Elopement in Hoyt Arboretum, Portland

April 27, 2018

Excited to finally share this untraditional Hoyt Arboretum elopement with you!  Leslie and Sam decided to elope to Portland from Canada and were the most relaxed and fun couple ever. Their day was totally unscripted and was such a blast to capture, and the Redwood Deck at the arboretum was the perfect spot to start!

I met them on a Monday afternoon at Hoyt Arboretum in the beautiful Washington Park area of Portland. When Leslie got out of the car in this incredible gold sequin dress, I knew we were in for a fun afternoon. We made our way down to the Redwood Deck for a wedding ceremony surrounded by giant old growth trees and the prettiest late Autumn sunshine. In true elopement style, it was just Leslie, Sam, the officiant and I. Plus a few passers-by to say congratulations. We even had a random guy at the visitor center sign the marriage license as a witness.

After a short and sweet ceremony, in which the two almost forgot to exchange rings because they were so excited, we explored the park. The way Leslie’s gold dress bounced light in every direction was just stunning. And the emerald accents they chose for shoes, tie and earrings paired so well with the lush greenery of the forest. We climbed trees, drank champagne and then headed downtown for a little city fun.

Leslie and Sam’s one request for portraits was that we find the Prefontaine mural, both being avid runners. I honestly wasn’t sure what I was going to do with that request, but it ended up being my favorite part of the day. When we got there they both changed into custom black and gold Nike’s, crushed a beer and I had them show off their best track skills. Then they asked if we could go to a arcade down the street, because they wanted to play NBA Jam. Um yes, yes we can. You should have seen the guys face who was working the place when we all walked in. Classic. I love a couple who likes to indulge in fun competition. My husband wins at everything, every time. But I still try to beat him, and one day when I do, it’ll be my proudest day ever.

After the arcade we explored the city a little more and ended on my favorite dock. Taking in the sunshine and enjoying each others company before they started making all the phone calls to family to tell them they had eloped. When I asked what their plans were for the rest of the evening they said they were going to get a pizza and go to the Blazers game. Best day ever? I’m pretty sure they nailed it.

When planning an elopement at the Redwood deck in Hoyt Arboretum, remember to call and reserve it! This ensures no one else is fighting you to get married at the same time. I also think it’s best to elope here on a weekday, so you have more of the park to yourself for photos and fewer onlookers. The nice thing about the huge trees is that they create a natural canopy to the elements. So if it’s a little misty out, or really bright and sunny you’re protected from both and are almost always guaranteed beautiful photos. For this reason, I think it’s one of the best places in Portland to elope!

Elopement in the forest under redwood trees in a gold dress Elopement in the forest under redwood trees in a gold dress Elopement in the forest under redwood trees in a gold dress Elopement in the forest under redwood trees in a gold dress Elopement in the forest under redwood trees in a gold dress Elopement in the forest under redwood trees in a gold dress Elopement in the forest under redwood trees in a gold dress Elopement in the forest under redwood trees in a gold dress Elopement in the forest under redwood trees in a gold dress

Hair/Makeup: Brittany Blanchard

Flowers: Sammys Flowers

Sneakers: Nike

Dress: Badgley Mischka

Officiant: The Wedding Judge

  1. Amy Oligschlaeger says:

    Um, okay…can I just get a dress like this and wear it EVERY Friday night?! So fun! I love that they went to the arcade!

  2. Amy Olson says:

    Stunning Kate! I absolutely loved this elopement and the photos here. You capture the light beautifully!

  3. Fizzy Party says:

    Great location for an elopement. Nature is the best backdrop for weddings. Love her sequin dress too. I’d wear that to work hee hee. I just love a fun loving couple who does their wedding their way.

  4. Melanie says:

    WOW. Such a fun shoot! You got amazing shots. Her dress is so beautiful the entire time I was viewing the pictures I could hear the song (in my head) playing ” golden lady” by Stevie Wonder.

  5. Jyssica says:

    This couple looks like so much fun, and great, glowing captures! Such unique locations too – I would totally do an arcade shoot with my guy.

  6. Katie Dessin says:

    LOVE these two! Her dress, their laughs, the mood. So good, Kate!

  7. Anni Graham says:

    Literally perfect. I love the ones of them walking in the Redwoods. Such an amazing elopement!! Also obsessed with her dress.

  8. Stephanie says:

    what a fun day!! I can feel the love in these images! Great work!

  9. Kyle Carnes says:

    The redwood deck in Hoyt Arboretum is one of my favorite places. The light can be tricky down there and you did a great job. I love that they went and played video games. It must have been a fun couple to work with!

  10. Kate, the lighting in the photos in Hoyt Arboretum is just incredible! They seem like such a fun couple, and that dress is stunning!

  11. Lynn Marie says:

    Wow! Her dress is absolutely amaaaaazing!! I love Hoyt Arboretum and what a perfect spot for a gorgeous PNW elopement! I love the fun photos afterwards too, playing video games. You can totally tell they are a super fun couple!

  12. Her gold dress is absolutely gorgeous! Dang, and perfect forest vibes.

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