So you're considering an Oregon Coast elopement – you're in love the rugged coastline, the long sandy beaches, the panoramic views… but maybe feeling a bit intimidated about the logistics of a romantic trek into the wilderness.
We got the scoop from adventure elopement photographer Sam Starns, so let's tackle the basics:
1) Get legit
Before your elopement, you'll need to obtain a marriage license — both you and your partner will need to be present. Oregon requires a three-day waiting period after application (though most places allow you to waive those 3 days for a small fee). Two witnesses and an officiant are required to sign the license. Sam herself is a licensed officiant, so if she's your photographer, that's two for one!
2) Get a room
Whether you plan to stay overnight (good) or make a weekend out of your elopement (even better), you'll need to book accommodations. The Oregon Coast has plenty of lovely options, but make sure to book well in advance, especially if you plan to get married during the Spring/Summer season. You'll also be pleased to find cute shops and fun microbreweries aplenty, all typically an hour and a half drive from the highway at most.
3) Get pics
Capturing the memories of your special day is crucial, especially in natural places where the background plays such a big part. Finding the right photographer can make all the difference. Do your research and find a photographer who specializes in elopement photography and who has experience shooting on the Oregon Coast. Look at their portfolio and make sure their style aligns with your vision. is ready to be your guide! Sam Starns and her team help fun and free-spirited couples create elopements in some of the wildest, most breathtaking places in the PNW, but be advised: photographers are in high demand, so get on their calendars sooner rather than later!
4) Get help
A wedding coordinator can make all the difference – you've got enough amazing things on your plate, so don't be afraid to delegate to a professional to help ensure that everything runs smoothly. Generally speaking, this is not a role your photographer would play – and the best coordinators stay busy, so you need to book them well in advance. If you've got your photographer picked out, consider asking who they like to work with – chances are they've got some good recs!
5) Get in sync
- Eloping on the beach? Check the tide schedule for your wedding day to ensure the spot you picked out isn't going to be underwater!
- Sunrise and sunset can offer some of the best light for photography – know the timings so that you don't miss out.
- Weather in the PNW is notoriously unpredictable, but check the forecast regardless. Late May – Early October is generally ideal. Late October through March? Be ready for some precipitation.
- If possible, choose a Monday – Thursday to avoid the crowds. Except in perhaps the dead of Winter, the Oregon coast is a popular weekend vacation for many.
Time for the fun part – choosing which scenic place to elope in Oregon:
This couple picked the ancient, natural cathedral that is the Oregon Redwoods to exchange private vows before their ceremony after a short hike. Something about the enormous trees and delicate ferns creates a feeling of intimacy that no indoor sanctum can match!
Not far from the Redwoods, the beaches of Gold Beach are nothing short of amazing. Capturing the journey is no less beautiful than the destination:
Check out her cute little boots! It's worth having a pretty pair for pictures, and another for all the walking off camera.
Now of course, why go to a beach…
…and not get in the water?
Happily wrecking the dress, a proud West Coast tradition since 2001. What better place to go full mermaid!
Not feeling the beach, but love the water? Look no further than Crater Lake:
It might not be easy to get up before sunrise, but you can't beat these pics at dawn. Be advised, gets windy at the rim, so bring a jacket to put on between photos.
Winter is not the most ideal time at Crater Lake, since access is significantly limited, and the caldera (the actual lake) isn’t visible most of the time. Shoot for late June – early September!
Umpqua National Forest and beyond
As we've seen, the Oregon coast has no shortage of breathtaking forests and beaches, but we'd be remiss if we didn't talk about all the WATERFALLS.
So worth the climb! The falls come in all shapes, sizes and splash zones, so not to worry if you're looking for something a little tamer: