If you love mountains, beaches, forests, killer food, and an all around incredible vibe, Washington state might just be the perfect place for you to elope. Washington truly has it all – and with a major airport in Seattle it’s all pretty easy to get to. If you’re wondering how to elope in Washington State, this is for you!
As an adventure elopement photographer specializing in personal elopements in wild places in Iceland and the western U.S., I know a thing or two about how to put together an incredible elopement. I designed this guide to help get you started down the path to the elopement of your dreams!
How to Elope in Washington State
The beauty of eloping is that there is no one way to do it – if you can dream it up you can (probably!) do it! The downside of all that freedom? Narrowing down your options can actually be a challenge (but man, having too many options is a GOOD problem to have, right?!)!
We’ll get into the nitty gritty of all these things later in this guide, but to get you started, here are some steps:
Decide which time of year to elope (don’t know when you want to elope? Skip to step 2!)
Hire a photographer/planner to help bring your vision to life
Choose the perfect location + book your lodging
Obtain any necessary permits
Book any other vendors
Get your marriage license
Have the best damn day of your life!
How to Get a Marriage License in Washington
While every state has different rules for obtaining a marriage license, getting married in Washington is pretty straightforward. To get your marriage license in Washington you need to apply 3 or more days before your elopement. If you won’t be in Washington three days before your elopement, you can apply online and have your certificate mailed to you (just don’t forget to bring it with!).
Do you need an officiant to get married in Washington?
Yes! You need an officiant to elope in Washington (but don’t worry, I can recommend some awesome ones!)
Do you need witnesses to get married in Washington?
Yes! In Washington you need two witnesses to sign your marriage license.
Pro tip: If you are not bringing any guests to your elopement, simply ask your photographer(s) or any random hikers you see to be your witness! You’ll probably make their day!
When is the best time of year to elope in Washington?
Honestly, that kind of depends on what you want! Washington is beautiful and has magic year round. If moody, classic PNW vibes are your jam, then shoot for then late fall through spring is what you want. If you’re dreaming of better weather, hiking, and patches of wild blackberries, summer and early fall are for you. Winter in the mountains has its own snowy beauty and is something straight out of a fairytale.
Washington Elopement Locations
Washington has a HUGE variety of natural beauty which makes it an incredible place to elope! There is something for almost everyone here!
Here are a few of the best places to elope in Washington:
North Cascades National Park (2.5 hours from Seattle)
If mountains are your jam, you will LOVE North Cascades! These beautiful, jagged mountains are stunners (and trust me, my standards for mountains are VERY high!). North Cascades and the nearby Mt Baker Wilderness are the perfect elopement backdrop for couples who dig big peaks, low crowds, and killer scenery.
Mt Rainier National Park (2 hours from Seattle)
At 14,000 feet Mt Rainier is a GIANT and can be seen from all over Seattle …. and on the plane in! Iit absolutely towers over the city and if you’re a mountain lover like me, it will beckon you to come explore every chance it gets. Mt Rainier is home to beautiful hikes, incredible scenery, and some of the most dramatic landscapes in Washington.
Olympic National Park (3 hours from Seattle)
Olympic National Park is really cool because it has a TON of different landscapes, all in one place! Want big mountains? It’s got it. Want rugged, moody beaches? Check. Rainforests? Check. You can’t go wrong out there! Olympic National Park is a great spot to combine different types of scenery into ONE incredible elopement day.
Leavenworth (2.5 hours from Seattle)
Leavenworth is a cute Alps-inspired town in the mountains east of Seattle. It is surrounded by natural beauty and has access to mountain, forests, and lakes. It’s a stunner!
Snoqualmie Pass (1 hour from Seattle)
This area is best known for the towering Snoqualmie Falls but it has so much more than that! With forests, lakes, and super easy access to Seattle, it’s an easy and approachable location for an elopement.
Pro Tip: Choose your Washington Elopement Photographer Wisely!
Unlike traditional wedding photographers, elopement photographers do a LOT more than just take pictures. I help my couples every step of the way towards planning their perfect elopement! We start with suggestions for epic locations and go from there! Your photographer will help you come up with some awesome spots, figure out a timeline that will maximize the photos and fun (and make sure we’re NOT rushing around!), recommend like-minded vendors, and so much more! Planning your Washington elopement really starts with choosing a photographer/planner to help you through the process!
If you’re thinking about eloping in Washington and need some help (and awesome photos!) to get you going, I’d love to chat! Get in touch!