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THE BLOG

the ultimate guide to YOUR OREGON ELOPEMENT

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO PLAN A PERFECT OREGON ELOPEMENT

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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 SHAPIRO

OREGON ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER

IN THIS GUIDE


The Best Time of Year to Elope in Oregon
The Best Elopement Locations in Oregon and Permits
Where to Stay for Your Oregon Elopement
How to Get Married in Oregon: OR Marriage License Laws
The Best Elopement Vendors in Oregon
How to Elope in Oregon: Your Checklist
Meet Your Oregon Elopement Photographers
Oregon Elopement Photography Packages
PNW Elopement Planning Resources

Oregon is one of the most beautiful places to elope in the Pacific Northwest (and honestly, in the whole country if we're being real), and for good reason! You'll have access to everything from snow capped mountains, to lush forests, some of the most beautiful coastline in the world (NatGeo said it, so it must be true), tons and tons of breathtaking waterfalls, you name it! There's something for just about everyone. There's something just so magical about saying your vows as the waves crash below you while you're standing on a cliff over looking sea stacks, or sharing your first look at each other in the shadow of Mt. Hood while the sunrises around you – c'mon, it's straight out of a movie. And if you're anything like me, you've wanted your life to feel like a movie at LEAST once, right? And as an Oregon elopement photographer, it's my job to do exactly that!

Now that I've got you dreaming about eloping here, you might be wondering where to start to make it all happen! Sp in this guide we'll be covering everything you need to know to make your Oregon elopement nothing less than spectacularly dreamy, fun, and stress free. So let's jump right in!

THE BEST TIME OF YEAR FOR YOUR OREGON ELOPEMENT

Oregon Is one of those magical places that is beautiful no matter what time of year you visit, and like we've mentioned in pretty much of other section of this guide (lol), the time of year you visit can vary quite a bit based on which location you choose for your elopement.

SUMMER
While summer is by far the most popular time of year to visit, it's for a good reason! Pacific Northwest summers are absolutely spectacular. Warm and dry, with plenty of sunshine and cool breezes, it's filled with wildflowers, days at the beach, stunning sunsets, and access to some of the best hiking in the country. However, with that comes navigating the crowds. The beauty of an Oregon summer is unmatched, so people flock to just about every part of the state from far and wide. But if views and perfect weather are what you're after, there are plenty of ways to beat the crowds and have an elopement day that's all about you! If you're planning on eloping in the summer, we always recommend choosing a weekday and potentially eloping at sunrise to avoid the bulk of crowds, but this depends on your location too. We have lots of low key secret locations we recommend for our couples!

FALL
In our opinion, fall in Oregon is one of the most underrated times of year! With all of the fall colors aglow, and cooler temperature, foggy days, and moody light, it gives that quintessential PNW vibe. And the best part is you'll beat the bulk of the summer crowds! Some of the more mountainous locations like Mt. Hood may have some snow late in the fall, but most of our favorite places will still be accessible and will be absolutely spectacular with fall colors!

WINTER

Winter in the PNW is typically known for being moody and rainy, but that doesn't mean it's not the perfect time to elope for those that want that Twilight vibe for the elopement day. And unlike many areas of the country, Oregon stays very green in the winter! With all of the evergreens in the lush forests and plenty of moss, you won't be subjected to the gray that many places this time of year have. Locations like Mt. Hood National Forest, Crater Lake National Park, Sparks Lake will be winter wonderlands with plenty of fluffy snow to play in too. The perfect opportunity to cozy up in a cabin with a blazing fire and plenty of hot chocolate on your wedding day. And If that doesn't sound downright magical I don't know what to tell you lol. Better yet, you'll have almost all locations to yourself too!

