The Pacific Northwest is every adventurer’s dream destination! From the sea stacks in the Pacific to the deep desert canyons, Oregon has an overwhelming amount of spots to choose from to say your vows. You should spend your wedding day doing something you love with the person you love, so whether that includes a snowy mountaintop, rushing waterfall, or sitting in a meadow of wildflowers, this guide will tell you everything you need to know for planning your Oregon Elopement!
Here’s what’s in this Oregon Elopement Guide:
- The Best Places to Elope in Oregon
- When to Elope in Oregon
- Getting Legally Married When You Elope in Oregon
- Oregon Elopement Timelines & Things to Do
- Oregon Elopement Packages
The Best Places for your Oregon Elopement
Choosing where you’ll have your ceremony is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when planning your elopement! Luckily, Oregon is full of jaw-dropping scenery and picturesque landscapes. From the rocky shores of the Pacific to the colorful desert hills, Oregon has so many different types of terrain.
The options can be overwhelming, but that’s why I’ll take care of the location scouting! No two couples are the same, so learning about you is all part of the job. Tell me all about your dreams and what you envision for your wedding day – and whether you want to rock climb, ski, have a picnic, hike the tallest mountains, or count the stars, I’ll be sure to give you personalized recommendations for some of the best places to elope in Oregon and the activities that’ll make your elopement feel just right for you! You’ll have a customized list of options to choose from so that planning your elopement feels a little less daunting.
The Best Places to Elope in the Mountains in Oregon
If your idea of a perfect day means hitting the slopes or a peaceful picnic on a cliffside, you’ll find some of Oregon’s best elopement locations in the mountains!
On Oregon’s highest peak, Mount Hood, you can go whitewater rafting, hit the slopes year-round, hike to a gorgeous waterfall, or have a picnic in a field of wildflowers – no matter what floats your boat, Mount Hood is one of the best places to elope in the mountains of Oregon!
Sparks Lake in the Deschutes National Forest is a gorgeous mountain lake surrounded by volcanic rocks and lava formations. Beavers build dams, yellow flowers bloom in the lush meadows around it, and Mount Bachelor and South Sister sit on the horizon in the distance, creating a stunning location for your elopement!
Crater Lake National Park
Home to one of the deepest lakes in the country, Crater Lake National Park is full of incredible places to say “I do.” The lake itself was created by a volcano that collapsed many years ago! All along the famous Scenic Rim Drive, you can pull off to one of the lookouts to take some photos, or you can take one of the trails for some epic views! The Watchman Peak Trail is a fairly easy out and back trail to an old fire lookout, or you can catch a boat out to Wizard Island to summit the small island on the lake.
The Best Places to Elope on the Oregon Coast
Oregon is packed with gorgeous locations up and down the coast. You’ll see some astonishing rock formations just off the shoreline while walking along the rocky beaches or looking out from the sea cliffs. Lush forests grow right up to the shoreline and tide pools are full of marine life at low tide. Wherever you go, you’ll discover tons of secluded, beautiful places to say your vows on the Oregon Coast!
One of the Oregon Coast’s most popular beaches is Cannon Beach – best known for the huge sea stack, Haystack Rock. Crowds flock to Cannon Beach to check out the many sea stacks along the coast and explore the tide pools that surround them. If you want to find a less crowded spot to exchange vows, try heading to Ecola State Park and Oswald West State Park nearby – both with miles of hiking trails and a few more secluded beaches!
Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
The farther south on the coast you go, the more private each spot will be since the towns are smaller and more remote. The Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, just north of the border of California, is a beautiful area with unique rock formations, tall redwoods, and some secret beaches that are perfect for saying your vows.
God’s Thumb is one of the best places to elope in Oregon if you’re looking for a hike on your elopement day, and if you want a spot that’s a little off the beaten path! This hike through the woods takes you to a grass-covered cliff – vaguely shaped like a thumb – that overlooks the ocean, Lincoln City, and the sea stacks below. The 4.8-mile out and back trail has plenty of beautiful photo spots along the way, and it’s a bit quieter than some of the other hikes on the Oregon Coast.
The Best Places to Elope by a Waterfall in Oregon
Oregon has beautiful waterfalls everywhere – at least 238 across the state – so you’ll have no trouble finding a beautiful, private waterfall to stand under while you say your vows! Let’s talk about some of the best places for a waterfall elopement in Oregon!
