How To Legally Get Married In Oregon: What You Need To Know

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Hi, I’m Megan and your story matters to me. You deserve to break your wedding day from the traditional mold into something that is uniquely you.

I specialize in intimate mountain weddings and elopements and love working with people who are stoked to get married in nature surrounded by their closest family and friends. I am here for you and to organically tell your story. 

Getting married? Check out my recent work here and connect with me here to learn more! 

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couple walking for their Oregon elopement

Planning to get married in Oregon? Great choice! Oregon is a beautiful place to start your life together. But before you pick out your wedding outfits and write your vows, there’s some important aspects you need to do to make sure your marriage is official in the eyes of the law.

This blog is to be your friendly guide on legally getting married in Oregon. I’ll walk you through the steps, from making sure you’re old enough, to filling out the right forms for a marriage license, and finally, having a ceremony that makes everything official. It’s all about understanding what you need to do and getting it done, so you can focus on the fun parts of planning your wedding. Let’s make your big day not just memorable, but legally ready too!

Why Should You Get Married In Oregon?

The Best Scenic Views

Getting married in Oregon is like stepping into a picture book for your big day. First off, the scenery is THE BEST! Imagine saying “I do” with a breathtaking mountain backdrop, by a sparkling waterfall, a beach cliffside, or in a green forest. Oregon’s natural beauty provides the perfect setting for wedding photos you’ll treasure forever. Oregon has it all! You can truly make your wedding day reflect your unique style and love story.

Easy Legal Processes

The state makes the legal part of getting married pretty straightforward, so you can spend more time enjoying the excitement of planning your special day. Oregon is can be super welcoming, as most outdoor places in Oregon do not require a permit ahead of time. 

Overall, if you’re looking for a place with stunning views, lots of options, and a friendly atmosphere for your wedding, Oregon should definitely be at the top of your list!

couple walking for their Oregon elopement

How To Get Married In Oregon:

Having a wedding in Oregon is a process that involves several steps to ensure your marriage is legally correct. This is the same process whether you are a local or from another state:

  1. Meet the Age Requirement: You need to be at least 17 years old to get married in Oregon. If you are 17, you must have written consent from a parent or guardian.
  2. Choose Your Wedding Date: Before applying for a marriage license, decide on a date for your wedding. Your marriage license will have a specific validity period.
  3. Apply for a Marriage License: Visit any County Clerk’s Office in Oregon to apply for a marriage license. You can fill out the application online in advance in many counties, but both parties must appear in person to complete the process.
  4. Pay the License Fee: The fee for a marriage license varies by county, ranging from $50 to $75.
  5. Wait for the Mandatory Waiting Period: After obtaining your marriage license, there is a three day waiting period before you can officially get married. Some counties may offer the option to waive this waiting period for an additional fee.
  6. Have Your Wedding Ceremony: Your wedding ceremony needs to take place within the validity period of your marriage license (usually 60 days). Make sure it’s officiated by someone legally allowed to perform marriages in Oregon.
  7. Sign and Return the Marriage License: After the ceremony, the officiant and witnesses must sign your marriage license. It’s then the couple’s or the officiant’s responsibility to return the complete license to the county of issue, usually within a few days after the wedding.
  8. Receive Your Marriage Certificate: Once your completed marriage license is received and recorded by the county, you can request official copies of your marriage certificate. Usually for a small fee.

How To Get An Officiant?

  1. Check Local Requirements: First, it’s a good idea to inquire with the County Clerk’s Office where you plan to marry about any local rules or recommendations for officiants.
  2. Decide Who Will Officiate: Oregon is flexible about who can officiate weddings, allowing you to choose from a range of options. This includes religious figures, judges, and even friends or family members who are willing to become ordained for your special day.
  3. Get Ordained Online (If Necessary): If you choose a friend or family member to officiate, they can easily become ordained online through various organizations. This process is typically quick, free, or low-cost, and legally recognized in Oregon.
  4. Understand the Officiant’s Role: Whoever you choose as your officiant should be aware of their responsibilities. This includes accurately filling out the marriage license and understanding how to legally conduct the ceremony.
  5. Ensure Legal Compliance: Your officiant also must follow Oregon’s laws on officiating a wedding, including signing the marriage license and returning to the county of issue. This is crucial for your marriage to be legally recognizable.

