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Mt. Hood National Forest Elopement | Alexandra + Vanessa

Looking for Pacific Northwest Forest vibes convenient to Portland, OR? It does not get better than Mt. Hood National Forest, located just an hour away. The Mt. Hood area boasts rivers, forest, lakes, waterfalls and of course – Mt. Hood itself. If eloping in the Pacific Northwest – don’t forget to check out the Mt. Hood National Forest and surrounding area – you will not be disappointed!

When Alexandra & Vanessa reached out to me about photographing their 10-10-20 Elopement I was so excited I was still available! These two wonderful ladies took a ‘Wedding Research’ trip to Northwest Oregon specifically to do hiking and exploring in search of their perfect ceremony location. They fell in love with Mt. Hood National Forest and the waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge. (Which I am happy to say were both included into their Elopement experience.)

If their hiking and exploring enthusiasm didn’t immediately speak to me – their special Harry Potter inspired proposal story certainly did! I am an unapologetic Harry Potter fan and absolutely LOVE how much detail Alexandra put into her special proposal to Vanessa. These two lovelies are certainly the sweetest!

The Planning

Here at Myrtle Creative Co., planning assistance is included with all wedding and elopement photography packages. This came in handy for Alexandra & Vanessa who were planning their elopement from out of state. I was very happy to send them vendor referrals, chat about ceremony details, how to successfully have their outdoor reception in Oregon’s rainy October weather and more.

The Location

Mt. Hood National Forest is a gorgeous location with so many great hikes and views! If interested in having your own elopement here, check out their permit requirements here. In short, if having less than 75 people total, you do not need a permit. However, when in doubt, always ask and check for any updates. Also, as many of the locations require a hike of some sort, I recommend not using structures if possible.

For elopements especially, I am used to helping with ceremony location scouting and more but these two had a Google map pin all ready for me! They even had a backup ceremony location just in case but thankfully, their first location worked out perfectly. Love it!

Practicing Leave No Trace (LNT)

Practicing Leave No Trace’s Seven principles when out enjoying the great outdoors and while eloping is a must here at Myrtle Creative Co.. For this elopement, we stayed on the paths at all times and even their ceremony site was at the end of a short side trail. You can read more about the seven principles and how they might apply to your day here. This is a great way to do your part to keep these locations gorgeous for all!

2020’s Additional Dilemmas

Thankfully Alexandra & Vanessa had decided on a small elopement from the start so there was no need to re-plan due to COVID. However, in September 2020 the Pacific Northwest was also dealing with major wildfires. Because of this, the Mt. Hood National Forest area was off limits for a duration of time leading up to their October date. Thankfully, by early October I was able to visit the site again and all was set for their elopement date!

Their Day

Their day began with individual prep time at separate airbnbs. I began at one prep location before moving to the next one in order to capture the most optimal moments as planned. Each bride had a surprise gift for the other which was given during prep time. Absolutely love these extra touches!

The first look took place near the selected trailhead, in the national forest. I am a huge fan of first looks! These are so great to have a few moments to yourselves before the ceremony. It also allows you a chance to catch your breath before and really take in these moments together. After so many months of planning, it’s important to savor these moments.

After the first look, the wedding party and family joined us on the trail for the short walk to the selected ceremony site. This October day was on and off rainy, but the weather did cooperate during the ceremony. Having umbrellas on hand – just in case – is always a good idea in Oregon.

Being Legally Married in Oregon

In order to legally be married in Oregon, you need an ordained officiant, two legal age witnesses and your Oregon marriage license in hand. Since 2020, more counties have allowed for online applications for getting your license, but don’t take my word for it. Please see the most up to date information for Multnomah County (the county of the Portland International Airport) here.

These two intended on hiring an officiant however, due to multiple circumstances they were not able to find someone. Thankfully, I am ordained and was honored to sign for them. In this case, I personally wrote their custom wedding script (complete with Harry Potter additions including their theme, ‘Always’) and one of their friends dear read it for the ceremony.

“After all this time?”

“Always.”

-Harry Potter series

After the ceremony and all group photos, the wedding party and guests returned to the airbnb for the reception. This allowed them to warm up, get food prepped and any final setup done. This also allowed Alexandra & Vanessa to have some personal time and some ‘just married’ photos in their favorite place – the forest!

Reception time with this amazing dining set up was nothing short of magical! I mentioned previously that Alexandra & Vanessa are Harry Potter fans, and they did such a great job of bringing their inspiration to life. Seriously – how cool is this!? And that clear tent was a must as it was absolutely pouring by this time of the day.

This Elopement day was so special! From choosing a location that means so much to them, putting together so many details and personal touches and it finally coming together so well – Alexandra & Vanessa created this special day of their dreams with their most important people. Celebrating and becoming wife & wife couldn’t have been more perfect for these two! So excited I was able to be part of their day!

“We will forever be indebted to Ann Marie for everything she has done to make our wedding perfect. Not only are you getting the most incredibly talented and amazing photographer who will guarantee to make everyone and everything look beautiful, but you are getting a wedding planner, a tour guide, an unlimited amount of resources, information, and support. Seriously the best choice we made for our wedding was booking Ann Marie. She helped us every step of the way, provided us with amazing referrals, helped us with things we completely forgot about or didn’t know about, and was kind, wonderful, and patient with us the entire time. AS IF ALL THAT WASNT ENOUGH, my officiant fell through last minute and Ann Marie not only came through and helped with that, but also wrote and personalized the officiant’s part of the vows and honestly, they could not have been more perfect or well suited for my wife and I. I really cannot sing her praises enough. BOOK HER!!! We already cannot wait to be able to again. Thank you so much Ann Marie!! <3”

-Alexandra + Vanessa

Coming soon, Alexandra & Vanessa’s Day After Adventure Session with me in one of their other favorite places – the Columbia River Gorge! When you have multiple locations in mind but don’t want to rush your day or ignore your guests, Day After Adventures are the way to go!

Elopement Vendors


Myrtle Creative Co. is your Intimate Wedding and Elopement Photographer for love + adventure. Ann Marie provides custom planning assistance, vendor referrals, itinerary creation and so much more so you can have the day of your dreams. Reach out today for your Wedding Photography needs!

  1. Laura says:

    Their day looks so amazing! I love that you added super helpful information like LNT and what you can do at the location!

  2. Leo says:

    This looks like such a magical day! The forest shots are top notch but the details and atmosphere for their reception set up is amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Raini Rowell says:

    Wow I can’t get enough of those trees! This whole wedding is stunning and loving the harry potter vibes.

  4. Alex says:

    Ah those rainy vibes and mossy greens, everything I daydream about when I think of Oregon. And reading their vows by the river, just the perfect setting for an intimate wedding! Such a lovely couple – you captured their day beautifully. <3

  5. Sienna says:

    Thanks so much for including helpful tips on the Mount Hood area; it’s one of my favourite places in the PNW! Totally adoring their autumn vibes of the day. Gorgeous!

  6. Kat Carney says:

    Ahh the moss on those trees! You captured the joy of their day so beautifully! Also, what a magical reception. Everything looks otherworldly!

  7. Afton says:

    Talk about a rainforest dream! I love the rustic decor they did that melded so beautifully with the venue. An absolute elopement dream!

  8. Liz Koston says:

    I don’t think I will ever get tired of PNW’s beauty! I love that you have so much informative information on here and spreading the LNT love.

  9. Havilah says:

    SO STUNNING! Love all the greens!

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