Your Guide to Creating a Memorable, One-of-a-Kind Elopement Adventure in the Inescapable Beauty of Oregon
If eloping in the stunning Pacific Northwest has ever crossed your mind, chances are you have mulled over the best location to officially say “I do.” The Pacific Northwest is a treasure map of unbelievable elopement locations and provides the magic, intimacy, and romance required for an unforgettable elopement experience. If you are having trouble determining which location is right for your elopement adventure, you’re not alone! With iconic beaches, misty mornings, and ethereal forests, it can be challenging to choose which location is most reflective of your love story.
Whether you are still mulling over your elopement location, or are ready to dive into the details of how to elope in Oregon, this blog post will walk you through the process of creating a day that honors your love. So pull your partner close, let your imagination run wild, and together, we can dream up the perfect celebration (complete with traditions that are important to you.) You may just find that the decision to elope in Oregon is your most authentic and exciting adventure yet.
Why Elope in Oregon?
Those who have visited this Pacific Northwest beauty will know the magic that Oregon brings. From picturesque rocky coastlines to ski slopes with a bustling social scene, Oregon has something for just about everyone. If you close your eyes and imagine your perfect elopement celebration, what do you see? Dynamic backgrounds? A foodie’s dream restaurant tour? Glittering ski days? Whatever picture you have in your mind, there is a good chance that Oregon has you covered.
Below you will find a few of the reasons I love Oregon (especially when it comes to celebrating love!) See if any of the following resonate with you:
Let’s be honest, the natural beauty and emotional landscapes Oregon provides are the stuff photographer’s dreams are made of. If you and your partner have ever defined your love by your connection with nature, outdoor adventure, or getting lost in the wilderness, then Oregon is (undoubtedly) for you. Don’t get me wrong, Oregon’s city life has its perks (after all, Portland was recently named “one of the world’s greatest places.”) But the reason Oregon is so special to nature lovers is the ease of access to the wilderness, starry night skies, and quiet trails.
Year Round Accessibility
Whether you dream of slow summer days for tying the knot or feel inspired by cascading mountains and the sparkle of a fresh snowfall, choosing to elope in Oregon means year-round accessibility. This can be especially beneficial if you have a particular date when you would like to elope. While some parts of the country may appear drab or lack their usual appeal during cold winter months or the muddy rains of spring, Oregon provides locations with unmistakable beauty twelve months out of the year.
Many couples imagine their elopement celebration with images of a certain backdrop, activity, or feature that represents their love. From bustling cityscapes to the rolling plains of the high desert, to iconic beaches and stunning forests, ripe with potential elopement activities, Oregon’s diverse landscape draws many love birds in. For the couple that is split between having an adventure in the wilderness, and relaxing in the seat of luxury, eloping in Oregon provides the opportunity to do both.
Where to Elope in Oregon
Feeling intrigued about all that Oregon has to offer? Already googling flower crown florists in the area? Can’t wait to check out Oregon’s newest snowshoe trail or whiskey bar? Get ready to up the excitement level ten-fold as we uncover my favorite locations for couples to elope in Oregon. Before we dive in, consider this: narrowing down the type of atmosphere you would like to be married in, and the time of year you plan to host your celebration can provide some excellent guidelines for choosing the perfect elopement location.
Open to a world of possibilities? (I was hoping you may say that!) Sometimes your most authentic elopement location is a place you have never even heard of yet:
Elope in Oregon: The Coast
For some, the power and grace of the ocean are a symbol of love, connection, and the vastness of partnership. If this resonates, you are in luck: Oregon is home to some of the most stunning coastal elopement locations.
Oregon’s Northern Coast
Oregon’s Northern coast hosts some of the most iconic views and landmarks, such as Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach. While these more popular beaches can provide an incredible backdrop to your elopement, keep in mind they are often tourist destinations, so eloping at sunrise may be your best bet to have the beach to yourself. Another pro tip? Consider the tides when determining when and where you would like to elope! Your elopement planner can help you determine which tide level is best for powerful photos and a serene ceremony.
Oregon’s Southern Coast
Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor is a state park on the southwestern tip of Oregon. This location provides gorgeous hikes, several scenic overlooks, premium beach access, and perhaps most importantly, several excellent locations for you and your sweetheart to “make it official.” Just as impressive and slightly less crowded, this could serve as a great location for couples who are looking for a more private ceremony.
Elope in Oregon: Landmarks
Not the beach-going type? Inspired by dynamic landmarks that may forever leave an imprint on your heart and soul? Those who elope in Oregon have access to a variety of unique displays that allow couples to connect with the profound beauty of eloping in nature:
The Columbia River Gorge
If spectacular river canyons, deep ravines, rocky cliffs, and a sense of magic in the mist is your thing, then the Columbia River Gorge could be your key to an authentic Oregon elopement. (A bonus of eloping at this location? The option for a campfire for an evening photo shoot under a sky of Oregon stars.)
For couples with a passion for winter sports (or those who are considering a cozy winter elopement), Mount Hood is a wonderland. With a ski resort nearby, Mount Hood also provides the option to snowshoe, cross-country ski, or simply say your “I do’s” with an iconic backdrop. Of course, this location is gorgeous any time of year, but it feels especially magical under a heavy blanket of snow found in the winter months.
Those who elope in Oregon generally have one thing in common: an appreciation, respect, and love for the undeniable majesty of nature. Crater Lake takes natural beauty to a whole new level and provides snowy mountains and deep lake views in a location that can only be described as otherworldly. (Pro tip: Crater Lake often comes with a challenging drive, especially in winter months. Speak with your elopement planner to ensure your location is accessible during the time of year you plan to tie the knot.)