By following these steps, you can have the person of your choice legally officiate your wedding in Oregon, making your big day even more personal and memorable.

What Are The Costs Of Eloping Vs. A Wedding In Oregon?

Costs of Eloping in Oregon

Average Total Cost: $10,000. Prices can change based on location and preferences.

  • Marriage License Fee: This fee varies by county but generally falls between $50 and $75. 
  • Special Use Permit: A few spots in Oregon may require a permit to take photos and elope on their land. Always check this ahead of time. I always help with this process!
  • Photographer: One of the biggest investments of your elopement. Find a photographer experienced with elopements outdoors (like myself!)
  • Attire: Wedding Dress, Suits, as simple or extravagant as you wish.
  • Florals: A bouquet, boutonniere, and some simple floral decor could be a nice touch. 
  • Additional Costs: Anything else you need to make your elopement perfect!
  • Travel: Are you local, or traveling from another state? You’ll also want a place to stay. Consider a unique Airbnb for your elopement!

Costs of a Traditional Wedding in Oregon

Average Total Cost: $30,000. Remember, this can greatly vary based on your choices.

  • Venue: One of the biggest expenses, which can range widely depending on location, size, and popularity.
  • Catering: Food and drink costs depend on the number of guests and the type of service you choose.
  • Decorations and Flowers: Costs can vary based on your preferences for simplicity or extravagance.
  • Photography and Videography: Hiring professionals to capture your day can be a significant part of your budget.
  • Music and Entertainment: Whether you opt for a DJ, a band, or other forms of entertainment, these services will add to your overall costs.
  • Attire: The cost of wedding dresses, suits, and other attire can vary widely based on style and designer.
  • Additional Costs: Don’t forget about invitations, favors, and also any other personal touches you want to include in your celebration.

Overall, whether you’re eloping or planning a larger wedding, the most important thing is that the day feels special to you and reflects your relationship.

couple walking for their Oregon elopement

Some Things To Know About Getting Married In Oregon:

Choose Your Venue Wisely

Oregon is home to a wide range of outdoor venues, from forests to the serene beaches along the coast. Each location offers its own unique charm and challenges. My personal favorite spots include God’s Thumb, Samuel H. Boardman, and Sahalie Falls. Also, I wrote a blog on The Best Waterfall Wedding Venues In Oregon if you are wanting to elope at a waterfall!

Prepare For The Weather

Oregon’s weather can be unpredictable, especially in areas like Mt. Hood where spring showers are common. Having a rain plan is crucial. Consider renting tents, embracing the weather, or choosing a venue with indoor options. This ensures your day is memorable regardless of the weather.

Consider The Best Time For Your Wedding

Summers in Oregon are beautiful and make for a great time to host an outdoor wedding. The weather is more likely to be on your side, offering sunny days and cool evenings.

Respect The Environment

When planning an outdoor wedding in Oregon, it’s important to consider the impact on the natural surroundings. Practicing “Leave No Trace” principles ensures that the beauty of the location is preserved for future visitors and reduces the environmental footprint of your event. This means packing out all trash, minimizing decor that could harm wildlife or the landscape, and ensuring that all activities are permitted in the chosen location. 

Altogether, planning an outdoor wedding in Oregon requires attention to detail, especially concerning the weather. However, the state’s natural beauty makes it an unforgettable location for your special day.

couple walking for their Oregon elopement

Are You Ready To Have Your Own Oregon Wedding?

Oregon is one of my favorite locations for capturing weddings. It is so versatile with its landscape and the legal process is very straightforward for anyone.

Ready to have your own Oregon wedding? Check out my website! From there you can fill out my contact form and we will set up your free consultation call. Let’s start dreaming up your perfect day!

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