Bend Oregon elopement

Bend is an amazing elopement location. The vast and diverse landscape can bring you so many different things, such as the crystal clear water, alpine lake, waterfalls, and forest. This is one of my favorite places to shoot elopements, and actually where I live! This guide is going to go over everything you need to consider, such as locations, crowds, seasons, and permits. Read on to find out exactly how to elope in Bend Oregon, and see the most beautiful Bend Oregon elopement locations. You can read my full guide on eloping in Oregon here.

Where is Bend Oregon

Bend is located in Central Oregon, three and half hours south of Portland. To get to Bend Oregon from outside of the state, your best bet is to fly into Redmond Airport. From here, it’s only a 30 minute drive to Bend. However, Redmond is small and doesn’t offer many direct flights. If you want a direct flight, you can fly into Portland International Airport. Although, it’s about a 3 and a half hour drive. The good news is, the drive is beautiful.

When to Elope in Bend, Oregon

The best time to elope in Bend, Oregon, is in the fall. This is when crowds and tourism die down, and there’s still plenty of warm days left. However, it’s important to look into the weather year round and figure out what will suit your needs best for an elopement. Here is what each season bring to Bend, Oregon:


Spring can be a beautiful time for an elopement in Bend, Oregon. It’s important to note that the weather can be a bit volatile. Lots of times, we have “late” winters. I’ve seen snow in May, as well as warm summer days in May. It’s likely that the road to higher elevation location will still be closed. It normally opens late May, or in June. Although, the trails will likely still be covered in snow.


Summer is one of the best seasons for a Bend, Oregon elopement if you want to have full access to the trails. Around mid-July, everything is fully accessible. There’s also an abundance of beautiful wildflowers. The only issue is that Bend gets a lot of tourism in the summer. A lot of popular locations might have some crowding. And some hikes will require a permit. Things like flights and hotels will also be more expensive.


Fall is my favorite time for a Bend Oregon elopement. The weather is still nice and warm in early fall (September) and slowly starts to cool down as fall progresses. All of the trails and higher elevation locations are still accessible prior to new snowfall. You will want to consider that this is the time of year for wildfires. They can’t be predicted, but sometimes roads get closed due to fires, or smoke can get pushed into the area.


Winter is a beautiful time for an elopement in Bend Oregon. The higher elevation locations can be reached by snowmobile, and you’ll get entire areas fully to yourself. Plus, it’s a winter wonderland. Bend doesn’t receive too much rain. So if it’s not snowing, you’re likely to get a clear day. It does get very cold in Bend, so make sure you’re okay with cool temps and wearing layers!

Bend Oregon Wedding Permit

You will need a special use permit for some locations within Bend, Oregon. However, a lot of locations within the Deschutes National Forest don’t require a permit unless you’re having over 75 guests. As most elopements have a much smaller guest list, this makes eloping in Bend a seriously easy choice. As an elopement photographer, I do the permit research for my couples, and send them an application if there’s one they need to fill out.

How to Get a Bend, Oregon Marriage License

Getting a marriage license in Oregon is actually easy and straightforward. You do not need to be a resident of Oregon to elope here. You’ll want to apply online to the Deschutes County Clerks office. You can find that here. Before your ceremony, you will both need to show up in person with valid ID’s to pick up the marriage license, and pay the fee.

There is a three day waiting period to use your marriage license in the state of Oregon. However, you can call in advance when you first apply and ask to waive the waiting period. Alternatively, you can also simply plan your elopement ceremony for three days after your appointment to pick up your marriage license.

Bend Oregon elopement

How to Elope in Bend, Oregon

You plan a Bend Oregon elopement in similar ways as you’d plan any adventure elopement. There are a few major steps, and you can read about those here on my thorough guide on how to elope. For this Bend Oregon elopement guide, I’m going over the major things you’ll need to consider!


This is an imperative part of the planning process for elopements. This is because some guests won’t have the hiking ability, some might not want to drive or forest roads, and some locations have a cap on how many guests you can have. Choosing a location will be much easier once you’ve determine who you’re inviting, and how many guests total you’ll have.


