ELOPE IN OREGON 2024:
Your Ultimate Guide

Coming from a local, I’m handing you The best Locations, permits, marriage license info, and more for your Oregon Elopement.

Oregon illustrated map with icons, copyright Sam Starns LLC - elope in oregon

To elope in Oregon is to elope in the US equivalent of Iceland. There are countless backdrops for new memories and adventures between the two of you. From the popular Oregon Coast to the lesser known but still stunning high desert (2/3rds of our state is desert), eloping in Oregon will take your breath away. Take a look at the map above, you’ll see the major roadways and attractions across the state and how they vary! Wherever you elope in Oregon, you can explore a vastly different type of geography the very next day. How bitchin’ is that?

Do I need witnesses to elope in Oregon?

Two witnesses and an officiant

Marriage License Info

How Much Does it Cost to have an Oregon Elopement?

You need a marriage license (you can apply online!), at the cost of $60. It’s good for 60 days, and in most counties, you are allowed to waive the 3-day waiting period for a small fee. Two witnesses and an officiant are required to sign the license.

Best Places to Elope in Oregon

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK


THE BLUEST BACKDROP YOU CAN FIND FOR AN OREGON ELOPEMENT

Best Time to Visit

June – September . The north entrance is not open before late May and closes due to snow in late October. That means a majority of the scenic Rim Drive is not accessible to visitors from November to May. June-September is always a safe bet to elope in Oregon.

Landscape Traits

Views of the caldera, pumice desert, Wizard Island, hiking trails, high elevation for stargazing. If you’re wanting epic views at sunrise or sunset and a unique elopement location, Crater Lake may be the place for you. Your elopement does require a permit and has some limitations on amplified music, etc., but overall it is completely worth it. I’ve written more about how to Elope at Crater Lake (click the link below for more info!). Depending on how long you want to hike, I can recommend some amazing spots along the rim that ensure that the likelihood of being bothered during your ceremony is slim.

Insider Info

Late June or September is prime time to avoid most wildfires. Sunrise is also less busy than sunset! It also gets windy at the rim, especially in the afternoon, so bring a jacket even if you think you won’t need one! Winter is not the most ideal time at Crater Lake, since access is significantly limited, and the caldera (the actual lake) isn’t visible most of the time.

PRO TIP: Get your permit early.

MORE OREGON ELOPEMENT LOCATIONS BELOW!

Can’t say enough positive things about Sam and her Oregon elopements! If the idea of a traditional wedding makes you squirm, BOOK HER.

Cory & Reilly

I’m giving away a free copy of “Elope Your Life”

As a thank you to couples like the ones I get to adventure with, here is a free copy of my book that’s helped get couples hyped for an intentional adventure.

This book is full of inspiration, beautiful stories, and ACTIONABLE items to guide you to the inspirational day that’s already inside you.

*BONUS* – You’ll also receive a copy of my elopement planning and packing checklist!

OREGON MOUNTAINS/WATERFALLS


waterfalls out the ass no matter where you look in Oregon.

Best Time to Visit

April – October. Depending on where you’re headed, some higher elevation waterfalls may have snow (like the North Umpqua or McKenzie River areas). In general, November through April is a rainy time of year for Oregon.

Location Traits

Location Traits: towering falls, granite cliffs, columnar basalt, algae/moss. There are waterfalls aplenty no matter where you look to elope in Oregon. Do you want tall towering waterfalls, or rushing flowing rivers over boulders that fall a shorter distance? How long of a hike are you wanting to trek? Your biggest waterfall selections are going to be just outside of Portland along the Columbia Gorge, along the North Umpqua River (near me!), or along the McKenzie River.

AVOID

Multnomah Falls

INSTEAD, EXPLORE

McKenzie River, North Umpqua

There are so many waterfalls that aren’t listed in places like AllTrails – my top tip is to book a photographer that is familiar with the area. That way, you’ll have an authentic PNW experience and experience an adventure with waterfalls that few people may ever see!

Sam was such an empowering person to have on our non-traditional wedding day.

Matt & Rachael

HIGH DESERT


Wanting epic sunrise/sunset views, or just a unique Oregon location?

Best Time to Visit

Early April – October. Places in Eastern Oregon fall in a rain shadow, so while they may not get the precipitation like the Cascades, several inches of snowfall are possible in the high desert areas of Harney County and Lake County. Also, temperatures can regularly hover around freezing or below. Fall is actually the driest season for the Alvord Desert.

Landscape Traits

Salt flats, colorful hills, far-off mountains, dry lake beds. Lots of people think “elope in Oregon” and images of rugged coastline, rain, and forests come to mind. But what most people don’t realize is half our state is high desert. On the eastern side of the Cascades, there are a variety of landscapes that are just as epic as the rainier portion of the state.

Insider Info

The Painted Hills needs a permit, and don’t discount places to elope in Oregon like Christmas Valley or the Alvord Desert. The drawback for some people, these locations are pretty far removed from civilization and have little in the way of shopping, convenience stores, etc.

