Newlyweds portraits on the Indian Trail Outlook in Ecola Park in Cannon Beach, Oregon. Photo by OkCrowe Photography.

March 27, 2024

A Breathtaking Destination Elopement in Coastal Oregon | Britt + Pat

When it comes to planning your wedding, there are so many options to go around. You can go for the traditional grand celebration, a smaller micro-wedding with just your closest family and friends, or go even more intimate with an elopement. For Britt + Pat, they wanted their wedding day to be special and personalized towards them. Their choice of a destination elopement along the coasts of Oregon in Cannon Beach could not have been more perfect.

Newlyweds portraits on the Indian Trail Outlook in Ecola Park in Cannon Beach, Oregon. Photo by OkCrowe Photography.

Destination Elopement or Big Wedding?

Once upon a time, eloping meant running away and getting married in secret. Although that’s definitely still an option to choose from, nowadays, eloping mostly means getting to do and plan your wedding day in a way that fully reflects you as a couple with zero restrictions. Want to hike up a mountain and exchange vows with the sun rising behind you? Go for it! Is there a special place that you’ve always wanted to visit together? Pack your bags! 

The beauty of eloping lies in its freedom. Traditional weddings have venue restrictions, vendor lists to read through, seating charts to create, and friends and family to accommodate for. There’s a lot of pressure to make sure the day follows a specific timeline in order to flow perfectly and on schedule. However, elopements don’t follow any rules. There are no traditions or social expectations to conform to. Instead, it’s all about you and your partner, what you want, and how you want to celebrate this incredible step you’re about to take together. Eloping allows you the freedom and creativity to plan a day that’s deeply personal, meaningful, and intimate for you to connect and share together in a way that you will cherish forever. 

A Love Story in the Great Outdoors

I met Patrick + Brittany when Patrick reached out to me to shoot his proposal to Brittany. I got to brush up on my skills at hiding in bushes while Pat took Britt and their dog on a cute hiking date up a mountain. Pat led Britt to a secluded spot overlooking the mountain valley and river on one side and their beloved city on the other before sitting her down and getting on one knee. 

Starting with a proposal surrounded by nature, it seemed only fitting that Pat + Britt would want a wedding that followed the same theme. With these two, it seemed like a love for the outdoors and the beauty of nature was just in their DNA. However, as they began to think about their wedding, the more they realized that they wanted to do something that was significant to them and their love story. A traditional, big wedding could do that, of course, but they wanted their wedding day to be a true reflection of who they were as a couple, intimately intertwined with the elements that brought them joy.

For these two, choosing a destination elopement just made sense. They brought their parents and siblings and flew to the breathtaking shorelines of Cannon Beach in Oregon. From the forest and mountain trails along the coast to the misty, sandy beaches with towering ocean rocks, the whole city felt like a dream, and it was the perfect place for them to exchange vows and begin their new life together. 

Scouting the Perfect Location

The day before their elopement, Pat + Britt flew everyone to Portland, Oregon. Even though this was an elopement, there was some minor planning to do ahead of time. Pat + Britt rented cars for everyone and booked Airbnbs for their handful of guests to stay in, including a lovely little cottage for me!

Once we were all settled in, we headed to the coast to scout out the perfect location for Pat + Britt to say their I do’s. With Britt’s father as their officiant, they were free to pick just about any place that spoke to them for their ceremony. All they wanted was a private area with a great view, and we were determined to find it with them. 

We drove to Cannon Beach to explore the scenes that the beach had to offer. Cannon Beach is best known for its iconic rock structures, including Haystack Rock, which was made famous in movies like The Goonies and Kindergarten Cop. While we were there and because I had my cameras with me, we took the opportunity to capture the breathtaking scenery with an impromptu engagement and family shoot as we walked along the shore. It was a cool and cloudy day, but that did nothing to stop the pure joy radiating off Pat + Britt’s faces as they walked hand in hand along the shore and played in the small waves rolling in around their ankles. 

Afterward, we walked up the hiking trails in Ecola Park just beyond the beach. It was there that we came across the Indian Trail Outlook looking out over the beach and its rock features while being surrounded by thick, green forest. The moment Pat + Britt set foot in the overlook and saw the view, they knew immediately that this was the place where they needed to get married.

A Ceremony and Portraits to Capture Nature’s Beauty

The next day began bright and early with Britt getting ready with her mom and sisters in their Airbnb. Even though they weren’t having a traditional wedding, Britt still wanted a few traditional photos. I made sure to capture the moments of her mom helping her into her wedding dress and buttoning it up for her. Then, her dad arrived just in time to see her final wedding day look before we all packed into the cars to drive to the overlook. 

Pat + Britt decided they didn’t want to see each other before the ceremony. Instead, I helped them coordinate both getting to the overlook without seeing each other. Part of it had to do with stalling Britt and her ladies a bit with a short forest bridal portrait session. Not only was the forest of Ecola Park the most beautiful setting to capture Britt’s full bridal look, but it gave Pat just enough time to get up to the overlook first without catching a glimpse of his future bride. 

When it was finally time for their ceremony, Britt’s parents both walked her down the aisle to where Pat was standing with an ear-to-ear smile pinned to his face. Britt’s father prepared a beautiful marriage ceremony filled with bits and pieces of Britt + Pat’s life. It was a beautiful service that was made all the more special because Britt’s father was able to officiate it for them. 

After the ceremony, we took plenty of family photos with the view off the overlook in the background before bringing the focus back to Pat + Britt. There were so many gorgeous, nature-filled spaces in just this small area alone that we couldn’t decide on just one to take newlywed photos in. Instead of forcing ourselves to make a choice, we spent the rest of the afternoon exploring them all. We did enchanted newlywed portraits on the overlook with mist from the water casting a soft natural glow through the trees. We took bride and groom and more newlywed portraits back on the beach. Once we were done on the beach, we headed up the trail a bit to make sure we didn’t leave out the beautiful forest in their newlywed portraits. 

Finally, their special day began to dwindle to an end, and the two headed back to town, where they met up with the rest of the family at the Hanthorn Crab Co. in nearby Astoria. There, they signed their marriage license and ended the night by sharing a delicious meal with those they loved the most. 

Thinking of a destination elopement yourself? I can travel anywhere you need me to be to capture every moment of the day.

Hi, y’all! I’m Rachael Crowe of OkCrowe Photography. I’m a wedding photographer based in Chattanooga, Tennessee and New York City, but regardless of where I am, I’m always happy to travel in order to help couples achieve the wedding or elopement of their dreams. I’ve shot hundreds of weddings across the country and internationally. I would be honored to be chosen to shoot yours! All you have to do is visit my contact form with the location you chose and a possible date to get started!

Newlywed portraits in Cannon Beach, Oregon. Photo by OkCrowe Photography.

Elopement Vendors & Information:

  • Location: Cannon Beach, Portland, OR
  • Elopment Location: Indian Trail Outlook in Ecola Park
  • Reception: Hanthorn Crab Co, Astoria OR


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