Washington Elopements: A Complete Guide to Eloping in Washington State

If you’re considering eloping in Washington State, then I think it’s fair to say you’ve made a fantastic choice! It’s pretty difficult to go wrong when choosing a location to elope in Washington because it’s all SO gorgeous! No matter if you want the ocean, a forest, a stunning beach, mountain peaks, or a waterfall as your backdrop as you say your vows you can get it all in Washington State.

Washington is the state where your elopement dreams will come true! When eloping in the outdoors and especially in the mountains there are things to consider and a mindset you should go in with as even during the summer weather can be a bit unpredictable, but that’s half the fun right?! So, here are my tips and advice on eloping in Washington State!

How to Elope in Washington State eloping in washington state

1. The Best Time of Year for Eloping in Washington State

As you start to plan your Washington State elopement one of the first things you’ll be doing is picking a date. Now, make sure to choose your date that aligns with the type of weather you’re hoping to have on your elopement day. Of course, when eloping in the outdoors the weather can be unpredictable especially in the mountains so it’s important to be prepared for anything and to have a mindset to embrace the weather no matter what it looks like!

This is why it’s so important to be prepared with all the right gear, wear comfortable shoes, and bring extra layers so that you’re ready for whatever comes your way!

However, there really isn’t a bad season to elope in Washington State! They all come with something unique. So, as you decide what time of year you want to have your Washington Elopement, consider what you’re looking for!

Eloping in Washington State in the Summer

If you’re hoping for a sunny day then eloping in Washington State in the summer would be the best choice for you! You’ll have a better chance of having the sun shining versus the well-known overcast during the winter months in the Pacific Northwest.

There are also many incredible mountain roads at high elevation that will be open during the summer which are typically closed during the winter. This means you’ll have some more elopement locations to choose from! During the summer months, wildflowers at Mount Rainier National Park are blooming like crazy which creates an incredible opportunity for you!

Eloping in Washington State in the Fall

If you’re all about the fall colors then choosing to elope in Washington state during the fall will be perfect for you. If you want those fall colors then choosing a date from the middle of September to the middle of October would be best. You’ll have the best chance of having all of those stunning colors in your pictures!

Washington State Elopement in the Winter

Are you dreaming of having a winter wonderland elopement? Then choosing to have a winter elopement will be the best time for you to elope in Washington State! During winter certain roads will be closed so that’s very important to keep in mind when planning your Washington State elopement. Winter elopements are perfect to stay in a cabin with a fireplace and have that hot cup of tea or coffee afterward to celebrate! You should also be prepared for some light or heavy rain and for the cold. It’s all about those layers!

Washington State Elopement in the Spring

The springtime is known to be the rainy season so unless you want pictures like The Notebook then choose another time of year to elope in Washington State. However, if you don’t mind a bit of rain then go for it! The temperatures won’t be nearly as bad as winter as that is a perk, too! If you love the fog and want a more moody vibe for your day then either Spring or Fall will be your best choice!

When it comes down to it, it really depends on what you two want and the type of couple you are! All types of weather can be awesome (unless it becomes dangerous) to elope in. So, take a minute and really think about the vibe that you want for your day, and based on choosing your date around that! In the end, you just have to be able to go with the flow and embrace whatever comes your way and with an attitude like that, it’s going to be an epic day no matter what!


how to elope in washington state

2. Best Places to Elope in Washington State | Where to elope in Washington State

Eloping in Washington State comes with a vast choice of amazing locations! Whether you want the rugged coastline, stunning mountain peaks, a forest, or a beautiful alpine lake–Washington State has got it!

Don’t worry if you can’t decide exactly where yet. Part of what I do is personal location scouting for my couples! You tell me what you’re looking for and I’ll narrow it down for you. I want you to be able to have a relaxing, fun, and stress-free planning experience! Be sure to head on over to my Airbnb Elopement page to get an idea of a few epic places to stay as well.

Here’s another quick tip! While certain hikes and spots are well-known and popular that can mean that crowds come along with that. Of course, there are always ways to avoid crowds when eloping outdoors, but some of the best spots are the ones that are off the beaten path and aren’t well-known! That’s what I’m here for! I’ll be able to help you find the perfect spots that fit what you’re looking for and avoid the crowds!

