There are few places on earth like the Oregon Coast. It’s such a unique spot for an elopement. Whether you’re standing on wide sands, private beaches, on top of cliffs, or next to breweries, anything you can imagine is found for your Oregon Coast wedding. Whether it be towns like Cannon Beach or Lincoln City or parks like Ecola State Park, Hug Point, or Natural Bridges, everything you can dream of can be found for a wedding along the Pacific Coast of Oregon.
Why have an Oregon Coast wedding?
If you’re looking for a wedding that is close to the cities of central Oregon but feel a world away, there is nothing like the coast. With seastacks, sand, and miles of evergreens, you can make this day be everything you could imagine in the rich beauty of the PNW.
Bobby & Leo
Bobby and Leo’s intimate wedding along the Oregon Coast was a beautiful celebration of love and commitment. The sunny summer day, stunning beach setting, and close-knit group of guests (12 in total) all contributed to a truly unforgettable event. The couple was able to capture romantic photographs as the sun set behind them, making for a truly magical end to the day.
Checklist on what to bring for Oregon Coast elopement
When you’re planning your Oregon Coast Elopement, here is a quick checklist of what to make sure you have!
- Marriage License
- Special Use Permit
- Rain jacket
- Sand shoes
- Something to cheers
- Sense of adventure
Best places to elope in Oregon and the Oregon Coast
The Oregon Coast is huge. There are 363 miles of coastline to choose from. With that, it’s easy to find something epic that will be your special place for a wedding. But, 363 miles is kinda a lot, so here are a few popular areas and ideas to get you started in planning your day.
The North Coast of Oregon is a wonderful elopement spot. There are beautiful beaches, fun towns and great places to stay. Most of these are within 1.5 hours from Portland as well.
Astoria is one of the cutest towns in the area. Though not officially on the coast, it’s a beautiful spot with great access to both the Columbia River and the coast. You can enjoy a beer at Fort George and grab some snacks at the Gathered Provisions.
Fort Stevens Elopement
As Fort Stevens is an Oregon State Park that both allows for camping and driving on the beach, it’s a great option for a coastal elopement.
Seaside is one of the larger towns that is actually on the coast. It’s a great spot to stay at a coastal home, walk the boardwalk and enjoy the beach town vibe.
Ecola State Park elopement
Ecola State Park has one of the most iconic views on the Oregon Coast and is a great spot for your elopement. From its slopes, you can see south all the way to Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock. So reserve a picnic hut and have your elopement!
Cannon Beach wedding
Cannon Beach is one of the most iconic and popular spots for a wedding. This quaint little town feels out of time. Whether you’re looking for a wedding at the resort, home rental or the cedar-shingled Cannon Beach Community Church, there is a windswept vibe for you here.
Haystack Rock elopement
Just a few hundred feet from the parking lots in Cannon Beach, you can find yourself under the shadow of Haystack Rock. Though there are many similar seastacks along the Oregon Coast, this is by far the most well-known of these geological features. It’s a perfect backdrop for your celebration.
Manzinita Beach elopement
Beautiful little beach town with everything you could want and a wide beach.
Hug Point elopement
Because of its proximity to Cannon Beach, the beauty of the waterfall and sea caves, and a good amount of parking, a Hug Point elopement is a great option. Do make sure to check the tide tables as access to the falls and some of the caves can be blocked during high tides.
The middle part of the coast is wonderful. You’ll find some big and empy beaches, but also lots of cliffs and rocks. Most of these areas are within 2 hours from Eugene and 3 hours from Portland
This whole peninsula is fairly large. To the north, you’ll find the Cape Meares nature preserve and beach. Sticking out in the middle is the actual Cape Meares (with its beautiful lighthouse) and a lot of rugged coastlines. To the south is Oceanside and the really fun Tunnel Beach (which is accessed by walking through a sandy tunnel through the rock to a very private and beautiful beach. There is a lot to see and many great backdrops for your Oregon Coast wedding here.
Everyone first thinks of cheese, but there is a lot more to this little town as a destination for your Oregon Coast elopement.
Cape Kiwanda elopement
Cape Kiwanda is one of the most popular areas for elopements in the central coast. It’s beautiful, but also fairly accessible (though might be a bit much for folks with wheelchairs/other walking aids). Once you walk down the coast and climb the sand dunes into the area, you’ll be away from people and can easily find beautiful backdrops for your elopement or photos. Stay for sunset and watch as the sun dips into the ocean beyond.
When walking to the cape, you’re most likely to park at the Pelican Brewery. They offer an elopement package that you can either take with or come back for a party on the sands.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Yaquina Head Lighthouse is one of the most accessible lighthouses in the area. With good parking options, it’s a beautiful spot for elopements.
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Sitting high above the surf with 270 degress to the Southwest, there are few more iconic spots for an Oregon Coast wedding. Also, this is one of the few real venues along the area. They’re ready to help with your celebration and give you a place to call it a night as the waves crash below.