SPRING

Like winter, Spring is typically rainy and foggy in Oregon, however if you choose to elope in the Spring you'll be greeted with cheery wildflowers, glowing greenery, and cascading waterfalls as the snow starts to melt in the mountains. Saying your I do's just as the earth wakes up sounds pretty dang romantic if I do say so myself too. Most locations with the exception of some of the mountains will be open for exploring, and while it's still be chilly, misty days make for some of the most cinematically beautiful photos and you won't have to contend with tourists. Just think, you say your I do's at the base of a misty waterfall, moss covered walls all around you, and then hike through an evergreen forest with towering trees on your wedding day? Perfection.

couple dances on the cliffs in ecola state park laughing as they embrace during sunset for their oregon elopement

THE BEST PLACES FOR YOUR OREGON ELOPEMENT

Oregon is home to some of the most spectacularly diverse landscape in the country! With everything from waterfalls to lush forest, desert, beach, snow capped mountains, there's no shortage of options for your perfect elopement location. Below you'll find some of our favorites and all of the info you need to get you started with planning.

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK

Crater Lake, the only national park in Oregon (and a very cool eerie place in general), is one of the most special places to visit because not only is the lake itself unbelievably gorgeous, but is the remnants of a collapsed volcano! The crystal clear waters make a sparkling backdrop for a magical elopement!

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!

Distance from Portland: 1.5-2 hours

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

CANNON BEACH

Easily the most popular locations on the Oregon Coast, Cannon Beach is iconic! If you've been looking for some of the best places to elope on the Oregon Coast for a while, you've probably seen this one by now because it sits at the top of just about every list out there! Home to the famous Haystack Rock, 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.

Distance from Portland: 1.5 hours

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!

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. It's one of favorite places to elope on the Oregon Coast.

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)

Distance from Portland: 1.5 hours

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!

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.

Distance from Portland: 5 hours

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.

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!

Distance from Portland: 1.5-2 hours

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

TRILLIUM LAKE

With views of the iconic Mt. Hood, crystal clear waters Trillium Lake is one of the most popular lakes to elope at in Oregon. Because it's so dang beautiful and easy to get to!

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!

Distance from Portland: 1.5-2 hours

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

MT HOOD NATIONAL FOREST

As the highest point in all of Oregon, with 12 named glacier fields, an iconic shape, and the fact that it's a pretty badass volcano, makes Mt. Hood one of the most spectacular places to get married in Oregon! You'll have access to alpine lakes, towering trees, and who doesn't think getting married on a volcano is cool?

Permits + Passes: No day-use fees or parking fees here (woohoo!), and no permit needed if your wedding is under 50 people.

Distance from Portland: 1.5-2.5 hours

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

SPARKS LAKE – DESCHUTES NATIONAL FOREST

Picture exchanging vows under the vast open sky, surrounded by towering pines and the reflection of snow-capped peaks – it's the ultimate backdrop for your intimate, adventure-filled elopement just like yours!

Permits + Passes: No permit required for this location since it's national forest! Woohoo! There is however a $5 day use fee or you can purchase an annual Northwest Forest pass ($30).

Distance from Portland: 4-4.5 hours

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

PAINTED HILLS – JOHN DAY FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT

Painted Hills National Monument is like stepping into a dream painted by nature herself (pop off, mama nature). Imagine wandering through a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors, feeling the earth beneath your feet, and sharing intimate vows surrounded by a stunning sunrise in Oregon's high desert? Ugh, dreamy.

Permits + Passes: You'll need a Special Use Permit ($50) to elope here and you can apply for it here!

Distance from Portland: 4 hours

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

SMITH ROCK STATE PARK

With its towering rock formations, winding trails, and the stunning Crooked River running through it, it's like stepping into a scene straight out of Western. Known for it's spectacular hiking and rock climbing, it's perfect for those that want something dramatic and a little more adventurous!

Permits + Passes: Typically Smith Rock requires a special use permit for couples who plan to get married within the park and you can reserve the amphitheater for up to 50 guests! You'll need to call the park office to get a permit and make a reservation: You can reach them at 541-548-7501 extension 1!

