An Elopement Photographer’s Guide for Eloping in Oregon in 2023


SO EXCITING!! You’re going to absolutely LOVE how magical and diverse this PNW state truly is. There are a ton of things to consider when starting to plan on eloping in Oregon – so let’s get into the nitty-gritty so you can get rolling with your dream elopement for you and your partner!

Couple gazing at a beautiful forest treeline view during an engagement session at sunset

What to figure out first for your Oregon elopement:

Choose your Oregon elopement ceremony location:

There are a ton of different factors that will impact your elopement, but choosing your location is 100% one of the most important parts of your day!

Couple walking through a field of tall grass along the Oregon Coast at sunset

Your location should just feel right for you and your partner — it should be somewhere you feel alive, overjoyed and a place that you and your partner can totally just focus on each other and truly be in the moment of your elopement day!

When choosing your elopement location – here are a few convo-sparking questions to ask yourselves when you first sit down with your partner to discuss it:

  • What type of scenery do we feel connected to? 
  • What landscapes or views fill you with a sense of happiness, inspiration, and peace?
  • Consider the season you’ve chosen to elope – what types of scenery are best at that time of year?
  • How accessible do you want your spot to be?
  • How many people you would be comfortable having around or how much privacy you would be willing to give up for a Instagram-trending view? You can also find great seclusion at “hidden gem” locations that are just as gorgeous as the Instagram trendy spots — just less well known. Eloping at sunrise is another way to get more privacy at a typically busy spot.
  • Do you want your location to have sentimental meaning to you and your partner? 
  • Do you want others to be involved in your elopement or just you and your partner? If you do opt to invite guests, be intentional with how many people you invite, aware of any accessibility or travel needs, and decide on how much of the day they will be involved in!
Couple gazing off at rock formations of a cliff on the Oregon Coast at sunset

A few things to remember when choosing your location:

Leave no trace

Leave No Trace is an outdoor code that helps to preserve outdoor spaces/locations as well as our access to them by making sure that we are enjoying them in a sustainable way. You want to be able to return back to the spot you had your elopement at and have it still be in the same, beautiful condition as it was when you were there on your wedding day! Make sure to take any trash with you two when you leave, don’t pick any of the environment up and take it with you (sand, rocks, etc) and staying on marked trails and paths can make the biggest difference in preserving our world for future years to come!


Many locations on public lands (like National Parks, State Parks, National Forest Land, BLM Land, etc) require permits in order to have a ceremony or have a photographer/videographer document it professionally! Before finalizing your location, make sure you contact the designated person in charge of that location and get first-hand information on what’s required for your specific event. Don’t forget! – I heavily assist my clients during the permit process because there would be nothing worse than showing up to a location + getting asked to leave because of a permit not being properly processed! You don’t have to do it alone at all 🙂

Check the tides

Some rocky locations on the coast, like the Devil’s Punchbowl at the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, for example, can’t be accessed during high tide because of the water levels completely filling the cave! Make sure to plan your day around the tides and wherever you’re heading is going to be accessible.

Couple enjoying a few post-elopement moments with the Groom picking up the Bride and twirling her around

Best elopement locations in Oregon

Oregon truly has some of the most beautiful + diverse terrain I’ve ever seen – you can get anything you want JUST in this state! From lush forests to rocky coastlines to vast deserts all within a day’s drive, eloping in Oregon is seriously the most beautiful option!

Couple exchanging vows at Cape Kiwanda Beach, Oregon at sunset

Near Portland – Colombia River Gorge

Mount Hood

The tallest mountain (and is actually a dormant stratovolcano) in Oregon and only 90 minutes from Portland! Mount Hood and it’s surrounding areas are super unique – you can actually skii year-round here! The Timberline Lodge runs the longest ski/snowboard season in North America and would be a beautiful place to spend time getting ready or enjoying your post-elopement bliss! 

