This Sparks Lake Summer elopement was a freaking dream come true. I first met Courtney and Ryan when shooting their engagement photos early in the fall of 2020. We had an incredible connection and clicked immediately. They started telling me about how they weren’t sure if they should have a normal wedding, or if they wanted to elope. Both of them really wanted something small and to be able to focus on each other. Although it can be a little daunting to choose to elope with the concern of social expectations. I got a call from them a few months later when they chose to elope, and they were ecstatic.
They decided they wanted to include only their closest friends and a few family members. The final guest count ended up being less than 20 people. At the time, they weren’t sure exactly where they could host something like this. All they knew is that they wanted to be outdoors near mountains and a lake. We met in person and I gave them a list of location ideas that would suit all of their needs and guest count. We finally decided to go with a Sparks Lake elopement!
Sparks Lake is about 45 minutes outside of Bend, Oregon. Sparks Lake is an awesome choice for an elopement location for a few reasons. The first being the obviously incredible views. The weather is another huge factor, Bend is very dry and it rains very infrequently. That being said, you can almost always assume you’ll have pretty great weather. Lastly, you don’t need a permit to elope here. Beautiful views, perfect weather, and a free jaw-dropping venue? Check.
We planned for them to get ready in a house halfway between Bend and the lake. Courtney and Ryan also wanted to host a small reception afterwards to celebrate their day. There were so many options with Sparks Lake being so close to Bend. They decided to go with the Star Bar, a rooftop bar with enough space for the guests, dancing, a DJ, and a taco bar! Eloping at Sparks Lake gave them the option to do absolutely everything they wanted.
The Elopement Ceremony at Sparks Lake
After Courtney and her bridesmaids finished getting ready, we headed up the mountain to get to Sparks Lake. Earlier in the planning process, I helped them find a secluded part of the lake with a ton of open space overlooking Broken Top Mountain. They had set up benches, and the groom had built an arch that he and his groomsmen decorated with florals prior to the ceremony starting.
After all of the guests arrived, the ceremony began. Courtney and Ryan read their vows to each other with only their closest loved ones and the mountains as their witness. This was seriously a gorgeous ceremony, and I was holding back tears behind the camera. After they finished saying their vows, they spent some time with their friends and family. Once some time enjoying the lake passed, the guests started to make their way into Bend to the reception site. The bride, groom, and wedding party stayed behind to do some adventuring.
We made our way to another part of the lake to get even more gorgeous views. We made sure to get some stunning photos of everyone together. Following that, the wedding party also headed out to the reception. Courtney and Ryan stayed behind to get some alone time and bride and groom photos before making their grand entrance. We got some beautiful shots, cheeky smiles and newlywed kisses surrounded by glowing water and snow-capped mountains. Everything. Was. Perfect. Courtney and Ryan continued to tell me that their elopement at Sparks Lake was everything they wanted and more, they were so happy with their decision.
Another huge pro to eloping at Sparks Lake was how close we were to Bend, Oregon. Once again, they had their reception at The Star Bar located at Worthy Brewing. It was a totally private rooftop patio that even included a freaking observatory. Courtney and Ryan made their grand entrance and spent more time with their guests. They included toasts (which also almost made me cry), a cake cutting, first dances, and some awesome tacos.
Courtney and Ryan danced with their closest friends and family as the sun went down. We stopped to take a few more photos on the rooftop at sunset. Once the night sky was full of stars, Courtney, Ryan, and all of their guests went to the observatory. They looked at the moon and stars with drinks in their hands. I even got to take a peek and it was mind-blowing. It was the perfect ending to their Sparks Lake elopement. I highly suggest this location to anyone who wants to have an elopement out in nature, followed by a mini reception in a lively town.
Interested in having your own Sparks Lake elopement? Get in touch with me below! No matter what you’re looking for, I can help you find the perfect location, assist with permits, and curate the perfect timeline for everything you want to include in your day!