Bend Elopement Photography · Wild Earth Weddings
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Oregon is one of the most beautiful places in the United States to elope and boasts a number of radically different landscapes to choose from. In eastern Oregon, you will find desert climes, unique geologic formations, and plenty of adventure sports, all of which make Bend the perfect choice for your adventure elopement.

How to Apply for a Marriage License in Bend

You can easily apply for a marriage license online at the Deschutes county clerk’s office. (If you live overseas, or out of state, is may be easier to handle your paperwork in your home state or country.)

There is a 3 day waiting period after application until the license is granted – or you can pay a rush fee of $10. Once you have your marriage license, it’s valid for 60 days. This means you’ll need to fill it out and return it within that time.

Marriage License Cost: $60
Court Officiant Cost: $117
Private Officiant Cost: Couples typically between $200-350 on an officiant who comes to you.

Short Answer: Yes, you need a licensed officiant to at least sign your marriage certificate.

Long Answer: Your elopement ceremony can be as private as you want it to be. You may choose to have an ordained or licensed officiant or celebrant at your ceremony, but you can also decide to declare your vows to each other privately.

If you choose the later, you can have a judge or court clerk sign as your officiant when you file your paperwork. You’ll need to make an appointment, and it must be at least three days after obtaining your license. Bring at least two witnesses over 18 years of age and pay a court cost of $117.
Easy, right?

Tip: If you choose to adventure with Wild Earth Weddings, you’ll have access to my curated Oregon Location Guide, which offers even more detail and planning resources (and I’ll be there to help you with each step!).

Do you need a wedding officiant to get married in Bend?

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4 Things to Know About Eloping at Smith Rock State Park:

1. You'll need to purchase a $5 entry pass, or use your Oregon State Parks Pass ($30) to park in the lot.

2. Avoid the busy season or plan for eloping on a weekday. This place gets busy! It's not uncommon for the parking lot to completely fill up and for parking to stretch outside of the park any time the weather is nice!

3. You do not need to a permit to get elope at Smith Rock unless you are having more than 50 guests. Stay on the trail at all times to protect the native plants.

4. You won't be able to reserve an area from public use, unless you talk to the Park and apply for a special permit. This is generally only needed for large weddings- just another reason why eloping is the way to go!

Located along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, Sparks Lake offers an easily accessible and very rewarding view of the snowy South Sister. The road is closed for part of the year due to heavy snowfall and is typically open from late May through October. Sparks Lake is popular for camping, kayaking, SUP, and canoeing. It's perfect for easy access mountain views, lava fields, and forests.

Best Times To Visit: Sunrise, sunset, and weekdays in late summer.

Sparks Lake // Deschutes National Forest // 45 minutes from Bend

Cost: Free!

How to Get Married at these 4 Epic Places Near Bend, Oregon

Read More: 3 Sparks Lakes Elopements That Show Off Oregon's Natural Beauty

After a short but strenuous 2 mile hike right up the top of Tumalo Mountain. Once you make it up the 5 switch backs and last trek up the cinder cone, you'll be rewarded with stunning panorama mountain views of South Sister, Middle Sister, and Broken Top. This view is in it's best form at sunrise and worth the effort!

When to Elope: Sunrise, July - September
Leave No Trace: If visiting in the summer, take care to stay on the marked trails. This area is home to delicate wildflowers, and a single step could be devestating.

Tumalo Mountain // Deschutes National Forest // 30 minutes from Bend

Cost: Free!

The Painted Hills are an area of unique geologic deposits resulting in multi colored sediment layers in Eastern Oregon. The best place to see one of Oregon's 7 wonders is John Day National Monument. Wedding and elopement ceremonies are allowed at The Painted Hills, but permission is granted on a case by case basis and takes into account the size and impact of your wedding party. You should know that you are not able to set tables, arbors, etc. For permit information and to apply, contact the park directly.

When to Elope: Late Spring, evening weekdays in the Summer, and through September.
Leave No Trace: Protecting the fragile dirt at the park is imperative, so you must stay on the boardwalk and keep your pets on leash. #donthurtthedirt!

Painted Hills // John Day National Monument // 2 hrs 15 mins from Bend

Cost: $150-$300 depending on group size.

The Alvord Desert is incredible, vast, and wild. This desert landscape is mainly BLM owned and managed, although there are a few privately owned parcels.  The desert has amazing views of the Steens mountains, and its remote location is ideal for starry night skies. Definitely make time for a long soak at Alvord Hot Springs ($5).

When to Elope: June - November
Leave No Trace: Although you might think the desert is an "anything goes" area- including driving on the flats, which is allowed, this is a special environment, so make sure to pack out all of your waste. You should also have solid desert know-how. That includes having sufficient navigation tools (no cell reception here, I'm afraid), and bringing plenty of water and fuel.

Alvord Desert // Bureau of Land Management // 4 hours from Bend

Cost: $150-$300 depending on group size.

Where to Celebrate In Bend

Fresh and famous brews and deliciously robust locally sourced food. Although you’ll find the typical heavy pub fare, this is a place with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options as well. (And don’t leave without a slice of the black butte porter chocolate espresso cake!!) If you want to book a brewery tour, make sure to plan in advance as they can quickly fill up!


The aptly named Riverhouse overlooks the Deschutes River, and is a beautiful lodge-style hotel (think leathers and wood!). Currents is the adjoining fine dining restaurant that features with open patios and beautiful river views. If you’re staying at the Riverhouse, you can also opt for a private in-room dining experience! Romantic!

In a nutshell: Fancy meat and cocktails! There are a fair amount of vegetarian friendly options, but Bos Tauros is clearly a meat centric menu. Think: steak and more steak.

Louisiana inspired fine dining, with an emphasis on hormone and pesticide free organic ingredients. Full of southern charm, this might be the only place you can find Dungeness crab paired with zydeco sauce! I love that they offer free homemade dog biscuits.

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