how to elope in alaska an epic adventure elopement planning guide


Bend Oregon is a beautiful and vibrant destination for your Oregon adventure elopement, where the ponderosa pine forests meet the jagged mountain peaks of the high desert. This Central Oregon city boasts a diverse landscape with snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes, gushing rivers, and desert-like terrain.


So you've decided to elope! Congratulations on making one of the most important decisions of your lives.

Take a deep breath and let's start dreaming!

bend oregon elopement at smith rock state park with naomi levit

Imagine a moment

where you feel loved, limitless, joyful, and free. Whether it’s on a mountaintop with the wind blowing through your hair, along a peaceful river, or maybe it’s watching the sunrise as it peeks over the horizon. Imagine your perfect day together. What would you be doing? What would the surroundings look like? What smells would be in the air? Your wedding day can be ANYTHING your heart desires. Whatever you’re envisioning I will help you bring your dream to life!

bend oregon elopement photographer naomi levit

What is an adventure wedding or elopement?

Eloping doesn't mean secretly running off to the courthouse anymore. It's an intentional wedding day that is authentically focused on who you are as a couple. It's an opportunity to create a meaningful experience to begin your journey together as a couple. You may want to say your vows with your intimate family on a mountaintop in Bend Oregon or have a quiet day with just the two of you along the river in Smith Rock State Park. It can literally be anything your heart desires! How cool is that?!

bend oregon elopement photographer naomi levit

I know it can feel overwhelming planning your own wedding

That’s where I come in! Whether you want to hike up a mountain, chase waterfalls amongst big trees and lush rainforest, or go camp in the desert and soak in hot springs. I’ll be here to help create an epic elopement experience that is unique to YOU.


I am not just your Bend Oregon photographer! I am your tour guide, planner, and new friend. I’m here to help you every step of the way with planning assistance, location suggestions, vendor recommendations, and more. I will also bring champagne and granola bars to keep you nourished while we’re exploring!

adventurous smith rock elopement with oregon wedding photographer naomi levit

Hey friends! I'm Naomi your new Bend Oregon adventure buddy :)

I'm granola AF with a lil' bit of woowoo sprinkled in. I'm an outdoorsy, nature loving human who is absolutely in LOVE with small weddings and elopements in Bend Oregon. Nothing makes me happier than a day filled with adventures in wild places getting my feet dirty, breathing the fresh air, and connecting with like minded humans.

I believe experiences are more important than having a lot of stuff. Your wedding day will be one of the greatest experiences of your life and I’m here to help you bring your dream to life!

I'm a real life treehugger and plant 50 trees for every shoot booked. I want to leave the earth better than before I arrived. Let's plant some trees and go on an EPIC adventure together!

Features and Publications

creative bend oregon elopement at sparks lake

About Bend, Oregon


Known as the outdoor playground of the west, Bend is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Situated along the Cascade Mountains with the Deschutes River flowing through it, recreational activities are boundless–biking, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting, skiing, and rock climbing are all popular among residents and visitors alike.


The small city itself is home to countless craft breweries, coffee shops, boutique stores, and award-winning restaurants. A lively hub for culture and urban adventure, Bend really does have it all.

Weather in Bend

Because of its location in the Great Basin, Bend enjoys a mostly dry, desert-like climate with plenty of sunshine. Days are moderate with cooler evenings year-round. Temperatures at night are often 30 to 40 degrees below daytime highs so it’s always a good idea to bring a jacket, even in the summer. Spring weather can be more unpredictable than fall but both seasons enjoy milder temperatures. Summers are warm with low humidity, while winters bring colder temps and snowfall.

Getting To Bend

The closest major airport to Bend is Portland International Airport (PDX). From Portland, it’s about a 3 hour drive to Bend. Alternatively, Redmond Municipal Airport (RDM) has non-stop flights from some major west coast cities and is only a 20 minute drive from Bend.

Things To Do in Bend

The top activities in and around Bend, Oregon

Rock Climbing at Smith Rock – Known as the birthplace of U.S. sport climbing, Smith Rock State Park is a popular climbing spot and a great place to get your adrenaline pumping. Here’s a helpful breakdown of the main rock climbing areas in the park.

Hike the Surrounding Area – With miles and miles of hiking trails, Bend offers plenty of memorable hikes with incredible views of Central Oregon’s diverse landscape. Check out some of the most popular hikes close to Bend.

Explore Downtown Bend – This charming mountain town is home to more than 18 craft breweries, coffee shops, restaurants, and adorable boutiques. Stop by the city’s Old Mill District to shop, eat, or catch a riverside concert at the Les Schwab outdoor amphitheater.

Ski Mt. Bachelor – If you happen to be in town during the winter season, then skiing at Mt. Bachelor is a must. Located just 30 miles from Bend, Mt. Bachelor is a popular ski area in Central Oregon and the 6th largest in the U.S.

Explore the Bend Ale Trail – With more breweries per capita than any other city in Oregon, the best way to get a taste for the city’s many breweries is the self-guided Bend Ale Trail. Download the Ale Trail Passport before you head out and collect stamps at each brewery as you go.

Where to Elope in Bend, Oregon

The best adventure elopement locations near Bend, Oregon

Sparks Lake

Surrounded by 370 acres of scenic wetlands, Sparks Lake offers stunning mountain views of South Sister, Broken Top, and Mt. Bachelor. Located just 25 miles west of Bend, the lake is a quick drive from town and an amazing elopement destination in Central Oregon. Nestled in the Deschutes National Forest, the shallow lake is bordered by open meadows and pine forests. This location is best experienced on a calm day when the lake is still, painting a perfect reflection of the surrounding landscape atop the water.

