70s Inspired Styled Elopement at Painted Hills, OR

70s Inspired Styled Elopement at Painted Hills, OR

This styled elopement was inspired by the earthy natural hues of the Painted Hills in OR with a splash of funky 70s color and fun disco balls. Get all the inspiration from this session and learn what you need to know about planning an elopement at Painted Hills at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

Please note: This featured styled elopement was a trial run for the park. During the time of this session, they were updating their wedding and elopement rules.

Are you ready to elope? Let’s start planning your Oregon elopement adventure!

Planning a Painted Hills Elopement

“Permits are required for weddings and elopements, and you can apply for your permit up to a year in advance, but no later than 21 days before your wedding day. There is no entrance fee to the national monument, but the application fee was $50 + a $150 ‘location fee’, once it was approved. (Please note permit fees and regulations can change at any time). If any damage occurs during the event, additional fees will apply.

Only one permit is required for the officiant, photography, videographer, etc – everyone hired by the permittee. If someone claims that they offer services in the park (i.e. it says ‘Painted Hills Photographer’ on their website) then they need to obtain a separate special use permit.” [Katy, the photographer]

Katy, the photographer shares what you need to know about planning a wedding ceremony at Painted Hills: 

  • Ceremonies are limited to 60 minutes.
  • Exclusive use of the area is not permitted, so get there early to grab your spot… no areas will be closed to the public.
  • The visitor center and restrooms may not be used for ceremony prep (dressing, pictures, waiting areas, etc) or in the event of inclement weather.
  • Music must be non-amplified music instruments, no amplification of sound is permitted in national parks.
  • Chairs are only allowed in the picnic area (by the bathrooms) and cant ranch.
  • At the overlook, a few portable chairs may be used for the elderly or those with physical limitations.
  • Throwing or scattering of rice, birdseed, flower petals, or other materials is not permitted.
  • Painted hills max participants: 50 w/ 6 vehicles, overlook trail: 16 w/ 5 vehicles.

Ceremony and Portrait Location Suggestions

“Some places to explore include the painted hills overlook (this area is also approved for a small ceremony, which is where we held ours), painted cove trail (the famous boardwalk, beautiful light around sunset and shaded the rest of the day), and red scar knoll trail (a gorgeous red hill and a red bridge, this is the last trail of the park)…

The other available ceremony spot is by the bathrooms (the “picnic area”) for larger groups, but there’s not really a view there… but it’s shaded. All trails are open year-round, and all of them have parking available for RVs, buses, and cars.” [Katy, the photographer]

 Top Tips For This Oregon Location 

“The area is known for flash flooding in the spring from sudden thunderstorms. The weather is 90+ degrees with almost no shade… (one person on our vendor team started to feel like they had heat exhaustion). Our flowers wilted really fast because of the hot, dry sun, so keep your flowers in a cooler until needed.

With that being said, bring plenty of food and water, a cooler with ice, a way to sleep in your car if you have to park on higher ground and wait out the flooding (sleeping bags and pads), a tiny portable spray fan (yes I brought this and it was amazing), and rain gear. Also, be aware that it can get windy when sudden storms blow in.

The Ochoco National Forest is very close (I used to work in the forest as a wilderness therapy guide) and is a great place to camp out. It’s easy to get lost though if you go down too many side roads, and there is no service there or at the painted hills (although there’s very slow wifi at the painted hills bathrooms). 2-way radios are a great idea for events!” [Katy, the photographer]

70s Disco Inspired Elopement Theme

“This styled elopement was inspired by the earthy natural hues of the hills, but we also wanted to include COLOR because it would really pop in the desert! The fun color palette, disco balls, and funky inspiration was perfect to reflect the 70s!

Omid’s rust colored suit actually ended up matching the hills perfectly. We loved the idea of a colored suit, which is very on-trend, but also wanted a somewhat muted tone for a groom who wants to stand out, but doesn’t want to rock a bright color. I personally loved the entire retro vibe, from the tablescape and ceremony setup to the invites and lounge furniture.” [Katy, the photographer]

Respecting Public Lands 

“The Painted Hills had more wedding inquiries last year than ever before, so that spot is really blowing up. The park staff said that they want people to have special ceremonies on our public lands, and they just ask that people respect the land so others can continue to enjoy it in the future.” [Katy, the photographer]


Photographer | Katy Nevinsky Photography & Films

Planning, Design, + Styling | Katy Nevinsky Photography & Films, Janane Nguyen PhotographyAlex Johnson Photography

Hair and Makeup Artist | Blush Beauty By Jag

Florals | Blomstra Floral Co. 

Couple | Glory & Omid

Rentals | Oregon Elevated Events

Stationery + Signage | Script On This

Charcuterie | Daisy + Sun Events

Cake | Sugar Mama Kitchens

Mobile Bar | Lifted Spirits Co

Venue | Painted Hills National Park, Oregon

Photos From This Styled Session

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