Columbia River Gorge: Elopement Style Vow Renewal
I have a secret to share with you: I really love taking photos during misty Pacific Northwest days and this Columbia River Gorge elopement style vow renewal is totally a reason why! After two years as husband and wife, Nick and Bri decided they wanted to renew their vows to celebrate their anniversary. Nick and Bri are also photographers, so I was so honored when they reached out asking me to adventure with them. This Arizona couple was going to be in Portland, Oregon for a wedding, which made the Columbia River Gorge the perfect adventure spot.
Now, before I can share the heart-warming details about the dreamy day, I have to set the scene about why the Columbia River Gorge is so cool. It’s time for another fun-facts-and-nerdy-details-spiel about the mountains with Mollie! If you’re a familiar face around Between the Pine, you’re probably rolling your eyes at how “classic Mollie” that sentence just was. But, if you’re a new friend of Between the Pine, then I’m so glad you’re here. And, I love getting to share my knowledge about all-things mountains, outdoors and Pacific Northwest with you. So, keep reading and you may just learn something new!
History of the Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge has been a vital source of resources for thousands of years, and served as the center for northwest trade among tribal nations (USDA Forest Service). Over the years, there have been trade goods found from Minnesota, the southwest, Vancouver Island and even the far north; the Columbia River Gorge was truly the pathway that connected the Pacific Northwest to the rest of the continent (USDA Forest Service). By the mid-1800s, almost 12,000 people arrived at the eastern edge of the Columbia River Gorge after traveling along the Oregon Trail. As more settlers made their way west, the indigenous people were displaced from their lands and alternative routes were created to avoid the dangerous travel conditions in the Columbia River.
The historic Columbia River Highway is one of those alternative travel routes! This 75-mile roadway is “the oldest scenic byway in the nation” and was named “King of the Roads” (Backroad Planet). This highway pioneered advances in road design and paved the way (pun intended) for modern highway development in twentieth-century America (Oregon Encyclopedia). In the early 1900s, a retired lumberman and hotelier Simon Benson purchased many scenic spots along the highway, and donated them back to the state of Oregon to preserve them for future generations (Oregon Encyclopedia). Boy, aren’t we glad he did! Because of Benson’s donation, you’ll find eight different waterfalls along this historic highway (including where Bri and Nick renewed their vows)!
Did you learn something new? Good, that’s amazing! Now, let’s return to our regularly scheduled programming: Bri and Nick’s elopement style vow renewal in the Columbia River Gorge. I met Bri and Nick with donuts in-hand because I knew that was their favorite food group (incredible, right?). It was raining as our day began, so we hid under the trees. I whipped out the classic clear umbrellas, and we made our way to the base of the waterfall.
Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls
Like I mentioned earlier, there are eight iconic waterfalls along the historic highway in the Columbia River Gorge. Click the links below to find trail information for how to explore the stunning waterfalls (please note: some of these trails are closed due to damage caused by the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017).
Elowah Falls (closed)
Oneonta Falls (closed)
Shepperds Dell (closed)
I love the location where Bri and Nick chose to review their vows. Waterfalls make such epic backdrops for any adventure photo session. If you love the moody and misty vibes of this Columbia River Gorge elopement, check out the waterfalls in this Snoqualmie National Forest engagement session and this Eastern Washington elopement at Palouse Falls.
Bri and Nick stood at the base of the 249-foot waterfall and read the letters they wrote to one another. Tears were shed as the waterfall mist settled around them. After they read their letters, Nick looked over towards me and said, “We felt like you weren’t even here.” Never have I ever been so honored to have been invisible in my whole life! This is one of my favorite moments as an adventure elopement photographer. My goal is to make my couples feel so comfortable and natural in front of my camera that they practically forget that I’m even there. After we wrapped up at the waterfall, we made our way to an overlook of the Columbia River Gorge to end our day.
What to Pack for Your Waterfall Elopement
Curious what to pack for your waterfall elopement? I’ve made my go-to list of things to bring for your waterfall adventure.
Whether it’s a sunny day or the classic PNW misty weather, you’ll likely get wet from the mist of the waterfall. To help keep you dry, bring a towel and a change of clothes for after your adventure session. I also recommend throwing your waterproof mascara in your pack, as well!
The base of waterfalls tend to be colder than the estimated weather. I always recommend brining a puffy coat to keep you warm!
Speaking of the base of the waterfall, the winds tend to be breezy. Mother Nature will be your biggest asset at the waterfall base if you wear clothing made of material that will move with the breeze (like Bri’s dress!).
I always recommend embracing the weather, whatever it may throw your way! Click here for my recommendation for the best clear umbrella. Check out Megan and Eric’s amazing first look featuring these clear umbrellas.
Eloping in Oregon
It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with the Pacific Northwest, and Oregon is one of my favorite places in the world. Within the state of Oregon, you can find the coast, giant redwood trees, waterfalls, the desert like the Painted Hills, and the mountains like Mt. Hood, Mt. Bachelor and the Three Sisters Mountains. Oregon truly has it all, which makes it an amazing place to consider getting eloped. Want to feel inspired about eloping in Oregon, check out this Smith Rock climbing elopement in Central Oregon.
Are you dreaming up your perfect waterfall adventure? Let’s connect and make your waterfall dreams reality!