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How to Elope in Oregon: All You Need To Know

July 13, 2021

Eloping in Oregon is one of the most underrated places on earth. Are you looking for a big adventure for your elopement ceremony? Dreaming of saying your vows completely alone in front of the ocean? The Pacific Northwest, and Oregon specifically, has some of the best places to elope in the country. Oregon is well known for its natural beauty like in Columbia River Gorge. From the tall red cedars and wildflowers that blanket the Oregon Coast, to the rugged mountainsides deep in Central Oregon, Oregon offers an array of stunning backdrops for your adventure elopement.

Learn how to elope in Oregon without the stress

Why You Should Elope In Oregon

Look, I’m just going to tell it how it is. Oregon is absolutely, unequivocally, without a DOUBT one of the most beautiful states I’ve ever been to. Oregon is overflowing with amazing beauty. If you’re looking for a destination wedding but don’t want to be tied down, choose to elope in Oregon!! It’s so easy to find breathtaking scenery and impressive views in all of Oregon. You can elope on Mt Hood or at one of the many waterfalls near the Portland area that will make your ceremony unforgettable. I said what I said.

Choosing to elope means choosing what means the most to you. Planning an elopement can feel overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. I’m here to make the whole process easy and get you those amazing pictures you’re dreaming of. I know how easy it is to go down the rabbit hole of weddings and elopements so let me stop you right now and remind you take a breath. Breathe in the positive and exhale anything you don’t want. It’s okay, you’ve totally got this and I’m here to help.

If you’re at the very beginning of it all and aren’t sure if eloping is right for you go read this blog on my definition of an elopement. Learn what it really means to elope and then you can check out these 10 reasons my couples choose to elope. If those both fit in with your emotions and make you feel a little less crazy then you’re in the right place!

How To Plan An Oregon Elopement

The first step in planning your Oregon elopement is to pick a date and location. I recommend talking with your partner to figure out if you have a general area you like best or time of year you want. I know it sounds biased but I also recommend finding your photographer first. Elopement photographers can book out way in advance and you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping that schedule in mind when planning. I help all of my couples choose a location that means the most to them. You don’t have to know exactly where you want to elope when you inquire. Getting married in Oregon is unique because you have a forest on one side and 100 feet over have the beach. It’s amazing!

Once you have chosen a date and location we will work together on making your plan come true! From finding flowers at local farms to photographing your elopement with Mt Hood in the background, I’ll help you plan a ceremony that is just as special and unique as your love. Elopement planning can seem like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be!

How to get an Oregon marriage license:

Getting a marriage license in Oregon is pretty simple. You can get a license in Washington County, Clatsop County or Marion County, depending on what’s closest to you. When you elope in Oregon there is a 3 day waiting period before you can collect your license in person. You must apply for the marriage certificate at least three days before your ceremony date, though it is valid for much longer than that. The fee is $60 per person and you must go together to get the license. If you plan ahead, you can apply online beforehand and save some time.

First, you must contact your local county clerk. In most counties, they will have a list of all the locations where marriage ceremonies can be performed and their requirements for eligibility. Getting married on the coast or in Oregon state parks is fairly simple but more on that later!

An officiant is required to get legally married in the state of Oregon. I can help you find the perfect officiant or bring a friend that’s ordained. You do need at least two witnesses for your marriage license. HOWEVER, you don’t have to bring anyone along with you if you don’t want to. You can absolutely find a couple of strangers to witness the necessary parts. How romantic, am I right?

Choosing Your Oregon Elopement Locations

Your elopement location is one of the biggest decisions you have to make when you decide you want to elope. The Pacific Northwest is full of gorgeous places but Oregon is full of hidden gems. Whether you’re having an adventure elopement, small wedding, or intimate elopement ceremony, Oregon has it all and is one of the best places to elope.

Big cities like Portland and Eugene have lots of open spaces, beautiful gardens like the International Rose Test Garden or Hoyt Arboretum, as well as some stunning coastal views that make it an ideal place to have your ceremony. You’ll want to keep in mind what type of weather you prefer on your wedding day when considering where you elope in Oregon. The good news is that The coast has some great little Airbnbs and isn’t far from those bigger cities if you want the best of both worlds for your elopement experience.

