Smith Rock Elopement Photos
These Smith Rock Elopement photos are some of the sweetest and warmest photos. Gaby + Christian opted for elopement photos after their elopement day. They chose Smith Rock State Park as their back drop and included their sweet daughter in the photos. The result are some of the dreamiest Smith Rock Elopement photos with their little girl. A true celebration of their marriage and their family.
How to get married at Smith Rock State Park
Here are a few first steps to take when planning a Smith Rock State Park small wedding or elopement.
1. The first step is to determine the size of your wedding
My understanding has been that small weddings/ elopements under 50 guests with no special props or wedding alters/ arches do NOT need a special uses permit. So, like the couple photographed, no fees were required. If they wanted an arch/alter or over 50 guests, they would need to apply for a special uses permit. This is recommended to be pulled 9 months in advance, however a 30 day minimum for your application is required. My experience with these applications are that they take months to hear back from, so sooner the better! You can find a link here that discusses the requirements and has the application here as well.
2. Consider a weekday
If you’re open to weekdays, your experience will be a lot smoother. Weekends are packed and parking can be a struggle here. Your ability to park, get a special use permit and have a more private experience (less hikers present) is much easier on weekdays.
3. Consider the season/ weather
Smith Rock is in Central Oregon, a high desert. That means potential snow in the winter and hot summers. These Smith Rock Elopement photos were taken in the late summer at sunset. The vibe was warm and bright.
- November- March potential snow
- April- October mostly dry and sunny
4. Pick a sunrise or sunset ceremony/portrait time
Smith Rock is in the desert with no trees to provide shade unless you hike down to the bottom. It’s important to plan your ceremony/ family photos and couple photos as close to sunrise or sunset if possible. If this is not done, the result will be harsh tones and inevitable shadows. You’ll have better photos without a doubt by sticking to golden hour (sunset) and blue hour (after the sun dips down but still lights. the sky in a blue color- my fave) photos!
5. Find an officiant
There are a few options here.
- You can get married legally on paper in advance and have someone close to you speak during the ceremony.
- Get married legally on paper in advance and exchange vows for your ceremony.
- You can hire an officiant, here’s a few!
- A friend or family member can get ordained!
6. Scout out where you want your ceremony or portraits
There are a ton of options! You can hike around or not hike at all. Figure out what feels best for you by exploring the area! If you choose us to be your wedding photographers, we have a ton of experience at Smith Rock and in Central Oregon. Both as photographers and as hikers/ travelers! We are happy to help as much as you would like with location ideas, spots and lighting. However, if you choose your own locations, remember that it is HIGHLY important to stay on the trails here and respect the park so that others can enjoy it for years to come!
7. Think about the reception
What traditions do you want to keep? What do you want to pass on? Often times eloping or small wedding couples opt for cake cutting, a small meal and a first dance. What of that do you want to do at the park? Or would you prefer a restaurant or other area nearby? Bend, Redmond and Sisters are all local with incredible restaurants OR airbnbs where you can celebrate your reception. I’m happy to recommend some ideas!
I am of the passionate opinion that florals make a huge difference! I often bring florals from 1972 Flower Co. to weddings all over the state for my couples. A Central Oregon favorite of mine is Posie Shoppe– they are so good! I highly recommend them!
9. Hair and Makeup Artists
I recommend using Styled by Daralyn. She travels to Central Oregon for shoots and is amazing at what she does and is highly reliable and professional. If you are looking for someone based in Central Oregon, here are some ideas!
10. Stay Awhile
Bend/ Sisters/ Redmond is a cool area. Stay awhile for so many fun things to do, eat and drink and stay! There are great spots everywhere to celebrate your wedding day!
Nearby Recommendations and Accommodations for your Smith Rock Wedding Experience
Central Oregon is one of my favorite places in the whole entire world. I’m not kidding. This allows me to make some awesome recommendations for you while you are in the area for your Smith Rock wedding or elopement!
Where to stay
- Five Pine Lodge– this is my all time favorite place to stay. A great honeymoon spot, a place to stay before the wedding- it’s a dream and worth every penny. Also, they allow dogs!
- Motel West- Nothing special but clean and a killer price for the budget conscious!
- AIRBNBS- A great way to stay as a group and have a reception there after (check house rules per individual house). Also, if you’re like me, an extroverted introvert that loves quality time with those you’re closest to- it’s a great way to have cozy quality time and a fire with everyone the night before the wedding day.
- A house in Sunriver or Eagle Crest- You may find these on the AIRBNB site, but they areas are great with lots of activities nearby!
Food and Drink
- Wild Ride– A fun brewery with food carts in Redmond!
- Looney Bean, Lone Pine or Sisters Coffee for the best coffee in Central Oregon. It’s a tough decision, but Lone Pine is maybe my all time fave!
- Drake– If you love to splurge on fancy food like me, this is the spot! Grab a red and order some steak!
- Worthy Brewing– Laid back with great food! You can take a tour too!
- Avid Cider– A really great local Cider Company!
- McKay’s Cottage or The Victorian Cafe for a great wedding day brunch!
- I’ll list off a few favorite breweries but there may be too many to count! Crux, Boneyard, Bend Brewing and Three Creeks are some of my favorites!
- Baldy’s Barbecue or Brother Jon’s Public House are some of my favorite spots to eat!
- Old St. Francis McMenamins– Hands down the best of them all. Outdoor fire pits, secret bars, cozy atmosphere, movie theatre and a soaking pool. It’s goals.
Things to do
- Any Wanderlust tour is fun! I think the brewery tour is a good one for pre wedding fun or a honeymoon in the area!
- Newberry National Monument is cooler than anyone ever mentions! Go for sunrise or sunset!
- Steelhead Falls is a short one with next level views.
- Bike trails around Sunriver are always fun and take you through some gorgeous areas!
- The coolest mini golf course at Eagle Crest is a lot of fun for a group!
- There are insane views at Paulina Peak!
- The group beer bike! A fun thing to do in the days leading up to your wedding day with your friends and family!
- Grab a coffee and drive up the Cascade Lakes Highway- it’s fun and pretty and worth the drive. If you like aimlessly driving around like myself! Todd Lake and Sparks Lake are great stops!
- Disc Golf- there are a lot in Bend alone! Here’s a link to a few!
- Tumalo Falls– a classic but beautiful!
Why you should get married at Smith Rock State Park
Now that I’ve given you so much information your head is spinning- here are my final thoughts on a Smith Rock elopement or Smith Rock wedding. If you like the desert, outdoor activities, dry weather, red rocks and the food + drink culture of Central Oregon- this is an incredible spot to get married. Everything in this area is set up for fun quality time with those who matter most to you. Smith Rock itself is a place where many visitors feel instant peace. It’s a truly relaxing and connected spot to marry the love of your life. These Smith Rock Elopement photos are proof. This connected family has beautiful photos and got to see this beautiful region for their wedding experience. And the results are gorgeous.
Until next time!