Portland Elopement Ideas and Helpful Tips

After reading through these Portland elopement planning tips and deciding if an elopement or adventure wedding is for you, please read through my Oregon Elopement Planning Guide to help start the elopement of your dreams.





Here’s some of the best reasons I’ve compiled for eloping rather than have a full blown wedding. First let me start off by saying an elopement is NOT for everyone. There’s a reason elopements are a small section of the weddings that happen each year. They are however, growing in number and I thought i’d try to write a helpful blog about the pros and cons. So let me start with the PROS first.

1) You have total control – When you’re planning a weddings it’s a huge undertaking. You have to find time to book multiple vendors, pay deposits, coordinate lodging and dates with friends and family just to name a few. When you elope, typically it’s just you and your fiancé along an officiant and photographer. Sometimes there will be a witness or two as well, but it’s a really stripped down version of the big wedding day. Because of that, it’s much easier to plan and coordinate since you’re working with few vendors and have a wide open timeline.

2) You will save a ton of money – A typical wedding in the U.S. costs around $35,000. Yes, you read that right. An elopement can be as cost effective as you want. Most elopements hire a florist for a bouquet, an officiant to perform the service and a photographer to document it. So instead of spending almost $40,000 you could get that number down to only a few thousand at most.

3) Zero stress – I have seen so many couples completely bewildered by wedding planning and wedding day stress. When you elope, all of that stress is gone. You are completely free to do whatever you please. Trust me when I say, your photographer will absolutely love you for this.

4) Only the important people are there – That’s not to say Uncle Jim or Cousin Betty aren’t important. But with eloping you are able to have that absolute most important people around of the day which again, saves stress and money.

5) No Traditions – This is the greatest part of having an elopement. You can plan and do whatever you like. There are no normal wedding day traditions to be upheld. If you want to go have pizza after the ceremony and jump in a lake…that’s completely acceptable and really awesome if you want my opinion. Being free from the traditional wedding day conforms is really a beautiful way to spend your wedding day the way YOU want to spend it.


1)Less family to share the day with – That’s the one big downside of eloping. All of your relatives and friends won’t be there to join you like they would on a normal wedding day. What I always tell my couples if they are hesitant for this reason is to throw a giant backyard BBQ with the guests. You’ll still be saving a ton of money and have the chance to show off those amazing elopement photos with your friends and family on your own relaxed terms.

2) Fewer gifts – This is pretty obvious. When you’re not having a large wedding there will be few people to buy you gifts. Again though, I always encourage my couple’s to still throw a casual party where friends and family can bring gifts and you can show off your incredible photos on a projector over some good food and beers.

3)Less Fancy – This one is really debatable. If you’re worried about having a less extravagant wedding, than eloping may not be for you in the first place. I always find couples that want to elope have it in their hearts already and something like a less extravagant wedding day won’t sway them otherwise. With that said, nothing is stopping you from going all out on your design/florals for your elopement. It’s just not as common as it is with a traditional wedding.

4) You’re reliant on your photographer – I don’t really see this so much as a con as it is something to consider. I take great pride in helping my clients plan and document their day. With elopements I’m much more involved on the planning side than a typical wedding. Often I scout locations and put days of planning into finding the perfect spot. And with no timeline constraints I’ve always found elopements to create a better environment for photos because the couple is relaxed and you have time to really explore some different locations on top of it just being a more intimate affair which lends itself to those dreamy, romantic photos which are much harder to get on a big wedding day.


WARDROBE: This is highly dependent on the type of elopement you want to have. I always tell people dress for comfort. I’ve done a few mile hikes with brides in wedding dresses but it’s always best to wear good hiking boots and something you can manage for whatever the distance of the hike might be. Often times it’s only a short walk down the beach so this really depends on how adventurous your elopement planning is.

WEATHER: I’ve photographed in snow, pouring rain and hot sun. They all look good to be honest. Sometimes there’s no way around bad weather and you just have to embrace it. Often times it ends up looking even better than you had planned. But if you want to stay warm, planning an elopement on Mt. Hood in December is probably a bad idea. Just use common sense. If you hire me I can help plan the whole day so you won’t have to worry.

LIGHTING: This is the most important out of everything besides location. The best light is typically right after sunrise and right before sunset. We call that golden hour. That’s the prime to to have your couples portraits done and usually we plan elopements accordingly unless the weather is rainy. There’s nothing better than that soft warm glow right before sunset.

Depending on location the light will vary greatly though. For instance if you’re getting married at a waterfall, chances are you won’t have any sunset light in the deep canyon. Again, I’ll walk you through all of these steps and help you plan the whole way through.

So that’s it. Just a few pros and cons if you’re thinking about having an elopement. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I’d be more than happy to answer them.

Also check out the following links for even more elopement info! If you’re wanting to see elopement packages or have an engagement please get in touch. I know all of the great spots and I’m happy to share the beauty of Oregon with you.