MY FAVORITES

The Alvord Desert

I can’t recommend Sam enough! She made our elopement so incredibly special and easy to be in front of the camera. Her expertise, guidance and sense of adventure helped make every moment so memorable and special.

Kendall & Ben – High Desert Oregon Elopement

THE OREGON COAST


Southern Oregon Coast Elopement
LGBTQ brides Oregon Coast Elopement

Permits

If your group is smaller than 50 people (ideal for an intimate wedding or elopement), and no structures are going up, you most likely will not need a permit to have an Oregon Coast elopement. Definitely contact the State Park Coastal Office for more info. If you need a permit for a larger gathering or because there will be structures (arbors, chairs, etc.). Keep in mind permits are not issued from May-September. All Oregon beaches are public land, which means areas cannot be reserved, and the public technically cannot be excluded. Don’t worry, though – it’s usually pretty easy to find a quiet location and Oregonians are respectful of each other on their beloved beaches.

Tides & Sunrise/Sunset

Trust me, you’ll want to know this information so you don’t end up trying to avoid the incoming tide, or realizing you won’t have enough daylight!

Best Time to Visit

Late May – Early October. Late October through March is dodgy when it comes to precipitation. From Fall to late Spring, rain and drizzle is prevalent (but don’t let that stop you if you’ve got your heart set on the coast!). If you want crashing waves, king tides will give you that (occurring December-February).

Landscape Traits

Rocky bluffs, sandstone, sand beaches, ocean-surrounded rock formations, waterfalls (yes, some beaches do have them!), lighthouses. My opinion on the Oregon Coast is this: it’s one of my favorite places. It’s not super crowded (except the north coast), there’s a variety of topography, you’ve got access to cute shops on boardwalks, there’s fun microbreweries aplenty, and it’s an hour and a half drive from I-5 at most.

Avoid:

Cannon Beach

Many couples love the idea of Cannon Beach. Key phrase: “the idea of“. I would actually urge you to consider another nearby beach, if not avoid the north coast altogether. There are so many locations that are more scenic, and more importantly: LESS CROWDED. Crowds have been a nightmare for couples like you.

Parking can be a nightmare (there isn’t really a designated spot for the beach, so street parking is typical). There’s a reason people decide to go to Cannon Beach – it’s one of the most blogged and photographed places on the Oregon Coast. If you want beachcombers in your images, then this may be the place for you, but if not…

I’ve got a list of over two dozen other significantly less crowded and more scenic locations all up and down the Oregon Coast. Let’s find you one that resonates with you.

Oregon Coast Elopement Locations to Consider

Generally, as you move south along the coast from Cannon Beach, the less crowded it is. The two hot spots along the Oregon Coast for crowds is the north coast near Cannon Beach/Pacific City and now the south coast near Brookings along Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor. But even then, the Brookings area is much less crowded than farther north.

The true hidden gem area with the fewest number of visitors is around the Bandon/Coos Bay area. If you desire images that practically no one else has, consider hiring a local photographer (hello) who has the skinny on the locations around the mid-south Oregon Coast that no one talks about (like the images below).

5 Tips for Eloping on the Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast Elopement at sunset
  • Make sure you do (or don’t) need a permit
  • Check the tides on your wedding day
  • Check sunrise and sunset on a reliable app
  • Get someone familiar with the area so if isolated fog rolls in, they can pivot to a less foggier location.
  • Choose a Monday-Thursday to avoid crowds

Everything from the first phone call meeting to the day of and beyond was truly amazing. Sam is a fountain of knowledge and endless support.

Ariel & Bailey – Oregon Coast Elopement

Oregon Elopement Vendors

The following vendors are my top recs for Oregon in general. They travel, and are some of the best when it comes to specializing in adventure elopements:

Hair and Makeup: Meaghan of Black Fern Beauty Company is an adventure elopement specialist with concierge service (tagging along to make sure your makeup is fire all day). She travels all over the Pacific Northwest but is based in Southern Oregon. If you want to elope in Oregon, she’s likely your top hair and makeup gal.

Officiant: Jimmie Berguin is a top-notch comedy man that will give you an amazing ceremony! I would also recommend looking into Emily at Rooted & Wild PDX, who has fantastic vow workshops.

Florals: While florals are more location-specific, here are a few I have loved working with: Flowers & Thyme (Eugene), Barb’s Flowers (Roseburg), Bramble Floral (Portland), Woodland Floral (Central Oregon), and Flora Organica Designs (Eureka, CA).

Your Oregon Elopement Photographer

As a lifelong Oregonian, I couldn’t be more stoked to show you the little-known spots, the quiet vistas that belong on the cover of National Geographic.

From the Oregon Coast to the high desert of the Alvord, Oregon has something for everyone.

There’s a reason they call it the Iceland of the United States 😉.

With your own custom planning portal, you’ll be ready to plan your greatest adventure yet, with custom vendor referrals, location resources, marriage license info and a helluva lot more.

Are you ready to experience all of what the Western US has to offer for a backdrop in just our state?

Ready to Capture your Adventure?
Let’s connect!