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Eloping in Smith Rock State Park
Lauren and Mark, like so many of our 2020 couples, had to change their plans. Unfortunately their original elopement location and rental burned down in the fires that plagued the west coast this summer. After overcoming that shock and heartbreak they chose a location that was basically the complete opposite of their original plan – Smith Rock State Park. This Plan B spot turned out to be gorgeous!
We met up for sunrise and enjoyed a quiet morning. Despite the smoke still lingering from nearby fires, the pink glow of sunrise still shone through. The only other adventurers in the park at this early hour were climbers, and they were off in a different part of the park than where Lauren and Mark chose to say their vows. In fact, it wasn’t until nearly noon that we saw other casual day hikers on the same trails we were exploring.
For the most part we stuck around the base of Smith Rock’s dramatic rock formations – there are certainly some more strenuous hikes that would warrant a pre-dawn expedition, but something wonderful about a wedding at Smith Rock is how accessible a vast majority of the trails are.
Where Lauren and Mark got married there was a beautiful view of the grassy fields, the river that winds through the park. This spot is ideal for early elopements when fewer hikers will be out because it is only a few short steps from the parking lot – ideal for ceremonies with family members or loved ones with special mobility requirements. Though it was just the three of us there today, I think a small wedding ceremony of maybe 8-10 people could fit in the same place.
After saying their vows, we all walked around and explored the beautiful park. They brought along picnic supplies – including a cinnamon bun from their favorite bakery that they froze to travel with. After sitting down to eat breakfast, they also pulled out letters from their loved ones to read. It was a relaxed, gorgeous elopement in one of my favorite Oregon state parks!
Smith Rock State Park
A Family-Friendly Elopement Location
I loved planning this Smith Rock wedding because it is so close to home – only 30 minutes from Bend, Oregon. In fact, I think this was my closest-to-home elopement to date! The park is gorgeous in the morning as the rising sun begins to light up the sky, warming the orange rocks. In general, I’d recommend this location for early morning elopements, as the park does tend to get busier throughout the middle of the day.
If you want to have an all-day hiking adventure, I’d recommend a pre-dawn hike up Misery Ridge where you’ll likely have even more privacy throughout the later morning. In general, sunrise and sunset are my favorite times to be at Smith Rock – the dramatic features do cast some unique shadows though, so depending on where exactly you want to elopement, sunset or sunrise might be an obvious choice.
One of the best parks about a Smith Rock wedding is the accessibility – there are so many gorgeous overlooks that are accessible for young kids, or older family members. It’s not the sort of place you need to hike to access amazing views. You can also go quite a few places within the park to say your vows, as long as you remain on trail.
The accessibility doesn’t stop with the park though – being so close to Bend there are amazing local vendors, places to eat, and unique rentals. One of my favorite AirBnb’s in Oregon is a lookout tower in Terrebonne – the 360-degree windows would make a gorgeous place for getting ready photos, or a cozy place to go back for dinner after your elopement.
We also have a guide for eloping at an AirBnb if you’d like to utilize one of these incredible rentals for your celebration.
Smith Park is an awesome place to elopement because it’s different from so many of the green, lush Pacific Northwest locations many Oregon couples know about. In fact, it’s still so close to fern-covered hillsides and old growth forests that you could have BOTH environments incorporated into an all-day Oregon elopement! Or, if you love the desert landscape of Smith Rock – it reminds me so much of Utah and the southwest – you could have a half-day or all-day adventure right here.
If you’re looking for more Oregon elopement inspiration, here are some of my favorite places to elope in this stunning state!
Are you ready to begin planning your own Smith Rock wedding or elopement? Reach out!