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Planning Your Wedding: 6 Helpful Tips

bride and groom doing a first look on their wedding day

Wondering what you can do to ensure a stress-free wedding day? Here’s a list of my top six wedding planning tips.

A bride and groom on their elopement day at Big Bear California in a forest of large pine trees

Thinking about planning your elopement but don’t know where to start? There’s a good chance this blog will help you out!

Planning Your Elopement

How I came to be a photographer and storyteller of life, love and adventures. A journey of rediscovery and purpose.

A Journey of Rediscovery


home is where the pines sway to the rhythm of the wind.
where warmth is felt near the crackling of logs on a bitter cold winter night.

home is where the glow of flames carries the sound of voices closer to the break of dawn.
where time ceases to exist.

home is where my heart feels comfort.
where peace is found in the solitude of the wilderness.

home is in a place i’m not,
yet anywhere i want it to be.


By The Bayou

Family walking down the beach during a photoshoot

Ever wondered what to wear for your outdoor photoshoot? Read this blog for my top tips for choosing the best outfits for a photoshoot.

What To Wear For A Photoshoot Outdoors

Lately it seems that the state of our world is longing for a little hope. Here’s a poem of thoughts while driving along Hwy 62.

Hope on Hwy 62

Ever wondered what a second shooter does & if you need one? Read this blog to find out why backup wedding photographers are so important.

What Is A Second Shooter in Weddings & Why Are They Important

If you’re reading this you’ve probably already decided that you want to have an adventure elopement! Congratulations!!! Maybe there is a location that holds significance to you and your partner, or maybe the stress of planning a large wedding was too overwhelming. No matter what the reason, I am so happy you’ve decided to elope! I love adventure elopements because they offer couples a unique opportunity to celebrate their love in a way that is meaningful to them! Adventure elopements throw all traditions out the window and allow you to plan a day that is unique to you.

As you approach your elopement day, you may already have many of the larger details in place. This blog post is here to help you with all the last-minute tips to prepare for your adventure elopement including what to pack, and how to ensure your wedding day look lasts as long as possible. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!

Bride and groom walking at Crouching Lion hike in Kauai for their adventure elopement.

Hair Tips for Your Adventure Elopement

Let’s start with the hair tips! As I’m sure you’ve probably experienced at one point or another, hair can have a mind of its own and when it is exposed to the natural elements (especially for extended periods of time) it can really start to be affected. So, my first tip would be to wear your hair as close to its natural state as you can. This will help keep its natural shape and texture as you hike or adventure through the day.

If you are curling your hair, try to make the curls extra tight then add hair spray, and don’t loosen the curls until you get onsite. The curls will naturally loosen up on their own, so by keeping them tight, you will help ensure they hold your desired shape as long as possible. Another option is to curl your hair, then loosely braid it to help hold the curl.

Now, for what hair products to bring with you. One of my favorite on-the-spot tips is heavy-duty charcoal dry shampoo. This is a great product to have as it helps soak up any sweat ensuring your hair looks fresh and clean once you arrive on site. You’ll also want to make sure you have extra bobby pins, clips, hair ties, travel hair spray, dry shampoo, etc.

Whether you are doing your hair yourself or hiring a hair and makeup artist, (did you know that there are adventure HMU that will even go onsite with you the day of your adventure elopement) it’s usually recommended to try your wedding hairstyle in advance so you know what works best for your hair.

Makeup Tips for Your Adventure Elopement

Just like hair, makeup tips will be different depending on each person. Some people sweat more than others so there are different things to consider depending on which category you fall into.

If you tend to sweat more, try applying your eye makeup first then leaving your base makeup application for when you reach the top of the hike. Pack some baby wipes so you can wipe your face when you arrive, then you can apply the rest of your makeup. It’s important to tell your photographer if you plan to go this route as they will want to add in extra time in your elopement timeline to allow you to go a little slower on your hike to try to minimize sweating as well as accommodate for a little extra time to apply your makeup once you reach the top. I always say take it easy on the way up, especially if heat is an issue. Going slow and steady with lots of breaks in between will help minimize the amount of sweat and ensure you are both looking your best!

If you don’t sweat as much, you can add a little extra makeup than you might normally apply and use lots of setting spray to help hold your look in place.

You may also want to choose waterproof products because let’s face it (pun intended), we’ll all probably be crying that day! 🙂

Bride and groom standing on the Hawaii coast during their adventure elopement.

Best Clothing for Adventure Elopement Hikes

There are a couple of options to choose from when it comes to deciding what to wear for your hiking elopement.