Columbia River Gorge
If you’re dreaming of having your wedding at the base of a rushing waterfall, look no further than the Columbia River Gorge. You’ll find more than 90 waterfalls to choose from here, so it won’t be hard finding a ceremony spot that is perfect for the two of you – a few of the best waterfalls for elopements are Latourell Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Wahclella Falls!
All in one place you can get some of Oregon’s best features – Hug Point! This small coastal beach has spectacular sea caves at low tide, towering cliffs, huge spruce trees, and even a small waterfall! The waterfall is its strongest between November and January during the rainy season, but it’s beautiful year-round.
A popular waterfall near Crater Lake is Toketee Falls. The word Toketee is a Chinook word that means “pretty” or “graceful,” and it doesn’t disappoint! Just a short hike from the trail head, the 113-foot high, two-tiered waterfall is a stunning location for your elopement.
The Best Desert Oregon Elopement Locations
While west of the Cascades is a temperate, lush landscape, when you reach Eastern Oregon, you’ll enter a dry desert climate full of deep river canyons and colorful hills. Whether you want to go whitewater rafting, stargazing, or watch some stunning sunsets, Eastern Oregon is the perfect place for an elopement!
Smith Rock State Park
The Crooked River has carved the landscape of Smith Rock State Park creating deep river canyons and jagged ridges. You can go on one of the many hikes along the canyon ridge or along the river, or if you’re looking for more of an adrenaline rush, Smith Rock State Park is known as the birthplace of U.S. sport climbing! Some of the best hikes for a Smith Rock State Park elopement are the Summit Trail, River Trail, and Misery Ridge.
The most popular area of the John Day Fossil Beds in Central Oregon is the Painted Hills! Famous for its layered hills of red, orange, tan, and black due to historical climate change, the Painted Hills are one of the most beautiful places to elope in Oregon. Time of day and year really changes the hues of the hills, so you can get completely different backdrops whenever you decide to go – late afternoon is the best time to have your elopement because of how the light hits the hills behind you! For gorgeous views of the hills, hike the Carroll Rim Trail or the Painted Hills Overlook Trail.
When to Elope in Oregon
Oregon’s climate can be really different depending on where you are in the state, so you’ll want to keep a few things in mind when you decide when to elope in Oregon. Western Oregon is more of a temperate climate because of the constant sea breeze being blocked by the Cascade Mountains, so you won’t see as big of a variation in climate throughout the year, but Eastern Oregon tends to have more dramatic changes in the different seasons. To help you decide, I’ll tell you a little bit about what to expect in each season!
When eloping anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, summer will be the warmest time – Oregon is no exception! The weather is warm, the sun is out, and the state experiences much fewer rainy days, making it the best time for an elopement in the mountains or on the coast where it typically stays. It can be a bit too hot for desert elopements though!
One of the best times to elope in Oregon is early fall! Leaves begin to change, the weather stays warm through September, and the crowds tend to dwindle after Labor Day, meaning you’ll be able to get a little more privacy for your ceremony. If you want to elope in the desert, fall will be the best time – because the weather is a little cooler than in the summer! But, because snow can start falling in mid to late fall in higher elevations, you should plan accordingly if you’re eloping in the mountains of Oregon.
Oregon winters are wet, dark, and cold most of the time, but if you love the snow, winter is definitely the best time for your elopement. You can expect snow from December through April in the mountains, and in some places east of the Cascades. Lots of roads close in higher elevations, but trekking through the snow in some snowshoes can be a really fun experience if you’re into stuff like that! The coast doesn’t get much snow, but it is notoriously rainy – but if you bring some rain gear and brave the muddy trails, you’re likely to have even the more popular spots to yourself!
The weather in spring is pretty unpredictable, so it’s important to be prepared for anything. The sunny days come back in mid-March, but because of the unpredictable weather, you can wake up to sunshine and be stuck in a downpour by lunchtime! The combination of melting snow and spring rain also make this the best season for seeing the waterfalls in Oregon!
Avoiding Crowds When You Elope in Oregon
Considering the weather when you decide when to elope is important, but thinking about crowds during each season is just as important, to make sure you don’t end up stuck with an audience while you say your vows. It’s harder to be in the moment when you’re trying to compete for the best photo spots! Luckily, I have a few tips for how to avoid crowds when you elope in Oregon.
