How to Elope in Oregon
your complete guide
(updated March 2021)
There are a ton of places to choose from when it comes to picking a location for your elopement. Couples typically decide on a location-based off on a significant meaning or a scenic view. From the epic cliffside coast, the lush green forests, the mountain tops, and the dessert – Oregon has it all. What makes Oregon such a unique location for your elopement is that it has so much to offer.
Before deciding on a location for your Oregon elopement, there are a few things to consider when planning an outdoor ceremony. In this guide, I’ll go through every aspect to consider when planning your destination elopement from the logistics, the location, and the vendors you should hire.”. So keep scrolling and don’t forget to download your free guide!
1. What’s the best time of the year to plan your elopement in Oregon?
The most popular time of the year is :
June through August
- Spring in Oregon is a great time to plan your elopement just before the tourism season begins. Keep in mind some areas may not be accessible. For example, snowfall may impact your ability to have a mountain top session.
- Fall in Oregon is gorgeous and one of my favorite seasons! If you plan to elope in the fall make sure to plan before November.
2. The Legal part of an Elopement in Oregon
Make sure you have the paperwork to legalize your union. Click here to view more information on how to get your marriage license in Oregon. Click here
- The fee for an Oregon Marriage license is $50 to $60 in cash or certified funds only; the amount and form of payment accepted vary by county.
- Oregon has a three-day waiting period before a ceremony can take place after a license has been issued.
- Licenses are valid for 60 days after they are issued. You must get married within 60 days or you will have to reapply and pay the fees associated with the application process.
3. Where to Stay in Oregon?
- Portland: We all know Portland and honestly you should stop by even if you are planning your elopement on the coast or in the mountains! The food scene is amazing and there will be tons of Airbnbs for you to stay at and hotels. From Portland, you can visit the Columbia River Gorge or head to the coast for a day trip!
- Bend: The city of Bend is located on the other side of the mountain range in Oregon and only 3hrs away from Portland. The weather is drier and hotter in the summer and it’s the perfect city to stay in if you plan on going hiking in the mountains!
- Then you have anywhere on the coast, The Oregon Coast should be a trip on itself, and if you’re feeling adventurous all the way I recommend you go camping or rent an RV!
4. Leave no trace
Respect mother nature and the outdoors. Follow the trials, do not venture off. The trails are clearly marked to prevent erosion and to guide you through their reference trial map. Most importantly, do not leave anything behind. Pick up and dispose of your trash properly.
Where to Elope in Oregon?
Best Oregon Elopement Locations
Picking a location in Oregon for your elopement can be overwhelming only because every option is as stunning as the previous one! What I love the most about Oregon state is the diversity of the landscape it offers. Here are the main areas to consider for your elopement:
- The Columbia River Gorge
- Eastern Oregon (Bend)
- The Oregon Coast
- Mount Hood
The Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is at the border of Oregon and Washington state. To get there, you’ll have to drive along the famous Historic Columbia River Highway. It is approximately a 75-mile drive and along your way you’ll pass the famous Multnomah Falls. The Gorge is a must-do when it comes to visiting Oregon.
Although some waterfalls require a longer hike than others, the beauty they each have to offer is something you don’t want to miss. Trust me, the best part about picking Columbia River Gorge for your elopement ceremony is the numerous locations it has to offer to make your day memorable. Here are my favorite locations on the Columbia River Gorge for your elopement…
Latourell Falls is a short drive from Portland and one of the easiest to access. What makes Latourell Falls unique amongst the others is the rock formation. If you love to travel and have wanderlust, you have seen how epic some of the landscapes look in Iceland! This waterfall is often compared to the beauty you can find in Iceland.
2. Wahclella Fall
Wahclella Fall is my favorite! It’s a short twenty-minute hike from the parking lot. Albeit a short distance, you still have the opportunity to walk through the lush Oregon forest. As you go over the bridge to access the waterfall, you pass through one first as a sneak peeks to the fall while walking towards it… Here some more details on the hike for you. Click here!
And if you want to see more photos from this stunning engagement session at the Wahclella Fall click here!
