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THE BLOG

HOW TO ELOPE ON THE OREGON COAST

OREGON ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER | PNW ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER | THE CARDINALS

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 an elopement that's all about those moments.

NATASHA CARDINAL

OREGON ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER

YOUR STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO ELOPING ON THE OREGON COAST

If you're considering the Oregon Coast for your elopement you're in the right place! This guide is your roadmap to planning a stress-free elopement so your day can be well spent focused what really matters to you (having fun, and spending time with with your love. Maybe with a few dogs and a couple loved ones thrown in there, right?). The Oregon Coast is one of the most beautiful places to get married in the U.S., so clearly you have excellent taste. 😉

Throughout this blog, we'll delve into the logistics of navigating the Oregon Coast for your elopement, from practical tips on all of the best locations, how to choose which one is right for you, to working with local vendors, all about permits, and all of my best tips and tricks for the best day ever! So no matter if you're an Oregon local or traveling from across the country, we'll talk about everything you need to know to plan it all seaaaamlessly!

IN THIS GUIDE

How to Elope on the Oregon Coast: Your Oregon Coast Elopement Checklist
The Best Time of Year for Your Oregon Coast Elopement
Where to Elope in Oregon: The Best Oregon Coast Elopement Locations
Where to Stay for Your Oregon Coast Elopement
How to Get Married in Oregon: Oregon Marriage License Laws
The Best Oregon Coast Elopement Vendors
Oregon Coast Elopement Packing Checklist
Meet Your Oregon Coast Elopement Photographer
Oregon Coast Elopement Packages

HOW TO ELOPE ON THE OREGON COAST: YOUR CHECKLIST

  1. Choose the time of year you want to get married
  2. Hire me as your elopement photographer and I'll help you plan the ENTIRE thing – from locations, to vendors, to accomodations, to activities, permits + so much more!
  3. Choose where you want to elope on the Oregon Coast
  4. Book your vendors (florist, officiant, hair + makeup artists, private chef, etc.)
  5. Book your accomodations
  6. Apply for any permits you might need for your location
  7. Apply for an Oregon marriage license
  8. Pack your bags
  9. Get married! Woohoo!

THE BEST TIME OF YEAR FOR YOUR OREGON COAST ELOPEMENT

Personally I believe that there is no wrong time to elope on the Oregon Coast. Every season has something unique to offer for the elopement of your dreams, it just depends what you're looking for! The weather in the PNW is known for being a little unpredictable, but don't sweat it – as a PNW elopement photographer I know all the best ways to make your photos incredible no matter the weather! Snow, fog, rain, sun, whatever we get, I promise your day will be absolutely magical. Each season offers something a little bit different when it comes to what look and feel you'll have for your elopement, so let's talk pro's and con's for each.

SPRING: MARCH-MAY

Pros:

  • Blooming Landscapes: Spring brings vibrant colors as wildflowers start to bloom, you'll have flowers cascading down the cliff sides, lining the trails, and all of the greens start to pop as temps warm up.
  • Mild Weather: Generally, milder temperatures make outdoor ceremonies comfortable.
  • Fewer Crowds: Spring tends to be less crowded compared to the summer months.

Cons:

  • Unpredictable Weather: April showers are a real thing. Be prepared for some rain and varying weather conditions. But rain can make for the most stunning moody photos!
  • Cooler Ocean Temperatures: If a beach ceremony with your feet in the water is on your mind, the ocean might still be a bit chilly (although, in my opinion...the Pacific Ocean is always too cold lol).

SUMMER: JUNE-AUGUST

Pros:

  • Warm and Dry: Summer is by far the most popular time to elope! Warm temps, less rain. It's stunning. You'll still have plenty of wildflowers in bloom too.
  • Long Days: Longer days provide more flexibility for ceremony timing and photos.
  • Vibs: Coastal towns come alive with events and festivals during the summer months.

Cons:

  • Higher Demand: The Oregon Coast is an extremely popular summer destination so there will be crowds, and some accommodations may be pricier. (pro tip: if you want to avoid some of the crowds, consider eloping at sunrise!)
  • More Limited Availability: Vendors may book up quickly during peak wedding season.

FALL: SEPTEMBER-NOVEMBER

Pros:

  • Mild Temperatures: Fall brings cooler temperatures with some warm days still, making it pleasant for outdoor ceremonies. Often September and October are called second summer here!
  • Stunning Foliage: The coastal forests absolutely transform with autumn colors.
  • Quieter Atmosphere: Enjoy the beauty of the coast with fewer tourists.

