their elopement day: hacklebarney state park, new jersey

It was tooooo good for my adventurous heart to get to be a witness as these two got married among the trees and the sound of flowing water behind them. They picked such a magical nook within Hacklebarney State Park for their adventurous, intimate waterfall elopement, and it couldn’t have been more perfect! I love that these two planned this elopement under two weeks, as it was only fitting for their wild and adventurous love story to go the non-traditional route with their big day! They were SO full of joy and excitement to finally be husband and wife, and their adorable smiles say it all! They truly were just so ready to finally be married that they kicked tradition to the side and chose a place that excited them to tie the knot!

I was honored to get to sign as a witness for their elopement and capture the first day of their forever together! They were so much fun to hang out with and totally up for anything! I’m so glad Dan found me on Instagram (he’s an amazing underwater photographer himself!), and they locked in a date with me to make this perfect day come together! They really just wanted their waterfall elopement day to be fun, full of love, surrounded by good energy, and perfectly imperfect. Their love story is so interesting and fun, you have to keep reading to hear all about them!

their love story

Jacqueline says, “We’re probably the most unconventional couple (debatably ever), soooooo we’re basically doing the wedding thing backwards hahaha. Dan and I have known for quite a while that we wanted to spend our lives together but there have been a few obstacles which made even living together in the same country rather difficult. Dan was born and raised in Zimbabwe and then moved to the Bahamas (where we met) so we have basically been long-distance from NJ to the Bahamas from the get-go. Long story short, we decided to bypass the proposal (for now!!) and get married so that we can start our life together here without Dan having to go back and forth to the Bahamas. Sound crazy enough yet???”

Jackie told me “One of my biggest fears has always been sharks and the first thing I did with Dan was shark diving after knowing him for about two hours!” Dan said, “One of my biggest fears has always been girlfriends and that’s the first thing that I did with Jackie after knowing her 3 days total!” How freaking cute are they?!

Jackie was on spring break with her girlfriends in the Bahamas and met Dan while they were out getting margs! She said wasn’t too keen to be talking to a stranger who claimed to dive with sharks! She thought that he was full of it until he showed her some of his pictures swimming with them! He offered to take her and her friends out to swim with them, and she actually agreed despite her fear!

Dan says, “I think I challenged every single one of her fears when she was on that trip, from sharks to heights (cliff jumping) and she never even questioned me. I knew she was a special person from day one.”

Their typical date nights usually involve food and spending time outside! When they’re in the Bahamas, they usually love beach walks to dinner followed by ice cream and a movie at home! When they’re in NJ, they stick to pretty much the same thing – outdoors and food whether they’re cooking together or ordering takeout.

Jackie & Dan,

Thank you for taking me on this wonderful adventure of getting to know you two and capture your waterfall elopement! It has been such a pleasure and joy getting to hear all of your amazing stories, learn more about shark conservation, and hear about where this adventure is going to take you two next! I’m honored and lucky to have been your photographer! Love you both so much! xo

Loving this intimate elopement vibe?! Come check out this magical hiking elopement at Harriman State Park!


Assistant Photographer | Melissa MacDonald

Intimate Waterfall Elopement, Hacklebarney State Park, NJ | Jackie & Dan

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