I’m a wedding & elopement photographer for laid back couples that value the idea of being married more than just having a party. They want photos that show their true selves and represent their love of nature, and prefer to be more natural than overly posed.
There’s no place like the Oregon Coast on a beautiful Summer day. Where else can you wander through lush forests of Sitka spruce trees, watch whales breach the Pacific’s deep blue waters, and enjoy a romantic beach picnic at Sunset with the one you love!? I excitedly tagged along with Elli and Palmer during their Cape Perpetua elopement to capture the celebration of their marriage and the magic of the Oregon Coast. It was an unforgettable experience I shared with the couple, and I can’t wait for you to experience all the fun I had with Palmer and Elli below!
Cape Perpetua in Siuslaw National Forest soars over 800 feet and looks out onto the Pacific Ocean and Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve. The Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is almost 3,000 acres of coastal habitat, including a 27-mile trail system that winds through temperate rainforest and large Sitka spruce trees. Cape Perpetua is dog-friendly and has some easily accessible areas with parking and restrooms. The Cape Perpetua Visitor Center is open year-round and offers educational opportunities for visitors who wish to learn about the area’s cultural and natural history. Depending on your guest count and ceremony plans, a special use permit may be required for your elopement here! From hiking to camping, ocean views, tide pools, and more, Cape Perpetua is one of the most beautiful places to say I Do along the Oregon Coast.
Elli and Palmer met while working for a classical music festival in the mountains of Colorado. They bonded over their love for music and art and soon fell in love. One of my favorite things about Elli and Palmer is their love for music and crafts. Both are very artful, and Elli even plays in an all-ladies bluegrass band. Elli and Palmer are an easygoing, laid-back couple with huge, playful personalities.
Before their elopement, Elli introduced Palmer to her favorite band, Phish. Phish is a favorite band of mine, and the group is known for its close fanbase following. Elli and I connected through our mutual love of Phish, and she asked me to capture their elopement on the Oregon Coast! When planning their Oregon wedding ceremony, the pair knew they wanted a short hike with tall coastal trees and an incredible view. After hearing their dreams for the couple’s special day, I knew Cape Perpetua on the Oregon Coast would be the perfect spot for Elli and Palmer to say I do!
I met Elli and Palmer at the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center a few hours before Sunset. It was a warm, beautiful September afternoon on the coast, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The Cape Perpetua Visitor Center was a great meeting spot with parking, restrooms, and a picnic area. Elli and Palmer had a sweet first look at the Visitor’s Center. Then, we headed up the trail to find the couple’s perfect vow ceremony spot.
Once the pair found a quiet spot along the trail, Elii and Palmer set up an “arbor.” Their arbor was this beautiful, hanging piece of artwork Elli and Palmer made with one another using ribbons of all colors. It created a unique and colorful backdrop that personalized the area and complemented the lush green treescape along the trail. The pair then began their vow ceremony by burning sage and holding hands. Both Elli and Palmer had written heartfelt, intentional love notes to one another in a notepad.
After Elli and Palmer’s vow ceremony, we strolled along the rest of the trail, taking plenty of pictures along the way. After hiking, we arrived at a stone pavilion overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The panoramic view of the Oregon Coast from the soaring cliffside was breathtaking! We even saw whales off in the distance! It was Elli’s first time seeing a whale in the wild, which made the couple’s elopement celebration even more special. After doing a bit of whale watching, the couple posed for some portraits under the pavilion, admired the clear Oregon Coast Sunset, and held hands while we hiked back down the trail to the car.
After we hiked back down to the car, Elli, Palmer, and I drove to Neptune Beach to catch the other half of the Sunset. The couple playfully wandered through the surf and explored the beautiful rocks and cliffs along the beach. Once the Sun had gone down, Elli and Palmer set up a candle-lit picnic with a blanket, lanterns, rainbow wine cans, and cake slices. It was a wonderful end to a lighthearted day on the coast.
Eugene is just under two hours from Cape Perpetua and services major airlines such as Delta, United, Southwest, and Alaskan. With many direct flights from western cities such as Seattle, Phoenix, and Los Angeles, it’s a more convenient option than flying into Portland. If you and your partner are flying from another part of the U.S., connecting flights from Portland to Eugene can save you a 4-hour drive to the coast. Eugene has an on-site rental car counter, or you can book a vehicle for airport drop-off through Turo!
You and your partner can grab your marriage license at the Lincoln County Clerk’s Office. Before visiting, fill out the marriage license application online. Oregon has a three-day waiting period before a ceremony can occur after a license has been issued! So, be sure to visit any Oregon Coast County Clerk’s Office on a weekday, at least three days before your elopement ceremony. There’s a $60.00 one-time license fee, and you and your partner will need to provide government-issued identification at the time of your visit. Two witnesses and an officiant must be present during the ceremony to make the marriage official!
Being prepared for your Oregon Coast elopement can protect your life and ensure your ceremony is as stress-free as possible! The Oregon Coast’s weather is very unpredictable, with rapidly changing weather conditions that vary drastically from morning to evening. Apart from strong wind, cold temperatures, strong tides, and fog, the coast also frequently deals with landslides, roadway shutdowns, and hiking trail closures throughout the year. It’s important to pay attention to closures and barriers, pack lots of layers, wear a wetsuit if you plan on surfing, and have a backup plan for your elopement ceremony in case something unexpected happens!
Hi, I’m Erica, an Oregon Coast elopement photographer! If you and your partner want to plan a laid-back Cape Perpetua elopement like Elli and Palmer, I’m here to document a day you and your partner won’t forget! Be sure to check out my Oregon elopement packages and reach out to me via my inquiry form here! If you want to learn more about eloping along the Oregon Coast, check out my Oregon Coast elopement guide! I can’t wait to explore Oregon’s beautiful beaches, trails, and coastal towns with you and your partner while capturing an elopement unique to your love story!