6 Epic Places to Elope in Washington + How to Elope in Washington

Are you dreaming of eloping in the stunning landscapes of Washington State? Or perhaps you’re set on a mountain elopement but aren’t sure exactly where to go. If so, you’re in the right place! Discover the best places to elope in Washington State, tips for planning your elopement, selecting the best wedding vendors, & everything you need to know to make your Washington elopement experience perfect. As an adventure wedding & elopement photographer, I’m here to help you plan the perfect elopement. Your dream elopement awaits amidst the lush greenery, epic mountains, & rugged coastlines of the Evergreen State!

Why Choose Washington State for Your Elopement?

Washington State offers an large variety of landscapes that truly make it one of the best locations for destination elopements. Whether you’re drawn to the peaks of the Cascade Mountains, the lush greenery of the Olympic Peninsula, or the serene beauty of the San Juan Islands, Washington truly has it all. The state’s diverse environments provide a lot of possibilities for places to elope. Beyond its natural beauty, Washington is also known for its welcoming atmosphere & inclusive culture, making it an ideal choice for couples of all backgrounds. With easy access to a wide range of outdoor activities & amenities, your Washington elopement can be as adventurous or as relaxed as you desire.

Artist Point sunrise elopement.

What Each Season Offers in Washington

Washington state is known for it’s relatively mild weather throughout the year. Summer in Washington my favorite time of year for the area. The warmer weather & melted snow makes it a great time for outdoor ceremonies & exploring the diverse areas of Washington. Spring can be a good time to elope at lower elevations but is usually not a good season for going up into the mountains. Fall & winter are the cooler months & are typically slower, & they are a great time for exploring the larches or snowy mountains. Selecting the best time of year to elope can significantly impact your experience. Washington state offers diverse landscapes from lush forests to extensive coastlines, each showcasing unique beauty throughout the year. 

Bride and groom exchange vows during a summer sunrise elopement in the mountains of Washington.

Summer in Washington


Summer is ideal if you love warm weather & long days. The sunny skies & dry conditions make it a popular time for elopements, especially in higher elevations like Mount Rainier National Park or Mount Baker. This season offers clear views of the mountains, access to lakes, & the opportunity to incorporate adventurous activities like hiking or kayaking into your elopement day. Keep in mind that for high elevation areas it is summer (not spring) when most of the wildflowers bloom. July & August are the warmest months & the months with almost no rain in Washington.

Fall in Washington


Fall in Washington is beautiful, especially during larch season. In late September to early October, the larch trees turn a stunning golden hue, particularly in the eastern Cascades. The golden larches create a beautiful contrast against the evergreen forests & snow-capped peaks. Fall also brings cooler temperatures & fewer crowds. Leavenworth is also a great place to see the larches in the mountains of Washington.

Larch trees in the mountains of Washington state.

Winter in Washington


Winter transforms Washington into a snowy wonderland. If you’re thinking of a winter elopement, locations like the Methow Valley & Mount Baker offer snow-covered landscapes with epic mountains in the background. Book a cabin so you can cozy up by a fire, embrace the serene beauty of the season, & even add activities like skiing or soaking in hot springs to your elopement adventure. Snowshoeing up to Artist Point is always fun to do!

6 Epic Places to Elope in Washington State

Washington State is full of diverse landscapes that make for some of my favorite places to photograph elopements. You could be saying your vows surrounded by mountains, in lush temperate rain forests, or along a rocky coastline– & all of this in the same state! Whether you’re envisioning an intimate ceremony with some guests or a more adventurous day with just the two of you, Washington has a lot of variety in locations to choose from.

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park spans nearly a million acres & features 3 unique landscapes in 1 park– coastlines, rainforests, & mountain ranges. When planning your elopement in Olympic, consider the different regions of the park, each area has its own logistics to consider & time of year or time of day that’s best. The rugged beaches of the Pacific Coast provide ocean views & sea stacks. The Hoh Rain Forest & Sol Duc Valley offer lush forests, perfect for an intimate woodland ceremony. Meanwhile, Hurricane Ridge delivers panoramic mountain vistas. Be sure to obtain the necessary permits for your ceremony & check the park’s seasonal accessibility to ensure the best experience.

