Beautiful Greenhouse Wedding in Pacifica

We all know that the Bay Area has several destinations that draw tourists from around the world. From the Golden Gate Bridge to the pearl necklace lights of Lake Merritt to the bustling sights of the Silicon Valley, we are lucky to live in a place brimming with obvious attractions. However, it is the little known gems off the beaten path that really light us up as photographers. Shelldance Orchid Gardens is one of those places. It is a place where you can have a greenhouse wedding that feels both majestic and intimate, a perfect place to celebrate the first day of the rest of your lives together.

Leah and Tom currently live on the East Coast, but the magic of Shelldance (as well as their family and friends who live in the area) brought them back to the Bay for their wedding ceremony. The couple said their incredibly meaningful, wry and often funny vows to each other in a cozy greenhouse ceremony, surrounded by vibrant plants that matched the beautiful embroidery of Leah’s gown. We knew Leah and Tom were a lovely couple prior to their ceremony but we felt really lucky to be present for their vows which not only covered their steady love for each other but also Tom’s apparently well known fascination with the weather and traffic patterns. The lighthearted and warm nature that was expressed in their vows permeated the entire event, which made the venue feel even more like a secret hideaway just for the couple and their loved ones.

The event was full of lively details that we were happy to capture, from the live plant centerpieces, a sweet food spread by Fogcutter catering and an upbeat performance by Campbell’s Jazz Soup. These details provided a great backdrop for the heartwarming stories and funny anecdotes shared by Leah and Tom’s friends during the reception. Events like Leah and Tom’s wedding remind us just how lucky we are to be wedding photographers, as we get to be witness to the union of absolutely lovely people. #Blessed

A Lovely House Wedding in Sonoma

Towards the end of our Bay Area Summer, we took a drive to the North Bay for a lovely house wedding in Sonoma where Laura and Adam said “I do” surrounded by their close family and friends. These two and the majority of their wedding guests made the trip to California from the Midwest and got to enjoy the California sun, a nice break from the chilly fall weather back home. Laura and Adam’s friend offered up his Sonoma home to serve as their wedding venue and what a beautiful venue it was. The sleek and modern home served as a backdrop for a refined yet intimate ceremony. We loved shooting the details of this home as the house was layered with crisp white and cream colors that gave the event an overall sophisticated and upscale feel.

The ceremony took place on the property’s lush lawn overlooking a rustic wine country field. The officiant of their ceremony was Laura’s sister and the readings and music were also given by guests. Having guests be a part of the event is a great way to get everyone involved and cut down on event down time where guests may become distracted. It was beautiful to see the blending of families and incorporating everyone into the ceremony sets a great tone for this modern day Brady Bunch.

Following the ceremony, guests mingled poolside during the cocktail hour while dinner was plated. Guests mingled and enjoyed their delicious food while overlooking a gorgeously refreshing looking pool. We definitely had a bit of home envy with this location.

The evening closed with a twilight toast to their guests and a champagne saber gift to their host and good friend. It was such a pleasure being part of this one. We love working in new places and documenting moments that are so meaningful to our clients.

Cannon Beach Elopement Guide

We 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 us know and we’ll add it to our list! We’ll be updating this as we go along, sharing new photos and other suggestions

Bride and Groom walking on Cannon Beach

Where to elope at Cannon Beach

Chapman Point

This is one of our 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.

Elopement at Cannon Beach

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. It’s also possible to access Haystack Rock from Hemlock St. but services (parking and restrooms) are tricky.

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.

Sunset portraits of bride and groom on Cannon Beach

When to have your ceremony

The best time to get eloped 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!

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.

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 photograph’s 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.

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The Mountain Terrace Wedding

There are so many reasons that we love the Bay Area. We have great weather, great people, a great culture, and of course so many beautiful places at our fingertips. As photographers, especially natural light photographers, this means we’re pretty spoiled. The weddings we shoot tend to be set against a beautiful natural backdrop. Denise and Brittany’s recent wedding at the The Mountain Terrace in Woodside was no exception to this trend. Nestled amongst the trees in the Santa Cruz mountains, The Mountain Terrace, provides a romantic and intimate atmosphere with grand views of the South Bay.

We were so excited to work with Denise and Brittany again after shooting their engagement session in the early Spring. This couple has been together for quite some time and the love and respect that they have for each other is crystal clear. When we arrived we were able to document not only getting ready shots, which included capturing the beautiful lace details of Denise’s wedding gown, but were also present to document the couple’s first look.

After their first look it was time for the ceremony to begin, which was held in the open lawn, with beautifully towering trees providing the natural backdrop. The floral arch, filled with light pink roses, ranunculus and eucalyptus which mimicked the bridal bouquets draped beautifully behind the couple as Denise’s sister performed the ceremony. Family was a huge part of this event, in fact we had to climb up on a ladder in order to get every member of this large and supportive family into the frame for the family photos.

After the ceremony the couple and their family were able to enjoy both the inside and outside features of the Mountain Terrace, with dinner in the late Summer evening on the elegantly set patio followed by cake and dancing inside the venue. Guests were able to get silly and let loose in the photo booth and celebrate with a cookie, brownie, cupcake (or two) from the pastry table.

We loved being a part of Denise and Brittany’s celebration and wish them all the best!

Wedding at Chapel of Our Lady Presidio

Romance, natural scenery, stunning views-these aren’t usually the first words that come to mind when describing a former military place. However, residents of San Francisco will readily agree that the Presidio is one of the city’s natural gems. Old barracks and meal halls have been transformed into a gorgeous backdrop for weddings, special events, or just a sunny SF weekend.

Kathleen and Joshua knew that this San Francisco landmark was the perfect spot for their nuptials. They started their day at the gorgeous Inn at the Presidio, had their beautiful ceremony at the Chapel of Our Lady, followed by a reception at The Commissary. The presidio is one of those wonderful locations that make you feel like you are out in nature and off the beaten path while still being close enough for you to meander into the thick of the city.

We loved the huge windows in the Chapel of Our Lady, which allowed the light to stream through and provide a warm background to the charming indoor chapel ceremony. Joshua and Kathleen walked out of the chapel through a line of exuberant friends and family members who greeted the new couple with streamers and shouts of joy. We loved capturing the moment that Kathleen walked out of the chapel with her arms outspread with pure exhilaration.

The couple didn't have to travel far to enjoy the rest of their evening at the beautifully appointed Commissary. Their love for San Francisco was evident throughout the night, especially in the elegant wedding cake, which featured the silhouette of the city skyline and Golden Gate Bridge. This wedding was not only elegant, chic and beautifully executed, but there was also an intentional atmosphere of fun that punctuated the event. It’s not everyday that we get to photograph bridesmaids playing a game of cornhole!

We loved working with Kathleen and Joshua and look forward to more weddings with more couples that love living in the Bay Area.