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How to Get Married in Oregon - Planning a Wedding in the Beaver State

Published: Friday, May. 27th, 2022


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Planning an Oregon wedding? This short guide will help, from finding an officiant to completing the marriage license. 

 

 

 

From epic beaches to ethereal forests, rich farmand to bustling city centers, Oregon offers romantic backdrops of every kind. And considering the state’s reputation for offbeat fun and outdoor adventures of every kind, It’s easy to see why this West Coast favorite is a top destination for weddings!

 

Applying for a marriage license in this Pacific Northwest state will look different in each county, so it’s important to get a head start on the planning process to avoid unnecessary stress. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a short guide to help you begin. 

 

If you’ve been asked to officiate a wedding in Oregon, scroll down for helpful links.

 

 

 

A photo of Smith Rock, in Oregon, at sunset

Smith Rock State Park

This epic outdoor venue a favorite choice for adventurous elopements in Deschutes County

 

 

How to get married in Oregon in 6 Steps 

 

 

1. Get yourself a sweetheart! 


Got one? Whew! There will be a few more boxes to check, but the hardest part’s over.
 

 

2. Find a wedding officiant in Oregon. 

 

A wedding officiant is the person who conducts your ceremony and signs the marriage license, making things legal.

 

A friend or relative can perform your wedding ceremony if they’ve been ordained.

 

 

 

If you want to hire a professional, the state has many qualified independent officiants to choose from. The following people are authorized to solemnize marriage in Oregon:

 

A judicial officer; a county clerk; certain religious congregations or organizations; a clergyperson authorized to solemnize marriage by any religious congregation or organization; certain secular organizations; or a celebrant or officiant of any accepted secular organization who is authorized by the secular organization to solemnize marriages. (§ 106.120)

 

(Find a detailed list of authorized officiants and more Oregon marriage laws here.)

 

 

3. Choose a date and a venue...


Oregon boasts a bounty of natural beauty and outdoor adventures. It’s home to many state and national parks, stunning beaches, forests, and rich farmland. You’ll also find welcoming small towns, unique arts and music scenes, world class restaurants, hip nightlife, and all the offerings of thriving cities like Portland, Salem, Eugene, and Bend – making it a favorite for destination weddings. 

 

Whether you’re dreaming of a big to-do or a romantic elopement for two, there’s something for everyone!

 

 

Popular dates, venues, and officiants book up fast, so start early. And remember you’ll need permission (and a permit) to use a public space, such as a city park or recreational area. Permits can take weeks to process, so factor this into your timeline, too. 

 

 

A groom and bride dressed in wedding clothes walk down a wooded path carrying an umbrella during an Oregon wedding ceremony

 

 

 

Marriage License Quick Facts

3 Day Waiting Period*
60 Day Expiration Period
5 Day Return Period

*A waiver for the 3 day waiting period is available, and must be applied for before the license is issued.

 

 

 

4. The marriage license. 


Alright, time to make sure your wedding’s legal! We’ll break down each part of the marriage license process, one step at a time: 


Applying for your license

 

You’ll apply for your marriage license through the County Clerk & Recorder's Office. 

Some counties require couples to schedule an appointment first, and you may be asked to complete the marriage license worksheet or begin the application process online before arriving. You don’t need to be an Oregon resident to marry there.

 

Requirements to Apply: 

 

  • Parties must appear together in person to purchase and pick up their license
  • Parties must be at least 18 years old to marry, or be 17 years old and meet the requirements for minors
  • Provide valid government-issued picture identification, such as a driver’s license or passport
  • Both parties must provide a Birth Record, and may need to provide the full names of their parents, as well as parents’ place of birth
  • If you’re planning a wedding anywhere in Oregon, we recommend contacting the county clerk closest to your venue to learn more. 


Cost 


Your license will cost about $50 to $60. Some offices will only accept cash or credit cards, so plan ahead! There’s no fee to register your marriage after the ceremony.


Waiting period


There is a 3 day waiting period between the time you purchase your license and when your ceremony can take place.


Using and returning the license


An Oregon marriage license can be used in any county in the state, and expires  60 days after it’s issued. 

 

 

The license must be signed by each party to the marriage, 2 adult witnesses, and the marriage officiant following the ceremony, and returned to the Recorder’s Office. (We’ll cover this more below.) 

 

The license must be returned within 5 days of your ceremony. 

 

 

An aerial view of Portland Oregon

Couples looking for a Multnomah County marriage license can apply in person in downtown Portland.

 

 

 

5. Meet with your wedding officiant...


Once you’ve chosen a date, a venue, and have your marriage license details worked out, you’ll be ready to meet with your wedding officiant to plan the ceremony! 

 

 

This is when things start to come into focus. You’ll talk about the tone of your ceremony, the ‘vibe’ you want to create for your guests, and any special elements and unity rituals you want to include. 

 

 

You and your officiant might meet a few more times to exchange more ideas, fine-tune a script, or rehearse the ceremony leading up to the wedding day.

 

AMM’s website is full of resources to help you decide what kind of ceremony you want, tips on working well with your officiant, and advice on keeping your ceremony authentic and on budget. 

 

Visit Articles for Couples on our American Weddings blog, or browse general articles by category or keyword. 

 


6. The wedding day! 


Aside from yourselves, the most important thing you’ll bring with you on the wedding day is your marriage license -- because no license means no marriage. Your officiant won’t be able to perform the wedding without having a license present (even if you have it at home), so make sure it’s with you. 

 

After the ceremony, you will sign the license with your officiant and 2 adult witnesses. 

 

For tips on how to complete the license, head here. 

 

After it’s signed, you must record it with the local county before the end of the 30 day expiration period. Check with your county for details.

 

Once it’s been recorded, you’re officially married!

 

 

 

A happy couple smiling outdoors during their wedding ceremony

Congratulations!

 

 

Do you want to perform a wedding in Oregon? 

Visit Weddings by State: Oregon 

 

We’ve got everything you need to understand the state’s licensing and registration requirements, any ministry credentials and paperwork you might need, and helpful tips for several cities in the state, including Eugene, Gresham, Portland, and Salem.

 

 

 

 


 

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About the Author
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves digging into the history and magic of ritual, exploring the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She’s an advocate for marriage equality and individuality. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys easy hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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