Oregon is one of the most breathtaking places in the United States. While it’s primarily known for its rocky coastline, Oregon is a melting pot of different landscapes. Home to 230 state parks and 13 national forests, almost half of Oregon’s total area is forested. From dense forests and snow-covered mountains to colorful deserts and tall waterfalls, it’s not surprising to hear that you’re interested in planning an Oregon elopement.
As a Pacific Northwest elopement photographer, I want to showcase all the beauty Oregon has to offer for elopements, so I decided to put together the most comprehensive guide out there about how to plan an Oregon elopement. This guide covers everything you would ever need to know about how to elope in Oregon, including the best places to elope in Oregon, how to get a marriage license, the best time of year to elope, and so much more. Let’s dive in.
The 17 Best Places to Elope in Oregon
From an Oregon coast elopement to a first dance behind a waterfall, these are the 17 best places to elope in Oregon.
The Oregon Coast
The Oregon Coast is arguably one of the most breathtaking coastal lines in the United States. As someone who has traveled the entire West and East Coast, I can guarantee you that there is nothing out there like the Oregon Coast. There are a variety of different elopement locations from south to north, all of which are unique and vastly different from each other. A majority of couples looking to elope in Oregon tend to gravitate towards an Oregon Coast elopement.
Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
Located in Southern Oregon, Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor is a 12 mile stretch of pure perfection, with rocky beaches and cliffside overlooks galore. Many of the locations in this area require no hiking, making it a perfect option for elopement with guests or for couples looking for something more accessible. If you’re up for a small hike, there are some epic secluded beaches and overlooks you won’t find anywhere else. Samuel H. Boardman is also extremely close to Redwood National Park in Northern California. This is a popular area for couples who want to see a variety of different landscapes throughout their elopement.
Ecola State Park
Ecola State Park is one of my all-time favorite Oregon Coast elopement locations. This park has a plethora of different beaches, hiking trails, and overlooks. One of my favorite locations in Ecola State Park is Indian Beach, a small beach where the forest meets the ocean and surfers can be seen for miles. Fun fact: this beach was actually used as a filming location in Twilight! Certain areas of the park are busier than others, but with over 9 miles to explore, it’s easy to find a secluded spot for your elopement.
While it may come as a surprise, the Oregon Coast does in fact have Redwoods! You can find Redwood groves specifically in Southern Oregon near the border of California. There are a few hidden gem trails near the coast to explore. If you’re looking to explore various types of landscapes during your elopement, consider adding on the Oregon Redwoods for one of your spots.
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse is one of the most photographed places in Oregon. The lighthouse is located between the coastal towns of Florence and Yachats. While the lighthouse is popular, this area of the coast tends to be very underrated and much less touristy than other places like Cannon Beach and Cape Kiwanda. Not only are the views from the lighthouse incredible, but there’s also a nearby beach, forest trail, and picturesque bridge. If you’re looking for the beauty of the Oregon Coast without the crowds, I highly recommend checking out the Heceta Head Lighthouse area.
God’s Thumb has grown in popularity over the years, but it continues to still be one of the most breathtaking places along the coast. The 4.3 roundtrip mile hike isn’t for the faint of heart, but the views at the top make the trek well worth it. At the top, you’ll be wowed by views of the ocean, wildflower meadows, and if you’re lucky, wildlife. Due to the small trail, elopements with over 2 people are not recommended. I would also not recommend this trail if you’re afraid of heights, as the trail progressively gets higher and closer to the cliff.
Cape Kiwanda is one of the most popular locations for an Oregon Coast elopement. Cape Kiwanda is known for having large waves and a giant sand dune you can walk up to get a better view of the ocean and rock formations. This beach also allows campfires, a fun after elopement activity you can do to celebrate. If you’re worried about the crowds, there are a few places along the beach that offer much more privacy than the main viewing area.
The iconic Haystack Rock pictured below can be found at Cannon Beach, Oregon’s most popular elopement location. If you want an iconic Oregon Coast elopement, Cannon Beach is the place to do so. The beach itself is fairly large and super accessible. However, it tends to get crowded near the rock. If you adore this area, I highly recommend planning your elopement here during the fall, winter, or spring season to weed out a lot of the crowds that flock to this area during the summer.
Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is a popular outdoor destination near Portland known for its large variety of waterfalls, hiking trails, and outdoor activities. Its proximity to Portland makes this area a great spot for couples looking to not venture too far out of the city. This area gets busy in the summer, but visit during the off-season and be amazed at all the beauty this little stretch of land has to offer.
