The Ultimate Oregon Elopement Planning Guide

The Ultimate Oregon Elopement Planning Guide

Oregon has to be one of the most beautiful US states and definitely the top place for elopements in the states. Not only is it home to Portland – an eco-friendly city full of coffee houses, hiking trails and hipsters, but there are so many historic villages and coastal locations that make this state full of character. It’s no wonder sooo many couples choose it as a place to elope each year. From snow-capped mountains to ocean views and tree lined hills rolling into the distance, there’s no doubt that you’ll struggle with where you want to get married in Oregon and all the activities you want to do.

We know that by opting for an elopement instead of a larger wedding, you’re saving yourselves from a huge amount of stress that is associated with wedding planning. However, an elopement also needs some planning, especially if you want to be fully present on the day and enjoy every minute of it – that’s where choosing the right suppliers for your elopements makes a huge difference. And we’re here to help you every step of the way from picking your dream location and when is the best time to go, accommodation, thinking about vendors and all the fun stuff like legal documents and permits… and most importantly, having the most memorable trip of a lifetime.

Your Oregon Elopement Checklist:

  • Decide on elopement location

  • Book flights

  • Book accommodation

  • Choose the dream vendors!

  • Work with your vendors to create a timeline

  • Get your marriage documents sorted

  • Have the trip of a lifetime with your bestie!

Where is best to elope in Oregon?

Picking where to elope is the hardest part of planning your elopement. Especially when there are so many incredible places in Oregon. Think about what you like as a couple, do you want amazing scenery, or are you wanting to mould the day around adventurous activities? Here are some of the best elopement spots in Oregon to give you some inspiration.

  • Columbia River Gorge (Northwest): This is a beautiful spot for an elopement. The landscape is truly amazing, made up of cliffs, waterfalls, wildflowers and mountains. If you’re into outdoor activities then this is the perfect place to go trekking, cycling and mountain biking and even watersports. Hood River is renowned for being the windsurfing capital of the world. Of course, it’s all about balance. Finish off with some hand crafted beer, fresh produce and indulge in some delicious wine.

  • Crater Lake (South-Central): This is the deepest lake in America and potentially one of the bluest. Surrounded by 2000 feet tall cliffs, Crater Lake has a volcanic past and is also a great place to ski in the winter months if you’re a pair of snow fanatics. But if you plan on coming in the summer, the weather is mild with minimal amounts of rain.

  • Smith Rock (Central): If you’re climbers at heart then this is the spot for you, with over 300 days of sun per year, thousands of climbing routes and the ability to mountain bike and spot eagles, falcons, otters and beavers – it’s an adventure playground for outdoor lovers. Have a day of exploring, an elopement and then treat yourselves to the beautiful scenery of sunset across the rocks and a drink in hand.

  • The Wallowas (North East): If American ranch life appeals to you, then the Wallowas might be the place to live out your wild west dreams. Situated in Eastern Oregon this region is a hidden gem, home to officially designated ghost towns (Sumpter, Cornucopia, Homestead) which were once former mining settlements.

A little bit more bustling, Joseph is a wonderful town, full of artists due to the backdrop of the Wallowa mountains. There are many art galleries and sculptures on the Joseph Art Walk in downtown. There’s also some great eateries and drink places to experience from the Stein distillery, a family run affair, to Arrowhead Chocolates which do delicious dark chocolate mocha and salted caramels.

Hells Canyon can be seen from above the Wallowas, a 10- mile canyon carved by Snake River, deeper than the Grand Canyon, and offers a place for camping, fishing, rafting and jet boats.

There’s plenty to see and do, that’s for sure.

  • Painted Hills (North West): The painted hills are exactly what you might imagine from the name – different colours of yellow, gold, black and red make this location feel almost otherworldly. People have described it as feeling like an astronaut on a different planet. This comes from coloured stratifications in the soil and the hughes always appear to be changing along with the light and moisture levels. An enchanting backdrop for your elopement photos. If you’re into your natural history then you can explore 50 million years of plant and animal fossils and palaeontology.

  • Oregon Coast (West): 363 miles of Coastline. How do you choose where to begin? From warm dunes in the south to quirky towns further north the whole coastline is diverse, but all wonderful. If you wanted to really experience the coast, you could have a road trip up the Oregon coast. But if you don’t have the time for that, these are some of the best spots along the coast.

  • Astoria Beach

  • Cannon Beach

  • Seaside Beach

  • Ecola Creek

  • Manzanita Beach

  • Cape Lookout

  • Mt Hood (NorthWest): This is one of Oregon’s most well known mountains with lush forests, small creeks and some of the best views at the highest peak in the state. If you’re after a great backdrop and quality time with your partner then there are plenty of beautiful Air B n Bs to use as your base to enjoy the scenery at.

  • Black Butte Ranch Elopement (North Central): Beautiful in the summer and winter there are meadows full of horses, beautiful lakes to canoe around and hills to hike up. The accommodation and dining will treat you well and then in the evening you can cosy up by the fire and look up at the stars, toasting to your new chapter together. It sounds like a movie worthy elopement day.

  • Silver Falls State Park (North West): Moss covered trees, enchanting forests, 10 glistening waterfalls… this is a real fairytale esque elopement location. If you love camping you can make your elopement a camping trip or you can treat yourself to a little bit of luxury and stay in one of the parks cabins.

