Real Weddings: Laura Lawson and Nick Visconti

Elopement in the woods.

Elopement in the woods: Laura Lawson and Nick Visconti

RattleSnake ridge, Cascades, Washington

Professional snowboarder Nick Visconti first met Laura Lawson at The Vine at Bridges in Danville. The year was 2010, and there was a thunderbolt.

“It hit me like a brick over the head,” says Nick, who is from San Ramon. “When I saw Laura, something in my heart aligned. Our spirits were connected.”

Laura was also smitten, but she was hesitant to hand her heart to a snowboarding stud who spent most of his time on the road and had an avalanche of admirers in his wake. “I was fearful,” says the artist, who grew up in Dublin. “Nick was gone so much, it was hard to keep track of him. I didn’t feel like I fit in with his lifestyle.”

At the time, Laura was newly diagnosed with an eye disease that will eventually steal her sight. “I was in a stagnant place emotionally,” she says. “But being with Nick was very healing. He is an adrenaline junkie and lives as much life as possible every day. I needed that.”

Three years later, Nick and Laura were planning a wedding–a big one. But as the guest list mushroomed to 400, it became overwhelming. “We just didn’t want our wedding to be all about decor and invitations,” says Laura. “We wanted it to be about us.”

So Nick and Laura changed their minds, and on a Thursday afternoon in May, they eloped.

Laura walked deep into the woods to meet Nick at the foot of their favorite hiking trail, Rattlesnake Ridge in the Washington Cascades. With towering conifers as their witnesses, a close friend married the two before they hiked two miles upward. At the very moment they reached the top, a storm broke out.

“It felt like the whole world was applauding us,” says Laura, who now lives in Portland, Oregon, with Nick. “We looked out across valleys and mountains, saw lightning, heard thunder, and felt rain. It felt beautiful, intimate, and kind of dangerous.

“[It was] the most incredible moment of my life.”  


Photos by Benj Haisch

Dress:  |  Flowers: Ballard Blossom, Seattle  |  Officiant: Joel Parker (friend)  |  Photographer: Benj Haisch, Seattle/Tacoma  |  Videographer: Janssen Powers Media, Seattle