This might feel early in the planning process, but bear with me. Elopements don’t have wedding planners. Most elopement photographers have taken it upon themselves to help couples with some of the planning. Many actually help you find your location! And they will think of things you might not have considered, such as: lighting, elevation, difficulty in hiking in a dress, permits, and so much more.

Each elopement photographer offers something different. Personally, I send my couples a customized list of locations based on their preferences, hiking ability, who they want to invite, and what they want to see. I also help them determine lodging options, get permits, get their marriage license, recommend vendors, and create a comprehensive day of timeline, and offer unlimited guidance calls for any questions along the way.

The being said, hiring your Bend Oregon elopement photographer early is going to take a massive amount of planning stress off of your shoulders. Wanna chat? Contact me here!


This is going to help you choose a date and location. Some areas are more mild year round, while some get very hot or very cold. Determine what type of weather you want to be in, and research what each season brings, and this will greatly help you determine a time of year for your elopement, as well as a general region. 


Once you’ve decided on how much you’d like to hike, how many guests are coming, your ideal weather, and the landscapes you want, you’re ready to deep dive into researching Bend Oregon elopement locations. Finding the perfect spot will be a lot simpler after considering all of your needs and logistics.

This is information I collect from my couples through a questionnaire, and then use to make a customized list of Bend Oregon elopement location options for them.


Once you have your location, it’s time to consider if there’s anything you need vendors for. Do you need any event rentals? Do you want a friend or family to officiate, or do you want to hire an officiant? Will you go out to eat, or do you want something catered, like a meal at an Airbnb from a private chef?

Figure out what extra services you may want, and hire your vendors in advance!


You will need to get the correct permits for your elopement. These are usually “special use” permits that you apply for on the National Parks website, or National Forest/BLM website.

Personally, I get all permit information for my eloping couples that hire me. With that, all you need to do is fill out the application when it’s sent to you and pay the fee. Fee’s vary, but are usually around $150 or less.


Activities are such a fun part of an elopement. When you choose to elope, you’re opening yourself up to having a wedding day celebration that feels unique and resonates with you. Incorporate things that will elevate your elopement day experience. Here’s just a few ideas to get you brainstorming:

  • Going on a hike
  • Having a bonfire
  • Having a picnic on a mountain top
  • Star-gazing or astrophotography
  • Swimming
  • Cliff jumping
  • Visiting waterfalls
  • Camping
  • Glamping
  • Hiring a private chef
  • Hot air balloon ride
  • Kayaking
  • Paddleboarding
  • Sightseeing
  • Scenic driving with time to stop for pictures
  • Visiting hot springs
  • Exchanging gifts
  • Reading letters from friends or family


Making a timeline is an important part of any elopement. It strings together all of your locations, activities, and lets guests know where to be and when. Creating a well thought out timeline will help you feel relaxed during the day, instead of stressed or rush. Make sure to include drive times as well as buffer times between each “event.”

Here are the things I include in the timelines I make for my couples:

  • All addresses
  • Sunrise time
  • Sunset time
  • Drive times
  • A linke to Accuweather
  • A list of all names for group shots
  • Vendor info
  • Emergency contact info
  • A packing list
Bend Oregon elopement

Lodging in Bend Oregon

Lodging is important when it comes to elopements. A lot of couples incorporate their lodging into aspects of their wedding day. For example, getting ready + getting ready photos, a first look, an intimate reception with friends, a dinner made by a private chef, etc. Once you’ve decided what you’ll incorporate in your day, pick a location that will allow everything you want to include.

If you want to host an intimate reception, I highly recommend a vacation rental such as a cabin or an Airbnb. You can also stay at hotels, resorts, chalets, campgrounds, etc. Here are some amazing lodging options near Bend Oregon:

Bend Oregon elopement

How Much Does it Cost to Elope in Bend, Oregon

A marriage license in Bend, Oregon, is $60. That being said, most couples spend an average of $5000-$20,000 on their elopement. This includes flights, lodging, permits, vendors, wedding attire, meals, and anything extra a couple might want.

