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Congratulations, you’ve officially made the choice to elope! Hooray! It’s time to throw some eco-friendly biodegradable confetti. 

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Next up is what will probably be one of the biggest decisions you will make in your wedding planning process, picking where you plan to elope. Besides meeting the most incredible kickass couples and getting to spend my days capturing memories that last a lifetime, I have to admit visiting gorgeous places is pretty high on my list of why I love my job.

Today I want to chat about one of the coolest locations in Oregon. Maybe beaches or forests aren’t your thing… Perhaps the idea of hiking up a mountain makes your feet cry out in fear of blisters. (If that’s the case you gotta check out Wigwam socks, they’re the best)… Or perhaps you just love the idea of a minimal landscape, where the only thing decorating the landscape is you and your loved one standing side by side. That’s where the Alvord Desert comes in. 

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Here’s what you need to know, the frequently asked Q’s as some might call them.

Will I need a wedding permit for the Alvord Desert?

Nope! Since the Alvord Desert is considered public/federal land that isn’t an organized park-type area, you don’t need any special permit to go there. Obviously this means you’ll save money, but in case two weeks before your big wedding you decide to throw caution to the wind and elope, it will save you time because you won’t need to hunt down any pesky permits. (All you need to do in that case is give me a call to make sure you have someone to photograph your day!) 

Are there other rules?

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Not really, as long as you pick up after yourself and don’t bother anyone else visiting you should be fine. The universal rule of “Don’t be an asshole” applies here and pretty much anywhere I would ever take my couples. 

Is it remote? How far from civilization will I actually be? Where do I sleep?

That’s a lot of questions packed into one, but don’t worry I’ve got you covered. The Alvord Desert is roughly 2 hours from Burns, OR. Obviously my first suggestion is to embrace the adventurous side and pitch a tent to go camping, but if that’s not quite your thing, there’s lodging that is about 20 minutes away as well as the opportunity to bring more of a glamping set up (think trailer, RV, etc.). You’re actually able to camp out on the playa, too! There’s a few other places that are further by roughly another 20ish minutes, all of this and more we can discuss during a consult if you’d like more information!

The most important question… Where can we eat?

Ahh you’re so right, that’s a VERY important question. Just because you decided to elope in the Alvord Desert, doesn’t mean you have to only eat the sand that’s kicked up in the wind. The closest place to grab a bite to eat is in Fields (called Fields Station) which has a snazzy little restaurant/motel/diner. It’s a one-stop-shop which is what makes it snazzy in my book. Their milkshakes and burgers are pretty damn good too, if I say so myself.

How can I make the day uniquely “us”?

There are tons of ways that you can personalize your day! It doesn’t take long to envision some incredible Alvord Desert elopement inspiration, so here are just a few things that I think would make your elopement special.

– You can bring your vehicle along; I can picture some amazing photographs of someone in a jeep with a wedding dress hanging out the open doors.

– Wanna grab a quick soak? A hot spring is nearby.

– You can also still include florals! Even though the closest florist is about 2 hours away, if you keep your bouquet in a cooler it will stay fresh and perky (and I’ve totally transported florals longer distances). A bouquet with cacti or other cool succulents included would match the landscape really well. As long as you take anything with you after you leave the sky is pretty much the limit with the Alvord desert!

– How incredible would an old vintage rug be paired with the geometric backdrop from this styled shoot I did on the Oregon Coast? I’m imagining some major boho elopement vibes. 

Some other important things to note, you can bring your sweet fur babies along since the Alvord Desert allows dogs. As long as you keep an eye on them they’re more than welcome to join in the celebration. In fact I can’t think of anything better than you, your boo, and some four-legged friends standing alongside you as you exchange your I Do’s in the Alvord Desert.

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