3. Bridal Veil Falls
Like Latourel Falls, this scenic viewpoint over the Columbia River Gorge is easy to access directly from the parking lot. There are downward stairs to access Bridal Veil Falls which is only a few miles east of Latourell Falls. While you are there, you can also enjoy other beautiful viewpoints over the Columbia River Gorge and other waterfalls in Washington State.
4. Rowena Crest View Point
If you love the scenic view of a mountain range, Rowena Crest Viewpoint sits along the historic River Gorge Highway. It’s the furthest location you’ll travel to if you’re coming from Portland with an approximate 75-mile drive.
Multnomah Falls is the most famous waterfall in Oregon. If you don’t know, you’ll want to go early in the morning to avoid the crowds it attracts as one of the most sought after tourist destinations. To get a better idea of what the area encompasses, I recommend using alltrails.com to plan your hike.
6. Government Cove
If what you are looking for is endless views over the Columbia River Gorge then Government Cove is the perfect location for it. Right off the highway it’s a quick stop and walks to enjoy some of the best views over the Gorge. Only one hour drive from Portland, it makes it easy to access and have your elopement ceremony.
Eastern Oregon and Bend
There is so much diversity in the eastern area of Oregon and Bend that it stole my heart! It’s a much drier climate and has many options for your elopement ceremony. When you choose to elope in bend, you have the option of eloping with a lake view or on a mountain top. You’ll find many things to do in Bend, Oregon which is famous for winter sports, hiking, the Cascades Mountain Range, and craft beer.
Here are my top recommendations for an elopement in Easter Oregon and Bend. Most of my favorites locations are located on the Cascade
1. Smith Rock
Smith Rock Smith Rock is located 30 minutes north of Bend, Oregon with some of the best views only steps away from the parking lot. It’s a red rock canyon located directly in the middle of the plains. As the sun rises and sets on the beautiful landscape, the colors of the rocks begin to change. Being surrounded by its beauty will give you the most amazing feeling as you exchange vows. Here is the little information you need to know when eloping in Smith Rock. Click here for more!
If you’re fun and adventurous, this location is for you.
- A permit is only required if you have 50+ people or have special needs, such as exclusive use of any one area.
- Those getting married and the people in your party need to purchase and display valid parking permits, don’t use drones, smoke, or have any open flame. Generator use and amplified sound are also not permitted.
- The park is open dawn until dusk.
2. Painted Hills
The Painted Hills is located 2 hours north of Bend and 4 hours from Portland. It’s the furthest location, but not one to miss. If you’ve heard of the Rainbow Mountains of Peru, The Painted Hills is similar and just as impressive. It’s an elopement location that has been compared to Mars. As one of the seven wonders of Oregon, the different colors in the hills bring together a beautiful palette of green, burnt sienna, and red. The beauty of the Painted Hills is breathtaking. One of the best locations when planning an elopement in Oregon!
3. Sparks Lake
25 miles west of Bend, Sparkes Lake is apart of the Deschutes National Forest where you’ll find the famous Three Sisters. The scenic byway of the Cascade Lake will lead you through a series of waterfront views around Mount Bachelor. On a clear day, you’ll see the reflection of the volcanic peaks of South Sister that surround Sparks Lake. It is a perfect combination to create a picturesque elopement ceremony.
4. Broken Top and No name Lake
To access Broken Top, you’ll need a car that has a four-wheel drive to access the trail. From there, it will only take a few miles to reach the views from the Broken Top mountain trail. This location is for the adventurous at heart and hiking lovers. From the trail’s starting point, it will only be a few miles up to experience the views that BrokenTop and No Name Lake offer. The road is only open during the summer if accessible otherwise you’ll have to hike it all.
5. Todd Lake
Todd Lake is a short walk from the parking area and offers views of Broken Top. The best part about Todd Lake is that you don’t have to be as adventurous to plan your elopement there. It’s effortless to get there from the parking lot and will give you some of the best views! It’s the highest of the Cascade Lakes sitting near the base of Broken Top. The views over the mountains and the Lake makes a very peaceful choice for your elopement ceremony. It’s also located on the Cascade Lake scenic byway as Sparks Lake.
