There aren’t many places out there that take my breath away, but Washington does every single time. I find myself in awe of its seemingly endless supply of alpine lakes, wildflower meadows, driftwood beaches, fog-covered trees, and dramatic mountain peaks. Not to mention, it’s home to one of most diverse national parks in the United States, the “Swiss Alps of America,” and holds some of the last remaining temperate rainforests on Earth, so it doesn’t come as a shock that you’re interested in exploring what Washington has to offer for your elopement. Whether you’re set on planning a Washington elopement or considering the idea, you’ve come to the right place.

As a local PNW elopement photographer who specializes in Washington elopements, I put together the most comprehensive guide with everything you need to know about how to elope in Washington, including the best places to elope in Washington, marriage license information, weather tips, and so much more.

Ready for your breath to be taken away too? Right this way…

Why Elope in Washington?

With states as incredible as California and Alaska out there, why elope in Washington? Well, if I listed off all the reasons, this blog post would be way too long, so I’ll just give you the best reasons as to why you should elope in Washington State.

It Has Some of the Most Diverse Geography in the United States

I’m talking about temperate rainforests, rocky coastlines, snow-capped mountains, rivers, streams, rushing waterfalls, glaciers, near-deserts, must I go on? If you’re looking for any kind of landscape, you can find it in Washington.

Snow-Free Locations Year-Round

If you don’t love the snow, head to the Olympic Peninsula to experience lush forests and gorgeous beaches, or even make your way to Eastern Washington for warmer weather. Whether you visit in January or August, you can elope totally snow-free.

So Many Things to Do

And not just in Seattle. Lots of couples enjoy eloping in Washington because it makes for an incredible place to honeymoon. Explore a lavender farm on the coast or head more inland to hang out with the llamas. Breweries, shows, and outdoor excursions are just the beginning.

Great for Couples Coming From Out of State

Visiting Washington is super easy, especially if you’re coming from out of state. The large airport and options there are when it comes to lodging, rental cars, and flights makes this location a breeze to visit for couples and their guests.

How to Elope in Washington State: The Ultimate Checklist

We’ll cover each section in greater detail, but here’s a quick overview of everything you’ll want to do to plan a Washington elopement. Feel free to click on any of the headers to jump straight to that section!

Step 1: Choose Your Elopement Location

You’re already ahead of the curve on this one if you’re here. Hopefully the list below will give you some inspiration on where to elope. If you’re still deciding, think about the kind of scenery you’re envisioning. Are you picturing exchanging vows on top of a mountain? What about in front of an alpine lake or a waterfall? What about both? In Washington, it’s completely possible to experience a variety of different landscapes on your elopement day.

Step 2: Choose the Time of Year

Washington is famous for its rainy, and often times unpredictable weather. Consider the time of year you want to elope. Hoping for wildflowers? Visit in August. Prefer cooler temperatures? October is a great month to keep in mind. Check out the best time of year to elope in Washington below.

Step 3: Book Your Travel

Purchase your plane tickets, rental car, Airbnb, and anything else that will help you reach your elopement destination smoothly.

Step 4: Get Your Marriage License and Permits

Get legit by scheduling your marriage license appointment (or mail it in). Be sure to also obtain any necessary permits needed to have your ceremony at your chosen location. Completely lost? Don’t worry, I cover this in the guide. Scroll down to see exactly how to get a marriage license and permits!

Step 5: Hire Your Vendors

Hire any vendors you might want to help bring your Washington elopement to life, including an elopement photographer, hair and makeup artist, officiant, videographer, florist, etc.

Step 6: Elope

You’ve made it! Remember to soak up each and every moment. Washington is an incredible place and it would be an honor to show you around. Now, let’s get into the details.

A bride and groom kissing in front of Mt. Shuskan in Washington State.

5 Best Places to Elope in Washington

From the rocky beaches on the Olympic Peninsula to the lively downtown area of Seattle, this is a list of the 5 best places to elope in Washington, including useful information about specific spots, permits, and more.

Olympic National Park

A couple in wedding attire putting thier foreheads together at Hurricane Ridge.
A bride and groom kissing on the pier on Lake Crescent.
A bride and groom kissing in the Hoh Rainforest.
A bride and groom kissing on Ruby Beach with sun rays in the back.
A couple in wedding attire holding hands and walking towards the camera.

