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[Updated for 2022] How to Get Permits for Your Oregon Elopement

oregon elopement permit

Post summary: if you & your boo are dreaming of eloping in the beautiful state of Oregon, it’s important to make sure you get the appropriate permits + protect that beautiful land for future couples! Below, you’ll find information about an Oregon elopement permit, and how to get permits at different national + state parks and other scenic areas throughout the state.

If you’re looking for Washington elopement permit information, head over to this article instead!

oregon elopement permit

Oregon has NO shortage of incredible landscapes for elopements, from mountains to forests to beaches to deserts! I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of visiting Oregon, and I don’t think I’ll ever run out of new places to visit, either! It’s definitely one of the most beautiful states in the country, and perfect if you’re envisioning a classic PNW elopement where you can drive from the moody coastline right into the rainforest.

But because the state has so many gorgeous areas and is full of natural beauty, it’s super important that we take care of the land we visit & keep it just as gorgeous for all future visitors! A huge part of that is making sure you get the appropriate Oregon wedding permits, not only so you can have a legal elopement, but also so you know what rules to follow at your elopement location, and what is/isn’t allowed.

oregon elopement permit

Why do we need a permit?

Trust me - I know permits can be a pain to get sometimes! The processes can take weeks or even months, and you’ll have to pay extra fees that can add up quickly. But if you want to truly be able to have the BEST elopement experience possible + celebrate stress-free, you want to make sure your elopement is legal, and follow all the rules that were put in place for a reason!

Leave No Trace

If you’re not familiar with the Leave No Trace organization, I have an entire blog post dedicated to how you can Leave No Trace with your adventure elopement. In short, it’s an organization that focuses on educating people about the earth & helping them minimize their impact on the land they visit.

I see super often that couples are unaware of the impact their elopements have on the land, and it’s really upsetting! For example, I’ve seen couples bring giant arbors to the middle of forests, not realizing they’re contributing to the erosion of the land underneath. I’ve seen countless couples (and photographers) wander off of designated trails at state & national parks to get a “‘prettier shot,” all the while destroying the wildflowers and vegetation they’re stepping on!

Getting the correct permits helps parks avoid overcrowding, put more money into taking care of the land, and ensure that visitors are aware of what is & isn’t allowed. By obtaining a permit for your elopement, you’re committing to staying on trails, following park rules, & taking care of the beautiful land you’re enjoying on your elopement day!

If you get married in a state or national park without the correct permit, it’s just illegal! You won’t want to be worrying about legal repercussions on your elopement day - it’s even possible for you to get kicked out or BANNED from the park if you purposefully don’t obtain the correct permits!

oregon elopement permit

What happens if we don’t get our permit?

If you decide not to get the correct permit (whether by accident or out of ignorance), you could be charged a hefty fine by the park you’re in, or again, you could even be banned from future visits! You’re also disregarding the rules the park has set in order to take care of the land, and selfishly acting on what you want, versus what’s best for the land & future visitors. I will always make sure I’m here to guide you through getting your permit - I promise you won’t have to do it alone!!

oregon elopement permit

Oregon National Parks

Crater Lake National Park Wedding Permit

Entrance Permits/Passes/Fees: $30/vehicle in the summer, $20/vehicle in the winter or a $55 annual park pass

Permit You’ll Need for Your Elopement: Special Use Permit

Permit Cost: $50 non refundable application fee + separate permit fee based on your elopement details

Permit Requirements:

Crater Lake NP has a great map of possible wedding ceremony locations in the vicinity of the lake, depending on the size of your party. You’ll specify your desired location in your application, and the park office will take into account the size + details of your elopement when deciding if your location request is approved! I always recommend having backup locations in mind, in case your first choice doesn’t end up being a good fit for your ceremony. 

Permit Rules + Restrictions:

Note that Crater Lake NP does not allow loud music, the throwing of confetti/flowers/seeds/etc., or generators for electricity if you’re having a wedding ceremony inside the park. Once you get in contact with the park office, they’ll be able to give you more specific instructions and restrictions depending on the size/details of your elopement!

How to Apply for a Crater Lake National Park Wedding Permit

  1. Complete this Special Use Permit application form.
  2. Print out the form and mail it along with your payment of the $50 non refundable processing fee (in the form of a check made payable to the National Park Service) to the address below:

Crater Lake National Park

Attn: SUP Coordinator

P.O. Box 7

Crater Lake, OR 97604

  1. Allow 4-6 weeks for processing (but I highly recommend applying as far in advance as possible!).
  2. If your permit request is approved, you’ll receive a permit in the mail.
  3. Sign & return the permit to the park office for final approval, and you’re good to go!
oregon elopement permit

Oregon State Park Wedding Permits - Best Oregon State Parks

All state parks in Oregon have the same permit requirements, so below you’ll find the permit information no matter what park you choose for your elopement! Each park will have different rules and restrictions, but that information really isn’t available online for Oregon State Parks since every park is different in what’s allowed + not allowed. So I recommend contacting park offices for specific info regarding your desired elopement location!!

A few of the most popular parks in the state include:

Smith Rock State Park is one of the parks that actually does have plenty of information about wedding ceremonies available online, so I’ve included a section about permit requirements + rules at Smith Rock below!

