How to Elope in Washington

How to Elope in Washington: A Guide to the Perfect Adventure

Looking for a way to celebrate your love story that’s as unique and adventurous as you are? Trying to figure out how to elope in Washington? Then this guide is for you! This stunning state offers a variety of breathtaking landscapes, from snow-capped mountains to lush forests and rugged coastlines. Plus, with its easy legal requirements, eloping in Washington is a stress-free way to tie the knot. Here’s everything you need to know to plan your perfect Washington elopement.

Legal Requirements for Eloping in Washington

First things first, the most important detail of how to elope in Washington – the legal requirements! Fortunately, the state makes it easy for couples to elope. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A valid marriage license, which you can obtain from any county courthouse in the state. Both partners will need to be present, and you’ll need to provide photo ID and pay a fee of around $64.
  • A three-day waiting period after obtaining your marriage license. You can waive this waiting period by completing a premarital course. **For out of state couples – you can apply by mail. The processing time will include the 3 day waiting period so you don’t have to wait around Washington for 3 extra days before your elopement.
  • Two witnesses, who must be over 18 years old.

Once you have your license and witnesses, you’re ready to say “I do” wherever your hearts desire!

how to elope in washington

Why Washington is the Perfect Place to Elope

Now that you know the legal requirements, let’s talk about why Washington is the perfect place to elope. Here are just a few of the reasons:

  • The landscapes are breathtaking. From the snow-capped peaks of the Cascades to the rugged coastline of the Olympic Peninsula, Washington offers some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the country. Whether you’re dreaming of a mountaintop ceremony or a beachfront celebration, you’re sure to find a setting that takes your breath away.
  • The weather is mild. While Washington is known for its rainy reputation, the truth is that the state enjoys mild weather throughout much of the year. This means you can plan your elopement for any season without worrying about extreme temperatures or snowstorms.
  • The food and drink are amazing. Washington is home to some of the best craft breweries and wineries in the country, not to mention a thriving foodie scene. Whether you want to celebrate with a gourmet dinner or a toast with local beer or wine, you’ll find plenty of options to suit your taste.
  • The adventure is endless. Washington is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, with endless opportunities for hiking, kayaking, skiing, and more. Why not turn your elopement into an unforgettable adventure, exploring the state’s stunning natural landscapes together?

Read about 3 Places to Elope in Washington here!

Where To Elope in Washington

When you’re deciding on where you want to elope in Washington keep in mind the time of year and day of the week that you want to elope. Some areas like the national parks are very busy in the summer season, however if you want to elope in the mountains (like North Cascades National Park) your best chance at ideal weather conditions is in summer. Other areas like the Olympic peninsula are accessible year round, but the coast is much rainier so you’ll want to keep that in mind.

Here are some of my favorite spots in Washington for elopements:

Mount Rainier National Park – Only a couple of hours away from Seattle, Rainier is a popular destination for it’s stunning mountain views, forests, alpine lakes, and wildflower fields. This park is super busy during summer so you will want to plan accordingly. Most of the popular ceremony sights are not available on weekends during the summer season. Mount Rainier National Park is open year round, weather dependent. **Summer 2024 will require timed entry reservations. Get more info about reservations for entering the park here.

Olympic National Park – From coastlines with gorgeous sea stacks to lush rain forests and gorgeous mountain views… Olympic National Park is one of my favorite places in Washington. It it also super easy to elope in ONP, especially if it’s just the two of you. Minimal permits are required which means you can spend more time planning all the fun adventures you want to have during your elopement and less time filling out paper work. I recommend planing your elopement in Olympic for sometime in spring through the fall seasons.

North Cascades National Park – Did you know that North Cascades National Park is one of the least visited of the national parks?? I’m not sure why because if you’re after breathtaking mountain views, alpine lakes, and gorgeous forests then North Cascades is the PERFECT place to elope. Some of the more popular places don’t even need a permit if you have a small group since they are technically located just outside of the park’s boundaries. Summer and early fall is the best time to elope in North Cascades

bride and groom kiss in front of mountain cabin in washington

Where To Stay In Washington For Your Elopement

Packwood – Perfect for summertime elopements in Mount Rainier National Park. Packwood is situated near the Stevens Canyon Road access which is generally less busy than the Nisqually entrance.

Port Angeles – I you are looking to elope in  Olympic National Park, then Port Angeles is a great area to make your home base in the peninsula. This quaint harbor town has cute shops and local restaurants plus it is super close to the Hurrican Ridge entrance.

Forks – Perfect if you plan to spend more time near Ruby Beach or the Hoh Rainforest. Forks is only half an hour away from these gorgeous spots.

Leavenworth – A cute Bavarian themed town, it is surrounded by gorgeous mountain views! Perfect for couples who want some quaint small town vibes and gorgeous mountain views.

Example Washington Elopement Timeline

11a – 1p: Meet at airbnb for getting ready, making picnic sandwiches together, and gathering supplies.

1p – 2p: Drive to trailhead

2p-4p: Hike to overlook, stop for picnic, take time exploring the trail

4p-5p: Drive to second location

5p-8p: Hike to ceremony location, exchange vows, first dance, celebratory champagne pop! Sunset photos on the trail and lantern photos during blue hour.

9p – 11p: Arrive back at airbnb and celebrate with wine and hot tub soak. Photography coverage ends (boo!)

How To Elope in Washington Tips

Ready to plan your Washington elopement? Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Choose a location that speaks to your hearts. Whether you’re drawn to the rugged coastlines of the Olympic Peninsula or the snow-capped peaks of Mount Rainier, choose a location that reflects your personalities and your love story.
  • Hire a photographer who specializes in elopements. A good photographer can help you plan your elopement, guide you through getting necessary permits, scout out the best locations, and capture stunning photos that you’ll cherish forever.
  • Make it personal. Since elopements are intimate by nature, it’s the perfect opportunity to personalize your celebration. Write your own vows, choose music that’s meaningful to you, and incorporate special touches that reflect your relationship.
  • Don’t forget the details. Even though you’re eloping, there are still a few details to take care of, like getting your marriage license, location permits, and arranging for witnesses. Make a checklist of everything you need to do to ensure a stress-free celebration (or hire me to help you stay on track!).

Did this help you learn how to elope in Washington? I hope so! If you are ready to start planning your Washington elopement, you can find my Washington Elopement Packages Here!

Wedding Photographer, Jessica Lauren, holds her camera as she sits in a brewery holding a drink

WELCOME

My name is Jessica and I am the dreamer behind Jessica Lauren Photography! When I’m not behind the camera I love spending time with my dog hiking, out on my paddle board, or getting some quality time with my husband while we explore local events. I love spending time on the coast no matter which side of the U.S. I’m on and I’m always chasing that perfect sunset.