I met Kellie and Ethan at the edge of the Great Plains in southwestern South Dakota for a Badlands National Park hiking Elopement! I had the time of my life capturing Kellie and Ethan’s elopement experience, from their first look to their celebration picnic and everything in between. Here’s a look into their unique day, full of stunning landscape views, a rain shower stroll, and lots of laughter.
Badlands National Park is an expansive natural wonder made up of fossil beds and spired rock formations. The park is located in Southwestern South Dakota and spans over 250,000 acres.
Apart from hiking, Badlands National Park offers a variety of activities and sightseeing opportunities. The park is abundant with wildlife and ideal for dark viewings of the starry night sky. Badlands National Park requires an elopement permit and park entrance fee, which can be accessed online ahead of time.
Badlands National Park is a popular elopement location, with Conata Point being one of the best ceremony spots in the entire park! I met up with Kellie and Ethan for their beautiful Badlands National Park hiking elopement at Conata Point, and I’m excited to share a little glimpse into their perfect day below!
Kellie and Ethan’s love story feels like fate. After connecting on a dating app, they quickly went on a first date! They shared great conversations over Thai food and a stroll in the park. Ethan and Kellie’s first day together quickly turned into months; the rest is history. After dating for some time, Ethan planned to propose with a sweet picnic outdoors. Unfortunately, it started raining before the big moment. So Ethan altered his plans and set up the most romantic indoor picnic proposal in his apartment.
Ethan laid blankets on the floor and surrounded the space with plants and flowers. Then, to set the mood, he decorated the area with twinkling lights and put nature videos on for background ambiance. Kellie was so excited when she arrived at Ethan’s apartment. They ate sandwiches, cookies and drank kombucha. Afterward, Ethan played Kellie a song he had written for her on piano through emotional, love-filled tears. Following the song, Ethan got down on one knee and asked Kellie to marry him.
The morning of Kellie and Ethan’s elopement was moody, with rain showers and a chill in the air. According to an old wive’s tale, rain on a wedding day is good luck! It’s said that the knot being tied (i.e., tying the knot) becomes wet and is harder to untangle, thus making the bond of marriage stronger. Whether you believe in superstitious tales like this or not, not even rain can come between Kellie and Ethan celebrating their love.
Luckily, the rain slowed just before the couple’s first look and letter reading at Big Badlands Overlook. We did a few short hikes before their ceremony at Conata Point. Fortunately, the clouds disappeared, and the sun came out just in time for Kellie and Ethan’s beautiful ceremony. In a touching celebration full of nostalgia and happiness, the couple celebrated their love with a picnic, yet again, at Conata Picnic Area.
Badlands National Park is full of some pretty epic overlooks accessible via scenic hiking roots, walking trails, and 4×4 adventures. If you’re interested in learning more about a Badlands National Park hiking elopement, you can read my Badlands National Park Elopement Guide. Badlands National Park is one of my favorite places to explore with couples, and I’d love to help capture and plan a stress-free elopement day full of adventure and love. You can inquire about bringing your dream day to life here!