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is one of the most stunning locations ever making it one of the best places to elope in Washington State! This park also has the most variety of landscape options to choose from. If you want cliffs, the ocean, a mountain peak, alpine lakes, rain forests, etc. You name it, they got it! If you really wanted to you could hit up the coast, the mountains, and the rain forest all in one day. A few of the best places to elope in Olympic National Park would include Ruby Beach, La Push Beach, Lake Crescent, Cape Flattery, Lake Cushman, and Hurricane Ridge. The list could on and on, but you get the idea!

Be sure to check out my Ultimate Olympic National Park Elopement Guide!

It’s about a 3-4 hour drive from Seattle and Port Angeles would be the best place to stay to explore Olympic National Park and the rest of the Peninsula!

Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

Snoqualmie Pass and Mt. Baker are the closest to Seattle and provide some seriously gorgeous PNW views. Snoqualmie is a pretty popular ski area, but it’s also equally as gorgeous during the summer! However, because of the easy access to stunning alpine lakes, it tends to be on the busier side especially during summer. The best time to elope in Washington State here would be during a weekday. You have incredible hikes and locations like Franklin Falls, Snoqualmie Falls, Rattlesnake Ledge, Stevens Pass, and Gold Creek Pond.

This area is only about 30-90 minutes depending on where you go! There are some great areas to stay in depending on where you elope, but Leavensworth has easy access to some of the most beautiful alpine lakes in the state.

Mount Rainer National Park

Mount Rainer is a single jaw-dropping mountain that can be seen from many cities including Seattle. This is a great location for a dreamy winter elopement, but during the summer you’ll be greeted with loads of wildflowers. The hiking trails here are endless giving you many options for locations and places to have a more private spot to say your vows. The road to Longmire and Paradise on the west side of the mountain will take you right up to the snow on behemoth mountain, and this road typically remains open throughout the winter. Then, the east side of the mountain typically remains closed during the winter, but in the summertime when it’s open has some of the most gorgeous views!

Be sure to check out my Ultimate Mount Rainier Elopement Guide for all the details on this location!

Mount Rainer is a 2-hour drive from Seattle. If you want a more central location for your elopement checkout Enumclaw, WA. However, be sure to look on Airbnb and VBRO for some incredibly cute cabins and places to stay for a cozy mountain vibe!

North Cascades National Park

If you want a true PNW adventure then the North Cascades is the perfect choice for you! It’s known for its epic jagged mountain views. I think it’s the prettiest during the summer months when you’ll get the sun shining (hopefully)! Artist Point is one of the most popular viewpoints in the area and for a good reason. You’ll get stunning views of Mt. Baker as well as Mt. Shuksan! You also have Diablo Lake, Nooksack Falls, and Withdrop. However, the hiking trails are never-ending here for a more personal and unique experience!

Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Gifford Pinchot is a beautiful National Forest filled with waterfalls, mountain views, meadows, and well, forests. You can find some super cute a-frame cabins to stay in and explore the gorgeous area! You have Mt. Saint Helens, Packwood Lake, Mt. Adams and so many more options to choose from.

It’s about a 2.5 hour drive from Seattle. However, it’s only 1 hour and 15 minutes from Portland, Oregon!

Hoh Rainforest

Hoh Rainforest is actually located in Olympic National Park, but I thought it deserved its own category, because of how unique it is. It’s a fairly popular spot since it’s actually a rain forest. The moss that grows on these trees is so cool and bright green color. It’s filled with loads of ferns and huge trees! It’s pretty awesome. Check out this Hoh Rainforest Elopement to see what this epic spot looks like!

It’s about a 4-hour drive from Seattle and it’s 100% worth the drive!


How to Elope in Washington State

3. Make sure you get all the permits you need for your Washington state elopement

If you opt to elope in one of Washington State’s stunning national parks or state parks, it’s safe to assume that you’ll need to acquire a wedding permit to get married there. Even if it’s just the two of you along with your photographer, it’s still necessary. It’s better to be safe than to get kicked out of the national park you wanted to elope in! If you’re not sure if a wedding permit is necessary for your location contact a park ranger and they’ll be able to guide you in the right direction!

Make sure that you apply for your permit with plenty of time to spare, because it can take up to a few weeks or even longer depending on the location you apply for. The offices are quite busy so if you want a specific date and aren’t flexible apply for your permit as soon as you’ve chosen your location so that you’ll have a head start and the best chance of getting approved!

