How to Elope In Washington State 

The Ultimate 2024 Blue-Print

We want to give you a solid foundation to plan your Washington elopement with some serious intention.

We want to give you a solid foundation to plan your Washington elopement with some serious intention.

Is this guide on How to Elope in Washington going to blow your mind with all the juicy info and planning steps? Yes, absolutely. 

Washington isn’t the best location for every couple, but it’s perfect for couples who:

We want you to dig deep and craft a day that is totally unique and special to you. Let’s go beyond what you’ve seen on instagram and Pinterest, let’s get to the heart of planning a day in one of our favorite places this side of the lower 48. This is a once-in-a-lifetime type of day and it should be planned with intention.

Because that isn’t being talked about enough

But, we hope it accomplishes something even more important… 

Is this guide on How to Elope in Washington going to blow your mind with all the juicy info and planning steps? Yes, absolutely. 

  • find solace in the beauty of nature.
  • Want a little adventure woven into their day.
  • Want to create a day that is centered on a shared journey, and away from distractions. 
  • Want to exchange vows against a backdrop of snowy mountains.
  • Want to explore meadows filled with wildflowers, hidden waterfalls, lush forests, and alpine lakes. 

Does this sound like what you’re looking for?

Then get cozy, and let’s dig in. 

Your Washington Elopement Photographers

Before we get too deep, let us take a second to say hey. We’re Sam + Kyle, an adventure elopement photography duo based in the PNW. 

We live and travel in our RV that we renovated together and travel the west, shooting in incredible locations with even more incredible couples. 

We love the road trip vibe, but the PNW shifted something in us and while we shoot pretty much anywhere, the upper left has become our home base. 

There’s just somethin’ about having mountains, oceans, forests, and deserts all in your backyard, ya know? 

We also eloped and OMG the relief we felt ditching our OG wedding plans was just…so freeing. 

Planning an elopement felt more like planning an adventure. 

Now, as Washington elopement photographers, we’re hell bent on making sure that every couple we work with gets to experience that same excitement. 

Let's get to know each other 

Sam and Kyle are not just photographers. They really help construct a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They created a day for us that was beyond magical. It was a day of intention, thoughtfulness, presence and all good energy and that was 100% because of them and their planning and preparation. They put a lot of work into understanding who me and my partner were to ensure a day that was right for us and what we wanted.


A+R

How to Elope in Washington State in a Nutshell

We’re gonna be covering a lot of info here, and we want to make sure you’re able to take advantage of all of it. Here’s a quick lil’ breakdown of EVERYTHING we’re chatting about: 

Step 1: Define the vision

  • Determine the vibe 
  • Develop your “planning anchor”

Step 2: Choose the location


Step 3: Embrace the Seasons 

  • Keeping it aligned with your vision
  • What to expect during each season 
  • What locations are best for each season 
  • What you need to consider
 
Step 4: Curate the details

  • Keeping it aligned with your vision
  • Lodging + Travel details 
  • Ideas for details to consider 
  • Other vendors for your day
  • Permits 
  • Washington Marriage License + Laws

Step 5: Craft a bespoke timeline

  • Keeping it aligned 
  • How your timeline will serve your vision
  • Examples


Okay, let’s dive in!

Let's make it happen

See the vision?

Be ruthless with your vision. If something comes up as you’re planning your Washington elopement and it doesn’t align, let it roll.

Q: What was the landscape like?

  • This answer will help you quickly narrow down location options 

Q: How did you physically feel? 


  • This can help narrow down your locations and their accessibility. Did you feel accomplished after reaching the end of a hike to catch sunrise on the mountains? Or exhilarated by the wind whipping your hair around and the sound of crashing waves?

Q: What weather did you envision? 

  • This can help you pick your date! Moody? Opt for fall. Clear skies? Go with summer. Gushing falls? Spring is the season for you!

Q: What activities got you excited?

  • Definitely make a plan to incorporate them into your Washington elopement

Q: Were there others there with you? Who?

  • There’s your guest list!


and Let's recap

Your answers to the questions can serve as the foundation for “planning anchor”. Come back to it if you start getting lost in the planning process, or feel pressure for your day to look or feel a certain way. 

You can infuse this into every piece of planning your Washington elopement. 

Q: Close your eyes and imagine your perfect day together. What does the setting look like? Do you have 360 views of the mountains? Are you nestled in a forest? Do you have a waterfall gushing beside you? How do you feel in that moment? 

Important note: stay away from words like “happy”...it’s your wedding day! Happy is the bare minimum, babe. Let’s dream bigger. Do you want to feel exhilarated? Awe-inspired? Wild? The more specific, the better!

