Oregon’s snow-tipped peaks, untamed coastline, cascading waterfalls, winding Columbia River Gorge, and world-class wineries each provide a stunning backdrop for a wedding ceremony. If you have decided on having an Oregon wedding, we have all of the details for getting a marriage license in the state with help from an experienced wedding officiant.
"When making your application appointment date, the most important considerations are to be aware of the date the license becomes valid and when it expires," says Reverend Kurt Winner. Read on as he shares advice and walks us through everything you need to know about how to get a marriage license in Oregon.
Meet the Expert
Reverend Kurt Winner, based in Oregon, has performed wedding ceremonies for over two decades. He has united couples in marriage on the flanks of Mt. Hood, Oregon; next to the Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona; and on the beach at Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Where to Get a Marriage License in Oregon
An Oregon marriage license can be obtained at any issuing county office and is valid anywhere in the state. You may be required to reserve an application appointment time in advance. Due to pent-up demand, several counties are experiencing a backlog in processing applications. Give yourselves plenty of lead time to get your license before the wedding ceremony date.
A nice extra that Oregon provides with the marriage license is a marriage certificate. While it’s not the official marriage license, the couple and their witnesses can sign it together after the ceremony for a photo op and take it home to frame.
Counties have different ways for you to apply and receive your marriage license. In Multnomah County, which includes Portland, you can download an online application form, fill it out, attach copies of documents and ID for both of you, and return by mail or use the 24-hour drop box located outside the office at the Multnomah Building at 501 Hawthorne Blvd. They will mail you your license. Be sure you have at least four to eight weeks before the ceremony.
Multnomah makes in-person appointments, too. You can schedule online one to 42 days in advance of your meeting. Both of you must appear with the required documents and ID. Don’t be late or you'll need a new appointment. "Multnomah serves a lot of people in an urban location and does not have much parking," says Winner. "Go to Clackamas County a few miles away in Oregon City. It has lots of free parking and a streamlined application process."
Clackamas County offers a convenient online and in-person pickup combination to get your license. Fill out the online marriage license application, submit it, and make an online appointment. Go to the Clackamas County office with proof of identity, supporting documents, and payment for in-person pickup.
Licenses expire 60 days after issue. Once they expire, there are no extensions available—you’ll have to purchase a new one. Officiants have five days after the ceremony to return the completed license to the county office.
If you need a certified copy of your recorded license right after your ceremony, take the completed license to the issuing office yourselves. The registrar will record it, and you can request a copy of the legal document right away.
In Oregon, the couple fills out the application and signs it; the clerk verifies all of the information, takes your payment, signs it, and hands it back. In Oregon, this is the actual marriage license. After the ceremony, the officiant will sign it and write in your two witnesses' names, the ceremony location, date and time, and the officiant's details. The officiant sends it back to the county office to be recorded. The couple and the witnesses don’t get to sign the license again. Oregon provides a beautiful keepsake marriage certificate for you to sign in front of your guests. However, it is not a legal marriage license.
Bring Your Documentation
Whether you are doing a mail-in or an in-person application, you’ll need to gather all required documentation and ID to fill out the application. Both parties must be present at an in-person appointment; there is no blood test and no residency requirement. Read through the information most counties have online. Be sure of what they want and take it with you. Here are the items you will need:
- Proof of Identity and Age. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and both parties must have a valid form of photo identification. A driver's license, military ID, passport, etc., will confirm identity and show proof of age. If you are 17, you can be married in Oregon, but you'll need more documentation and must bring your parent or guardian with you to an in-person appointment to sign a consent form. Have a picture ID and a copy of your birth certificate showing your parents’ names on it. Your guardian must have the court document proving guardianship along with ID.
- Money. County fees and the acceptable form of payment may vary. Hood River County charges $50 for a license as of this writing, while Multnomah charges $60. Have the appropriate form of payment with you.
- Waiting Period Fee Waiver. Oregon has a three-day waiting period from the day the license is issued. Fill out a waiver request form with your license application, and for an additional $5 to $10 your license will be valid immediately.
- Other Important Info and Dates. The Oregon application requires your current home address, date and place of your birth, and your parents' full names and places of birth. If either of you has been divorced, you will need the final date of divorce, dissolution, or annulment. A marriage license can only be issued one day after the official date. If your marriage ended because of the death of your spouse, know the date on the death certificate.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, in addition to the female or male choices for the sex you identify with, you can now use the X for non-binary.
Congratulations, you now have your license in hand. Go somewhere for lunch or dinner in this stellar foodie state and celebrate, for soon you'll be making your marriage official at your wedding ceremony.