The hiking trails around Mount Hood are also another beautiful option for eloping in Oregon! There is a beautiful waterfall located on the Tamanawas Falls trail that is definitely a must-see or would be a beautiful idea for your elopement location! The McNeil Point Trail or the Lost Lake Butte Trail are another few options that would give you stunning views of Mount Hood! McNeil Point might be better for couples more accustomed to hiking + spending time outdoors, so make sure you prepare properly with safe footwear and supplies if you’re going to be spending time on these hiking trails!  

Latourell Falls

This is the closest waterfall to Portland as a single-plunge waterfall standing at 224-feet. You can choose to hike up above the falls or down below to get a different view – but either one is going to be absolutely incredible. The Latourell Falls Loop Trail is going to be the best place to get the best view of the falls for either kind of view you might be hunting for for your elopement location! Make sure you are wearing proper footwear here to not slip on any of the wet rocks down or around the falls. 

Couple snuggling in the grass to stay warm on the Oregon Coast at sunset

Wahclella Falls

Wahclella Falls is another beautiful waterfall located around 40 miles from Portland! This set of falls definitely is larger than Latourell and can be accessed through the Wahclella Falls Trail! Just like with any waterfall, you’re going to want to make sure you’re wearing proper footwear because the ground and some of the rocks will be wet nearby. The hike is spent being surrounded by a canyon-like environment of moss and forest walking alongside a river – once you get to the falls, you’ll be able to sit on the rocks nearby to get a better look! This is definitely a busier trail and you’ll want to make sure you’re planning your elopement ceremony for a weekday to have a better shot at privacy.

View of just a couple's hands holding eachother while leaning against giant rock formations on the Oregon Coast at sunset

Oregon Coast

Samuel H Boardman Scenic Corridor

This corridor has some of the most beautiful coastline I’ve ever seen. Incredible rock formations and misty beaches stretch the whole way down the Oregon Coast – making it the most beautiful spot for your elopement! This stretch of the coast has numerous pull-offs and hiking trails that are going to fit the most experienced hikers and the couples who just enjoy long leisurely walks on the beach without sweating, lol.

Some of my absolute FAVORITE spots here include the Devil’s Punchbowl, the Natural Bridges, and Cape Ferrelo! Definitely a few must-sees and also some perfect spots to have your elopement!

Birds Eye View of the Natural Bridges at the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor in Brookings, Oregon
A couple embracing in the middle of the Devil's Punchbowl while standing on rocks with waves crashing around them
Couple kissing at sunset while standing on a cliff on the Oregon Coast after their engagement photos

Central + Eastern Oregon

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park is a gorgeous section of the southern Oregon Cascades and absolutely PERFECT for a small, easy-to-get-to elopement. Beautiful mountain views overtop of a gorgeous lake, there really isn’t anything better!

The temperatures at Crater Lake are definitely on the colder-side, so make sure you’re always bringing layers and making sure you keep warm! They do require a permit here to get married (It’s just $50! You can find the full permit information here. Make sure you have at least 6-8 weeks in between the time you apply and the time you’ll need your permit to make sure everything processes in time). October-April is pretty much dominated by snow and winter-weather – Crater Lake actually gets about 42 feet of snow per year which is INSANE. This might alter where we’d be able to have your ceremony if your elopement is within those months, so keep in mind not all of the East and West Rim drives will be open during that time frame due to dangerous road conditions.

Painted Hills

Oregon is one of the most diverse states EVER when it comes to landscapes – it’s crazy that you can find this red dirt and rock in such a green state! Painted Hills is a stunning spot to elope in if you’re wanting more of a Utah-Arizona vibe but don’t want to leave the Pacific-Northwest. The John Day Fossil Beds are acutally one of the seven wonders of Oregon – you must stay on the boardwalk at this location because the fossil beds are INCREDIBLY preserved and would ruin the environment if everyone was treading overtop of them. This location is something fun for you two to explore and enjoy together – it would be perfect for documenting an experience together!

