Washington has to be one of the most diverse states I’ve ever seen. You have almost any landscape to choose from, so the options are endless. If you want an urban city elopement, Seattle is definitely the way to go. If you want a secluded, nature elopement, there are countless locations for that vibe too!
We’ll dive more into this later, but the national parks Washington has to offer are breathtaking. Anyone wanting to plan a national park elopement should definitely consider planning it in Washington. You won’t be disappointed, I promise!
Anywhere you look in Washington, you’ll see mountains. Even Seattle has a crystal clear view of the infamous Mt. Rainier. If you envision yourself saying “I do” surrounded by mountainous landscapes, Washington has a plethora for you to choose from.
Washington has some of the coolest, most unique elopement venues I’ve seen thus far. And what I love most is that the best ones are in the middle of nature! Venues like the A Frame Cabin and Fern Acres would be perfect if you’re planning a magical, forest themed elopement.
Of course, visiting Seattle has to be one of the reasons to elope in Washington! Even if you’re not eloping in Seattle, the city is definitely worth a visit. There’s so many things to do there, you could make an entire trip out of it.
The best time to elope in Washington is definitely the summertime. The blue skies, sunshine, and warm temperatures provide everything you could need for a perfect elopement day! Of course, if you’re wanting a snowy elopement, wintertime would probably be best. There’s also some major benefits to eloping during the off season when vendors & venues aren’t as booked up. There’s also a lot less traffic in popular spots in the off season as well.
Springtime in Washington can be pretty rainy, so keep that in mind when planning your elopement. Fall in Washington is actually quite breathtaking, so I would recommend eloping during that time over the spring.
Here’s how to legally get married in Washington state:
For your ceremony, you must have an officiant and two witnesses for your marriage to be legal in Washington state.
Now it’s time to start thinking about finances! Although you won’t have to experience the high costs of a traditional wedding, it’s still important to have a budget for your Washington elopement. Sit down with your partner and have an open & honest discussion about how much you want to spend on your day. Make it’s clear if the budget is strict, or if you have some wiggle room.
Once you’ve decided on a budget. It’s time to book your photographer! Find one that’s familiar with the area so that they can give you specific tips and advice while you’re in the planning process. I help every single one of couples plan their elopement, and I send location guides suited to their needs. Your photographer is the vendor that you’ll be spending the most time with on your wedding day, so choose carefully!
There’s sooo many different options, so don’t be afraid to get creative. Chat with your partner and get excited about all the different things you guys could do. You could go hiking, take a helicopter ride, go mountain climbing, rent a jeep, etc. Ask yourself: “If we could do anything to celebrate getting married, what would it be?”
Okay so now that you have your DREAM elopement envisioned… imagine that it wasn’t an option anymore. What would you be equally as happy with? Having a backup plan (especially in a state like Washington) is super important, just in case something goes wrong. Whether it’s weather issues, road/trail closures, or something unexpected comes up last minute, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you plan on eloping surrounded by nature, familiarize yourself with the LNT Principles. This will ensure that everyone is doing their part to leave the environment better than when we found it. Photographers and other wedding vendors especially have the responsibility of making sure we’re taking care of the locations that we shoot at. Following the LNT Principles shouldn’t be an option for any of us – it should be a requirement. So the more our couples know about them, the better we can take care of the land!
On top of that, research what kind of permits you’ll need depending on where you’re planning to elope. Different parks have different requirements, so be prepared for that in advance. Obtain all your necessary permits at least 90 days in advance to ensure there are no hiccups.
One of my favorite national parks in Washington – ONP. Encompassing almost a million acres (yes, a million!) Olympic National Park is also home to the infamous Mt. Olympus. Here are a few of my favorite spots within ONP:
If you can believe it, Mount Baker is one of the snowiest places in the world. So if you’re planning a winter elopement, you know where to plan it! Besides that, Snoqualmie National Forest is also a beautiful spot in the summertime as well. Here are a few of my favorite spots in the area:
If you’ve never been to Mt. Rainier National Park, you have to put it on your bucket list. Even if you’re not planning to elope there, it’s a must-see destination. It’s only about 60 miles southeast of Seattle, which makes it a popular spot for vacationers. Here are a few of my favorite spots/things to do within MRNP:
Next up, North Cascades National Park! The mountains, glaciers, and lakes that this park has to offer are truly breathtaking. Not to mention, if you’re a fan of stargazing, you won’t find a better spot than this. If you visit between the months of June & September, the weather will be perfect for a day-long hike. Here are a few of my favorite spots in the park:
If you’re a fan of rock climbing, you’ll have to put The Enchantments on your list of possible elopement spots. The Cashmere Crags, which are within The Enchantments, are rated one of the best rock climbing locations in the United States. Crazy, right? Lake Chelan is also a beautiful location for anyone looking to have a lakeside elopement. And of course, Leavenworth it’s known for its Bavarian-styled villages that make for a fantastic tourist attraction!
I’ll keep this one short and sweet: always pack a rain jacket and leggings if you’re planning to elope in Washington. You never know when the weather is gonna switch it up on you, so be prepared for anything! If you know it’s gonna be freezing during the time you choose to elope, take extra precautions to layer as much as you can.
Congratulations! You have everything you need to know to plan your Washington state elopement. If you’re thinking “Now all I need is a photographer,” I’ve got you covered. To inquire with me about your intimate wedding or elopement, you can fill out my contact form here on my website. I’ll get back to you with more information as soon as I can, I promise! In the meantime, I would love for you to check out my A-Z elopement planning guide to make sure you don’t miss a single thing.