How to Officiate Weddings in Portland
A Portland OR Guide For Wedding Ministers and Couples
Portland is smack dab in the middle of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. This PNW city has a bustling downtown, a dynamic art scene, and enough craft breweries to keep your beer snob friends swooning for days. There’s a near endless supply of options for exploration and sightseeing before your ceremony, such as a peaceful walk through the Portland Japanese Gardens, a ride on the aerial tram, or exploring the bookshelves at Powell's City of Books, the world's largest independent bookstore.
Portland has a lot of different venues to host your wedding ceremony and the celebration of love between you and your partner. If you need help deciding where to host your wedding, we’ve got a few ideas below, as well as other important details about how to obtain your marriage license, get ordained, plan for the ceremony… you know that sort of thing.
Before you jump into planning the fun stuff, let’s take some time to review the technical details, starting with getting your minister of choice ordained. Perhaps that’s you!
According to the Multnomah County Clerk’s website, the wedding can be officiated by a “clergy member” or a “minister,” or select government officials and employees. If you’re not ordained by a religious organization, you’re in luck. You can get ordained with AMM -- the process is free and takes just a few minutes. Once you’ve got that box checked, we’ll get to the good stuff.
Now that you’ve got your credentials taken care of, we can help you prepare for the wedding ceremony itself. Being asked to officiate a ceremony is a true honor, but requires a bit of preparation. You will appreciate our wedding training pages, which are a library of information to help you prepare for your first ceremony and ensure that it goes smoothly.
Here you can find everything from sample wedding ceremony scripts, to brainstorming prompts, tips for preparation, and more.
An online application for a marriage license can be found on the Multnomah County Clerk's website, it is the couple’s responsibility to complete the marriage license application. The couple must go to the clerk's office together after completing the application. Multnomah County requires a 3 day waiting period before you can obtain the marriage license. The wedding ceremony must be completed within 60 days of issuance or the marriage license will expire.
Once you have performed the ceremony and signed the marriage license, you have successfully performed all of your functions as the wedding officiant. The officiant will need to return the signed and completed marriage license to the county clerk’s office in person or by mail within 5 days after the ceremony. Ideally, the license should be returned right away, since that’s when the marriage is recorded into government records.
To get your marriage license, both members of the couple will have to visit the County Clerk’s office in person after completing the online license application.
The Multnomah Building
501 SE Hawthorne Boulevard Suite 175
Portland, OR 97214
There is not a requirement by Multnomah County that you are a resident of Oregon. The marriage license is only valid in Multnomah County, Oregon.
When you go, remember to bring the following:
- Photo IDs
- Social Security Numbers (if applicable)
Once you’ve completed your marriage application and had it signed by your officiant, the officiant will need to return it to the Multnomah County Clerk within 5 days of the ceremony.
Below is the fast info pertaining to marriage licenses issued in Multnomah County for reference.
Issuance Office: The Multnomah Building, 501 SE Hawthorne Boulevard Suite 175 Portland, OR 97214
Waiting Period: 3 days
Expiration: 60 days
Return: by Officiant within 5 days
The Basics -- Portland is a beautiful city surrounded by lush green forests and hella countryside. Your guests will have a multitude of locations to explore when they visit Portland. Be sure to take a look at the city’s event pages before you select the date of your wedding, events like the annual Oregon Brewers Festival tend to draw very large crowds.
Portland has venues for all tastes and budgets, like the well preserved mid-century colonial, The Colony. Located in the trendy North Portland neighbor of St Johns and right near Cathedral Park, this 10,000 square foot space is the very picture of a well curated space, with trendy furniture blending well with stately and refined old world class and crisp fabrics.
If you want to spend your wedding day surrounded by nature, Ainsworth House & Gardens would be a great setting as well, located on 2 acres with authentic Victorian decor and an excellent staff.
Transportation -- Getting around downtown Portland is easy with many options to choose from, like the MAX light rail, street cars, or efficient public buses The MAX light rail is a great option for getting into the city from the Portland International Airport. There are also rideshare options as well if guests are staying in downtown.