Oregon Wedding Planning Tips

Oregon has a huge variety of potential wedding backdrops to choose from—from Portland and Crater Lake to the Columbia River Gorge. Here are a few tips to make the most of this gorgeous state.

By Deanna deBara

Oregon Wedding Planning Tips
Photo by Helen Hill

The First Look ✨

  • Oregon is home to a huge variety of climates and weather patterns—so make sure to check the weather for that area during the time of year you’re aiming to host your wedding.
  • Oregon is becoming an increasingly popular wedding destination—so make sure you’re giving yourself plenty of time to book a wedding venue and connect with local vendors.
  • The steps you’ll need to take to secure a marriage license for your Oregon wedding will vary by county—so make sure to do your research beforehand.

Whether you’re a resident of the Beaver State or are trying to lock in a location for your dream destination wedding in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon offers an ideal backdrop for your “I do’s.” With a huge variety of landscapes, climates, and types of wedding venues, you can find the perfect place for your Oregon wedding all year long.

But if you’re planning your big day in Oregon, there are definitely things you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure that the wedding planning process is as smooth as possible—and that your wedding goes off without a hitch.

Let’s take a look at the essential Oregon wedding planning tips you need to know to plan the perfect Oregon wedding.

Choose a Place to Get Married in Oregon

As mentioned, Oregon is home to a huge variety of landscapes; there are big cities and small, rural towns; mountains and beaches; lush forests and striking deserts. So, before you get too far into the planning process, you’ll want to decide what kind of landscape feels like the right fit for your wedding—and then choose the place you’re going to get married accordingly.

You can get married literally anywhere you’d like in Oregon. But some of the most popular wedding destinations in the state include:

Portland

Portland, the largest city in Oregon, is one of the state’s go-to wedding destinations. And for good reason! The City of Roses has a huge variety of ideal wedding posts, whether you’re looking to say your “I do’s” surrounded by towering evergreens, in front of a building-sized art installation, or at the waterfront (the City of Portland lies right on the Columbia River).

Bend

About 3.5 hours southeast of Portland, Bend is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Located on the Deschutes River and less than 30 minutes from Mt. Bachelor, Bend is a destination for mountain bikers, rafters, hikers, snowboarders, skiers, and anyone who enjoys getting active and getting outside. The city also has an active brewery scene—so if you’re passionate about beer and the outdoors, Bend could be a great wedding location.

Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge is a National Scenic Area just east of Portland. Driving through the Gorge, which borders the Columbia River, you’ll encounter stunning waterfalls (including Multnomah Falls, one of Oregon’s most popular tourist destinations), wine country, and Hood River, a charming town that’s a popular spot for weddings, thanks to its unparalleled views of Mt. Hood.

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood itself is another option for an Oregon wedding. In addition to gorgeous trails, views, and a stunning national forest, the mountain is home to Timberline Lodge, the hotel used for exterior shots in the iconic horror film The Shining and a popular Oregon wedding destination.

Willamette Valley

Dreaming of getting married in wine country? Then you won’t want to miss the Willamette Valley, Oregon’s premier wine destination. With plenty of vineyards and venues to choose from, the Willamette Valley is the perfect backdrop for a wine lover’s big day.

Oregon Coast

For beach enthusiasts, the Oregon Coast offers plenty of potential wedding spots, whether that’s taking in the epic views of Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach or enjoying the more rugged coastline of Bandon in Southern Oregon.

Crater Lake

Crater Lake National Park is the only National Park in Oregon—and it’s also a popular wedding destination.

Eugene

Eugene is home to the University of Oregon—and many alumni choose to also make it the home for their wedding festivities.

Choose the Time of Year(and Check the Weather)

Choosing where you want to get married is a major part of the Oregon wedding planning process. But just as important as where you’re planning to get married is when—and what the weather will be like at your destination during that time of year.

Oregon has vastly different climates throughout the state—and weather changes pretty dramatically throughout the year. For example, if you’re planning to get married in Portland, you need to consider that it’s pretty consistently rainy from October through April—which can make planning an outdoor wedding ceremony or reception tough. Or, if you’re looking to get married in the summer, you’ll want to keep in mind that much of the state has been experiencing record high temperatures during the summer—and so planning a coastal wedding might be the best bet to beat the heat.

The point is, the weather in Oregon has a lot of personality—and it changes based on area and season. Make sure that, as you’re planning your Oregon wedding, you’re choosing a time of year for your wedding that’s going to give you the weather you’re looking for.

Give Yourself Time to Connect with Local Vendors

Oregon is already a popular wedding destination—and it’s becoming more popular every year. So, if you’re planning an Oregon wedding, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to choose a wedding venue and connect with local vendors—for example, wedding caterers, wedding florists, or wedding planners.

Get Your Marriage License in Oregon

Once you’ve got the wedding planning out of the way—and the actual wedding day is drawing closer—in order to be legally married in the state of Oregon, you’ll need to get your marriage license.

The specifics around how to get your marriage license will depend on where you’re getting married; before your wedding day rolls around, make sure to research the requirements in the county where you’re getting hitched. In general, some things you’ll need to keep in mind when securing your marriage license include:

  • Fill out an application. The first step to getting your marriage license is filling out an application. Typically, you can either fill out an application online or apply in person at the County Clerk’s Office.
  • Show identification. In order to secure your marriage license, you and your partner will both need to show a valid government ID (for example, a driver’s license or passport). Most counties require you to show your ID in person—although some allow you to submit documentation through the mail.
  • Fees. Marriage license fees vary by county, but you can expect to pay somewhere in the $50 to $60 range to get your marriage license. You’ll also need to pay an additional fee to get a certified copy by mail after your wedding—typically somewhere between $5 and $10. The forms of payment accepted also vary by county, so before you apply for your license, make sure to check what forms of payment the county you’re getting married in accepts—and then plan to pay accordingly.
  • Waiting period. Technically, Oregon marriage licenses have a three-day waiting period between when you secure your license and when you can get married—but many counties will waive the waiting period for an additional fee. (Also, make sure that once you’re married, you return your signed marriage license to the County Clerk’s office within five days).

Enjoy your Oregon Wedding

Oregon is a stunning place to get married. And now that you have these Oregon wedding planning tips, you have everything you need to start planning your perfect Pacific Northwest Wedding—whether you exchange wedding vows in a fun, funky Portland ceremony; against the grandeur of Crater Lake; or surrounded by lush foliage in Mt. Hood National Forest.

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