Q: What specific elements, activities, or surroundings would make your day in Washington truly unforgettable?

Example: Whale watching in the olympic Peninsula, a hot air balloon ride over Mount Rainier, Watching the sunrise paint the North Cascades, stargazing on a rugged beach, a gentle walk through the rainforest, chasing waterfalls framed by moss and ferns.

Time to ✨envision✨ your ideal day

Q: What are the core values that define your relationship, and how do you envision honoring them during your elopement?

Q: What aspects of nature, adventure, or intimacy hold the most significance for both of you? How does a Washington elopement reflect this?

Next, let’s define your values

Q: How has your relationship evolved and grown over time, and what key milestones have defined your journey?

Q: What are some shared moments or memories that are particularly important to you both?

First, let's reflect

Q’s to ask yourself to get clear about your preferences, values, and the experience you’re after:

Determine the vibe before you decide to elope in Washington

To plan an epic day, you gotta first put in a little work (it’s like fun work, though)and get crystal clear about what you want, and what you don’t want. 

For example: if hiking isn’t your bag, you don’t need to be trekking miles uphill in your wedding attire no matter how epic the view is. We promise you, there are other options. 

The last thing we want is for you to spend a day in the North Cascades that didn’t make you feel inspired, excited, and absolutely overwhelmed with joy. 


Well, not on our watch

TBH, this is the most important part of planning your elopement. It can be sooo easy to get totally wrapped up in what you see on social media and opt for locations, attire, details, and activities that don’t actually align with you - then you end up having a day that was really cool and beautiful, but also… kinda meh.

How to Elope in Washington State | Step 1: Define Your Vision

“Sam and Kyle are not just photographers. They really help construct a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They created a day for us that was beyond magical. It was a day of intention, thoughtfulness, presence and all good energy and that was 100% because of them and their planning and preparation. They put a lot of work into understanding who me and my partner were to ensure a day that was right for us and what we wanted. “

M+Q

ACCESSIBILITY AND CONVENIENCE:

Q: How important is accessibility and convenience in your choice of location? Do you prefer a location that is easily accessible and offers amenities for you and your guests, if any?

Q: How much physical activity do you envision for your day?

SIGNIFICANCE:

Q: Are you interested in selecting a location that holds cultural or personal significance? Or, maybe you're excited to explore somewhere new together?

PRIVACY:

Q: Do you envision a secluded and intimate location that offers privacy and tranquility for your elopement?

ADVENTURE + EXPLORATION:

Q: Are you drawn to locations that offer adventurous activities such as hiking, kayaking, or exploring natural landmarks?

Q: How can you incorporate elements of adventure and exploration into your elopement location to create an unforgettable and exhilarating experience?

VIEWS:

Q: Do you prefer a mountainous backdrop, a serene coastline, or a lush forest setting for your elopement?

Remember your answers to the previous q’s and let’s get even more specific:

As Washington elopement photographers, we're pretty in love with what Washington State has to offer. Whether you’re drawn to towering pines, lush rainforests, turquoise waters, gushing falls, rugged mountains, or moody beaches, Washington's landscapes look like they’re straight from a storybook. 

Epic views come in a range of accessibility, so whether you’re wanting to exchange vows after a hike, or a quick jaunt from the parking lot, Washington has you covered. It's diverse scenery and accessibility make it one of the best places to elope.

How to Elope in Washington State | Step 2: Choose your Location

Next up: Where to elope in Washington State 

Washington State is home to some of the most incredible National Parks and Forests. Each location has something unique to offer depending on what you want to prioritize for your Washington elopement. 

Here’s a breakdown of some of our faves: 

Olympic National Park

Ideal for couples who

  • Are nature enthusiasts that want to explore diverse landscapes including lush rainforests, rugged coastlines, and unbelievable mountains. 

  • Are seeking privacy in the shoulder seasons (summer is V popular)

  • Want accessibility options and locations that are gorgeous without a ton of effort.

Mount Rainier National Park

Ideal for couples who

  • Are adventure seekers and are drawn to the snowy peak of Mount Rainier, the chance to explore stunning glaciers, and some of the most insanely beautiful alpine meadows you’ll ever see. 

  • Are drawn to locations ranging from walkup views to longer adventures in a dramatic mountainous landscape. 

North Cascades National Park

Washington's National Forests

Ideal for couples who

Ideal for couples who

  • Are looking for something a little more on the wild side. The North Cascades are PERFECT for couples that are drawn to the rugged wilderness, are craving adventures that are more remote and offer up more options for challenging hikes that lead you to mirror-like alpine lakes, panoramic vistas of snowy peaks, and emerald green forests. 

