How to Plan your Oregon Elopement

Written by Cortlyn Adams

How to Elope in Oregon | Between the Pine


How to Plan your Oregon Elopement

From the expanses of the high desert to the rugged and iconic coastline, I’m sharing everything you need to know to plan your Oregon elopement! Known for its diverse landscapes, Oregon is the dream elopement destination. In this blog, I’m going to be breaking down all the things you need to know about eloping in Oregon! Fair warning, this elopement resource will really seal the deal for you to choose Oregon as your elopement destination; prepare to fall in love with the Beaver State and begin planning your elopement in Oregon!

How to elope in Oregon

1. Choose a time of year

2. Hire an elopement photographer

3. Decide on the perfect elopement location in Oregon

4. Get your Oregon marriage license

5. Plan to celebrate

How to Plan your Oregon Elopement | Between the Pine Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer

When is the best time of year to elope in Oregon?

One of my favorite things about Oregon is that you will find so many different climates and terrains within the state. For example, although it may be rainy in Portland, OR, it may be sunny in the high desert near Bend, OR. Overall, I think the summer and fall are the best times of year to elope in Oregon to avoid the rainy Pacific Northwest weather.

But, it’s absolutely still possible to elope in Oregon during the shoulder seasons (winter and spring). If you’re wanting to elope during the winter, Mount Hood and Mount Bachelor are great options for a snowy, skiing elopement. Or, if you’re set on a spring elopement date, the Oregon coast is a great option. To help you choose the best time of year to elope in Oregon, here’s a map designed for Between the Pine of the average weather patterns in some regions of Oregon:

Designed by Mod Bird Design for Between the Pine

Designed by Mod Bird Design for Between the Pine

How to choose the perfect Oregon elopement package

Psst…I know of a pretty cool Pacific Northwest elopement photographer who would love to document your day…just saying (lol). But, truly, hiring the right elopement photographer is a really important step in your Oregon elopement planning process! Of course, you’ll want photos of your day to treasure for years to come. But, you also want to book a photographer with experience in adventure elopements. From day-of timelines, understanding weather patterns and uniquely scouted locations, it’s so important to work with a photographer who is well-versed in Oregon adventure elopement photography. I work really hard to care for my clients to make the planning process simple and their elopement day unforgettable.

On average, an Oregon elopement costs an average baseline of $10,000, including the wedding dress and suit, bouquet, photographer and marriage license. Which, considering the average wedding costs $50,000, everyone should consider eloping! I recommend the full day elopement package the most often to my couples.


How to Plan your Oregon Elopement | Between the Pine Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer

Need some help planning your Oregon elopement? These resources can help!

Where to elope in Oregon? Mollie’s list of the top 5 best places

Like I mentioned earlier, the state of Oregon has so many different landscapes to choose from for your elopement, from the sea level to mountain overlook. So, I’m breaking down and sharing everything you need to know about my list of the top five best places to elope in Oregon:

  1. Mount Hood

  2. Smith Rock State Park

  3. Oregon coast

  4. Columbia River Gorge

  5. High desert

How to Plan your Oregon Elopement | Between the Pine Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer


How to Plan your Oregon Elopement | Between the Pine Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer


Mount Hood is the highest peak in Oregon, and is informally considered a dormant volcano. Located about two hours from Portland, Mount Hood is a great location if you’re considering flying into Oregon for your elopement. The road leading to Mount Hood winds through the forest of giant pine trees, and it’s easy to forget you’re on a highway because it’s so gorgeous. The mountain is easily accessible and has so many trails, including trails leading deep in the forest, to alpine lakes, along the river and even to summit Mount Hood. One of my favorite hikes in Oregon is at Mount Hood! The hike is pretty moderate in difficulty, and it takes you to an alpine lake and to summit a mountain. Have I peaked your interest? Reach out to me about eloping at Mount Hood along my favorite trail. If you’re looking for a place to stay for your Oregon elopement at Mount Hood, the Timberline Lodge would be the perfect option for you or your elopement guests.

how to plan your Oregon elopement | between the pine elopement photography

Plan an Airbnb wedding in Oregon

Click the link below for my tips for planning an Aribnb wedding and my list of the best Airbnbs in Oregon.