Cons:

  • Shorter Days: Daylight hours decrease, so planning ceremonies earlier in the day is recommended. (but don't sweat it – I take care of this for you!)
  • Possibility of Rain: Although less likely than winter, rain showers are still possible, but it just makes for some dramatic moody photos!

WINTER: DECEMBER-FEBRUARY

Pros:

  • Cozy Vibes: It's the perfect time of year for a cozy intimate elopement. Blankets, cocoa, candles...need I say more?
  • Fewer Crowds: Winter has far fewer crowds to contend with.
  • Potential for Unique Photos: The Oregon Coast can be breathtaking in winter, with moody skies and dramatic waves, some of the most stunning light happens during winter sunsets if the sun peeks out from the clouds.

Cons:

  • Cool and Wet: Winter can be chilly and wet, so plan to dress warm and be prepared for rain.
  • Limited Daylight: Shorter days mean less time for outdoor activities, so your ceremony may need to be earlier in the day.

THE BEST OREGON COAST ELOPEMENT LOCATIONS

Oregon is known for having some of the most beautiful coastline in the world, so there's definitely no shortage of amazing elopement locations to choose from! Some locations are more remote, some are extremely popular, so make sure to do your research before nailing down which location you want to go with. Not sure which one to choose? No worries! When we start planning your elopement we talk about the pro's and con's of each one so you know just which location is perfect for you. Here are some of our favorites to get you started:

ECOLA STATE PARK

Just a quick drive from Oregon's iconic Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park is one of the most stunning parks in northern Oregon. It was even one of the locations for movies like The Goonies and Twilight! With lush Sitka Spruce forest, miles of gorgeous coastline, and insane views there is absolutely no shortage of beautiful places to say your vows or do your couples portraits.

Permits + Passes: $5 day-use pass / no permit needed to exchange vows if you have under 50 people (you can get your Special Use Permit here for weddings over 50 people)

Dog Friendly: Yes! Dog's are welcome to join you as long as they're on a leash.

Tips for this location: Ecola has very narrow windy roads and cars with trailers, motor homes, and RVs aren't recommended. The area is prone to landslides and erosion as well so make sure to check if your preferred trails are open!

couple holds hands on the beach at cannon beach for photos for a blog on the best places to elope on the oregon coast

CANNON BEACH

Easily the most popular locations on the Oregon Coast, Cannon Beach is iconic! Home to the famous Haystack Rock, tons of waterfalls, beautiful beaches, interesting rock formations, and absolutely epic view points you can can't go wrong. It was even named one of the 100 Most Beautiful Places in the World by National Geographic!

Permits + Passes: No permit needed if your elopement is under 50 people, but you can find the permit for larger weddings here! Depending on your location you may be required to get a $5 day-use pass.

Dog Friendly: Yes! Oregon's beaches are extremely dog friendly and your dog is allowed to be off leash unless otherwise noted, as long as you have direct control and they aren't harassing people/wildlife.

Tips for this location: In the Summer this location is bustling with tourists and vacationers, but eloping here in September or October will still give you that beautiful weather without it being overrun by vacationers!

Recommended Locations:

Hug Point Recreation Area
Extraordinarily unique rock formations with waterfalls that cascade into the ocean (I don't use this word lightly, but...that's pretty damn epic). Beautiful sea caves carved into sandstone, the burnt orange colored cliffs, it would truly be one of the most spectacular places for your ceremony. Imagine being surrounding by beach waterfalls, tucked into a little sea cave as you say your vows in the sunset? I'm crying already.


Cove Beach
A stunning hidden gem that's hidden from the road by a gorgeous coastal forest, Cove Beach is one of the hidden gems in this area. Since gaining popularity over the last decade, most of Oregon's beaches are overrun with tourists but there are still plenty of secret beaches like this one! This beach goes by many names such as Magic Rocks Beach, for the sound that the volcanic rocks make as they move in the waves.


Haystack Rock
One of the most recognizable places in all of Oregon, Haystack Rock is a gigantic sea stack right on the beach that's home to some incredible tide pooling and bird life! While one of the most popular locations, some sunset portraits here would be something special!

OSWALD WEST STATE PARK

Oswald West is known for being one of the most spectacular state parks in Oregon, if not in the U.S.! With miles and miles of trails, there's a hike to fit every activity level here with undisputedly stunning views.

Permits + Passes: No day-use fees or parking fees here (woohoo!), and no permit needed if your wedding is under 50 people. If your wedding is over 50 people you can find the Special Use Permit application here!

Dog Friendly: Yes! As long as they are leashes and not disrupting other visitors or wildlife.