  • For couples that are truly seeking privacy, the North Cascades can offer up more privacy than other national parks.

  • Are avid adventurers and are drawn to an experience that allows them to be completely immersed in rugged terrain, remote trails, and a truly wild experience. 

  • Crave privacy and are drawn to the remoteness that National Forests can offer.

Check out our guide to planning your Mount Rainier Elopement

Check out our guide to planning your Olympic National Park Wedding

Check out our Washington Elopement Packages

“Sam & Kyle are the BEST! We decided to go the elopement route and didn't know where to start, but found them and had our first call and they were so helpful and made us feel at ease. We only had a couple months to get everything ready but they knew exactly what they were doing.”

Q+M

How to Elope in Washington State | Step 3: Embracing the Seasons

Questions to ask yourself:

Q: What weather are you most drawn to for your elopement?

Q: What activities or adventures are you wanting to experience?

Q: What does your ideal landscape look like? Is it covered in fall foliage, glistening snow, or colorful wildflowers?

How to Elope in Washington State in Fall:

Let's talk about the magical fall vibe that's painting the forests and mountains - with its cozy hues.

THE VIEWS:

The mountains framed with fiery colors, while the forests are enveloped in this moody, enchanting mist that's straight out of a fairytale. It's fall, and our absolute fave season. The mountains are popping off with bright reds, oranges, and yellows and you’ll likely have a good chance for a sprinkle of early snow.

Best Months: Late September - mid October

PROS:

  • Gorgeous colors…I mean, it’s insanely gorgeous. 

  • Less crowds than summer, but you can anticipate some leaf peepers especially during Larch Madness (late September-early October). 

THE CHALLENGES: 

  • Unpredictable weather. As you move further into the fall season, the weather can absolutely change on a dime. It could be sunny with views of the mountains, or it could be super moody. You’ll want to give yourselves some flexibility here and book some extra days at your lodging and be ready to embrace backup plans.

Top Washington State Elopement Locations for Fall:

#1 North Cascades: Crisp mountain air, stunning snowy peaks, the chance to see the northern lights, and stunning fall colors. Stick to late September and like the first week of October as many roads close with the first heavy snowfall.   

#2 Mount Rainier: Beautiful fall colors in late September and early October. The Eastern side of the park is probably our fave during the fall. Aim for late September and no later than the first two weeks of October to avoid closures. Read more about planning your Mount Rainier elopement

#3 Olympic National Park: Really clears out in the fall and is absolutely stunning. Check for road closures for places like Hurricane Ridge, but most will stay accessible through most of October. The beaches will be significantly less crowded as will the rainforests, which look unreal in the fall. Read more about planning your Olympic National Park wedding.

Ok, yes, we realize that we just listed all the National Parks…but truly, Washington is stunning in the fall.

We want this day!

Our tips for How to Elope in Washington State in fall 

#1 Layer up, buttercup: Cozy shawls, wraps, jackets, or capes that you feel stoked to be photographed in our great to have later into the season, in the event of sour weather, or if you’ll be exploring around sunrise or sunset.

#2 Bring sturdy shoes with plenty of tread for exploring 

#3 Talk to your florist about hearty blooms or dried arrangements that can hold up through dicey weather and chilly temps. 

Fall Essentials to add to your packing list:

  • Cozy blankets 
  • Clear umbrellas 
  • Hand and body warmers 

Activities for your fall elopement:

  • Hike through the fall colors 
  • Cozy campfire
  • Horseback ride at sunset 

Let's Talk!

How to Elope in Washington State in winter

Let's dive into the enchanting wonderland that is Washington State during the frosty season. the forests draped in a serene snowy blanket, the mountains topped with white peaks, and the moody beaches.

THE VIEWS:

Snow-capped mountains that look straight out of a postcard, and the rain-kissed forests offering a mysterious and enchanting ambiance. Winter in Washington is all about that ideal snow and those cozy rainy forests.

Best Months: November - February 

PROS:

  • Gorgeous winter wonderland vibes 
  • Fewer crowds compared to the summer seasons

CHALLENGES:

  • Winter's mood swings are no joke. Flexibility is key here! 
  • Many areas are inaccessible and you’ll want to keep an eye on road closures, but don’t stress! We gotchu with the back up plans.

#1 North Cascades and Mount Baker Ski Area: This will be perfect for couples that are looking for snowy peaks and endless winter adventures. Many popular locations may be inaccessible due to road closures, but there are plenty other STUNNING spots to explore. 