6. Sahalie Falls
Located in Central Oregon, Sahalie Falls is one of the best-kept secrets of Oregon. Only one hour from Bend, the Sahaie Falls located in the Williamette Valley Forest, is surrounded by lush green moss and giant pine trees. The perfect location for a fun, adventurous elopement in Oregon.
7. Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park is located 2hrs south of Bend. This giant volcano that hosts the deepest lake in the USA, is one of the most amazing things to see in Oregon. When you decide to get married at Crater Lake National Park, you’ll need an event permit. Make sure your photographer also obtains a photography permit as well. You can find all the information on their website right here.
8. Newberry Volcano and Paulinas Peak
If you are looking for a moody feel for your elopement and why not even get some Iceland vibe for your elopement then this is the place for you. There are actually two locations that I would recommend for an elopement, the Newberry Volcano only 20 min outside of Bend and Paulina Lake and Peak in La Pine. The views over the lava field and lake at sunset are gorgeous and make for some epic background for your Oregon Elopement. Click here to get inspired.
1. Rent an A-frame Cabin or Airbnb in Mount Hood
The Woodlands House is one of the best Airbnb’s for rent in the Mount Hood area. It’s conveniently located 45 minutes from Portland and 25 minutes from the Hood Mountain Ski Resort. It’s surrounded by giant pine trees and a lush green forest. As you entire the driveway, it looks and feels magical. This house boasts all the amenities you’ll need neatly decorated in a modern Scandinavian style. It is peaceful and enchanting.
2. Trillium Lake
If you’re looking for incredible views over Mount Hood, look no more. Trillium Lake is one of the best views you can get over Mount Hood and if you get lucky enough and have a clear day you’ll be able to see its reflection on the lake! Trillium Lake campground closes for the winter so they do close the road that takes you down to the lake directly. You can park and hike down to the lake easily. Surrounded by pine trees the picturesque view will make your elopement a real dream.
3. Tamanawas Falls
The Tamanawas Falls is an easy 3.5-mile hike. Cold Spring Creek, inside of Tamanawas Falls, thunders over a 110-foot lava cliff near the eastern base of Mount Hood. It makes the perfect backdrop for your elopement portrait.
The Oregon Coast
NOTE: When eloping on the Oregon Coast, you need to take into consideration the tides to make sure you can access the location you had in mind for your celebration
1. Ecola State Park & Indian Beach
Ecola State Park is located north of Cannon Beach and is the perfect location for a beach elopement with a mixture of an overgrown rainforest. The park’s trails will give you the best cliff viewpoints over the ocean. On the other side of Ecola State Park, you can also access the beach called Indian Beach which is very famous for surfers. It makes the perfect cozy beach elopement location.
2. Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Oregon and a must-see. The wide-open sand beach with view over the rocks in the water will make the perfect backdrop for your elopement ceremony.
3. Hug Point
South of Cannon Beach is another amazing beach called the Hug Point. While at the beach, you’ll be surrounded by high cliffs topped with pine trees and a few small caves which make it very unique.
4. Cape Kiwanda
One of the most epic locations on the Oregon Coast. The cliff formation at the cape will take your breath away. You’ll be greeted by amazing sand dunes and then the dramatic cliffs. The erosion formed by the ocean waves gives it a special shape that makes it very unique.
5. God’s Thumb
Let’s keep going south on the Oregon Coast. Along the Oregon South Coast, there is a beautiful cliff formation that stretches with an ocean view. If you’ve been to Ireland or Scotland, this location boasts similar scenic attributes that make it a must-see in Oregon.
6. Cape Perpetua
Cape Perpetua is a large forest projecting into the ocean. The dark cliffs, rugged edges of the lava headland, and the greenery of the trees are the stark contrast in comparison to the other locations mentioned above.
7. Samuel h Boardman state park
This most southern location I highly recommend is the most epic, in my opinion. It features giant rock formations to the left in the ocean and arching shapes by the breaking waves. The scenic corridor stretches over 12 miles and is filled with beautiful wonders. A few places to keep in mind within the state park are Cape Forrelo Loop, natural Brides to North Island Viewpoint Trail, and Secret Beach.