How to Elope in Washington

If you’ve been curious about eloping in Washington, you likely appreciate the natural beauty of this state. Washington stands out as a remarkable destination in the Pacific Northwest, providing a wide variety of landscapes to explore. Whether you’re drawn to forests and mountains, beaches and islands, the urban vibe of Seattle, or the desert in Eastern Washington, you can find it all here. Fun fact: Forks is an ACTUAL town in Washington you can go visit, complete with “Cullens aren’t welcome here” signs as you cross into the Native territories! In this guide, we’ll dive into how to elope in Washington – discussing locations, ideal seasons, permits, FAQs, and more.

Table of Contents:

  1. Why you should elope in Washington
  2. Wedding permits in Washington State
  3. Washington State marriage licenses
  4. How to choose your Washington elopement locations
  5. Top 10 elopement locations in Washington
  6. Best season to elope in Washington
  7. FAQS


Living in a state neighboring Washington might make me a bit biased, but it truly stands out as one of the most beautiful places to elope on this side of the country. The diversity of landscapes here is amazing—whether you’re envisioning a magical forest ceremony, a beachside escape, or soaking up city vibes in Seattle, the options are endless. Washington strikes a perfect balance between urban and natural settings, providing intimate spots surrounded by nature if that’s your preference. I like to say that while Oregon has my heart, Washington holds my soul.

Beyond the scenery, there’s a chance to connect with vibrant native communities for a touch of rich culture. What makes this state even more special is experiencing distinct four seasons, from the freshness of spring to the coziness of winter. For something truly unique, consider eloping on one of the many islands or even on a sailboat—a choice that adds a special touch, just like Angelica and Jeremiah did for their San Juan Islands Sailboat Elopement. If you’re into adventure, Washington opens up a world of outdoor activities, from hiking and kayaking to exploring national parks. All in all, Washington has a lot to offer, making it a fantastic choice for an unforgettable elopement.


Planning a Washington elopement involves securing permits for your chosen location, whether it’s a park, beach, or natural area. National parks like Olympic National Park and popular spots like Mount Rainier may have specific regulations, so research and obtain necessary permissions in advance. Some private venues or outdoor spaces may also require permits. Engaging with local authorities ensures compliance and preserves the beauty of these natural settings. Obtaining the correct permits is essential for a memorable and respectful Washington elopement in the locations you’ve chosen. If you want more detailed information on Washington special activities permits, applications, and requirements, click here!


Getting your marriage license in Washington is a key step on the road to wedded bliss. It’s simple but crucial. Both partners should show up at the county auditor’s office with valid ID, proof of previous marriage dissolution if applicable, and the license fee. Washington has a mandatory three-day waiting period, and you must tie the knot within 60 days. There’s an option to skip the waiting period for a fee in certain instances. Non-residents can apply in any county, regardless of the wedding location. After the ceremony, the officiant and two witnesses sign the license, which gets returned to the county auditor for official recording. Following these steps ensures a smooth process!

Worried about witnesses if you’re choosing to elope just the two of you? I got you. Just let me know this is something you’re concerned about on our consult call and we can go over all of your options!


Choosing the perfect elopement location in Washington State involves considering the diverse landscapes and unique settings the state has to offer. Start by envisioning the atmosphere you desire. Consider whether you prefer the rugged Pacific coastline, the magic of a forest, city life like Seattle, or a mountain range backdrop. Consider the season and weather preferences, as Washington experiences a range of climates. Research potential locations, taking note of their permit requirements. This step is crucial to guarantee a smooth and hassle-free experience. Whether it’s a national park, a beach, or a private venue, find a spot that resonates with both of you. Ultimately, the key is to pick a location that reflects your shared vision for this intimate celebration and creates a backdrop that makes your elopement truly special. And, as always, choosing a backup or two and being ready to pivot if weather or other natural occurrences force you to.