#2 Mount Rainier: Probably one of the best places to explore during the peak winter months! The Paradise area stays open year-round and is absolutely STUNNING in the winter. Keep an eye on road closures, and plan for some extra snuggle time to soak in the wintry romance. Read more about planning your Mount Rainier elopement.

Top Washington State Elopement Locations for Winter:

We're in!

#1 Bundle Up! Think cozy wraps, warm winter coats, and those adorable ear muffs to keep you warm while you’re exploring. 

#2 Sturdy Footwear with Traction is a Must: Opt for boots that can handle the snow and icy terrain and wool socks to keep you warm. 

#3 Opt for Hearty Blooms or Dried Arrangements: Chat with your florist about winter-friendly blooms that can brave the frosty weather and complement your snowy surroundings.

Our tips for a Winter elopement in washington state

Winter Essentials to add to your packing list:

  • Hand and body warmers are a real game changer when it’s cold AF out.
  • Cozy blankets for snuggle sessions
  • Gloves, hats, mittens, and extra layers 

Fave Activities for your Winter Elopement in Washington State:

  • Snowshoe through the forest 
  • Skiing adventures 
  • A winter picnic 
  • A snuggly bonfire 
  • A soak in the hot tub of your super cute cabin

Let's chat!

How to Elope in Washington State in Spring:

We love it when Spring be springin’! Waterfalls will be absolutely GUSHING, rainforests will be super green and the beaches will be extra moody. 



THE VIEWS:

Lush, green forests and blooming wildflowers in locations that are in lower elevations. Mountains will be transitioning from their snowy elegance and things can get a little slushy. 

BEST MONTHS: Late May - Early July

PROS:

  • A quieter time to explore with less crowds
  • Lush greenery 

CHALLENGES:

  • Obvi weather can be challenging here. Our best advice is to embrace the mood, stay flexible, and keep an open mind. 

Washington State Elopement Locations for Spring

Olympic National Park is probably our fave location for spring. The rainforests will be unbelievably green, the waterfalls will be gushing and the lower lakes will have wildflowers scattered around them. Read more about planning your Olympic National Park wedding.

Schedule a call

Our tips for How to Elope in Washington State in Spring

#1 Waterproof outer layers and umbrellas to help you stay dry! 

#2 Keep cozy layers and warmers on hand 

#3 Talk to your florist about hearty blooms or dried arrangements that can weather spring showers and add pops of color and whimsy. 

Spring Essentials to add to your packing list:

  • Clear umbrellas 
  • Warmers 
  • Waterproof boots 
  • Cozy blankets 

Fave Activities for your Spring Elopement:

  • Book lodging that your stoked on for a snuggle sesh
  • Hike through the lush forests
  • Picnic at the lake 
  • Snuggle up by the fire 
  • Explore the rugged coastline 
  • Whale-watching during the migration season

Contact us

How to Elope in Washington State in Summer:

Summer is one of the best times to elope in Washington. The weather is typically sunny, beautiful, and easier to predict. You can explore alllll the gorgeous locations and early on you’ll have gorgeous wildflowers. 

THE VIEWS:

Meadows covered in wildflowers, forests streaming with light, and the beaches will be golden and beautiful.

BEST MONTHS: July - Early September

PROS:

  • Gorgeous weather 
  • Open roads 

CHALLENGES:

  • Crowds - Everyone is out to explore the beautiful scenery 
  • Wildfires - Keep backup plans in mind! 

Top Washington State Elopement Locations for Summer:

#1 North Cascades: Absolutely amazing in the summer months and is less visited than the other National Parks. The wildflowers will be beautiful and the lakes will be stunning! 

#2 Olympic National Park: The crowds will be popping off, BUT the scenery is absolutely stunning with all areas of the park being easily accessible.  

#3 Mount Rainier National Park: Yes, you’ll want to work around the crowds, but this is when you’ll have the best chance to have views of Rainier. The mountain can be a little moody, but during the summer, obscured views happen less!

Truly, the summer season in Washington State is hard to beat. Each park absolutely shines. 

Our tips for How to Elope in Washington State in Summer

#1 Stick to weekdays and sunrise/sunset to avoid crowds 

#2 Opt for light and airy attire and comfortable shoes for exploring 

#3 Lean into Summer florals. Chat with your florists about whimsical blooms that will stay perky all day long. 

