Your ultimate guide for planning your Washington State Elopement and the steps to take in order to do it! Along with some epic Washington Elopement Photography. Washington is located in the heart of the Northwest with Seattle being the epicenter. It has a variety of scenic views to choose from including wooded forest, islands, lakes, urban city scenes and layers upon layers of mountains which make for a never-ending list of perfect elopement photography backdrops. Even our seasons offer the perfect variety of backdrops depending on your wants with snow filled mountains in the winter, bright colorful flowers in the spring, epic oranges in the fall and a mild enough summer to handle the heat.
Rebecca Anne Photography is a Seattle based elopement and wedding photography business whose work has a authentic and natural feel to it with a timeless editing style that the Seattle bride is sure to adore. With over a decade of experience as a Washington State Elopement Photographer, Rebecca has numerous tips and tricks to share along with a list of some of the most beautiful Washington Elopement spots that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Rebecca’s work has been published in numerous bridal blogs including Style Me Pretty, Wedding Chicks, Seattle Bride Magazine, The Knot and many more.
As a natural light wedding photographer Rebecca loves to capture a couples authentic and unique personalities using light from the day to truly tell their love story. With a degree in journalism it gives Rebecca’s photos a in the moment feel as they unfold. Family portraits and those perfect posed smiling photos are some of the most important part of the wedding day and we definitely do not forget to capture those moments.
Rebecca Anne has always loved living in the Pacific Northwest and embracing its beautiful scenery. She recently moved to a smaller town closer to Mount Rainier to be surrounded by our lush greenery, peek-a-boo views of Mount Rainier and a pond in the backyard. She absolutely adores getting to document weddings and elopements that showcase Washington’s gorgeous scenery and thinks of herself as a mixture of a landscape and portrait photographer by combining the two. Being a Washington State native, Rebecca knows all of the hidden gems of locations in the area to make your wedding day bride and groom portraits as epic as possible!
I am a total foodie and would rather gain another 5 pounds than sacrifice a delicious meal. Ice cream is my love language (just don't mention i'm lactose intolerant). I love long drives with my husband and daughter with no end destination in mind. Some might call me a bit of a geek as I love all the backend of running a business. I always wanted to be a mom when I grew up and didn't anticipate falling in love with photography and now I couldn't imagine doing anything different.
Finding the right Washington Elopement Locations takes a lot of time and research and can often be one of the hardest parts of planning an elopement. You need to make sure that your location ticks all the right boxes before you make a final decision. Your elopement location will influence your atmosphere on the day as well as timing the day of, season to do it in, lighting recommendations and accommodations.
Ideally you want to choose the season you want your elopement to be in first! This will play a role into what location options are available as different seasons offer different openings in National Parks around Washington State. Or, if you have a dream location already chosen, be sure to take into account which season would be best to elope in that area. More on specific weather information farther down.
If you have guests or vendors who aren't avid hikers, or you don't want to sweat through your hair and makeup and change on top of a mountain you're going to want to be more particular on the locations you are looking at for your elopement. There are many locations in Washington State that you can simply drive to and end up surrounded by mountains or lakes and can be more friendly for those not able to hike.
Depending on where you plan to get married, you might need a permit or two! Look up the area in which you are planning to elope and see if you need a marriage permit and ALSO see if you need a parking permit! There are often small fees associated with each.
Don't forget to book other vendors outside of your photographer! You'll need someone to marry you, maybe some flowers, a little cake to cut and hair and makeup to list a few!
You will need to get a marriage license at least 3 days before getting married but no more than 60 days before. If you will not be in Washington at least 3 days before your elopement date than you can do it online and have it mailed to you in advance. Otherwise if you are in Washington more than 3 days before your elopement you can visit any local office. Find more information here.
Are you traveling to Washington State for your elopement and need accommodations? Do you want getting ready photos before heading to your elopement spot? If so, you’ll want to choose a location that has nearby accommodation options!
Pick your location
Find your photographer! Me ;-)
Pick your season
Apply for permits
Book a place to stay!
Book other vendors
Apply for your marriage license
It is important to consider what season you want to elope as it is a major backdrop to your entire day.
A few things to keep in mind during each season:
snowfall, hot cocoa and cozy coats
If you’re planning to take your elopement photos during the winter, keep in mind that if your session takes place in the evening, we could begin shooting as early as 2:30pm to catch the sunset. We recommend dressing in layers so that in between photos you can warm up. Make sure you bring a little extra makeup and tissues in case your nose begins running.
If you want to be sure of having snow for your elopement I would aim for January!
fresh flowers and sunny days
Even though Spring begins in March, we typically don’t begin shooting for another 2-4 weeks because the weather in Washington is still pretty chilly and we want to make sure those blooms are out in full force. Spring provides snow capped mountains as backdrops and lower elevations are clear of snow. Wildflower at Mount Rainier however is not until July.
walks on the beach hand in hand
In spite of the heat, we’re big fans of summer sessions! Because of the later sunset, sessions sometimes begin as late as 6pm. If you’re taking your elopement photos during the summer, we recommend bringing extra makeup and a few towels to make sure you stay fresh throughout your session. Summer provides the best chances for no snow, open trails and even wildflower season.
colorful leaves and snuggling close
Fall is one of the prettiest times of the year and because of the perfect weather, our schedules typically book up quickly! If you have your heart set on a fall elopement session, we recommend scheduling it as soon as you book! Fall also holds a higher chance for rain or fog which can create the prettiest moody elopement photos.