Broken Top

Deep in the wilderness of Central Oregon, the jagged peaks of Broken Top stand tall amongst the Cascade Mountains. Just 20 miles west of Bend, this eroded volcano is home to scenic vistas, colorful wildflowers, and rugged volcanic terrain. Tucked away on the mountain’s east side, you’ll find “No Name Lake,” a bright turquoise glacier lake in Broken Top crater. It’s about a 1 hour hike to the top and the trail is usually clear of snow only a few months out of the year. This mystical crater lake makes a spectacular backdrop for an Oregon elopement.

Smith Rock

Smith Rock State Park’s high mountain desert terrain offers a stark contrast to western Oregon’s lush green forests. With its breathtaking jagged rocks towering high into the sky, it’s no surprise that this state park is considered to be one of Oregon’s seven wonders. An outdoor-loving couple’s dream, the park is a wonderful place for an intimate elopement. With a deep river canyon surrounded by rugged terrain, Smith Rock is a simply majestic elopement setting.

Metolius River

Beginning at the base of Black Butte, the Metolius River flows over twenty miles through the Deschutes National Forest before emptying into Lake Billy Chinook. As one of the largest spring-fed rivers in the U.S., it’s purity gives it a deep blue color. Set in a dense forest of old growth ponderosa pines, the gushing river offers plenty of picturesque scenery. Tall grass meadows along the river’s banks, pristine blue water, and towering pine trees are what make the Metolius River such a special place for an Oregon elopement.

Tumalo Mountain

Just over 20 miles west of Bend lies Tumalo Mountain. The shield volcano sits just northeast of Mt. Bachelor in the Cascade Mountain Range. A moderate four mile round trip hike will take you past rugged lava terrain and twisted white bark pines before you reach the mountain’s summit. The barren peak boasts spectacular views of the surrounding wilderness and makes for an unforgettable elopement location. Looking east, you’ll gaze upon Bend and vast green meadows. To the north, you’ll be greeted with epic views of the often snow-capped Three Sisters and Broken Top, and to the south, you’ll witness the unrivaled beauty of Mt. Bachelor.


• Where should I stay in Bend, Oregon?

Bend is home to world-class resorts, boutique hotels, cozy campgrounds, and plenty of unique vacation rentals. A few of my favorites include:

• The Camp – boutique camping and RV park with the option to rent one of their on-site vintage trailers or bring your own
• Ramblin Vans – decked out campervan rentals based in Portland offering pick up from the airport
• Riverhouse on the Deschutes – luxury resort along the Deschutes River just minutes from downtown Bend
• Airbnbs & VRBO rentals – choose from cute airbnbs like this historic home with a hot tub, this rustic cottage retreat, or this Scandinavian-inspired cabin
• The Oxford Hotel – a luxury boutique hotel conveniently located in the heart of downtown Bend
• Nearby Public Campgrounds – Smith Rock Bivouac Campground, Tumalo Campground, and Soda Creek Campground near Sparks Lake are popular public campground options close to Bend

• What do I need to legally elope in Bend, Oregon?

Make sure to bring along your signed marriage license. If you don’t live in Oregon, you and your partner will need to apply for a marriage license online and visit any of Oregon’s county clerk's offices to complete your application and sign your license. This must be done at least 3 days prior to your ceremony and no earlier than 60 days beforehand.

Although you can apply for a license in any Oregon county, after you’re married you’ll need to submit the license to the same county that issued it. The cost of a marriage license in Oregon ranges from $50 to $60.

In addition to your signed marriage license, you’ll need at least two witnesses (your photographer counts!) and an authorized officiant.

• What should I pack for my Bend, Oregon elopement?

Aside from your wedding dress and attire, a jacket or warm sweater is recommended since temperatures can get quite cool. Hiking shoes or boots are usually a good idea for most locations - you can always change into different shoes for your ceremony. Some other fun ideas include a bottle of champagne and two glasses, a blanket or scarf, a cute denim or leather jacket, and a clear umbrella in case of unpredictable weather.

• What is the best time of year to elope in Bend?

Temperatures are generally milder with less crowds in the spring and fall. Summer is a popular time for visitors and temperatures can get quite hot. Winter brings a blanket of snow and colder temperatures. Although Bend really is beautiful in any season, for the best chance of fewer crowds and pleasant weather, I recommend eloping in September or October!

• What day of the week is best to elope in Bend, Oregon?

Since Bend is a popular weekend getaway, the surrounding parks and trails are often busy during the weekends, especially in warmer months. For that reason, weekday elopements are usually best. With that being said, if you prefer to elope on a weekend, we can get creative with locations off-the-beaten path to make it happen!

• When is the best time of day to elope?

The best time of day to elope is around sunrise or sunset. The light at these times makes for the most beautiful photos. Plus, many locations are less crowded during the early morning and late evening.


When I became a photographer I knew that I wanted to utilize my passion to make a positive impact in the world.  Throughout my career I have volunteered for non-profits but I want to do more.  I want to have a greater impact on our beautiful planet.  Nature is where I find my peace, joy and inspiration and I want my business to reflect my passion for the environment.    I am very excited about my partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects.  Eden reduces extreme poverty and restores healthy forests in Nepal, Madagascar, Haiti, Indonesia, Mozambique and Kenya by employing local villagers to plant millions of trees every year.  Fifty trees are planted for every shoot booked with Naomi Levit Photography.

“Working with Naomi was a dream. From the easy communication of planning our little intimate elopement ceremony at Smith Rock State Park, to the final edited gallery, my husband and I could not be more happy with our experience with her. She made us feel at ease during the whole shoot and offered her own expertise while listening to our preferences as well. A lovely professional photographer and person all around. Thank you, Naomi!”
– Emily + John