I have to say, there aren’t many places in the U.S. quite like Oregon. Which is exactly why I’m so passionate about being an Oregon elopement photographer! I love helping couples discover all the beauty that this state has to offer. After some thinking, I decided to put together an entire guide all about how to elope in Oregon, complete with all of my tips, tricks, and recommendations. Let’s dive in!
If you didn’t know, Oregon is home to some of the world’s most productive forests. If you’re looking to elope surrounded by tall, luscious greenery, then Oregon may be the spot for you! So many couples wanting the classic, moody PNW vibe travel to Oregon to bring their vision to life.
Did you know that there are over 238 waterfalls just located in Oregon state? I don’t know about you, but planning a waterfall elopement sounds like a dream come true! If you’re the adventurous type, you could even hike the waterfall of your choice and make a day out of it. I love helping my couples plan adventure elopements, and I’m always up for a challenge.
There’s something about Oregon beaches that truly sets them apart from all the other beaches in the U.S. The Oregon coastline is an entire destination in itself! Locations like Cannon Beach, Cape Kiwanda, and Lincoln City are home to some of the prettiest beaches in the PNW.
Not everyone is a fan of the PNW weather – but let me tell you, it’s beautiful for elopements. Like I mentioned before, the moody PNW vibes give such a unique feel to your photos, no matter what scenery you choose. Even if it’s raining, there’s something so magical about rainy day elopements! And don’t even get me started on the wintery snow days we have, especially up in the mountains. And if you want to avoid the gloom altogether, I recommend planning your elopement in the Central Oregon area.
Okay hear me out: you plan an adventure elopement one day, and then the next day you spend exploring Portland as newlyweds, and bring me along to take photos! There are so many fun things to do in Portland, and if you’re gonna be in Oregon anyways, you definitely have to visit. And if you’re feeling wild and crazy, you could even take the drive and visit Seattle.
The springtime in Oregon is typically still rainy, with bouts of cloud breaks and dry spells! If you don’t mind having overcast and possible rainy weather for your elopement, spring would be perfect for you. However, it can be a little unpredictable! The day can start out wet, and then clear up into the afternoon. So if you would rather have more certainty when it comes to the climate for your elopement, summer might be a better choice.
Summer in Oregon honestly doesn’t start until July, and runs into late September. If you’re planning your elopement and are counting on warm, sunny weather, then I would recommend choosing a date within those months! The sunsets in Oregon during the summer are also beautiful, especially at the beach. The average temperature during these months is around 80 degrees, and we don’t typically get higher than 100.
Fall in the PNW is one of the most beautiful times of year if I’m being completely honest. The clouds, the fog, and the rain creates such a magical feeling for elopements! The way the leaves turn is also one of the highlights of autumn in Oregon. The temperatures are cool and crisp, so you definitely won’t have to worry about overheating during your elopement!
If you’re planning a winter elopement in Oregon, be mindful of vehicle restrictions and road closures for many local destinations. The weather is usually in the 30s range, and contrary to popular belief, we do get sunny days in the winter! There’s nothing like a cold, crisp, sunny day on the PNW. Places like the Southern Coast stay consistently 50s-60s on average year round, and the southeast part of the state is beautiful all year round.
Once you’ve decided on a season to elope, it’s time to figure out the legal stuff. Thankfully, it’s not very difficult to get legally married in Oregon. Here are the steps you should take:
Short answer: yes! If you want to elope just you and your partner, there are definitely ways to do that. You can take care of the legal aspect the day before or a few days before your elopement. I’m always more than happy to be one of your witnesses as well!
Now it’s time to find an Oregon elopement photographer. When on the hunt for the perfect one, make sure you’re looking for these key things:
Remember, your photographer will be with you for the majority of your elopement day, and will (hopefully!) help you plan it as well. I personally send my couples specific location guides to suit their needs, as well as help with the entire planning process. Whether you need help with your timeline or need to know the best local spots to grab a bite to eat, I’m your girl!
I highly recommend sitting down with your partner and talking in-depth about what you want your elopement day to look like. There are so many different options when you choose to elope, so the world is seriously your oyster. Do you envision hiking to your elopement spot and having breathtaking views? Or do you see yourself eloping at the top of a snow capped mountain?
Think about the activities you want to do after your elopement as well. You could have an intimate elopement with just the two of you, and then have a dinner party afterwards with your friends and family! Or if you want to dedicate an entire weekend to eloping and exploring Oregon, that’s an amazing option as well.
Pro Tip: I want to mention that Gwen of Gwyn Rider Events can create completely custom and unique experience all inclusive package if you still want all the details and experience a big wedding brings but without the hassle!
As much as I wish I could say everything is going to go 1000% perfect on your elopement day, I just don’t have that power. Be sure to have a backup plan that you’re equally as happy with! Whether it’s due to weather or just unforeseen circumstances, I want you to have complete confidence in your elopement plan A and plan B.
The rocky Oregon coastline is one of the most beautiful landscapes this state has to offer. Plus, there are so many locations near the Oregon coast that are perfect for elopements! You have sandy beaches, rocky beaches, trails, cliffs, almost anything you can think of. By far one of the most diverse regions in Oregon. A few of my favorite locations on the Oregon Coast are:
The flowers that bloom at the Columbia River Gorge in the springtime are enough to make me recommend this location. Other than that, you’re looking at an 80 mile river canyon that offers some of the most spectacular views you can imagine! There’s also a high concentration of waterfalls at the Gorge, and you could spend hours exploring them all. A few of my favorite locations at the Gorge are:
Located about 70 miles east of Portland, Mount Hood is the centerpiece of Mt. Hood National Forest. Mount Hood is technically classified as a stratovolcano, but don’t worry, it’s not active! Not to mention it is the highest mountain in the state of Oregon, so you can see why it’s a significant place to elope. And if you’re trying to go skiing, this is definitely the place to do it. A few of my favorite locations at Mount Hood are:
Though not as popular as other areas, Central Oregon has so much to offer for your elopement. The sunny skies and snowy peaks of the high desert absolutely screams adventure! A few of my favorite locations in Central Oregon are:
This national park is located in the Cascade Mountains of Southern Oregon and is by far one of my favorite Oregon elopement destinations. Crater Lake was formed by a (now collapsed) volcano that erupted over 7,000 years ago! Now, the scenic views of the lake and surrounding area are truly breathtaking.
Also nestled in the slopes of the Cascade Mountains, we have Umpqua National Forest. It actually borders Crater Lake National Park and all of its glory, so you could even make a weekend out of visiting both places. The lakes, ponds, and waterfalls located in this national forest will leave you in awe, especially if you decide to elope here.
A desert? In Oregon? Yep, you heard that right! Alvord Desert is best to visit in the fall, when it’s not too hot from the summer temperatures, but also not wet and muddy from the springtime rain. The white gold sands and clear skies offer a landscape you can’t find anywhere else in Oregon! And for the cherry on top, you can even visit the Alvord Hot Springs right after you say “I do!”
If you’ve made it to the end of this article, you should have everything you need to know about how to elope in Oregon. I pour my heart and soul into providing extensive resources + unlimited support to my couples, so I hope you found this guide helpful!
If you’d like to get in touch with me for your elopement, I would love to chat with you. You can reach me via my contact form here on my website, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can! And if you’re still undecided about Oregon, I have elopements guides on California and Washington as well 🙂