Posts in Weddings
Cannon Beach Elopement Guide
Bride and Groom on Cannon Beach with Haystack Rock in background

I put together a comprehensive guide on where, when, and how to elope at Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast. Intimate weddings and adventure elopements are becoming more popular these days but picking your special place and coordinating how to do it isn’t always easy. There are so many wonderful, beautiful places to elope in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest but none easier than Cannon Beach. Below you will find some location tips for your Cannon Beach wedding ceremony, recommendations for what times are best, and suggestions for places to celebrate afterwards.

Do you have a secret spot or have a tip on some great places for couples to eat after their wedding day? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list! I’ll be updating this as I go along, sharing new photos and other suggestions.

Learn more about my elopement photography packages here and see more of my wedding work here.

Where to elope at Cannon Beach

CHAPMAN POINT

This is one of my favorite places to elope at Cannon Beach. Located on the northern stretch of the beach, across from Ecola Creek, is Chapman Point. Depending on the tide you can access the cove at the tip of Chapman Point which can be a quiet place for your ceremony. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can scramble up the rocks and have your ceremony on the bluff above. There is a small parking lot with a restroom on 5th St and for closer access to the point there is a small amount of street parking on Oak St. Thanks to its distance from the more popular areas of Cannon Beach, Chapman Point can sometimes be a little less busy.

Cannon Beach Elopement

HAYSTACK ROCK

The focal point of Cannon Beach is undoubtedly Haystack Rock and what better place to get married than at the base of it. Getting close to the mammoth sea stack is a short walk from either the town of Cannon Beach or a slightly longer walk from Tolovana. Both of these areas have ample parking and access to restrooms. The most convenient public parking is located at the intersection of S. Hemlock St. and E. Gower Ave. Once parked you can walk down Gower Ave. to Ecola Ct. and get right on the beach. To get even closer to the big rock you can head further south down S. Hemlock St. but services (parking and restrooms) are tricky.

Cannon Beach Elopement couple walking in front of Haystack Rock

SILVER POINT

At the southern end of Cannon Beach is a location called Silver Point. It’s a rocky stretch of beach with a smaller, yet still impressive sea stack. This part of the beach is definitely not as popular as the other spots and is a little tricky to access but it could be the perfect place for your elopement. Use Google Maps to find a side street that has access to the beach otherwise be prepared for a long walk on the beach from Tolovana.

HUG POINT

This isn’t technically Cannon Beach but it does deserve a mention. Drive south down Highway 101 about 10 minutes and you'll find a small state park called Hug Point. It’s a beautiful rocky part of the coast with craggy ledges and coastal caves. There is a small parking lot that fills up fast in the Summer months and restrooms are on site too.

Ecola State Park

The view from Ecola State Park is breathtaking. It looks down on to Crescent Beach with Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock in the distance. Depending on the size of your elopement and what you’re looking for it could be great. There is a decent sized parking lot that is $5 for the whole day. Unfortunately due to erosion one of the lookouts and several of the trails are closed which means reaching a more isolated or undeveloped spot with that epic view is off the table.

When to have your ceremony

The best time to elope at Cannon Beach is definitely during the week and in the morning or early evening. Cannon Beach in the Summer is a busy place and unless you want your wedding party to include hundreds of out-of-towners it’s best to stick to the weekdays. Exchanging your vows in the morning or early evening can work lovely for photos too as light is at it’s best. Be sure to check sunrise and sunset times and work with your photographer to pick the best time for photos.

Another important thing to keep in mind is what the ocean will be doing when you’re out there. Be sure to check the weather forecast as well as tide tables. At low tide you can access some pretty great places especially near Haystack Rock and Chapman Point but conditions can change quick so be safe out there!

DSC_0026.jpg

Weather

The Oregon Coast can be a wet place. All that moisture is what makes Oregon so lush and magical (did you know there are 238 waterfalls in Oregon?!). It also means that there is a good chance your wedding vows may get a little soggy. Embrace it! If you’re looking for sunny beach weather, you might not get it. However, picking a wedding date in July, August, or September will probably increase your chances of sunshine. These are the driest, warmest months of the year but also the most popular. If you do luck out and get a sunny day, avoid having your ceremony in the afternoon when light is at its strongest. Nobody wants squinty photos in hard light and on a warm sunny day that sand gets hot!

