Bend, Oregon Elopement with Ceremony at Sparks Lake

Elopement, Oregon

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Once upon a time, the word “elopement” had negative connotations. It was a word used to describe a marriage that went outside the traditional societal norms and against what one might call the proper procedure.

No longer is this the case. Elopements have been increasing in popularity over the past few years, and have actually gained a more romantic reputation. 

An “elopement” doesn’t need to be defined as two people getting married somewhere far away from their home. These days, we use it as a word to describe all weddings that lay outside the realm of tradition, and have a smaller guest list… or no guest list. Jennae and Chandler decided that this was exactly the right way to spend their wedding day.

Amidst the flurry of planning a larger, more traditional wedding, the two of them decided that it didn’t feel right. So they opted for a much smaller ceremony, surrounded by just their closest family and friends.

The beauty of this choice is that it opens up a whole new realm of possibility for locations. You are no longer restricted to a place that has easy access or can accommodate 150 people. The world is your oyster.

You could decide on a beautiful alpine lake in the central cascades, like J & C did. A scenic and intimate Sparks Lake elopement… that’s the good stuff.

J & C’s celebration spanned several days at a huge, gorgeous AirBnB along the Deschutes River. It suited them exactly. This fun-loving family chose a spot where entertainment abounds. Disc golf, corn hole & other lawn games, fishing, river floating, hammocks, campfires (when burn restrictions aren’t in effect… as was the case during this Bend Oregon Elopement). It was the perfect setting for folks to relax and enjoy quality time together (and no one missed the campfire… who needs smores when you’ve got a wedding cake made by Mom?)

The day started out with a charcuterie spread that covered the length of the kitchen, afterwhich J & C separated to start the getting-ready process. J and her party (mom, sister and flower girl) kept the dress a secret in the master bedroom. The flower girl’s dress matched J’s and she took her job of secrecy very seriously, hiding from view and darting around corners.

Meanwhile, it was down to the riverside guesthouse for C, his Best Man, and Dakota the dog. Dakota was an unending source of entertainment and slobber as she raced back and forth, licking the cool floor as she went along. 

The sweet intentions of J & C, and their whole family, could be seen in everything. The details of this marriage ceremony were so touching and included things like embroidered details on J’s hiking boots and under the collar of C’s suit jacket. Natural elements spread throughout, like wooden invitations, wild foraged floral elements, and moss in the ring box.

One of my favorite things about elopements is the freedom and flexibility to put as much of yourself into the event as you want. To J & C, this meant private vows. They chose to exchange their vows only to each other after their First Look on the river dock. It was such a sweet moment, made even more memorable by J’s long, elegant veil being swept up by the wind. We came very close to losing it in the river!

The ceremony was held in National Forest, along the shoreline of Sparks Lake. With views of surrounding volcanoes, it is a popular destination for many folks in Central Oregon. Paddling, hiking, and lounging are all favorite activities here. 

Eloping in National Forest is an excellent option for those who want to deal with less permitting red tape. And many National Forests are as beautiful as National Parks, especially in Oregon. 

A Sparks Lake Elopement is not complete without the iconic view of South Sister and Broken Top, so J & C chose a spot that was perfectly framed by the two peaks. Surrounded by nature and family. A winning combination. Connection to family was solidified by the officiant (J’s brother), a ring warming ceremony, and an old sewing table that belonged to J’s grandmother adorned with photos and memories of loved ones passed. All of J’s sisters used the table at their weddings as well.

The ceremony was finished with shots! Pulled from the drawers of the sewing table, everyone got their own little jar filled with a dangerously drinkable mixture known as a Green Tea Shot. It was so fitting for these two.

J & C’s commitment to an untraditional, adventure elopement had them paddling away in a fancy canoe as newlyweds. Granted, the lake’s water level was quite low, so paddling very far was a bit difficult. Sparks Lake is spring fed lake, and it’s levels fluctuate greatly over the year. Though it was paddleable, the lava rocks hiding just below the surface complicated things. But, J & C took it in stride, laughing as they bumped and scraped their way through the water.

As beautiful as this Central Oregon elopement was, it was also extremely casual (and fun!). What’s more casual than Chipotle catering and red solo cups? Yes, the night was capped with Mexican food and beer pong. 

An adventure elopement opens the doors of possibility for you to be exactly who you are during your wedding. You do not have to compromise at all. Just because Chipotle isn’t traditionally found at weddings does not mean you can’t eat queso at your reception. Take this Central Oregon Adventure Elopement, and this blog post, as permission to do exactly what you want for your own adventure elopement.

Bend, Oregon Elopement with Ceremony at Sparks Lake

  1. Sheri Van Elswyk says:

    This is the whole longggggg weekend summed up perfectly!!!!!!! FABULOUS JOB!!!!!!


  2. David Van Elswyk says:

    What a wonderful and most memorable week it was. Love C&J so much and your pictures capture their spirit perfectly.

    Thank you so much for these fantastic pictures that will allow us all to carry the memories forever.


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