The Ultimate Guide to Elope in Washington and the Most Beautiful Locations in the Pacific Northwest

Whether you’re planning an engagement, intimate wedding or Elopement adventure – Washington is on the top of the list. Washington provides some of the most beautiful scenery and jaw dropping locations.

I was born and raised in Washington and know firsthand how this beautiful State can steal hearts. My father would take me camping and hiking. Now I love doing it with my husband. My husband and I got married in a beautiful Washington forest where we said “I do.” Sometimes a location and an area speak for you and help to create the perfect atmosphere to start the rest of your life in.

Planning an elopement can feel daunting and have a lot of moving parts. So, I wanted to create the ultimate guide to planning your elopement in Washington. 

From the Pacific beaches, to the evergreen forests, moss filled trees and desert waterfalls. Washington is an incredible place to get married and have an unforgettable elopement. Let’s start planning your elopement in the great Pacific Northwest!

How to Elope in Washington – Everything You Need to Know for an Unforgettable Elopement Experience

Steps to Elope in Washington

1. Is eloping right for you?

Close your eyes and imagine what getting married would look like. Think about what that location looks like. What does it smell like? Feel like? Who is there? Is it just close friends? Just close family there? Or is it just you two? When you close your eyes and you see a smaller more intimate group of people and an epic view, mountains, lake, beach, desert. You want a day that’s really about you two and your love story. Whatever it may be. Eloping is calling your name.

2. Find your dream elopement photographer and book!

I believe in bringing your love into the perfect light. Your wedding photographer not only helps with planning and location scouting but is also with you 100% of the time on your elopement day. It’s important that you’re friends with  your photographer and trust them to capture your memories. That way you can always relive your special day through photos.

CONTACT ME FOR YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY

3. Find the perfect location for your elopement in Washington.

Let’s close our eyes again and imagine a scene. What do you see? Forest? Lake? Mountains? Desert? Beach? River? Also, take a look at the best locations to elope in Washington below. Which sceneries speak to you and bring you joy?

4. Book your elopement date.

Something to keep in mind is that Washington does get all four Seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall). You can elope in any season. I believe the best time to elope in Washington are the Summer months – June, July & August. September and October are also popular months to elope in Washington as the weather begins to cool down. Choosing which season may depend on which mountain range or location you’re hoping to elope at.

5. Plan your elopement day & Logistics & everything else.

Permits, decor, other vendors…Timeline for the day starting with getting ready. Then having a first look. Walking into your ceremony. Adventuring around the gorgeous Washington landscape you chose and capturing bomb.com photos. To share a cake! Popping champagne. And having dinner with your loved ones. You can make the day unique and perfect to you two.

Make sure to apply for any permits at least 4 weeks or more in advance.

Other things you will want to keep in mind are wedding permits, national forest passes and fees, witness’ and an officiant for the day.

6. Elope & Celebrate!

You’ve chosen the most beautiful Washington location and picked a date. Your photographer and friends are all ready. It’s time to get you two married and have fun. You should enjoy your day. That’s why you hire a photographer like me. I’m here to serve you and make life easier for you. That way you can just enjoy your day and celebrate.

Planning Your Elopement – Important Information When Eloping in Washington

Eloping in Washington State you will need to apply for a  marriage license.

In Washington State you will need to apply for a marriage license at least 3 days before your elopement date. Along with this, you can only apply for a license within 60 days of your elopement date. Also, Washington State requires an officiant and two witnesses to be present when getting married. They will also need to sign the marriage license. Both my husband and I have been whitnesses for our couple’s elopement. 

Permits When Eloping in Washington State

Each national Park or location may have different permits, special use permits, parking fees, requirements and guidelines for elopements. I will provide some details below. We can always walk through locations together and contact the parks directly as needed.

Elopement Number of Guests In Washington

Another thing to keep in mind is the number of guests. For an intimate wedding usually less that 40 people. Then, for an elopement 20 or less. It depends on you two, what you want and the location. Some national parks have 10 people max.