Option 1: Wear hiking clothes up. You may want to choose a cute casual outfit that you will not only be comfortable in but one that you would also enjoy being photographed in. As your photographer, I like to take photos of the entire elopement day so that you can remember the full experience of your adventure elopement so this would mean that sometimes we will be taking pictures of the journey up. If you decide to go this route, be mindful of the bra you wear as tight-fitted sports bras can cause lines on your chest/back when you put your wedding outfit or dress on so you may want to forgo wearing one altogether if possible. After we are done taking photos, you can continue wearing your wedding attire on the way down to capture any photos that we may have missed on the journey up.

Option 2: Wear your wedding attire up the whole way with either hiking shoes or another comfortable pair of shoes of your choice. This is a fun and beautiful way to capture your elopement journey in all its glory!

With both options, I highly recommend wearing hiking boots or shoes. You can always change your shoes once you reach the top, or continue wearing your hiking boots for a true adventure elopement experience. Just be sure the shoes that you wear are fully broken in!

Bride and Groom standing on the beach for their Hawaii elopement.

What to Pack for Your Adventure Elopement

Your elopement day is sure to be filled with lots of adventure and I always believe that it’s best to be prepared so you don’t have to worry about the small things and can simply sit back and enjoy the day! I’ve listed below a few additional items (outside of your main wedding attire, florals, etc) that I’ve found to be super helpful when it comes to going on an adventure elopement

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Hiking boots or shoes
  • Comfortable backpack
  • Flashlights / Headlamp
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • First Aid Kit
  • Tissues
  • Bobby Pins / Safety pins
  • Deoderant
  • Travel dry shampoo
  • Travel hair spray
  • Small bag of touch-up makeup
  • Small mirror for touch-up or makeup application
  • Baby wipes – to wipe off any unwanted dirt/mud spots, and also sweat! If you will be hiking in an area that is very tropical or muddy, you might want to consider bringing an extra water jug with some paper towels.
  • Towel – to dry off if you plan to jump in the water or in case it rains
  • Seasonal items – hand warmers, wind breaker, jacket, rain poncho, wool socks

How to Pack Florals for Your Adventure Hike

Florals are some of the most fun parts of elopements and they provide a way to express your personality and are oftentimes, the only decor couples have at their adventure elopement. With everything mentioned above though, how do couples also manage to carry what can be delicate arrangements?

Depending on how long the hike is, you will want to ensure your flowers are getting enough water along the way to ensure they look as fresh as possible. One tip is to soak a rag in water and wrap it around the flower stems before sticking it into a waterproof dry bag. Then, you can either stick the flowers on top of your backpack with the zipper open (stems down, flowers up) or secure them on an outside pouch or pocket of your backpack. Then hike slow and steady all the way up to ensure they don’t get jostled too much and lose their shape.

Your florist may be able to provide you with additional tips for how to best transport your florals for your elopement so be sure to check with them as well!

Bride and groom running through a field in Hawaii for their adventure elopement

Enjoy the Journey

That’s it! You’re ready for your adventure elopement and all that’s left is to relax and enjoy the day! Your elopement is a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience so soak in every moment. On the hike, try not to think about just making it to the top the whole time. Slow down, take a breather, and enjoy your surroundings with your loved one. Let go of all the imperfections and expectations. Yes, I know we just went over a bunch of tips, but don’t stress out if your hair gets too frizzy, your curls start falling down, or your makeup smudges. Rather, focus on creating memories of the day exactly how it unfolds, rather than forcing things to happen. After all, this is your day and your story, so live it as it happens because those may just be the memories that you look back on and cherish most!

Are you planning an adventure elopement? Let me know your favorite adventure elopement tips in the comments below! And, if you’re looking for an elopement photographer to go on your adventure hike elopement, I know just the one (wink, wink.)

Ultimate Guide to Preparing for Your Adventure Elopement

Southern California has some of the best elopement locations in the country! See the best places to elope in Southern California on the blog!

The Best Places to Elope in Southern California

“You know those moments that happen in romantic movies when two star crossed lovers meet for the first time? When time seems to stand still and nothing but the two people in the frame seem to matter? Our whole lives we saw these moments portrayed in movies time and time again but never really thought they occurred in real life. Boy were we wrong! We met on St. Patricks Day in a bar called Murphy’s in Downtown Honolulu. Brynn was celebrating her birthday that night wearing a beautiful Haku Lei, looking absolutely stunning. In walks a slightly less beautiful, but very self-assured Erik. Immediate eye contact and a smile or two later is all it took for both of us to know that sometimes movie moments do happen and when they do you better not let go!” – Brynn + Erik

It turns out that night in downtown Honolulu sparked the beginning of their lifelong journey together. This summer Erik + Brynn tied the knot with an Oregon wedding celebration complete with a large party bus and epic party on the dance floor! When Brynn reached out to me to photograph their wedding in Portland, I was beyond thrilled. The previous year, Erik had reached out to me to photograph their engagement session on top of one of their favorite hikes in Hawaii. So getting the opportunity to share more intimate moments with the two of them was a no brainer!