Latourell Falls is a super popular waterfall located an hour from Portland. There are a few different ways to reach the falls, including a 2-mile loop trail, or a short paved walk from the parking lot. Latourell Falls is known to be very photogenic, making it fairly popular amongst photographers and other couples. If you’re up for the challenge, tru getting here during sunrise to beat the crowds. This location is fairly crowded year-round, but if you plan your elopement during the off-season, you may have the area to yourself.
Rowena Crest is one of the most photographed roads in Oregon. To the left of the road, you’ll find one of the best views of the Columbia River Gorge. During the spring months, this are bursts with color as lupines and other wildflowers cover the area. This is a great location if you’re looking for something with minimal hiking. The only downside to this location is that it’s next to a fairly busy road, so traffic noise is to be expected while you’re in the area.
Silver Falls State Park
Silver Falls State Park, while technically located a little south of Portland, was a location I just had to add to this list. Silver Falls State Park is called the “crown jewel” of Oregon. It’s most famous for its 177-foot waterfall, South Falls, that visitors can actually walk behind. The park has over 35 miles of hiking trails, 10 waterfalls, and endless views. If you’re up for the adventure, hike the entire 7.4 loop to see all 10 of the different waterfalls the park has to offer.
Dog Mountain has one of the most beautiful views of the Columbia River Gorge. This trail is most beautiful during the spring or fall months. At the top, you’ll find wildflower meadows, pine trees, and on a clear day, you may even be able to see Mt. Rainier. The hike is 5.1 miles roundtrip and known to be quite difficult. However, if you’re up for challenge, this a great spot to elope. This trail is technically in Washington, but it’s just across the bridge! Not into the hard hike? There are a few lookout points nearby that require minimal hiking with the same beautiful views of the gorge.
Central + Eastern Oregon
Very different from other areas of Oregon, Central and Eastern Oregon have a variety of beautiful lakes, waterfalls, and desert-like locations. This area of Oregon is known to be much more hiker-focused and outdoorsy. However, it continues to be one of the most underrated places in the state. After seeing some of the locations on this list, you’ll be wondering why more people aren’t venturing out to see this side of Oregon.
Sisters, Oregon is one of my favorite towns. With a population of only 2,000 people, Sisters is an artsy community with majestic beauty. Sisters is surrounded by mountains, the most prominent being Mount Washington. There are a variety of different peaks to climb and sights to see. I cannot emphasize enough just how stunning this area is. Compared to the busy coastal areas near Portland, Sisters is a hidden gem and truly one of the most underrated spots for an Oregon elopement.
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park is not only Oregon’s only national park, but it’s also one of the most famous, specifically for its beautiful deep blue water. There are a few hiking trails around the area, as well as some accessible overlooks for elopements. There isn’t much to see or do in the park itself (other from the lake), so I recommend venturing out to the nearby mountain towns to do some more exploring. This national park is buried in snow for most of the year, so consider eloping here during the fall season for snow-free trails, great weather, and minimal crowds.
One of my favorite waterfalls in Oregon, Sahalie Falls, is located on a 2.6 mile loop that features another waterfall, Koosah Falls. This unique area is one of the best places to elope in Oregon! This waterfall is located near Bend, a popular town for outdoor lovers. There are dozens of different waterfalls around the area. This is one of the more powerful falls in Oregon though, so prepare to get a little wet if you venture down to the base.
Sparks Lake is a calm and relaxing lake located near Bend. The lake is known for its beautiful reflections, mountain backdrops, and small forest. It’s popular during the summer, so I recommend visiting in the fall or spring. This is also a great place to do some kayaking, paddle-boarding, or even picnicking on your elopement day.
Lower image taken by Danny Walden.
Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock Smith Park is a famous spot for climbers, hikers, and mountain bikers. These unique rock formations make the perfect backdrop in any photo. If you love the desert, this is one of the most popular and best places to elope in Oregon. I personally love this area in the winter months when there’s a light coating of snow on the peaks and not as many crowds.
If you love unique and one-of-a-kind locations, Painted Hills is the spot for you. The natural colors of red, gold, and black are unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. There’s truly nothing out there like this natural wonder. You may have seen a specific spot of this location on Instagram, but there are so many more hidden gems around the park.
When Is the Best Time of Year to Elope in Oregon?
The best time of year to elope in Oregon is during the spring or fall season. However, each season has its perks. Read about each season below to see what time of year would be the best for you.
If you’re wanting both great weather and smaller crowds, fall is the best time of year for an Oregon elopement. Due to the different climates and terrain of Oregon, each area of the state will have drastically different weather during each season. However, you’re pretty safe going with a fall date no matter where you go, whether you’re in the mountains or along the coast.
While some locations are inaccessible in the winter months, such as Mount Hood or Crater Lake, winter is a great time for Oregon Coast elopements. While there is a much higher chance of rain, you won’t experience the summer crowds (or prices). I personally love rainy elopements because not only does it make the lighting even, but it really makes those Oregon greens pop.