Different Seasons in Washington and What This Means for Eloping in Washington

I know I’ve mentioned this a couple times but it’s important to remember that Washington has warm, cold and wet Seasons. The best time to elope in Washington is in the Summer. Summer months are June, July and August. Fall is also a beautiful time to elope in Washington September, October and November. Fall can be a little trickier as the days are getting colder the closer to Winter they get.

What Day of The Week to Elope in Washington

Also, the best days to elope in National or State parks are weekdays. Elope on a weekday to avoid the large weekend crowds. Less people equals a more intimate, quiet ceremony and elopement. Also, parking is usually a lot easier during the week. Parking lots fill up quickly on the weekends.

The Best Places to Elope In Washington

The best places to Elope in Washington are Mt Rainier National Park, Olympic National Forest Park, Olympic Peninsula, North Cascades National Park, Mt Baker Snoqualmie Forest, Eastern Washington, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, San Juan Islands & other Washington Islands and more.

The Best Places to Elope in Washington

Mt Rainier National Park

Why elope at Mt Rainier National Park?

Mt Rainier National Park is one of the most popular places to visit in Washington. And one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Mt Rainier is covered with glaciers and is an active volcano. Mt Rainier is a popular snow sport spot and turns into beautiful rolling hills, mountain peaks and wild flower fields. You can find some of the most beautiful mountain views, river spots, lakes , trails, hikes and more. Mt Rainier is one of the most beautiful places to elope in the world.

Best places to elope in Mt Rainier National Park.

Paradise and Sunrise areas, trails, viewpoints and more.

The best time to elope in Mt Rainier National Park.

The best time to visit Mt Rainier National park is in the Summer months July – August for the sunny days with wild flowers. Best time to elope is July – October. If  you’re hoping for cooler days and Fall scenery I’d recommend eloping September – October. There is also an opportunity for a Winter elopement. The months of November – June are snow months in the Washington mountains. Keep in mind depending on the month there could be road closures and inaccessible trails and viewpoints due to snow and weather conditions.

Do you need permits to elope in Mt Rainier National Park?

To elope in Mt Rainier National Park you will need a special use permit for weddings and elopements. If you have a professional photographer or videography, include their contact information on the application – Additional permissions are required for professional photographers and videographers. You will also need to pay for a parking permit.

For special setups, like flower arrangements, rugs etc. You may also need additional special permission. Chairs, tents and arches aren’t allowed.

For more information please visit the following link and contact the park.

https://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/permitsandreservations.htm#CP_JUMP_6118186

If this seems like a lot of information, don’t worry. I am Rachel Syrisko an Elopement & Wedding photographer born and raised in Washington. I love to help couples with permits during the planning process.

Olympic National Park & Forest – Olympic Peninsula

Why elope at Olympic National Park & Forest?

Olympic National Park, Olympic National Forest & Olympic Peninsula are one of the most gorgeous locations to elope. From Pacific Northwest beaches, to lush green forests and serene lakes. Your elopement will be unforgettable in Olympic National Park & Olympic National Forest.

Best places to elope in Olympic National Park & Forest.

Here is a list of the best places to elope in Olympic National Park, Olympic National Forest & Olympic Peninsula Forest. Ruby Beach, HOH Rainforest, La Push Beach, Lake Crescent, Cape Flattery, Lake Cushman, Hurricane Ridge, Second Beach, Rialto Beach, Seabrook, Deception Pass and many more.

The best time to elope in Olympic National Park & Forest.

The best time to visit Olympic National Park, Olympic National Forest & Olympic Peninsula is in the Summer months June – August for the sunny beach and forest days. Best time to elope is June – October. If  you’re hoping for cooler days and Fall scenery I’d recommend eloping September – October. If you’re hoping for a moody Pacific Northwest vibe, with less people November-May would be a great time to elope in Olympic National Park. Keep in mind these are the rainy months. Which can add an extra layer of adventure to your elopement day.

