The ultimate guide to elope in Washington State

Your dream Washington State elopement – the ultimate planning guide

UPDATED FOR 2024-2025

The US is home to some incredible landscapes – but few states are as scenic as Washington on the Pacific Northwest corner of the country! With rugged beaches, towering mountains, lush forests, and  vast deserts, you can tie the knot in just about any landscape. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to plan your Washington state elopement, and how to plan the perfect adventurous wedding day!

Let’s dive in…

Welcome to the Adventure of a Lifetime

Amber, elopement photographer

Hey there, I’m Amber! I’m your elopement photographer and planner – your one-stop-shop for absolutely everything you need for a magical, incredible elopement day. 

I offer all-inclusive elopement packages for couples who want to relax and let me handle absolutely everything, as well as options for couples who like a little bit of DIY! I’ll find the perfect place for you to exchange vows, recommend vendors, help you figure out travel and lodging, make a timeline, and more – personalizing each part of your elopement day to perfectly suit the two of you. And of course, I’ll be there to take the photos and document this once in a lifetime adventure.
You aren’t like every other couple, and your wedding day shouldn’t be either! I’ll help you craft a day that’s true to you, authentic, and real, allowing you to immerse yourselves in the experience as you say your “I dos.”

First, let’s get on the same page…

What is an elopement?

Eloping means that you’re doing your wedding exactly how you want it – whatever that means for you! Instead of going along with traditions and expectations that don’t suit you, you’re planning a day that’s perfectly customized for the two of you and your relationship. You can hike in the mountains, hammock in the forest, soak in a hot spring… anything you want to do, it’s possible when you elope!

Why plan a Washington State elopement

Stunning Scenery

One of the best reasons to elope in Washington state is the scenery! Not only is it beautiful, but it’s also incredibly diverse. You’ll find rocky beaches, towering mountains, dense forests, and dry deserts – all within a few hours of each other!

Amazing Coffee

Seattle is famous for its coffee – and all over the state, you’ll find cute cafes and local brews to try! If you love coffee, you’ll love exploring the city and trying out different spots.

Outdoor Adventures

Washington state is one of the best places to elope for epic outdoor adventures! Whether you want to hike, see a temperate rainforest, kayak, rock climb, or any other activity you can think of, Washington is the perfect place to get outside.

How to elope legally in Washington State

How to Legally Elope in Washington State

To get legally married when you elope in Washington state, you’ll need a marriage license. You can get one from any county clerk’s office in the state, but if you’re traveling here for your elopement, it’s often easiest to apply in King County – they allow online applications, and will send your marriage license by mail!

After you get the marriage license, you need to wait 3 days to use it – and it expires after 90 days. An officiant and two witnesses are required to sign it when you elope, and then you’ll mail it back to the county clerk!

How to Get to Washington State for Your Elopement

Washington State offers a diverse range of landscapes for your elopement, from the Pacific coastline to the stunning mountains and forests. Here’s how to get to Washington State when you live in the US:

By Air:

  • The easiest way to reach Washington State from within the US is by flying into one of the major airports in the state.
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA): If you’re eloping in the Seattle area or planning to explore western Washington, SEA is the largest airport and a convenient gateway.
  • Spokane International Airport (GEG): For those considering an elopement in eastern Washington or near Spokane, GEG is a suitable option.

Driving Distances from Major Cities:

  • If you’re within driving distance of Washington, here are approximate driving times to popular cities within the state:
    • From Portland, Oregon: The drive to Seattle, Washington, from Portland takes approximately 3 to 4 hours via I-5 North.
    • From Boise, Idaho: If you’re starting in Boise, the drive to Spokane, Washington, is roughly 5 to 6 hours via I-84 and US-395 North.
    • From San Francisco, California: The journey to Seattle from San Francisco is around 13 to 14 hours by car, depending on the route you choose.

By Train:

  • Amtrak offers rail services to several cities in Washington, including Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane. It’s a scenic and relaxed way to travel, especially if you’re coming from nearby states like Oregon or California.

Getting Around Washington state During Your Elopement

Once you’ve arrived in Washington State, you can explore the diverse landscapes and choose the perfect setting for your elopement, whether it’s in the lush forests of the Olympic Peninsula, the stunning peaks of the Cascade Range, or along the scenic coastlines. Washington State offers a wealth of natural beauty and romantic settings for your special day. The best mode of transportation depends on your elopement location and the activities you have planned. Whether you’re exploring vibrant cities, scenic landscapes, or coastal areas, Washington State offers a variety of transportation options to suit your needs and enhance your elopement experience.

Renting a car is often the most convenient way to explore Washington State, especially if you plan to visit multiple locations or want flexibility in your travel itinerary. Major airports and cities have rental car services, and the state’s well-maintained road network makes it easy to access various destinations.

Did you know?

As a guide and photographer specialized in Washington State elopements, I extend a comforting service to all my couples by providing complimentary transportation on their elopement adventure. This ensures that they can fully immerse themselves in the joy of their elopement experience while I handle all the logistics with care and expertise.

