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Planning an Oregon Elopement? Avoid These Mistakes!

Bride smiles as she leans back as groom embraces her during their wedding portraits; image overlaid with text that reads Planning An Oregon Elopement? Avoid these mistakes! by Morgan Wirth Photography

A dreamy state that’s home to rushing waterfalls, lush forests, romantic beaches, and jaw-dropping mountains – that’s Oregon for ya! I can’t think of a better place to host a private wedding ceremony than the stunning landscapes of Oregon. With so many options to choose from – you’ll be sure to have the Oregon elopement of your dreams!

When it comes to planning the perfect Oregon elopement, here are a few things you’ll need to consider!

Consider the Seasons for your Dreamy Oregon Elopement 

For the Oregon elopement of a lifetime – you’ll want to make sure you select the right season to suit your ceremony. If you’re feeling adventurous – then the PNW rainier months (winter and spring) are perfect for you! If you want to stay dry, then the summer and fall months are the best picks for you.

Choose the Right Location for your Oregon Elopement 

Now that you’ve got the right season to match your gorgeous Oregon elopement – you’ll want to consider the scenery! Here are a few questions to think about: 

  • What location suits you best? 
  • What scene do you want to have in the background on your big day? 
  • Are you a forest lover, mountain climber, or someone who simply can’t stay away from the beach?

With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect spot for your dreamy elopement. I’ve shot gorgeous weddings in Southern Oregon: here are a few of my top recommendations for the best Oregon elopement locations.

Northwestern Oregon 

Washington Park

Mt. Tabor

  • This location holds 3 ponds, a valley overlook, and a stunning view of Downtown Portland for great venue options!

Hoyt Arboretum 

  • Covering 190 acres of conservation area – this location is the go-to for wide-open fields and romantic elopement pictures!

Cathedral Park 

  • This charming pavilion holds some of the prettiest arches and sits under a historic bridge that’s sure to wow you on your big day!

Southern Oregon 

Crater Lake

  • With plenty of hiking trails and cabins – this lovely lake is the place to stay for any Oregon elopement.

Watson Falls

  • A jaw-dropping 294-foot waterfall, Watson falls is one of the most popular sites to visit in Southern Oregon. What better place to have a wedding than in front of a cascading waterfall? This is definitely a win-win for any couple considering Oregon!


  • This quaint coastal town is what dreams are made of. With a variety of beaches to choose from – it’s the perfect place for a coastal Oregon elopement! 
Bride and groom pose at golden hour during their Oregon Elopement

Eastern Oregon 

Alvord Desert

  • This desert is 100 miles away from the nearest town. A hidden gem in Eastern Oregon – the striking beauty of this dramatic landscape is sure to make for a stunning elopement. 

Hells Canyon

  • Hells Canyon offers incredible views of the canyon and breathtaking views of some pretty picturesque mountains! If you’re looking for a dramatic Oregon elopement – this is the place to go!

Central Oregon 

Sparks Lake 

  • Having shot a previous elopement here – I can say this lake is hands down one of the most charming locations I’ve visited to date! Located in a valley beneath Mt Bachelor, Sparks Lake stands as the ideal sunset spot for any Oregon elopement. 

Smith Rock State Park 

  • If you’re hungry for adventure, this climbing area holds one of the most stunning views atop its plateau. 

Painted Hills

  • Found within the John Day Fossil Beds Monument –  these timeless hills are made up of bright yellow, ruby red, and shining orange soil! Talk about a pop of color! The Painted Hills are number 1 on my list of Oregon elopement spots to consider.

Avoid Amateur Photographers for your Oregon Elopement

There’s really no elopement without a photographer there to capture it. Your Oregon elopement is going to be totally unlike the traditional indoor wedding ceremony, so you’ll want to be sure that the results of your photographer are OUTSTANDING. These pictures will be the keepsake of your big day and with Oregon as your beautiful backdrop – you’ll want to be sure to hire someone who’s worked with the land before!

Based in Central Oregon myself, I’ve grown to love this state and know it like the back of my own hand! If you’re interested in some of the work I’ve done – be sure to check out my page

Get a Marriage License in Advance for a Smooth Oregon Elopement 

For your dream Oregon elopement – you’ll of course need an Oregon marriage license. Head to your nearest Oregon courthouse to seal the deal. To make the ceremony official – here’s what you’ll need:

  1. An Oregon elopement officiant 
  2. Two witnesses 
  3. To pay the fees

Note: Be aware that there is a 3 day waiting period before receiving your certificate!

Don’t Start Your Oregon Elopement Too Early or Too Late!

You’ll want to begin your ceremony at least 2 hours before sunset so your pictures are spotless. This makes for the most beautiful lighting! You’ll thank yourself for thinking of this beforehand when you get your breathtaking pictures back.

If you want to start earlier in the day, try to get as close to sunrise as you can. This makes for another top lighting option for your pictures!

The only exception to this rule is waterfall locations. If you’re shooting at a waterfall – the light is best before 9 am!

Avoid Weekends for your Oregon Elopement

Because Oregon is so beautiful, you can imagine lots of tourists will find it pretty too! Planning your elopement around the weekdays will save you from random strangers watching your intimate ceremony or getting caught in the back of your photos. 

Final Thoughts on the Perfect Oregon Elopement

There you have it – now you know what to do and what not to do when it comes to planning your dream Oregon elopement. I hope you’ll find the perfect time and place for your big day! If you have any questions or just want to chat about your upcoming nuptials – feel free to shoot me a message on my site!


Groom kisses bride on the cheek as she smiles during their wedding; image overlaid with text that reads hello, lover Planning an Oregon Elopement? Avoid these mistakes!
A collage of images of a couple posing after their wedding and overlaid with text that reads avoid these mistakes when Planning An Oregon Elopement learn more on the blog

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