How to Elope in Oregon: Oregon Elopement Guide

Dreaming to elope in Oregon? Oregon is home to some of the most amazing, lush forests in the United States—but that’s just the beginning of what this incredible state has to offer! 

Adventurers visit Oregon to experience dynamic landscapes, from craggy and thriving forested coastlines to abundant waterfalls, volcanoes, mountain peaks, sand dunes, deep blue lakes, secluded beaches, hidden coves, and even more! 

In this post I’ll tell you about some of my favorite coastal Oregon locations as well as inland Oregon elopement locations. My hope is that you’ll find a location perfect for celebrating your unique love and capturing memories for years to come 🙂

Why Elope in Oregon?

Oregon is an incredible place full of wonder and magic! It could be the perfect place for your adventure elopement. Plus, it offers endless scenic photo opportunities. Whether you’re into the coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest or you’re desiring an inland elopement, there’s guaranteed to be something for you. 

Oregon is a popular state for adventure elopements, and it’s seriously easy to see why. Getting your marriage license is pretty straightforward, and permits and fees aren’t required everywhere. Let’s talk about some logistics and tips about getting married in Oregon, and then get into a few of my favorite locations!

How to Plan Your Oregon Elopement

If you want to elope in Oregon, here are some tips for you! First, you’ll need to be familiar with things like Oregon elopement regulations, permits and fees, and preparing for the weather! Then, we’ll get into planning your Oregon elopement location.

Getting Your Oregon Marriage License

Do you need a witness to elope in Oregon?

Like most states, you cannot self-solemnize in Oregon. This means that you’ll need to have an officiant or witness at your elopement ceremony. And, Oregon requires that you have two witnesses at your ceremony who are at least 18 years old.

How much does it cost to elope in Oregon?

Oregon marriage licenses are issued by county. You can fill out the application in advance and the license fee is $60. 

Once you apply for your marriage license, there’s a 3-day waiting period, but in some cases the waiting period can be waived for a small fee! Your license will be valid for 60 days after it’s issued.

Special Use Permits and Fees for Eloping in Oregon

After you get your marriage license, there may be additional special use permits and fees required depending on where you choose to have your ceremony and/or get professional photos taken.

Permitting and fees vary by location, but most locations don’t require permits or fees for smaller intimate ceremonies. 

I offer location services to all my couples where I help you navigate things like permitting and fees for any locations we discuss!

You can read more about that on my Destination Elopement Packages page.

Preparing for the Weather

Oregon has a reputation for being a rainy, dreary state all year long. While Western Oregon can fulfill this stereotype, many parts of Oregon actually have different climates! However, it’s always good to loosen your expectations of having perfect weather and being willing to roll with it if rain does happen to grace your wedding day 🙂

You’ll probably want to be prepared for rain just in case. Here’s some gear you might consider bringing: 

  • Rain boots/hiking boots. Did I mention I love the look of hiking boots with a wedding dress? 
  • Layers. Especially for winter weddings, fleece-lined leggings are amazing! Check out my post on what to wear to a winter wedding for more info!
  • Rain gear. A lightweight waterproof or water resistant outer layer will do the trick if you need it.

When to Elope in Oregon

So, when are the best times of year to elope in Oregon? 

Generally, I recommend late spring, summer and early fall for your elopement in the High Desert area of eastern Oregon. At this time of year in this location, temperatures are mild, rain is lightest, and it’s not as cloudy. 

On the Pacific coast, you’ll experience mild temperatures around 60ºF, sometimes up to the 70s in spring and summer. Contrary to popular belief, there’s not a ton of rain, and it’s usually light rain in this area during the spring and summer months. 

In Western Oregon, you’ll experience warm summers and rainy winters. West of the volcanic Cascades (from Northern California to central B.C.), you’ll get cold winters with rain, clouds, and snow. Summertime, on the other hand, is relatively dry and cool, but still cloudy. 

Whether you’re set on a certain season for your elopement or are flexible, we can work together to find the perfect location for you! Now let’s get into elopement ceremony locations. 

Oregon Coast Elopement Ceremony Locations

Oregon’s Pacific coastline is a 360-mile stretch of ancient forests, quaint beach towns, rocky cliffs, and breathtaking ocean views. If you’re dreaming of a coastal wedding, here are a few beautiful places to elope on the Oregon Coast!

Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

Take an adventure of a lifetime through Oregon’s rugged coast. Hidden beaches, coves, natural arches and breathtaking overlooks abound throughout the 12 miles of scenic highway called  Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. The corridor starts in the north at Arch Rock Viewpoint & Picnic Area and travels south along Highway 101.

The corridor is filled with viewpoints where you can pull off the corridor and take in the scenic views. You can explore the seven iconic Natural Bridges, secluded beaches, sand dunes, tidepools, and find several trailheads for the Oregon Coast Trail. 

Other features include oceanfront picnic areas, mind-blowing sunsets, and shorter hikes that lead to incredible vistas. There are endless opportunities for an elopement ceremony along this stretch of road!