Summer Essentials to add to your packing list:

  • Sunscreen 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Extra hydration

Fave Activities for your Summer Elopement:

  • Summer activities are endless and you can lean into fun water activities like paddle boarding and kayaking 
  • Horseback rides through the forest 
  • Hiking options are absolutely endless 
  • Explore fire towers with endless views 
  • Take advantage of the clearer skies and star-gaze

Let's talk about your elopement day

How to Elope in Washington State | Step 4: Curating the details

When it comes to crafting a unique elopement day, every detail you choose to include plays a vital role in telling the story of your day. From the lodging that sets the stage for your adventure to the carefully chosen rituals that infuse your day with emotional resonance, every choice you make adds a layer of depth and meaning to your day. Staying intentional through this piece of the planning process will infuse your day with unique elements of your story. 


QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

Lodging for your your Washington Elopement:

Let’s chat about lodging for your Washington elopement! Where you stay is more than just a place to crash and throw on your wedding attire; it’s an important component of your narrative, an extension of your chosen vibe, and the backdrop for important moments of your Washington elopement. 


Your lodging can also serve as a backup location in moodier months, giving you a beautiful and cozy backdrop for a snuggle session, a candle-lit dinner, or other sweet moments.

 
Choose a lodging space that echoes your desired aesthetic, where the morning light softly dances through the windows, and every corner reflects the love and anticipation of the day can elevate those sweet behind-the-scenes moments like getting ready.

Tips for choosing your lodging for your Washington Elopement:

#1 Look for spaces that match the vibe you’re after a cozy cabin, or bright interiors. 

#2 Look for lodging with amenities that can elevate your experience like a fancy hot tub or a fire pit. 

#3. Choose locations that will make traveling to your locations easy, especially if you’re exploring during sunrise!

When should you book your lodging for your Washington elopement?

You’ll want to wait until you have your locations chosen for your Washington elopement, or at least narrowed down to a specific section of a park.

Places to stay for your Washington elopement 

Q: Which type of lodging aligns with your vision for a unique and personal elopement experience?

Q: What vendors can provide the services that align with your vision? 

olympic national park:

  • Agate Beach Lodge: A stunning, modern lodge nestled in the Olympics and along a private beach. This is the perfect place to stay for your Olympic National Park wedding   

  • The Lake Crescent Lodge: A charming historic lodge nestled by the shores of Lake Crescent, offering picturesque views and a serene atmosphere. This is another great option for your Olympic National Park Elopement

  • The Kalaloch Lodge: A coastal retreat in Olympic National Park featuring rustic cabins and stunning ocean views, perfect for couples seeking a blend of rugged beauty and comfort.

  • This A-frame is just south of Quinnault. View it here

  • This adorable tiny house in Port Angeles. Check it out here

  • This Lakeside cottage in Port Angeles, here.
  • This charming cabin in Concrete, Washington. Check it out here.

  • The Freestone Inn: Located in Mazama is the perfect lodging for couples looking for the perfect combination of rustic meets luxury.  


  • This beautiful Cabin in Deming. View it here.

  • This modern cabin, located in Deming. View it here.

  • This gorgeous A-frame in Granite Falls.

NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK:

Mount Rainier National Park Lodging:


  • This cozy A-frame in Ashford

  • This Ashford A-frame with a fire pit and hot tub

  • This stargazing globe that’s perfect for summer nights

  • This cabin in Ashford

  • This cozy cabin in Packwood with a cedar hot tub

  • This modern A frame right on the river in Packwood

AKA A-frames galore!

Contact us

Details to Create Meaningful Moments 

Vendors to help make the vision happen 

There are endless ways that you can weave meaningful moments and details into your Washington elopement that will reflect your unique personalities and celebrate the new chapter you’re embarking on. These don’t have to be items that you buy and never look at again. They can range from decor details to meaningful items you bring from home. 

Here are some ideas to get you started: 

For your Washington elopement ceremony: 

Q: How can infusing personalized vows or cultural rituals into your elopement deepen the emotional connection of your day? 

  • Consider personalized vows
  • Incorporate any cultural traditions that feel meaningful to you
  • Consider adding songs or readings that are unique to your story into your ceremony. 

Details to consider for your day: 

Q: What meals do you imagine sharing throughout your elopement? What is the setting of each meal? 

Q: What colors and textures add to the overall vibe you’re aiming for? 

  • Letters from friends and family
  • Symbolic items from your relationship 
  • Music or a portable record player for a first dance
  • A book of poems that are meaningful 
  • Vow books that will last so you can re-read your vows each anniversary 
  • Florals that add an additional layer of storytelling and vibe 
  • Food from a private chef, restaurant or catering 
  • Rings you chose or had designed 
  • Personalized glasses or cups for cocktails or coffee

Schedule a call with us!

