Rikki Rivera | Photographer » Wedding & Portrait Photography

Amy + Jens | Mountain top elopement

As we gathered in the very spot where their relationship first began, their friend and wedding officiant, Katie began, “On their first date, Amy and Jens hiked Mount Pilchuck and shared their first kiss at the summit. Jens described the moment of remembering her next to him and thinking they were a perfect fit. And it’s not hard to see that all these years later, gathered in that same spot where it began.”

Below are not only a handful of photos that depict the story of how this incredible day began, but snippets of their vows and words to one another. Enjoy.

Amy, “It’s hard to put into words how I feel about Jens. It’s in many ways, indescribable, so I don’t focus on verbalizing it. Most of the time I just feel grateful.” 

Jens, “Amy is complicated, but dedicated. When she opened up to me, it felt amazing. She is my best friend and lover.”

Jens, “I could not have asked for a better partner in our travels through life. As I speak of life, life is about living your dreams; feeling alive, and understanding that every moment we sit here, every breath, you will be by my side, rolling on the floor laughing, knowing I will be the man that will support you through it all. Knowing I will be the supportive father of your child, knowing I will be your lover and best friend, not ever giving up on family.”

Amy, “You have shown me how beautiful life can be. My life now screams with color – everything from Booker’s laugh to this early morning light. Thank you for showing me how to live in the moment and appreciate the smallest details… It is my privilege to be your family; to be your wife.”

Katie, “May your lives be ever intertwined, your love keeping you together. May you build a home together that is compassionate to all, full of respect and honor for others and each other, and may it forever be filled with peace, happiness, and love.”

Jens,“My favorite part about the hike, besides standing across from the most beautiful girl in the world, was witnessing Amy in her pre-wedding bliss, at 3:00am in the morning with her huge backpack on. She had two bouquets of flowers in each water bottle pocket on her backpack, her dress dangling off, and headlamp to illuminate her way up the steep rocky trail. She was ready, and nothing, no obstacle was going to get in her way!”

Amy, “Our wedding was magical. Many things didn’t go as originally planned, but somehow, in all that beauty, they only added to the experience. There were moments that brought tears to my eyes and more laughter than may generally be appropriate. But in those moments, looking at Jens, listening to our love story, surrounded by the mountains and the morning silence, I felt pure, unadulterated joy.”

It’s taken me awhile to pick this handful of photos to feature, because as you can imagine, they’re all really amazing. There are also few words to rightfully explain how the experience that was hiking up a mountain in the dark with my husband + my favorite person, waking at first light, and capturing an intimate elopement at the summit. It was, hands down, an experience I will never forget.

I met Amy a few years ago for head shots for her work. I adore her personality and energy. My husband actually went to high school with Amy and her sister, so it was fun to bring them back together. Fast forward to present day and I get this amazing phone call that says, “Hey, I know you like to do this kind of thing. Are you interested?” Literally at a loss for words for about a millisecond before, “YES!” came rushing out. Yes, yes, absolutely yes! For weeks I imagined what Amy and Jens’ wedding would be like. The real thing was much better, let me tell you. Planning and preparing was done well in advance, because seriously the excitement was boiling over. Admittedly, I was slightly afraid of hiking at night. I’m just not a fan of the woods and pitch black all around you. Thankfully, my best friend came along to keep me company and second shoot. It ended up being one of the best experiences in hiking I’ve ever done. By the time we stepped out of the forest and into the open the rest of the way up, the stars and far off city lights were upon us. I could barely keep my eyes off the stars, they were so brilliant!

When the lookout finally came in sight, we were elated, and so tired. With less than five hours before the sun came up and the bride and groom would arrive, we quickly found a spot to cowboy camp and laid out under the stars with rough cool winds, and zipped up to sleep off and on until sunrise. We woke to the wedding party coming up the mountainside and the sky just barely showing any light. As we all slowly gathered together, people were gracious enough to give us the space needed to get ready. With only an hour of sleep for them, everyone dressed, and we set out. Just as the sunrise was turning into it’s own beautiful golden light, Amy and Jens exchanged vows, laughter, and a kiss to seal the deal. It was amazing. Breathtaking. An experience I would do again and again, but I know this was once in a lifetime.

Amy and Jens, I am so grateful, humbled, and honored to have been apart of this with you. You’re a more beautiful couple than I ever knew before and getting to know you from this experience was an honor. I can’t wait to see what adventures you get into next. Cheers to you newlyweds!

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