Oregon Special Use Permit Information

Entrance Permits/Passes/Fees: $5/vehicle day use fee or a $30 annual pass

Permit You’ll Need for Your Elopement: Special Use Permit

Permit Cost: $100 processing fee + separate permit fee based on your elopement details

How to Apply for Your Oregon State Park Wedding Permit

  1. Complete this application form
  2. Contact the appropriate park office with any questions about fees, ceremony sites, or restrictions that may affect your elopement. You can find all Oregon State Parks here - click the one you’ll be eloping at, and find their contact information on the right side of the page!
  3. Mail your application along with your processing fee payment + any other payments outlined in the application to the address specified on the park’s website. 
  4. Wait for your permit request to be approved, and you’ll receive final instructions from your park contact!

Smith Rock State Park

Permit Requirements

Smith Rock State Park unfortunately only offers one ceremony site now, the amphitheater area, due to site degradation and interference with park visitors in other areas of the park. But don’t worry - this area is still stunning and you get great views of the park! This is another reason why it’s so important to get appropriate permits, follow rules, and be respectful - locations get closed off for future couples when you don’t follow the rules!

You’ll need to call the park office at 541-548-7501 to start the process of reserving the amphitheater area for your ceremony, within 6 months of your desired date. They’ll walk you through any permit processes you may need to go through depending on your party size, and will help you make your reservation!

Permit Rules + Restrictions

The occupancy limit of the amphitheater area is 50 people max, and don’t forget that includes you & your partner, your vendors, AND your guests. There’s enough bench seating for 40 people, so make sure a few of your guests are okay standing if needed!

Smith Rock is such a great option for a ceremony especially if you’ll be having guests, since it’s not too out in the middle of nowhere, and there are facilities for you to use. There are ADA accessible portable toilets near the amphitheater area, so you won’t have to worry about finding a spot behind the bushes to use the bathroom!

There are also 36 parking spaces near the site, including 4 ADA spaces, but I recommend carpooling if you have a lot of guests, or taking a shuttle, since these spots fill up quickly with visitors on busy days.

Loud sound/music, fires, generators, and drones are all prohibited - so make sure your videographer knows they can’t fly their drone around the park as much as they might want to!

In this section, I’ve included what you’ll need to know about some of the other major scenic areas + destinations in Oregon!

Here are a few of my favorite specific locations in Oregon that fall under the sections below:

National Forest Wedding Permits

Entrance Permits/Passes/Fees: $5/vehicle day use pass or a $30 annual pass

Permit You’ll Need for Your Elopement: Special Use Permit

Permit Cost: TBD depending on your elopement details

Permit Requirements:

You actually ONLY need a Special Use Permit for a wedding in an Oregon National Forest if you have a party size of 75 or more! So it’s likely that if you’re working with me as your photographer, you won’t even need to worry about getting a Special Use Permit - woohoo!!

Permit Rules + Restrictions:

If you are having an elopement with a party size that requires a permit, you’ll need to pay a non-refundable fee of $115 before you receive authorization for your event. Contact the appropriate Ranger District Office for specific details regarding your elopement!

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Entrance Permits/Passes/Fees: $5/vehicle day use pass or a $30 annual pass

Permit You’ll Need for Your Elopement: Special Use Permit

Permit Cost: TBD depending on your elopement details

Permit Requirements:

Just like Mt. Hood National Forest, you’ll only need a SUP if you’re having 75+ participants!

Permit Rules + Restrictions:

Keep in mind that no matter the size of your party or the location of your elopement, there are some rules you need to follow with your Columbia River Gorge wedding!

  • No vendor/food trucks are allowed
  • Throwing confetti/rice/flowers/etc. is prohibited 
  • Candles/open flames are prohibited
  • Loud music/noises are not allowed
  • Be respectful of other visitors in the area

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Entrance Permits/Passes/Fees: no entrance fees! Woohoo!

Permit You’ll Need for Your Elopement: Special Use Permit

Permit Cost: TBD depending on your elopement location/party size

Permit Requirements:

The NPS doesn’t have much information on their site regarding the specifics of a Special Use Permit at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, so you’ll need to contact the park office to receive instructions on applying for a permit + what it’ll cost ya! They ask that you contact them AT LEAST four weeks in advance so there’s time to process your application once you receive it, but again, I always recommend doing it as far in advance as possible! Especially when you’re unsure of the permit details since there’s not a ton of info available online, you’ll have to talk to the park to find out what locations you can choose from, what’s allowed/prohibited, etc.

Oregon Coast

Entrance Permits/Passes/Fees: no entrance fee for most beaches!

Permit You’ll Need for Your Elopement: Special Use Permit

Permit Cost: TBD depending on your elopement details

Permit Requirements:

Just like Mt. Hood National Forest, you’ll only need a SUP if you’re having 75+ participants!

Permit Rules + Restrictions:

Keep in mind that no matter the size of your party or the location of your elopement, there are some rules you need to follow with your Oregon coast wedding!

  • No vendor/food trucks are allowed
  • Throwing confetti/rice/flowers/etc. is prohibited 
  • Candles/open flames are prohibited
  • Loud music/noises are not allowed
  • Be respectful of other visitors in the area

Oregon Elopement Inspiration

Looking for real-life inspiration for your Oregon elopement? Check out this Samuel H Boardman State Park Oregon Coast Elopement for alllll kinds of dreamy Oregon Coast elopement inspo.

And if you’re looking for more helpful resources to make planning your elopement easier, check out some of my recent fave blog posts below!

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In order to make your dream elopement day happen, it's super important that we connect and that you feel comfortable with me! The best way to do this is to reach out and schedule a call so you can learn more about me and I can learn about you two so i can document what's real + the most important to you.

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