Washington State really has it all; rugged coastlines, snow-capped mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and lush forests! From adventurous hiking elopements to easy and accessible elopement locations, there is truly something for everyone here. As a PNW elopement photographer, I am so lucky that I get to call Washington my home state and capture so many unforgettable elopements for the most amazing couples! Not only are there incredible elopement spots, but there is amazing food, some of the most unique Airbnbs, epic hiking, and tons of charming small towns that are definitely worth a visit. In this guide I share all of my favorite Washington elopement locations, the best places to stay, the best time of year to elope and so much more!
Washington State is located in the Pacific Northwestern Corner of the United States where it borders Canada. Its bordering states include Oregon, and Idaho making it super easy to visit by car.
Wow, where do I even begin? Washington State is absolutely gorgeous and seriously has so many different locations that are perfect for elopements. So, to make it a little easier for you to decide, I am going to be breaking down all of the Washington State elopement locations by region.
The Olympic Peninsula Region is found in the Northwestern corner of Washington. It is a huge arm of land that lies across Puget Sound from Seattle and contains Olympic National Park. To the west you will find the Pacific Ocean, to the North is the Strait of Juan De Fuca, and to the East is the Hood Canal. Here you will find snow-capped mountains, lush green forests, waterfalls, foggy beaches, and stunning blue lakes.
Not only does this area boast some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country, but it’s also not a typical tourist destination giving you privacy as well. It’s a bit off the beaten path so you can be sure that you won’t have to worry about crowds of people getting in the way of your special moment. For more information on how to plan your Olympic Peninsula wedding elopement, check out my guide on the best venues! This region has so many unique and stunning locations for an elopement and these are my absolute favorite spots:
One of the more popular destinations in Olympic National Park is Ruby Beach. This picture-perfect beach has so much to see including towering sea stacks, tidepools, and tons of hiking trails.
Kalaloch Beach is located North of Ruby Beach. The driftwood-lined beaches and lush evergreen forests create the most inviting and cozy vibes. You can enjoy your elopement ceremony on the beach and then celebrate with a cozy night by a bonfire.
Rialto Beach is a stunning driftwood-lined portion of the coastline with towering sea stacks and rugged cliffs that is ideal for moody and romantic elopements. And one of the most iconic hikes in Washington is found here known as the “Hole in the Wall” Hike. In order to see the hole in the wall you will need to hike about 1.7 miles and ensure you go at low tide.
If you are wanting all of the epic views without having to hike miles and miles for it, then Hurricane Ridge is the perfect location for you. It is a drive-up with one of the most stunning views in all of Washington. Because it is so accessible it is a lot more popular of a location. But the accessibility also means that it is much easier for friends and family to attend your ceremony if you choose to include them. From Hurrican Ridge, you can explore several beautiful hikes with a vast array of wildlife and scenery.
Lake Crescent is a vibrant lake surrounded by the most beautiful mountains. It is seriously the most serene and picture-perfect spot for an elopement ceremony. Then after your ceremony, there are tons of different activities to enjoy like hiking or kayaking on the lake.
One of the most unique places in Washington is definitely the HOH Rainforest. Whether you decide to elope here or not, it is definitely worth a visit. This lush and vibrant forest is perfect for a couple who wants to elope in an area completely disconnected from everything else. It is so quiet and serene and truly makes you feel like you are the only two people in the world.
The San Juan Islands are located in the middle of the San Juan de Fuca Strait and are made of up hundreds of islands. While there are hundreds of islands, my favorites for an elopement are Lopez Island, Orcas Island, San Juan Island, Patos Island, Posey Island, and Shaw Island. For more information on planning a San Juan Island Elopement, check out my elopement guide.
If eloping next to a waterfall is a must on your big day, then Madison Falls is the perfect spot. And it’s only a short walk through the lush forest to reach the enchanting falls.
Here in Washington, we basically consider everything adobe Seatle to be the Northern Region.
The North Cascades is one of the most beautiful mountain ranges located in Northwestern Washington State. Located just two hours from Seattle, it’s an easy drive if you’re local to the area. When you plan a North Cascades elopement, you’ll find lush old-growth forests, mountain peaks with incredible views, and brilliant blue glacial lakes. Within the park, there are tons of epic locations to tie the knot:
For a gorgeous loop trail with vast alpine meadows and lakes, Heather-Maple Pass Loop is the perfect spot for your elopement!
This North Cascades elopement location is one of the best places in the park to reach alpine peaks and glacial views. At 6.7 miles out and back, the Cascade Pass Trail is one of the most beautiful trails in the park.
Though not inside the park itself, Stehekin is a small town on the northern end of Lake Chelan. Because no roads go into the town, it’s only accessible by boat, plane, horseback, or on foot. Once you arrive, you can explore one of the gorgeous trails and check out all the charming little shops
Mount Baker has some of the most beautiful mountain views in all of Washington State. There are miles of green lush trees and snow-capped mountains that surround the area making it have some of the most stunning backdrops for an elopement.
Another incredible location that’s not exactly in the park, but super close and absolutely worth the drive is Artist Point. Sitting at the end of Mt. Baker Highway, just past the seasonal ski resort, you’ll find a 360-degree view of the Cascades.