Bend, Oregon Elopement Locations

There are endless amounts of Italy elopement locations to choose from. From mountains, lakes, hikes, and more. As an elopement photographer, I make a customized location list for my couples based on their needs, this includes: landscape, drive times, how much they do or don’t want to hike, ideal weather, and guest count. For now, here are some of the top stunning elopement locations in Bend Oregon:

Sparks Lake

Sparks Lake is a stunning apline lake on the Cascades Lake Scenic Byway. This is a popular Bend Oregon elopement location. It’s an easy no hike location. However, if you do want to hike, there’s a ton of trails nearby. You can read my entire guide on eloping at Sparks Lake here

Smith Rock

Bend Oregon elopement

Smith Rock is a stunning Bend Oregon elopement location. it looks like the desert, and is red rock with a river bending around it. You can also access this location without hiking at viewpoints, or explore the area via multiple trailheads. You can read my full guide on eloping at Smith Rock here!

Three Creeks Lake

Three Creeks Lake is a beautiful and easy access Bend, Oregon elopement location. There are beautiful wildflowers in the summer, and you can easily reserve the campsites to have an outdoor reception area, and even camp here! There’s multiple gorgeous hikes right at the base of the lake

Todd Lake

This beautiful Bend Oregon elopement location is also on the Cascade Lakes Scenic byway. It can be busy in summer, but boasts stunning wildflowers and mountain views. There’s an easy one mile loop going around the lake if you decide you want to hike. You can see an elopement I shot there here!

Suttle Lake Lodge

Bend Oregon elopement

Suttle Lake Lodge is located on Suttle Lake. The lodge offers beautiful cabins, so you can stay right on the property, and even lodge guests. They do have a fee for having a wedding of any size here. However, the location is beautiful and there’s a bar and restaurant here too!

Indian Ford Meadows

Indian Ford Meadows is one of my favorite Bend Oregon elopement locations. It’s not that well known, and you can get insane views of the sisters mountains from here. This is another no-hike location, that can be accessed year round.

Elk Lake

Elk Lake is a one of the beautiful alpine lakes. This is a great Bend Oregon elopement location if you want everything in one spot. There are various areas to explore and take pictures, tons of cabins that can be rented out for you and your guests, and you can even have your ceremony through their venue. I’ve also had couples just rent out camping areas and create their own beautiful ceremony site.

Sahalie Falls

Bend Oregon elopement

Sahalie Falls is one of my favorite Bend Oregon waterfall elopement locations. It can be easily accessed, and there’s an isalnd in front of the massive waterfall making it easy to take pictures. You can also choose to explore the trail and visit other waterfalls!

Bend Oregon Elopement Packages

Elopement photography by Emilee Setting Photo, and everything included in my packages:

  • Explore anywhere within Oregon, all travel fees included in the price!
  • Packages from half day elopements to multi-day elopements
  • Receive a customized location list
  • Help finding lodging that suits your needs if you’re having an intimate reception
  • Included comprehensive timeline design
  • Help obtaining your permits
  • Help obtaining your marriage license
  • A planning checklist
  • Unlimited planning and guidance calls 
  • All of your stunning photos delivered under three months
  • Day of polaroid sneak peeks

Bend Oregon elopement packages starting at $5800. Want more information on my pricing and what’s included? Click here

Bend Oregon elopement

Ready to Elope in Bend, Oregon?

This Bend Oregon elopement guide is a way to get you excited about all the possibilities of what your day could look like. Although, this amount of information can be overwhelming. I’m here to help. I can answer any and all questions you have on a complimentary low pressure consultation call. If you then choose you’d like to work together, I’ll do all of this planning right by your said to alleviate any stress, and bring your Bend Oregon elopement vision to life. We can chat here!

Don't forget your free elopement planning checklist


You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?

I'm Emilee

I'm an elopement photographer who specializes in planning, crafting, and documenting untraditional weddings. I believe a wedding day should be filled with traditions that resonate with you. I'm here from start to finish to make that happen. Want to chat about your plans? Click below to set up a free consultation! 

You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?

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