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Upper Priest Lake Idaho Elopement


bride and groom kissing in the water

Priest Lake is one of my all time favorite places for elopements! It's known as the Crown Jewel of Idaho, known for it's pristine waters surrounded by the Selkirk Mountains just south of the Canadian border. The area has 3 highly rated resorts on the water (Elkins Resort, Hill's Resort, and Resort at Cavanaugh's), and plenty of opportunities for exceptional camping and water sports. With all that Priest Lake has to offer, Heather and Seth decided on Upper Priest Lake for their elopement in North Idaho!


When they first reached out, they didn't have an exact spot in mind yet. I did a bit of research and saw that Upper Priest Lake would be the absolute perfect place for Heather and Seth's elopement, as it provided views as well as privacy. They had a cabin on the other end of Priest Lake, so it was the perfect getaway for them!


The way we got to their ceremony location was by boat. I got picked up at the docks at Lionhead with Seth's family and we took a gorgeous boat ride through the thoroughfare that leads to Upper Priest Lake. They found a private beach only accessible by boat for their intimate ceremony on the water.


Priest Lake Thoroughfare Boat Ride

What is the Priest Lake Thoroughfare?

The Priest Lake Thoroughfare is a 2.5 mile long channel that connects Priest Lake to Upper Priest Lake. You can take boats, jet skis, and kayaks along the channel. The views are so breathtaking and the wildlife is abundant. The cool thing about Upper Priest Lake is that it's only accessible by hiking, boat, or by mountain biking. This is perfect for a private and secluded area for your elopement!

priest lake idaho thoroughfare boat ride

Upper Priest Lake Private Beaches

We accessed these upper beach areas by boat, and Heather and Seth picked this spot! It was the perfect place to get ready for ceremony. They brought along a pop up changing tent to change into their wedding attire, which is perfect for getting dressed in the outdoors! This particular beach area had a picnic table a little further up from the water on the beach, so they used this spot to get ready for the ceremony. Heather came up in a separate boat a little bit later, it was so neat to see guests arriving by boat!

private camping on the beach

Intimate Ceremony in Upper Priest Lake

Once everyone had arrived at the beach, it was time for a breathtaking ceremony in the water, yes, literally in the water! I thought it was so unique how they stood in the water for the ceremony. This elopement was also in August so everyone enjoyed being on the water for this day! It was a little bit smoky and cloudy, but luckily you could still see the magnificent mountains in the background! Their guests watched from camp chairs on the sandy beach and the officiant used a log as a podium for the ceremony. They had the beautiful Selkirk Mountain Range surrounding them as they got married in the crystal clear waters of Priest Lake.

ceremony in the lake

wedding guests sitting in camp chairs

Priest Lake Boat Bridals

This had to be one of my favorite moments from the day! At the end of the day, Heather and Seth took me back to the docks where I got picked up in a boat and we took some boat bridals on the way back. Passersby on jet skis and pontoon boats cheered for them as they saw the bride and groom in their wedding attire in the boat! Heather and Seth couldn't hold back their smiles and loved waving back at them. Again, the boat ride back through the thoroughfare was stunning (look at those mountain views, I'm obsessed)!

bride and groom sitting in a boat

Priest Lake Elopement Inspiration

After the ceremony, it was super important to Heather and Seth that everyone had a super chill time hanging out on the lake. And that's exactly what they got! Guests put their chairs in the water, the kids played in the water, Heather did a bouquet toss, and everyone was just enjoying this stunning elopement day out on the water!


Elopements can be whatever you want them to be, from being super adventurous with hiking up trails in the mountains, to days like this where everyone hangs out together while enjoying the beauty North Idaho has to offer.

priest lake idaho thoroughfare

ducks swimming in the water

upper priest lake idaho

boats on the beach on a lake

groom's vest and vow book

daisy boutonniere

groom getting ready photos

elopement guests on the beach

dog in a white dress

flower girl for ceremony on the beach

mother of bride and bride

groom watching bride walk down aisle

bride and dad walking down aisle

ceremony on priest lake idaho

wedding ceremony on the lake

elopement in priest lake idaho

elopement in priest lake idaho

elopement in priest lake idaho

elopement in priest lake idaho

elopement in priest lake idaho

wedding guests on the beach

elopement in priest lake idaho

elopement in priest lake idaho

elopement ceremony in priest lake idaho

dog sitting in camp chair

elopement ceremony in priest lake idaho

elopement ceremony in priest lake idaho

elopement ceremony in priest lake idaho

elopement ceremony in priest lake idaho

selkirk mountains on priest lake idaho

bride and groom custom sunglasses

bridals on priest lake idaho

bridals on priest lake idaho

bridals on priest lake idaho

bridals on priest lake idaho

bridals in priest lake idaho

bridals on priest lake idaho

elopement lake detail photo

bouquet toss gif in the lake

beach on upper priest lake idaho

bridals on a boat

groom can cooler sleeve

bridals on a boat

bridals on a boat

bridals on a boat

bridals on a boat

bridals on a boat

bridals on a boat

selkirk mountains on priest lake

priest lake thoroughfare

More North Idaho Elopement Inspiration and Planning Resources:


North Idaho Elopement Photographer

North Idaho is my specialty for elopements! I was born and raised here so I know some beautiful spots in the area, ranging from more well known spots like Priest Lake to more hidden gems in the mountains. If you wanna elope in North Idaho, I am your gal! You can reach out to me here!

north idaho elopement photographer

Priest Lake is wonderful for any type of elopement, whether that be an adventurous day or a laid back day. For some activity ideas for your elopement on Priest Lake, here's a blog post with a ton of fun ideas to make your elopement day truly unforgettable!


This Upper Priest Lake Idaho elopement is perfect for you to see what your own elopement day could look like here in Idaho! For more Idaho elopement inspiration, check out this blog with some more of the best places to elope in Idaho - from an Idaho local!



upper priest lake elopement in north idaho

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