There’s a common misconception that if you’re eloping or having an intimate wedding (<30 guests), then your only option for a location is the courthouse or public lands. While those location choices are wonderful, and the latter is something I personally specialize in helping people find for their elopement days, there’s also a third option: renting an actual venue. There are many venues that offer elopement and intimate wedding packages, and I think it’s very worth talking about if you think you’d like to keep your day small and intentional but still want the comforts and convenience of a dedicated venue.
Because there are so many possibilities in the PNW for having an intimate wedding at an actual venue, I’m going to focus on one region at a time. First up: The Columbia River Gorge. The Gorge is a perfect destination for elopements and adventurous intimate weddings, with its incredibly varied landscapes and breathtaking scenery. If you’re planning to get married in the area and are looking for some options, here are the best intimate wedding venues in the Columbia River Gorge:
Hilltop at The Gorges (Gorges Beer Co.) is a unique venue located in Cascade Locks, Oregon. This brewery offers a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces for elopements and small weddings, as well as craft beer and delicious food options (seriously, the food is SO GOOD). It’s also minutes away from hiking trails and waterfalls that you can explore for a private vow exchange and portraits before meeting up with your guests for a cozy dinner and celebration afterwards.
Bridal Veil Lakes is a beautiful outdoor venue that features a serene lake surrounded by lush greenery and towering trees. This spot is just 30 minutes east of Portland and offers on-site accommodations as well as a variety of outdoor activities, including canoes that you can enjoy as part of your wedding day experience! It feels very tucked away and private, while still being very accessible. There are covered areas as well, in case some finicky PNW weather decides to show up on your wedding day. If you’re looking for a fairytale forest setting for your intimate wedding or elopement, this is a perfect spot.
The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center + Museum is a unique and gorgeous location right in the heart of the Gorge. It has ongoing permanent museum exhibits, as well as short-term special exhibits. It’s also a full-service wedding venue that offers small gathering options. This venue is one of my favorites for two reasons: 1) The ceremony space is stunning, with floor to ceiling windows that look out onto the hills of the Gorge. 2) It’s got beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces you can utilize for your small wedding celebration. You can even explore some of the museum exhibits on your wedding day! Another bonus is that it’s close to several trails you can hike on your wedding day. So if you want some “just you” time out in nature for part of the day, but also want to gather with guests afterwards in a beautiful space, this venue is perfect.
Gorge Crest Vineyards is a family-owned winery located in Underwood, Washington that offers stunning views of Mount Hood and the surrounding vineyards. The venue has multiple spaces, both indoor and outdoor, for ceremonies and receptions, along with all the on-site accommodations you could need. It’s a Gorge venue that boasts one of the more impressive and versatile settings. It could suit a smaller gathering just as well as a large one.
The Griffin House is a sweet little bed and breakfast style venue located in Hood River, Oregon. The historic house has beautifully lit and elegant indoor spaces, and a magnificent gorge-view outdoor ceremony site that’s quite breathtaking. They also offer tented outdoor accommodations for a dinner or reception post-ceremony. It’s one of the best venues to catch a gorge sunset on your wedding day.
Located in Stevenson, Washington, Skamania Lodge is an adventure resort with sweeping views of the Columbia River and surrounding mountains. The lodge offers a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces, as well as on-site catering and accommodations. They’ve also got tons of activities for you and guests to enjoy while staying there, from large disc golf courses, hiking trails, axe throwing, and even zip lining – all onsite! This venue is a great option if you want to do a combo day with some time for just you (there are amazing offsite hiking trails nearby), and then have a celebration with guests afterwards. Basically, Skamania Lodge has it all if you want an adventurous, outdoorsy wedding experience, along with easy accessibility and comfortable accommodations.
The Columbia River Gorge offers a range of stunning venues for intimate weddings, from luxury resorts to charming historic houses and unique breweries. With its natural beauty and huge variety of options, the Gorge is a perfect destination for folks looking for a memorable, adventurous, intimate wedding day experience.
If you’ve got additional questions about the best intimate wedding venues in the Columbia River Gorge, or if you’d like to hear more about my own experience documenting celebrations at these locations, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’d be happy to help you get started planning your elopement or intimate wedding in this one-of-a-kind location.