Recommended Locations:

Short Sand Beach
A popular surfing and boogie boarding location, Short Sand Beach is a tucked away cove that's protected from crazy weather. A short 1.2 mile walk from the parking lot, it's an unbelievably beautiful walk that leads you right onto the beach. You'll be surrounded by cliffs, big trees, and will likely see sea stars and other tide pool creatures on the rocks!

Elk Flats and the Devil's Cauldron Overlook

About 2.9 miles round trip, this hike is one of the most beautiful and dramatic places we've ever been in Oregon! The trail towards the end is a bit steep, but worth it for the insane views you get of the massive cliffs, sea save glittering blue water below.

Cape Falcon

A 4.5 mile roundtrip hike with so many highlights along the way. You'll have views of short sand beach from above and a little detour to get down to the beach, a view of Neahkahnie Mountain, sections through old growth forest. It's a gorgeous part of the Oregon Coast Trail and you'll hear the crashing waves below throughout the hike.

CAPE KIWANDA STATE NATURAL AREA

Famous for it's gigantic dunes (some 250 ft. tall!), sandstone formations carved by millions of years of waves and weather, and sandy beaches stretching in either direction, Cape Kiwanda is the perfect spot for an unreal coastal elopement. You can even see Haystack Rock in the distance as you look north towards Cannon Beach.

Permits + Passes: $10 day-use pass / no permit needed for elopements under 50 people

Dog Friendly: Yes! Dogs must be leashed but are welcome.

BROOKINGS

We saved the best for last on this list, because Brookings has SO much to offer that it would be hard to beat if we put it higher up on this list. And is only 30 minutes from Redwood State and National Park if you wanna hit up both for your special day! From hidden beaches, to some of the most insane rock formations (hence, the name Natural Bridges), with foamy waves crashing below, it's one of the most spectacular places we've ever been and is one of the most beautiful elopement locations in the world (yeah, I said it). There are TONS of trails we recommend here, but here are some of our favorites.

Permits + Passes Needed: None! There is no day-use fee or permit needed when eloping here if you have under 50 guests.

Dog Friendly: Yes! But dogs must remain on leash at all times and/or not be disruptive to other visitors in areas where they're allowed off leash.

Natural Bridges
Not a trail for the faint of heart, this trail is very narrow and extremely steep but is absolutely stunning. I only recommend this trail to experienced and sure-footed couples that are down for some adventure on their elopement day.

*NOTE: Unfortunately due to erosion, this trail is closed until further notice and after hearing of some recent deaths and in an effort to conserve the nature area, I no longer recommend this spot for elopements. However, it's a great place to visit on your elopement day!*

Harris Beach State Park

A beautiful location anytime of year! Rocky outcroppings and sea stacks make this place absolutely teeming with sea life, and makes for some extremely dramatic sunsets. In the winter people come to watch the dramatic storms roll in, in the spring it's bustling with new life...there's truly no bad time to visit.


Secret Beach

A 1.8 mile hike out and back this trail rivals the beauty of Natural Bridges without the nerve-wracking trail. A bit of a steep climb coming back up the trail, but absolutely worth it for the gorgeous views and photo opportunities. You'll have the quintessential sea stacks that make the Oregon Coast so beautiful, and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore.

Arch Rock State Park

Named after the massive arched rock that sits in the Pacific Ocean, Arch Rock State Park is full of interesting and unique rock formations that would make for the most romantic tucked away elopement ceremony! There are trails to go from here to Secret Beach, multiple view points, and no shortage of things to explore.


Ariya's Beach

A little hidden gem, but no less beautiful than the other beaches on this list. Ariya's Beach is a lesser visited beach that is full of wacky sand and rock formations like much of the rest of the coast but without the crowds. Beautiful sea grasses line the short, and if you visit at low tide you can explore the rock formations and all of the sea life they hold.

BLACKLOCK CLIFFS

Located in Floras Lake State Park, these unique black and gray cliffs are a wild shift from the rest of the surrounding areas burnt oranges and peachy sandstone cliffs, but are so beautiful! With breath taking view points from some of the higher lookouts in the area, it's a magical place full of elegance that reminds us a little bit of Scotland.

Permits + Passes: No day-use fees or permits required for elopements under 50 people.

Dog Friendly: Yes! Dogs are welcome and may be off leash in some areas.

check out our guide: "the best places to elope on the oregon coast" here

WHERE TO STAY FOR YOUR OREGON COAST ELOPEMENT

Oregon has some of the best places to stay in the whole country (in my opinion at least lol)! There's no shortage of cozy and beautifully designed Airbnbs, VRBO's, boutique hotels, you name it.