I also recommend the spring, as this is another time when the crowds are nonexistent. Not only are crowds and prices lower, but the scenery is incredible. Waterfalls are at their peak and wildflower meadows are beginning to bloom. The spring does carry a higher chance of rain, but the lack of crowds make up for it.
I usually don’t recommend elopements in Oregon during the summer, as this is peak travel time. While you’ll have great weather, your elopement will not be as private as it could be. If you’re set on a summer date, consider having your ceremony during a weekday as opposed to a weekend, and plan around the peak times of day (aim for sunrise or sunset). Try to also avoid the super popular areas like Cannon Beach and the Columbia River Gorge. Instead, venture down to Southern Oregon or explore the beach towns between the two.
How to Get a Marriage License in Oregon
A marriage license is very easy to obtain in Oregon. An Oregon marriage license has a 3 day waiting period, meaning you can’t elope until 3 days have passed after picking up your license. The marriage license expires in 60 days.
*Note: I am using Multnomah County (Portland) in this example. Each county has their own process for obtaining a marriage license. You do not need to get a marriage license from the county you’ll be getting married in, but it does need to be returned to the same county you acquired it from after your elopement.
- Fill out the online marriage license application.
- Pick up your marriage license at least 3 days before your elopement. You can walk-in or make an appointment online. Be sure to bring your ID and $60 to pay for the license. Currently, you can walk in Monday-Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm.
- After your elopement, you must drop off the signed marriage license at the same office.
The mail-in option should be done 4-8 weeks before your ceremony.
- Fill out the online marriage license application.
- Print off the completed application along with a copy of the confirmation page with the submission ID listed.
- Mail those two documents, along with a copy of your photo ID and a $60 cashiers check or money order made out to “Multnomah County Marriage Licenses.” to the address below.
- Multnomah County Marriage License Office
- Attn: Marriage Licenses
- PO Box 2716
- Portland OR 97208-2716
4. After your elopement, the officiant must drop off the signed marriage license to be processed.
To see step-by-step instructions for Multnomah County, check out their official website here.
Do I Need an Officiant and Witness to Elope in Oregon?
Yes. You will need an officiant and two witnesses to elope in Oregon.
Friendly tip: A friend or family member can officiate your ceremony for free! All they need to do is fill out the application on the Universal Life Church website to become an ordained officiant. The application takes less less than 5 minutes. I’m also ordained and officiate ceremonies for free!
Do I Need a Permit to Elope in Oregon?
Depending on your chosen elopement location, you may need a special use permit. However, most locations in Oregon, particularly Oregon Coast elopement locations, don’t require one unless you have more than 50 people at your elopement. That being said, always be sure to ask your photographer. They will know where to send you if you need one. You can also do some googling about your chosen location to get more information about permits. Failure to obtain a permit may result in hefty fines.
Pro tip: At many of the locations and trailheads in Oregon, you’ll also need a parking pass!
How Many People Can I Bring to My Oregon Elopement?
While there are no rules as to how many people you can have present with you on your special day, I generally recommend no more than 20 guests, as the more people you invite, the harder it is to find a ceremony location that can accommodate everybody. Unless you’re getting married on a beach, 20 people total is a solid answer.
Can I Bring My Dog?
Absolutely! Oregon is one of the most dog-friendly locations in the United States. Be sure that your chosen location allows dogs, and be sure to follow B.A.R.K principles when you’re out with your furry friend.
Oregon Elopement Timeline Examples
Hoping to stay out for a first dance under the moon or wake up early to catch the sunrise? Anything is possible. Check out these two different timeline examples to get an idea of what your very own Oregon elopement could look like.
- 12:00pm – Brianna meets the couple at a beach in Southern Oregon for a walk and picnic along the beach with their dogs before the ceremony
- 1:30pm – Head to their beach Airbnb for getting ready images
- 3:00pm – First look between the couple
- 3:15pm – Beachside ceremony with friends and family
- 3:30pm – Family portraits
- 4:00pm – Couples portraits around the beach
- 5:00pm – Travel to location #2 for golden hour portraits
- 5:30pm – Arrive and begin photographing
- 6:30pm – Travel back to the Airbnb
- 7:00pm – Intimate dinner with friends and family
- 8:00pm – Photo time wraps up, Brianna leaves
- 5:00pm – Brianna meets the couple at a cliffside for their private ceremony
- 5:15pm – Begin couples portraits around the bluff
- 6:30pm – Head to location #2 for golden hour portraits and stargazing shots
- 7:00pm – Golden hour portraits
- 8:00pm – First dance under the moon, taking pictures with the stars (could even do a campfire with s’mores here)
- 9:00pm – Photo time wraps up, Brianna leaves
Oregon Elopement Vendors
Oregon has some incredible vendors who specialize in adventurous and outdoor Oregon elopements. Below are just a few of my favorites.
