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THE BLOG

couple walks down to secret beach on their elopement day after signing their oregon marriage license

YOUR GUIDE TO

HOW TO GET YOUR OREGON MARRIAGE LICENSE

HOW TO GET MARRIED IN OREGON

seattle wedding photographer

Hi! I'm Natasha! Your Oregon elopement photographer, dog petter and donut eater. While photography is my first love, connecting with people is my love language. You'll find me lovin' on the big moments, the quiet moments, the silly moments – but especially the in between moments. The moments that are unadulterated and unfiltered. The ones where you are the real you. Here on the blog you'll find all of my favorite tips, tricks and resources for planning a wedding that's all about those moments.

NATASHA CARDINAL

oregon ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER

So I hear you're planning on eloping in Oregon, but you're not quite sure how to get your Oregon marriage license... Well you've come to the right place! Eloping in Oregon is something straight out of a dream, but nailing down all of the logistics, especially if you're coming from out of town (maybe even a few thousand miles away!), can be tricky! Some of the most common questions we get as Oregon elopement photographers are about how to get your marriage license and how to legally get married here. So in this step-by-step guide we'll cover everything you need to know to make sure your marriage is legal and easy to navigate!

HOW TO GET YOUR OREGON MARRIAGE LICENSE: YOUR CHECKLIST

Getting married in Oregon State is a pretty easy process! You'll need to follow these step in order to legally get married:

  • Have a scheduled date and officiant locked in for your wedding
  • Apply for your marriage license 3 days before the day you plan on getting married
  • Wait the mandatory 3 days (if you get your license on a Wednesday can you get married that Saturday)
  • Have your ceremony (woohoooo! partaaaaay)
  • Mail your marriage license or drop it off in person at the county clerk's office you got it from within 60 days of when you get your license
  • And that's it!

But let's go over the specifics of how to do all of that...

WHAT DO I NEED TO GET A MARRIAGE LICENSE IN OREGON?

  • Application fee is $50-60 depending on the county you get it in and is non refundable.
    • You can pay in office: cash, money order, cashier's check, or debit/credit card
  • Minimum age to marry is 18 (17 in some cases with parental permission).
  • Waiting Period: There’s a 3 day waiting period.
    • This mean's that you'll have to get your marriage license at least 3 days before your wedding day! For example if you get your license on a Wednesday, you can elope that Saturday.
  • License Validity Time: You'll have 60 days from the day you get the license to return it to the county clerk's office for your marriage to be legally recognized.
  • Residency: You do not need to be a Oregon resident to apply for a license
  • Witnesses: Witnesses are not necessary to apply for a license, but state law requires that 2 witnesses be present at the ceremony (in person, no Zoom or phone calls unfortunately!).

WHERE DO I GET A MARRIAGE LICENSE?

There are two different ways you can get your marriage license!

  1. If you're applying in person, you can get your marriage license at any Oregon county auditors office.
  2. If you're applying online, know that not every county has an online application! Most do, but for some counties you'll have to call and make an appointment to get your license.

You can choose the county clerk's website for whatever county you're getting married in below!

DO I NEED TO GET MARRIED IN THE COUNTY I GOT MY MARRIAGE LICENSE FROM?

Thankfully you don't need to get married in the county you got your marriage license from, but you will need to return your marriage license to the same county clerks office you got it from. So if you end up changing the location of your wedding to a different spot last minute, no worries! You'll just have to make your way back to the clerks office you picked up your marriage license from after you're married.

Thankfully if you hire an Oregon wedding officiant (we have some really great ones to recommend if you're looking for someone to officiate your elopement!) they'll often handle returning your marriage license to the county clerk's office for you so you don't have to worry about it while you're traveling!

CAN I GET MARRIED IN A DIFFERENT STATE WITH AN OREGON MARRIAGE LICENSE?

Nope, if you get your marriage license in Oregon state you'll have to get married in Oregon. Your marriage license won't be valid if you get married in any other state.

WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?

To get your marriage license both of you will need to bring:

  • Your photo IDs (this can be a U.S. passport, U.S. passport card, U.S. military ID, permanent resident card, driver's license or state photo ID card issued by the Department of Licensing (DOL), or foreign government issued passport)
  • The application fee (cash, debit or credit)

And that's it! Thankfully Oregon makes it pretty simple to get a marriage license, but we always recommend double checking with the county clerk if there are any changes to the requirements before you show up just in case. (You know how the government is...lol)

CAN WE SELF SOLEMNIZE?

In some states like Colorado, you're allowed to get married with no officiant and solemnize the wedding yourself. However in Oregon you'll need an officiant and two witnesses. If you're having a religious ceremony you can contact your religious organization to see if someone is available to officiate you, a city/town/village hall may have a judge or justice of the peace available, or you can ask a friend to get ordained! One of the most common ways to get a friend or family member ordained is through the Universal Life Church or American Marriage Ministries.

In fact, I (Natasha) an ordained and can officiate you if you have two people would you like to witness your ceremony! But we can always recommend some of our favorite Oregon wedding officiants that we work with regularly too. One of the perks of hiring a local officiant is that they're up to date with all of the current rules and regulations, and they'll often handle returning your marriage license for you!

WHERE CAN I GET MARRIED?

You can get married in any public or private location in Oregon with the right permission! If you're getting married in a city, state or national park you'll need to get a special use permit to have your wedding. Aside from traditional wedding venues, you can get married in your favorite restaurant, your backyard, just about anywhere!

You can find information about getting married in Oregon State Parks here (there's a section at the bottom of the page about special events and permits in Oregon State Parks), and how to get a National Park special use permit here! If you're getting married in a national forest or on forest service land (like Mt. Hood) you'll need a USFS special use permit that you can get here.

If you're not sure where to elope yet, you can check out our How to Elope in Oregon guide where we talk about all of the most beautiful places to elope, how to get permits, and step by step how to start planning your whole elopement day!

THE CEREMONY

Technically you don't even need to have a ceremony to get married! The thing that legally binds you is the marriage license. So long as your marriage license is signed, witnessed, and submitted back to the county within the 60 day timeframe, you're married! The wedding ceremony itself is a traditional formality that's all about honoring your relationship and your love. So while you don't need to have a ceremony to legally be married, it's one of the most beautiful parts of your wedding day whether you choose to elope or have a wedding!

And that's it! Oregon is one of the most beautiful places in the U.S. to elope, so we're so excited that you're thinking about visiting! If you have any questions at all about getting your marriage license or eloping here you can always shoot us a dm on Instagram @thecardinals.co and we're more than happy to help out however we can! In the meantime, check out some of our fave elopement planning resources below:

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDES FOR ALL OF THE BEST ELOPEMENT LOCATIONS IN THE PNW

HERE ARE SOME OF OUR FAVORITES!

SOME OF OUR FAVORITE ELOPEMENT SPOTS IN THE PNW

MT. RAINIER NATIONAL PARK

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK

THE OREGON COAST

ECOLA STATE PARK

MT. BAKER

BROOKINGS, OREGON

OSWALD WEST STATE PARK

HOYT ARBORETUM

+ ALL OF THE BEST SECRET LOCATIONS

SOME OF OUR FAVORITE PNW ELOPEMENTS

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK ELOPEMENT (WITH A DOCUMENTARY CREW!)

LET'S START PLANNING THE OREGON ELOPEMENT YOU DESERVE

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