Kayla and Erik brought me all the way from Boise Idaho to the incredible Joseph Oregon for their Wallowa Lake Intimate Wedding. I LOVE when I get the opportunity to work in Oregon. Oregon is such a special state with incredibly diverse landscapes. And Joseph Oregon is the perfect place to hold an intimate wedding- it's in a remote location nestled in the mountains with gorgeous beauty everywhere you look. There aren't many people I would willingly work on my birthday weekend for, but these two had such a unique and special vision for their day that I knew I had to be a part of it all. As an intimate wedding photographer, it doesn't get much better than spending a summer day in July by the lake with people who are madly in love and just want to party. And it was exactly that.
Kayla and Erik told me in their initial email that they dreamed of an elopement. They knew a big traditional wedding wasn't for them, but having a celebration with the people they loved in a place they loved felt true to who they are. They rented an entire campground to host their best friends and closest family members. Rather than spend all their money on a venue they'd get to stay at for limited hours on one day, they chose to spend their money on a week long experience for their people. It was such a unique idea and I loved being a part of it.
I'll always remember how special it was to watch Kayla and her dad hike up the mountain, looking like tiny little ants. I'll hold onto the memory of their gorgeous vows spoken over the sound of a slight warm summer breeze with the view of Wallowa Lake behind them. There were so many amazing moments on this day! It made me fall in love with being a wedding photographer all over again. Keep reading to hear more about this amazing couple's story and their Intimate Wallowa Lake Wedding!
How did you and your partner meet & fall in love?Erik I originally met through a gym, but I was in my early 20’s and he was seeing someone. Two years later I started working at Dutch brothers, and I was single and he was a regular customer. The rest is history, I would give him free coffee all the time and our mutual friend Cally (our officiant) kinda was the middle man and here we are now!
What was the first decision you made when planning your wedding?
Honestly there is a lot of pressure to have a traditional wedding, I remember we were sitting with my family talking about our potential wedding plans and I just felt like something wasn’t right. After my family left it was just Erik and I and I just told him you know what I want to do for wedding I want to camp, have a campfire, be at the lake and just have our closest friends and family. I just couldn’t get over only getting to spend one day with our favorite people, I think weddings are just so rushed and stressful and that’s exactly what I didn’t want. So we kind of made it a little destination wedding and had a week full of activities.
What were your priorities when planning your wedding day? What was most important to you about your wedding?One of the biggest things was I wanted it to be somewhere that was special to us, and had a beautiful view. One of the priorities for Erik and I was to have a very low stress low key wedding. I wanted this day to be special to us, no matter what. It’s hard to not put pressure on your self with other opinions and expectations but I kept telling myself that I had to do what we wanted to do, because this is OUR Marriage and special day.
Why did you choose to get married at your location?
We chose Wallowa Lake because of a couple reasons, we love eastern Oregon and I truly believe this is the most beautiful place the the state. Some of our close friends showed us this part of Oregon and it hit a special place in our heart and I wanted to share it. We would love to live there someday.
What feeling or moment sticks out the MOST from your wedding day? What part of the day had the most effect on you or your relationship?
The moment that sticks out to us most is the ceremony for sure, walking down the aisle and looking at Erik and the view behind him thinking this is really happening. We have been together for 6 years at the point when we got married and I couldn’t be more sure of who I was spending the rest of my life with. Exchanging our vows and having the most special people in our life all in one place is something we will never forget.
What was the funniest moment of the day?
The funniest moment of the day, was definitely when the owner of the property showed up at the end of the ceremony. Genuinely I felt so bad for putting him in the situation but it’s definitely a memory that we will never forget! And hilarious now, whoops!
How did you pick your wedding vendors? What were your priorities when choosing your vendors?
I picked our wedding vendors based on which was closest haha, this was a challenge for sure because Joseph is pretty remote. I chose our tables because I was not going to budge and I needed wood farm tables, I pretty much did all the decor myself and thrifted most of it. We had our reception at Wallowa Lake Lodge because 1. It’s amazing 2. Madeline the manager is the best and so helpful 3. They let us drive our bus on the grounds for part of our wedding. I obviously chose Maggie because her photos are exactly what I was wanting at our wedding, you do such a great job capturing the beauty in the landscape and the people and it’s an art. The catering was one of the best rated and the tacos were amazing and our deserts were also AMAZing. For a remote area they have some really talented people. My makeup artist was out of boise and she killed it and was scheduled super last minute and my sis in law did my hair and also shocked me with how well she executed with 1 day notice lol.
Any future advice for future couples, please share here!
For future brides and grooms just do what your heart tells you even if it means you got her some peoples feelings. The state is about you and your loved one and no one else. I mean I made people , and a decent amount of older people hike to our ceremony in July. Lol don’t sacrifice your vision! We wanted an Intimate Wallowa Lake Wedding and didn't sacrifice on our vision!
Some helpful tips for getting married in the Wallowas!
- You need explicit permission to get married in the location featured in these photos. The land IS private and requires communication with the owners of the property for permission. I highly, highly recommend getting married at an Airbnb in Joseph, or the Wallowa Lake Lodge.
- Joseph, Oregon is a small town. Be prepared that many of your wedding vendors will have to travel!
- Weekends are extremely popular, but if you get married on a weekday, you're more likely to have privacy and better lake access for photos.
- Lodging is extremely limited in this popular vacation spot. I recommend booking lodging early or plan on camping at one of the many campgrounds in the area.
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