4. How to legally get married in Washington state

Every state has different marriage laws so be sure to look into Washington’s marriage laws. If you don’t live in Washington State and want to make things a bit simpler for you, you can always get legally married in your state and have your ceremony be symbolical. However, if you are from out of state and want your elopement day to be the day you legally go married and don’t have enough time to arrive and wait, the absolute best thing to do would be to apply online and have it mailed to you making the whole process so much easier!

After you’ve been issued your marriage license in Washington State you have to wait 3 days to use it, and then there’s a 60-day expiration on it. So, if you already live in Washington State I would suggest picking it up about 2-3 weeks before your elopement to give yourself enough time.

In order to be legally married in Washington, you will need an officiant and 2 witnesses. If you opt to have a “just us” elopement then I’m happy to sign as a witness and am able to recommend some amazing officiants to you!washington state elopement

5. Eloping in Washington: Plan Your Epic Activities and Adventures

This is the fun part! This is where you start to plan your day and figure out everything you want to include on your elopement day. I wrote another helpful article on creating the elopement timeline of your dreams so be sure to check it out! When it comes to deciding on activities remember that there are no rules to eloping–however you want to celebrate, you can do it! The sky is your limit.

Hiking on Your elopement day

Eloping in Washington State gives you a wide variety of hikes all throughout the state! You can go on an epic hike to a stunning mountain peak or alpine lake and say your vows there! If you love hiking but want to include other things on your day as well then you can go for a short little hike that won’t take up all your time! It doesn’t need to be a crazy long hike. It can be short and sweet as well.

Check out my guide on How to Pack for a Hiking Elopement!

Jeeping on Your elopement day

If you love adventure and want to get multiple locations in on your elopement day then going jeeping on a mountain pass or through a national park is such a fun way to spend your day! You’ll be able to hop out of the jeep whenever you want to explore and destinations that you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise!

Take a boat ride or canoe along the river

If you love the water then a sunset or evening boat ride would be an incredible way to celebrate your nuptials! If you want more adventure then why not hop in a canoe and paddle along a river or a lake with a beer in hand?! Sounds pretty epic to me!

Helicopter Tour

Going on a helicopter tour on your elopement day is an epic way to reach the tippy top of some incredible mountains in a short time frame. It’s a great way to reach multiple locations and get a birds-eye view that you’ve never seen before!

I could go on forever with ideas and things to include on your day, but don’t ever thing think that you’re limited to this! If you can think it up you can do it! This is your wedding day and you deserve to have the adventure of a lifetime. This is the day that you’ll look back on and celebrate for the rest of your life so why not go all out?!


how to elope in washington state


6. Eloping in Washington State at sunrise or sunset

Choosing to elope during sunset or sunrise will heavily depend on the location and activities that you decide on. I go over this with my couples after they’ve decided on a location and we start to put together their timeline, but here are a few points to consider!

Reasons to Elope at Sunrise in Washington State

If you decide to go on a popular hike then a sunrise elopement will be a great choice. National Parks in Washington tend to be a bit busier during the summer months so if you elope during the summer then choosing sunrise will be a great way to avoid all the crowds which will allow you to have a more private ceremony. Another reason to elope at sunrise is if you choose to have an all-day elopement! Yes, it’s a thing and nobody has ever regretted doing it.

Reasons to Elope at Sunset in Washington State

At sunset, you’ll get the same gorgeous light as sunrise, but you won’t have to wake up super early. So, if you’re naturally not a morning person then sunset will probably be the better choice for you! If you opt to have a few friends and family celebrate with you then a sunset ceremony would be good. You can always have a sunrise adventure session the morning of your elopement day if you want to be able to have a more intimate experience and pictures with just the two of you with the epic light as well!

Well, I hope this guide has given you some incredible insight into Eloping in Washington State! I’m sure you’re so stoked and ready to get started planning your elopement. If you’re searching for an elopement photographer I would be so stoked to hear from you! You can contact me >HERE< and I can’t wait to connect!!

Check out these related articles!

10 Best Places to Elope in the PNW

Best Places to Elope in Oregon

7 Signs You May Want to Elope

15 Unique Eloping Ideas

How to Keep Family Involved During Your Elopement


How to Elope in Washington State | Courtney Lynn



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Courtney made the process SO easy! She does more than just photograph your day. She cares about you having the BEST elopement experience possible! I'll never be able to thank Courtney enough for making our dream day happen!

