Should you Elope this Summer in Oregon?


Through all the fuss of wedding planning, I often hear brides joke about “just eloping instead”. Maybe even you yourself are asking 'Is elopement right for me?' It seems like a simple solution to an otherwise chaotic event. But here’s the thing, eloping isn’t for everyone, the same way full day weddings aren’t for everyone. If you’re struggling to decide which option is really the best for you, you must first answer these following questions:

One - Will Your Potential Guest List Interfere? 

If you’re like me and have a big family of aunts, grandmas and cousins, think about how you would feel if they weren’t there to hear your vows. There is no right answer, and it’s not to be decided by your family members themselves. If your dream is to elope, you're looking for a compromise, and your family loves a good party, consider holding a “reception-like” event a day or week later!

Two - Is Your Dream Venue Actually a Venue?

One perk of eloping is having the opportunity to be married almost wherever you want. If you and your fiancé are hikers, an obvious option would be to elope at the top of a hill overlooking the city. If you’re surfers or swimmers, a beachside elopement is also meant for you! And, permits are significantly cheaper than large capacity venues. However, if you vision yourself dancing in a dazzling ballroom, eloping seems out of the question. You can also search for Portland venues that hold elopements or small weddings if you'd like something in between.


Three - What Vendors and Services are Your Priority?

If Catering or DJs aren’t on the top of your list, but Photography and Florals are, you could consider putting more of your budget towards the vendors that you will be happiest with. By choosing to elope, your vendor list will shorten dramatically and you can put your dollar to booking your dream vendors without having to sacrifice your solid budget. Don't forget to contact your dream vendors to see if they offer Oregon Elopement packages or services.

Four - Do You Really Want to Elope?

Eloping is a very intimate process, and very rarely involves more than eight people. If a party is important to you, eloping probably isn’t. If decor and bridesmaids are a priority to you, eloping probably isn’t. There is no right or wrong, only preference. Make a list of your pros and cons if you’re seriously considering taking this direction. 



I hope these tips helped clear up some questions, and brought the answers you needed. If you’re still struggling, leave some questions for me in the comments box. You can also ask your favorite Portland vendors what they did personally to gain new perspective.

Columbia Gorge Shoot Featured on 100 Layer Cake!

Columbia Gorge Shoot Featured on 100 Layer Cake!

The title says it all! I have another shoot featured on one of my favorite wedding blogs, 100 Layer Cake, and I'm definitely doing a happy dance! This shoot took place earlier this year at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, completely designed and inspired by the amazingly talented Samantha Struck. She took my suggestions and ideas and transformed them into a dreamy masterpiece.

Karli + Randy: Portland Courthouse Elopement

Karli + Randy: Portland Courthouse Elopement

It's not too often I spend my Friday's shooting elopements, but I'm hoping this becomes a routine soon! Karli and Randy said 'I Do' surrounded by those most important to them. The guest list was small, the ceremony was fast, and we ended the day with polaroids and laughter. 

Cannon Beach Ethereal Bridal Session: Featured on Dear Gray

On the third anniversary of my business, what is better way to celebrate than this? Last October I was privileged to join some of the most talented film & digital photographers in the United States for a workshop hosted by the renowned Jeremy Chou here in my great state of Oregon. We were taught by the leading members in our industry on creating meaningful and beautiful images with film & digital mediums. In January my images from the Lewis & Clark shoot were featured on JoyWed. Today, the second part is featured on one of my favorite wedding blogs, Dear Gray. 

Learning to shoot in the rain was one of my biggest challenges, and up until that day, biggest roadblocks as a photographer. It wasn't easy being exposed to the rain when I was loading and reloading film, or when I was trying to keep the equipment dry in between shots without an assistant. It was an experience I was surprisingly not prepared for as an Oregonian, but also incredibly thankful for as a photographer. 

The Jeremy Chou Workshop made an incredible impact on my life and gave me the necessary skills to be an even better hybrid wedding photographer, specifically in the Northwest. This shoot took place at the legendary Cannon Beach in front of Haystack Rock. I call this gallery the "Siren of the Sea" because of how gorgeous and ethereal our model portrayed this bride. You can catch some of these images and more on Dear Gray by clicking the button below! 

Three Reasons to Have an Outdoor Wedding in Oregon this Summer

In Oregon, having an outdoor wedding can feel like an iffy situation. The majority of the summer is beautiful, warm, and dry, perfect conditions for a wedding! However, you might still feel unsettled and choose an indoor space instead. Although there are a variety of beautiful spaces you can find inside, I have three reasons why choosing to have an outdoor ceremony will give you more opportunities for beautiful wedding photos and help create your perfect wedding. 

1 - They're More Scenic 

No matter if your idea of scenic is a lush green field, a view of Mount Hood, or an overlook of on of Oregon's luxury vineyards, outdoor venues can provide you with many options to create a stunning backdrop behind your I Do's. There will be many photo opportunities with family, friends, and your wedding party to create gorgeous formal photos that will be hung on your mantels for years to come. 

2 - More space for Guests to Roam

By default, most outdoor venues are more spacious, lending your guests more opportunities to roam and socialize. While we are taking formals of the family during cocktail hour, your guests will take a walk through the field, find shelter underneath a tree, or play any lawn games you might have set up for them. One of the anxieties of wedding planning is keeping the guests entertained. When the weather is beautiful, and there is space to wander, your guests will be delighted to soak in the sun while sipping on wine.


3 - Gorgeous Light & Timeless Imagery

Film craves good light. The majority of professional film stocks prefer sunshine and open skies over the indoors. That's not to say it's impossible to capture moments on film indoors, but it is significantly easier outside. Your details will look brighter, and your images will seem timeless through the color and capture on film. During sunset, you will have one last quick moment for photos. The way the sun will hit your dress and kiss your cheek will far beat any photos you can take together. This moment alone will pay its weight in gold. 



So now, you ask what happens if it rains during my wedding? The majority of venues already have a spare indoor space you can use for dining and most often use this space as a backup for bad weather. Some venues have tents prepared, and you always will have an option to rent them on your own if bad weather is approaching. If the rain is light, like it often is in the summer, offering guests slick black umbrellas or asking them to bring their own will create a beautiful and classic look to your otherwise rained out wedding day. 


Due to the popularity of outdoor venues, they often book out 8-12 months in advance. If you don't want to commit to a longer engagement, try seeking venues outside the typical Portland radius, or ask a planner or photographer if they have any recommendations. 

Hornings Hideout March Elopement

How can I describe this session? Well, wet for one. Magical doesn't give this session justice. It's obviously romantic. How about enchanting? Charming? How can you describe this session?

I obsessively check the weather. Hour by hour forecast, or 15 Minute Updates if they're available. I knew booking this session it would likely be raining. Everyone involved in this session knew it too. It was early March for crying out loud! When you ask for sun, you get rain. Especially if the elopement is Bee-Themed...

But when it rains, and when you have a gorgeous couple with gorgeous flowers, it almost seems to shine...

Naturally, no one dressed appropriately. We were cold, miserable, and WAITING for the rain to stop. It didn't, and we stayed cold until we got to soak in our tubs at home...

But nothing kept us more motivated than the incredibly stunning couple who stood out in the rain pretending it was the Bahamas...

And nothing kept us warmer than their high spirits, smiles, and love for each other...

Oh, besides the bride's rainboots of course...

With the crew of five hard working wedding professionals, a gracious couple, an incredible venue, and the marvelous rentals, we pulled together one inspiring elopement...

That, we admit, might be more English-themed than Bee-themed...

And we did it in the rain.