Do you need permits to elope in Olympic National Park & Forest?

To elope in Olympic national Park & Forest you will need to fill out a special use permit and email or mail it in. You will also need to pay for a parking permit.

For more information on permits.

https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/special-use-permits-commercial-permits-overnight-reservations.htm

Special use permit.

https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/upload/NPS-10-930-Application-for-SUP.docx

If this seems like a lot of information, don’t worry. I am Rachel Syrisko an Elopement & Wedding photographer born and raised in Washington. I love to help couples with permits during the planning process.

North Cascades National Park

Why elope at North Cascades National Park?

North Cascades National Park is one of the most popular places to elope in Washington. These gorgeous turquoise lakes, mountain top peak views and gorgeous evergreen forests are the perfect backdrop for your adventure elopement.

Best places to elope in North Cascades National Park.

The best places to elope in North Cascades National Park are Ross lake, Diablo Lake, Winthrop, Artist Point, Fire look outs, Washington Pass, Cascade Pass area and more.

Best time to elope in North Cascades National Park.

The best time to visit North Cascades national park is in the Summer months July – August for the sunny days. Best time to elope is July – October. If  you’re hoping for cooler days and Fall scenery I’d recommend eloping September – October. There is also an opportunity for a Winter elopement. The months of November – June are snow months in the Washington mountains. Keep in mind depending on the month there could be road closures and inaccessible trails and viewpoints due to snow and weather conditions.

Do you need permits to elope in North Cascades National Park?

You will need a special use permit to elope in North Cascades National Park. You will also need to pay for a parking permit.

For more information of permits

https://www.nps.gov/noca/getinvolved/special-use-permits.htm

If this seems like a lot of information, don’t worry. I am Rachel Syrisko an Elopement & Wedding photographer born and raised in Washington. I love to help couples with permits during the planning process.

Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest & Snoqualmie Pass

Why elope at Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest & Snoqualmie Pass?

Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest Park is one of the most popular places to elope in Washington and one of the largest National Parks in Washington. The Snoqualmie area is one of the closest options to Seattle to get epic mountain views, lakes, rivers and forests.

Best places to elope in Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest & Snoqualmie Pass.

The best places to elope in Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest are Snoqualmie Pass, Artist Point, Rattlesnake Lake & Ridge, Gold Creek Pond, Snoqualmie Falls, Snoqulamie, Franklin Falls, Big Four Icecaves, North Bend area and more. Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest Park includes two of the extremely most popular elopement locations Artist Point (Mount Baker Ranger District) and Gold Creek Pond (Snoqualmie Ranger District).

The best time to elope in Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest & Snoqualmie Pass.

The best time to visit Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest is in the Summer months July – August for the sunny days. Best time to elope is July – October. If  you’re hoping for cooler days and Fall scenery I’d recommend eloping September – October. There is also an opportunity for a Winter elopement. The months of November – June are snow months in the Washington mountains. Keep in mind depending on the month there could be road closures and inaccessible trails and viewpoints due to snow and weather conditions. Because Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest & Snoqualmie Pass are closer to the city of Seattle these areas are more accessible in the Winter months than any other mountain location in Washington.

Do you need permits to elope in Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest & Snoqualmie Pass?

To elope at Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest you do not need a special use permit for non-commercial events under 75 people. But due to an increase in events in this area Mount Baker Ranger District is asking couples getting married in the Mount Baker area to reach out to apply for a special use permit. It’s always a good idea to call the park for details on locations, group sizes and more.

Most likely you and your guests will need a discovery pass or forest pass to park and visit a location in Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest.