Why Elope in Olympic National Park?

Olympic National Park is one of the most diverse national parks in the United States and the only one in Washington accessible and snow-free year-round. Here, you’ll find lush green rainforests, snow-capped mountains, blue lakes, foggy beaches, and rushing waterfalls. Its diversity makes it the perfect place to elope, especially if you’re looking to maximize your trip and see as many different landscapes as possible.

Best Places to Elope in Olympic National Park

  1. Hurricane Ridge – A gorgeous, drive-up mountain location known for its wildflower meadows, deer, hiking trails, and sunrises.
  2. Hoh Rainforest – One of the last remaining temperate rainforests. Super mossy, green, and magical!
  3. Ruby Beach – A dog-friendly beach near the town of Forks known for it’s PNW charm. Driftwood, fog, and unique rock formations.
  4. Lake Crescent – A a glacially carved lake known for its crystal clear water, mountain backdrop, and famous pier.
  5. Lake Cushman – An alpine lake on the southeast side of Olympic, one of the lesser visited spots.

Best Time of Year Elope in Olympic National Park

The best time of year to elope in Olympic is in May or October. May is a great time to visit if you want to see waterfalls at their peak, wildlife, and minimal crowds. October is perfect for fall colors, cooler weather, and again, minimal crowds. The summer season (June-September) is great for weather, but it’s busy! If you love the rain like me, visit in the winter (December-February) to experience what it feels like to be the only one in the park. Plus, it’s one of the few places in Washington with snow-free locations during the winter months.

What You Should Know

Olympic National Park is very large. This means most locations are fairly spread out from each other. Expect to spend a good amount of time driving from one location to the next.

Permit Information

A permit is not needed if you have less than 5 people at your elopement. This includes vendors like your photographer and officiant. If you have more than 5 people, you will need a special use permit. The permit is $50. Check out the official park’s website permit page to apply for a permit.

Additional Pictures and Resources

Want to learn more about Olympic? Check out my Olympic National Elopement Guide. You can also see other guides and galleries of elopements I’ve photographed in Olympic by clicking on the location links above.

North Cascades National Park

A bride and groom laughing as the groom pops champagne in front of Mt. Baker in Washington.

Why Elope in North Cascades National Park?

North Cascades National Park is one of the least-visited national parks in the United States. Due to its high elevation, most of the park is only accessible from August to early-October. This national park is known as the “Swiss Alps of America” due to its never-ending mountain views. Explore its various alpine lakes, larch-lined hiking trails, and of course, glacier-covered peaks.

Best Places to Elope in North Cascades National Park

  1. Artist Point – A jaw-dropping mountain location with never-ending views of Mt. Shuskan and Baker. A fan-favorite!
  2. Bagley Lakes – A glacier-backed alpine lake with wildflower meadows, overlooks, and a bridge for photos.
  3. Fire Lookouts – Washington is home to 93 fire lookouts. Most of them require some uphill hiking, but the views are always worth it!
  4. Washington Pass Overlook – A wheelchair accessible location with epic views, close to lakes in the North Cascades area.
  5. Diablo Lake – One of North Cascades most beautiful lakes with water so blue you’d think you could drink it.

Best Time of Year Elope in North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park is best visited from July-early October. Because the park sits at such a high elevation, it’s covered in snow most months of the year (November-June). August is the best month to visit for warm weather and snow-free trails. Early October is spectacular for fall colors and my preferred time of year to visit in order to avoid the crowds.

What You Should Know

North Cascades National Park is covered in snow most months of the year, making the park inaccessible in most areas due to road closures. The only time you can elope snow-free here is August (sometimes July) through early October.

Permit Information

A permit is $50. You can see how to apply for the permit on the park’s website here.

Additional Pictures and Resources

Check out my North Cascades National Park Elopement Guide, along with my Artist Point Elopement Guide to get more information about locations, the permit process, etc.

Mount Rainier National Park

A groom kissing his bride's head in front of Mt. Rainier in Washington.