Our Tips for Choosing a Place to Stay for Your Elopement:

  • Choose a place that has great natural light! A place can have beautiful design and great architecture, but if there isn't much light your photos will fall flat. So aim for a place with lots of windows! Your hair and makeup team will thank you too.
  • Make sure your host is okay with events if you plan on hosting your elopement dinner/reception there. Often if as listing says they don't allow parties or events, if you just message the host and explain that you're hosting a dinner for <20 people they're usually okay with it. But at least give them a heads up that it'll be your home base for your elopement!
  • If you're bringing your pets along, make sure they're pet friendly. This one seems kind of obvious, but it's easy to get caught up in planning and forget a few things along the way!
  • Make sure to Google Maps how far it is from where you want to do your ceremony and your photos before booking. This is something your photographer or planner can help you with as you plan your day with them. But the last thing you want is to arrive and realize you have hours of driving to do on your wedding day!

    Here's a list of our favorite places to stay for your elopement:

RAVEN HILL STUDIO – ARCH CAPE, OR

2 guests · 1 bedroom · 1 bed · 1 bath
Nearby Elopement Locations: Arch Cape, Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park, Oswald West State Park, Hug Point

A short walk to the beach, and a deck that looks out to Oswald West State Park, clean lines, and beautiful light make this the perfect elopement getaway. Everything you need within walking distance and there's plenty of space for a bbq and yard space to lounge.

MODERN BEACH COTTAGE – TIERRA DEL MAR, OR

4 guests · 2 bedrooms · 2 beds · 1 bath
Nearby Elopement Locations: Cape Kiwanda

Cute, cozy, with warm wood and and a hot tub this place is the most adorable little elopement getaway! It would be the perfect place to get ready with two of your VIPs and your dog before going out to explore Cape Kiwanda for some of the most beautiful views on the Oregon Coast.

SOAPSTONE WOODLAND RIVER RETREAT – NECANICUM, OR

8 guests · 2 bedrooms · 5 beds · 2 baths
Nearby Elopement Locations: Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach, Arch Cape

Located on 22 acres in the Unincorporated Clatsop County, the Soapstone Woodland Retreat is the ultimate private getaway with the most unique architecture of any place on this list! And it's dog friendly!

RIVER CABAAN – MID-CENTURY RIVER FRONT CABIN – TILLAMOOK, OR

5 guests · 2 bedrooms · 3 beds · 1 bath
Nearby Elopement Locations: Under 1 hour to Cape Kiwanda, Arch Cape (Hug Point, Arch Cape), and Oswald West State Park (Elk Flats, Short Sand Beach, and Cape Falcon)

Featured on the Magnolia Network this place is the perfect riverfront getaway for you and a handful of guests. With 300 feet of riverfront, a covered outdoor seating area, fire pit, deck, and cozy living space, it's the perfect design forward getaway annnnnd just look at all those windows!

OUR PLAACE – BEACHFRONT OASIS – NESKOWIN, OR

10 guests · 4 bedrooms · 7 beds · 2 baths
Nearby Elopement Locations: Cape Kiwanda

Owned by a fellow wedding photographer, this place was designed with some of the most beautiful beachy photo vibes in mind. You even have your own private beach to say your vows, and a deck to kick back and watch the sunset. With space for all of your VIPS, a beautiful dining area, and a cozy fireplace to end the night, if you're looking for a place where you can do it all.

THE HAYSTACK HAUS – CANNON BEACH, OR

4 guests · 2 bedrooms · 2 beds · 1 baths
Nearby Elopement Locations: Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach (named after the famous Haystack Rock here!), Arch Cape, Oswald West State Park

The Haystack Haus is no stranger to elopements! A beautifully designed cozy cabin just a few minutes from the in-famous Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, this place has all of the amenities you could need and is just a short walk from town. They even have add on's like wine, cake, cookies, bonfire kits, and snack plates to make your experience even more romantic.

WOODSY OCEANSIDE A-FRAME – TILLAMOOK, OR

8 guests · 3 bedrooms · 6 beds · 2 baths
Nearby Elopement Locations: Cape Meares (Tunnel Beach) and Cape Kiwanda

A beautifully renovated 1970's A-frame with artistic modern touches that are a design lovers dream. Private and spacious, it's perfect for hosting your small group or just the two of you! And only a one minute drive from the beach! You'll have plenty nearby to do like visiting Tunnel Beach, Cape Meares Scenic Viewpoints, and Cape Kiwanda if you're up for a little bit of a drive.