Bride and groom first look wedding portraits in Portland, Oregon
Bride and groom first look wedding portraits at Council Crest.

Sweet Getting Ready Moments and an Intimate First Look

Their wedding day started out with both Brynn and Erik getting ready at Brynn’s parent’s house in Portland, Oregon. Brynn and the bridesmaids got ready upstairs, while Erik and the groomsmen got ready in the basement. Brynn’s mom helped her get into her wedding dress and it was such a special moment to witness as I could tell they share a very unique bond.

Brynn + Erik decided to on doing a First Look (highly recommended!) Once everyone was ready, the whole bridal party piled into the party bus that took us to Council Crest, a neighborhood park that was only 5 minutes up the hill. Fun fact: Erik was blindfolded the whole way over to the park which made for a kick-ass time, filled with laughter.

Once we arrived at the park for their First Look, we made our way down a secluded trail in the woods, filled with lush greenery and canopy trees. It was here that Brynn + Erik were finally able to slow down, soak it all in, and be present in the moment. Their excitement, anticipation, and everlasting love shines through their faces.

After their intimate First Look and some portraits in the park, we headed to St. Andrews Catholic Church for the ceremony where Brynn + Erik tied the knot in a traditional fashion. After the “I Do” we all hopped back on the party bus and headed over to Peninsula Park for family portraits and bridal party portraits.

Bride and groom walking into their wedding reception party.
Brynn + Erik’s wedding reception with family and friends was so energetic and full of love!

An Energetic Dance Party to End the Night

Then came the PARTY! Brynn and Erik had told me they were a bit concerned about their wedding getting canceled due to COVID, but as it so happened, they were still able to celebrate their big day with their full guest count despite the ups and down of COVID. Brynn’s grandma was even able to make an appearance at the reception as well which created such a special moment for them.

The wedding reception was held at The Evergreen which is a beautiful wedding and event space in downtown Portland that is full of architectural history. Brynn and Erik had a great guest turnout and many of their family members and friends gave beautiful heartfelt speeches.

The highlight of the evening was the party on the dance floor. Every time I looked over the dance floor was PACKED! Brynn and Erik sure do know how to throw a party!

This Portland wedding was a jam-packed day of celebration and was filled with so much love and energy from everyone who came out to support them. For more information on wedding and elopement photography, head on over to my contact page to learn more!

Bridal party celebrating during getting ready photos.
Bride reaching for wedding dress hanging by the window while mother helps with the veil
Groom riding blindfolded in party bus headed to his first look on his wedding day.
Bride and groom first look wedding portraits in secluded forest in Portland, Oregon
Bride and groom first look wedding portraits
Bride and groom first look wedding portraits
Intimate first look portraits with bride and groom
Bride and groom walking down a secluded forest trail before their wedding ceremony in Portland, Oregon
First look couple portraits for Portland, Oregon wedding
First look couple portraits for Portland wedding
Bride walking with her parents down the wedding aisle for ceremony.
Bride walking down the aisle with her father during wedding ceremony in a Catholic church in Portland, Oregon
Bride and groom kneeling during wedding ceremony at a Catholic church in Oregon.
Bride and groom first kiss during wedding in Catholic church in Portland, Oregon
Bridal party riding in the party bus after wedding ceremony.
Family wedding photo during family portraits at Oregon wedding
Bridal portraits at a park in Portland, Oregon
Bridal party portraits in Portland, Oregon
Bride and groom walking into wedding reception
Bride and groom cutting cake during Portland wedding reception
Bride and groom dancing during wedding reception
Bride and groom dancing during wedding reception
Groom smiling at his mom during mother-son dance.
Daughter crying during father-daughter dance
Father laughing during father-daughter dance
Bride laughing during father-daughter dance
Bride and groom pose with grandmother at wedding receiption

PORTLAND, OREGON WEDDING VENDORS

Ceremony Venue: St. Andrews Catholic Church

Reception Venue: The Evergreen

Day of Coordinator: Yvonne Gallardo

Hair/makeup: Katie Horton

Florist: Ashley Whitty

Cake: Sugar Street Bakery and Bistro

Caterer: Ashley Marxen at Pearl Catering

DJ: DJ Omar

A Fun-Filled Portland Wedding Celebration – Erik + Brynn