Why Elope in Mount Rainier National Park?

Mount Rainier National Park is the busiest national park in Washington due to its proximity to Seattle. It’s famous for its wildflower meadows in August and its variety of different hiking trails. Rainier has a plethora of locations to choose from, whether you’re looking for something more accessible or are down to hike a few miles. The park is a must-see when visiting Washington.

Best Places to Elope in Mount Rainier National Park

  1. Tolmie Peak – A gorgeous 5.6-mile out-and-back hike past lakes and meadows to arrive at a breathtaking fire lookout.
  2. Tipsoo Lake – An accessible lake known for its wildflower meadows and proximity to popular trails. A popular spot!
  3. Sunrise Rim Trail – A popular loop through the forest and past a lake with various lookout points of Mt. Rainier.
  4. Skyline Loop – Rainier’s most popular trail, home to waterfalls, wildflower meadows, and of course, unbelievable views.
  5. Mount Fremont Lookout – A trail that takes you right along the edge of Mt. Rainier up to a fire lookout with a stunning viewpoint.

Best Time of Year Elope in Mount Rainier National Park

Mt. Rainier National Park shines in August and September. Enjoy pleasant weather, wildflowers galore, and snow-free trails. The park usually starts to receive snow in October which lasts through June.

What You Should Know

The park is busy. In the summer months, it’s not uncommon to wait hours just to make it through the entrance. A sunrise or sunset elopement is a must, but even then, you may risk running into other couples on the mountain depending on where you decide to elope.

Note: Starting in 2024, Mt. Rainier is requiring all vehicles to book a timed entry reservation during certain times for the Paradise and Sunrise area from May 24th-September 2nd to avoid overcrowding. You can learn more about that here.

Permit Information

A permit to elope in Mt. Rainier is $175. You can see how to apply for the permit on the park’s website here, along with a map of approved ceremony locations.

Additional Pictures and Resources

Check out my complete guide all about how to elope in Mount Rainier National Park. There are more locations and helpful tips in this guide.

Snoqualmie

A bride and groom hugging each other on top of a mountain in Washington during golden hour.
A bride and groom holding umbrellas and looking up at the sky smiling in Washington.
A bride and groom hugging each other next to Franklin Falls in Washington.
A bride and groom kissing in front of Lake Wentachee in Washington.

Why Elope in Snoqualmie?

Snoqualmie is a hidden gem in the state of Washington. This is one of my most recommend areas for couples looking for a location close to Seattle, as this little mountain town is just 40 minutes from the airport. This area has a ton of different landscapes. Whether you’re looking for a rushing waterfall or a mountainous backdrop, you’re guaranteed to find it in Snoqualmie. Snoqualmie also has a variety of accessible locations for elopements with friends and family that require no hiking, which is always a plus.

Best Places to Elope in Snoqualmie

  1. Gold Creek Pond – One of Washington’s most accessible locations, a gorgeous mountain-backed lake surrounded by forest. Very popular!
  2. Franklin Falls – An easy, 2-mile out-and-back trail along the South Fork Snoqualmie River that leads to an epic waterfall.
  3. Rattlesnake Lake – The perfect lake elopement location for elopements with friends or family.
  4. Leavenworth – While not *technically* located in Snoqualmie, I had to include this adorable Bavarian-styled village.
  5. Snoqualmie Falls – It’s what the town is known for! An unforgettable 270 foot waterfall.

Best Time of Year Elope in Snoqualmie

Snoqualmie gets a lot of snow so if you’re hoping to avoid that, visit between June-October. However, Snoqualmie has trails that are accessible year-round, so if you want to have a winter wonderland elopement, you most definitely can!

What You Should Know

This area of Washington is extremely busy, as it’s the closest location on this list to Seattle. During the summer months, parking is nonexistent unless you’re early. Always opt for a sunrise or sunset elopement in this location.

Permit Information

You usually don’t need a permit to elope in Snoqualmie, as most of the locations are located in a national forest, which doesn’t require a permit unless you have over 75 people. However, always be sure to double-check this once you’ve solidified your location.

Additional Pictures Resources

Check out my Leavenworth Elopement Guide to get more location inspiration about the area!