Oregon Dunes wedding
Just south of Florence is the Oregon sand dunes. This is a huge expanse. If you want a mix of sand dunes and waves, this is the place for you. There are a lot of different access points and campgrounds. Do know that some of these are designated for motorized usage. As you’re having your elopement, you might not want someone revving their ATV in the backdrop (or maybe that’s exactly what you want 😉 ).
The south coast of Oregon is all beautiful. I listed a few ideas below, but there are more than I could list here. Basically everywhere you go, you’ll find beautiful beaches and wonderful rocks.
Shore Acres State Park
A series of areas above the waves with views for days.
There are a few different beaches, but this area has so many seastacks and rocks to surround your day. It’s a photographer’s playground and since there is the town, there are many AirBnb options in the area as well.
Cape Blanco State Park
A beautiful clifftop park with a lighthouse and plenty of camping. There is also giant rocks in the sand. Just everything you could hope for.
Another really cool little peninsula. It is a bit of a walk, but there are great views and you can easily find your own little corner to enjoy.
Natural Bridges elopement
This is one of the most well known trails in the area. It’s truly beautiful and breathtaking. You can find yourself amongst the rocks and make it wonderful. That said, this is a small area and there aren’t big gathering spots. If you’re thinking of a Natural Bridges elopement, you will want to keep your guest list short.
What is the best season for Oregon Coast elopement?
When is the best season for your Oregon Coast elopement? Well, that’s always a little bit of a tricky question. The Pacific Coast of the US is notoriously difficult to predict the weather. I have been on the beaches in December and it’s warm and sunny. Conversely, I’ve been there in the middle of July and experienced cold fog that disappeared only 3 miles inland. So, no matter what, you kinda have to plan for everything.
That said, in general, weather is better in the summer months. That means May through September are going to be nicer. But, with the nice weather comes everyone else. One of the great things about the Oregon coast (especially as compared to the Washington coast) is the proximity to the main cities of Oregon. It’s only an hours drive from Portland or Eugene to get out to the coast. So as the sun comes out, it does mean there are going to be more other folks around.
If you’re dreaming of the wild weather for your elopement, heading out in the winter months are going to be a better chance. In general, the proximity of the coast will keep the weather more temperate. A rainy day in the upper 40s or low 50s is pretty common for most if the winter season.
Do you need a permit for an Oregon Coast wedding?
There are no rules state-wide about locations of where you can or cannot be married in Oregon. The counties, cities, parks or other locals may have rules though. But, it’s a big and beautiful state that is welcome for you to say your vows.
If you’re going to get married in an Oregon State Park, you may need to obtain a special use permit. It does depend a little bit on the size of your wedding or which park/beach you’re getting married on. Your best place to start is to call Oregon’s information line (800-551-6949)to get the direct phone number for the park you want to celebrate. They will then be able to help you directly. If you know that you’re going to need a special use permit, you can get started on that here.
Oregon’s only National Park is Crater Lake National Park. If you’re looking to get married in the park, you will need to apply for a permit. You can find all the information you need here.
OK. It might seem a little strange to give sand it’s own heading. But, it’s something to keep in mind. If you’re getting married on the beach, sand will be everywhere. Some sands are soft. Some hard hard, but no matter where you go, it’ll go everywhere. That means you’ll have sand in your dress or suit. Just be warned. Also, sand is awesome.
How choose a photographer for Oregon Coast wedding
When picking a photographer for your Oregon Coast elopement or wedding, it’s most important to find someone who tells stories that you want to remember. I hope that is me, but no matter what, you want someone who connects with your story on the day.
Beyond that, you also want a photographer who is used to the volatility of these wild places. You need a photographer who is just as comfortable in a coastal squall as a sunny afternoon.
Elopement Packages Oregon
I offer wedding and elopement packages for Oregon. All packages come with all-day coverage (no time limit) and would include travel fees. You’ll also receive all usable photos edited and color corrected with complete usage rights. These are perfect for any multi-location events or just a long leisurely day where you can relax with your family and friends knowing it’s all being documented.
Leave No Trace
Anytime you have a wedding in such a wild and beautiful place, it is very important to keep the Leave No Trace principles in mind. The seven principles are:
- Plan ahead.
- Travel and sleep on stable surfaces.
- Dispose of waste properly.
- Leave what you find.
- Minimize campfire impacts.
- Respect wildlife.
- Be considerate of others.
Keep all these in mind when planning your elopement. As we plan your elopement and during the celebration, I will do all I can to help you stay within these guidelines. We will take photos that celebrate the natural beauty of the Oregon Coast, but we will also take all precautions to care for the world while doing so. We’ve got this—together.
How get there
The Oregon coast is over 350 miles long. With that, there are so many beautiful places to find your little corner of the state to get hitched.
If you’re flying to Oregon for your wedding, you’re most likely to be flying into Portland. Make sure you stop to post a photo of the PDX carpet to Instagram or else your trip doesn’t really count. It’s possible you could also fly into Eugene or Medford, but those are usually the only options for flying from other West Coast cities.
If you want to take the train to your Oregon Coast wedding, there are some options to get you to the core cities in the state. It’s one of the most relaxing ways to see the region. You can take the Amtrak Cascades route that connects Vancourver, Canada to Eugene, Oregon. You can also take the Coast Starlight that connects Los Angeles, CA to Seattle, WA. This gives more options, but the train doesn’t stop in as many cities along the way.
