Kara and Zach wanted their wedding day to be relaxed, fun and somewhere in nature and their intimate Hocking Hills  elopement Saltpetre Cave State Nature Preserve reflected exactly that! The morning started with sun-speckled portraits at the couple’s cabin, The Tumbleweed, nestled in the woods near Hocking Hills State Park. Over past years, Kara and Zach stayed at the cabin each time they visited the area and so it was a “must” for their elopement. They also wanted photos taken with their poodle, Luna, but since Saltpetre doesn’t allow dogs, we decided to take some photos with her first. Luna was so important to their wedding day that Kara even had Sarah of Shaffer Creative Co create a custom flower dog collar. The collar matched Kara’s floral crown!

After some photos with Luna, we headed to Saltpetre Cave to meet Windi of Run to an Elopement. Saltpetre preserve is a small, hidden preserve with unique geology. It is also notably permit-only. After we checked in with Windi and Kara and Zach signed their wedding license, we all hiked to one of the recess caves at the preserve. Kara and Zach chose the Hocking Hills as a location because they love being surrounded by nature. Kara said, “We visit at least once a year. And while it’s comfortable and familiar, we always seem to discover a new place within the area that we have never been, like Saltpetre Caves. The area is full of comfort, full of magic, and full of more to discover.”

The couple choose to elope to the Hocking Hills because they didn’t want the pressure of a traditional wedding ceremony. “We wanted to have a ceremony that would be representative of the time and intimacy we enjoy when we are together,” said Kara. Following their vows, Kara and Zach had a unique coffee unity ritual. “Coffee has always been a big part of our relationship from morning (and afternoon) coffees on our porch to trying new coffee shops during our travels. Making each other coffee – and sitting down to take a few moments to share coffee together- is this small act that has spoken volumes across the span of our relationship,” said Kara.

After the ceremony, Kara, Zach, and I explored the preserve looking for photo opportunities. I loved having the chance to showcase the stunning, natural beauty of the preserve as well as the details of the couple’s outfits. Kara chose a long sleeve lace dress by Blush Fashion. Zach’s suit was from Banana Republic and his boots were from Redwing.

Instead of a traditional bouquet, Kara wanted a giant, asymmetrical flower crown. Kara and her florist, Sarah, selected the flowers primarily based on color palette and seasonal availability. “Seasonal blooms allowed us to keep sourcing in country for the ranunculus, anemone, and hellebores. Those are also some of the first harbingers of spring in the floral world so I thought the narrative would fit,” said Sarah.

Please enjoy some of my favorite photos from Kara and Zach's Hocking Hills Cave Elopement!

Share this story