Seattle

A bride and groom kissing in downtown Seattle. The bride is wearing a silver sparkly dress.

Why Elope in Seattle?

You already knew I couldn’t make a list of the best places to elope in Washington and not include Seattle. Seattle is a big-city-lovers dream. I particularly love recommending spots in Seattle to couples who are down to be a little adventurous on their wedding day. Sample food at the famous Pike Place Market or ride the nearby ferris wheel. There are endless options to explore.

Best Places to Elope in Seattle

  1. Downtown Seattle – Head to downtown Seattle to explore places like Pike Place Market and the first ever Starbucks.
  2. Point Defiance Park – Located in Tacoma, explore this park filled with various gardens right along the water.
  3. Discovery Park – A 500+ acre park overlooking the Puget Sound. How romantic is that?
  4. The Space Needle – Be a full blown tourist and elope in Seattle’s most iconic landmark – the Space Needle.

Best Time of Year Elope in Seattle

The best time of year to elope in Seattle is during the summer months. However, if you want to avoid all the tourists, consider eloping during the spring or fall season. If you’re really into the rain, come visit in the winter!

What You Should Know

Prepare extra time in your timeline for traffic and parking. Also, if you don’t love the idea of everyone looking at you in wedding attire, Seattle might not be the place for an elopement.

Permit Information

A permit is not needed to elope in Seattle.

Additional Pictures and Resources

Check out my Seattle Elopement Guide for more locations, logistic info, and weather!

A bride and groom kissing in front of Mt. Baker in Washington on their wedding day.

Best Time of Year to Elope in Washington

Generally speaking, the best time of year to elope in Washington is going to be from July-September. However, each season has its pros and cons and each location shines during a different time of year. Check out what season would be best for you below.

July and August

The summer season (July and August) is usually considered the best time of year to elope in Washington. In the summer, there’s lots of sunshine, no snow, and all hiking trails are accessible. This is also when the famous wildflower meadows come to life. However, with warm weather comes crowded national parks and trails, regardless if it’s a weekday or weekend. In my opinion, while I do love the summer months, I recommend eloping during the fall is possible, especially if privacy is important to you.

  • Olympic National Park: June – late-September
  • North Cascades National Park: late-July – mid-September
  • Mt. Rainier National Park: July – mid-September
  • Seattle: June – September
ProsCons
– Warm weather
– No snow or rain
– Lots to do in the towns and national parks
– Wildflowers
– Open and accessible trails
– Crowds
– Expensive rental cars and lodging
– More traffic

September and October

September and October are Washington’s fall months. The fall season here is short but sweet. The fall colors in the state are absolutely beautiful, especially in higher elevation areas. This is the perfect time to elope if you want an elopement without the crowds and semi-good weather (prepare for rain and snow, especially in higher elevations during the month of November). Personally, I think all the best places to elope in Washington really shine in the fall.

  • Olympic National Park: late-September – October
  • North Cascades National Park: late-September – mid-October
  • Mt. Rainier National Park: late-September – mid-October
  • Seattle: October – November
ProsCons
– Less crowds
– Gorgeous fall colors
– Open and accessible trails
– Cheaper lodging and rental car prices
– Chillier weather
– Higher chance of rain and snow
– Certain trails see a spike in visitors due to the fall colors

November, December, January, February, and March

The winter months in Washington get a pretty bad rap in my opinion. Granted, if you’re hoping for Washington’s famous mountainous terrain, consider eloping during the summer, as many of the higher elevation locations are completely inaccessible until July. However, if you want something without snow, consider checking out lower elevation parks and forests like Olympic National Park or Seattle. Keep in mind that this is the rainiest season in Washington, but also the season that gets the least amount of visitors.

  • Olympic National Park: November – March
  • North Cascades National Park: late-October – May
  • Mt. Rainier National Park: mid-October – mid-April
  • Seattle: December – March
ProsCons
– No crowds
– Cheaper lodging and rental car prices
– Even lighting for pictures
– Chillier weather
– Rain and snow
– Less available location options

April, May, and June

The spring season is probably my second favorite time of year to visit Washington (right after fall). The weather is usually still rainy during this time of year, but the waterfalls are at their peak and the greenery is lush and vibrant. Most of the roads to higher elevation areas are still not open, but in lower elevation areas, most locations are empty, snow-free, and perfect for private ceremonies.