How to Plan your Oregon Elopement | Between the Pine Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer




Smith Rock State Park is any canyon landscape or rock climbing lover’s dream! There are several thousand climbs within the park, and more than a thousand are bolted routes. Smith Rock State Park is located right outside of Bend, OR (which I’m going to brag on in just a little bit, so keep reading). This region has a unique climate, and it gets sunnier much quicker than everywhere else in Oregon. From trails through the high desert floor to the stunning overlooks from drive-up locations, Smith Rock State Park is an amazing location for an elopement in Oregon. Want to see a real elopement at Smith Rock State Park? Click the links below to explore Brianna and Zach’s award-winning rock climbing elopement:

How to Plan your Oregon Elopement | Between the Pine Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer

How to Plan your Oregon Elopement | Between the Pine Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer


How to Plan your Oregon Elopement | Between the Pine Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer


One of the country’s most iconic roadways, U.S. Route 101, will take you along all 363 miles of Oregon’s coastline. Stretching from the redwoods of Northern California all the way to the famous Cannon Beach, Highway 101 is a scenic-route dream! The Oregon coast is only 80 miles from Portland, making it a great location option if you’re traveling from out of state for your Oregon elopement. According to Travel Portland, “The Oregon Coast is 363 miles of rugged shoreline, where tide pools and hiking trails share sunsets with beach towns and lighthouses, and where visitors can connect with a frontier that promises to never fade away. That assurance comes from Oregon state law, which stipulates that from the surf to the brush, ‘the public has free and uninterrupted use of the beaches.’” There are campsites located right along the coast, and the weather tends to be sunnier during the shoulder season than in other areas of Oregon. From whale sightings to stunning rock formations like Haystack Rock, the Oregon coast is like no other coastline in the country. Click here for more information about the Oregon coast to be convinced of this incredible Oregon elopement location.

How to Plan your Oregon Elopement | Between the Pine Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer

How to Plan your Oregon Elopement | Between the Pine Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer


How to Plan your Oregon Elopement | Between the Pine Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer


Okay, bare with me. I personally think the Columbia River Gorge is one of the coolest elopement locations in Oregon, and a huge reason why is because of its historical significance!

The Columbia River Gorge has been a vital source of resources for thousands of years, and served as the center for northwest trade among tribal nations (USDA Forest Service). Over the years, there have been trade goods found from Minnesota, the southwest, Vancouver Island and even the far north; the Columbia River Gorge was truly the pathway that connected the Pacific Northwest to the rest of the continent (USDA Forest Service). By the mid-1800s, almost 12,000 people arrived at the eastern edge of the Columbia River Gorge after traveling along the Oregon Trail. As more settlers made their way west, the indigenous people were displaced from their lands and alternative routes were created to avoid the dangerous travel conditions in the Columbia River. The historic Columbia River Highway is one of those alternative travel routes! According to Howard at Backroad Planet, this 75-mile roadway is “the oldest scenic byway in the nation” and was named “King of the Roads.” This highway pioneered advances in road design and paved the way (pun intended) for modern highway development in twentieth-century America (Oregon Encyclopedia). In the early 1900s, a retired lumberman and hotelier Simon Benson purchased many scenic spots along the highway, and donated them back to the state of Oregon to preserve them for future generations (Oregon Encyclopedia). Boy, aren’t we glad he did! Because of Benson’s donation, you’ll find eight different waterfalls along this historic highway!