Contact me about your Elopement!

You probably have a million thoughts running through your head making you a bit overwhelmed.

How does this work? What can I do during my elopement? How do I choose my location? Is the ceremony legal? Can I elope with family?

One of the reasons you're probably eloping is because you want to have a stress-free day, but with so much uncertainty on how to plan an elopement how is it even possible?!

No need to stress, you're in the right place! This is where I come in and do the heavy lifting for you.

I'm Courtney, and I specialize in documenting adventurous elopements for couples who love the outdoors, but role is so much more than just an elopement photographer.

I'm here to guide you through every single step of planning your elopement and to give you a clear path tossing that stress out the window!

So, if you're ready to have a unique elopement experience that's actually focused on you, then let's friggin' do this!!

You know you want to elope,

and you know you want it to be meaningful and adventurous, but where do you start?!

trusted by & seen in

Courtney has a very warm and bubbly personality that shows through her work! She made my husband and I feel SO comfortable throughout the whole day.

We were very confused on how to start planning our adventure and she was there to answer a lot of our questions in the beginning and honestly with a very short time frame! We planned and got married in 6 weeks, because we knew we really wanted her there for our day and that is what she had available! It was a challenge well accepted for all three of us.

Our day was perfect. She captured our true essence of love and laughter and each photo shows it. There weren't very many set up photos unless we asked for them. She just gets you in the moment!

You can absolutely tell that Courtney loves what she does and wants your day to be perfect. She listens to you and really tries to understand you as a couple first and then uses that within her photography skills.

If you are looking for an adventure/elopement photographer I would highly suggest Courtney Lynn. We will be looking at and reliving our elopement forever thanks to her amazing photos. You won't be disappointed!

Amber & Ryan

Courtney was so helpful during the whole process! She helped put together a wonderful day!  She really wanted to make sure our wedding was just right for us. She made our elopement perfectly formulated for us, and I can't think of a more beautiful day!

One of our concerns going into an elopement was wanting to have pictures that let us remember the entire day. Courtney was there from start to finish and captured the whole day! Because of her outstanding work, we can share it with our loved ones, and they can experience the event almost as if they were there. We also really appreciated that she captured genuine moments between us instead of making it a photoshoot.

It felt like we were hanging out with a friend, and we think that helped us enjoy our day to the fullest.
If your dream wedding is an adventurous elopement day, I couldn't recommend Courtney more. She went above and beyond and was such a joy to work with throughout this whole experience.

She made us feel at ease and relaxed. Some wedding photographers are all about capturing posed moments that can be really awkward; that's NOT Courtney's style at all. Not only was she down to do whatever we wanted and go on little side adventures, but she made us feel comfortable.

She captured our true personalities and who we are as a couple! When looking at our gallery, our love for each other and our personalities can be seen in each image! She is extremely talented and did a phenomenal job of capturing the beauty of our wedding location. If you hire her, you will not regret it!

Sadye & Matthew

We are SO happy we decided to go with Courtney for our wedding photos! Originally we were supposed to elope in Italy, and she helped a TON with planning things like travel and what our day was going to look like.

Then the pandemic hit and we realized we probably weren't going to be able to go to Italy. So, we decided to change locations to Glacier!

She made it super easy and stress free, and helped plan what our new day in Glacier was going to look like!

Courtney was super easy to spend the entire day with, very friendly and fun to talk to! Even though our day didn't go exactly how we planned due to the weather, we all just went with the flow of it and it still turned out to be an amazing day!

If you're in doubt, just hire her!! You won't regret it one bit and you will get so many incredible photos to look back on your day!!

robbie & Aryton

When my now husband and I started planning our elopement, we were confused to the max. We didn’t know where to start or how to go about planning anything. We knew we wanted to get married in Ireland, but had too many options on exactly where. After doing some research of elopements, I was scrolling on Pinterest and came across some BEAUTIFUL photos taken by Courtney!