Bride and Groom snuggling driftwood log at Cannon Beach
Sunset portraits of bride and groom on Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach Wedding Permits

Unless you’re planning on having a big wedding ceremony you probably won’t need a special use permit for your Cannon Beach elopement. Most intimate gatherings that don’t prohibit the public from also accessing the area are in the clear. That being said review the rules by Oregon State Parks and see if they may apply to you and your wedding.

Cannon Beach Wedding Officiants

You may have the perfect, most well spoken friend who comes to mind immediately when thinking about your wedding day. That’s so awesome! Alternatively, you might be keeping the whole thing on the down low from friends and family and need a professional. Emily of Rooted & Wild and Carolyn of Oregon Beach Ceremonies are both wonderful officiants who help couples create ceremonies that are authentic and unique. They’re both well-versed in elopements, the Oregon Coast, and Oregon marriage law.

Additional Wedding Vendors

The Union Knot is a full service bridal salon that specializes in hair and makeup. They’ll have you looking your best on your wedding day.

Don’t forget flowers! Pacific Coast Floral Design makes incredible bridal bouquets inspired by the Oregon Coast.

For more traditional Cannon Beach weddings or for some elopement sweets, check out Karalees Sweet Treats 

Portrait of Bride and Groom following wedding ceremony at Cannon Beach

Time to celebrate!

After your perfect day at the beach you’ll probably be hungry and ready to celebrate over a good meal and drinks.

It’s a small beach town but there are a lot of options. Below are some favorites of ours:

Where to stay?

Thinking about staying the night or making a weekend out of it?

If you’re looking for a romantic place to unwind, here are a few places that are worth checking out:


About Chris Brodell

Chris Brodell is natural light wedding photographer located in Portland, Oregon. He photographs weddings and elopements in both the Pacific Northwest and the SF Bay Area in a candid and photojournalistic style and creates images that are full love, light, and vivid colors. To learn more about pricing and his approach, visit his adventure elopement photography packages below or complete the contact form.

Name *
Name
Wedding Date *
Wedding Date
Tell me a little about yourself. What drew you to getting married at Cannon Beach? Why is photography important to you? Have questions? Ask away!
Mt Tabor Engagement Session

I love photography, coffee, and hiking and I struck gold as all three were featured in Eita and Julia’s recent engagement session on Mt. Tabor. These two were warm, playful, and easy to work with and also came with the benefit of a cute backstory, the theme of which we tied into our shoot. It is always gratifying to be able to highlight meaningful aspects of my client’s lives in their photo sessions.

For Eita and Julia it was their love of coffee that brought them together and helped to cement their relationship. In an ultimate meet-cute style, these two met at a coffee shop in Taiwan and proceeded to do a coffee shop tour together through Taiwan, Korea, and Japan. They currently live together in LA and are experts in exploring their local coffee scene. They contacted me prior to their trip to Portland with the intention of documenting their first trip to this beautiful City of Bridges. It wouldn’t be representative of the couple- or Portland for that matter- without a chance to hold part of their session at the original Stumptown location on Division. It helped that Julia sent over a vision board with the look and style of images that she liked as I was able to help plan a shoot that encapsulated the vibe that this couple would cherish.

In true Portland fashion, we experienced both the warmth of the caffeinated indoors and also had the chance to visit our friendly neighborhood volcanic cinder cone- Mt. Tabor. Mt. Tabor is a personal favorite of mine and I loved showing Eita and Julia around. We couldn’t have gotten more lucky in terms of light. The fog was dense throughout the city but when we arrived at the top of the mountain the morning sun broke through and treated us to quite the show. Playing with sun rays helped elevate the already cute couples photos to the next level.

I look forward to combining my caffeine and photography passions together as often as I can in the future!. Thank you Eita and Julia for a great engagement session.

Peninsula Park Rose Garden Wedding

Even though we love the colors of fall, we are basking in memories of late summer with this wedding at the Peninsula Park Rose Garden in North Portland. Viktoria and Alex chose to have their ceremony in the neighborhood where they live and we love that they kept it local and were able to celebrate their wedding day in a place with a personal connection to them. In fact, meaningful location selection was integrated into the whole day as the reception was held a local joint called Bad Habit, where it just so happens that this couple had one of their first dates.

