November 28, 2021
Sometimes the best laid plans don’t exactly unfold how you think on a wedding day, but we roll with it, adapt, and embrace the adventure. A record-breaking heat wave and torrents of bees couldn’t stop these two from having the best day ever for their sunset mountaintop elopement in Oregon!
Emily and Jordan knew they wanted a wedding day that was just the two of them to privately share their love and celebrate their relationship together. They couldn’t imagine any other way of spending the experience except outside in nature; Emily’s vision of getting married specifically has always included saying “I do’s” amongst beargrass — a wildflower that only blooms every other year or so in a small window of time in early summer. Their incredible elopement included that and more. They got ready together on the side of the mountain before hiking up to the top, allowing plenty of time to literally stop and smell the countless (wild)flowers.
Emily and Jordan read their handwritten vows to each other with the incredible Mt. Jefferson as witness, draped in stunning hues of pinks and purples as the sun set over them. They shared a first dance on the fire lookout heli pad, and hiked back down in the dark with headlamps. There wasn’t another soul to be found during their entire elopement, but nature kept them plenty company.
“In August of 2020 we took a trip together down the south coast of Oregon to camp near Brookings. On our first night at the campground we went down to the beach to explore some exposed tide pools. They’re some of our favorite places to observe microcosms of life together. After a while of wading further and further out, exclaiming over anemones and sea stars together, the tide began to come dangerously close and I painstakingly picked my way all the way back to the beach. When I turned around, Jordan was still all the way out at the edge of the waves, calling ‘Come back! You have to see this barnacle!’ I was a bit annoyed (being of the opinion that if you’ve seen one barnacle you’ve kind of seen them all), but I carefully stepped and stumbled all the way back out to where he was squatting over a rock in the oncoming surf.
Upon leaning over to examine the barnacle, I discovered that it was in fact silver, and also a ring, and I was being proposed to. My ring is designed by an artist who makes realistic barnacle-shaped jewelry; Jordan later explained that with the nature of the ring, he felt like a tide pool was the only appropriate place to do it.”
When I arrived at the trail, I accidentally disturbed a wasps’ nest — immediately, my car was surrounded. Emily & Jordan pulled up beside my car shortly after. I couldn’t roll down my window to talk to them about what we should do, and there was no service for a phone call — but thankfully, these two had a small whiteboard handy, and wrote a note to drive back down the road together. After Emily and Jordan finished getting ready, we still had to figure out how to safely navigate the wasp situation. Out of their magic bag of tricks, they pulled a full-sized mosquito net! Their Subaru packed full of camping gear (for their two week post-wedding honeymoon) definitely came in handy!
The three of us climbed underneath; Jordan supported the top of the net, while Emily and I used our trekking poles to hold the net away from us to give us more room to walk as we navigated the trailhead. And it worked! This predicament put us an hour behind our original timeline, but as you’ll see from the photos below, the breathtaking sunset views we got in exchange were more than worth it.
All that to say, you can pretty much bank on something (even a small something) not going according to plan on your elopement day, but as long as you go into the experience with an open mind and adventurous heart, you might just be surprised at what the universe has waiting for you.
Emily wore a flower crown that was completely made up of felt, and represented different kinds of wildflowers found in Oregon. The flowers included Yellowleaf Iris, Beargrass, Columbia Lilies, Mariposa Lily, Western Columbine, and Trillium. There were even some little appearances of pine, Alpine Forget-Me-Nots, berries, Oregon Sunshine and a Blackfoot Daisy. Jordan wore a similar felt boutonnière based on a wildflower called Indian Paintbrush, as well as a bolo tie that is cast from the impression of a real fossil! These were two small, inconspicuous ways to bring their love of nature close to themselves on their wedding day.
If you’re looking to include as a sentimental touch on your wedding day, here are some ideas to get you started:
Your item doesn’t need to be on display if you don’t want it to be! If it’s small enough, you can keep it tucked in a pocket or worn under your clothing. Sometimes you just need the power of knowing it’s there, and that’s enough.
This couple knew they wanted to create a shared art piece on the day of their wedding to commemorate the occasion, but they didn’t know what form that would take. It turns out that their car’s rear window was the perfect canvas, with a nature-themed twist on the “just married” exclamation! They told me they had never worked with window chalk pens, but their talent was not hindered by using a new paint medium. They also presented me with the most incredible gift: a truly 100% handmade, framed, illustrated moth. Emily illustrated and painted a ceanothus silk moth amongst blue lilacs, while Jordan assembled and hand-carved the wooden frame. I was so moved to receive such an incredibly thoughtful gift from them that now has a home in my office. If you want to check out these artists’ work, you can find Emily’s work here, and Jordan’s work here.
“Choosing Marissa to photograph our elopement was the best decision we possibly could’ve made for the day (second only to getting married). We were drawn to Marissa’s photography because of the beautiful sense of place that her work holds, and how happy and authentic the subjects of her photographs looked. She exceeded all expectations right off the bat by helping us plan the elopement from location suggestions to vendor recommendations. On the day itself, Marissa proved to be a kind and insightful photographer as well as a skilled one, capturing some incredible shots despite having two very awkward and camera-averse people to work with. When we set out to choose a photographer we were apprehensive about making the right choice for the only other person to attend our ceremony, so I think it’s important to state that in addition to being great at what she does, Marissa was also an excellent hiking buddy and just a pleasure to have with us on our trip. She was resilient and adaptable in the face of challenges both expected and unexpected, helping us hold our plans and mood together in the face of wasps, extreme heat, and mountain descents in the dark. And to top it all off, she also doubled as our officiant! We are so happy we chose Marissa for our elopement and we’d recommend her to anyone who wants to be celebrated for who they are on their special day.”
Photographer – Marissa Solini Photography
Felt Florals – Astrid Overn
Emily’s Outfit – Asos
Trekking Poles – REI
Jordan’s Tie – Lorraine Chure (link to item)
Rings – Molly Lovett
Cake – Sweet Life Patisserie