Did you learn something new? Good! Now, let’s return to our regularly scheduled programming: planning your Oregon elopement at the Columbia River Gorge. Like I mentioned earlier, there are eight iconic waterfalls along the historic highway in the Columbia River Gorge. And, for all of my out-of-state Oregon elopers, the Columbia River Gorge is only 30 minutes away from Portland. From stunning waterfalls to epic mountain overlooks, the Columbia River Gorge is a location you have to consider when planning your Oregon elopement. Want to see more about real elopements and adventure weddings at the Columbia River Gorge? Click the links below:

How to Plan your Oregon Elopement | Between the Pine Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer

How to Plan your Oregon Elopement | Between the Pine Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer


How to Plan your Oregon Elopement | Between the Pine Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer


According to Grant McOmie, writer for Travel Oregon, “Oregon’s high desert is vast, timeless and remote — where distances are great and people are few and where the only outposts are for miles. It’s unlike any state park you’ve ever seen.” I used to live in the high desert in Oregon, so I feel a sentimental tie to the high desert. Located in the southeastern portion of Oregon, the high desert stunning, vast scenery and remarkable solitude (which is perfect for an intimate Oregon elopement). The high desert region stretches from Smith Rock State Park down to the southern stateline. And, the high desert region includes two of my favorite towns in Oregon: Bend and Sisters. These Oregon towns are perfect options for places to stay for your Oregon elopement and places to be able to celebrate with a reception at a brewery or restaurant after your Oregon elopement in the high desert.

Bend, OR is like an outdoor haven! The city offers amazing local breweries and great restaurants, making it the perfect post-elopement stop to celebrate. Mount Bachelor is located in Bend, with trails to alpine lakes, rivers, waterfalls, high desert landscapes and ponderosa pines. Sisters, OR is about 30 minutes from Bend It’s more dense in pine trees, and definitely has a small-town feel. Sisters Coffee Company is a must-stop-by in Sisters, OR.

How to Plan your Oregon Elopement | Between the Pine Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer

How to get a marriage license in Oregon

You’ve got your incredible partner, the stunning dress, the dreamy flowers and the epic Oregon elopement backdrop. But, you cannot forget one of the most important witnesses to your adventure-packed vows: your marriage license! Here’s what you need to know about getting your marriage license in Oregon:

  • You both have to be in person to get an Oregon marriage license.

  • You cannot get married the same day you get your marriage license because Oregon has a three-day waiting period. However, you can pay a small fee to have them waive the waiting period.

  • The marriage license is valid for 60 days.

  • An Oregon marriage license costs $60 and is nonrefundable.

  • You can obtain a marriage license from any county and get married in any county in Oregon. You just have to return the marriage license to the county where you obtained the license, and you are allowed to mail in the marriage license to the county.

Read about all the information you need to know about getting a marriage license for your Oregon elopement by clicking here. Also, you’ll need to have someone ordained to officiate your Oregon elopement ceremony and two witnesses present (and yes, I’m happy to be a witness, if needed!).

Plan a reception for after your Oregon elopement

Congratulations! You eloped in Oregon! But… now what? Great question! There are so, so, so many options for adventure to continue after your Oregon elopement! I’ve typed out just a few of the ideas, but truly this list could go on for pages and pages.

  • You can go camping after your elopement. During the process of narrowing down your elopement location, I’ll help you find the best campsite for the location and size you’re desiring. This is a great option to keep the Oregon elopement day or weekend relaxed and easygoing. 

  • Pitching a tent not your cup of tea? No problem! There are amazing cabins and Airbnbs for rent throughout the state of Oregon. I can help suggest some amazing locations and cabin hosts. Check out this complete guide to planning an Airbnb wedding for my list of the best Airbnbs in Oregon!

  • After you’ve tied the knot on top of Mount Hood or overlooking the vast high desert or at the base of a waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge, you can meet up with friends and family for a celebration! Portland and Bend, OR are my top city recommendations for planning a reception following your Oregon elopement.