HOW TO GET MARRIED IN OREGON: OREGON MARRIAGE LICENSE LAWS

In Oregon you can pick up a marriage license from any county office and it's valid throughout the whole state! You do not need to get a marriage license in the county you're getting married in. The state of Oregon has these requirements for a couple to legally get married:

  • Application fee is $60.00
  • Minimum age to marry is 17.
  • Waiting Period: There’s a 3 day waiting period.
  • License Validity Time: You'll have 60 days from the day you get the license to return it to the auditors office.
  • Residency: You do not need to be an Oregon resident to apply for a license or be married in the state.
  • Witnesses: Witnesses are not necessary to apply for a license, but state law requires that at least two witnesses be present at the ceremony. Witnesses should be at least 18 years old. 

    Need an extra witness? I'm happy to witness your ceremony! But did you also know that I'm ordained too? If you bring along a witness or two I'm happy to officiate your ceremony too!
  • Do I file a document after the marriage ceremony?: The person who conducted the marriage must complete the original marriage application form and license within 10 days of the ceremony, and the application with the signature must be delivered to the same county clerk’s office that issued the marriage license.

THE BEST OREGON COAST ELOPEMENT VENDORS

Florists:

Planners/Coordinator:

Hair/Makeup Artists:

Pet Wedding Day Coordinator:

Officiants

OREGON COAST ELOPEMENT PACKING CHECKLIST

ELOPEMENT DAY ESSENTIALS

  • Your printed permit(s)
  • Your vows
  • Rings
  • Florals (bouquet, boutonnière, flower crown, etc.)
  • Shoes you'll wear for photos or ceremony if not your boots
  • Your wedding attire (if you aren't hiking in it)
  • Any ceremony decor (arches, potted plants, floral arrangements)

HIKING ESSENTIALS

  • Hiking boots
  • Layers (weather can change in an instant, so be prepared for any weather)
  • Rain jacket
  • Puffy jacket
  • Flashlight
  • Headlamp
  • Snacks
  • Plenty of water
  • Tissues or hankie (for all of those happy tears)
  • Toilet paper (if you're planning on being at a location away from facilities)
  • Blister pads + first aid (as a former wilderness first responder I always have a first aid kit with me too!)

If you're bringing along your dog:

  • Breakfast and dinner for your dog
  • Any special leash or collar (flower collar, bowtie, etc.)
  • Harness
  • Poop bags
  • Treats
  • CBD treats (if you have a dog that would benefit from them)
  • Towel in case things get soggy
hudson valley wedding photographers the cardinals

We're Natasha and Brian! Your Oregon Coast elopement photographers, dog petters, and donut eaters focused on creating the dreamiest and intentional photos of your elopement. But we're so much more than just photographers. When you work with us, you get built in Oregon Coast elopement planning experts, guides for all of the most beautiful spots, snack holders, dress fluffers, tissue providers, and friends.

We know exactly what it's like to elope, because that's what we did too! We eloped on a misty August day on Mt. Baker with our sweet dog Fern, 7 of our closest friends, and it couldn't have been more us. Creating an experience that's undeniably you and honors your relationship is what we know best.

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OREGON ELOPEMENT PACKAGES

01

02

03

SUNRISE/SUNSET

FULL DAY

HALF DAY

For that couple that's ready to pack in every experience they can from sun up to sun down. This package is perfect if you want sunrise and sunset coverage so you get the best of both worlds! This time can be split however you'd like throughout the day, so we don't miss a thing.

The sweet spot for all of the essentials. We'll cover your getting ready photos, head to your ceremony location, go for a hike, eat-drink-and-be-merry, visit the most beautiful locations for photos, have a romantic dinner.

Short and sweet for the couple that's all about keeping it simple. We'll cover your I do's, go on a short hike or visit your favorite local spots, and take some damn sweet photos along the way.

~ 8 hours of coverage

~ premium bespoke wedding album

~ timeline + location planning

~ guides, questionnaires + resources

to inspire the best adventure ever

~ sneak peek gallery

~ travel + tax included within the PNW

~10 hours split between sunrise and sunset

~ premium bespoke wedding album

~ timeline + location planning

~ guides, questionnaires + resources

to inspire the best adventure ever

~ sneak peek gallery

~ travel + tax included within the PNW

~ 4 hours of coverage

~ timeline planning + location planning

~ guides, questionnaires + resources

to inspire the best adventure ever

~ sneak peek gallery

~ travel + tax included within the PNW

$4,800

$6,000

$7,400

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You only do this once, so use the contact form below to reach and let's make this the most intentional, most fun, most you Oregon Coast elopement out there.