Leavenworth, the small mountain town situated right outside the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington State, is notorious 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.
Whether you’re debating or sold on eloping in Leavenworth, check out this guide filled to the brim with super helpful information all about how and where to elope in this epic location.
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, but I can assure you it will fly by! The drive is known to be one of the most beautiful within Washington State! Below are a few more airports you can fly into instead.
- 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 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 locations. If you’re looking for more in-depth location ideas, I create personalized location lists for all my couples!
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 place.
Colchuck Lake is one of Washington State’s most popular and photographed lakes. The difficult 9-mile roundtrip hike is well-worth the epic views. It is definitely crowded during the summer months, so consider visiting during the off-season.
One of the most breathtaking views cane 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.
Lake Wenatchee is a very accessible lake close to Leavenworth. There’s even two smaller lakes right next door that are stunning during the fall season. This lake is very popular in the summer, so plan accordingly.
Icicle Ridge Trail
Want to feel on top of the world? Consider hiking the Icicle Ridge Trail just outside the 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 to Elope in Leavenworth
The fall is hands-down the best time to elope in Leavenworth. This small town is known to have some of the best fall colors in the U.S. Plus, there will hardly be any crowds and the weather will still be nice.
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 not be accessible due to the snow.
Spring comes much later, around July when the snow finally melts on the trails. This is a less popular time to visit, but the weather can be a bit iffy. If you don’t mind a bit of mud and snow, spring is a beautiful time to elope.
Summer in Leavenworth is busy, especially due to the famous nearby hikes. It’s the best time to visit weather-wise, but I would recommend planning your elopement during a weekday to avoid all the people.
Cutest Places to Stay For Your Leavenworth Elopement
Leavenworth has some charming places to stay that are close to both nature and civilization. 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
One of my favorite places to shoot is Washington State. I offer elopement packages for couples looking to take the planning out of their elopement.
Leavenworth Elopement Package Pricing
- 4 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage anywhere in Washington State
- A hands-on elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
- personalized elopement locations and questionnaires
- vendor recommendations
- permit assistance
- customized elopement timeline
- activity suggestions
- Online gallery with full resolution and printing rights
- 24-48 hour sneak peak images
- Travel fees to ANYWHERE in Washington are already included
- Starting at $4,500
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I’m Brianna, a California elopement photographer who inspires, encourages, and empowers couples to push traditional boundaries and create experiences they’ll remember forever.