Alpine lakes, towering meadows, driftwood beaches, fog-covered trees, and breathtaking flower meadows are just a few of the many landscapes you can find within Washington State. On top of that, you’ll find that Washington is loaded with a plethora of to-die-for Airbnbs, super fun activities, and fine dining options.

Having shot many elopements, I’m confident in saying that Washington State is my favorite place to photograph elopements. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about how to elope in Washington State, including the best places to elope in Washington State, Washington State elopement packages, marriage license info, and more.

*Click on any of the steps below to jump to that section.

  1. Choose an elopement location.
  2. Choose the best time of year to elope (your photographer can help you with this).
  3. Hire your Washington State vendors.
  4. Apply for a marriage license.
  5. Get your permits.
  6. Book your lodging.
  7. Book your activities.
  8. Create your timeline (your photographer can also help you with this).
  9. Washington State Elopement Packages

21 Best Places to Elope in Washington State

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is my all-time favorite national park. The park is littered with unique landscapes, cute little towns, and one-of-a-kind places like the Hoh Rainforest that can only be found within the park. Below are a few of my favorite locations within the park. If you’re interested in seeing a whole guide about eloping in the park, check out my Olympic National Elopement Guide.

A couple eloping on Hurricane Ridge in Washington State.

Hurricane Ridge

One of the most stunning views in Washington State comes from Hurricane Ridge. This ridge is one the most popular places in the park. You can find various trails, meadows, and wildlife here. You can also access the area in the winter if you’re into snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.

See an epic Hurricane Ridge elopement here!

A couple eloping on Ruby Beach in Washington State.

Ruby Beach

This iconic beach near the small town of Forks is a popular wedding destination for couples all around the world. If you’re wanting that well-known Pacific Northwest look of driftwood, fog, and unique rock formations, Ruby Beach is the place for you.

Check out this golden hour Ruby Beach elopement here.

Lake Cushman

Lake Cushman is an alpine lake on the southeast side of the park that attracts lots of visitors. It’s a hot spot for BBQs, paddleboarding, and camping during the summer months, but in the spring, fall, and winter, this location is absolutely beautiful.

Hoh Rainforest

The most unique rainforest in the PNW, the Hoh Rainforest, is a must-see spot, even if you decide against it as your ceremony location. The lush greens are visited by many, making this spot one of (if not) the most visited spots in the park. Prepare for heavy traffic in the summer and lots of rain in the winter.

Madison Falls

A small walk into a forest will lead you to Madison Falls, an enchanting location and great place to cool off in the summer. Madison falls is perfect for those wanting a waterfall incorporated into their special day.

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

This 1.7 million acre forest is one of the most visited forests in the United States. Filled with hiking trails, jaw dropping mountain ranges, and roaring waterfalls, the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is a great choice for an intimate elopement. Plus, its close proximity to cities like Seattle and Bellingham gives you the opportunity to see the best of both worlds.

Franklin Falls

The 2-mile roundtrip hike to get to Franklin Falls is well worth it. Located in the Snoqualmie area, this roaring waterfall makes an epic backdrop to any photo. However, be prepared to get soaking wet! The space also isn’t the largest, so expect crowds if you visit during the peak times of day.

A couple in front of Gold Creek Pond in Washington State.

Gold Creek Pond

This beautiful view is an easy to reach location buried deep in the forest. Gold Creek Pond is popular for camping, picnics, and more. The pond is best visited on a weekday during sunset. The road to get here is bumpy, but well worth it!

Snoqualmie

Snoqualmie is a small destination town, and by looking at these views, you can see why. There are so many different pull-offs and spots around the town that are perfect for an elopement. The mountain ranges and open fields are ideal for couples wanting something both intimate and picturesque.

Bagley Lakes

Close to Artist Point, Bagley Lakes is one of the many accessible lakes within the area and is part of a hike called Chain Lakes Loop, a hike filled with 6 different alpine lakes. This lake is ideal during the fall or early winter months, right before the first snowfall of the season.

Artist Point

This extremely popular spot near North Cascades National Park is home to dozens of different hiking trails around the area. Artist Point is one of the most photographed and visited locations in the forest. This area is best visited during sunset in the fall.