For more information on how to plan your North Cascades elopement, check out my guide here.
Found right outside of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is a small mountain town known as Leavenworth. While it isn’t nearly as popular as Olympic National Park or North Cascades National Park, it is just as beautiful. It offers many similar landscapes including lush forests, alpine lakes, and massive snow-capped mountains making it s spectacular location for an elopement. Some of the areas you can choose to elope at in Leavenworth include:
Mount Rainier National Park is found a little more than 2 hours south of Seattle. Its close distance to Seattle makes it a hotspot for elopements and weddings. When eloping in Mount Rainer National Park you can expect to see tons of glaciers, beautiful forests, meadows, and hundreds of hiking trails you can explore. With Mount Rainer, there are tons of different spots to elope, but here are a few that I personally love:
Yakima Valley is home to several award-winning vineyards and is filled with so many outdoor activities to enjoy. From wine tasting and apple picking to kayaking and paddle boarding, this small town is perfect for the couple who wants a more laid-back elopement experience. You can enjoy a beautiful ceremony overlooking the vineyards and tall grassy rolling hills and then celebrate with some wine tasting in the evening. Or you hike the Umtanum Ridge Crest Trail which is absolutely stunning in the springtime as it is abundant with tons of wildflowers.
Walla Walla is another small town in Southeastern Washington State that is known for having lots of wineries. It has beautiful green rolling hills with views of vineyards in every direction. Besides wine, it is also known for hot air balloon rides so this would be a great way to celebrate your elopement. Or even have your ceremony during your ride!
If you and your partner are city people then you can’t go wrong with an elopement in Seattle. There are so many fun and unique backdrops that would make the perfect spot for your ceremony or photos. Some of my favorite areas in and around Seattle for an elopement are:
Discovery Park is found on the shores of Puget Sound in a little neighborhood near Seattle. It offers tons of walking trails, tall grassy areas, and of course beautiful water views. My favorite spot at Discovery Park to take photos is near the West Point Lighthouse. It adds so much character to your photos and is truly in one of the most beautiful locations in the park!
If you are wanting a more modern and urban elopement day, then downtown Seattle is perfect. There are tons of unique buildings that are so much fun to take photos in front of. And the best part about Seattle is that the downtown area still has tons of greenery. And then at the end of your elopement day, you can spend the evening restaurant or bar-hopping to celebrate!
When it comes to obtaining your Washington State marriage license you will need to make sure you plan ahead of time. I say this because Washington has a three-day waiting period, meaning you can’t get legally married for three days after you get your marriage license. The marriage license will also expire within 60 days. While you can apply in person or by mail, the easiest option is to apply online.
Yes, in most places in Washington State, you will need a special use permit. This permit will allow you to have your ceremony in specific areas and national parks. So once you have chosen your location, the next step is to figure out how to obtain your special user permit if one is needed. Ideally, I recommend asking your photographer (me) to help you with the process. As a PNW elopement photographer, I have helped so many of my couples get their permits so I know the process pretty well.
Permits can take a while to obtain so as soon as you know your location, you should start the process. Ideally, start the process at least 3 months before your elopement.
Here is more information on how to obtain your special use permits in the more popular elopement areas in Washington State:
So because I have shared so many different locations in this guide, it’s important to understand that the ideal times to visit each of these locations can be different. But, in general, here is what the weather is like here during each time of the year. My advice would be to ask your photographer for their recommendation on the best time based on your location.
Everything is so green and lush during this time of the year. While it can be a bit rainy, it is still absolutely beautiful. The rivers and waterfalls are always super abundant during this time of the year. Because of how much snow Washington gets in the winter, the roads to areas in higher elevations are usually still closed.
If the weather is the most important factor for you when planning your elopement then the summer would be the best time for you. July to September are the warmest months with lots of sunshine, no snow, and the option for lots of outdoor activities. Something to keep in mind is that good weather brings lots of crowds so if that is something you don’t want to deal with then you might want to avoid the summer months.
If having an intimate and private ceremony with little to no crowds is super important to you, then the fall is the best time for that. The fall colors are vibrant and the weather is slowly changing. But, understand that there is a possibility of rain and snow.
December to March are the winter months in Washington State. This is the rainiest season in Washington and therefore a lot of different areas are inaccessible due to snow. But there are still some areas on the coast that are great for winter elopements. And this is the quietest time of the year for visitors so prices are cheaper and you will have a lot more privacy.
For more information on how to elope in the PNW in the winter, check out my guide!
Yes, you can elope in Washington State.
An elopement in Washington State can vary a lot in terms of cost. But it will most likely range from $3,000 – $15,000 depending on travel, accommodations, and the photographer you choose.
Yes, you need an officiant when getting married or eloping in Washington State.
Hi, I’m Devin – your Washington Elopement Photographer! As a Washington native and lover of anything and everything that involves nature and adventure, I’m here to support you in planning your perfect elopement.
My Washington wedding and elopement packages are specially curated for you to help make your wedding day go smoothly – from permit processes to making a timeline, you can count on me to make your elopement a breeze!
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