Planners and Stylists
Hair and Makeup Artists
Me! I’m Brianna and I specialize in outdoor and adventure elopements in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I help my couples plan their elopements by providing personalized location lists, vendor recommendations, timelines, permit assistance, and more. If you’re looking for a completely personalized and one-of-a-kind elopement experience, you’re in the right place.
Where to Stay for Your Oregon Elopement
Oregon has some of the most beautiful Airbnbs, especially near the coast and mountainous areas. Below are some of my favorites in each area.
Oregon Coast Airbnbs
Columbia River Gorge Airbnbs
- Mountain A-Frame
- Mt. Hood Mountain Cottage
- Columbia River Gorge Treehouse
- Mountain Escape
- Historic Cedarwood Cabin
- Garden Oasis in the City
- Eagles Nest Treehouse
- Handbuilt Cottage
- Sauvie Island Sanctuary
- Eco-Friendly House
Central + Eastern Oregon Airbnbs
- Charming Wooded Getaway
- Cozy Three Story Lookout Tower
- The Tree Surrounded Log Cabin
- Modern Cecil House
- Ripple at River Camp
Oregon Elopement Activity Ideas
Whether you’re into checking out the best restaurants, hiking trails, or indoor excursions, I’ve included options for everyone. Below is a list of activities you can incorporate into your elopement day to make it an unforgettable experience.
- Try a famous doughnut from Voodoo Doughnuts
- Soak in the hot tub after a long hike
- Pick up some new books at Powell’s City of Books
- Take a private waterfall tour
- Listen to the Sea Lions at Sea Lion Caves
- Ride horses along the Oregon Coast
- Go paddleboarding on Devil’s Lake
- Take a challenging hike on South Sister
- Roast hot dogs and s’mores around a campfire
- Have your first dance under the moonlight at the sand dunes
- Go wine tasting
- Try skiing or snowboarding at Mt. Hood
- Find a hidden hot springs in the mountains
Oregon Elopement Packages
I’m Brianna, a Pacific Northwest elopement photographer who specializes in planning and photographing outdoor elopements for couples looking for a completely personalized experience. I have a few different packages to choose from and love helping my couples plan wedding days in epic places. I’m here to help with all things elopements, including making personalized location lists, handling permits, sending vendor recommendations, building timelines, and so much more. Take a peek at what’s included below.
Oregon Elopement Package Pricing
- 4 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage anywhere in Oregon
- A personalized elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
- Personalized elopement location recommendations
- Vendor, lodging, and activity recommendations
- Assistance and information to help you with permits, licenses, etc.
- 90+ page elopement planning guide filled with tips and tricks
- Customized elopement timelines
- Optional complimentary officiant services
- Online gallery with full resolution images and printing rights
- 24-48 hour sneak peeks to share with the world
- Travel fees to anywhere in Oregon are already included
- Starting at $6,500
You can legally elope in Oregon by applying for a marriage license. You must have an officiant and two witnesses to elope in Oregon.
You can elope anywhere along the coast. A few well-known locations include Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park, and Cape Kiwanda.
You can elope anywhere in the Columbia River Gorge area. A few well-known areas include Latourell Falls, Wahclella Falls, and Mount Hood.
It costs $60 to elope in Oregon. This fee comes from the marriage license. If you’re wanting more vendors, expect to spend up to $10,000 for your elopement.
No. Oregon has a three-day waiting period, meaning you can’t get married until three days have passed after picking up your marriage license.
Yes, you need two witnesses to elope in Oregon.
Don’t forget your FREE elopement guide!
An all-in-one planning guide for all things elopements! Whether you’re hoping to hike through the mountains of Washington or sip a margarita on the beaches of California, this comprehensive elopement guide has everything you need to know about how to plan the perfect elopement.
You? You’re the kind of person that gets a lil’ teary eyed looking at an epic view…
That moment when you turn to the person you’re with and ask, “Are you seeing this?” I live for it. Places with trees and mountains and soft breezes that make you say, “I can’t believe this place exists,” I spend pretty much all of my free time searching for and exploring them.
These places have always felt like home to me. And if you’re the kind of person who also feels more at home surrounded by trees than by people? Then we’ll get along really well. The Pacific Northwest is full of secret spots that are too special to share with just anyone. But it would make me happy to share them with you on your wedding day.
(I promise you won’t regret it.)
P.S. I’m Brianna. My mission is to create custom, one-of-a-kind elopement experiences in the Pacific Northwest that allow couples to fully immerse themselves in the highest levels of excitement and wonder on a day designed exclusively for them.