Where, When, and How to Elope in Oregon
These are great questions and important ones too. Unlike a traditional wedding where your venue predetermines many logistics, your elopement location is unique and the details depend on you and your partner. Your timeline isn’t decided by your site coordinator or locked hand-in-hand with your caterer schedule. You get to decide where, when, and how you want to get married.
Hopefully this page will provide you and your partner with some great ideas of where to get married, the best time of day, the best season, and the legal logistics to eloping in the State of Oregon.
For more information about my elopement packages and approach click here. Have more questions? Fill out the contact form below and I’ll gladly help you out.
Where to Elope in Oregon?
Oregon has so many options of where to elope. Choosing where to have your ceremony is all about what feels right, which place has the most significance, and what fits your level of comfort and outdoor experience. Luckily, a variety of Oregon’s different landscapes are within a short hop from Portland. This list is by no means comprehensive but will instead hopefully provide a jumping off point. If you’re open to suggestions, we’ll work to find a location based off your preferences. We’ve got “secret spots” and favorite trails that we think are best left off the internet.
While most of these recommended locations are easy to get to, keep in mind that you should never attempt a hike you’re not prepared for and always remember to Leave No Trace.
If you’re keeping it local for your elopement check out some of these Portland locations.
A personal favorite of ours. Mostly because it’s our go-to neighborhood evening walk. Mt. Tabor is a natural gem in the heart of Portland.
The arboretum is located within Washington Park about ten minutes from downtown Portland. The Redwood Deck is a popular spot for small wedding ceremonies.
The Courthouse Wedding has always been a classic elopement location and it’s still a great option. The Multnomah County Courthouse is located in downtown Portland and performs ceremonies Monday through Friday. The building itself isn’t too magical but it’s central location allows for a quick trip to a number of different locations throughout the city for photos afterwards.
The Oregon Coast is a beaut. If you ask us, it’s the prettiest coastline in the country. It’s 362 miles are full of rugged vistas and cute coastal beach towns.
Located a 1 hour and 40 minute drive from Portland, Cannon Beach is beautiful and convenient. It’s iconic sea stack, Haystack Rock, makes for a beautiful background.
For more detailed information we put together a dedicated elopement guide for Cannon Beach.
Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area is northwest of Pacific City, OR and features a rugged sandstone formation, dunes, and sandy beaches. It has a sea stack too that’s also known as Haystack Rock (really clever rock namers over here). Much of the sandstone area is fenced off your protection as well as to prevent further erosion. Unfortunately, a lot of photos you see online are from folks who’ve jumped the fence. We’re not into that.
Did you know that Oregon has up to 238 waterfalls?! Waterfalls are just about as Oregon as bearded hipsters and bicycles. Here are two easy to get to, beautiful spots to consider but with over 200 waterfalls to pick from you’ll no doubt find that perfect one.
This Oregon state park has a total of 10 waterfalls to pick from and a trail that connects them all. Silver Falls State Park is a little over 1 hour outside of Portland. Consider Upper North Falls and Lower North Falls which have “walk up” access to the falls.
These falls are located in the Columbia River Gorge along the historic Columbia River Highway. The lower Latourell Falls is the perfect ceremony spot. Since these falls are easy to get to they are super popular, especially in the summer. Consider getting there early in the morning to beat the onlookers.
A popular Summer time swimming hole, Trillium Lake has a gorgeous view of Mt. Hood complete with a mountain reflection when the water is calm.
The lodge is located part way up the mountain and has a number of trails including the Pacific Crest Trail.
If you’re up for a hike there are some amazing trailheads with epic views in the Mt. Hood Wilderness.
When to elope in oregon? What time of year is best?
Regardless of where and when you choose to have your ceremony the best time of week is without a doubt Monday through Thursday. Oregon is a popular destination, for good reason, and most places will draw a crowd especially on the weekends.
Time of Year
Overall the best time of year to elope in Oregon is mid-June to September but when to schedule your elopement greatly depends on the location you choose and the type of weather you’re up for. If you’re hoping for sunshine and warmth on the Oregon Coast, your best bet is waiting until the late Summer (some crossing of fingers may still apply). If your day is taking place at the base of a majestic waterfall, it’s best if you go in the late Spring or early Summer to take advantage of the higher water flow. After a dry, hot Oregon summer those waterfalls can greatly diminish. If your ceremony is taking place at elevation, you’ll want to check to see that roads are clear and not buried in snow. Many of the mountain trails and forest roads don’t clear up until early to mid Summer.
Time of Day
You’ve likely heard the term golden hour or magic hour. This refers to the hour or so before sunset where the sun is low in the sky and gives a warm, pleasant glow to everything and everyone. It’s most photographer’s favorite time of day to shoot and a great time to center your elopement ceremony or portraits around. The same can also be said about sunrise but we know that waking up early and hiking in the dark isn’t everyones cup of tea.
Having said that your wedding day is more than just a quick ceremony and some portraits in pretty light. It’s your whole day and we want to be there to document you getting ready, writing vows, popping champagne, and all the other moments that make your day special.
How to Elope in Oregon ?
Specific requirements will depend on the county where you’re getting married. Most counties require you to arrange your license in person at least 3 days before your wedding date but many will have a waiver fee to skip the waiting period. Most licenses are good for up to 60 days.
Multnomah County issues licenses for ceremonies that take place anywhere within the State of Oregon. If you won’t be in the Portland area prior to your wedding, check with the county clerk where you will be getting married to make sure you know all of their requirements beforehand.
In most counties, marriage licenses must be returned to the county within 5 days of the wedding ceremony.
Depending on your location and size of your wedding you may need to obtain a permit before having your ceremony. Some parks, like Crater Lake NP, require you to complete an application and pay a fee. Other places, like Cannon Beach, don’t require a permit if your ceremony does not prevent public access.
Anyone authorized by a religious congregation or secular organization can perform a wedding ceremony. You may have a good friend or family member in mind and that’s perfect. Double check that they meet the necessary requirements.
Otherwise, here are some recommendations of folks who can help you put together a ceremony full of intention and love.
You need two. Since there are two of us we’re more than happy to sign as your witnesses. Of course you’re also welcome to brings friends or family.
I can’t wait to hear from you! Feel free to ask me any questions you have about eloping in Oregon whether its about locations, logistics, or our photography packages. I’ll do our best to respond to you with 24 hours.