North Cascades National Park

Many people mix up the Mt. Baker area for North Cascades National Park. While they’re practically side by side, North Cascades National Park offers a variety of different locations and challenging hikes. The park is less busy than the forest and has many hidden gem locations that are ideal if you’re wanting a much smaller and intimate elopement.

Cascade Pass

Cascade Pass is a 6.5 mile roundtrip hike that passes through forest, open mountain ranges, and meadows. This is the most popular hiking trail within the park, but don’t let this detour you. Hiking the trail will be an extremely memorable experience, especially during the fall.

Fire Lookouts

Located all throughout Washington State, fire lookouts are some of the most epic elopement destinations in the U.S. Most of the time, they’ll require some uphill hiking, but the views are always worth it.

Stehekin

If you’re wanting a true elopement experience, Stehekin is the place for you. Stehekin is an extremely small town in the hear of the the North Cascades. The only way to reach this community is by plane, boat, horse, or foot. Talk about an intimate experience.

Mount Rainier National Park

Due to its proximity to Seattle, Mount Rainier National Park is Washington State’s most visited national park. It’s also an extremely popular spot for elopements. With endless trails, activities, and nearby cities, this national park is one of the best for visitors all around the world. Check out this complete guide all about how to elope in Mount Rainier National Park.

Tolmie Peak Trail

This incredible 5.6 mile hike will guide you past subalpine meadows, alpine lakes, and eventually, a fire lookout. The Tolmie Peak Trail is a must-do in Mt. Rainier, even if you decide against it for your ceremony.

Tipsoo Lake

Tipsoo Lake is a popular lake in Mount Rainier due to its accessibility. As most locations are, this area is especially beautiful during wildflower season. The lake is framed by Mt. Rainier, the perfect backdrop for any photo.

Silver Forest Trail

There are beautiful views right from the start of the Silver Forest Trail. If you’re wanting to get up close and personal with Mt. Rainier, this is the trail for you. This specific trail is also known for it’s beautiful wildflowers.

Grove of the Patriarchs

If you love the redwood forests, Grove of the Patriarchs is a perfect ceremony location for you. Consider having an early ceremony here, as this is one of the most popular places in the park.

Eastern Washington

Eastern Washington is the perfect spot for couple who love the desert. Plus, this area is much less busy than the other side of Washington that offers a completely different landscape. There are waterfalls, hills, mountains, deserts, and large towns on the eastern side of the state.

Mt. Spokane

If you’re wanting a mountainous location without all the people, consider Mt. Spokane. This area is busy during the winter season, but attracts nearly half the visitors during summer. There are multiple meadows and trails near Mt. Spokane.

Palouse Falls

This epic Eastern Washington waterfall is perfect for couples wanting a waterfall wedding. Palouse Falls is a historical and geological wonder. Carved more than 13,000 years ago, this is one of the last active waterfalls in the Ice Age floods path.

Wallula Gap Overlook

The Wallula Gap Overlook is a 6.3 mile trail that runs across the Columbia River. I personally love the desert vibe this location has, paired with the deep blue water. If you love the desert, consider this epic location.

Baldy Mountain in Washington State.

Baldy Mountain

Baldy Mountain is a super unique location near Yakima. The view at the top is beautiful. You’ll be surrounded with 360 degree views of mountainous terrain, a nearby river, and wildflowers. If you can, avoid this hike during the summer heat.

What Time of Year Should I Elope in Washington State?

Due to the immense variety Washington State has to offer, each location will have a different time of when the best time to elope is. Check out the information below to get a general idea of when the best time to elope for you would be. To get more detailed information, I always recommend asking your photographer or doing a bit more research on Google.

Summer (Best for Weather)

July – September is the best time to elope in Washington State if good weather is important to you. In the summer, there’s lots of sunshine, no snow, and all hiking trails are accessible. However, this also means that the national forests and parks are extremely crowded. If privacy is important to you, consider a fall elopement instead.

Fall (Good Weather and Privacy)

October – November are Washington’s fall months. It’s short, but sweet. The fall colors in the state are absolutely beautiful and well worth checking out. 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).

Winter (Best for Privacy)

December – March make up the winter months in Washington State. If you’re wanting a mountainous location, consider eloping during the summer, as many of the higher elevation roads don’t open until July. However, if you want something without snow, consider checking out lower elevation parks and forests like Olympic National Park. Keep in mind that this is the rainiest season in Washington, but also the season that gets the least amount of visitors.

