Adventurous Elopement At The Natural Bridge in Red River Gorge, Kentucky


October 4, 2023

While most of the world was waking up, Evan and Sam had the most breathtaking sunrise adventurous elopement, The Red River Gorge area, surrounded by their two closest friends. Specifically, the pair explored the Natural Bridge and Creation Falls, which offered unbeatable views and countless miles of hiking trails, waterfalls, and picturesque landmarks – making it the ultimate elopement destination in Kentucky.

Evan and Sam are avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. They expressed how they wanted an intimate yet adventurous elopement that was candid and journey-focused. Therefore, this is how they structure their day: 

  • Getting ready in cabin
  • Hike up to the Natural Bridge 
  • Sunrise ceremony at Natural Bridge
  • Fly Fishing at Mill Creek Lake
  • Lunch at Miguel’s Pizza
  • Hike to Creation Falls
  • Late dinner at the cabin

Why Evan and Sam chose to elope in Natural Bridge and Creation Falls In Red River Gorge

They chose the Natural Bridge and Creation Falls trail for their relaxing and beautiful outdoor spaces, landmarks, waterfalls, stone arches, activities, and the shaded easy hiking trails. They especially loved the Natural Bridge location because it was considerate of their friends who were joining their elopement who were beginner hikers. For Evan and Sam, these two areas in the Red River Gorge fulfilled their wishes of having an intimate and adventurous elopement.

Getting Ready In A Natural Cabin

They started the day by getting ready in a stunning A-frame cabin hosted by Natural Bridge Cabin Company in the Sherwood Forest. It had so much natural light, outdoor spaces, and greenery. It was the most laid-back and casual time with their friends Abby and Nick. They had coffee brunch and reminisced about their friendship and the couple. Despite waking up super early, everyone had high energy about the upcoming hike and the nuptials at sunrise. Staying true to their laid-back nature, they had joint first-look photos, which were a joy to capture. After getting ready, the bride, groom, and their friends brought their best hiking boots and gear to start their journey to the natural bridge skyline cliff.

The Hike To The Natural Bridge Cliff

The hike to Natural Bridge was nothing less than perfect. The natural bridge is a crown jewel and a must-see destination for those wanting a pleasant outdoor experience. Evan and Sam carried matching lanterns to illuminate their hike to the ceremony, which made for beautiful romantic portraits. The hike was surrounded by so much greenery, and the lingering fog made it feel like you were in a scene of Twilight. We stopped for so much sightseeing because it was too beautiful not to soak in its natural beauty.

Sunrise Elopement Ceremony At the Natural Bridge, Red River Gorge 

Did we have a plan? Yes. Did it coordinate with our timeline? Nope! We initially planned to be at Natural Bridge by 6 a.m.; however, it rained the day before, making it foggy the next morning. We delayed our hike and arrived at Natural Bridge around 7 am instead. Although the fog was unexpected – it was a beautiful surprise. It made it feel like they were eloping in the Pacific Northwest. Additionally, it created a dreamy backdrop for the ceremony pictures. Since they eloped on a Friday morning, nobody was there during their sunrise ceremony, giving way to an intimate ceremony full of bride and groom portraits.

How Their Personalities Shaped Their Laid-Back Elopement

They wanted a stress-free and relaxing day; therefore, together, we created a timeline that they could have the dreamiest elopement at The Red River Gorge. Per their request, they wanted only two people to be a part of their special day. Abby was their officiant, and Nick supported and witnessed their union. Sam went to Trader Joe’s, and she created her bridal bouquet. Being the adventurous couple, they were down to hike both Natural Bridge and Creation Falls on the same day. Evan even included his favorite hobby, fly fishing with Nick, at Mill Creek Lake, and Sam played board games with Abby.  Then afterward, everyone went to Miguel’s Pizza, a pizza spot across the street from Natural Bridge State Park in the Red River Gorge for a late lunch. They are such a fun and silly couple, and this day showed their personalities perfectly.

Intimate Portraits At The Creation Falls

It was not a question that we had to take bride and groom portraits in the stunning waterfalls of Creation Falls. After they fly-fished and had pizza, the couple took a solo stroll to the waterfall. Sam took her boots off and got into the water. This is another reason I loved Evan and Sam; they weren’t afraid to get dirty! Sam’s dress flowed beautifully above the water, and Evan guided her through the waters like his true gentlemanly self. It was apparent that Evan was in awe of his new bride, which made for some great adventure elopement nature portraits.

Dinner For Four At The Cabin

Once Evan and Sam returned to the cabin, they wanted to host a candlelit dinner with a classic steak, potatoes, and green beans. It’s safe to say that the newlyweds and wedding party worked up a massive appetite after adventurous hiking, fishing, and exploration. Sam used her bouquet as a centerpiece, a personal touch I loved. Everyone enjoyed their meal in cozy attire, and they had fun reminiscing about their jam-packed day in The Red River Gorge. It was such a joy capturing this unique closing time of a beautiful day. 

Why You Should Choose A Full Day Elopement

Who says your elopement has to end at the ceremony? Don’t settle for a two-hour elopement. Evan and Sam had their dream elopement from sunrise to sunset and managed to do everything they wanted. What’s more is that I was able to capture this entire day candidly and authentically. They will forever have this whole day documented. Here are some tips that I have:

  • Plan your elopement on a weekday. More chances of having the spot all to yourselves
  • If you’re a morning person, opt for a sunrise ceremony to avoid the crowds
  • Don’t be afraid to dream big for your elopement day 
  • Make a timeline to help guide your day but not determine it
  • Read my planning guide on how to elope in Red River Gorge

Closing Thoughts 

Evan and Sam’s vision was to have an adventurous fun-filled day with their two closest friends, and that’s exactly what their elopement day was. It was perfection; and it was filled with intimate moments, warm embraces, silliness, exploration, and most of all – love. 

“Evan and I cannot possibly recommend Mary enough. She captured our private elopement in Red River Gorge in stunning, true to life form. Her 35mm photos (included here) were part of what drew us to her work when we were searching for a photographer and we couldn’t be more delighted with how they came out. All of the photos Mary took of our day – film, digital, and even our personal Polaroid- came out amazing and depicted each moment perfectly. Mary was a huge part of our planning process, too. She helped us dream up our elopement and curated a photo timeline that guided the entire day so that we could relax and enjoy. Evan and I could not have dreamed up a more perfect, personalized experience and we owe it to Mary for going above and beyond. Plus, we enjoyed Mary’s company throughout the day as a warm, kind, and adventurous addition to our small party of four. Our day would not have been the same without her and we are so grateful for this lovey human and exceptional photographer!”

Are you looking to elope at The Red River Gorge? Check out my work Elopement at Creation Falls in Red River Gorge. Contact me to start planning your adventure elopement. Let’s make your dream elopement become a reality. 

Mary Andrikus Photography | Kentucky Elopement Photographer

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Mary Andrikus is a Kentucky & destination wedding, elopement & family photographer. Mary strives to create photography experience that you can relax into.

Mary believes that Black Lives matter and always; all bodies are beautiful; and LGBTQ+ individuals should have the right to respect and full equality. Mary does not and shall not discriminate folks of any race, body size, ability, gender identity, creed, sexual orientation, age, religions and national origin.