If you know me, then you know I looove a good fairytale; I draw a lot of my inspiration as a photographer from mystical stories and magical settings. So you best believe that when Colleen and Lucas told me they wanted a witchy wedding in the woods, on a Friday the 13th in October, the night of a total annular eclipse, I was READY. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more ready for anything in my life 😉 This Hoyt Arboretum wedding in Portland was literally straight out of a story book and is going to make you immediately want to plan your own magical, mystical wedding!!

man and woman stand side by side on redwood observatory deck at hoyt arboretum

Colleen & Lucas’s Unique Hoyt Arboretum Wedding

A witchy, Friday the 13th wedding in October

Learning about my couples before their big day is always SO helpful in understanding how I can really document their story in the most authentic day possible, so it was an absolute joy to hear a bit about Colleen and Lucas when they first inquired with me! They met at the beginning of the pandemic, and knew from their first social-distanced date that they wanted to be more than just friends (the CUTEST origin story). Fast forward 3 years, 3 pre-existing children, and 1 shared child later, they wanted to get married, and they wanted to do it on their own, just the two of them.

Now for the fun part that really brought the vision for their day to life: Colleen and Lucas are a pagan family, and the moon plays a biiiig role in their lives. They also LOVE Halloween and October more than anything, so when they saw that October had a Friday the 13th, they were stoked! And they were even MORE stoked when they discovered that there was actually a new moon that night, followed by a total annular eclipse the next day—which essentially meant it would look like a ring of fire around the moon during the peak of the eclipse. How freaking COOL?! Now that eclipse couldn’t be seen in their area of Iowa, but parts of Oregon are in the full eclipse area—sooo they decided that Oregon was obviously the perfect place for their dream wedding.

This worked out perfectlyyyy with the vibe they were envisioning, because Colleen and Lucas are the type of people who absolutely thrive in the rain and stormy weather (bonus points if they get to be somewhere with wildflowers and their own herb garden). And we all know that Oregon in the fall + winter seasons is famous for being hella rainy and moody—def not your warm, sunny Cali beach vibe! But that mood is exactly what these two wanted; the PNW is their dream location, and they wanted that to translate into their union + every part of the day. Even though we ended up not being able to see the eclipse through the clouds, the energy was still there, and was felt throughout every moment of their celebration!

Mystical details and one-of-a-kind wedding attire

Alright folks, now’s the time where I’m going to spend a few paragraphs gushing over the details of the day—so buckle up, it’s about to get real good! Colleen and Lucas had a few different things in mind when they were planning the details of their day; most importantly, they wanted to incorporate Lucas’s Irish heritage, plus all the mystical vibes of their wedding theme. So instead of a traditional tuxedo, Lucas wore a kilt that he folded up himself before the wedding, as well as his clan colors and tartan. He looked absolutely incredible in his attire and I loved that every piece of his look was so meaningful and personal to him!

Colleen also went with a totally unique, customized bridal look, trading in the traditional white gown for a completely one-of-a-kind dress that embodied all the fairytale vibes of the day. One of her friends actually made this dress for her, and another friend hand-embroidered the gorgeous moth onto it—talk about having a talented circle of friends! They sourced EVERY little detail and piece of their decor from their friends, which meant they didn’t need to hire any vendors. Truly the coolest couple ever and so wildly impressive that they were able to make this all come to life with the help of their loved ones!

Speaking of the details, I was (and still am) OBSESSED with all the special, on-theme items that Colleen and Lucas incorporated into their outfits, their jewelry, and their decor. There were mystical, magical symbols galore, from crescent moons, to antlers, to Celtic symbols, to sparkling crystals and golden keys. . . I could have spent hours and hours photographing everything and it still wouldn’t have been enough. Even the ring box was personalized and totally fitted to the theme, with gorgeous wood, Colleen and Lucas’s initials, and delicate moss inside to hold their stunning custom rings (don’t even get me started on how incredible those were)!

A Celtic-inspired wedding ceremony in the woods

After getting ready together in their Airbnb in Medford, we headed out into the woods for their ceremony! With the cloudy, overcast weather, the forest was soooo dreamy and perfectly enchanting for this ceremony; the greens were so lush, and the wooded atmosphere was so tranquil. Colleen and Lucas incorporated more meaningful traditions and rituals into their ceremony, starting with casting a circle before it began and then performing a Celtic-inspired handfasting ritual together. It was really beautiful getting to watch these two just do their thing, taking in all the emotions of the day and making it so perfectly, authentically their own (especially in such a romantic and fairytale-esque setting)!

man and woman with hands on top of the other

Enchanting wedding portraits at Hoyt Arboretum

A couple of days later, I met back up with Colleen and Lucas in Portland to take some more wedding portraits at Hoyt Arboretum, and ohhhh WOW did the arboretum not disappoint. Somehow, it was an even dreamier, more magical place for portraits than the spot in the woods by their Airbnb, where they had their ceremony. With the towering redwood and sequoia trees in the background, the mist of the clouds seeping through the branches, and the vibrant greens of the foliage around us, I seriously could not have dreamt up a more perfect, storybook setting to wrap up this unforgettable celebration. Colleen and Lucas truly looked like the stars of their own witchy, Irish + Celtic-inspired folktale!!

Hoyt Arboretum Wedding Photographer

It was SUCH an honor getting to capture Colleen and Lucas’s Portland + Hoyt Arboretum wedding, and being able to witness the magic of their relationship. I’d love to help you plan your own special day full of your unique flavor of magic, and your version of a fairytale, whether it be along the sandy Oregon Coast or in the depths of the lush Oregon forests! Reach out to me here, and let’s get this party started!!

Searching for more dreamy Oregon wedding and elopement inspiration like this? Here are a few of my recent blogs that I know you’ll loooove:

Moody Oregon Coast Elopement at Ecola State Park

Intimate Ski Lodge Wedding in Wenatchee, WA

French Chateau Wedding

Leave a Reply