How to Get Married in Washington State

How to get married in Washington State: A quick overview

  1. Gather the necessary documents and information
  2. Fill out your online marriage application 
  3. Submit Your application along with the application fee ($69)
  4. If submitting in person, be sure to have cash or check as most offices won’t accept debit/credit cards. 
  5. Pick up your marriage license and sign with a notary (you’ll both need to be present)
  6. Observe the 3 day waiting period (your license is valid for 60 days)
  7. Have an officiant conduct your ceremony and sign your marriage license with 2 witnesses 
  8. Return your marriage license and request a certified copy

Washington state is insanely beautiful and has a ton of gorgeous spots to elope. It is super easy to get married or elope in Washington state and in this post we’ll break down each step and include different things to consider while planning your Washington elopement. As elopement photographers, we spend about half of our year in the Pacific Northwest helping couples plan a wedding day that is stress-free and focused on each other. Washington is home to three national parks, rocky beaches, and nine national forests making it one of our favorite states for couples to get married in.

Washington elopement inspiration
Washington forest elopement

Before we break down the how to’s of getting married in Washington state, we’ll answer a few common questions that come up when considering Washington as the location for your wedding day.

Do you need to be a resident to get married in Washington state?

Nope! You absolutely do not have to be a resident to get married in Washington. As long as you apply for your marriage license properly and follow the marriage guidelines, you can easily get married in Washington state. You can apply for your marriage license in any Washington county and then exchange your vows in a different county. Your marriage license will be valid statewide, making the process super easy!

What is required to get married in Washington state?

The requirements to get married in Washington State are pretty standard. There is no need for a blood test, but you will need to be sure to have the following identification and knowledge:

  • Current photo ID (driver’s license, passport, military ID, etc.)
  • Both applicants will need to be present when you pick up your license 
  • 18 or older
  • $69 application fee
  • There is a 3 day waiting period after receiving your license. It cannot be waived. 
  • Your license is valid for exactly 60 days

Have more questions about getting married in Washington?

Waterfall wedding inspiration
Waterfall elopement in Washington state

How many witnesses do you need?

You will need at least 2 witnesses to sign your Washington State marriage license. Your witnesses will need to be 18 or older for their signatures to be accepted. If you’re having a “just us” elopement or ceremony, no worries! We’ve had plenty of couples that have eloped in Washington State and been able to find witnesses. As a photography team, we’re both able to sign as your witnesses for your ceremony! Finding witnesses is also super easy with passersby on the trail who are always THRILLED to sign as witnesses.

What you need to know about getting married in Washington state during COVID-19.

COVID-19 has definitely changed things and made planning a wedding a little tricky. However, getting your Washington State marriage license is still super easy. You can apply for your marriage license online here or on most county sites.

While COVID-19 regulations are changing you can check out what is currently allowed here. With the way COVID-19 has changed the wedding industry, elopements have become more and more popular. Elopements have given couples the option to keep their wedding date and celebrate in a way that is incredibly meaningful and focused completely on them and their values. As Washington elopement photographers, we love helping couples plan their wedding day, build the perfect timeline, and find the perfect location. Eloping is the perfect option for couples that don’t resonate with traditional weddings or are looking for a way to have a super meaningful wedding while meeting government regulations. 

West coast elopement inspiration
West coast elopement

Who can perform a marriage ceremony in Washington?

Washington State recognizes any regularly licensed or ordained minister or priest of any church or religious denomination. Washington State also recognizes officiants from The Universal Life church to legally officiate a ceremony. This makes it super easy to find an officiant for your Washington elopement. We’re also ordained and legally able to officiate your ceremony if you are wanting to keep your ceremony private and not hire an officiant. You can also ask a close friend or family member to become ordained and officiate your wedding. Getting ordained is insanely easy and can be done through The Universal Life Church. or other organizations. It’s super easy and takes less than 5 minutes. 

Ready to start planning your Washington Elopement?

How to get married in Washington
Washington wedding details

How much does it cost to get married in Washington state?

Your marriage license requires a non-refundable, $69 application fee. There are a few other costs you’ll want to consider if you’re eloping in Washington state and we’ll break those down for ya! 

Special Use Permits | $25-$100

There are PLENTY of gorgeous, accessible, and cost effective locations to elope in Washington. Including, 3 national parks, over 100 state parks, and a vast, rugged coastline to choose from. Most of these locations will require a permit, which can range from $25-$300. This is a fraction of the cost of a traditional wedding venue. Park websites are an excellent source for permitting information. As your elopement photographers, we can also help you with this process. 

Florals | $50-$300

Photography/Officiant combination (hey there!) | $2,600

Clothes | $1,500 for both of ya! This really varies on style and preference, but you can find gorgeous and cost-effective wedding digs for your elopement! You can also consider renting if buying wedding attire just isn’t something you’re wanting to spend your money on.

Ready to have the time of your life?

Washington forest wedding
Washington forest wedding

How to get married in Washington, step by step:

  1. Hire your elopement photographers (That’s us!)
  2. We’ll help you with all the planning and logistics 
  3. Choose your location and apply for your permit (we help with this too)
  4. Book your travel and lodging 
  5. Buy your wedding clothes and book any of your other vendors
  6. Apply for your marriage license
  7. Pick up your marriage license
  8. Observe the 3 day waiting period 
  9. Have your ceremony and GET MARRIED!!!
  10. Have 2 witnesses sign 
  11. Return your paperwork 
  12. Request official copies

Ready to start planning?

Washington marriage ceremony inspiration
Forest wedding in Washington

BOOM! That’s it! If you love towering trees, rugged coastlines, and foggy mountains, then the pacific northwest is the perfect place for you to say your vows. Check out this post that gives you all the info you need to figure out how to get married in Oregon to learn about getting married in Oregon for more elopement ideas.

We love to help couples plan their dream elopements that allow them to celebrate and be themselves. Getting married in Washington is easy- peasy and we’d love to help guide you through the process and navigate the logistics of eloping. You deserve a wedding day that feels like you and celebrates what you’ve built.

How to get married on the coast in Washington state
Washington coastal elopement

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