration for your elopement adventure then you are in the right place.

A Pre-Dawn First Look

Rachel and Ben had their first look in the pre-dawn light of a brisk August morning. I was Rachel’s ride to their first look location and so we met at their Air BnB in Stanley at 6 AM. When I arrived Rachel was getting ready in the backroom and Ben was in the living room sipping coffee. When Rachel was finished, she yelled for Ben to hide in the kitchen and she ran for my car. Ben followed behind us in their car and we headed for out sunrise location.

A bride and groom have their first look at sunrise during their Idaho wedding. Couple is standing back to back on a mountain lake beach. This photo was taken at sunrise and the mountains are reflecting in the lake behind the couple.
Bride hugs her groom during their first look.

The Sawtooth Mountains have a pinkish glow just before sunrise and we wanted to use that in the background of their first look. Rachel and Ben stood back to back on the beach before their first look and then turned around to see each other. It was an emotional, heartfelt experience when they finally turned to face each other. The start of the rising sun seemed to represent the beginning of their journey together.

A couple stands together on an alpine lake during their Idaho wedding. Bride is standing on a log looking down at groom. There is fog rising off the water behind them and the mountains have a pink alpine glow.
Groom kisses brides forehead during their first look. Couple is standing on an alpine lake in Stanley, Idaho. The Sawtooth mountains are reflecting in the water behind the couple.

Ben and Rachel stood hugging for a few minutes, enjoying each other and watching the fog dance on the top of the lake. We then snapped a few couple pictures and moved into their ceremony.

A couple stands together on the beach of an alpine lake at sunrise during their Idaho elopement. Couple is standing with their backs to the camera. Fog is rising off the lake and the mountains are pink in the background.

Pro Tip for your Idaho Wedding: Sunrise and sunset are the prettiest times for photos. You can utilize both of these times by splitting your wedding day into two parts; a morning sunrise adventure and an afternoon adventure.

Their Idaho Wedding Sunrise Ceremony

We had initially planned to have Ben and Rachel’s ceremony at sunrise because the mountains and rising sun reflect in Stanley Lake at sunrise. On this day we were particularly lucky; the lake was perfectly still, the sun cast a beautiful glow on the mountains, and a blanket of fog moved over the surface of the water. This dynamic display of light and dark, fog and sun, is one of the reasons I love to photograph Idaho elopements at sunrise. You never know what you are going to get, but more often than not, it’s going to be something that exceeds your expectations.

Bride and groom stand holding hands and looking at the mountains around them during their elopement ceremony. Their backs are to the camera. Bride is holding a bouquet of white Mums.

Ben and Rachel had the whole beach and lake to themselves for their ceremony (a bonus to getting up early). The only attendees present were a few Sandhill Cranes. Their ceremony began by acknowledging loved ones who weren’t in attendance, and those who had passed on. Their officiant then read letters from their parents and shared a few thoughts Ben and Rachal had written about marriage and commitment. Their ceremony closed with sharing handwritten vows, an exchange of rings, and a first kiss.

Bride and groom exchange their vows during their sunrise elopement ceremony in Stanley, Idaho. They are standing on a white sand beach along an alpine lake. The Sawtooth Mountains are reflecting in the lake and there is fog rising off the lake.

Eloping allows you to create your own ceremony script and share traditions that are important to you. For Ben and Rachel recognizing their families and sharing handwritten vows was integral to their ceremony. As their ceremony came to a close, we all shivered in the chilly twenty-seven-degree morning and decided it was time for a warmup! We piled into the car and cranked the heat until the sunshine reached the beach and then Ben and Rachel shared coffee and donuts.

Bride and groom exchange rings during their Idaho wedding ceremony in Stanley. Bride is wearing a white dress and a cream faux fur stole wrap.
An eloping couple exchanges their first kiss on an alpine lake in Stanley, Idaho. They are standing on a white sand beach and the mountains are reflecting in the water hind them.

The Beautiful Intimacy of an Idaho Wedding

Ben, Rachel, and I spent 12 hours together that August day. We hiked mountains, took selfies, paddled around on a packraft, laughed, and cried together. Not many people have the chance to witness love in the raw beauty of nature, but when you do, it is something that stays with you. Rachel and Ben trusted me to help them plan their Idaho elopement and adventured with me on their wedding day. I simply have the best job ever and am so thankful for couples like B & R that choose to adventure on their wedding day.