how to elope in washington state

A Washington Elopement Photographer’s Guide

your guide to eloping in washington

Thinking you want to elope in Washington but have NO idea how to make it happen?! This guide is for you! I’m here to help you every step of way towards planning your epic elopement in Washington state! From choosing the perfect location to navigating the legal requirements and so much more, we’re going to make eloping in Washington easy and epic.

Let’s go!

1. find your washington elopement photographer

Regardless of where you’d decide to elope, choosing your elopement photographer should be one of the VERY first things you do (and I don’t say that just because I AM one)! Your photographer will help you with everything from choosing locations to creating a timeline to hiring other vendors. I always recommend bringing your photographer on ASAP. They’ll help you build your day and the rest of your team!

2. choose The best place to elope in washington state

f you don’t already know where in Washington you want to elope, your photographer can help! Washington has everything from beaches to rainforests to mountains and you really can’t go wrong! Once you have your location selected it’s time to ….

3. hire any other vendors

Once you have a location nailed down it’s time to bring on any other folks you want to be a part of your team. This could include an officiant, hair and makeup, florals, chef, etc. Or it could include no one at all.

4. book your lodging

Once you have an idea of where you want to elope in Washington it’s time to find an awesome place to stay! For the best photos I always recommend a spot with tons of natural light.

5. have the best damn day of your life!

This day is going to FLY so be sure to take the time to breathe and soak it all in! You are getting married in one of the most beautiful place in the U.S. and you are doing it in a way that is unique and true to you! Celebrate the hell out of all of it!

bride and groom hold hands while walking down road at Olympic National Park elopement

why Washington is one of the best places to elope

If you love mountains, beaches, forests, killer food, and an all around incredible vibe, (and if you don’t love all of those things, WHY NOT?!?) 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 understand how to elope in Washington State and get started down the path to the elopement of your dreams!

Couple in wedding clothes walking in front of mountains in article on how to elope in Washington state

Washington Elopement locations


North Cascades National Park and it’s surrounding areas are simply stunning. I consider myself a mountain snob and these mountains are about as good as it gets! Think big peaks, alpine lakes, gorgeous clouds, and all the moody mountain magic you could possibly want!


Having visited and photographed elopements in National Parks around the country I can tell you that Olympic National Park is my FAVORITE. Why? It’s just SO DIVERSE. From big mountains to moody coastlines to misty rainforests, ONP has it all. If I had to pick just one National Park in the U.S. to photograph elopements in forever it might just be Olympic!


I will never forget the first time I visited Artist Point in the Mt Baker National Forest. I had seen tons of photos of it but honestly the reality was even better than the photos! I absolutely love this area because you can do as much or as little hiking as you want here and, depending on the time of year, some of the most stunning spots are reachable just a short hike from your car. I don’t think I could ever get tired of photographing elopements at Artist Point!


If you’ve ever visited Washington or flown into SeaTac airport you know how iconic Mt Rainier is. This mountain is massive and looms over the entire region. It’s also a reasonably short drive from Seattle. This National Park is full of trails that lead to stunning views, fire lookouts, wildflowers, and more.


Snoqualmie pass is just a short drive from Seattle and has loads of gorgeous spots for your Washington elopement! This area is awesome because it is so gorgeous and SO accessible right from the city. Keep in mind that that accessibility comes with one downside: crowds. If you are going to elope at Snoqualmie Pass I highly recommend a weekday.


Washington State has 93 historic fire lookouts and they can be an absolutely incredible place for your elopement. Many can be rented overnight meaning you can have some of the most unique lodging for your elopement and get married right there at sunrise or sunset!


The best time of year to elope in washington state

how to get married 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! While some other states (like Colorado) allow you to self-solemnize (i.e. get married with no officiant!), Washington is not one of those states. You need an officiant to elope in Washington (but don’t worry, I can recommend some awesome ones!)! You also always have the option of getting legally married at the courthoue and then making your ceremony in nature purely … ceremonial!

Do you need witnesses to get married in washington state?

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!

Eloping with a Dog in Washington State

Washington is one of the most dog-friendly elopement locations in the United States. This is a state full of beautiful land and people who really, really love dogs! Most of the public lands including even some locations in the National Parks welcome dogs and dog-friendly lodging is plentiful!

meet your washington elopement photographer!

Hi! I’m Jen Dz!

I’m an adventure elopement and intimate wedding photographer and planner who helps kick ass couples have unforgettable days in some of the most beautiful places on Earth!

I’d love to chat with you about your elopement – get in touch using the link below!