Your dream Washington State elopement – the ultimate planning guide

UPDATED FOR 2024-2025

The ultimate guide to elope in Washington State


Best time to elope in Washington State

May to August

Can foreigners get legally married?

Yes, in Washington State, love knows no boundaries. Regardless of orientation or background, couples are warmly welcomed to exchange vows amidst the stunning beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Cool piece of info

In Washington State, Mount Rainier boasts the largest glacial system in the contiguous United States, setting it apart as a unique and awe-inspiring destination.

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…

How to elope in Washington State – a quick checklist

  1. Choose the best time of the year to elope
  2. Choose your elopement location
  3. Choose the duration of your stay (I recommend anywhere between 7 to 15 days to fully discover the state)
  4. Book your flights
  5. Book your accommodation
  6. Book your activities
  7. Get your wedding license
  8. Need help? Check out my Washington State elopement packages
  9. Last details before you leave
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!

Can foreigners elope in Washington State?

No matter your origin, gender, beliefs, or who you love, Washington State welcomes you to celebrate your union in its stunning natural surroundings.

Top 5 Washington State elopement locations

Where to elope in Washington State - North Cascades National Park

For peace and quiet – 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.

For easy trails – 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

For hiking enthusiasts – 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!

For beautiful forests – 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

Close from Seattle – 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 plan your Washington elopement

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.

The most quiet – winter

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!

The best weather – spring

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.

The most popular – summer

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!

The best foliage – fall

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!

Did you know?

As an elopement guide and photographer in Washington State, I offer a reassuring service to all my couples by providing complimentary transportation during their elopement adventure. This allows them to fully immerse themselves in the joy of their elopement experience, while I expertly manage all the logistics, including the unique challenge of driving on the other side of the road!

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 When Eloping In Washington State

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

For smoky flavors: 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.

For the sweet tooth: 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

Washington State elopement packages and pricing

All my packages include:

  • From 1-2 locations to a full 7 days honeymoon and elopement adventure photography coverage
  • Custom planning by a travel agent and elopement planner with:
    • A list of 3 to 4 location recommendations based on your vision (forests? mountains? beaches? You name it!)
    • Complimentary transportation for your day(s)
    • Concierge service for vendors, accommodation, restaurants, you name it! And the option of having it all included in your package
    • Help with anything related to accessibility, permits and rules
    • A printed “how to elope” guide with everything you need to know
    • A custom timeline for your day(s)
    • The possibility to get legally married by your photographer (we’re all US ministers!)
  • Online gallery you can share with the world
  • My travels feels to anywhere in Washington State are already included!
  • Starting at $10.750

Handpicked hotels for your journey in Washington State

Discover some of the exceptional hotels we select for our itineraries. While locations vary across the country, each hotel ensures comfort, luxury, and a unique local charm, providing you with an unforgettable stay.

Last details before you leave for Washington State

Ready to set off and discover the Evergreen State? Here are a few final pearls of wisdom.

Packing list

When packing for your trip to Washington State, consider the ever-changing weather by bringing layered clothing and waterproof gear to stay comfortable in rain or shine. Don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes for exploring, sun protection for sunny days, and a camera to capture the stunning landscapes. Lastly, remember your travel documents and an adventurous spirit to fully embrace the beauty of the Evergreen State.

Renting a car

When renting a car in Washington State, ensure you have a valid license, book in advance, and choose a vehicle suitable for your plans. Familiarize yourself with local driving laws and conditions, consider insurance options, and return the car with a full tank. Happy travels!

Formalities – do we need a visa to visit Washington State?

If you’re from the US, you don’t need to do anything. If you’re from another country, check out this map to know if you need a visa to visit Washington State:

Who can visit Hawaii for their elopement without a visa

A small conclusion: Why Elope in Washington State?

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 in Washington State

Let’s chat!

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

Welcome to the Adventure of a Lifetime

Amber, elopement photographer

Hello, I’m Amber, your dedicated elopement photographer and planner, ready to make your special day truly unforgettable. Offering all-inclusive elopement packages or customized options for those who prefer a hands-on approach, I handle every detail with care. From finding the perfect venue to coordinating vendors and creating a personalized timeline, I ensure every aspect of your elopement day reflects your unique love story. And of course, I’ll be there to capture every moment, so you can relive the magic for years to come. Your love is one-of-a-kind, and your wedding day should be too. Let’s craft an authentic and meaningful experience that celebrates your love in the most beautiful way possible.

How to elope in Washington state - the Ultimate guide with tips and tricks
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