Bend Adventure Photographer
South Sister Elopement
Katie and Alex were married on South Sister, outside of Bend Oregon, on August 28th. The sky was clear and there were butterflies all across the top of the mountain.
Videography: Mike Hiatt Media,
Planning: Amanda Claire and Company,
Florals: Hey You Flowers,
Publication: Wedventure Mag,
Photography by me: (Ely Roberts Photography)
2021 Permit Update
Permits are now required to hike in the wilderness (from May 28th – September 24th). Which includes South Sister. Permits are released 7 days prior at 7 am. Head here to plan how to grab your permit.
Here is Mike’s amazing elopement video.
We started the hike an hour before sunrise and brought enough food and water for a full day. The hike is about 6 miles each way and a 4900-foot ascent to a 10,358-foot elevation.
I still can’t believe we photographed on top of a glacier on top of a mountain.
here is a quick slideshow of the whole day. A fun fact for photographers out there. I photographed this whole wedding on an EOS R and a 28-70mm lens (and one battery). Just incase anyone was wondering:)
Broken Top Elopement
This has to be one of the most unique weddings I’ve shot. As an outdoor wedding and elopement photographer in Bend, I love incorporating the beautiful scenery this place has to offer. So, a sunrise portrait session at Broken Top Crater, followed by an intimate ceremony at Little Fawn Campground, and then a DIY backyard reception sounded like the dream wedding. Cheyenne and Steven had to pinch me to make me realize it was real.
The morning of their big day, I was driving up the gravel road to get to the Broken Top trailhead. If you’ve done the hike before, you know the drive is anything but smooth. It’s 2 a.m. and the stars are still out. There’s a chilly breeze, and only the crickets and the gravel crunching beneath my tires can be heard. Then, I see Cheyenne and Steven trying to get their car unstuck from a huge pothole. After a few attempts of my own, I grabbed the dog bed out of the trunk of my car as a last-ditch effort to try and get their car out of the rut. And, miraculously, it worked! We were able to pull their car off to the side of the road and they rode the rest of the way with me. Phew!
Though the trail is only 5.5 miles roundtrip, the 1,400 feet elevation gain is sure to get your heart racing. With our headlamps and hiking shoes on, we made our way up the mountain. Their dog, Q, led the way.
The sky was still dark when we made it to the top. So, Cheyenne and Steven got dressed by headlamp. Cheyenne wore a stunning Martina Liana dress and Steven had a clean and crisp suit from Men’s Wearhouse. The two had a sweet first-look under the stars.
The rising sun lit up Broken Top and the warm glow reflected off the crystal clear lake. The couple had always wanted to hike Broken Top but never got the opportunity until this day. Being able to photograph people experiencing a new place together is always a favorite part of my job. I loved having them pose on the majestic rock formations and seeing their faces light up with how breathtaking the view was. Bend is seriously such an amazing place to be an outdoor elopement and wedding photographer; we are so lucky to have these views and trailheads right outside our door.
Little Fawn Campground Ceremony
After a few shotgunned beers to commemorate the hike, we made our way down for their intimate ceremony. I had suggested Little Fawn Campground for the accessibility off the highway and the simple, open scenery it offered. Cheyenne made a beautiful macrame backdrop that stood out against the pine trees. The morning sun cast a soft glow over the campground. You know that feeling when it’s early in the morning and you know it’s going to be a beautiful day because the air is cool but has this sweet smell to it, like sunshine and wheat? Well, that’s exactly what it felt like on this morning.
Their friend played guitar as Steven walked down the path with Q, their “best dog,” and Cheyenne was escorted by her father. Their officiant, another close friend, spoke sweet words. There wasn’t a dry eye. The campground felt so quiet as everyone was intent on listening to every single word. With their closest friends and family watching, the couple said their vows and promised forever. And, of course, a celebratory group shotgun beer took place. That is probably one of my favorite group shots I’ve taken as a photographer.
Bend Backyard Reception
After the ceremony, we headed to a sweet little cabin for a backyard reception. The tables were decorated with vintage glass goblets and geometric planters filled with crystals and air plants. There was beer pong, an Instagram-worthy backdrop, and good beer. Everyone was so welcoming. What I love about intimate weddings and elopements is that everyone who is there is there for a reason; they are special to the couple and were chosen to witness one of the biggest days of their lives. Being invited to witness that (and for me, to photograph that) is so special.
They spent the rest of the afternoon dancing, eating delicious food, drinking local beer, and nibbling on some amazing cakes. Also, I learned some pretty stellar dance moves from Cheyenne and Steven. Driving home, I still couldn’t believe this had all been done in one day: a sunrise hike to Broken Top, a morning ceremony at Little Fawn, and a backyard reception. It was truly one for the books.
Wedventure Magazine Publication
A huge thanks to Wedventure Magazine for publishing Cheyenne and Steven’s wedding on their cover of one issue and then adding a full spread to their latest issue. If you are all interested in taking a hike up to Broken Top here in Bend and need a photographer, email or call me today.
Officiant: Ettie Johnson
Guitarist: Kerrick Roach
Vow Books: Velvet Raptor
Rentals: Bend Party Rentals
Pint Glasses: Shaylee Miner (design) and Bread and Badger
Cake and Dessert: Market of Choice
Dog Accessories: Walk the Dog Store, You Colors (bowtie)
Backpacks: Osprey Packs