  • Olympic National Park: April – May
  • North Cascades National Park: June – late-July
  • Mt. Rainier National Park: mid-April – June
  • Seattle: April – May
ProsCons
– Less crowds
– Cheaper lodging and rental car prices
– Even lighting for pictures
– Waterfalls at their peak
– Greenery at its peak
– Tons of wildlife
– Chillier weather
– Rain and snow in certain places
– Less available location options

What if It Rains?

The weather in Washington can be unpredictable. When planning your elopement, always have a back-up location in case it starts to pour. However, I recommend bringing along some umbrellas and even a blanket that can be used as props in your pictures. At the end of the day, embrace it! Rain is actually incredible for photos, as it makes the light even and the colors pop. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered in cases of bad weather.

A bride and groom looking at the sunset on a beach in Washington.

How to Get a Marriage License in Washington

A few things to note about a Washington marriage license:

  • It has a 3 day waiting period, meaning you can’t elope until 3 days have passed after picking up your marriage license.
  • The marriage license expires in 60 days.
  • You can apply in-person or via mail.

If you want to see when your marriage license will be valid, check out this super helpful calculator on King County’s website.

*Note: I am using King County in this example. Each county may have a different process and price to obtain a marriage license. You do not need to get a marriage license from the county you’ll be getting married in. You can get a marriage license from any county in Washington.

In-Person

  1. Fill out the online marriage license application.
  2. Pick up your marriage license at least 3 days before your elopement. You must bring photo ID and $69 to pay for the application fee.
  3. After your elopement, the officiant must drop off the signed marriage license to be processed.

Online

  1. Fill out the online marriage license application.
  2. After the application has been completed, email the recorder’s office (KCROMarriage@kingcounty.gov) with the transaction number on your application and a good telephone number.
  3. In 3 business days, you will receive a call to pay for the $69 application fee with your debit/credit card. Your marriage license will then be mailed to the address on your application.
  4. After your elopement, the officiant must drop off the signed marriage license to be processed.

Mail-In

  1. Fill out the paper application.
  2. Have the application notarized. King County does not provide notarization services.
  3. Mail in the original notarized application with the $69 check or money order to the following address: King County, 500 Fourth Ave., Suite 430, Seattle, WA 98104. Checks are payable to King County Recorder.
  4. After your elopement, the officiant must drop off the signed marriage license to be processed.

Check out the official website for more helpful information here. If you have additional questions, the recorder’s office can be reached at 206-477-6620.

A couple in wedding attire exchanging vows in front of a lake in Washington.

Do You Need an Officiant and Witness for a Washington Elopement?

Yes. You will need an officiant and two witnesses for your Washington elopement.

Pro tip: If you want a friend or family member to be your officiant, they can get ordained for free online through the Universal Life Church in less than 5 minutes.

Pro tip: I am ordained and officiate ceremonies for free in all my elopement packages! Already have an officiant? I can be a witness!

A bride and groom kissing on a dock on Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park.

Do You Need a Permit to Elope in Washington?

In some cases, yes. In order to elope in Washington, you’ll more than likely need what’s called a “special use permit.” This is a permit that allows you to have a ceremony on national park, forest, or state park land. Usually, the permits in Washington are $50 – $200.

After choosing your location, ask your photographer about how to obtain special use permit and they should know where to send you. In most cases, you’ll usually fill out a form listed on the website of the national park or forest you’ve chosen as your location, email it in, then pay the fee online.

Permits take a few weeks to process and may come with late fees if submitted too late. I always encourage my couples to submit their permit applications as soon as they’ve chosen their location. 3 months before your elopement is a safe time to submit your application, though each park has different rules.

To get more detailed permit information about each national park in Washington, check out my free elopement guides below.

Pro tip: Some photographers (like myself) help with the permit process.

How Many Guests Can You Bring to Your Washington Elopement?