Mount Rainier is probably one of my favorite places. Heck, we bought a house where we could see it everyday because we love it so much. It provides a little bit of everything with forests, lakes, streams, trails, snowcapped mountains, cliff sides, overlooks and meadows. In the winter you feel like you are in a winter wonderland and in the summer you can be surrounded by wildflowers. Its a location where you just can’t go wrong. There are two entrances to Mount Rainier: Sunrise and Paradise. Sunrise is on the Eastside and is only open May-September due to increased snowfall. Paradise is on the westside and is open year long but once snowfall hits the road is often only open to Longmire and not to Paradise. Do note that since it is a National Park that dogs are not allowed.
Meadows, waterfalls, forests, snowcapped mountains, cliff sides, overlooks and rockery.
Summer at Paradise is by far my favorite as it includes wildflower season which is absolutely epic. Otherwise Fall is other favorite full or gorgeous orange fields. Do note winter and spring provide a TON of snow and so location options are more limited during those seasons.
There are two main entrances at Mount Rainier: Sunrise and Paradise. Sunrise is open May-September and Paradise is open year round. There are dozens and dozens of locations to elope at Mount Rainier. Let’s chat about if you want zero hiking, a little or a lot and I can give you a list of recommendations!
Around 2 hours
The Olympic Peninsula is one of the most stunning places. It provides wilderness, glacier mountains, rainforest and of course the coastline. The Olympic National Park is on Washington's Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest. The park offers a beautiful scenes from the dramatic peaks of the Olympic Mountains to old-growth forests. Due note that the national parks do not allow dogs. One of my favorite gems is Seabrook where we frequently vacation with its moody beaches with forest lining the coastline.
Beach, water, rugged mountains, rain forests, alpine lakes,
Summer is usually the best time to elope anywhere but due to this being a rainforest, you'll definitely want to consider a summer elopement. However, all other seasons offer some epic moody skies and overcast clouds which can provide the perfect lighting.
Ruby Beach, HOH Rainforest, La Push Beach, Lake Crescent, Cape Flattery, Lake Cushman, Hurricane Ridge , Second Beach, Rialto Beach, Seabrook and many many more.
Around 3-5 hours depending on where you are going.
The North Cascades is a National Park in northern Washington State. It feel like you’re in another world it is so stunning full of glaciers, lakes and jagged mountain peaks. There are numerous viewpoints along the North Cascades Highway and dozens of beautiful potential places to elope. Places like Artists Point at Mount Baker and Diablo Lake are the most popular locations providing stunning backdrops with minimal hiking.
Rugged mountains, turquoise lakes, rivers, cliffside viewpoints and forests.
Summer is usually the best option as the North Cascades are known for being moody and rainy. Winter and Spring months the road is often closed due to snow.
Winthrop, Diablo Lake, Artists Point, Fire Lookouts, Ross Lake Resort, Washington Pass, Cascade Pass Area and more.
Around 2-4 hours.
Snoqualmie Pass has always been a favorite area of mine and is a little bit more close to home. We have even done many of our own family photos at these locations. The Snoqualmie area is one of the closest options to Seattle to get epic mountain views, lakes, rivers and forests. The downside of this is that it is more popular and crowded with people on a beautiful sunny summer day. This means we need to be more careful in planning which location and our timing for an elopement. But there are many advantages to a closer location!
Rugged mountains, lakes, rivers, forests and snow options.
Any! Every season is beautiful in the Snoqualmie area. Fall, summer and spring are all gorgeous. The lower elevation areas are less likely to have snow than most but if you do want snow, the pass provides numerous winter wonderland options. .
Snoqualmie Falls, Snoqualmie Pass area, Gold Creek Pond, Rattlesnake Lake, Rattlesnake Ridge, Franklin Falls and Northbend area.
You do not need a permit to elope if under 75 people but you might need a parking pass depending on the location.
45 minutes - 1.5 hours.
Downtown Seattle is a beautiful city tucked along the Pacific Coast in the heart of the Northwest. It offers a variety of scenic views to choose from like wooded forests, lakes, urban cities scenes and layers upon layers of mountains which make for a never-ending list of perfect wedding photography backdrops. If you are looking for a smaller venue and city vibes, Seattle is for you!
Urban city vibes, city overlooks, lakes, water views, piers and even woods.
Any season works for a Downtown Seattle elopement but Summer will give you the least chance of rain.
Downtown Seattle Courthouse Rooftop, Alki beach, Olympic Rooftop Pavilion, Canlis, Pioneer Square, The MV Skansonia, Volunteer Park Conservatory, Lincoln Park, On a Washington Ferry, Pier 66 and more!
Depending on location you would need a permit for most outdoor spots.
Eastern Washington is a totally underrated location to elope that people often forget exists in Washington State! If rugged mountains or dense forests aren’t for you - Eastern Washington offers epic desert vibes with rocky hills, waterfalls, prairies and more! Palouse Falls is an often forgot about waterfall. Lake Chelan is always gorgeous. And then there are locations like Spokane and even Leavenworth!
Desert rolling hills, waterfalls, prairies, rocky hills, snow capped mountains and more!
Any season works for an Eastern Washington elopement as they get 300 days of sun a year!
Palouse Falls, Lake Chelan, Spokane, Vantage Point, Leavenworth and more.
Depends on the location!
You need to get your marriage license in King County at least 3 days before your elopement and no more than 60 days beforehand. You can do this online here. The fee is $69.
State law prescribes who can perform a marriage ceremony: active and retired Supreme Court justices, Court of Appeals judges, Superior Court judges, Superior Court commissioners, and judges of courts of limited jurisdiction, as well as any regularly licensed or ordained minister or priest
You need two witnesses. Your officiate cannot be one of them.
Most likely yes! Each location will have its own requirements from parking permits to wedding permits. I am happy to help you investigate what you'll need!