Viktoria and her wedding party put the finishing touches on the looks of the day at Shipwreck, which turned out to have an attic nook that was perfect for pre-wedding pictures! It was a great opportunity to get some pictures of Viktoria’s intricate and elegant beaded dress and capture the moment in which Viktoria’s mother first saw her in her gown.

After the wedding party was ready to go, it was time to walk over to the park where the ceremony would be held and we weren’t disappointed by the beautiful late summer light on the way. It was tons of fun to be able to shoot the couple exchanging their vows in the natural light surrounded by their closest friends and family (plus their cute little one!) under the park gazebo. We were definitely able to get our steps in during this active wedding as the entire party walked from the park to the reception venue together. It was during this walking that we were able to get some fun, casual, celebratory photographs that show off the walking wedding “parade.”

This wedding may have been intimate but it was evident that the couple was surrounded by a lovely and lively group of friends as they danced and celebrated the night away.

WeddingsChris Brodell
Powell Butte Engagement Session

Recently I was lucky to shoot an engagement session at Powell Butte with Grace and Thomas. We met on a warm Summer evening at a large nature park with dense woods and open meadows. I had been excited to shoot at this location for awhile and when Grace mentioned they wanted somewhere scenic but not too far away from downtown Portland, I knew just where to go. 

I know that my clients aren't professional models and I regularly hear concerns about feeling awkward in front of a camera. For me, it's not only important to take great photos of my clients that are flattering but also create an experience and an environment that sets my clients at ease during their shoot; engagement sessions are great for this. These sessions are such a good opportunity for me to get to the know the couple aside from the hustle and bustle of their wedding day. They also allow my clients to get to know me and see how I work. During an engagement session, I work with my clients to find poses that are natural and comfortable all while exploring beautiful scenery and having a fun time together. 

My session with Grace and Thomas started with a meander through a grove of shady old trees, which provided a backdrop for vibrant photos with soft light. As our shoot progressed, I was able to get some great shots of the two looking out over the scenic vistas of Southeast Portland. Grace and Thomas, were easy to work with and fell into natural poses that highlighted their comfort and ease with one another in front of the camera. Best of all they were down to hike, explore, and find all of the nice light. Photographing Grace and Thomas on the hillsides and overlooking the vistas of Portland was a perfect way to capture the beautiful simplicity of two people who really care about each other.

I wish these two all the happiness as they start their life in the Pacific Northwest together!

Portland Courthouse Wedding

Shannon and Sean are a lovely, easy to work with couple and I’m so happy that all seemed to align to bring this Michigan based pair to have a wedding at the Multnomah County Courthouse in downtown Portland, Oregon. This shoot was a great opportunity to see the city through the eyes of a visitor and to get some really good photos that not only capture the love between these two, but also some of the highlights of the many faces of the Pacific Northwest.

It can be easy to fall into the rhythm of your city, head down, following your daily routines, somewhat oblivious to your surroundings. However, sometimes a gentle reminder, which for me came in the form of an elopement shoot, can serve as a great reminder of the natural beauty that is at our fingertips in Portland.

With their wedding party in tow, we were able to capture natural light portraits of the couple and their close friends outside of the Multnomah County Courthouse and the surrounding area, and we couldn't resist shooting under the Portland marquee at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. One of our favorite downtown scenes was shot in a somewhat unexpected space, under the blooming trees outside the façade of the Edith-Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building. Shannon and Sean were great sports as they soaked up the sights and received a continuous stream of congratulatory shouts from the downtown passerby.

After catching a few of the iconic spots downtown, the group traveled to Pittock Mansion to capture a different side of Portland. We got some great group and couple shots on the Wildwood trail, while also capturing inspiring frames of the couple overlooking the city.

I’m grateful not only for the opportunity to meet this couple and their friends, but also for an opportunity to fall in love with the city again. I only scratched the surface of photo shoot worthy locations in Portland and can't wait for future shoots. If you're planning a Portland elopement or courthouse wedding of your own, I’d love to hear from you! See more of my work here and drop me a line!

WeddingsChris Brodell