While there isn’t a concrete answer of how many guests you can and can’t bring, I generally recommend inviting no more than 30 guests to your elopement. This is because most outdoor locations can only accommodate so many people. Most of the national parks cap their guest counts at 12, but there are locations that allow up to 100. Generally speaking, the less people you bring, the more location options you have.

Can You Bring Your Dog?

Absolutely! Washington is one of the most dog-friendly states in the U.S. and has an endless amount of dog-friendly locations to choose from.

Pro tip: National parks are generally not dog-friendly. Look right outside the park boundaries for beautiful dog-friendly locations.

A bride and groom holding each other and looking at Hurricane Ridge with just married signs on their backpacks.

Best Airbnbs for Your Washington Elopement

One of my many favorite things about Washington is the amount of amazing Airbnbs there are to choose from. From off-grid cabins and a-frames, to modern homes and apartments, there is truly something for everyone. Check out a few of my favorite Airbnbs in some of the best places to elope in Washington.

Olympic National Park Airbnbs

Epic Treehouse on the Water – it doesn’t get much cooler than staying in a treehouse right across from Canada. This is one of my personal favorite places in the area.

A-Frame Getaway – A small A-frame cabin nestled in the mountains between beautiful Port Angeles and Sequim. Enjoy the outdoor picnic table, fire pit, and hot tub.

Owl Pine – Stay right on Lake Sutherland. Wake up with coffee on the balcony or rent some kayaks or paddle on the lake before a ceremony.

North Cascades National Park Airbnbs

Retro A-Frame Chalet – Kick back and relax in this 70s inspired A-frame cabin in the woods. Unwind in the hot tub or explore the club center area for guests.

Mt. Baker Forest Cabin – A luxurious and cozy designed Mt. Baker cabin tucked away in the trees with a breathtaking view of the Mt. Baker National Forest.

Modern Mt. Baker Cabin – A little red cabin located in a quiet neighboorhood with a secret trail leading to Red Mountain, equipped with a hot tub and fire pit.

Mt. Rainier National Park Airbnbs

Forest A-Frame Cabin – A charming, rustic, and modern cabin located in Packwood at the base of Mt. Rainier National Park. Lots of natural light and surrounded by gorgeous scenery!

Coyote Cabin – A stunning cabin located on 3 beautiful acres in Ashford, Washington, just 6 miles from Mt. Rainier’s entrance. Elope in the park and come back to a sky full of stars in this small town.

Cozy River Cabin – An original 1960’s A-frame cabin nestled between the Cowlitz River and Coal Creek. This specific Airbnb is very popular for elopement ceremonies.

Seattle Airbnbs

Olalla Forest Retreat Storybook Cottage – Step into a literal fairytale with this unique home that was built in the 1970’s on 5 acres of forest and creek bed.

Alki Beach House – If you’re looking for something modern, you need to check out the Alki Beach home located right on the beach with 180 degree views of the ocean and mountains.

The Pacific Northwest Retreat – One of the best locations to experience everything the PNW has to offer, just 20 minutes from Seattle. This location is seriously unbeatable!

A bride and groom kayaking on a lake in Washington.

Washington Elopement Vendors

If you’re looking to elevate your elopement experience, I highly recommend booking vendors who can help bring your vision to life and make your elopement day as unique and true-to-you as possible. Here are a few vendors in the area I adore working with!

Officiants

Planners/Stylists

Hair and Makeup Artists

Florists

Private Chefs

Cakes

Videographers

Photographers

Lucky for you, I know a pretty awesome Washington elopement photographer and planner that specializes in adventurous elopements around the Pacific Northwest (wink, wink). I help craft and capture elopements for couples all around the world wanting to explore the immense beauty Washington has to offer. I help by providing personalized location suggestions, applying for permits, assisting with marriage licenses, building timelines, recommending vendors, and so much more. Check out my Washington State elopement packages here!

Washington Elopement Activity Ideas

Each elopement is so unique and personalized to the couple. What better way to make your elopement an experience you’ll never forget than by incorporating fun activities you two love doing together on your special day? Here are a few different activities you can incorporate into your Washington elopement to make it memorable, special, and uniquely you.