Where Can You Elope On The Oregon Coast?

Almost anywhere! There are tons of beautiful locations for your Oregon coast elopement, so you have a lot to choose from and it would be almost impossible to list them all. From popular locations like Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach and the natural bridges at Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor to those local secrets.

Haystack Rock is one of the most popular elopement locations in Oregon. Cannon Beach has tons of cute little shops nearby, great restaurants, and of course amazing views. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for something iconic. But don’t worry if you want something a little less popular than Cannon Beach for your ceremony. The Oregon coast has so many turn-offs and more intimate beaches. That’s one of the reasons finding a local elopement photographer is so important. We have those tips, tricks, and best practices for your wedding and elopement in Oregon.

Ecola State Park has an incredible cliffside walkway that leads to a perfect beach with stunning views where you can exchange your vows or simply say “I do” without a minister on hand. The Cape Arago Lighthouse is located in Charleston and has sweeping seascape views that are perfect for just about anything. No seriously, look it up.

Important details like what tide is best, sunset, and how do you get fog on your day are things I can help you figure out when planning your Oregon elopement!

Where Can You Elope In Portland, Oregon?

Eloping in Portland has many trails to choose from. You could metaphorically get lost in the beauty of the tall trees and vibrant green plants all over the city. Portland is home to the largest park in a major city in the US. Forest Park has more than 50 miles of hiking!

Portland is also a hotspot for weddings. With nature all around you, there are plenty of options available to have your wedding in an outdoor location. There are so many great spots that it won’t be hard to find one no matter what type of celebration you’re looking for!

If you want your wedding on city property, then head to Washington Park and enjoy the views of downtown Portland. For a more intimate vibe, head over to Mt Tabor for an outdoor elopement with beautiful gardens. If you want your ceremony in nature, then head out to the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge or Whitaker Creek Nature Preserve! The best part about eloping is that it can be whatever you want!

You may not have a huge guest list, but that doesn’t mean that your ceremony needs to suffer. With eloping in Portland Oregon, there are plenty of places where you and the other person involved will feel like all eyes are on just the two of you.

Where can you elope in the mountains in Oregon?

Are the mountains calling your name? Trust me, I get it. Oregon mountains can be seen from all over and is one of the unique aspects of living here. The tallest peak in Oregon is Mount Hood which stands 11,235 feet tall and is located less than an hour outside Portland. For those who want to elope in the mountains of Oregon, this is a perfect elopement location.

Oregon’s Cascade Mountains are home to some of the most beautiful elopement spots in the country, including Mount Hood National Forest near Portland which offers stunning vistas and easy access to hiking trails. Mt. Bachelor near Bend is another great place to elope in the mountains, with stunning views of the Cascade Mountain Range and a variety of accommodations for your guests – from camping to cabins, lodges, and even pubs!

Picking The Best Place To Elope In Oregon

I know, I know, it all sounds amazing. I agree! The good news is you don’t have to pick just one spot. You can have waterfalls and mountains and beaches, OH MY! My favorite elopement package gives you plenty of time to explore many different spots. This is why we elope, I repeat, this is why we elope because you shouldn’t have to sacrifice intimacy, views, or what makes you happy on your wedding day.

I recommend starting with social media or Pinterest to find out what spots people like the best. You can use hashtag #oregonelopement or ask for referrals from friends and family that might have been to Oregon before. You can even search for Oregon elopement or hiking groups on Facebook and read real people’s personal experiences. Eloping in Oregon is kind of like a big old melting pot of ideas. You just have to find the ones you like most!

Best places to elope in Oregon- Elopement Locations

Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge is a long, narrow gorge carved by the Columbia River. It’s about 50 miles long and up to 16 miles wide at its widest point-making it North America’s third largest canyon after the Grand Canyon and Carrizo Canyons of eastern California. The dramatic cliffs and water make this area a popular elopement destination.