One of the biggest things you can do to avoid crowds is to plan your elopement during shoulder season – that’s right before or after the most popular time of year. Typically late spring or early fall when the weather is still nice, but schools are typically still in session, is the best time to elope.
The day of the week and time of day both make a difference in the level of crowds at any destination, too. Weekdays are always less busy than a weekend, and you can also plan your elopement for sunrise or sunset to get some gorgeous lighting and fewer people around!
Finding a lesser-known location is also one of the best ways to avoid crowds when you say “I do.” The more popular places are going to be more crowded at almost all times, so I’ll help you find the most beautiful, secluded spots for your Oregon elopement!
Getting Legally Married When You Elope in Oregon
Getting the paperwork sorted out is probably the least glamorous thing about elopement planning, but I’ll help you figure it out so that getting your marriage license is a breeze!
You can get your marriage license from any county in Oregon, so you can find the one that’s most convenient for you.
In most counties, you can apply for your marriage license online. Then, you’ll need to head to the office you applied at with your ID and pay your license fee – this can range from $50 to $60 depending on the county. You’ll get your license immediately, but there’s a 3-day waiting period and it expires after 60 days!
An officiant and two witnesses are required when you get married in Oregon, but if you want your ceremony to be just the two of you, don’t worry! I’m ordained and can sign your license for you to make it official. If you want to hire an officiant or have a friend or family member get ordained, we can also make that happen!
As for witnesses, the only requirement for your witnesses is that they have to be over the age of 18, so you can ask someone to sign your marriage license at the trailhead or at your elopement location – people are always excited to help out!
Elopement Timelines and Things to Do When You Elope in Oregon
When you choose to elope, you’re making the decision to make this day all about you! That means you can do literally anything you want on your wedding day. If you want to lounge around all day, go for it! If you’re more of an adventurous couple, you can try out skiing, kayaking, or horseback riding! Whatever your elopement timeline consists of, Oregon will have plenty of beautiful places and things to do when you elope. To get you inspired, here are a few sample Oregon elopement timelines!
Crater Lake Elopement With Family
9:00 Wake up in a cozy cabin, just the two of you, for a hot cup of coffee and a good breakfast
11:00 Your family comes to your cabin and you all split up to get your hair and makeup done for the day
1:00 After getting dressed, you’ll probably shed a few happy tears with your family while you eagerly wait for your first look
1:30 Head outside for your first look
2:00 Everyone jumps in the car and heads up to the Castle Crest Wildflower Trail
3:00 After you park, you all get out, have a snack, and walk down the short trail to the meadow for your ceremony
4:00 You have a ceremony officiant by a family member
4:30 After your ceremony, everyone takes photos together in the meadow
5:30 Walk back to the car for a small picnic together
6:30 While we hike around to take photos of just the two of you at golden hour, your family drives back to the cabin to unwind and get ready for dinner
8:00 You meet your family back at the cabin to celebrate with dinner and cake!
“Just Us” Hiking Elopement
3:00 Wake up early at the Timberline Lodge in Mount Hood, excited for your elopement adventure!
3:30 You have breakfast and some coffee to get you ready for the day
4:00 You do your hair and makeup and get ready together
5:00 Grab your headlamps on and take the Palmer Ski Lift snowshoe trail up the mountain
8:30 You get to the top as the sun is coming up in the distance
8:45 You both change into your elopement attire and do your first look
9:00 You exchange vows as the sun rises over the mountains, and the snow lights up, reflecting shades of pink and orange
9:30 We’ll take photos after your ceremony while we explore the summit
10:30 Have some lunch and celebrate your marriage with some cake
11:00 Pack up your things and ski down the mountain!
12:00 Take a little nap when we get back before heading out on your next adventure!
1:00 Head to Mount Hood Outfitters for a private snowmobile tour
2:00 Your snowmobile tour begins, and you ride the trails through the Mt. Hood National Forest together
3:30 The snowmobile tour ends, and you go back to the lodge and have dinner at the Cascade Dining Room
Oregon Elopement Packages
If you’re ready to plan your dream elopement experience, I want to help you make it happen! From giving you personalized recommendations for every part of your elopement – like the best locations and things to do – to creating a detailed timeline to help you get through the day, I want to make your elopement the best day ever! Whatever you choose, I’ll tag along on your one of a kind adventure and document the entire thing.
If you want to know more about my Oregon elopement packages or are ready to get planning, get in touch!