  • If you’re eloping on the Oregon coast, there are tons of bed and breakfasts along the coastline that would be perfect for after your elopement. Also, Pelican Brewing is a well-known brewery on the Oregon coast that would be a great place to celebrate with friends and family.

  • You can lay out an epic picnic spread after you’ve said, “I do!” This is such a fun way to enjoy a meal with an amazing view by just packing your picnic and hiking it up to your elopement location. Check out this amazing picnic after an elopement at sunset.

  • For the couples who want an adventurous elopement from sunrise to sunset, a full-day elopement package is for you! With this package, I’m able to document all the adventures  throughout your elopement day. Airbnb Experiences is a great way to plan an excursion adventure on your elopement day. Imagine ending your elopement out on a sailboat as the sun sets. Or, you can spend the evening wine tasting at a local vineyard. Truly, the adventure options in Oregon are endless!

What to pack for your Oregon elopement

Curious what to pack for your Oregon elopement? Below are my top recommendations of what to pack before your adventure:

  • Snacks

  • National Park Pass

  • Headlamp

  • Layers of clothes

  • Bear spray

  • Sunglasses and sunscreen

  • Bug spray

  • Marriage license

Who’s surprised that snacks is number-one on my list? The America the Beautiful annual national park pass costs $80 and will last you for an entire year’s worth of adventures. It’s so worth the investment! A headlamp is super important if you’re wanting to catch sunrise during your Oregon elopement because most of your hike to the mountain views will be completed prior to sunrise. The temperature drastically changes as the sun rises, so I always recommend bringing plenty of layers that you can shed throughout the morning. Throw in a long sleeve, sweatshirt, down jacket and rain jacket and you’ll be set! It is always a good idea to be over prepared by bringing bear spray. You just never know what furry friend you could meet along a trail in the forest! Like I mentioned earlier, you can’t have an Oregon elopement without an Oregon marriage license. Still have questions about the process? I’d love to help!


Meet your Oregon elopement photographer

How to Plan your Oregon Elopement | Between the Pine Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer

I feel most at home outdoors, so it is no surprise that is where I gravitate towards as an Oregon elopement photographer. In college, I was known as the “granola girl” because my outfits were always fit to go to class or hiking (not that I ever skipped class to go to the mountains, lol). From my days of exploring the hills of the Ozark Mountains, I am now hiking through Oregon trails, exploring the bases of waterfalls in Kauai and experiencing as many fire lookout sunset views in Washington as possible. I am passionate about this job of mine and the landscapes that Oregon has to offer. Like I mentioned earlier, I used to live in Oregon, so there’s some nostalgia that hits me every time I get to adventure within the state. I’m a Pacific Northwest-based elopement photographer who knows the state of Oregon well. Basically, I’m dying for a reason to come back to this incredible state, and I’d love for your adventure to be the reason! Click here to learn more about me, your Oregon elopement photographer!

Reviews from my Oregon elopement couples

“We were able to have our engagement and wedding photos done with Mollie from Between the Pine. Both experiences were wonderful. She was accommodating, fun, professional, and she delivered us stunning photos on a great timeline! She made us feel comfortable in front of the camera and made the whole process a lot more relaxed and fun than we expected it to be. I would recommend Mollie to anyone looking for a bit of adventure in their photos! She is always up for the adventure and she brings snacks!”

Analisa and Tyler 

“We are in absolute awe of our gallery! We were so excited to see them after a long weekend of working weddings and wanted to see them together! We love our images so much and can’t wait to share some today on our two-year anniversary!!! Thank you thank you thank you for your talent and for giving us unforgettable memories! We had so much fun shooting with you and knew you were the perfect photographer to capture our day. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts!

Nick and Bri


Ready to explore more elopements, weddings and adventures? Wander away below!

Between the Pine is an adventure elopement and wedding photography brand created by Mollie Adams. Based in the Pacific Northwest, Mollie travels with her camera in hand to document “I dos” in epic landscapes including Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii.

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