How to Plan a Summer Elopement in Washington

How to Plan a Summer Elopement in Washington

When I think of the Pacific Northwest in the summer,

I’m drawn to feelings of being at camp, enjoying lizard time on rocks by clear blue water, eating blackberries, and all the wild flowers that bloom on the hundreds of mountains all around you. It’s not surprising that Washington hosts thousands of couples each year eloping there. There are literally hundreds of options that it can get a bit overwhelming to think about where you’d want to say your vows with your partner. Knowing how to plan a summer elopement in Washington is part of my job and I hope this lil blog post can serve as a jumping off point for how you’d like to spend your day!

Choose the perfect location: 

From incredible backdrops on the coastline, to miles of high ridges with expansive views, lakes + rivers + waterfalls in the midst of great pine forests – Washington truly does not miss.

  • Mount Rainier National Park: Known for its stunning natural beauty, this park offers a picturesque backdrop for your ceremony. You’ll need to apply for permits, of course, and it might be a little busy with crowds.
  • San Juan Islands: If youre looking to explore a variety of scenic locations with forests, beaches, and quaint little towns. Maybe even rent a sailboat to get married on the water!
  • Olympic National Park: This park is home to several ecosystems, making it a unique spot for an elopement. With jagged coastline with insanely huge rocks, the Hoh Rainforest (one of the quietest places in the country!), and Hurricane Ridge for the vast lookouts of the mountains around you.

Pro Tip: Plan your elopement on a weekday after a major holiday to lessen the chance of having to wade through hundreds of people.

  • Winthrop + Twisp: If you’re REALLY looking to get away, I’d suggest going to these two towns. Cute little towns with western themes in a valley surrounded by gorgeous mountains.
  • Snoqualmie Pass: A Washington summer classic! It’s hard to imagine a place in Washington that isn’t a classic but this is definitely one high up on everyone’s list!

Pro Tip: Read over Leave No Trace principles to make sure you’re adhering to respectful practices in the outdoors. While having an elopement in nature and National Parks is a DREAM, it’s also a privilege. If we’re not careful, the national parks system could shut down events because of the abuse and harm that they can cause when we’re negligent.

Consider even staying in a fire lookout for your elopement!

Get Your Marriage License: 

Washington has a 3-day waiting period from the time you apply for your marriage license until it becomes valid. So, make sure to get this sorted about a week before your elopement. In Washington state, you need two witnesses to sign your marriage license! That could be me, the officiant, friends, or family! Alternatively, you could get officially married in the state you reside and have a symbolic ceremony here.

Book your photographer: 

Hi there! I’m a traveling elopement photographer and currently booking for 2024! I’ll be in Washington starting late july until end of september. I wont be charging travel fees for weddings booked during this time, so send me a message! I currently have July 15, July 24-29, and September 7th booked so far.

Want to see an elopement on Super 8? Check out what Lainie + Vlad did for their day!

Plan Your Day: 

Remember, this day is all about you two. Whether you want to chill by a lake or relax on a mountain together, plan a day that reflects you both as a couple. Struggling to think of how to you want to spend your day? Check out this blog post i wrote just for you! As an elopement photographer, part of my package includes helping you find local vendors, planning several itineraries, and location scouting

Pro Tip: While Washington + Oregon are absolutely gorgeous, if you are a person of color or very visibly queer person, tread carefully. Sundown towns are very real and may not be the safest place for you and your partner. It breaks my heart that i have to even include this in a blog post but your safety is imperative.

Notify Family and Friends: 

You can invite a small number of guests or inform your loved ones about your plans. You can also plan a celebration party after the elopement! A viewing party once your photos and video come in also works!

Enjoy Your Day: 

Finally, make sure to enjoy your day. Elopements are all about celebrating your love in a way that feels right to you. There are literally NO RULES. Do what you want, wear fun sunglasses, and just hang out with your lover…and me! 🤪 I hope this helps you figure out how to plan your elopement in Washington this summer!

Shooting elopements on film + Super 8 is the best job in the world. Grateful to have gotten to work with so many sweet couples over the last 10 years.
Want to chat and see if we’re a great fit? Click the button below!

Hiya stranger!

I’m Isabella

Film slingin’, tequila shootin’, van dwellin’, travelin’ elopement photographer and hopefully, your future wedding day hype woman. When I’m not behind the lens, you can find me cozied up with friends new and old, on the road in pursuit of the next adventure, hangin’ with my co-pilot Marlow at the nearest dog-friendly establishment, or making dinner in my van before getting back on the road.

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