Even if you’re flying or taking the train, you’re probably going to need a car to get to your Oregon Coast elopement (all major cities have good car rental options).. As the coast is 1-2 hrs from the hub cities and then you might need to drive another few hours up or down the coast to get to your wedding spot, having a vehicle is usually necessary.
If you’re really adventurous, you can always bike. Biking the 101 is so popular for riders or bike-packers. So it’s definitely an option to make your wedding part of the most epic wedding ride possible.
Where to stay
- McMinnemins Gearhart – Part of the McMinnemins chain, specializing in unique and quirky places to stay while still being comfortable and beautiful.
- Best Western Plus – Big on the sands in Seaside
- Surfsand Resort – Quaint resort right on the water in downtown Cannon Beach.
- The Coho – On the water in Lincoln City
- Salishan Costal Hotel – On the water with a beautiful mix of coastal midcentury modernity.
- Happy Camp Hideaway – A resort with lots of rental options for any size and budget.
- Casa Pacifica – Cool style and right on the coast.
- Ocean Light Cottage – Large and classic shake style
- Sundown Vistas – The most epic sunset view (I’ve stayed here, it’s so cool).
- Oceanside A-Frame – Beautiful and right on the beach.
- Searenity House – On the promenade in Seaside
- Ecola Haven – Classic A-Frame on the ocean in Cannon Beach
- Ocean Front – Basically your toes hit the sand as you roll out of bed in Pacific City.
- Tillicum Beach Campground – Beachfront and lots of options
- Newhalem – Over 200 spots, so easier for groups.
- Loon Lake – All the north coast ways of having fun you can imagine
- Fort Stevens – Right in the Northwest corner of the state. Lots of spaces.
- Portland – The big city on the river with coffee, beer, doughnuts and just about an hour from the coast. An easy day trip for anything Tillamook and North.
- Eugene – The city of central Oregon. The home of the Ducks and just an hour from the central coast.
- Medford – The gateway to southern Oregon or northern California.
Andreson Florists – Based in Tillamook, a wedding florist for the whole coast.
The Natural Look – North coast florals
Miere Catering – Based in Portland, specializing in high-end custom elopement catering.
Sage Bleu – North Coast catering. Has wedding packages.
Oceans Apart – Hawaiian cooking on the Oregon Coast.
Wild Flour – Beautiful options
Wild Currant – Restaurant in St. Helens, but caters.
If you’re a fur-parent, then it does seem only natural to have your 4-legged children in your wedding. In general, dogs are welcome for your Oregon Coast elopement. They are required to be on a leash (and cleaned up) in any Oregon State Park, but you just have to have a leash with you if you’re on the coast. If you head to Crater Lake National Park, they’re only welcome on a few specific trails and never on snow.
One little tip about having a dog at your elopement is to have someone else be the designated dog-wrangler. We know you love your dog and your dog loves you, but it’s a good idea to have someone else in charge of their well-being for the day so you can just focus on getting married (or belly rubs in the right moment).
This is the fun thing about an Oregon Coast elopement, you can really do whatever you want when it comes to guests. The coast is huge. That means you might just want a handful of folks or you might want to invite a bunch.
One thing to keep in mind is that most of the coast is a little tricky to walk on. It’s mostly sand or rocks. So, that means it is not ADA-accessible. If you have folks coming who need some help getting around, it would be a good idea to keep your ceremony locations closer to parking lots or in designated areas, rather than further out. If you really want to get married on the beach, you might also want to think about one of the driveable beaches, just to let everyone get right to the spot easily.
How to elope in Oregon
As far as legally getting married, marriage licenses are issued by the individual counties in Oregon. But, you do not need to get married within the county issuing the license. If you’re an Oregon resident, it’s probably easiest to simply get your license in your local county and bring it to the elopement. If you’re flying to Oregon, you’re most likely flying into Portland, and therefore obtaining your license from Multnomah County is the easiest option. You can obtain these in person or through the mail (probably a good option if you’re traveling to the wedding).
To get married in Oregon, you need to be 18 years old and not currently married. Your officiant must be ordained (online ordination is a great option) or a judge. Marriage licenses are valid for 60 days, but there is a 3 day waiting period. You can pay for a waiver of the waiting period in person at the Multnomah County courthouse, but you have to prove that you’re actually having the ceremony within those 3 days. Again, if you’re flying into Portland, this might be a thing you have to do. You also need 2 witnesses.
Lastly, when filling out your marriage license, enter your names as you’d like them after the wedding. If you’re planning to change your name, you can enter your new name on the forms. But, this does not compete with the name change. Following the wedding, you’ll have wanted to finalize that with the help to get it all right.
Other places to elope in the west
North Cascades Elopement Guide
High in the mountains in the upper left corner of the country, you can find your own space to celebrate
Olympic Peninsula Elopement Guide
Whether it be on a peak or at the ocean shoes, get married on the Olympic Penisula
Backyard Elopement Guide
When sometimes it’s too much to go anywhere, just get married at home!