Let's see how we fit!

HAIR + MAKEUP

Having an artist for your hair and makeup can take out the stress of getting ready for your Washington Elopement. You’ll want a HAMU artist that will help you feel beautiful and have a lewk that will last the entire day, no matter the adventure.

OFFICIANT

You’ll need an officiant to sign off on your license (more on that later), but having an officiant to work closely with you as you build your ceremony is awesome.

FLORISTS

Gorgeous arrangements serve as a big storytelling component of your day and are the perfect element to use to make your day unique and showcase your personalities.

PRIVATE CHEF

Don’t skimp on the nourishment! Imagine having an epic day ruined because of a lack of snacks! You don’t have to pay for dinner for a buncha folks, so treat yourselves. You won’t regret it. 

washington elopement photographers

Find photographers you vibe with, whose style you love, that you trust, that will give you the amount of planning support you need, know the area enough to have a solid backup plan on the fly, and that prioritize leave no trace. 

Additional Reading: Check out this post from our fave Colorado Elopement Photographers on how to make your elopement special.

How to elope in Washington with an empowered planning process

While we aren’t elopement planners, so much of this creative process starts during the planning. From location suggestions, loginging recommendations, vendor recommendations, help applying for permits and resources, we do a damn fine job of making the planning easy-peasy. 

We’re here to empower you through the planning process and want to make sure the planning is almost as fun as the adventure. Here’s how we do that:

Planning resources to help you elope in washington state

Location suggestions to elope in washington state

PLanning calls to help you elope in washington state

elope in washington state with A well-crafted TIMELINE:

After you’re booked, you’ll have our exclusive guides at your fingertips to support you through the planning process. They cover EVERYTHING from Leave No Trace to the logistics of eloping 

We’ll give you a curated list of Washington elopement locations that align with what you want to experience during your day. Our location suggestions include: 

  • All the logistics
  • Reference pics
  • Permit info
  • Accessibility 
  • Lodging options 
  • Local activities and adventures to incorporate into your day
  • Local vendors

We’ll schedule calls with you throughout the process to make sure things are on track, see where you need support, and get HYPED about your day! 
Your elopement timeline includes and considers EVERYTHING:

  • All the locations you want to explore
  • Adventures you want to go on
  • Best lighting for each location
  • Travel time 
  • A pace that feels relaxed and stress-free

We're ready!

How to elope in washington state | the legal stuff

Let’s break down everything from permits to your Washington marriage license, and Washington marriage laws.

permits:

You’ll likely need to apply for a special use permit for your Washington elopement. This permit allows you to use public lands for your ceremony. Each park is different when it comes to how they handle permits, and regulations can change each year. 

Olympic National Park Special Use Permit:

Typically not required if your ceremony is less than 5 folks total (photographers included)

  1. Download your permit application here
  2. Email your permit OLYM_Permits@nps.gov.
  3. When your application is approved, you’ll receive a link to pay your permit fee ($50)
  4. After you’ve paid your permit fee, you’ll receive your permit a few weeks before your elopement 
Read more about planning your Olympic National Park Wedding.

north cascades national park Special use permit:

Mount Rainier national park special use permit:

National Forests special use permit:

  • To receive application materials for your wedding or elopement, please call the Commercial Services Office: 360-854-7213
  • The $50 non-refundable application fee can be made online at pay.gov–
  • You’ll need to forward a copy of your payment confirmation receipt from pay.gov to the Commercial Services Office
  • Your Washington elopement photographers and your videographer will also need a commercial use permit. 

  • Complete an application form and email it to mora_special_use@nps.gov.
  • Applications must be submitted at least four weeks before the requested date. Please contact the Permit Coordinator via email if expediting of your application is requested (less than four weeks advance submission).
  • Once your application is received by the Permit Coordinator, you will be given instructions on paying the non-refundable $175 application fee online.
  • Application fees must be paid before the permit.

Read more about planning your Mount Rainier Elopement

  • Typically a special use permit is not required, if your location does require a permit, there typically isn’t a fee associated with it! 
  • While you may not *have* to apply for a permit for a National Forest location, you may still be encouraged to submit one for popular areas so park rangers know what’s going on in areas that see a lot of traffic. 

Our tips for Special use permits:

  • Apply as early as you can. The permit process can take a while and you don’t want to be left scrambling. 
  • Print your permit out, or send it to us so we can have it on-hand during your elopement day. 
  • Don’t skip applying for a permit because you don’t think anyone will check for it. Trust us, they will.

