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Brandy and Zach eloped in total seclusion underneath the romantic misty veil of Proxy Falls—it was the perfect wedding venue with no permits, no crowds, and no fuss.
Brandy and Zach fashioned this private Oregon waterfall location into a fairytale elopement
How they chose to structure their day
- Meet at the trailhead at 7am to catch the soft morning light and beat the crowds
- Hike along the towering ponderosas and lava beds to the Lower Proxy Falls
- Search for the perfect spot for a private vows and handfasting ceremony
- Enjoy a celebratory glass of scotch and take in the scenery
- Wander along the trail up to the Upper Proxy Falls
How Brandy and Zach chose Oregon for their elopement
From the get-go, Brandy expressed her love for vibrant greenery and desire to feel zen-like she did while camping or doing yoga. While Zach, an admitted nerd, had a proclivity for fantasy worlds such as Lord of the Rings. Oregon was the perfect harmony of their interests and would provide a lush otherworldly backdrop for their elopement.
Their Proxy Waterfalls Elopement
Exploring the Lower Proxy Falls
After getting ready together Brandy and Zach met me at the trailhead parking lot. We had to find the sweet spot of arriving when there was enough sun to illuminate the falls, yet still early enough to beat the crowds—7am ended up being a perfect time. Brandy in her Chacos and Zach strapped with a backpack full of goodies we headed out on the shortest leg of our 1.6-mile trail loop. Coming around the corner I don’t think any of us were prepared for just how grand the Lower Proxy Falls were—photos simply don’t its overall size justice. Zach was thoughtful and cautious as Brandy navigated the fallen trees below the falls. The misty veil of water coming off of the falls was light and refreshing against the warm summer air. Together they scoped out the perfect spot for their ceremony.
Their tender handfasting ceremony
Brandy and Zach wanted to put their own spin on the traditional Celtic handfasting ceremony! They loved the powerful symbolism of binding two lives together through this unity ritual, but since they chose to have a ‘just us’ elopement they were tasked with performing it themselves. Wisely, they had practiced the weaving and knot leading up to their elopement day. They took the cords that Brandy weaved herself (yep, she weaved them, how absolutely beautiful is that?) and began laying them over their clasped hands while exchanging vows. Misty-eyed and beaming, they slipped their hands out and pulled the cords to reveal their knot.
Despite this area being a popular location for visitors, we only saw one other person during their entire ceremony and couples photos afterward. They were lucky enough to have total privacy so the only ones privy to their vows were each other and the cascading water. Zach carefully pulled out two sock-wrapped glasses from their backpack and poured some scotch whiskey to sip.
Leisurely hike to the Upper Proxy Falls
As we made our way up the trail the bottom of Brandy’s damp wedding dress slowly collected dirt and her Chacos turned from white to dusty brown. She was tickled by what others would consider a mess and beamed as if it was a badge of honor, reflecting the adventures of the day. They would pause amidst the pockets of sunshine that crept through the dense treetops, each and every time Zach would pull Brandy in for a tight embrace. The forest never ceased to amaze them as they would point out various mushrooms, slugs, and larger-than-life ferns to each other (personally, I was happy that for once someone else was sharing in my enthusiasm for spotting a giant slug!).
The Upper Proxy Falls were much more subdued than the lower falls, as the water steadily made its way over the tiered mossy rocks before disappearing downstream into the forest. Zach and Brandy scrambled up onto some logs for a closer look before moseying down the remainder of the trail. Although their coverage was over and we were parting ways I knew that their elopement was far from over—there was so much for them to explore in Willamette National Forest during their visit to Oregon!
What the Willamette National Forest has to offer you
- Multiple waterfalls including Proxy Falls, Koosha Falls, and The Sahalie Falls (check our favorite Oregon waterfalls!)
- Rafting the McKenzie River
- Hotspring to soak in (Cougar Hot Springs and Bigelow Hot Springs are the best!)
- Paddle boarding at Clear Lake
How Brandy and Zach redefined “being selfish” when planning their elopement
Brandy and Zach’s primary focus when planning their elopement was being able to disconnect with pressures, expectations, and obligations of the outside world—to instead fully immerse themselves in the present moment with one another. They said, “We want this moment to selfishly be ours,” and they planned a day that was a thoughtful reflection of their relationship and lifelong commitment to one another. Honestly, though, there are moments in life where we owe it to ourselves to be selfish and it’s okay to release the negative connotation that comes along with that. Due to this positive mindset, Brandy and Zach were able to plan an unbelievable waterfall elopement and an experience they will carry with them forever.