So you’re thinking about eloping in the great state of Oregon? There are a plethora of reasons to want to spend your intimate day in this beautiful state. But first things first, you’re going to need to know how to elope in Oregon. When you first start planning your elopement, it might be tough to figure out exactly what needs to be done first, and how to make it all legally legit, all while including everything you and your partner want to make this day special to you. With everything, you have a ton of options. And as always, there are also restrictions. So let’s get into what you have at your fingertips, as well as what you need to consider to make everything run smoothly and avoid potential issues. Planning should be fun, so here we go.

How to elope in Oregon, bridal portraits in Bend Oregon

How to pick your Oregon elopement location

Figuring out how to elope in Oregon is absolutely going to depend on where you choose to elope in Oregon. This state has an incredibly diverse terrain, and so many different landscapes to choose from. We have a National Park, National Forests, stunning BLM land, an insane coastline, waterfalls for days, and incredible mountains. If you don’t currently live in Oregon, navigating the state might be overwhelming with all of the options, so let’s go into each a bit more closely.

How to elope in Oregon’s National Parks and National Forests

Our National Park. For how vast and beautiful Oregon is, we only have one National Park. Crater Lake. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. It is surrounded by the lush Umpqua National Forest where you can explore hot springs and waterfalls. When you’re deciding how to elope in Oregon, you should also keep in mind what activities you can include in your day based on the location you pick.

If deep greens and mossy trees are how you’re envisioning your day, there is no lack of that landscape in Oregon. The Willamette National Forest is dense and beautiful, filled with pristine lakes, hot springs, and waterfalls. Mt. Hood boasts some similarities with the addition of gorgeous wildflowers in the summer, and obviously, the insanely gorgeous mountain itself. Check out this Mt. Hood winter elopement.

Deserts and Waterfalls

Desert vibes. Central Oregon is so much drier than a lot of the state due to being east of the cascade mountains. We have the Oregon Badlands, the Alvord desert overlooking the Steens Mountains plus incredible hot springs, as well as Smith Rock. Smith Rock is an insanely gorgeous location that feels like you’re suddenly stepping into Utah.

Chasing Waterfalls? The Willamette is filled with them, but Oregon is also famous for the Columbia River Gorge. There are 90 freaking waterfalls within the Columbia River Gorge. Take your pick! Take a look at one of my favorite waterfall elopement locations!

How to elope in Oregon, Smith Rock State Park

The Coast and the Mountains

The Oregon Coast is beautiful from the top of the state all the way to the bottom. Filled with rigged cliffsides and out-of-this-world sea stacks or beaches with waterfalls, there’s an endless amount of options to choose from. If you elope in Southern Oregon, you can even spend some time in the Oregon Redwoods before hitting the beach!

Last but absolutely never least, mountains baby. We’ve got em’. Whether you’re an avid hiker and you’re interested in a hiking elopement, or just want to jump out of the car and say your I do’s overlooking the Sisters Mountain range, you have options. Check out this insanely gorgeous mountain elopement I shot this summer!

How to elope in Oregon during the best season

There really isn’t an innate best season. Although, there is if you’re picturing certain kinds of landscapes. You might be interested in a snowy landscape. Obviously, winter is going to be the best time for you and your partner to elope. Wanting wildflowers would mean eloping in mid to late summer. Hiking elopements are going to be best in June to late September to avoid snow. An easy way to find out what the weather is going to look like at the time of your elopement is by checking a few websites. AllTrails always reports when a hiking location is best used by. National Park websites will tell you what time of year there are road closures.

When figuring out how to elope in Oregon, you have to make sure you’re following some legal rules. Getting the proper paperwork and permits might not be the sexiest part of the process, but it’s important nonetheless. Some of the things you’re going to need are a marriage license, an officiant, and two witnesses over the age of 18. Where you get your marriage license is going to depend on what county you’re eloping in. For example, if you decide to elope in Portland, you will need to get in touch with Multnomah County. If you’re eloping in Bend, you would contact Deschutes County.

How to elope in Oregon, marriage licenses on table

Marriage Liscnses

Once you know which office to call, you will schedule an appointment and provide them with some required information. Following that, your marriage license will be mailed to you. There is a three-day waiting period before you can legally elope. The marriage license is also only good for 60 days, so you need to make sure that you’re planning to have your special day within 60 days of obtaining that marriage license. Once your vows are read and you and your witnesses sign your documents, your officiant will mail everything in.

How to Elope in Oregon with Witnesses

When you’re taking the steps to find out how to elope in Oregon legally, you need to consider witnesses. Some couples don’t want anyone present during their ceremony except them and their vendors. There are a few ways around this. Your vendors can sign for you, so a photographer and videographer are allowed to be one of your witnesses. If you only have a photographer, you can ask someone like your makeup artist to stay during your ceremony, maybe even touch up your makeup after if you shed some tears.

And more often than not, if you’re eloping in a public place such as a hiking trail or national park, there will be people around. I’ve seen a lot of people stop to watch a ceremony, and even clap when it’s over. A lot of those people were then asked to sign as a witness, which works great! Otherwise, if you’re having guests, any of them can sign.

Eloping in Oregon, No Name Lake, Bend, Oregon


One of the big steps to finalizing your plans on how to elope in Oregon is finding an officiant. This can be a religious leader, an Oregon judge, a friend or family member, or even your photographer! Well, maybe not all photographers. Personally, I am ordained and can totally help you out if you’re trying to have a really private day and just want to read vows to each other.


When figuring out how to elope in Oregon, you have to remember to check in about permits. A lot of public places require you to get some kind of permit or documentation saying it’s okay for you (and your vendors) to be having your wedding day there. The National Forest service is going to be who you will call to get info on this. I also offer permit assistance with all of my couples once they decide on a location for their elopement!

How to elope in Oregon

These are the basic main steps you want to take when planning your Oregon elopement. Being an elopement photographer in this state, I know the process inside and out. My prices also include planning assistance, customized location guides, permit assistance, and kick-ass documentation of your day. Ready to do this thing? Get in touch with me here!

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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.

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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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