Elope in Oregon: Other Unique Oregon Locations
I’ve said it before, and it’s worth saying again: Oregon has it all! If the misty surrealism of beaches, rivers, and mountains doesn’t light your fire as you plan to elope in Oregon, consider these alternatives:
The Bend area
If you want to balance your outdoor adventure with cozy restaurants, an intriguing town, and a playful community, then look no further than Bend! Known for being a ski town, this village-like location is warm and engaging for visitors from all over the world, skiers or otherwise! Not only does Bend provide stunning views for photos, but also provides an exquisite location for a honeymoon once you have said your vows.
The Oregon High Desert
For some, love is best represented by a windswept prairie, painted hills, endless blue skies, and striking rock faces. If you have always felt a deep connection to the desert landscape, the Oregon high desert could be the exact location you are looking for. Intimate, private, and this backdrop provides a romantic location for those looking to elope in Oregon in a unique way.
How to Elope in Oregon: Planning Your Elopement
Gone are the days of a hush-hush elopement celebration, a dash to the courthouse, and a quick cell phone photo of your special today. In fact, these days can be as glamorous (or as simple!) as your heart desires. Because of this, planning the intricate details of your celebration is a must once you have decided to elope in Oregon. (Luckily for you, planning elopements just so happens to be my specialty!)
Decide Who to Include
If there is a special someone in your life who you would like to include when you elope in Oregon, let’s make sure they get the invite! While many couples choose to bask in the intimacy of each other’s presence during an elopement, other couples know of a special friend or family member they would like to be present for the big day. Determining who you include is an important first step in the planning process, so you can ensure your location is accessible (and large enough to accommodate) the guests you bring along. (Helpful hint: some states, including Oregon, require multiple witnesses at the wedding. Consider this when planning your guest list!)
Create a Timeline
When you plan to elope in Oregon (or anywhere in the Pacific Northwest!) timelines are crucial to ensure you have adequate time to incorporate the activities and photos you want for your special day. Generally, sunrise and sunset are critical hours and your photographer will want to “capture the moment” during these times. Make sure you give yourself plenty of leadway to be at the designated location when the golden hours occur.
Learn the Logistics
Each state has very specific requirements when it comes to getting married. Ensure you are familiar with Oregon’s marriage laws so there are no surprises come your way on elopement day.
Specific Oregon requirements include:
- 2 witnesses over age 18 (your photographer can be one!)
- A wedding license (valid for 60 days after application)
- A 3-day waiting period
- An officiant certified to conduct weddings in the State of Oregon
Additionally, double-check to see if you need any permits in the place you plan to tie the knot! Oftentimes, state parks and national parks will not only require a park pass but also a marriage permit to hold a celebration on park property.
Book Your Vendors
That’s right, just because you are eloping doesn’t mean that you can’t bring vendors into the mix! From elegant flowers and picnic spreads to wedding cakes and flower arrangements, there is nothing off-limits when it comes to your elopement! So if you can dream it and want to include it in your celebration (or your photos) make sure you book with vendors ahead of time. This will ensure they are plenty prepared to provide the services you need when you elope in Oregon.
Create a Packing List (Check it Twice)
Your elopement should be your opportunity to dress in a way that makes you feel confident in who you are: whether that means a flowing white dress, a three-piece tux, hiking boots (or a combination of these things!) But keep in mind, your packing list will include more than just the ceremony outfit. Consider these categories when creating your packing list:
- Ceremony outfit
- Ceremony shoes
- Ceremony coat/shawl
- Sentimental Items (something borrowed, something blue, letters from family, etc.)
- Ceremonial items (prayer shawl, Bible, smash glass, etc.)
Adventure/Activity Gear (when applicable)
- Equipment for elopement activities (ex. Hiking equipment, ski equipment, etc.)
- Outfit for hiking/elopement activity (for those who don’t want to hike in their nice attire!)
- First aid kit (just in case)
- Sewing kit (for those last-minute tweaks!)
- Plenty of snacks and hydration so you feel your best on elopement day
- Wedding license
- Picture ID’s
- Park permits
- Toiletry kit
- Copy of your timeline
- List of vendors’ contact info
While this list only provides a brief overview of things to bring along, it is a good jumping-off point when creating your own unique packing list. If something falls through the cracks, no sweat! In most scenarios, your planner or photographer will have some tricks up their sleeve to help you navigate the celebration (even if something was left behind.) At the end of the day, this celebration is about you, your partner, and your love for adventure. Leave the stress at the door, and allow the planner to handle the rest.
Are You and Your Partner Ready to Elope in Oregon? Let’s Talk.
My guess is that if you are considering what it means to elope in Oregon, you understand the power and magic that this state holds, or have a personal connection to the sandy beaches and unfettered wilderness that Oregon has to offer. Whether you have never visited or have always called Oregon home, I believe this Pacific Northwest gem holds the power for you and your partner to create the most awe-inspiring adventure of your lives (complete with the photos to prove it!)
If you are ready to elope in Oregon, have additional questions about what an elopement looks like, or are curious whether this style of marriage celebration is right for you, let’s chat. If the magic and intrigue of Oregon are calling, then I can’t wait to help you answer. While there may be a lot of elopement photographers out there, my extensive knowledge (and love!) of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, allow me to help you create the elopement of your dreams. I can’t wait to dream with you soon.