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Hi, I'm Taylor.

Taylor is a wedding and elopement photographer traveling worldwide. Documenting one-of-a-kind love stories through a tailored experience.



How to Elope in Washington

A Complete Guide to Planning Your Washington Elopement

Bride and Groom kiss on a mountain in the North Cascades during their elopement in Washington

Dreaming of eloping in Washington State? If so, then you’ve come to the right place! Washington is one of the most beautiful places in the country (dare I say the world?) and it has so much to offer for your wedding day! If you’re thinking about planning a Washington elopement, then keep scrolling for everything you need to know from where to go, what to see, and what vendors to consider for your special day!


There is no shortage of outdoor places to explore for your elopement in Washington! Whether you are wanting a mountain elopement, beach elopement, waterfall elopement, forest elopement, or anything in between, Washington has it! Here are 3 of my favorite places to elope in Washington.

North Cascades National Park

Bride and groom take photos on a mountain after they elope in Washington

North Cascades National Park is truly a hidden gem. It is actually one of the country’s least visited national parks, but don’t let that deter you from planning your elopement here! The North Cascades are filled with some of the best mountain ranges and alpine lakes in the whole country! Because it doesn’t receive as many visitors throughout the year, you’re almost guaranteed to have complete privacy for your elopement, which gives you the best of both worlds!  

Mt Rainier National Park

Bride and groom on a mountain trail during their elopement at Mount Rainier in Washington

If there’s one location that Washington is known for, it’s Mt Rainier National Park! Just a short drive from Seattle, Mt Rainier is very easy to access. The wildflower fields here in the summertime are absolutely stunning, plus you can view all the different sides of the mountain by visiting the park’s different entrances. 

Only have time to visit one of the entrances? Check out my blog on Paradise vs Sunrise to see which location in Mt Rainier National Park is best for you, or check out the other blogs for more Mt Rainier elopement inspiration!

Olympic National Park

Bride and groom elope at Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park

If you’re looking for both a beach and forest elopement in one, then Olympic National Park is the place for you! While getting to the park requires a few hours’ drive from the Seattle airport, it’s well worth it! With over a million acres, stunning old-growth forests like the Hoh Rainforest, and beautiful beaches along the coastline, there is so much to see and explore in Olympic National Park! 


The best time to elope in Washington truly depends on where you want to go. Higher elevation places like the mountains in the North Cascades or Mt Rainier are only available during the summer months. These mountain locations close during the winter and spring months due to snow and unsafe road conditions. Other areas like Olympic National Park are open year-round, but the best time to elope will depend on the type of vibe you want to have for your day. 

Typically, I recommend eloping in Washington during the summer months (specifically July – September). During these months, you’ll have better weather and more options to choose from for your Washington elopement. 


After you’ve decided where to elope in Washington, you’ll want to book your transportation and accommodations. 

If you are flying into Washington from out of state, the best airport to fly into is Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Depending on where your elopement is taking place, you will likely have to drive a couple of hours to get to your destination.

When it comes to choosing where you want to stay for your elopement in Washington, I always advise couples to first consider where their elopement ceremony will be held, then choose accommodations based on that. While you may have to do a little bit of driving, you probably don’t want to spend a ton of time driving back and forth on your wedding day. I suggest keeping your drive no more than an hour away to eliminate drive time between locations. 


Even though elopements look a little different than traditional weddings, you can still have vendors. In fact, I recommend hiring vendors as they will not only help your elopement day go more smoothly, but they’ll also be able to help you customize your elopement to match your unique vision. A few elopement vendors to consider hiring for your Washington elopement include:

  • Elopement Photographer
  • Elopement Videographer
  • Florist
  • Hair/Makeup Artist
  • Catering/Baker
  • Decor Rentals
  • Elopement Planner/Coordinator

Bride and groom hug on a mountain during their Washington elopement in Mount Rainier National Park


Whether you are traveling from out of state or you are local to the area, if you are eloping in Washington, you’ll want to make it official by obtaining the proper marriage license and permits. 

Obtaining a marriage license in Washington is a fairly simple process. You can apply for a marriage license at least 3 days before your elopement, but no more than 60 days. The state has a 3-day waiting period between the time you apply and before the license is valid, so be sure to account for this when planning your elopement. For a complete list of information and marriage license fees, please visit the county website for the elopement location you choose.

In order to get legally married in Washington you must have an officiant and two witnesses at your ceremony. Some couples choose to hire an officiant while others have a family member or friend become ordained. If neither of those options works for you, know that I am also a licensed officiant and am happy to perform your ceremony! I’ve done it for lots of my couples and it always makes for some of my favorite moments.

On top of having an officiant, you will also need two witnesses over the age of 18. If you aren’t planning on inviting any guests to your ceremony, I or your other vendors can act as a witness (if I am not officiating) or we can find another hiker or two along the trail who are usually happy to act as witnesses.

If you are choosing to elope in a Washington national park or on public land, then you may also need to obtain a special use permit. These permits help the parks keep track of the events happening within the park and will often require you to complete an application form and submit a fee to get married on government land. You can find more information on special use permits at the national park website for the park you plan to visit.

If all this sounds like a lot, don’t worry! As your elopement photographer, I’ll be able to help you walk through this process once we start planning together. 


When it comes to deciding what to do during your elopement in Washington, the options are endless! I like to encourage couples to think about activities that are meaningful to them as this can make your Washington elopement more personal and unique. Some activities to consider are:

  • Hiking
  • Rock climbing
  • Kayaking
  • Riding in a seaplane
  • Wine tasting
  • Cake cutting
  • Share a picnic (breakfast, charcuterie, dessert, etc.)
  • Catered meal from a private chef
  • Listening to your favorite records 
  • Reading letters from loved ones
  • First Dance
  • Relaxing in a hot tub

Once you’ve decided on a few activities, you can start to craft your elopement timeline. I’ve written an entire blog post to help you decide how much photography coverage you’ll need which you can find linked below, but in general, here is what I recommend:

  • 2 hours – elopement ceremony only
  • 6 hours – full elopement experience
  • All-day – full elopement experience; perfect for couples who want to explore multiple locations or go at a relaxed pace/include some activities


As a Washington elopement photographer, I have created a variety of packages to fit your special day. From two-hour elopements to all-day celebrations, you can find a Washington elopement package that is tailored to you and your vision for your day! No matter what you want your day to look like know that each package includes:

  • Photography Coverage
  • Digital gallery of 75+ images per hour
  • 6-8 week gallery delivery
  • Wedding highlights slideshow
  • 48-hour sneak peeks
  • Elopement guide full of tips
  • Timeline planning assistance
  • Permit Guidance
  • Communication throughout every step!

Being a PNW native, I may be biased when I say that choosing to elope in Washington is one of the most exciting decisions you can make for your wedding day! Not only do you get to elope in one of the most beautiful places there is, but eloping in Washington is also a great way to create a day that is filled with meaning and experiences. I hope this guide helps as you start to plan your special day. If you have any questions or are ready to start planning together, click on the contact link below! I’d love to hear from you! 

Ready to elope in Washington and start planning your special day? Click on the link below to inquire!

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