Port Angeles

Nestled on the northern edge of Olympic National Park, Port Angeles has great views of the surrounding mountains & the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The nearby Hurricane Ridge is a popular spot for elopements, with its sweeping vistas & summer wildflower meadows. Be sure to also check out Agate Beach Lodge as a place to stay or have an intimate wedding ceremony in Port Angeles!

Agate Beach Lodge in Port Angeles has a private beach & is close to Port Angeles

Ruby Beach & Rialto Beach

If you’re looking for a beach elopement along a rugged coastline, Ruby Beach & Rialto Beach may be a good fit for you. These beaches in Olympic National Park are known for their sea stacks, tide pools, & they are excellent at sunset. While these are the most popular beaches in Olympic National Park for elopement locations in Washington, there are also other beaches by La Push & Port Angeles that are less popular & that can offer more privacy. Want to take more in detail about some hidden gems of elopement locations? Let’s talk!

Elopement photos taken at Ruby Beach

Hoh Rainforest

This temperate rainforest is renowned for its moss-draped trees & lush, vibrant greenery. The settings of the Hoh Rainforest can definitely feel like something out of a fairytale or fantasy movie! However, the Hoh Rain Forest is also a popular destination, especially during peak tourist seasons, so it’s important to plan accordingly & adjust your expectations. It can be better to come here in the early in the morning & on a weekday when the trails are less crowded. There are several national parks in the state that make great places to elope in Washington. Planning an Olympic National Park elopement is definitely worth it & is one of my personal favorite elopement locations!

Mount Baker National Forest

Mount Baker, part of the Cascade Range in northern Washington, is a glacier capped peak surrounded by high altitude meadows, rugged terrain, vast views of the Cascades, & alpine lakes. The area around Mount Baker offers some of the most scenic landscapes Washington has to offer. Mount Baker & Mount Shuksan are the two most prominent peaks in this region, but there’s 360º mountain views in every direction here! Stick to the easy to access overlooks or plan a more adventurous hike to get a bit more off the beaten path.

A bride and groom elope in Mount Baker National Forest with alpenglow hitting the peak of Mount Baker.
Alpenglow on the peak of Mount Baker in Mount Baker National Forest

Artist Point

Situated at the end of Mount Baker Highway, Artist Point is a short & relatively easy hike that offers panoramic views of Mount Baker & Mount Shuksan. The alpine meadows & snow-capped mountain backdrop make it a popular choice for couples seeking a mountain elopement. The Artist Point area is also know for these little alpine ponds & reflective pools.

Couple eloping at sunrise near Artist Point

Heather Meadows

Heather Meadows, located near the Mount Baker Ski Area, offers stunning alpine scenery & is a popular destination for hiking & backpacking. The area is known for its wildflower displays in the summer months. The colorful alpine wildflower displays last well into late summer at these elevations. Heather Meadows has accessible alpine lakes that are easy to get to. If you want more, there are several great hikes that begin here & take you away from the crowds & deeper in the mountains!

Mount Rainier National Park

A Mount Rainier elopement is characterized by its iconic peak towering over the surrounding landscape. Mount Rainier National Park offers a stunning backdrop for your elopement adventure. This national park surrounding the mountain boasts diverse ecosystems, including old-growth forests, subalpine meadows, & rugged mountain terrain. This variety provides couples with a range of options for their ceremony, from intimate forest settings to breathtaking mountain vistas.

Couple in Mount Rainier at sunset.
Mount Rainier

One of the best spots for an elopement in Mount Rainier National Park is Paradise, famous for its summer wildflower displays & snow-covered vistas that are accessible in the winter, Paradise lives up to its name with panoramic views of Mount Rainier. Another great option is the Sunrise area. It is the highest point in Mount Rainier accessible by car. Sunrise gives you great views of the mountain & surrounding valleys. If you’re looking for a dog friendly elopement option, Mount Rainier isn’t the best option but there are some areas I know just outside of the national park that are in the national forest. In & around Mount Rainier, you can also go to various fire lookout towers for your elopement in Washington.