Discover Pass

https://www.discoverpass.wa.gov/

More about permits in Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest Park

https://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/cs/main/!ut/p/z1/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfIjo8zijQwgwNHCwN_DI8zPwBcqYKAfDlZggAM4GuhHEaMfj4Io_MaH60dhtSLMB2ECITO89KPSc_KTIN51zEsytkjXjypKTUstSi3SKy0CCmeUlBQUW6kaqBqUl5frpefnp-ek6iXn56oaYNOSkV9coh-BqlK_IDc0wiDLNKfMx1ERAMzc-30!/dz/d5/L2dBISEvZ0FBIS9nQSEh/?navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&ss=1106&pnavid=200000000000000&navid=200100000000000&cid=null

https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/mbs/passes-permits/event-commercial

If this seems like a lot of information, don’t worry. I am Rachel Syrisko an Elopement & Wedding photographer born and raised in Washington. I love to help couples with permits during the planning process.

Eastern Washington – Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

Why elope in Eastern Washington?

Eastern Washington AKA Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is the most beautiful place to elope. Even though Washington is known for mountains, lakes, rivers and beaches. The Washington Dessert is a hidden gem. From rolling dessert hills, rivers, mountains and waterfalls I highly recommend getting married in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

Best places to elope in Eastern Washington.

Leavenworth, Vantage Point, Palouse Falls, Frenchman Coulee, Columbia River, Lake Chelan, Spokane and more.

The best time to elope in Eastern Washington.

The best time to elope in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is Summer and Fall June-October. The Dessert does get snow and freezing temperatures in the Winter which can make it a little harder to get around on the roads. Summer is warm, gorgeous with large waterfalls. Also, the Fall months are just as beautiful but a little cooler which may be more comfortable than super hot summer days.

Do you need permits to elope in Eastern Washington?

You will need a special use permit to elope in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Park & Forest. You may also need to pay for a parking permit.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/okawen/passes-permits/event-commercial

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/okawen/about-forest/?cid=stelprdb5127723

If this seems like a lot of information, don’t worry. I am Rachel Syrisko an Elopement & Wedding photographer born and raised in Washington. I love to help couples with permits during the planning process.

Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Why elope in Gifford Pinchot National Forest?

Gifford Pinchot National Forest runs along the western slopes of Cascades Range from Mount Rainier National Park to the Columbia River. This national forest is best known for its forests, mountains, river valleys, and waterfalls.

Best places to elope in Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Mount St Helens, Columbia River, Lower Falls, Panther Creek Falls

The best time to elope in Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

The best time to visit Gifford Pinchot National Forest is in the Summer months July – August for the sunny days. Best time to elope is July – October. If  you’re hoping for cooler days and Fall scenery I’d recommend eloping September – October. There is also an opportunity for a Winter elopement. The months of November – June are snow months in the Washington mountains. Keep in mind depending on the month there could be road closures and inaccessible trails and viewpoints due to snow and weather conditions.

Do you need permits to elope in Gifford Pinchot National Forest?

You will need a permit for non-commercial events with 75 plus people. However, there is not a reference to non-commercial (wedding) events under 75 people. Which means you might not need a permit for an intimate wedding or elopement under 75 people. It’s best to contact the park for any further information. You may also need to pay for a parking permit.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/giffordpinchot/passes-permits/event-commercial/?cid=stelprd3809874

If this seems like a lot of information, don’t worry. I am Rachel Syrisko an Elopement & Wedding photographer born and raised in Washington. I love to help couples with permits during the planning process.

San Juan Island & Other Washington Islands

Why elope in the San Juan Island & Other Washington Islands?

The San Juan Island and Washington Islands are secret gems to elopement in. San Juan Islands have beautiful driftwood beaches, lighthouses, ocean views, rolling fields and lush green forests that are perfect for your Pacific Northwest elopement. There are also cider houses, wine tasting rooms, sweet coffee shops and more places to explore. A lot of the restaurants, B&Bs and stores are all locally sustained which is super awesome and fun to experience.

Best places to elope in the San Juan Island & Other Washington Islands.

