How to Elope in Washington State: A Washington Elopement Planning Guide | Aimee Flynn Photo

How to Elope in Washington State: A Washington Elopement Planning Guide

How to Elope in Washington: Updated for 2022

Washington Elopement Planning Guide

Alright friends, you’re thinking of eloping in the glorious state of Washington. I cannot tell you how much I support this extremely rad idea. I’m pretty biased (I freaking love Washington) but it’s not hard to see why you’d be looking at this amazing place for your wedding adventure. There is so much beauty in Washington it’s ridiculous (to the point of nearly being overwhelming). For all my Lord of the Rings fans out there, Washington is basically as close as you can get to eloping Middle Earth in the US. You have the staggering lone peak of Mt. Rainier cutting quite a figure across the horizon, the jagged peaks of the Cascades, rugged coastlines, forests full of ancient trees, waterfalls, stunning lakes, pristine alpine meadows. Quite simply; it’s stunning. It’s an amazing state, and as a Washington Elopement Photographer, I will say it’s one of my top favorite locations for an elopement. 

There is *a lot* of proud to cover in Washington, so my hope with this blog is that it can give some insight on how to elope in Washington while also going over some of the best areas for a Washington elopement. Washington in the heart of the Pacific Northwest and is the most northwest you can get in the country (without leaving the lower 48). Home to three National Parks (Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and Cascades National Park, Washington is characterized by deep fjords and bays on the coast, deep temperate rainforests and mountain ranges in the west, central, northeast, and far southeast part of the state; and a semi-arid basin region to the east (aka a desert). Washington has it all!

You could fill a whole month exploring Washington- there are so many incredible things to see and things to do. Which is why it’s perfect for an elopement. You can hike, backpack, kayak, off-road, take a scenic helicopter tour, or take a seaplane to remote and lovely location.

When to Elope in Washington

This is a very important question; when to elope in Washington. Each season will show you a very different Washington, and have important factors to consider when thinking of your Washington elopement.

How to Elope in Washington in the Summer (July-Early September)

Summer is my absolute favorite time to elope in Washington. I know folks tend to think of Washington as rainy central, but summers in Washington are actually GORGEOUS.Keep in mind Summer comes late (snow can linger into early July in the mountains, meaning roads could still be closed) so mid-late July is a perfect time. In august you get wild flowers blooming (but also more chance of smoke from wildfire season).The temperatures are lovely- the coasts are perfect to explore, the rivers and streams are babbling from the snowmelt, the sun is shining… summer in Washington is a perfect time to elope.

How to Elope in Washington in the Fall (Early September-end of October)

Enter the moody Washington you know and love. Fall in Washington is lovely, with fall colors popping and misty, moody days. Fall doesn’t last long in Washington (and can turn cold quick) so early to mid October is ideal timing wise. There is a high probability of clouds and possible rain, but don’t let that deter you! With long hanging clouds hugging the mountains like a shawl and mist in the air catching in your lamplight… the fall really is a dream if you want to elope in Washington.

How to Elope in Washington in the Winter (November-March)

If you want a winter wonderland wedding in Washington, Dec-Feb is your best bet. You’ll want spots at higher elevations for snow (it’s pretty rainy closer to sea level). Important to know: it *will* be cold (layers are a must!) but snow also makes for some super fun activities like snowshoeing, sledding, and snowball fights 🙂

How to Elope in Washington in the Spring (April-June)

Weather in the spring is pretty unpredictable. There’s still snow at high elevations and it’s still rainy at lower elevations. Trails are pretty muddy and cloud cover is a regular occurrence. If you’re really wanting to elope in the spring, I would say stick to the coastline.

Where to Elope in Washington

Mt Rainier National Park

Oof. Rainier. She’s pretty incredible. Mt Rainier National Park is HUGE and stunning. From streams, to waterfalls, to old growth forests, to the incredible peak that is Rainier…. you cannot go wrong with a Mt Rainier elopement. There are some spots in Rainier that are more crowded than others, but it’s very possible to find places where you’ll have a private experience. There’s mega “get after it hikes” and easy strolls. It has everything and never fails to blow your mind.

Permits: You will need one! (and so will your photographer). Info can be found here.

Nearest Airport: Seattle Tacoma International Airport.

Olympic National Park

Sitting on the west coast is Olympic National Park. This park has three stunning landscapes: rugged coast, pristine peaks, and a rainforest straight out of Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. If you want variation on your elopement day, this is the park for you. Weather can be wildly different in the park depending on where you are. But bear in mind- due to the layout of the park it can take several hours to get from one point to the next (which is why Olympic is perfect for a full day elopement.)

