Are you getting married, and looking for the best places to elope in Oregon? You might be familiar with Portland - a city of roses and yummy donuts - but just outside of the city lie miles and miles of forests, hot springs, and lakes, and if you’re willing to drive just a few hours you’ll find everything from mountains to deserts to incredible ocean views. Oregon seriously has it all, making it an incredible place to elope. Here is my list of the best outdoor locations to elope in Oregon to get you inspired, and if you're thinking of having your intimate wedding indoors, here's a guide to the best intimate venues in Portland.
The Best Locations to Elope in Oregon
Where to elope in Oregon
Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge runs along Interstate 84 and has the highest concentration of waterfalls in the United States. This means you’ll have no shortage of great locations to choose from, including everything from drive-up overlooks to long hikes. The Gorge is just a 30 minutes drive from Portland, making it a perfect destination for a day of adventures.
Latourell Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the Columbia River Gorge, but for good reason! The falls are only a quick quarter-mile walk down from the parking lot. At the lower falls, you’ll be right at the base of the waterfall - and if you’re up for a little adventure, you can feel the mist of the falls on your skin. There is also a 2.5-mile hike to the upper falls, which gives you a different view of this spot. For inspiration check out this elopement at Latourell Falls!
This is a 2.4-mile round-trip hike with just a little bit of elevation gain, making it the perfect spot if you don’t want to work too hard for a good view, but want to avoid some of the crowds at Latourell Falls. From the trailhead, you’ll walk through a forest of cottonwoods, alders, big-leaf maples, and Douglas firs. About halfway to the main attraction is Munra Falls. At the end of the trail, you’ll see moss-covered rocks and Wahclella Falls, which features two drops and runs through a rocky canyon.
Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls is a 1.4-mile hike and is relatively easy to access. If you’re eloping with a smaller amount of guests, this is a great spot that’s not too difficult to get to! The trailhead is right off the highway, and takes you past clifftop overlooks and sweeping vistas, and ends with the two-tiered falls. This trail tends to be fairly popular during the warmer months, so it's best suited for couples eloping with minimal guests, as well as those who are open to eloping earlier in the day.
While Oregon may be best known for its forests and greenery, you definitely don’t want to miss out on the desert landscape that Central Oregon has to offer. One of the most popular cities in the central part of the state is Bend, which offers various types of elopement landscapes such as canyons, deserts, forests, and even ranches.
Broken top is located right outside of Bend, Oregon, and is actually an eroded stratovolcano! You can take a quick hike up to a turquoise-blue lake surrounded by jagged mountain peaks, and elope in one of the most beautiful places in Oregon. During the winter, Broken Top is usually covered in snow, but you can still snowshoe to the lake. July and August are your best bet for a snow-free elopement at Broken Top!
Located in the Southeast corner of Oregon, the Alvord Desert is a dry lake bed surrounded by towering mountains in all directions. This spot is hours away from any large city, so while it isn’t the most easily accessible location, that makes it perfect for stargazing because there is so little light pollution. On this huge stretch of land, you’ll have no problem finding a private spot to say your vows. There are also several hot springs nearby, so you can spend your elopement day relaxing in nature’s hot tubs!
Smith Rock State Park
Just a few hours east of Portland is the cute little town of Bend, which is surrounded by many desert destinations, including Smith Rock State Park. This park has a variety of different trails, along with some amazing spots to go rock climbing, if you’re into that! You can take a short hike to an overlook, or hike down into the valley and explore the rock formations for a more secluded ceremony location. Getting married at Smith Rock State Park will make for a pretty unique experience, as the desert landscape offers similar terrains as if you were eloping in Arizona or Utah.
The painted hills are one of the most unique locations to elope! You’ll feel like you took a trip to Mars as you wander through layers of red, yellow, gold, and black soil that make up the hills. The trails through the Painted Hills are short and easily accessible, and this location is close to Bend!
Oregon’s rugged coastlines and amazing views of the ocean are huge tourist destinations, and even just a drive down the coast is well worth the trip! The coast features many of my favorite places to elope in Oregon, and while many of these spots are very popular, you can’t go wrong with a sunrise elopement to avoid the crowds!
With an inn right on the ocean and a brewery next door, Cape Kiwanda has everything you need for an Oregon elopement! You can take a walk along the beach, dip your toes in the water, and surf in the chilly ocean waves, or you can take a quick walk up to the cliff that faces the ocean. There, you’ll be greeted by dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean and the waves crashing on the rocks below.
Hug Point State Park
At Hug Point State Park, you can climb on the rocks and explore caverns and tide pools. When the tide is low, you can even wander a little way down the beach to see a waterfall coming down the cliff face! Hug Point is located just 10 minutes from Cannon Beach (another great elopement location) but is much less crowded and less popular than its neighbor. With no hiking required, Hug Point is easily accessible and perfect for any elopement!
Devil's Punchbowl is situated on the Oregon coast gets its name from the bowl-shaped rock formation that is carved into the cliffside. The bowl fills with waves from the Pacific, and really showcases the power of the ocean as the waves churn and swirl around before disappearing back with the lowering tide. You can walk down a short trail to the beach and see small waterfalls coming down the cliffside, as well as explore the rocks and caverns that line the coast.