The hike from the trailhead at Larch Mountain is about four miles round trip-or just over three hours of walking. The average temperature in July, which is usually one of the hottest months for Oregon, ranges between 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the day with higher temperatures. Not too shabby, eh?

The Columbia River Gorge is a well-deserved elopement destination in Oregon, with the spectacular cliffs and water making it an easy choice for couples looking to have their cake and eat it too. Just not at the gorge, do that later.

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda beach might be considered one of the perfect elopement spots in Oregon. If you are looking for a simple and intimate elopement on the beach, then make your way to this little gem of an area just north of Newport, OR. There is nothing better than being surrounded by nature while exchanging vows with someone special who completes you. The sunrise on Cape Kiwanda will be the most amazing elopement experience you will ever have. – Low tide at Cape Kiwanda means that it’s possible to get married on the beach with water lapping over your toes as the sun sets.

After your ceremony, explore the cliffs and listen to the waves hit the rocks. It’s almost an out-of-body experience. Just don’t forget to bring a sweater because the breeze can get chilly quickly!

Latourell Falls

Having an Oregon waterfall elopement is so romantic. The hike to Latourell Falls takes about 30 minutes and offers a beautiful view of this iconic waterfall. This elopement destination is perfect for couples who want an elopement that’s uniquely theirs. You can get married either in front of or under any of the hundreds of Oregon waterfalls. Yes, there are more than 200 waterfalls here in Oregon. That’s my neat fact for the day.

Neskowin Ghost Beach

Neskowin Ghost Beach is more of a hidden gem for an elopement in Oregon. This eloping spot has a beautiful and secluded beach that can be used for weddings or elopements. It also offers stunning views of the ocean and is a popular spot for photographers. It’s important to note that those amazing trees are best viewed during the winter when the tide is its lowest.

The Oregon coast is a beautiful place, but it can be unpredictable. It’s important to take note that tides change fast on this side of the country. Check out tide charts before you head up north so you know what to expect when you plan your Oregon elopement.

Oregon beach elopements are becoming more and more popular as people want to escape the hustle of everyday life for a bit, enjoy some beautiful views, and say their vows in an intimate ceremony with just their closest friends or family members joining them.

Oneonta Gorge

Oneonta Gorge is Oregon’s most beautiful secret. This is a hidden treasure of Oregon that has to be discovered by foot. Oneonta Gorge is actually located at the end of Oregon Highway 201 and tucked away from all other highways for privacy. The gorge can only be accessed on foot as there are no Oregon state parks in the area. The hike to Oneonta Gorge is only a half-mile long and features some of Oregon’s most breathtaking views. Think fairytale, romantic, and a little bit alien when picturing this location in your head.

Frequently Asked Questions About Oregon Elopements

– Can I elope without getting married?

You can! You can have your personal elopement ceremony with vows all on your own without doing the legal stuff. But if you do want to be legally married then you need to purchase the license, have an officiant, and two witnesses. The license is also valid for only one year from the date issued.

How much does an Oregon elopement cost?

The cost of an Oregon elopement is going to vary depending on the location, date, and type of ceremony (whether it’s a formal or informal wedding). It can range from $160 for a simple declaration at your county clerk’s office in Portland up to more than $15000 if you’re wanting a big adventure.

The average costs for an Oregon elopement vary between around $6000 and $15000. You make your Oregon elopement dreams come true on any budget you create, depending on what you choose to include. The big-ticket items such as vendors and activities you choose to do are what affect the cost the most. One of my favorite things about being an elopement photographer is helping you find what you do and don’t need. In all of my packages, I help you with the planning, location scouting, and so much more which helps keep costs lower. If you have your heart set on a certain vendor then you should absolutely hire them! Building the right vendor team can completely make your elopement experience.

How many people can you invite to your elopement?

As many as you want! In general, elopements have fewer than 10 guests. More than that and it becomes an intimate wedding (which can still be just as beautiful). The most popular guests I meet at elopements are parents, closest friends, and those adorable furbabies. Having your dog at your elopement is low-key one of the best things ever.