Permits: You will need one! Info can be found here.

Nearest Airport: Seattle Tacoma International Airport.

Inspiration: Check out this adventure session on the Olympic Peninsula to see what your beachside Washington Elopement could look like!

Cascade National Park

Oh, the Cascades aka the North American Alps. They are stunners. Of all the parks, this one has the narrowest frame of time for an elopement (mid July-early October). These peaks are at a high elevation which means snow (or mud) during other times of year.

Nearest Airport: Seattle Tacoma International Airport.

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

The area around Mt. Baker is truly unbelievable. Still part of the Cascade range, there are loads of accessible spots here that are plucked right out of a fairytale. The snowcapped peaks stretch on as far as the eye can see. This spot is a stunner in the summer… and actually a great spot in the winter if you want a snow wedding- there’s tons of opportunity for snowshoeing and skiing!

Nearest Major Airport: Seattle Tacoma International Airport.

What can we do during your Washington elopement?

Oh my gosh, friends, SO MANY THINGS. In Washington you have gobs of adventure everywhere you look.

If you’re trying to figure out what you want to do on your elopement day, think about some of these questions: What are your favorite activities to do together? What do we do for fun on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? What have you always wanted or dreamed of doing, but never gotten around to? How can you incorporate what you love to do on your elopement day?

But if you want some ideas, here are a few ideas for elopement day activities! 

  • Paragliding
  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Dancing
  • Sightseeing
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Take a helicopter sightseeing tour
  • Take a seaplane to a remote location
  • Visit a winery
  • Go off-roading
  • Riding bikes
  • Horseback riding
  • Soaking in a hot tub
  • Relaxing in a hammock together
  • Doing yoga together
  • Drawing or painting
  • Having a picnic
  • Drink tea or coffee
  • Fishing

Looking for more elopement ideas? Check out this blog post full of ways to make your elopement special.

How Much Does it Cost to Elope in Washington: Washington Elopement Packages

Alright, lets talk nuts and bolts. While I’m based out of the southwest, I’m in Washington often (especially in the Summer- it’s like my summer camp!), and crisscross all over the US for my work so I’m very familiar with the area and comfy traveling. Also! I don’t charge travel fees for any stateside elopement or adventure wedding. That way you don’t have to worry about additional travel costs to get me from here to there. So what’s included and what does it cost?

  • All packages include photographer travel expenses 
  • Unlimited assistance (from me!) with planning and logistics. This includes location guides, vendor referrals, elopement timeline construction, packing list, local gems to check out, and just general hype woman.
  • Online gallery of high-res images and full printing rights (so you can print you pics on stamps, billboards, whatever floats your boat).

   Four hours: $4500 | Eight Hours: $6500 | One 8-hr day + 4 hr day: $8700

view packages + pricing

— Ryan + Styhiln

Ready to have your own adventure of a lifetime?

SO WHAT DO YOU SAY?

I'm Aimée, Southwest based adventure wedding and elopement photographer, mega nerd, wilderness fan, and taker of the epic pics. But don't think I'm here just to take pretty photos (though there will be pretty photos a-plenty) I’m here to guide you through every step of your elope elopement experience; I’m your location scouter, gatherer of all in info, formal wear wrangler, & hype committee. 

I’m also a storyteller. Your storyteller. And while I'm here for the rad, crazy, epic as hell moments, I'm also here (and to be totally honest, live for) those silly, wacky, off the cuff moments that adventure always brings. I'm here to tell your story in the epic and true  fashion it deserves.

Hey friend, I'm so stoked  you're here!

LEARN MORE About Me

  1. Ugh, I can admire your work all day aimee. Wonderful post for couples looking to elope in Washington. I’ve only explored the olympic peninsula, but have the cascade range along with bake on my bucket list.

    Thanks for sharing, thanks for the inspiration 😊

  2. Wow this guide is so incredibly thorough and helpful! Definitely a must read for couples wanting to elope in Washington!

  3. Dylan says:

    This is a super useful guide with stunning photography. Great job! I’m dreaming up my trip to Washington now thanks to you 😉

  4. Traci says:

    I’m in love with all of those shots of Rainier! Not to mention the photos on the Olympic Coast! It looks like that couple had an amazing time!

  5. Heather says:

    All stunning captures– Washington is so amazing, I need to get there. Thanks for putting this together!

  6. Ummm pardon me while I go elope in Mount Rainer right now. I love how you broke everything down so perfectly. Great guide! and your photos are STUNNING

  7. Amanda says:

    Such a fantastic guide and SUCH amazing photos!

  8. Karen says:

    I really like how you broke it down on what to expect each season. Your pictures are gorgeous!

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