Mt Hood, Oregon
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park is one of Oregon’s most iconic locations. The area features crystal clear blue waters, surrounded by mountains on all sides. You can cliff jump off of rock faces, hike up for a birds-eye view of the water, or take a boat ride through the crater itself. As Oregon’s only national park, this place gets a lot of foot traffic - but don’t be discouraged! With so many trails to explore, it’s easy to find a hideaway for a private elopement ceremony.
Mt Hood often peeks through when you’re driving around Oregon, and as majestic as it looks from far away, it’s even better up close! In the wintertime, Mt Hood is a gorgeous winter wonderland, and in the summer, it offers fields of wildflowers and reflective lakes. There are tons of beautiful spots to explore, so if you’re eloping at Mt Hood, your only issue will be narrowing down the best place to tie the knot!
When is the best time of year to elope in Oregon?
There is no definitive answer, as the best time of year to elope in Oregon will depend on a variety of factors, including personal preference and the type of landscape you envision for your day. Some couples may find that eloping during the spring or summer months provides the most ideal weather conditions for their ceremony, while others may want a more moody aesthetic for their day and opt-in for a Winter elopement.
Springtime in Oregon is often characterized by mild temperatures and occasional showers, making it a great time of year to elope if you don’t mind a little bit of rain. The state is also incredibly beautiful during this time, as the flowers begin to bloom and the trees start to green.
Summertime in Oregon brings longer days and warmer weather, making it the perfect time to enjoy all that the state has to offer, from its beaches to its mountains. However, summer can also be Oregon’s busiest tourist season, so eloping during this time may require more advanced planning.
Autumn in Oregon is a stunning time of year, as the leaves change color and the air becomes crisp. It can also be a great time to elope, as many couples find the cooler temperatures more comfortable for an outdoor ceremony. The weather in the fall tends to be wetter, and rain is common towards the end of September up until Spring.
Oregon winters can be cold and wet, but they are also incredibly beautiful, with snow-capped mountains and cozy fireplaces. During the winter months, you can expect anything from rain to snow, depending on where you're eloping. Usually, in Central Oregon and towards Mount Hood, you'll find snow earlier in the winter months whereas, in Portland, it may not snow until Jan-Feb. If you don’t mind braving the cold, eloping in Oregon during the winter can be a magical experience.
How to Elope in Oregon
After you've looked over the different landscapes that Oregon has to offer, you're probably wondering what the process looks like to elope and get married in Oregon. I've included details about the marriage paperwork, ceremony requirements and more, to help get you started on what you'll need to make your marriage legal as well as some tips for when you'll want to begin the process of planning your elopement.
When should you start planning your elopement in Oregon?
As soon as you know you want to elope, it's a good idea to start planning. The earlier you start, the more time you'll have to research locations and vendors and make sure everything is perfect for your big day. I recommend hiring an elopement photographer as the first big step towards planning your elopement, as your photographer should help you outline everything you need for planning your day, from ceremony locations to vendors, timelines, and more, they'll be your photographer and planning guide during the entire process.
What you'll need to plan your Oregon elopement
Here's some of the things you might want to book or consider during the elopement planning process depending on how elaborate your vision is.
- Elopement Photographer (a specialized photographer can often also be your planner)
- Florist (Bouquets, boutonnière, decor)
- Airbnb or lodging/accommodations
- Venue (if desired)
- Ceremony Location
- Activities you might want to include in your day
- Dinner or picnic/snacks
- Apply for the marriage license
- Hire an Officiant to conduct the ceremony (or have a loved one become ordained)
- Finalize itinerary and timeline
- Apply and obtain any permits needed for a ceremony on state or public land
How to get a Marriage License in Oregon
Getting married in Oregon is a fairly quick and simple process. You'll need to apply for a marriage license, and have 2 witnesses and an officiant for your ceremony and to sign your legal paperwork. One perk about eloping in Oregon is that you can obtain a license in the auditor/clerks office at any Oregon Courthouse and have your ceremony anywhere within the state.
- To get started, you'll need to obtain a marriage license from the county clerk's office. You can apply in person or online but must plan to get married within 60 days of your license application.
- After you complete the application, you'll need to go in person together to pay the $60 application fee, present proof of identity, and pick up the printed application.
- There is a 3-day waiting period from the date of issuance, however, an additional fee can be paid to waive the waiting period. After you've picked up the application, you'll need an officiant, and two witnesses to be present to sign the license after the ceremony.
- After the ceremony, and application is complete, you'll want to turn it into the county clerk's office to file it, and purchase any copies needed. **You will need to return it to the same office in which you obtained it.
Once you've completed all the legal steps, and have your license in hand, you're ready to elope!
How many witnesses do you need to elope in Oregon?
Do you need an officiant to elope in Oregon?
You'll need an officiant, however, you can hire someone to conduct the ceremony or choose to have a loved one go through a quick process of becoming ordained to hold the ceremony.
Ready to Elope in Oregon?
Oregon really does have something for everyone, whether you want mountains, oceans, deserts, waterfalls, or whatever else your heart desires! It's an amazing elopement destination, and while this list barely even begins to cover all of the gorgeous places to elope in Oregon, if you’re ready to start planning your own elopement in Oregon, reach out to get started. Let me know which one of these is calling your name, and we can begin planning your epic adventure. For more information on the pricing and details for eloping in Oregon, check out the elopement packages page for a breakdown of what's included & more.
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