Ecola State Park

Near Seaside, Oregon, Ecola State Park is bursting with sightseeing opportunities. You’ll enter the park through a lush spruce forest, leading to gorgeous ocean views with a mountainous backdrop.

Ecola offers lots of great hiking opportunities with its network of trails leading to breathtaking vistas. 

You will need a special use permit to have your wedding ceremony in Ecola State Park, but the location possibilities are so beautiful! 

Some features of Ecola State Park are beach access, picnicking, accessible hiking trails and day use areas, making this a great easily accessible location if you have guests joining your ceremony! Note that permits aren’t issued between the Friday before Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, so you’ll want to plan ahead for this location. 

Cannon Beach 

Some couples want a good mix of outdoor adventure and arts and cultural activities for their elopement. Cannon Beach is a small city on the coast of Northwest Oregon that offers it all. It was even ranked as one of the top 10 most romantic coastal cities in the U.S. by USA Today!

A Cannon Beach elopement will offer cultural activities like festivals and events, a lively food and drink scene, ample opportunities to spot wildlife, and, of course, the beach. 

For your Oregon elopement, you can have your ceremony at the beach without needing a special use permit. And it’s super accessible, making it ideal for couples who are inviting guests to an intimate ceremony.

Inland Oregon Elopement Ceremony Locations

You don’t have to be along the Pacific coast to experience the beauty of Oregon. Here are a few of my favorite locations for a spectacular inland Oregon elopement.

Columbia River Gorge

Just 30 miles east of Portland, the Columbia River Gorge marks the state line between Oregon and Washington State. The Gorge is the largest National Scenic Area in the U.S. and offers stunning views everywhere you look, plus a great cultural scene in downtown Hood River along the water.

The Columbia River Gorge is incredibly diverse, with lush scenery for a forest elopement, over 90 waterfalls for a waterfall elopement, glittering rivers, and a network of hiking trails. The Gorge is just asking for outdoor adventure memories to be made. You can even go windsurfing!

There’s ample public transportation—and it’s encouraged!—so you can take the Columbia Gorge Express shuttle or even cycle on motorist-free roads instead of taking the car. 

The downtown area is also a historic, cultural hub featuring wineries, breweries, theatres and more to explore.

This is an amazing destination for the couple who wants outdoor adventure, gorgeous scenery, incredible photos, and a cultural exploration experience all rolled into one. 

Mount Hood

Eloping in an active volcano? Yep! Mount Hood is a volcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc on the Pacific Coast that’s also Oregon’s highest peak. 

While the volcano hasn’t erupted since 1865, it’s considered a potentially active stratovolcano. Located 20 miles east of Portland, Mount Hood is a pretty easy day trip from the city. You can even see the peak from downtown Portland, so this is definitely an iconic Oregon elopement destination!

The best times of year to elope here are summer and winter, because there’s less chance for rain and you’ll get more steady, predictable weather to plan around. 

Once you get to Mount Hood, you’ll have your choice of activities. Visit the historic Timberline Lodge, which offers easy access to the Pacific Crest Trail. You’ll find tons of outdoor activity options no matter the season—from snowshoeing, skiing, water activities, hiking in the lush forest, exploring waterfalls and glaciers, rock climbing… And let’s not forget taking photos near the lake with the reflection of Mount Hood behind you 🙂

Crater Lake

“Deep water in a sleeping volcano.” If that doesn’t pique your interest… 

Crater Lake is one of the deepest lakes in the world, and is surrounded by high cliffs that make this location otherworldly! 

The lake can only be accessed via the Cleetwood Cove Trail which offers a steep, challenging hike for the most adventurous couple! 

The trail is typically open from mid-June through October, but definitely note that ice and snow can linger even into late spring. Because of this, be sure to check for information on potential road closures. 

If you’re not planning to hike to the lake, there’s still plenty of opportunity to experience the beauty of this location. Also, the crater can sometimes be hard to see due to cloud coverage. Just something to be aware of! But a foggy elopement can bring its own type of charm to your elopement photos. 

If you choose to elope in Crater Lake, I recommend late spring through early fall to have the best chance of a clear view of the lake. It’s pretty convenient that you can check this web cam of Crater Lake for live updates of the view. 

More Elopement Planning Tips & Resources

Oregon is an incredible state, so if you’re considering an Oregon elopement—or have decided 100%—I’m here to help!

I totally understand that planning your elopement can be daunting. As an elopement photographer, I’m always here to help my couples every step of the way. Find out more about my location services, where I help you step by step to make your dream elopement a reality. I’m available for free phone consultations if you have any questions about elopement photography and want to see if we might make a good fit! 

Would you like more information on planning your epic adventure elopement? Check out my other elopement planning resources designed to help you pick your location and make eloping a little less overwhelming! 

Plan a stress-free sustainable elopement

Pick the perfect adventure elopement dress

Planning a winter wedding? Here’s everything you need to know.

Plan your hiking elopement

June 11, 2021