Spring (Good Weather and Privacy)

April – June is another great time to elope in Washington. The weather is still a bit unpredictable during this time, but it’s much better than winter and also comes with less visitors. Once again, most mountain locations won’t be accessible until July due to snow, but lower elevation locations are perfect during this time.

A couple hugging each other on their elopement day on Ruby Beach in Washington State.

Washington State Elopement Vendors

Below are some of my favorite elopement vendors in Washington State that I’ve worked with before or have heard amazing things about.

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 beauty Washington has to offer. I help with locations, permits, licenses, timelines, vendors, and more. Check out my Washington State elopement packages here!

If you choose to hire a different photographer, make sure they’re familiar with the state, especially when it comes to the weather.

A bride and groom kissing on their elopement day next to a waterfall in Washington State.

How to Get a Marriage License in Washington State

A marriage license in Washington State has a three day waiting period, meaning you can’t elope until three days after picking up your marriage license. The marriage license expires in 60 days. 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.

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 three 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 laughing and playing in the water of Lake Cushman in Olympic National Park in Washington State.

Do I Need an Officiant and Witness for My Washington State Elopement?

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

Do I Need a Permit to Elope in Washington State?

Yes. In order to elope in Washington State, you’ll more than likely need what’s called a special use permit. Most national parks and forests require this type of permit. Usually, it’s around $50 – $75.

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 online.

Permits take a few weeks to process, and 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.

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

Best Airbnbs for Your Washington State Elopement

One of my many favorite things about Washington State 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 an option for everyone.

Below are some of my favorite Airbnbs you can find in Washington State.

Olympic National Park Airbnbs

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest/North Cascades Airbnbs

Mt. Rainier Airbnbs

Eastern Washington Airbnbs

A bride and groom holding clear umbrellas and smiling with mountains in the back in Washington State.

Activities for Your Washington State Elopement

The main reason I love elopements is because they’re so unique and personalized to each couple. Here are a few different activities you can incorporate into your special day.

  • Soak in the hot tub before getting ready
  • Enjoy a brunch picnic in your Airbnb while wearing matching robes
  • Hike to one of Washington’s iconic fire lookouts
  • Buy a bouquet of flowers from Pike Place Market
  • Have a bonfire and eat s’mores
  • Hire a personal chef for an intimate dinner with family
  • Go paddleboarding on Lake Crescent
  • Hit the slopes in Mt. Baker
  • Go on a waterfall spree around the state
  • Explore Seattle’s art museum
  • Take a Washington State ferry
  • Book a private boat dinner
  • Take a scenic bike ride through a national forest
A couple holding hands and walking through trees on their wedding day in Washington State.

Washington State Elopement Timeline Examples

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.
A couple eloping in Washington State at the Hoh Rainforest.

Washington State Elopement Packages

I’m Brianna, a Washington State elopement photographer who is extremely passionate about helping my couples plan their perfect elopement day. I offer a variety of different Washington State elopement packages for couples looking to elope.

Washington State 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
  • I also offer all-inclusive elopement packages, which takes the planning out of your elopement completely. Check those packages out here.

Want more elopement inspiration? Check out this Olympic National Park Wedding Guide, Hurricane Ridge Elopement, and North Cascades Elopement Guide.

Where can I elope in Washington State?

You can elope anywhere in Washington State. The most popular places to elope include Olympic National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, and the Mt. Baker forest.

How much does it cost to elope in Washington?

It costs $69 to elope in Washington. This is just for the marriage license. If you want to hire vendors, expect to pay around $10,000 for an elopement in Washington State.

Can you elope in Washington?

Yes, you can elope in Washington.

NEED HELP PLANNING YOUR DREAM ELOPEMENT?

Snag your FREE elopement guide to help you plan your dream elopement in California, Alaska, or even Spain! Learn everything you need to know about how to plan a “just us” experience.

A free guide all about how to elope, created by a California elopement photographer.
A girl holding a camera and smiling.

ARE YOU READY FOR AN ELOPEMENT EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER?

I’m Brianna, a California elopement photographer who inspires, encourages, and empowers couples to push traditional boundaries and create experiences they’ll remember forever.

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