Accommodation for your Washington state elopement

Lodging for Your Elopement in Washington State

Washington State offers a diverse range of lodging options that can complement your elopement experience. Here are some of the best lodging ideas for a memorable elopement in Washington:

Mountain Retreats

Consider booking a cozy cabin or lodge in the Cascade Mountains or Olympic Peninsula for a secluded and picturesque mountain elopement. These accommodations often offer stunning views, a rustic ambiance, and the perfect setting for a romantic getaway.

Beachfront Cottages

For a romantic beach elopement along the Pacific Coast, opt for beachfront cottages or cabins in towns like Ocean Shores, Long Beach, or Seabrook. Enjoy the sounds of the ocean, breathtaking sunsets, and a serene coastal atmosphere.

Urban Boutique Hotels

If you prefer an urban setting, explore boutique hotels in cities like Seattle, Tacoma, or Spokane. These stylish accommodations offer a touch of luxury, city views, and convenient access to cultural attractions for an elopement with an urban flair.

Did you know?

When you book your elopement experience with me, I’ll give you access to my concierge service and recommend incredible hotels and talented local vendors.

Where to Elope in Washington state

Washington state has some of the most incredible places, and it can be hard to choose just one! To get you inspired, here are a few of the best places to elope in Washington State.

Where to elope in Washington State - North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park

This is one of the least visited national parks in the country – but not because it’s lacking in scenery! You’ll find incredible mountain ridges and peaks, dozens of alpine lakes, and remote beauty hidden in this national park.

Mount Rainier National Park

One of the most iconic places to elope in Washington state is Mount Rainier National Park, home to the towering peak that can be seen from Seattle. For an extra adventure, you can backpack all the way to the peak! But, there are plenty of easier trails through forests and wildflower meadows that you can explore too.

Where to elope in Washington State - Mount Rainier National Park
Where to elope in Washington State - Artist's point

Artist’s Point

One of the best places to elope in Washington state for couples who want jaw dropping views without having to hike is Artist’s Point. Right from the parking lot, you can see panoramic views of jagged peaks, and a short nature walk will take you to some incredible overlooks. Several trailheads begin here too, so you can also take off for an adventure!

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park covers a ton of land in the west of Washington, and features a huge variety of scenery. There are rocky, rugged beaches, mountain peaks, temperate rainforests, waterfalls, and natural hot springs – so there’s a backdrop for every couple!

Where to elope in Washington State - Olympic National Park
Where to elope in Washington State - Snoqualmie forest

Snoqualmie National Forest

Just under an hour from Seattle, you’ll find the national forest with some of the best places to elope in Washington state. There are easily accessible spots like Gold Creek Pond and Franklin Falls, and harder trails to alpine lakes, ridges, and more!

Did you know?

There is so much more to Washington State than Mount Rainier. When you decide to plan your elopement with me, I’ll curate a personalized list of 4 to 5 extraordinary off-the-beaten-path locations that are tailored to your unique preferences. Let me guide you to the hidden gems of Washington State, far away from the typical tourist spots.

When to elope in Washington State

When to Elope in Washington State

Washington state is known for rain and moody weather – so you’ll definitely need to be prepared! Here’s what you can expect, and the best times to elope in Washington state.


Winter is wet throughout the state – it rains nearly every day in the west side of the state, and the east side is snowy, so you won’t see many people out and about. Coastal regions are more temperate, but mountaintops are covered in snow all winter!


If you want to elope in the deserts of eastern Washington state, spring is a great time! It’s warm and sunny, but not too hot. 

In the west, however, it’s usually rainy until May, and mountainous regions will stay snow covered until mid summer! It’s a great time to elope if you want to avoid crowds, but you’ll need to be prepared with waterproof gear.


Summers in Washington state are pretty idyllic! The rain stops, and it’s warm and sunny – perfect for hiking. This is the best time for your Washington state elopement if you want to hike, but it is popular, so plan for sunrise or sunset for your ceremony to avoid crowds!


Early fall is a really great time for a Washington state elopement, with warm weather and fewer crowds. Snow usually begins in mid October in the mountains, and the rainy season starts around the same time. Weather can be a little unpredictable, but you’ll get the chance to see some amazing fall foliage!

Example budget of an elopement in Washington State

When it comes to elopement budgets, I understand the challenges of providing a precise estimate for vendors outside of my own expertise. The cost can greatly vary depending on your chosen destination and the quality of vendors you desire.

Elopement expenses are significantly influenced by factors like your chosen location. Rather than providing generic budget estimates for vendors I don’t work with, I recommend exploring my elopement packages. They include all-inclusive options, giving you a clearer view of your budget and costs.

Unique Things to Do When You Elope in Washington State

Washington State has many hidden gems and unique experiences beyond the well-known attractions. These off-the-beaten-path activities in Washington State provide a glimpse into the state’s diverse offerings, from art and history to natural wonders and unique cultural events. Here are five off-the-beaten-path activities to consider during your visit:

Activities to do on your Washington State elopement - San Juan art galleries

San Juan Islands Art Galleries

Explore the artistic side of Washington by visiting the charming art galleries on the San Juan Islands. These galleries feature a wide range of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and crafts created by local artists. It’s a delightful way to immerse yourself in the local culture and appreciate the island’s creative community.

