tips & tricks
Everything you need to know about choosing elopement
Those little moments that make your heart swoon are just as important as the big moments that take your breath away."
Now let’s talk Elopements: Choosing or thinking about Eloping? Let's talk details! Eloping can be as simple as meeting at the courthouse or hiking up to the top of Mount Hood. The possibilities are endless. Remember, this is YOUR day and I'm here to make the visions in your head come true!
Okay, so you want me to photograph your elopement but you’re not sure where to start?
Reach out to me: Most of my couples reach out to me 6 mo to a year in advance -- sometimes even longer but that doesn’t mean you can’t book with me if you are planning quickly. I always keep available dates for these reasons.
You can find me on these platforms: www.carissahalter.co
Email me at:
Find me on Instagram at: www.instagram.com/carissahalterphotos
Let’s Meet: Meeting for coffee I love to get to you guys in a casual, no pressure situation. You can ask me all the questions & we can talk about what you have envisioned for your day & you and your partner can get to know me better.
Life can be hectic & planning a wedding can add to the stress - so if we can’t meet in person we can always FaceTime, Skype or talk on the phone. Whatever works for you is what works for me.
Ready to book: So you’ve met me & you want me at your wedding day!!! YAY! I’ll be sending you a “what to expect guide” & a questionnaire to fill in any details we may have missed as well as your proposal (aka your contractual agreement & payment) A nonrefundable retainer will be due at signing & this secures your date. The remainder of payment will be due 30 days before your ceremony -- however, elopements sometimes mean you’re getting married within days -- in that case payments will be due in full.
Licenses: Okay so choosing to elope doesn’t require as much planning as a traditional wedding BUT there still is some homework to do! Eloping in Oregon requires you and your partner:
apply for a marriage license - You must apply for the marriage license within the county you are getting married in. You can apply online to get the process rolling but will have to physically go to the county clerks office & apply in person with your partner. (Valid government issued ID’s will be required)
60 days & 3 day waiting period- Oregon law states that a marriage license is valid for 60 days after the 3 day waiting period. (3 day waiting period is after you have applied for your license - you must wait 3 days before actually tying the knot)
Most times if you have questions about changing names, permits & what to do after you’re married the county clerk will fill you in. Just ask!
Click here to find a list of the counties & their fees - Oregon only
My area: Marion County: https://www.co.marion.or.us/CO/records/Pages/marriage.aspx
Permits: Most state parks & national parks (Oregon only has one national park- Crater Lake) will require some kind of permit or parking pass fee. Every situation is different & I will help you navigate once you two choose a location. Here’s a list of my favorite locations in the Pacific Northwest: click here / You can also find out how to get your elopement discounted!!!
Officiants & Witnesses: You are required to have one officiant and two witnesses for your elopement. That can be a friend, family member or even me & my husband. If you’re having trouble finding an officiant let me know and I can help with that!
Guest Count: For elopements I always recommend bring who is important to you. There’s no set number of guests outside of your witnesses. Most keep their guest count anywhere from 1-10 guests BUT don’t let that deter you from inviting more or no guests at all.
Do I need a parking pass or any permits? It all depends on where you choose to go but wherever that is I will assist you prior to your elopement. Privately owned locations such as somebody’s farm or property are usually just asking whomever owns the property, state parks & national parks require some permits/parking passes which I will help you navigate through. Some privately owned businesses require a payment like any other event rental location. Most beaches are open to the public with no fees at all!
Videographers: I don’t currently offer video services but I have tons of friends that are beyond talented in that field and are down to help. I can send you a list of my favorites or suggestions based off of what you require.
How many photographer’s come to my elopement? 9/10 it will be just me! I like to get to know my couples & create a lasting, trusting relationship. I will be the one learning about you, capturing your love stories, editing & delivering your images to you! There are very special circumstances where we might have another photographer - if that’s something you need, let’s chat!
Adventure Elopements vs. Intimate Elopements:
Intimate Elopements: Usually include a little bit of planning + require vendors such as florists, elopement planner, wedding arches, table settings etc. These are for the peeps that want a little more of the traditional wedding but still keeping it small & intimate. Do you need ALL of these things? Absolutely not but if you have always dreamed of having a wedding arch...then get a wedding arch!
Adventure elopements: bring excitement, limited set ups, generally are easy to plan...and include lots of....you guessed it...adventuring! Usually set in an outdoor location, no fancy set up- just focusing on you two...well and maybe a bottle of Champagne & some cake. These are made for the outdoor enthusiast, rain or shine!
Still not sure if elopement is for you?
My biggest piece of advice is to do what you and your partner want to do. Bring who is near and dear to your heart or have a more private day with just the two of you & your officiant. Think about what best fits you two as a couple -- don’t worry about what Aunt Carol is going to say about not being invited. I always suggest closing your eyes and really picturing your perfect day - write down your top 5 wants & top 5 no-nos.
1. Ask yourself, WHO - think about who matter's to you and your partner! Don't worry about who will be upset or what people will say.
2. Where do you imagine yourself reading your vows? Is there a special place you two love to go to? Or a place you've always wanted to see?
3. Whats most important about your wedding day? Epic photos, intimate ceremony & breathtaking views? (or) being surrounded by your families, friends & partying till the sun comes up? (There is NO wrong answer - after all THIS IS YOUR DAY)
After all of that, WHO IS READY TO ELOPE???
I’m currently booking 2020-2021 elopements - worldwide.
To book or find more information visit: www.carissahalter.co or you can email me at