  • Portland Japanese Garden (Portland, NW): Portland’s Japanese Garden is a wonderful elopement destination if you want somewhere scenic but want to experience what the city has to offer! The gardens are home to an oasis of authentic Japanese landscaping as well as an authentic teahouse, shrines, ponds, waterfalls, bridges and more. You’ll also catch a fantastic view of Mt. Hood, the perfect backdrop for your elopement photos. It’s especially stunning in the fall when the leaves are changing!

Best Time to Elope in Oregon

The best time of year to elope in Oregon is mid-June through to September but it can entirely depend on the part of Oregon you’re heading to, it’s a big place after all! This is what the seasons tend to have in store but it’s best to look at your specific region where your elopement will be.

Spring: An Oregon spring wedding means you’re ready to face whatever comes your way in the form of rain. With fresh blooms, new wildlife and crisp blue skies – the days are starting to get longer however be prepared to embrace unpredictable weather. You will however benefit from much cheaper prices.

Summer: The most popular wedding season, summer days are great in Oregon, with lush temperatures and little humidity.

Autumn: Cosy and romantic, fall weddings have the added benefit of the beautiful colours that come with them. Weather can be a mix of sunshine and cloud with a dash of rain in the mix. This is the season with the most magical feel in Oregon however.

Winter: Winter weddings could be great if you’re wanting snow to be the main character on the day, but that is what some people love. Think cosy log fires, snow capped mountains, rich textures and decoration and perhaps a spot of skiing?

The Legalities of getting married in Oregon

Oregon Marriage Licence:

Getting your marriage licence is essential. You need to apply for your marriage licence 3 days before your elopement, there is a 3 day waiting period until you can elope although this can be waived, at a price on top of the $60 marriage licence cost. So make sure you’ve applied within three days of your elopement date.

Once accepted, your licence is valid for 60 days and you can get married anywhere in Oregon!

Hiring an Officiant:

Marriages must be performed by an Oregon judicial officer, county clerk or clergyperson of a religious organisation or congregation. This website is full of wedding officiants in Oregon that you can browse and book for your elopement.

Location Permits:

If you want to have your elopement at a specific location, you’ll need to obtain a permit if needed to make your ceremony legal. This can vary between national parks and state parks but it’s likely to need a special use permit but you can find all the information you need on any park website you’re interested in. Also check how many guests you can have with you, if there are any vehicle or equipment restrictions, time restrictions and if any trails are off limits. Make sure you do this in good time as these can take a while to be approved and to arrive.

Leave No Trace: These are important principles that must be followed when eloping, to protect and preserve the environment and beauty of the state. You’ll need to…

Plan ahead and prepare

Travel and camp on durable surfaces

Dispose of waste properly

Leave the space as it was found

Minimise any campfire impacts

Respect wildlife

Be considerate of other people around you

Oregon Elopement Elements You Need To Consider

  • Accommodation: Once you’ve picked your dream elopement spot, take a look at the accommodation nearby. Consider hotels, ranches, lodges and air b n b’s. Are you having a small guest list? Consider the options that they might want to stay at depending on their budget, and any travel that they might need to arrange.

  • Travel: Organise your flights, transport to your desired location (arrival and return journey) and any other transport that might be needed to carry equipment, dresses, makeup etc on flights and on the road. Will you need to hire cars or a minivan? Or will you be able to get on a private coach? Make sure you organise this ahead of time and also help any guests organise their travel. ****

  • Outfits: Eloping is amazing because with only you and your partner to think about, you have more budget to spend on your outfits, and can pick an amazing dress. Think of the season you’re getting married in – fall and winter may call for more layers but a beautiful flowing dress in the summer will fit in just perfect in Oregon.

  • Vendors: Consider any catering you might want for your elopement if you’re having a small number of guests or if you want to book a special meal. Research florists, hair and makeup artists, bakeries for your wedding cake, any musicians ect if you want any of those elements accounted for on your special day.

  • Wedding Photography: Your wedding day is a day that will go down in history. It’s a pinnacle moment in your relationship and you’ll make memories that last a lifetime. Having the right elopement photographer and videographer is essential for capturing your love story exactly the way you want and giving you the opportunity to relive your special day over and over again.

As an Oregon destination wedding photographer and videographer, we can help you every step of the way in your Oregon elopement from helping you pick the best locations to organising your legal documents, activity suggestions and helping you achieve your dream wedding day. Just get in touch with us right here.

  • Planning your special day: You only get to do this day once. Make sure you make it a good one. Research and plan what you want to do from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep. Plan a delicious breakfast and consider what activities you’ll want to do around your elopement, make sure you make the most of the area you’re in – visit the most scenic places, enjoy each-others company, have some celebratory drinks, canoe across lakes (the notebook style) and eat delicious food. Grab a notebook and plan your elopement day so it’s one to remember.

Once you’ve planned everything you need to, all you need to do is countdown to your special day, let friends and family know your plans, dates and when your return is. You could even book a post elopement party with friends and family to celebrate.

You’re about to have the journey of a lifetime, so make the most of it and have fun. We wish you all the best.