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Known for it’s rugged coast line and quintessential Pacific Northwest Vibes, if you want to know how to elope in Oregon (or if you’re considering it), this blog is for you!
In this blog, I’m going to cover everything you need to know to elope in Oregon. Before diving into how to elope in Oregon, I’m going to cover some key topics about eloping.
The definition of eloping has changed a lot in the last decade! Eloping used to mean running off to Las Vegas or getting married in secrecy. These days, a lot of couples are eloping with much different intentions. The differences between a traditional wedding and an elopement can seem nuanced, but there’s a few key factors.
First and probably most obvious, is the guest list. I’m going to cover this in more detail later, but typically – an elopement is under 30 guests.
The second, but probably more important – is your priority and intent going into your elopement. While I’ve seen both weddings and elopements get rowdy, traditional weddings are usually much more focused on the party. Elopements are typically much more low key and intimate.
So if you’re extroverted, the type of person to love a party and invite all your friends – a wedding may be more your style.
An introverted person that’s more on the adventurous, intimate/vulnerable side, would probably appreciate an elopement a bit more.
Personally, I’m a bit of an ambivert. I have introverted and extroverted tendencies, and I love both traditional weddings and elopements for different reasons. And I LOVE working with traditional couples AND eloping couples!
The amount it costs to elope in Oregon, or anywhere, varies a bit with a few different factors coming into play. Technically, you could get married at a courthouse for the cost of a marriage license at about $50-$100. However, let’s be real, you deserve to have a kickass wedding – especially when you’re having an elopement or a small wedding.
Here’s a breakdown of the costs you can expect for eloping;
This isn’t a 100% definitive answer, you can cut things out if you need to like travel & accommodations and hair & makeup and do them at home if you live in Oregon. Or, you can also spend a lot more than this if you add additional photography coverage, hire a videographer, add a small venue to your elopement ($1,500-$7,000), hire an event planner ($2,000), book some luxurious lodging, etc.
Since the majority of the elopements I shoot are in a National Park or National Forest, you can almost guarantee that you’re cutting costs on a venue though.
For all of my elopements, I basically act like the planner. I provide total hands on guidance for anything you need. Vendor recommendations, timeline construction, you name it and I’m there to help. All of my packages include my guidance, so you’ll never feel like you’re on your own. I gotchu.
Elopements typically cap at 30 guests, but I’ve noticed they tend to thrive at 15. Once you start going beyond 15 guests, finding a location that can accommodate that many people (that isn’t a venue) can be difficult. Additionally, you start to lose some of the intimate nature of an elopement when you go beyond 15 or so people.
You also don’t have to invite anyone you don’t want to, part of eloping means that you get to get married in a way that makes sense to you and your partner.
Technically, yes. In Oregon, you need two witnesses who are 18 years or older to make a ceremony valid. This is a great online resource as far as the legal side of getting married in Oregon goes.
Yep, it’s that simple.
Like I’ve previously stated, Oregon is best known for its rugged coast, mountains, hipster towns and stunning Pacific Northwest scenery. There are tons of different locations to choose from. Most couples decide on a specific kind of scenery, and figure out the exact location after they hire me.
Knowing what kind of scenery you want to elope in will impact the rest of your elopement. From timeline to sunset photos, which vendors you hire, this is easily one of the most important parts.
Here are my personal favorite locations to elope in Oregon (in no particular order)!
Bend, Oregon is a fantastic place to elope. It’s a young city in the high desert, with tons of cool shops to visit and even more fantastic food. I go to Bend at least once or twice every year, and every time I want to spend more time there. It’s best known for it’s high desert rock climbing and alpine lakes!
Iconic to rock climbers and eastern Oregon hikers, Smith Rock State Park is just outside of Bend in the high desert. Stunning rock formations and a beautiful river running straight through the middle of it, it’s a gorgeous place to elope. It also has lots of very accessible locations to people that don’t want to hike on their wedding day!
Sparks Lake is an alpine lake about 30 miles outside of Bend, with views of the South Sister and Broken Top mountains. Accessible by car with walk up locations and stunning views, this is definitely and incredible and must-consider location for eloping in Oregon.
The Columbia River Gorge is the natural border between Washington and Oregon, and is honestly one of my favorite locations for elopements, weddings, and couples’ sessions in Oregon. It has rolling hills in every direction, it’s stunning no matter what the weather looks like, most of the locations are accessible by drive-up with hiking options, and the views of the Columbia River are phenomenal.
Additionally, most of the locations are within an hour or so of Portland. And that means you can enjoy staying in Oregon’s most iconic city and elope in a phenomenal place!
Along the Columbia River Gorge is also a handful of stunning waterfalls that can easily be included in your timeline!
This whole location could probably go without saying anything at all, as the Oregon is known for it’s impressive coastline. Stretching down the entire state from Washington to California, it offers stunning views of the pacific ocean. One of the best places to elope across the entire west coast, you really can’t go wrong. There’s adorable tourist towns across the coast, and practically every single location is very accessible.
The stunning redwoods of Northern California aren’t isolated to just California, they’re in Oregon too! In the very southernmost region of Oregon are incredible redwoods (and coastline!) to elope in!
And of course, there’s Crater Lake National Park! Crater Lake is a stunning alpine lake, stretching 20 square miles. With hiking galore, you really can’t go wrong here.
Hands down, the best time of year to elope in Oregon are the warmer summer months. Given most of the locations are either high in elevation or on the water, they tend to be cooler anyway. From May through September you can’t go wrong, and if you’re going to be in the mountains, than I strongly suggest either mid-late July or August!
Need more reasons to elope in Oregon? Check out my Why You Should Elope in Oregon Post!