Couple embracing in the grass on the Oregon Coast smiling lovingly at eachother

Willamette Deschutes National Forest

The Willamette Deschutes National Forest has Oregon’s signature greenery and lush treelines and is the perfect elopement location for a more adventurous couple! With this being a short drive to Bend, there are PLENTY of places to stay for your elopement while still maintaining a close driving distance to the forest! This National Forest is known for its alpine lakes and stunning mountain views.

There are tons of waterfalls and rivers to explore, but a few of my favorites would be Tumalo Creek Falls and Proxy Falls!

Couples sunset photos after an elopement at Olympic National Park, Washington

Choosing a date for your Oregon Coast Elopement

When considering the time-frame of your elopement, you’re going to want to take into consideration the location and popularity of the spots you’re interested in having your wedding at!  

Weekday vs weekend elopements

A lot of easily-accessible locations are going to be typically busy on weekends since that is when most people are out adventuring with their families and friends. If the location is a bit harder to get to and requires more of a hike to get there, you’re probably going to have a much-more secluded experience, no matter the time of the week. If you’re wanting to access one of the easier spots but want more privacy, I would definitely recommend heading there for sunrise or a weekday elopement when more people are either at home or at work and not exploring! 

Sunrise vs sunset elopements 

Sunrise and sunset are both the BEST times to get those super-dreamy, ooey-gooey golden light photos that we all love! The light is the softest and most flattering during this time of the day and it just depends on the couple and the elopement location for which time would work best!

Benefits of eloping at sunrise:

Can be more secluded
If you are concerned about how much privacy you are going to have while you are saying your vows to your partner, then a sunrise elopement or intimate wedding might be a good idea—especially if you choose a heavily-trafficked or well-known area.

Potentially better weather
This is entirely area-dependent, but some areas regularly forecast rain more frequently in the afternoon which means that a sunrise elopement increases your chances of clear skies. If you’re eloping in a hot climate or wanting to hike, going for sunrise can also mean cooler temperatures and less sweating.

“Alpenglow” on east-facing locations
If you’re eloping in a mountainous region on a clear day and if the main dramatic view faces east, sunrise is ideal because it means that the sunlight will hit that view first — this causes the mountains to glow with gorgeous pink, orange, and yellow colors.

It’s a great way to start your day
Starting early and having your elopement or intimate wedding ceremony right at sunrise is an incredible way to start out your wedding day. It also gives you plenty of time to relax for the rest of your day and enjoy any other activities that you and your partner want to do!

Couple leading eachother through a forest while smiling and laughing at eachother

Benefits of eloping at sunset

Can be secluded
In the evening, most people, whether they are tourists or locals, tend to return home or wherever they are staying to have dinner, which means that many locations become less busy at sunset. So similar to sunrise, you can get privacy if you say your vows toward sunset. However, this doesn’t hold true for every location, as some spots are particularly known for their sunsets.

You can sleep in
If you decide to do your elopement ceremony at sunset, then you will have more flexibility regarding what time you wake up and be able to get ready in the daylight. If you know that you are not a morning person, you’ll want to keep in mind that a sunrise elopement could potentially leave you groggy and tired on your wedding day—so you may want to seriously consider the benefits of a sunset elopement instead.

Great light for west-facing views
If you are wanting to say your vows with a beautiful west-facing view behind you, then eloping at sunset means that the sun’s final rays will be hitting the features behind you — and if the view behind you includes mountains to the west, then you’d be lucky to see alpenglow towards sunset on a clear day.

You’ll be all warmed up
It can take some people a bit of time to get comfortable being photographed, and your comfortablility of me as your photographer will likely be lowest at the beginning of our time together! A benefit of eloping at sunset is that we will probably have already spent a good chunk of the day together, which means that you will have had time to get more comfortable with having a camera pointed at you — especially right before you say your vows to your partner, which many couples consider to be the most intimate part of an elopement day.  

Couple gazing at the rock formations in the Devil's Punchbowl in Oregon

You can also do both!