Courtney  made the process so easy! She is organized, professional, sweet, and so so funny!! Courtney does more than just photograph your day, she cares about you having the BEST day! She helped us plan EVERYTHING! Even down to the little details, like what type of shoes to wear! She helped us narrow down where, giving us her informative opinions on each of our options! She gave us cool ideas that we could incorporate into our special day. No idea was too big! When the day came, we had the absolute best time exploring and getting married! After we exchanged our vows, we went to celebrate at a local pub (Courtney’s idea ;) ). It was a blast!!

Our elopement was an absolute DREAM COME TRUE! I will never be able to thank Courtney enough for making it happen. So for anyone on the fence, swaying back and forth about whether or not work with Courtney on your big day, SWAY NO MORE! You’ve found your person!! My day couldn’t have been any better and my pictures are beautiful and capture the fun we had!!! I can’t wait to work with her again!

Taylor & andrew

"Planning for our day and the day itself would have been completely different without Courtney. We only knew that we wanted to share our vows in the Tuscan countryside and have beautiful photos, and Courtney planned the perfect agenda for that to happen.

She coordinated our timing around sunset, and not only were the photos breathtaking, but the actual evening was too. I remember looking out over the vineyards as the sun set, the view becoming more and more stunning by the minute. There were no moments that felt forced or posed, every shot was comfortable and fun and full of love.

Courtney is such a sweet, kind, fun person and we truly enjoyed spending the day with her. Courtney helped us to turn our dreams into reality, and we hardly had to do a thing. She allowed us to be in control of our day but gently took all of our wants and needs into consideration while making everything happen. Lastly, our pictures are just magical. Courtney is an incredibly talented photographer, and I feel so lucky that we were able to work with her. I would recommend her over and over again to anyone eloping."

Ellie & Zac

"Let. Me. Tell. You. It's not the technical aspects of photography that are the most difficult. It's the human aspect. Remembering that as a Photographer, you may be behind the lens but you are still a human, in front of other humans, in some of the most raw and intimate of moments.

Courtney balances both of these necessities (but rarities) with poise, great direction, and an overall kind calmness that just makes you breathe a sigh of relief. If you've come across Courtney's page and see what you like already, BOOK HER NOW. Don't spend another second looking for another Photographer that doesn't bring anywhere near the amazing light and spirit that this girl brings right here. Thank you again Courtney for allowing my husband and I to marry each other all over again! The images are stunning and I can't wait to blow them up and hang them in our home."

Shannon & Brandon

"Working with Courtney was an extremely easy experience, seamless, positive and obviously fun. My wife and I went on our honeymoon and wanted to surprise her with a surprise honeymoon adventure session.

Courtney worked with me to make that dream gift for my wife a reality. Meeting and posing for a photographer for the first time can be intimidating, but with Courtney it was anything but that.

Courtney is extremely positive and helpful and made us feel very comfortable in front of the camera. She played some of our favorite songs and before we knew we were just having fun and she was catching them every second. Perhaps the best part of our session was that Courtney knew all the characteristic and peaceful places of where we were, which made our photos even more extraordinary.

She kept the focus on my wife and me. When we shared our images with friends and relatives, everyone complimented on Courtney's aesthetics and the emotion she was able to capture. I can't thank Courtney enough for exceeding all our expectations with this photo shoot!!"


"Pick her -- she's the best! Courtney is amazing! Seriously! If you're thinking about eloping you should snatch her up to capture your day. She makes the entire experience fun and relaxed plus the pictures just blew us away. I will never forget our magical time in Venice and I'm obsessed with the gorgeous photos Courtney took of us. She's so so good!"

Jami & Tim

Courtney is not only a talented photographer, but she makes you feel so comfortable even though being in front of the camera can be nerve-wracking! She did such an amazing job with our day and if I had to pick my favorite photo it would take FOREVER, because I love so many! Definitely consider her if you want adventurous and beautiful photos coupled with an amazing experience!

walker & mac

Don't take it from me,
Take it from my past couples!

You’re in the right place!

I’m here to guide you through EVERY. SINGLE. STEP.

Let’s toss that’s confusion out the window and focus on how you want to get married!

Let me relieve those feelings of being lost, save you time, tell the story of your day and let’s get started creating a day that you’ll never forget!

So, if you know you want to elope,
but feel unsure on where to start, 

contact me & let's get starting creating your dream elopement!

...and you want an amazing storyteller to document your day


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date & location*

Where do you currently live?*

Phone Number*

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You & your fiance's full names*

Let's freaking do this!!