Let's chat

Washington State Marriage License 

The marriage license aspect of an elopement can feel confusing to some folks (it was for us when we eloped), but it’s really pretty easy. Sam is ordained and has walked plenty of couples through the process of getting their marriage license taken care of with ease. 

Washington State Marriage Laws: 

  • You’ll need two witnesses (Yup, we’re happy to sign!) 

  • You’ll need an officiant (Yup, Sam is ordained)

  • You’ll need to observe the 3 day waiting period 

  • Your license is valid anywhere in the state of Washington

getting your Washington Marriage License, You have 2 options: 

  • Apply online and pick up your license when you arrive in Washington state. 

  • Apply online and receive your marriage license packet through the mail. Not every county offers this, but some do and it can be a great option for folks that need some flexibility! 

Let's do this!

How to elope in washington state & prioritize sustainability 

If you’re considering How to elope in Washington State, we’d be willing to bet you want to keep these beautiful landscapes beautiful. We’d guess that you want to be able to come back to the space where you exchanged vows and began this new adventure together for decades to come. We want that too! Here’s how you can incorporate some sustainable planning into your Washington Elopement

  • Be conscious of your guest list when choosing your location: You can absolutely bring guests with you to witness your wedding day. If you have more than roughly 12-15 folks, consider that your locations may become more limited. You’ll want to choose a location that can handle your amount of guests without impacting the location or straining park resources. If your guest count is larger, you’ll want to aim to stick to campgrounds, amphitheaters, or venues that can accommodate!  

  • Go easy on decor: Many national parks don’t allow you to use decor such as arches, arbors, or chairs as these can all have a HUGE impact on the area and impede the experience of other guests. Keep things minimal, know what’s allowed, and stay within your permit regulations. 

  • Follow Leave No Trace Principles. Here’s what that looks like:

#1 Plan Ahead and Prepare:

Familiarizing yourself with any regulations, restrictions, or specific guidelines for the area you’re eloping in. Plan your elopement activities and logistics in a way that minimizes your impact. We’ll give you plenty of info that you need and make sure that everyone is feelin’ prepared with plan A, B, and C


#2 Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces:

Choose established trails, paths, or designated areas for your day to avoid damaging fragile vegetation and soil. Use existing campsites or designated event spaces to minimize the impact on the surrounding environment. Don’t worry about the shot, we’ll get it, pinky promise. 


#3 Dispose of Waste Properly:

Implement a comprehensive waste management strategy that includes the proper disposal of all waste generated during your elopement. Pack out all trash, including food waste and non-biodegradable materials, and utilize designated waste receptacles. Ok, let’s talk about having a potty plan. You’ll want to know what kind of bathroom (if any) is available to you and have a plan in place for when there isn’t and nature calls. 


#4 Leave What You Find:

Avoid picking flowers, damaging vegetation, or removing natural objects, allowing the ecosystem to thrive undisturbed and maintaining the natural environment. We’ll be sure to grab a shot of all the natural elements so you’ll be able to remember them for the rest of forever. 


#5 Minimize Campfire Impacts:

If you’re planning a campfire as part of your elopement experience, use established fire rings or designated fire pits to minimize the impact on the surrounding landscape. Follow local fire regulations and guidelines, and ensure that the fire is completely extinguished and the area is restored to its original condition before leaving the site.


#6 Respect Wildlife:

Observe wildlife from a distance and avoid approaching or feeding animals during your elopement. We cannot tell you how many times we’ve been out exploring and seen folks try to get close to a herd of elk 🫡


#7 Be Considerate of Other Visitors:

Maintain a respectful and considerate attitude toward other visitors and outdoor enthusiasts sharing the space. Be mindful of the impact your elopement may have on the experiences of others, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the natural beauty of the environment without disturbance or inconvenience.

How to Elope in Washington State | Step 5: Crafting a Personalized Timeline 

Questions to ask yourself:

Q: What pace do you envision for when you elope in Washington State? Slow and relaxed? Action-packed and exciting? A mixture of both? 

Q: Would you benefit more from one day or two for your Washington elopement? 

Q: What activities do you want to be sure to include in your day?

Q: Would you prefer your ceremony earlier in the day, or later?

Q: How will you build in meals for your Washington elopement? 

Let’s chat about setting the pace for your day. This is where everything comes together and you get to see your day and how it will flow. 

You’ll want to make sure you’ve got enough time to explore without feeling rushed and build in plenty of chill time so you aren’t burnt out at the end of your day.

Here’s why you need it:

Even if you’re planning a super chill fun, laid back time, you’ll absolutely benefit from a well-crafted timeline. It’s the secret sauce to a relaxed day that allows you to soak in all those little moments.