North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park is a rugged wilderness characterized by jagged peaks, cascading waterfalls, & dense forests that the PNW is known for. The park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with its miles of hiking trails & pristine alpine lakes. While there are many beautiful spots in North Cascades National Park for an elopement, a lot of the best elopement locations here do require a bit of hiking. One option for hiking in the park is Cascade Pass. It offers sweeping views of the surrounding peaks & is accessible via a scenic hike.

San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands provide the perfect blend of adventure & relaxation. Now that’s my kind of elopement day! Something fun & adventurous, but also chill. If you want to elope in the San Juan Islands, it’s important to keep in mind the unique travel it can take to get out to the islands. The San Juan Islands offer some fun activities you can do for your elopement such as whale watching, kayaking, sailing, & sea planes.

The San Juan Islands are accessible by ferry, plane, or private boat. The most common route is via the Washington State Ferries from Anacortes, which serve San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island, & Shaw Island. It’s important to check the ferry schedule in advance, especially during peak seasons, as reservations are recommended to secure your spot. Alternatively, Kenmore Air offers seaplane flights from Seattle, providing a fun & scenic way to reach the islands.

Mountains of Leavenworth, Washington

Nestled in the Cascade Mountains, Leavenworth is a charming Bavarian-themed town known for its quaint atmosphere. The surrounding area offers a variety of landscapes, including rivers, forests, & mountains, making it a great choice for a hiking elopement. Couples can also choose from a range of Washington wedding venues, from rustic mountain lodges to scenic riverfront locations. One of the best spots for an elopement near Leavenworth is Tumwater Canyon, which offers views of the Wenatchee River & surrounding mountains. Another great option is Lake Wenatchee, which features a beautiful lake surrounded by forests & mountains.

Need help in planning the perfect Washington elopement location? Let’s talk!

Tips for a Successful Elopement in Washington

While picking out a location is one of the more enjoyable parts of elopement planning, there are some other logistics & tips to keep in mind for eloping in Washington.

Weather Considerations for Washington

When planning your elopement in Washington, weather is an important factor to consider, as it can greatly impact your experience & the logistics of your day. This is what you need to know about the weather in different regions…

Western Washington: This area, including popular spots like Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier, & the San Juan Islands, is known for its temperate maritime climate.

  • Spring: Spring brings mild temperatures & blooming wildflowers at lower elevations, but it can also be unpredictable with frequent rain showers. Pack layers & waterproof gear to stay comfortable.
  • Summer: Summers are generally dry & warm, with July & August being the best months for sunshine. This is the busiest season, so plan for crowds & book accommodations & permits early. This is when wildflowers bloom at higher elevations.
  • Fall: Fall offers cooler temperatures & vibrant foliage, particularly in areas like the Hoh Rain Forest & the North Cascades. Rain becomes more frequent, so have a rain plan & consider indoor or sheltered backup locations for your ceremony.
  • Winter: Winters are wet & mild in the lowlands, with the potential for snow in the higher elevations. If you’re thinking of a snowy elopement, Mount Rainier & the North Cascades are perfect winter elopement locations.

Eastern Washington: The eastern part of the state, including locations like the Palouse & the Columbia River Gorge, has a more continental climate with greater temperature variations.

  • Spring: Expect warmer temperatures & less rain than the west side, making it a great time for outdoor elopements.
  • Summer: Summers are hot & dry, ideal for couples who love the sun. Ensure you have plenty of water & sun protection.
  • Fall: Fall brings cooler temperatures & beautiful autumn colors, providing a less crowded time to elope.
  • Winter: Winters can be cold with occasional snow, creating a picturesque setting for a winter elopement, especially in areas like Walla Walla.

Mountain Areas: If you’re considering eloping in mountainous regions like Mount Rainier or the North Cascades, be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions.

