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Wedding ceremony on the observation deck at Snoqualmie Falls

Seattle area elopement wedding at Snoqualmie Falls

Nicole & Scott get married at Snoqualmie Falls

I got an email from Scott a couple of months ago, asking if I was available to photograph the elopement wedding of he and his fiance Nicole.  Scott and Nicole are from Minneapolis, and not familiar with the Seattle area, but they had done some research on the area and thought it would be a good place to get married.  The location they chose was Snoqualmie Falls, and the date was April 6.  Knowing that the odds of having rain in early April are pretty high, I asked Scott if he and Nicole would have any problems with getting under umbrellas if necessary, but Scott said that would be no problem if that is how things worked out.

We communicated off and on to determine the timing for the wedding, and a couple of weeks before the date I got an email from Nicole with a few more questions regarding the logistics for the day.  She and Scott are both big Twin Peaks fans, and they thought it would be fun to meet at Twede’s Cafe in North Bend for “a slice of cherry pie and a cup of joe” before starting our photo session.  I thought that was a great plan, especially because it would mean that we could take some photos at one of my favorite spots near North Bend before heading to the Falls for the ceremony.  Nicole also told me that they would be accompanied by their kids; daughter Tobias (16) and son Lukas (7).  I asked if they had thought about witnesses for the ceremony, and told her that I could act as one of the witnesses if needed.

Meeting up in North Bend

The day of the ceremony it was absolutely pouring rain when I woke up.  I live in Bellevue, which is about 20 miles from the Falls, but it is usually drier here in the early spring than it is in North Bend, so I was a bit apprehensive about what the weather gods might have in store for us later in the day.  The plan was to meet at Twede’s at 1:30, with the ceremony at the Falls taking place at 3PM.  It’s about a 15 minute drive so that would give us plenty of time in North Bend before needing to head to the Falls to meet the pastor.  I left on schedule, and arrived at Twede’s a bit before 1:30.  The weather was considerably better than earlier in the day, but there were still some rather large dark clouds nearby that made me a bit nervous.

But as I pulled into the parking lot my phone chirped and I found a text from Nicole.  They had been caught in traffic and were running behind schedule.  I had to laugh, because it is rare that things actually happen on time on the day of the wedding, which is why I had allowed extra time in our plans for the photos in North Bend.

Photos near the Snoqualmie River

When the group arrived, we decided that the cherry pie was going to have to wait and headed straight out to my first photo spot, near an old trestle crossing the Snoqualmie River just outside of North Bend.   The weather had actually gotten better, with blue sky showing in places, though there were still a few darks clouds that I wanted to keep an eye on.  We walked out along the train tracks until we got near the river (as you’ll see when you look at the photos below), and had a very nice time for the next 20-30 minutes just playing around near the river and getting some shots of the family.  Lukas was not particularly into being photographed, but he was interested in learning how to skip rocks on the river, and pretty quickly forgot about trying to avoid the camera – for a few minutes at least!

As we started back to the cars the clouds finally decided to let loose, and it began to rain fairly hard.  You can see the raindrops in the photos below of Scott and Nicole on the train tracks with the trestle behind them, and we all got a bit damp.  But hey, this is the Pacific NW, and springtime and rain are pretty much impossible to separate!

Meeting the Pastor at Snoqualmie Falls

We climbed into our cars, and Nicole, Scott and the kids followed me to Snoqualmie Falls.  Once there, we found parking and then Scott began looking for Pastor Dave, who would be conducting the ceremony.  I went to scout out the possible locations for the ceremony, where we would have the least number of extra people as unintended photo-bombers during the ceremony.  I had to discard what had been my first choice due to the fact that the volume of water over the Falls was so high that huge amounts of mist completely covered the spot, making it even wetter than a full-on rain storm.  As it turned out, due to the weather there were not too many people at the Falls, so we decided to use the main observation deck and hope that people would stay out of our way when they saw that a wedding was taking place.  Scott located Pastor Dave, and after a brief meeting to discuss the ceremony we were ready to get things underway.

The Wedding Ceremony over the Falls

Our group made our way to the platform, and very quickly managed to grab a prime spot with a great backdrop of the Falls and the Salish Lodge.  The observation deck has two levels, and the wedding party stationed themselves on the lower deck while I moved to the upper deck, where I could better frame the backdrop of the Falls.  The weather gods decided they had given us enough rain for the day, and the Falls provided a constantly changing background as the mist varied from almost non-existent to a fog so thick that it was nearly opaque.  Pastor Dave performed a wonderful ceremony, finishing the ceremony with a special kind of hand-fasting that I had not seen before, wrapping the hands on Nicole, Scott, Tobias and Lukas in a cord in a manner that produced a very cool knot when finished.  After the ceremony, we all went back to Pastor Dave’s truck, where Scott and Nicole were able to sign their paperwork without any worries of getting wet (again).

Final photos at the base of the Falls

Because Nicole and Scott had never been to the Falls before this trip, I wanted them to have a chance to also see the view from the base of the Falls.  If you do not know how to get there by car, it is very easy to get hopelessly lost, and I thought they might want a few photos there as well.  So once the paperwork was all signed, we piled into our respective cars and made the relatively short drive to the parking lot at the power house at the base of the Falls.  From there it is a walk of ~200 yards to the end of the “allowed” access, which is a wooden walkway raised ~15 feet above the riverbank.  It used to be quite easy to actually leave the walkway and walk over the rocks and reach the true base of the Falls (at least when the river was low), but this is no longer the case.

Our group made our way in along the walkway until reaching the small platform that is the “end of the road”.  We got another set of nice shots from a completely different perspective, and then it was time for me to head home and for Nicole, Scott and the kids to head back to the Salish Lodge, where they would spend the night.

Here is a selection of photos from the day, I hope you enjoy them and will leave some comments!

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