Your timeline will:

  • Lay out the flow for your day and bring structure to the chill vibes

  • Help you coordinate with other vendors

  • Answer questions for your guests

  • Ensure you’re taking advantage of the best light for your chosen locations. 

We really could go on about the importance of elopement timelines, in fact, we did! Check out this piece on building an intentional elopement timeline for a detailed how to. 

washington elopement timeline examples

Double Day Elopement Timeline | 12 hours split between 2 days


2:00 Get ready at lodging 

3:30 First look 

4:00 Drive to ceremony location

5:00 Portraits and celebrations with guests

6:00 Ceremony, portraits, and explore

7:00 Head to a different location

7:30 Champagne + bonfire

8:00 First dance + hang out with guests

9:00 Drinks, pizza, dancing 

9:30 Stargazing with guests

10:00 Coverage ends

Day Two

5:00 Super chill Hike and explore a beautiful overlook

6:30 Head back to lodging + change 

7:30 Dinner prepared by a private chef

8:30 S’mores by the fire

9:00 Coverage ends


Best for: Couples who want to explore multiple locations, have guests joining them, want to focus on their ceremony one day and adventure the next.

Book this day!

Sunrise + Sunset Elopement Timeline | 10 hours split Between sunrise + sunset


3:00 Get ready at lodging

4:00 Drive to ceremony location

5:00 First look during blue hour

5:30 Sunrise walk through the forest

6:00 Explore and find the perfect spot

6:30 Ceremony 

7:00 Portraits and explore

8:00 am Big break

5:00 Drive to trail

6:00 Meet at trail

6:30 Hike through coastal forest

7:30 Explore the beach + tide pools

8:00 luxury picnic on the beach

8:30 First dance + champagne celebration

9:00 Blue hour portraits

9:30 Bonfire snuggles + Star Photos

10:00 Coverage ends


Best for: Couples who want to explore multiple locations in one day and want to take advantage of both sunrise + sunset with a generous chill break in between.

Book this day!

Full Day Elopement Timeline | 8 hours of continuous coverage


1:00 Get ready together

2:00 Travel to first location

3:00 Hike to waterfall

4:00 Ceremony

4:30 First dance in the forest + explore

5:00 Hike back

5:30 Leave for next location

6:00 Take time pulling over at different viewpoints

7:00 Arrive at location #2 

7:30 Picnic looking over the mountains

8:00 Explore + Portraits

9:00 Coverage ends


Best for: Couples who want to explore multiple locations in one day and want an easy pace.

Book this day!

half Day Elopement Timeline | 4 hours of continuous coverage


5:00 Meet at trailhead + get ready

5:30 Hike + explore

6:00 Change and first look

6:30 Ceremony

7:00 Dinner with a view

7:30 First dance + champagne pop

8:00 Explore + sunset portraits

9:00 Coverage ends


Best for: Couples who want to explore one location with a shorter, more accessible hike.

Book this day!

Washington elopement packages 

All of our packages include:

  • 2 photographers
  • Curated location suggestions
  • Local adventures and experiences 
  • Unlimited planning calls + support 
  • Access to our planning resources + guides 
  • Vendor recommendations 
  • Permit navigation 
  • Timeline curation 
  • Travel for both photographers 
  • Beautiful images + printing rights

Our Washington State elopement packages are crafted to blend a mixture of adventure and luxury for our couples, allowing you to celebrate in beautiful locations and curate a bespoke experience. 


INCREDIBLE. BREATHTAKING. BEWILDERED. LOVE. Those are ONLY four words among the infinite that describe what has happened and our emotions toward it in the last 48 hours. 
This was the most incredible adventure we possibly could have taken, with you two souls guiding us along the way and bringing an experience like no other. I cannot express within this email our gratitude for what you two have done for us. 
Sam and Kyle. Thank you. For your guidance, your persistence, your sense of adventure, and ultimately the ability to capture our love the way we wanted and ways we didn't know were possible. 




C + J

We know this blog has covered a lot of ground about How to Elope in Washington State, and it’s our hope that you can use it as a resource that you come back to regularly as you’re dreaming up your day. 

Our biggest piece of advice on How to Elope in Washington State is embracing the journey, infusing intention into your planning process, and cultivating that deep emotional connection that will make your day truly unique and unforgettable. 

It’s more than just pretty pictures in a jaw-dropping landscape, it’s about weaving your values, your dreams, your story into your day. 

So, let’s dig deep and infuse that magic into each moment of your day.

Sam + Kyle

+ Elopement day BFFs

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