Distance from Portland: 3 hours

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

a couple in wedding attire hikes down to the beach for their oregon elopement photos at secret beach
polaroid of an oregon elopement at hug point recreation area

WHERE TO STAY FOR YOUR OREGON ELOPEMENT

Finding a comfy place to be your home base during your elopement is big key to making the most of the whole experience! Annnnnnd is an incredible way to start your elopement day (and your photos) off with the best vibes. We always recommend staying some place that you know you'll feel your best in if you can budget for it! Having a cute place to relax makes a big difference in what your elopement photos will feel like too if you opt to have us join you for your getting ready portion of your day.

Helping you find the best places to stay for your elopement (everything from Airbnbs to VRBO, boutique hotels, camping, etc.) is one of our favorite things to do when planning your elopement! Options can vary quite a bit based on exactly where you're planning to elope, so we make recommendations based on your chosen location but you can check out some of our favorite in our curated Airbnb list below!

CHECK OUT OUR FAVORITE AIRBNBS HERE!

a couple holds hands as they want in front of a waterfall on the beach at hug point recreation area for their oregon elopement

HOW TO GET YOUR OREGON MARRIAGE LICENSE

In Oregon you can pick up a marriage license from any county clerks 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 $50-75 depending on the county
  • Minimum age to marry is 18.
  • 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 a Washington 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 12 years of age. Need witnesses? We're happy to be your two witnesses!

Check out our step-by-step guide on How to Get Your Oregon Marriage License here!

WHAT VENDORS DO WE NEED FOR OUR OREGON ELOPEMENT?

When you book your elopement with us we are always more than happy to provide you with customized vendor recommendations based on exactly where you plan to elope but here are a few of the vendors you should consider hiring to make your day the best day possible!

AN ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER – hey that's us!

ELOPEMENT VIDEOGRAPHER – wait a sec, that's also us!

ELOPEMENT OFFICIANT – Officiant Jimmie or Cherise Klosner are two of our favorite badasses to work with!

FLORIST – Oregon has some of the most talented florist imaginable, and we're happy to recommend some vendors to match the specific style you have in mind and where you're eloping, but here are some of our favorites: Wildflower Portland | Brier + Ivy | Caroline Reusen Floral | Westerwisp Dried Florals

HAIR + MAKEUP ARTIST – many of our couples opt to do their hair and makeup themselves but if there was ever a time to treat yo self, this is it!

PRIVATE CHEF – we're all about pampering on your elopement day, so again, treat yo self.

BAKERY/CAKE – if you're fellow sweet tooth havers like me, then having a cake or desserty item on hand is always a must. So consider visiting one of the local bakeries to pick up something special for your day!

groom stands in front of large redwood tree in portlands hoyt arboretum on his oregon elopement day
bride stands in front of a large redwood tree in portlands hoyt arboretum on her oregon elopement day

HOW TO ELOPE IN OREGON: YOUR OREGON ELOPEMENT CHECKLIST

Just starting your elopement planning journey? This is where you should start!

  1. Choose the time of year you want to elope.
  2. Hire your Oregon elopement photographer.
  3. Pick a date.
  4. Choose an amazing elopement location.
  5. Book your lodging.
  6. Hire your badass vendor team.
  7. Apply for any national park, state park, or city wedding permits (we'll talk about how to know if you need one later in this blog)
  8. Apply for your Oregon marriage license.
  9. Get married! Woohoo!

OREGON ELOPEMENT PACKAGES

Looking for your Oregon elopement photographer and videographer team? Someone to plan your whole day and guide you through the process the whoooole way through? Check out our packages below!

CHECK OUT OUR OREGON ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY

+ VIDEOGRAPHY PACKAGES HERE!

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MEET YOUR OREGON ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHERS

We're Natasha and Brian! Your Oregon 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 elopement planning experts, guides for all of the parks most beautiful trails, 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.

THINK WE'RE A GOOD FIT? SAME HERE!

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

PNW ELOPEMENT GUIDES

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

ELOPEMENT PLANNING RESOURCES, MADE JUST FOR YOU

FILL OUT OUR INQUIRY FORM NOW