Meg and Sam's Oregon Elopement in the Columbia River Gorge

"When Sam and I met, we instantly knew that there was some sort of connection there. We spent every day together that summer and he has been my best friend ever since! We have been together for 3 years and we cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives together. We just graduated from college last year and now we spend our days working, hiking, fishing, painting, and practicing photography. We love each other's hobbies and they have become our own, which I think is just a true blessing; our shared hobbies lead to adventures! We cherish our beloved little old lady, Zoey (our 16 year old cat with dementia), our perfect little home, our rock collection, and our plants. We love coffee and wine and great food!"

I feel really lucky that I get to read stories like this. Before I met Chuck, I had become quite a cynic when it came to love and relationships. Now that we have our own super sappy story, I eat this stuff up! But seriously, as someone who has two cats and two dogs (one of whom is totally blind) I was pretty much in once they mentioned Zoey the cat with dementia! ;)

"We got engaged on August 31st, started to plan a big wedding, and then decided, 'nope!'"

The couple lives in Michigan, but were all in on eloping in Oregon. They were originally drawn to the iconic Multnomah Falls, but after our initial phone call, they realized that they wouldn't get any privacy in such a busy place. We talked about some of the other amazing falls nearby, and I sent them suggestions, photos and hiking details. It didn't take long for them to get excited about one of my absolute favorites, Wahclella Falls, nestled within the majestic Columbia River Gorge.

On the day of their elopement, Oregon's taunting skies had some of their guests hiding under umbrellas, but after a few sprinkles the sun persisted through the top of the cliffs and into the gorge. We hiked down together, with Sam going on ahead so that Meg could surprise him with a first look. I sent the family on to the ceremony spot, and let the couple meander slowly behind them so they could have a chance to enjoy the walk together. I remember thinking how youth just radiated from both of them. (Here's a little secret I hate to admit. The longer I do this, the younger some of these couples look! Just call me grandma.) ;)

We got down to Wahclella and the couple exchanged vows against the backdrop of towering cliffs and the cascading water. The moment was private and absolutely surreal. I always feel like I must be in another country when I watch the falls here. It reminds me of Ireland or Iceland. It never ceases to amaze me that this is the US. It's just such an incredible sight.

After the ceremony, the family completed the 2.4 mile hike and headed back to their Airbnb where they would meet up that evening. Sam, Meg and I took our time making the loop back.

In the end, Sam and Meg's elopement was more than just a celebration of love—it was a testament to the power of adventure, connection, and the beauty of love found in the most unexpected places. I couldn't help but feel grateful for the opportunity to witness their love story unfold amidst the wild beauty of the Columbia River Gorge.