Washington State Elopement Guide: Where To Elope & How

An all-embracing Washington state elopement guide. Answering every question with a local perspective. From where to elope, where to stay, and how to find an officiant — my goal is to help you let your love story take the focus now that these details are (just about) taken care of.

By the way, Washington is rumored to be one of the best places to elope. You’re about to see why.

I for one, cannot seem to get enough of elopements in Washington state. Heart-stopping locations, richly intimate settings, and stories that blend perfectly with the unique celebrations. This is my home, and soon, it will be home to the start of your next best story.

Wedding couple kissing with Mt. Rainier in the background during their Washington state elopement

Table of Contents

Why Elope In Washington State?

  • Variety of backdrops: cityscapes, coasts, rainforests, mountains
  • Moderate climate — not to hot or too cold, comfortable for every couple and guest (just mind the snow in the winter/spring)
  • Wildflowers and waterfalls
  • Cozy oceanside towns and some of the best coffee you can find
  • Focus on sustainability and eco-friendly weddings

Places To Elope In Washington State

Use this list to figure out where to elope in Washington state, the location that fits your styles, backstories, personalities, and the ceremony you have in mind.

Some are more scenic, others a little more adventurous, and every location brings its own stunning twist.

The Washington Coast

Cape Flattery

An elopement location that is a personal favorite, Cape Flattery is known for its sunsets, secluded beaches, lush forests, and rounded cliffs that nestle into the crashing waves. Often draped in romantic fog, and always home to dramatic views, this is a hushingly beautiful, waterside location preserved by the Makah Indian Nation. Your ceremony aisle would be a wooden boardwalk that leads you to the ocean.

  • Oceanside, smooth rock cliffs, forests, small sandy beaches, lighthouse views
  • Secluded and quiet
  • Easy 1.2 mile out and back trail
  • Parking permit needed

Ruby Beach

Technically in Olympic National Park, this remote and romantic location needed its own feature. The winding sandy coastline lends itself to a barefoot wonderland for elopements. The artistic rock formations, called sea stacks, and abundant driftwood add their own touch too. 

  • Long, sandy coastlines for a more coastal feel
  • Moss-covered trees
  • Dog friendly
  • Accessible off of Highway 101
  • Short .25-mile trail to the beach

Lake Cushman

This 4,014-acre lake welcomes you with gorgeous, clear waters and a tree-covered shoreline. A popular destination and close to the Staircase entrance of Olympic National Park, it’s the quintessential mountain wedding with lakeside ceremony locations and the solitude of the forest. Whether you want a relaxing, waterside celebration or an elopement on the trails, everything is a possibility here.

  • Deep blue water and forests
  • Campsites and RV parking for the adventurous
  • Hikes all around

Lake Crescent

Also part of Olympic National Park, you may want to bring along the family for this one — staying in the cozy Lake Crescent Lodge for your elopement. This is the kind of place where you feel like you belong. There are less tourists (with summer being their busiest season) and if you stay there, it’ll feel like a weekend getaway, a home away from home, as opposed to just a visit. 

  • Wooden dock, rocky beaches, green forests, mountains all around
  • On-site lodging with cabins
  • Kayak, canoe, or paddle board
  • Close to the Sol Duc Hot Springs for a honeymoon excursion
  • Part of Olympic National Park

Hoh Rainforest

Embraced by the quiet intimacy of forest, ferns, rain, and fog — the Hoh Rainforest is a dreamy elopement location, and just about captures everything I love about Washington state elopements. Hanging moss, trees that soak up any distractions, and one of the most lush places you’ll ever walk into.

  • Rainforest, ferns, fog, rain, hanging moss
  • Quiet and secluded trails if you look for them
  • Part of Olympic National Park

La Push Beach

A series of three beaches (called “First Beach,” “Second Beach” and “Third Beach”), La Push sets the scene with wide sandy beaches, soothing ocean tides, rock formations, and cliffs topped with greenery. When the sun sets here, the light filters through the rocks that sit in the water, creating a delicate stream of light you can’t replicate.

  • Large sandy beaches, driftwood, rock formations, cliffs
  • More timeless than moody with less forestry
  • Gorgeous lighting

Mount Rainier National Park

Elopement at Mt Rainier with the couple standing under the national park entrance sign holding hands in their wedding attire
Elopement couple stands side by side facing the mountains after their Mount Rainier elopement in Washington state

Gold Creek Pond

Sitting at the top of Snoqualmie Pass, this iconic elopement location is picturesque to say the least. Glimmering waters, mountains coated with cliffs and woodland, rocky beaches that add more sophistication, as opposed to coastal influences. It can get crowded here, especially on the weekends, so keep that in mind!

  • Picturesque pond, pine trees flanking the water, mountains behind you
  • Easily accessible
  • 1.2-mile loop trail (but you can elope without hiking at all)
  • Dog friendly

Reflection Lakes

With a name that speaks for itself, the mirroring effect of this lake, especially during the golden glow of sunrise or sunset, will make any couple speechless. It brings the luxury of the outdoors into your wedding, but doesn’t require any hiking to get the majestic look. 

  • Tree-lined water, snow-capped mountain views, wildflowers
  • Accessible by car June-September (summer season of Mount Rainier National Park)
  • Reflecting views of Mount Rainier
  • Loop trails with rocky dirt paths
  • Stay nearby in an A-frame cabin or Airbnb

National Parks

Need a quick reference of the national parks you’ll want to consider eloping in? (Special use permits are needed, and cost only $50 for 10 guests, and up to $250 for 30 guests. I can help with this!)

Washington state elopement at Mt Rainier National Park

How To Elope In Washington State

As you plan out the details of getting married in Washington State, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Get a Washington state marriage license within 60 days of your elopement date 
    1. If you aren’t local, do this in advance by applying online, notarizing it, and having it mailed to you.
    2. The minimum time between getting your marriage license and using it to elope is 3 days, but don't push it that close! They're often taking more than 3 days just to get the license processed and back to you.
  2. Pay for a permit if your location requires one
    1. Private locations like backyards don’t need this, but national parks do, for example!
  3. You need a wedding officiant and two witnesses
    1. Friends and family can be the witnesses (so can your photographer)
    2. An ordained officiant is included with my elopement photography. I am actually ordained as the officiant and will do the pronouncement if you plan on writing and saying your own vows! But if you want a full ceremony written and performed for you, I will help you source an officiant (so I can take photos of it all) or you can ask a friend to become ordained!

Elopement Packages In Washington State

Black and white fine art image of an elopement in Washington state

Choosing a location is just the tipping point of eloping in Washington State. If you want some guidance, along with organic, emotional photos to document your wedding, you’re in the right place.

My elopement packages for Washington state include travel, 3+ hours of photography coverage, up to 20 guests, location and timeline planning, a wedding officiant, securing your marriage license, and so much more. Learn about the experience, and get in touch to see if I'm available for your date. I serve couples who crave the intimacy of the outdoors within a laid back experience. Every rich emotion and the people that mean the most to you.

Washington state elopement with overcast skies at the beach

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