  • Summer: Higher elevations are generally accessible from late June to early October, with pleasant temperatures & clear skies.
  • Fall: Early fall can still be ideal, but snow can start to fall in October, affecting accessibility.
  • Winter: Many mountain roads & trails are closed due to snow, so check current conditions for snow & plan your elopement in the mountains of Washington accordingly.

Always check the weather forecast leading up to your elopement day in Washington & be prepared for changes. Bring appropriate clothing & gear for the conditions, including layers, waterproof items, & comfortable footwear. Washington is a rainy state & some areas can get a lot of snow, so planning around the best weather & times of year is going to ensure you have the elopement day that you want! Working with an experienced elopement photographer is one of the best things you can do when planning your day as well.

Leave No Trace When You Elope in Washington

When eloping in Washington, remember to follow Leave No Trace principles! Plan ahead, stay on designated trails, & pack out all waste to minimize your impact. In coastal areas, stick to paths & observe tide pool life gently without touching or moving creatures. When enjoying wildflowers, admire them without picking & stay on trails to prevent trampling. You can help protect Washington’s diverse ecosystems, ensuring they remain pristine.

Cost & Budgeting for Your Washington Elopement Package

Planning the financial aspect of your Washington elopement is more than just numbers—it’s about creating a meaningful & unforgettable experience. By carefully selecting the right elopement package, & managing your budget, you can ensure that every dollar spent contributes to the meaningfulness of your special day. 

The cost to elope depends on many factors such as location, vendors, transportation, & guests attending. On average most people who get married in Washington with a traditional wedding spend about $35,000 according to The Wedding Report. In contrast, if you want to elope in Washington, you have a pretty luxurious day for half the cost or less than that of a large traditional wedding!

Featured Washington Elopement Galleries

5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
“Malachi was amazing, he provided us with different options for locations in Washington that truly met our expectations! He was very easy to work with, incredibly patient, didn’t push us to do anything we were uncomfortable with & let us enjoy our day without pressure.”
–Bleidy & Mikael

Eloping in Washington State is a straightforward process when it comes to the legal requirements of getting married. This is what you need to know to make your marriage official.

Marriage Licenses: To get married in Washington, you’ll need to obtain a marriage license. Marriage licenses can be obtained from any county in the state & is then valid throughout the state. Popular options include King County (Seattle), Snohomish County (Everett), & Pierce County (Tacoma). It’s a good idea to call ahead or check online for specific office hours or appointment requirements. The cost of a marriage license in Washington varies by county but generally ranges from $50 to $70. Be sure to bring valid identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, when applying for your license.

3 Day Waiting Period: Once you receive your marriage license, there is a three-day waiting period before you can use it. Plan accordingly to ensure this doesn’t conflict with your elopement date. The license is valid for 60 days after the waiting period.

Officiants & Witnesses: Washington State allows a variety of individuals to officiate weddings. This includes judges, justices, & ordained officiants or clergy members. Additionally, a friend or family member can become a temporary officiant for a day by registering online with organizations that offer ordination services. Washington also requires two witnesses to be present at your ceremony. Witnesses must be at least 12 years old. If you’re planning an intimate elopement with minimal guests, consider asking any vendor present to act as a witness, I’ve even had hikers sign as witnesses before!

Filing the Washington Marriage License: After your ceremony, your officiant is responsible for returning the completed marriage license to the county office where it was issued. Once filed, you can request certified copies of your marriage certificate for legal purposes, such as name changes or insurance updates.

Learn more about how to get your Washington marriage license.

Malachi Lewis with a super 8mm film camera.

Your Washington Elopement Photographer

Hey there! My name is Malachi Lewis & I’d love to be your Washington elopement photographer. With years of experience exploring the diverse landscapes of Washington, I specialize in creating colorful, authentic images that capture the adventure of your elopement. I know the best spots to make your elopement special.

My goal is to not only document your love story but also to help you plan a seamless, stress-free elopement experience tailored to your unique vision. Let’s embark on this incredible journey together and create memories that will last a lifetime!

LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY!

Give me the details! Let’s talk about your wedding or elopement day. Just fill out the form & I’ll be in touch with you soon. The more info you give me the better! You can also view pricing info.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *