National Park Wedding

After falling in love in one national park and then getting engaged in another national park, it seemed fitting for us to want to get married in a national park.  Steve and I have visited Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks the previous year and loved it there! And so, we started investigating the options, costs, and logistics for a wedding across the country and in a national park!

We started planning this wedding in 2003. Mind you, the first iphone came out in 2007. So while we used websites and the internet, we still had to make lots of phone calls, snail mail, and even use the fax machine! (We really aren’t that old, but this sounds old thinking about the technology changes!) Check out my huge planning binder!

 

Wedding magazines helped a lot with ideas and planning suggestions for destination weddings. I remember finding one issue of Martha Stewart Wedding that had a a western-style wedding in it. That wedding incorporated their own western looks into a beautiful wedding. It definitely inspired me to add our own touches to our wedding.

For our wedding, we wanted a mix of a formal wedding, yet set in the national park.  We wanted the wedding to reflect us!

For our attire, we wore a formal wedding dress and tuxedos, but had photos done outside by this famous barn (T.A. Moulton Barn) and at the log chapel (Chapel of the Transfiguration). My dress ended up with some grass stains on the bottom, but didn’t care at all!

S K barn laughing

chapel

We rode a bus as our transportation to photos, the chapel, and back to the lodge.

getting on the busjust married bus

At the reception in the Jackson Lake Lodge, we had a stuffed animal surrounded by berries from our florist as our centerpieces.  Each table had a unique national park stuffed animal and we named each table after a different national park. Our head table was the Grand Teton National Park with a moose.

Reception national park tableStuffed animal centerpieces

We created the wedding and reception into something really special that fit us and our personalities.

Enjoy some more photos from this amazing day!

S k walking by barn

S K hiking by barn

The kiss

Group yahoo at chapel

I would highly recommend having a wedding in a national park!

 

Indiana Dunes National Park

Recently, we visited Chicago and Indiana to see family and show the kids some fun there. During this trip, we visited a national park! And we got see a newly designated one!

Indiana Dunes National Park sits along the southern shore of Lake Michigan in northwestern Indiana. This national lakeshore became a national park as of February this year.

We checked out the visitor center first and our kids become junior rangers there! As I’ve mentioned, you definitely need to check out the junior ranger activities at our national parks! Great way to get the kids involved and learn something!

At the center, we read up on the park, watched the short history film, and even bought our youngest a junior ranger vest and hat. 😍

I love learning cool facts about the park like the fact that Lake Michigan took form 11,000 years ago when the Wisconsin glacier began to melt.

We headed to the shoreline and parked by the Kemil Road Access Point. We enjoyed seeing the lake and let the two kids skip some rocks.

We had to drive over and check out the park’s most dynamic dune, Mount Baldy. Mount Baldy stands 126 feet tall. To see this powerful dune, you need to take a short, fun trail to reach the beach from the parking area. It’s a fun little hike!

If you’re in the Chicago or Indiana area, check out our 61st national park and the first national Park in Indiana.

Crater Lake National Park

Happy 117th anniversary to Crater Lake National Park located in Oregon!

About 7,700 years ago, Mount Mazama erupted creating the deepest lake in the United States and the 9th deepest in the world.  With a depth of 1,943 feet, Crater Lake is the  one of the most beautiful lakes you will ever see. The water’s intense blue color is an indication of its great depth and purity. Surrounded by cliffs, the lake is fed entirely by rain and snow. Scientists consider Crater Lake to be the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world.

My husband and I have journeyed to this national park twice.  Here are a few photos from our first excursion there in September 2007.

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Did you the see the lake in the second photo? Yep, we didn’t either on that trip! The snow and clouds came in fast and hid that beautiful lake. We still enjoyed being in the national park, but really wanted to see Crater Lake!

And here are a few photos from our second trip there in August 2016.

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We definitely saw this amazing lake on this trip! We really enjoyed seeing this spectacular lake as the blue color is really unique.

We also took in a hike in the woods there too as the lake is only part of the national park.  This national park has a ton of old-growth forests with towering ponderosa pines to ancient whitebark pines hosting many trails for hiking.

If you’re in the Oregon or Northern California area, I highly recommend checking out this national park. This lake will truly amaze and inspire you!