This elopement at Smith Rock State Park was the perfect sunny fall day we all dreamed of. Danielle & Jeff gathered with their closest family and friends to say I do at this desert gem in Oregon. Danielle’s elegant off-shoulder gown with white boots was the perfect pairing and Jeff’s blue suit popped against the desert backdrop! Their fall inspired floral palette tied it all together and looked so insanely beautiful.
If you haven’t heard of Smith Rock you have to get yourself there ASAP. It’s truly an iconic place to elope in Oregon and somehow is a wildly jaw-dropping desert oasis surrounded by farm land. A needle in a haystack truly! You’ll find a meandering river throughout the park, steep hikes up the tall rock faces, rock-climbers galore, wildlife, and hopefully sunshine. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on leash.
Smith Rock is roughly a half hour drive outside of Bend, Oregon, therefore is in the high desert where you can find around 300 days of sun a year, a drastic difference to Portland’s rainy and grey weather patterns. Smith Rock is best to visit in the Spring and Fall as it can reach extremely hot temperatures with little shade in the summer time. It’s a great place to elope and get married because it’s inexpensive (there is a $5 day fee) and it’s stunning. Be sure to check with the office prior about permit requirement as they are always changing. It’s always important to Leave No Trace and especially so here! All too often I see photographers taking their couples off trail or into the flora which is a big no no! Please stay on the trails if you visit Smith Rock – there are plenty of them.
One unique thing that Smith Rock offers is a small stadium/stage for weddings (must be reserved ahead of time) at the farthest end right off a parking lot. Danielle & Jeff used this for their wedding ceremony so their guests could have a seat on the provided benches! You can’t miss it if you scroll down. They had a private first look and vows prior to the ceremony so that they could have an intimate moment just the two of them (big fan of this!). After the ceremony they had a formal reception at a nearby lodge venue – River Run Lodge. I always love heading into Central Oregon and this was the best excuse to go!
Kelsey Straus is a PNW Elopement +
Intimate Wedding Photographer
based in Portland, Oregon