Couple legally eloping in Oregon

When planning your elopement, figuring out the logistics of how to legally elope in Oregon might not be the sexiest part. Nonetheless, it’s all extremely important for you to know what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. Many eloping couples don’t hire a wedding planner or work with a venue, so a lot of the planning is up to the couples. This can feel daunting, but rest assured, this stuff isn’t as hard as you think. Let’s dive in.

Getting your marriage liscense

Getting your marriage license is crucial to legally elope in Oregon. There is some timing to be aware of here. Generally speaking, it’s a fairly easy process. The first thing you’re going to need is to know you location of your elopement. Once you know exactly where your elopement is going to take place, you need to determine what county it’s in. Following that, you will go to that county’s website and fill out an online application for your marriage license.

After you fill out the application, you will schedule an appointment. Generally, you need your government issues IDs and your birth certificate. In order to obtain your marriage license, you and your partner both need to be physically present at your appointment to receive it. Once you have that, you can’t get legally eloped until the three-day period is up. This can be tricky for couples who are traveling to their elopement destination. Although, the waiting period may be waived for “good cause.” There’s usually a small fee affiliated with this.

Once you physically have your marriage license, you need to use it within 60 days, otherwise, it is no longer valid. This is a key step to legally eloping in Oregon. On that note, you’re going to want to wait to obtain that until you know for certain you will be having your wedding day within 60 days. After your ceremony is said and done, you sign some documents. Your officiant will show you and your witnesses exactly where to sign, and then will mail in the documents for you.

Couple signing marriage license


In the state of Oregon, you will need to have an officiant. Some states allow you to self-solemnize, but Oregon is not one of them. Your officiant can be an Oregon judicial officer, county clerk, or someone of any religious organization. However, you aren’t limited to just those options. You can absolutely have a friend get ordained! Getting ordained is extremely easy and can make your elopement even more special. If you want your elopement to be even more intimate, you can hire a photographer that is ordained. This way, you can read your vows to each other and just have your photographer do the paperwork. Not all photographers are ordained (but I am.) Wink.

How to Legally Elope in Oregon with Witnesses

You need to have two witnesses to legally elope in Oregon. Your witnesses need to both be over the age of 18. Your witnesses cannot be your officiant or each other. If you’re having guests at your elopement ceremony, any one of them can sign for you as a witness. If you aren’t wanting to have anyone outside of your vendors at your elopement, your vendors can actually sign. Maybe you only have a photographer though. If you’re going to be working with a makeup artist, you could pay them to stay during the ceremony! They could also sign as a witness for you, and even touch up your makeup afterward.

A lot of elopements take place in public places. Whether it be a National Park, National Forest, or a recreation area. I have shot a lot of elopements where bystanders stop to watch the ceremony (normally for a respectable distance.) It’s super endearing, and those people are almost always willing to sign for you! It’s a fun experience and another way to not need guests at your elopement.

Legally eloping in Oregon with the Proper Permits

Not having to pay thousands of dollars for a venue is another huge perk to eloping. Although, there’s still work that needs to be done after your choose your elopement location. In fact, there are some recreational areas that don’t allow elopements or weddings at all. The best and easiest way to find out if you’re allowed to have an elopement at a specific location is by calling. As soon as you have your elopement location in mind, you can contact the local forest service or BLM office to get some questions answered. If they aren’t responding to phone calls, you can always send an email too.

It’s extremely important to do these things in advance when figuring out how to legally elope in Oregon. Unfortunately, the government is slow and it can take a while to get back to you. The last thing you would want is to find a location you love and start making plans around it and then find out you aren’t allowed to have your ceremony there. So, time is of the essence. Most of the time in National Parks and Forests, you just need to obtain a permit. The price of permits can vary greatly. Some are $50.00 and others are $500.00

How I help Couples with Permits

When working with my couples, I figure out what kind of landscape they want for their elopement. Once I get that information, I craft a customized location list for them to look at. Having multiple options is important in case certain areas don’t allow ceremonies, certain areas only allow a small number of guests, and some locations just have really pricey permits. I do all of this to make sure my couples have the steps to legally elope in Oregon and have options. All in all, getting permits is usually pretty easy and inexpensive, but always plan for the worst and make sure to take these things into account and be punctual.

Oregon elopement

Once you have taken care of all of these listed steps, you know how to legally elope in Oregon and you are ready to get married. Sometimes the process can seem challenging. If you’re looking for someone to help you with the planning process, keep you on track, send location guides and give you permit assistance, let’s chat! All of these services are included in each of my packages to ensure my couples can have a stress-free and incredible (and legal) elopement!

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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! 

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