  • Soak in the hot tub before getting ready
  • Eat at the famous Pink Door restaurant in Seattle
  • Enjoy a brunch picnic in your Airbnb while wearing matching robes
  • Hike to one of Washington’s iconic fire lookouts – I recommend High Rock and Tolmie Peak!
  • Buy a bouquet of flowers from Pike Place Market
  • Have a bonfire and eat s’mores – be sure to check for fire bans on the beaches!
  • Hire a personal chef for an intimate dinner with family
  • Go paddle-boarding on Lake Crescent
  • Hit the slopes on Mt. Baker
  • Go on a waterfall spree around the state
  • Explore Seattle’s art museum
  • Take a Washington State ferry
  • Stroll through a lavender farm on the Peninsula
  • Book a private boat dinner
  • Go horseback riding along the Nisqually River
  • Book a hot air balloon ride over Seattle
  • Take a scenic bike ride through a national forest
A bride and groom on Ruby Beach.

How Much Does It Cost to Elope in Washington?

Most couples spend $5,000-$15,000 for a Washington elopement, which when compared the national average of a big wedding in 2024 ($33,000) is a steal. Washington is actually one of the cheaper places to elope in the United States due to low permit fees, airport accessibility, and tons of options when it comes to lodging, rental cars, places to eat, etc.

To give a fair picture of how much it costs to elope in Washington, I’m going to use real numbers I pulled researching a trip from Chicago to Seattle during the peak travel season (August 13th-16th).

High-End Elopement Budget

  • $535 plane tickets – This is the cost of 2 roundtrip economy plane tickets from Chicago to Seattle on Alaska Airlines.
  • $600 rental car – This is the price of a small SUV from Hertz at the airport.
  • $1,200 Airbnb in Snoqualmie – This is a riverfront cabin nestled in the woods with a hot tub and fire pit.
  • $10,000 elopement photographer – For full day elopement coverage.
  • $500 florals – Includes a bouquet and boutonnière and florals for a tablescape.
  • $500 hair and makeup
  • $400 officiant – For a personalized ceremony and filing with the county clerk.
  • $300 activity – A private horseback riding experience.
  • $50 miscellaneous costs – Could go towards parking, a small cake, etc.
  • $69 marriage license – For King County
  • $100 special use permit

Total cost = $14,254

Standard Elopement Budget

  • $535 plane tickets – This is the cost of 2 roundtrip economy plane tickets from Chicago to Seattle on Alaska Airlines.
  • $500 rental car – This is the price of a small sedan from Hertz at the airport.
  • $600 Airbnb in Snoqualmie – This is the cost of a small riverfront cabin in Snoqualmie.
  • $8,000 elopement photographer – For full day elopement coverage.
  • $350 florals – Includes a bouquet and boutonnière.
  • $500 hair and makeup
  • $200 officiant – For a quick ceremony and filing with the county clerk.
  • $50 miscellaneous costs – Could go towards parking, a small cake, etc.
  • $69 marriage license – For King County
  • $100 special use permit

Total cost = $10,904

Low-End Elopement Budget

  • $535 plane tickets – This is the cost of 2 roundtrip economy plane tickets from Chicago to Seattle on Alaska Airlines.
  • $300 rental car – This is the price of a standard sedan from an off-site rental car company or a rental through Turo.
  • $400 Airbnb in Snoqualmie – A charming guesthouse in Snoqualmie.
  • $6,000 elopement photographer – For half day to full day elopement coverage.
  • $50 florals – DIY bouquet from the grocery store.
  • $0 hair and makeup – DIY hair and makeup
  • $0 officiant – Have me or a guest officiate your marriage for free.
  • $50 miscellaneous costs – Could go towards parking, a small cake, etc.
  • $69 marriage license – For King County
  • $100 special use permit

Total cost = $7,504

Washington Elopement Timeline Examples

Curious as to how much time you’ll need for your elopement? In a state as grand as Washington, I recommend a minimum of 8 hours to tell the entire story of your elopement.

Check out these examples down below to get an idea of what your Washington elopement could look like.