It’s also always an option to do a full-day elopement that spans sunrise to sunset or a multi-day elopement where you get to experience both as well. Eloping in Oregon would be a perfect way to incorporate an entire day of joy and fun activities because of how unique the state is! I’d love to help you plan a day that is totally all YOU.

Couple enjoying the moments of being just-married while standing in Olympic National Park at sunset

Seasons in Oregon

Oregon is definitely known for having a more temperate climate, but also being pretty unpredictable! Rainshowers might come and go quickly, so always remember to be flexible and have a rain-plan when eloping in Oregon or other parts of the PNW! Since the environments are so vast (being able to see snow on certain mountains in the summer and getting randomly-hot days in the winter), I think the main thing that changes consistently with the seasons is the sky! You’ll definitely have a harder time finding clear, blue skies in the wintertime but on the other hand, you’ll would hardly ever see moody and dark days in the summertime. 

Whatever the season is, whenever we start planning out what you guys want eloping in Oregon to look like, I’ll be able to tell you when the best time to elope would be to achieve the look you’re aiming for! 

Couple embracing after their elopement in the forest at Olympic National Park in Washington


Bright red, orange and yellow leaves are everywhere and the air is crisp and cool! As the temperatures drop, the sunny days more frequently turn into misty fog as the coast gets more rain and snow begins to fall inland. The months usually last from early September to early November. This is my personal favorite season for eloping in Oregon!


Winters in Oregon are mostly temperate but definitely bring the rain and snow most days. Locations that are at higher elevations are completely closed off due to heavy snow conditions, but the dropped temperatures bring beautiful moody rain + overcast skies to the coast. Elopements and weddings during the late fall and winter most likely are going to have a moodier-feel, but are absolutely beautiful and it would be perfect to end the day by a fire or in a hot tub in a warm, forest cabin. This is one of my favorite Airbnbs that’s going to give you mega-cozy vibes!  The months usually last from mid-November to mid March.

Couple holding eachother and going in for a kiss after their elopement in the forest at Olympic National Park in Washington


The weather ranges from hot and balmy to comfortably cool. Daylight stretches out, starting early with rosy hues in the east and concluding with vibrant after-dinner sunsets over the ocean. The months usually last from July to September.


Spring is a beautiful combination of warm, sunny weather and clouds with rain. It is also the best time to visit waterfalls because of all of the melted snow coming down from the mountain tops! Later in the season brings beautiful wildflowers, which are absolutely stunning as a backdrop for eloping in Oregon. The months usually last from late March to June.

Retro couple standing on the beach at Cape Kiwanda in Oregon after their elopement at sunset

Finding your vendors to help you elope in Oregon

While there is no guide or requirement that you HAVE to have certain vendors (hair & makeup artist, florist, etc.) for your day, partnering with a few high-quality, amazing humans who are on board with helping you create your dream elopement can absolutely elevate your experience and showcase your unique style!

Hiring vendors isn’t necessarily about turning your day of eloping in Oregon into a big production at all, but about getting some help so you don’t have to do everything yourself. Solid vendors means you can relax, knowing some of the big day-of “to do’s” are in the hands of a professional, and you can just sit back and enjoy the experience.

The most common vendors that couples hire for elopements & intimate weddings are florists, hair & makeup artists, officiants, chefs & caterers, and videographers. If you have an idea and aren’t sure who to hire to help, just ask!

Here’s my best advice on how to pick the best high-quality vendors:
Before you hire any vendor, read lots of reviews to make sure they not only have the professional skills required but also fit with the vibe and experience you’re looking for. If a vendor is going to be present on your day, see if you can talk to them on the phone or a video call to get a feel for them and make sure you feel good being around them.

