Madison WI Elopement Photographer

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Cascade Mountains Wedding Among the Trees in Oregon by Erica Swantek Photography

Sunflower Bouquet, Bride and Groom Photos, Forest Wedding, Mountain Wedding in Cascade Mountains

Oregon Wedding Set Among the Trees and Cascade Mountains

Not even a global pandemic could stop Melissa & Rob from tying the knot at their intimate Cascade Mountains Oregon wedding at a gorgeous mountain lake resort near Bend, OR. These two chose to continue on with their wedding, paring down their guest list to less than 50 people to accommodate the state mandates. It was a gorgeous, sunny day in the Cascades, with an outdoor ceremony with Mt. Bachelor and Elk Lake as the backdrop, and a gorgeous rough-hewn log arbor adorned with a stunning flower arrangement. Elk Lake Resort provided accommodations for guests in their rustic cabins, as well as food and drinks.

Melissa and her girls readied outside on the balcony of their cabin overlooking the lake, while Rob and his guys hung out and enjoyed a beer in the boathouse. Their good friend served as their officiant for the ceremony, and afterward, they dined on plated hors d’oeuvres, and Oregon micro-brews, before a buffet dinner was served to guests.

The couple danced to their playlist before heading out for some sunset photos just as the alpenglow was illuminating Mt. Bachelor in the background. At the end of the romantic portraits,  Melissa & Rob were more than willing to step into the lake in their wedding clothes!

How did they meet as told by the couple:

Rob and I met in college at the University of Connecticut and were close friends in our years there. Ironically, we worked next door to each other in high school and never met! After college, we went our separate ways for a few years until I invited myself to visit Rob in Portland, Oregon to see what it was all about! Less than a year later I moved to Oregon and we started dating.

We currently live in beautiful Bend, Oregon, and spend our free time camping, hiking, skiing, and enjoying the outdoors that surround us with our dog. As is becoming more common, we did things backward and bought a house before we became engaged. We committed ourselves to each other long before the wedding! So while the proposal wasn’t entirely a surprise it was still beautiful. We hiked with our dog Scout to one of our favorite spots in Bend with a beautiful view of the Three Sisters mountains.

Rob proposed to me at the top and of course, I said yes! Scout, successfully lightening the mood, tried to pull us off the side of the mountain while we tried to snap a few photos to capture the moment.

What was your favorite memory from your wedding day?

Our ceremony was definitely the most memorable part. I (Melissa) expected to be nervous reading my own vows, but with my best friend marrying us and standing up there with Rob I just felt so happy and loved during our Cascade Mountains Wedding!

What was your biggest frustration planning your wedding?

We started attempting to book vendors in December for a July wedding and we expected to have a lot of choices, but nearly all the vendors we called were already booked! Luckily after many phone calls, we were able to secure an amazing photographer and florist, and already had our venue booked with catering included well in advance.

How did you decide on your wedding venue? Why was this the perfect reception spot?

There were so many perfect things about Elk Lake Resort for our wedding. We wanted a place with lots of lodging so most of our family and friends could stay with us for the weekend since most were from out of town. Since a lot of them hadn’t visited us in Bend before, we also loved the idea of everyone driving up the beautiful Cascade Lakes Highway on the way up to the venue. We also spend a lot of time at Mt. Bachelor in the winter, so having that in the background was really meaningful to us.

Tell us about the bride and her gorgeous dress!

Melissa is an outdoor girl at heart, but she definitely knows how to glam it up! She looked incredible in her Sottero & Midgley gown, it was the perfect dress for her! She totally rocked it in nature but had no problem stepping into the freezing cold mountain lake barefoot in her dress to get some photos of their favorite ski mountain, Mt. Bachelor in the backdrop. Also, I would love to make sure the local dress shop, Bella Brides, gets some credit for this.

They worked hard with Melissa to find her the perfect dress. Here is what the owner, Sarah Bass had to say, “We are very thoughtful and intentional about choosing our dresses. We have dresses from all over the world! We often work directly with the designer to customize dresses for our shop. Our shop is very experienced-based and part of the dress collection is to make sure that there is a dress for every bride, so everyone can have this special and amazing experience!”

Unique Cascade Mountains wedding happenings?

Luckily, the summer in the Pacific Northwest gives us plenty of gorgeous light well in the Cascade Mountains into the evening. Just as the sun was setting I took these two out for a few more romantic portraits by the lake. I told them that if they were up for it, I wouldn’t stop them from getting in the water. They jumped at that idea and the images are gorgeous! I love a couple that doesn’t worry about getting dirty.

Photographers’ favorite memory!?

Oh my gosh, I don’t even know where to begin. Melissa & Rob are seriously some of the kindest, most genuine people. I think one of my favorite moments was their first look, when Melissa saw Rob she burst into tears and Rob just embraced her. Another beautiful moment happened during the ceremony when Melissa’s father and a friend walked her halfway down the aisle, then they departed and Rob met her in the middle and walked her to the front of their rustic alter. It was really special! And then, probably another favorite moment was their first dance. These two know how to throw it down, and they absolutely gave all their friends a show. Topped off with their signature move, and crazy backbend arm sway thing. It was awesome! I just think their genuine, laid back nature resonated with me.

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VENDORS:

Photography: Erica Swantek Photography

2nd Photographer: Gwen Shoemaker Photography

Location: Elk Lake Resort

Hair & Make Up – Classic Beauty by Heather

Wedding Dress: Bella Brides

Suits: Men’s Wearhouse

Jewelry: Saxons Bend

Wedding Floral Design: Bend Floral Artistry

Lighting: Illuminate your Night

Rentals: Central Event Rentals

 

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