12-Hour Elopement Example

  • 9:00am – Brianna meets the couple at their A-frame Airbnb to photograph a hot tub soak.
  • 9:30am – Begin a brunch picnic outside with coffee and blankets.
  • 10:30am – Begin hair and makeup. Brianna photographs details.
  • 11:30am – First look outside in the forest with some portraits.
  • 12:00pm – Leave and meet family for a private ceremony at Hurricane Ridge.
  • 12:30pm – Begin family and couples portraits.
  • 1:30pm – Leave for lunch at a nearby cafe.
  • 2:30pm – Leave for couples portraits at Rialto Beach.
  • 4:30pm – Arrive and begin pictures.
  • 6:00pm – Leave for an intimate dinner with friends and family in Forks.
  • 7:30pm – Finish dinner, begin a bonfire in the backyard and have a first dance.
  • 9:00pm – Photo coverage wraps up, Brianna leaves.

8-Hour Elopement Example

  • 12:00pm – Brianna meets the couple at their Airbnb for getting ready pictures.
  • 1:00pm – Leave for a hike in Mt. Baker.
  • 1:30pm – Arrive and get ready for the trail.
  • 3:00pm – Arrive at an isolated alpine lake for an intimate ceremony and portraits.
  • 4:30pm – Head back to the car.
  • 6:00pm – Arrive and cut cake/FaceTime family to celebrate.
  • 6:30pm – Leave for an intimate candlelit dinner.
  • 7:00pm – Enjoy dinner while watching the sunset.
  • 8:00pm – Photo coverage wraps up, Brianna leaves.

4-Hour Elopement Example

  • 5:00pm – Brianna meets the couple at their Airbnb for getting ready pictures.
  • 6:00pm – First look.
  • 6:15pm – Leave for a ceremony with friends and family at a nearby river.
  • 6:30pm – Intimate ceremony with friends and family.
  • 6:45pm – Family portraits.
  • 7:15pm – Toasts and family picnic.
  • 8:00pm – Golden hour couples portraits.
  • 9:00pm – Photo coverage wraps up, Brianna leaves.

Washington State Elopement Packages

I’m Brianna, a Washington elopement photographer who is extremely passionate about helping couples plan a wedding day that they’ll not only remember forever, but a day that’s truly about them. I offer a variety of different Washington elopement packages for couples looking to elope, from basic planning to full-blown booking of travel and vendors. Each elopement package comes with an unforgettable experience in an unforgettable place. Check out my packages page here or take a peek below.

Washington State Elopement Package Pricing

  • 4 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage anywhere in Washington
  • A personalized elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
    • Personalized elopement location recommendations
    • Vendor, lodging, and activity recommendations
    • Assistance and information to help you with permits, licenses, etc.
    • 90+ page elopement planning guide filled with tips and tricks
    • Customized elopement timelines
    • Optional complimentary officiant services
  • Online gallery with full resolution images and printing rights
  • 24-48 hour sneak peeks to share with the world
  • Travel fees to anywhere in Washington are already included
  • Starting at $6,500

Pin for Later

Phew! If you’ve made it this far, hopefully my guide was helpful! Before you go, pin these graphics to your Pinterest so you can come back to this guide over and over again during the planning process.

Don’t forget your FREE elopement guide!

An all-in-one planning guide for all things elopements! Whether you’re hoping to hike through the mountains of Washington or sip a margarita on the beaches of California, this comprehensive elopement guide has everything you need to know about how to plan the perfect elopement.


A girl holding a camera and smiling.

You? You’re the kind of person that gets a lil’ teary eyed looking at an epic view…

That moment when you turn to the person you’re with and ask, “Are you seeing this?” I live for it. Places with trees and mountains and soft breezes that make you say, “I can’t believe this place exists,” I spend pretty much all of my free time searching for and exploring them.

These places have always felt like home to me. And if you’re the kind of person who also feels more at home surrounded by trees than by people? Then we’ll get along really well. The Pacific Northwest is full of secret spots that are too special to share with just anyone. But it would make me happy to share them with you on your wedding day.

If the mountains/beaches/redwood forests are calling your name, go ahead…

(I promise you won’t regret it.)

P.S. I’m Brianna. My mission is to create custom, one-of-a-kind elopement experiences in the Pacific Northwest that allow couples to fully immerse themselves in the highest levels of excitement and wonder on a day designed exclusively for them.

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