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to looking for vendors, don’t worry one bit! There are plenty of resources to search through, like:  

The Knot

Wedding Wire

Junebug Weddings

Green Wedding Shoes




A couple and their intertwined legs sitting on the beach in Oregon at sunset in their wedding attire

Remember, I have a lot of suggestions for talented vendors based in or around the locations I shoot in frequently — I’d be more than happy to share them all with you! Just ask me!! Here are a few favs to check out and would be perfect for you if you are eloping in Oregon as they are all locals themselves.

Videographer: Alesia Films

Florist: Selva Floral

Coordinator/Planner: Curated Mess Co

Couple holding eachother's faces with joy after their elopement day in Oregon

Legalities of eloping in Oregon

Elopement guide for Oregon marriage licenses and laws 

You will need to attain your marriage license in advance! Even if you are having myself or another officiant sign, you are required to apply for your marriage license yourself. Marriage license requirements vary state-by-state and country-by-country, so it is always important to research your elopement location’s requirements ahead of time.

With Oregon specifically, your marriage license has a three-day waiting period for approval (so make sure you’re timing this right if you’re planning a quick elopement) and is valid for 60 days after that – so as long as you apply before two months and no less than three days before eloping in Oregon, you’ll be good to go The application fee is $60 and you can actually submit your marriage license application online through your county’s website which is super convenient and simple.

Couple exchanging vows at Cape Kiwanda Beach in Oregon at sunset

You will need to bring two witnesses as well with you for it to be an official ceremony! Unfortunately in Oregon, you’re not able to self-solemnize (marry yourselves, basically, without a separate officiant present) so you’ll need to have someone who is ordained to perform a ceremony for eloping in Oregon. This can be someone you hire to do so, or even a friend or close family member who can perform it for you.

I’m actually ordained as well! So if you’re really wanting to keep things small and simple, I can guide you through the entire process and you guys can have a totally unique and customized ceremony just for the both of you.

Couple holding eachother and gazing out at rock formations on the Oregon Coast at sunset

Best honeymoon and exploring spots during and after eloping in Oregon

Eloping in Oregon isn’t the only positive parts about visiting this state – it’s literally one of the most FUN areas with how much there is to do! Hiking, white water rafting, TONS of delicious breweries and restaurants – you’re definitely going to have to checkout some of these spots to celebrate right after your elopement day! Tack these onto the actual elopement experience or make it an entire honeymoon together!

Best views:

  • Crater Lake National Park
  • Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor
  • Mount Hood National Forest
  • Cannon Beach
  • Toketee Falls


White-Water Rafting

Wine Tasting

Book a honeymoon photography session with me!


Dome Sweet Dome

Remodeled Cottage

River Cabaan

The Woodlands House

West Hills Hideaway


Cape Lookout State Park

Mazama Village Campground

Paradise Campground

Harris Beach State Park


Brasada Ranch

Pronghorn Resort

Hallmark Resort

Five Pine Lodge & Spa

Couple standing against a rock formation holding hands on the Oregon Coast

Your Oregon elopement photographer

That’s it!! You are READY to start planning your best day ever in Oregon! One of the most meaningful parts about being an elopement photographer is getting to watch the pure bliss and joy that comes from choosing an elopement location that is so aligned with you and your partner and both of your dreams for this super important day; there is nothing like it!

Something I haven’t touched on was how important your photographer is in the entire elopement planning process! From location scouting, permit assistance, timeline creation, and just overall support and understanding of how crazy planning an elopement can get – they truly are the glue that holds your day together.

Oregon elopement packages

While I am located on the East Coast – Oregon is one of my most favorite places to photograph elopements – so I’ve created all-inclusive elopement photography packages for all of my sweet couples who are wanting to elope in Oregon! Whether you’re hoping for a few hours for a ceremony and some fun couples’ portraits or a multi-day trek across the state – I’m your girl! All of my travel fees are completely included with all my Oregon elopement packages, making it SUPER easy to get me out there to photograph you on the best day ever!!

Head over to my contact form to say hey and let’s start planning your dream elopement in Oregon!

Couple spinning eachother joyfully around in circles on the Oregon Coast

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