Leavenworth, the small mountain town situated right outside the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington State, is well known for both its beautiful scenery and magical Christmas light display. While it’s not as popular as locations like Olympic National Park or North Cascades National Park, this tiny town is an incredible place to elope. Alpine lakes, dense forests, and snowcapped mountains are a few of the many different landscapes you’ll have the chance of encountering on your wedding day.
This guide has everything you need to know about how to plan your very own Leavenworth elopement. Whether you’re looking for location ideas or activity suggestions, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get into it!
How Do I Get To Leavenworth?
The closest international airport to Leavenworth is the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. It’s about a 2.5 hour drive to Leavenworth. Below are some other airports you can fly into to reach the town.
- Bellingham International Airport – 2.10 hours
- Spokane International Airport – 3 hours
- Portland International Airport – 4.5 hours
5 Best Places to Elope in Leavenworth
Leavenworth is located right outside numerous different national forests. Talk about a hiker’s paradise. With so many different alpine lakes, trails, and mountains to explore, this is a very short list of different locations you should consider for your elopement.
While you may not want to exchange vows downtown, downtown Leavenworth is a great place for pictures, especially during Christmastime. Filled with Alpine/Bavarian architecture and mountains, you can’t go wrong spending a day exploring this unique town. Grab a hot chocolate in the winter or a beer in the summer and enjoy the scenery.
Colchuck Lake is one of Washington’s most popular and photographed lakes. The difficult 9-mile roundtrip hike is well-worth the epic views. However, because it’s so popular, this trail is super crowded during the summer months, so consider visiting during the off-season to get this location all to yourself.
One of the most breathtaking views can be found on the Lake Valhalla Trail overlooking the lake itself. This hike is absolutely gorgeous in the fall and provides multiple locations for beautiful photos. The hike is fairly moderate and around 6 miles roundtrip.
Lake Wenatchee is a very accessible lake close to Leavenworth making it a great option for elopements with friends and family. There is plenty of shoreline and even some hidden trails around the edge of the lake. There’s even two smaller lakes right next door that are less popular and more secluded. This lake is very popular in the summer, but planning around sunset will get you less crowds.
Icicle Ridge Trail
Want to feel on top of the world? Consider hiking the Icicle Ridge Trail just outside of town. At the top, you’ll get a panoramic view of Leavenworth and the nearby mountains. Like all other locations on this list, this hike is a dream to do during autumn.
How to Get a Permit to Elope in Leavenworth
Since Leavenworth is surrounded by so many national forests, the permit process may be a bit different. More than likely, your location will fall into the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest region. If this is the case, you will need to obtain a special use permit. However, if you have less than 75 people attending your wedding, the permit will more than likely be free. You still need to apply for the permit though, as not doing so will result in fines.
If your ceremony or portrait location falls outside this area, ask your elopement photographer about the permit process. They will be able to point you in the right direction and help you through each step.
Best Time of Year to Elope in Leavenworth
The fall is hands-down the best time of year to elope in Leavenworth. This small town is known to have some of the best fall colors in Washington. Plus, the crowds die down significantly, making it the perfect time to explore the downtown area before the winter rush rolls in.
Around Christmastime, Leavenworth transforms into a winter wonderland. However, this brings lots of crowds. While it’s a beautiful time to visit, many of the locations will be inaccessible due to the snow. The road to Leavenworth is also known to close from time to time and can be extremely dangerous to travel to during a snowstorm.
Spring comes much later, around July when the snow finally melts on the trails. This is a less popular time to visit because the weather can be a bit iffy. However, if you don’t mind a bit of mud and snow, spring is a beautiful time to elope in Leavenworth.
Summer in Leavenworth is busy, especially because there are so many well known hikes and lakes in the area. It’s the best time to visit weather-wise, but I highly recommend planning your elopement during a weekday to avoid all weekend crowds.
Cutest Places to Stay For Your Leavenworth Elopement
Leavenworth has some charming places to stay that are close to both nature and town. Check out a few of my favorites below!
- Leavenworth Bungalow (one of my all-time personal favorites!)
- Storybook Cabin in the Woods
- The Modern Overlook Cabin
- Stones Throw Downtown Cottage
- Little Bear A-Frame Cabin
Best Leavenworth Restaurants and Activities
Leavenworth has a plethora of food and things to do. Below are a few of the best places to eat, as well as the best activities you can incorporate on your elopement day.
- Rhein Haus Leavenworth – German
- LARCH – Italian
- Visconti’s Italian Restaurant – Italian
- Watershed Cafe – Upscale American
- Mozart’s Steakhouse – Modern European
- Check out the famous Nutcracker Museum
- Feed Reindeer at the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm
- Go wine tasting downtown
- Soak in the hot tub before getting ready for your elopement
- Pack a picnic to eat at the lake
- Try your luck skiing at Leavenworth Ski Hill
- Book a massage or facial
- Ride a hot air balloon as the sun goes down
- Rent a kayak and enjoy the lake
- Have a Sausage and a Pint at a Beer Garden
- Visit the famous Christmas lights
Leavenworth Elopement Packages
If you’re looking for an all-inclusive elopement experience, you’re in the right place. I’m Brianna, a Pacific Northwest elopement photographer who helps couples all around the world plan their dream elopement days in the PNW. From helping couples get marriage licenses to creating personalized location lists, I’m here to help you each step of the way. Take a peek at my pricing below or check out my elopement packages page for more information.
Leavenworth Elopement Package Pricing
- 4 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage anywhere in Leavenworth
- 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 Leavenworth are already included
- Starting at $6,500
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.
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.
(I promise you won’t regret it.)
P.S. I’m Brianna, and I plan, craft, and capture elopements around the Pacific Northwest. 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.