Dungeness Spit Lighthouse

Located on the Olympic Peninsula, the Dungeness Spit is the longest natural sand spit in the United States. Take a scenic hike along the 5.5-mile trail to reach the historic Dungeness Spit Lighthouse. The journey offers stunning coastal views and an opportunity for birdwatching.

Activities to do on your Washington State elopement - Dungeness spit lighthouse art galleries
Activities to do on your Washington State elopement - Dungeness lemay car museum

LeMay – America’s Car Museum

While car museums may not be the first thing that comes to mind in Washington, the LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma is a hidden gem. It boasts an impressive collection of vintage automobiles and offers a fascinating journey through the history of American cars.

Ape Cave Lava Tubes

Venture beneath the surface to explore the Ape Cave Lava Tubes near Mount St. Helens. This unique geological feature offers a subterranean adventure as you hike through dark lava tubes. Make sure to bring flashlights and dress warmly, as temperatures inside can be chilly year-round.

Activities to do on your Washington State elopement - Ape cave
Activities to do on your Washington State elopement - Walla Walla sweet onion festival

Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival

If you happen to visit in July, consider attending the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival. This delightful event celebrates the region’s famous Walla Walla sweet onions with live music, food stalls, and family-friendly activities. It’s a fun way to savor local cuisine and immerse yourself in the community’s culture.

What to wear for your elopement in Washington State

What to Wear to Elope in Washington State

Deciding what to wear for your elopement is different from picking out traditional wedding attire, so here are some things to keep in mind!

The Dress

Your dress should be comfortable, and allow you to move easily throughout all your adventures! Pick styles that have loose, flowy skirts, and avoid mermaid dresses or anything too restricting. To stay warm, I recommend adding a shawl, jacket, or cape!

The Shoes

Hiking boots are best for an adventure elopement. Because Washington state is so rainy, hiking trails are often muddy – so make sure your shoes have good traction, and that they’re waterproof! Break them in before the big day, and of course, make sure they’re comfortable.

The Suit

A suit is perfect for layering, and just like with elopement dresses, make sure it’s comfortable and allows you to move easily. If you need added warmth, base layers (thermal leggings or shirts) can work wonders!

Typical food and dishes from Washington State

You might want to integrate into your elopement day

Washington state dishes to try on your elopement day - cedar plank grilled salmon

Cedar plank grilled salmon

Cedar plank grilled salmon is a culinary delight that infuses the succulent fish with a distinctive smoky aroma. The natural oils from the salmon meld with the cedar plank, creating a delicate, buttery flavor that elevates the seafood experience. Grilling the salmon on a cedar plank imparts a touch of rustic elegance, making it a standout dish that captures the essence of outdoor cooking and the charm of indulging in nature’s bounty.

Almond Roca

Almond Roca, a delectable treat originating from the Pacific Northwest, is a symphony of buttery toffee, rich chocolate, and crunchy almonds. Each bite unveils a perfect balance of sweet and nutty flavors that dance on the palate. With its irresistible combination of textures and the hint of caramelized bliss, Almond Roca delights both the young and the young at heart, making it a timeless indulgence for any occasion.

Washington state dishes to try on your elopement day - almond roca

Elope in Washington State – Your Checklist

Choose a Location

The best part about eloping is the gorgeous locations you can choose from! I’ll help you find that perfect spot that works for you and your unique elopement day.
As a travel planner, I’m always exploring to find the best secret places! Once you’ve decided on a Washington State elopement, don’t hesitate to get in touch for planning assistance.

Choose a Date

Make sure you know about the weather, and what to expect with crowds in Washington State, then set a date for your adventure elopement!

Learn About Travel Visas

Most people won’t need a visa for a Washington State elopement, unless you plan to stay for more than a few months!

Book Flights and Accommodation

Make your bookings early to get the best deals, and find a cozy place to stay that’s close to where you decide to tie the knot.

Book Your Vendors

Reach out to vendors early to – our calendars often fill up fast, so inquire as soon as possible! Your elopement vendors will help so much with planning your day and making everything come to life.

Elope in Your Dream Location!

This is it! Time to adventure, explore, get married to the love of your life, and have the most incredible day! Your wedding is one of a kind, and it should be a day you’ll remember forever.


How to plan your peaceful Washington State elopement with me

Process-how to plan an elopement

Let’s dive in, so you can start your journey right away!

Imagine a wedding where you can be you. Breathe. Bask in each other’s love.
Experience a place close to your hearts, or a bucket-list dream.

How to elope in Washington State

Let’s chat!

Are you eager to start planning your Washington State elopement? I’m here to help you envision, plan and immortalize this beautiful adventure! Contact me now for a free consultation!

How to elope in Washington state - the Ultimate guide with tips and tricks
Pin me for later!

Similar Posts