The best Islands to elope in Washington are Whidbey Island, Vashon Island, Bainbridge Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island and more. Some of the most beautiful locations to elope in on the Washington Islands are Ebey’s Landing, Scenic Byway, Lime Kiln Point State Park, Friday Harbor, Mount Constitution, Moran State Park, Point Colville, Watmough Bay Trail, South Whidbey State Park.

The best time to elope in the San Juan Island & Other Washington Islands.

The best time to elope and visit the San Juan Islands and others are in Summer June-July. Best times to elope are May-October. You can definitely elope on the San Juan Islands in the Winter as well.

Do you need permits to elope in the San Juan Island & Other Washington Islands?

Something unique about the islands is the land is a mixture of National Parks, State Parks and Military. Because of this the best way to know what permits you may need is to contact the park itself. You may need a special use permit or parking permit.

For more information about special use permit

https://www.nps.gov/sajh/planyourvisit/permits.htm

If this seems like a lot of information, don’t worry. I am Rachel Syrisko an Elopement & Wedding photographer born and raised in Washington. I love to help couples with permits during the planning process.

FAQ’s Eloping in Washington

Why elope in Washington?

Elope in Washington for the most beautiful scenery and an unforgettable elopement. From the Pacific beaches, to the evergreen forests, moss filled trees, rivers, lakes, mountain views and desert waterfalls. Washington is an incredible place to get married and have an unforgettable elopement. Let’s start planning your elopement in the great Pacific Northwest! Reach out and let’s plan your elopement together!

How much does it cost to elope in Washington?

To elope in Washington it can cost anywhere from $5,000-15,000. Legally it might only cost somewhere around $60-$200. Depending on what your elopement day looks like, location, photographer, flowers, airbnb, travel, guests etc. I don’t usually recommend eloping solely because you’re trying to save money. Where you can save money on food per head count as usually elopements are smaller in size. There are other costs that come with traveling, amazing vendors and a beautiful day in Washington.

Do you need an officiant to elope in Washington?

You do need someone to conduct the wedding ceremony to get married in Washington State. Someone who is a licensed, ordained minister, a priest of a religious denomination, Judge, superior court commissioner (retired or active). Past brides and grooms have had friends, family members, or even my husband marry them.

How many witnesses do you need to elope in Washington?

To get married in Washington you will need 2 witnesses to sign your marriage certificate. If you hire me as your wedding photographer I could be one of your witnesses. Or if you have friends or family coming to your elopement that would work. Or even someone hiking or walking in the park you’re eloping at. 

Do you need a wedding permit to elope in Washington?

You will need to apply for a marriage license in Washington to elope there. You can only apply for a marriage license within 60 0days of your elopement date. If you’re eloping in a National or State Park you may need a Special Use permit and a parking permit. I will help you with planning your elopement day and walking through future information and logistics.

Obtaining a special use permit for your Washington elopement or intimate wedding helps the parks with potential interference of other visitors, congestion in the area and parking lot, overuse or damage to the natural environment 

It would be a big bummer on your elopement day to be asked to leave the park.

Whatever you decide, contact the park for more information, get the appropriate permits per the location of your elopement, be kind to the environment and pick up after yourself. Leave no Trace principle. So far I haven’t had a bad experience with a Park Ranger. They’re usually excited for your wedding and happy to help.

When is the best time to elope in Washington?

Every Season in Washington brings something beautiful and unique. My honest opinion is the best time to elope in Washington is in the Summer. Summer months are June, July and August. Fall is also a beautiful time to elope in Washington. The Fall month can be a little trickier as the days are getting colder the closer to Winter they get. Here are the months that make up Fall September, October, November. If you’re adventurous and love the snow you may consider eloping in the Washington Winter Season December, January and February. 

What is the ultimate best place to elope in Washington?

The ultimate best place to elope in Washington is the gorgeous nature She provides. Washington has everything from beaches, rivers, lakes, mountains, rolling hills and desserts. You cannot go wrong when eloping in Washington. Washington is the best place to elope.

Ready to Elope!? Need help planning or finding the perfect location?

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