Styled Desert Elopement Along Washington’s Columbia River Gorge

Styled Desert Elopement Along Washington’s Columbia River Gorge

When we think of Washington State, our minds instantly wander to coastal views, forests, and mountains. However, you can also find hidden gems in the Pacific Northwest for all the desert vibes. This desert fall elopement inspiration along Washington’s Columbia River Gorge is everything you need to get inspired to plan your elopement together.

Get all the tips and advice from both the photographer, Stephanie, and the planner, Hannah, from this styled session.

“This styled shoot along the Columbia River in Washington State was inspired by glowing tones of gold and amber mixed with cozy details like a gooey cinnamon bun cake and Irish coffees that make for a perfect fall elopement. The desert landscape represents a unique part of the Pacific Northwest that is rarely featured. We wanted to put this beautiful backdrop on full display and prove that a desert elopement can be perfect for any season.” [Hannah, Panner from A Bird with a Plan]

Are you ready to start planning your elopement? Explore our elopement vendors to get started.

Planning a Desert Style Elopement in The Pacific Northwest

When it comes to styling and planning a desert elopement, you’ll want to consider the natural landscape, says Hannah.

“The neutral tones of the landscape provide the perfect backdrop for pops of bright, warm colors and really makes them stand out. And if you like metallics, don’t be afraid to throw in touches of gold – when the sun is out here you get the sense that everything is glowing.” [Hananh]

You’ll also want to plan your wedding ceremony during sunset or sunrise to get the most out of your elopement location. If you decide to glamp together, then you’ll even be able to enjoy both.

picnic for a desert style elopement

Deciding Where to Elope

Deciding to elope is no easy task, but if you have a vibe you both love, like the desert and all things boho, then let that be your guide. This desert elopement inspiration in Washington is perfect for those couples who live near the Pacific Northwest but want something completely different.

The Columbia River Gorge is such a versatile elopement location. You can enjoy forested waterfalls or desert vibes like this styled shoot along the river.

“Something unique about this location is how well it stands up to changing seasons; aside from winter when the temperatures drop, this location is an awesome choice for an elopement in spring, summer, OR fall. There isn’t a peak time of year that you need to elope in this area. You can plan a gorgeous elopement essentially year round. Make sure you have a vehicle with all wheel drive! While the area is surprisingly accessible, the roads are unpaved and extremely bumpy.” [Hannah]

Explore our Washing elopement package for more places to elope in the Pacific Northwest. 

wedding invitations for this desert style elopement inspiration

Teaming Up With the Right Team

This desert elopement inspiration along Columbia’s River Gorge is the perfect example of why it’s so important to team up with the right vendors. Professional elopement vendors will not only help guide you through your elopement timeline and permits, but they are also amazing people to bounce ideas with when it comes to your elopement vision.

“We love this location because it’s a hidden gem and is also an incredibly vast area. With so many different spots to play with, location scouting is an absolute must. We recommend hiring a photographer that knows the area really well and can show you all the secret little spots that make for beautiful photos that also offer the most amount of privacy from any crowds.” [Stephanie]

If you have a specific vision of a specific style on your Pinterest board, then team up with an elopement planner.

“Consider hiring a planner for your elopement who can help direct the planning process from the very beginning, bring your design vision to life, and give you the most stress-free experience possible. Although elopements are inevitably intimate, there are still plenty of logistics and details to consider; having some outside guidance can offer you peace of mind and the confidence that your day will run smoothly.” [Hannah]

Check out our reasons why you should hire an elopement planner.

cinnamon cake and irish coffee for wedding meal

Elopement Details We Love During This Styled Desert Session in Washington

If you’re thinking about planning a desert-themed elopement, then this one is the perfect inspiration for you. We love all the simple details like the bride’s flower crown and gorgeous bouquet.

Instead of a traditional wedding cake and champagne, this couple shared a GIANT cinnamon bun cake and Irish coffees (yumm!). This is perfect for a sunrise elopement together because who doesn’t like starting their marriage with baked goods and coffee?

Here are some other details we love and you can easily incorporate into your elopement:

  • A hand-lettered poem the couple read to each other during their ceremony, which can also be framed as a keepsake.
  • The use of handmade seed paper in the elopement announcement cards; you can plant the seed paper and it will sprout actual flowers!
  • An intimate picnic while watching the sun set, complete with charcuterie boxes and mini champagne bottles that make for an easy post-elopement snack.
  • The couple’s pup in a doggy tuxedo. We love it when couples make their furry family members a part of their special day.
  • Timeless vintage details like a lace tablecloth and wicker picnic basket.
  • A fun elopement dress to be able to easily explore and move around in.

Get more ideas for your elopement with these 25 ideas.

couple siting on table for styled desert elopement inspiration in Washington State.

Advice For Couples Who Decide to Elope

So are you planning to elope? What elopement style defines you as a couple? Think about what your intentions are for your day, and think about how you want your day to feel. Do you want to just relax together, or do you want to go on an adventurous hike?

“Elopements are such a great way for couples to spend time together and be present on their wedding day. When talking about elopements, the words `authentic’ and ‘intentional’ come up a lot because those really are great descriptions of what it means to elope. My favorite part about elopements is seeing the couple having fun, making the day about them and incorporating things that make them feel celebrated.” [Stephanie]

Instead of worrying about the logistics and design details, first, focus on what’s important to you both. While Hannah encourages couples to seek inspiration for their elopement, she always wants to remind them to make it their own too.

“Seek out inspiration for your shoot, but don’t forget to make it your own! If the vision for this session resonates with you, figure out what parts of it you are drawn to – maybe it’s the colors, the location, or that giant cinnamon bun cake! Use those pieces as building blocks for your day. Stick to what feels authentic to you!” [Hannah]

Check out our 7 simple steps on how to elope to start your elopement planning. 


Photography: Stephanie Keegan Photography
Planning: A Bird With a Plan
Florals: Sublime Stems
Cake: Sift and Gather
Hair & Make-up: Yessie Makeup Artistry
Calligraphy: Caracol Creative
Tabletop Rentals: Celebrations For Every Season
Charcuterie: Laurabsteele Charcuterie

Photos From This Desert Elopement Inspiration in Washington

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