Having an elopement isn’t about excluding your loved ones. It’s about choosing your own path and getting married in the way that feels best to you. In fact, choosing to elope can actually be one of the best ways to really include your loved ones in your day. Because your day is more intentional and with meaning, allows your guests to actually feel the day as well instead of just moving from event to event and eating poorly made food. You might feel frightened to tell your friends and family your plans to elope but in my experience, they’re pretty understanding.

How do I get permits for my Oregon elopement?

Oregon makes getting permits fairly simple. Some of the protected areas (which may vary depending on recent wildfires or other events) and places like Crater Lake require permits. The entire Oregon coast is public access- meaning no permit is required for under 50 guests unless you plan to set up a structure for your ceremony.

If you choose a location that needs a permit, I recommend filing well in advance. If you’re not sure where to begin, reach out! I’m happy to help.

What season is best for my Oregon elopement?

The most popular time of year for an elopement is from late September through November, as well as February or March when it’s not too cold out. (Oregon summers are also amazing).

The best time to visit Mt. Hood is September through July for most accessibility and less crowded trails, but if you’re planning a hike or backpacking trip in the summer months be sure to pack extra water as it gets hot! The best time for an elopement at Crater Lake National Park is July through October due to possible wildfire conditions.

Oregon weather can be completely different depending on which part of the state you are in. It’s worth noting that the Oregon coast is much sunnier than Portland, and Mt. Hood has a higher snow base in winter months but keeps less snow on the ground during spring. Year-round, the weather in Oregon is very mild. On average, it’s 10 degrees cooler in the summer than the midwest and 10 degrees warmer in the winter. After growing up the mid-west it will forever be my base point.

I am so excited for you to plan your Oregon elopement. This state has so many different options that it can be a little overwhelming at first, but as an experienced elopement photographer, planner, and Oregonian myself, I have plenty of ideas on where to start! Whether you want something close by like Portland or the coast or in between mountains and waterfalls, we’ve got all of the best places to elope. Let me help remove some stress from planning this day with my expertise in coordinating elopements throughout the Pacific Northwest region.

Message me if you’re ready to get started planning your perfect Oregon elopement experience together!

Still feel like browsing? Come check out some of my favorite sessions from the PNW.

Foggy Baker Beach Bridal Session

Romantic Oregon Coast Elopement Session

Adventurous Blue Pool Elopement Session

Black Salt Photography is an elopement photographer and intimate wedding photographer based in Portland, Oregon. Photographing in the surrounding PNW areas and traveling often for destination love stories. Specializing in intimate candids and editorial portraits to craft a one-of-a-kind wedding day for every couple. Her moody photography style plays with natural light and shadow, laced with raw emotional moments, to create an authentic narrative experience. She photographs you as you so you’ll love your photos authentically.

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"Destiny definitely stood out amongst other photographers because we absolutely loved how involved she was from the very beginning. She really wants to get to know you- which makes for really intimate photos! She asks tons of questions, which is awesome because you feel like you know her before even meeting her! And once you finally do, she is so so sweet!!! Destiny is so great at communicating and being really involved in every detail! She captured every emotion and detail perfectly, whenever I look at our wedding pictures, it brings back every feeling on our special day. TEARS!"

It's as easy as wanting to

Fun and adventurous Oregon elopement photographer at foggy Oregon beach. Black Salt Photography has green hair and a fuzzy yellow sweater on

Planning your elopement doesn't have to be as overwhelming as it seems at first!

If you're ready to...

-say goodbye to stiff, formal posing

-embrace the intimacy of your wedding day

-enjoy an adventure together

-have a meaningful ceremony

-remove all the extra stress

Then I'm here to help!

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If you're thinking you want to elope,

& you're ready to get photos you'll love with a passion,

THEN LET'S FREAKING DO THIS!

I will lovingly guide you through #allthethings and make sure you're never feeling lost, have FOMO, or get surprised (in a bad way, good surprises are still on the table).

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