Shenandoah Wedding | Stony Man Mountain
First, let me start by saying that this Shenandoah elopement shoot was actually a styled shoot! Two of my friends, Sam and Bryan, so kindly agreed to share one of their weekends with me in the Virginia mountains to make this shoot happen. Now Sam and Bryan are not models, but they are a real married couple (who actually got married not far from Shenandoah just a year before!) and that was the key that made these photos look so real! I am still dying over how beautiful these images turned out!
We chose Stony Man Mountain as the setting for our elopement styled shoot. It was a beautiful location as there was a nice rock area to stand with spectacular views of the valley below. The hike wasn’t too long–less than a mile to get to the top, but the trail was a little hard to follow on the way back down as there are a few other intersecting trails. We made sure to go at sunrise to avoid crowds. The trail is fairly wide and even, so it was safe enough to walk on in the dark. When we got to the top, we were shocked by how cold and windy it was–37 degrees! In Raleigh that week it had been a nice 80 (it was mid-April), but on a mountaintop in Shenandoah it was much colder! The wind and cold definitely made the shoot more challenging. We took frequent breaks for Sam to put on her coat, and we finally had to stop when her frozen cheeks wouldn’t let her smile anymore. She and Bryan were such troopers though! They did an amazing job hiding the cold in their faces. I made an Instagram Reel about our experience with the weather up there!
We bought Sam’s dress from Lulu’s, which is the perfect shop for elopement wedding dresses, in my opinion! They are just absolutely gorgeous but don’t break the bank. You’re not going to find your fairytale ballgown from Lulu’s, but not many women would want to wear or carry a ballgown to a mountaintop anyway! The dress had a beautiful silhouette and gorgeous lace sleeves which added at least one layer to help against the cold mountain air.
The flowers came from Wegman’s floral department. If you don’t know Wegman’s, it is a popular upscale grocery chain that originated in the Northeast and is making its way around the country. I arranged the flowers myself if Raleigh, and then transported them to Shenandoah. Thankfully they survived both the four-hour car ride and the 1 1/2 mile hike up the mountain!
My dream is to go to all 63 U.S. national parks, and I would absolutely LOVE if I could photograph couples along the way! I’ve been to 17 of the parks so far. Here is the list:
- Death Valley
- Dry Tortugas
- Grand Canyon
- Grand Teton
- Great Smoky Mountains
- Hawaii Volcanos
- Joshua Tree
- Mesa Verde
If you are looking for epic engagement photos, planning an elopement or adventure wedding, or just want some amazing new photos of you as a couple, and you would love to go to any national parks, please reach out!! If this idea sounds awesome to you, but you have no idea where to begin, I can help you plan! Destination and adventure weddings like these can actually be much cheaper than a regular wedding, and they allow you to focus more on your moment rather than having to please dozens or hundreds or wedding guests (don’t get me wrong, I love big weddings, but they’re not for everybody). If you’re interested, go to my contact page here on my website (menu tab is above) and we can schedule a chat!