  1. Mount Rainier National Park: Majestic mountain views and diverse landscapes.
  2. Olympic National Park: Coastal beauty, rainforests, and mountainous terrain.
  3. Deception Pass State Park: Iconic bridge, beaches, and lush greenery.
  4. Leavenworth: Quaint Bavarian village in the Cascade Mountains.
  5. San Juan Islands: Scenic islands with waterfront views.
  6. Snoqualmie Falls: A stunning waterfall surrounded by nature.
  7. North Cascades National Park: Remote wilderness and mountain vistas.
  8. Rattlesnake Lake: Serene lake with a mountainous backdrop.
  9. Columbia River Gorge: Dramatic cliffs, waterfalls, and the Columbia River. (check out my blog on How to Elope in the CRG)
  10. Palouse Falls State Park: Unique and rugged desert landscape with a waterfall.


Choosing the best season to elope in Washington largely depends on your preferred setting and location. Spring, from April to June, brings vibrant blooms and milder temperatures. The summer months, spanning from June to August, bring warm weather and clear skies, making this period ideal for elopements in mountainous or coastal settings. If you’re considering an elopement in Eastern Washington, such as Palouse Falls, be mindful that the region can experience HOT temperatures. For a more comfortable experience, it’s advisable to aim for a spring or fall elopement in this area.

During the fall months, Washington’s scenery bursts into vibrant colors, providing a backdrop for elopements in forests or vineyards. Larch trees are amazing to see in person! As winter sets in specific regions undergo a magical transformation, blanketed in snowy wonderlands. It’s important to consider the specific region you’re interested in. Coastal areas may experience milder winters, while mountainous regions can have snow well into spring. Always check the microclimates of your chosen elopement location to ensure the season aligns with your vision. You also want to keep in mind wildfire season. You don’t have to be an expert in this as it is something I will always help you navigate but wildfires, and the smoke they produce, is the largest reason couples have to change their elopement location plans.


How much does it cost to elope?

Eloping in Washington state comes with varying costs based on your preferences. The marriage license typically ranges from $60 to $70, and additional expenses may include permits for your chosen location. For a more intimate ceremony, some couples allocate less to traditional attire and more to a professional photographer. If you’re considering hiring vendors like an officiant or florist, those fees contribute to the overall cost. My personal elopement packages start at $4500, providing a convenient option for couples seeking an inclusive and tailored experience for their special day.

How many guests can I have at my elopement?

The beauty of elopements lies in their intimate and personal nature, offering couples the chance to exchange vows in a setting that holds significance for them. Traditionally featuring a smaller guest list, often limited to close friends or family, the number of attendees depends entirely on your preferences. Whether opting for the simplicity of a private ceremony, savoring quiet moments, or choosing a slightly larger gathering with a few more loved ones, the guest count is a deeply personal decision. This flexibility enables you to craft a meaningful and authentic experience aligned perfectly with your vision.

What if I don’t know where to start with the elopement planning process?

I’m here to make your elopement or small wedding uniquely yours. My packages include personalized planning, expert advice, and a curated vendor list. I’ve got you covered with backup ceremony locations, especially if hiking isn’t your thing. Wondering what to pack for your adventure elopement? I’ve got that covered too. Plus, as an ordained officiant, I’ll guide you through signing the license. And if you’re into the DIY spirit, I’ve got tips on how to tackle anything and everything on your wedding day.

I’m genuinely thrilled about your decision to elope in Washington! This state provides numerous options for your elopement, and I acknowledge that the abundance of choices may initially feel overwhelming. Drawing on my experience as an elopement photographer and planner who calls the Pacific Northwest home, I’m here to ease that initial uncertainty. Whether you’re seeking a location that’s easily accessible or craving a more adventurous setting, Washington has something for everyone. Let me ease the planning stress by utilizing my expertise in coordinating elopements throughout the region.

If you’re ready to begin planning your Washington elopement, I’m here and eager to help. Contact me here, and let’s make your day as special as it deserves to be!

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