Eloping in Washington doesn't have to require a massive hiking commitment, several days in a tent, or driving over treacherous mountain passes. There are plenty of AMAZING locations to elope less than 2 hours from Seattle!
Making it Happen
Before you pick your elopement location, you'll want to follow a few basic steps to make planning your day a bit easier.
Step 1: Secure your date and photographer.
Your photographer is going to be a wealth of knowledge when it comes to picking locations. We know the ins and outs of locations, how to research ones we've never been to, and other logistics that you need to be aware of.
For example: You've probably seen elopements and travel bloggers at this location. But did you know that it's extremely treacherous to get to "the spot" and people routinely fall hundreds of feet into the ocean and die?! If the person you hire isn't aware of 1) how to find this spot because it is hard and 2) the dangers associated with it, you could be put in quite a pickle. Do your research!
Step 2: Decide your location and secure any necessary wedding or special use permits
Working with your photographer, you'll be presented with several options about possible locations, information about them, and what logistics are going to be required.
Permits are a natural part of the process. Almost all of the National Parks are going to require a special use permit on behalf of the couple and a commercial photography permit. Always follow the rules and regulations because the last thing you want to happen is a park ranger escorting you out during your ceremony!
There are plenty of locations out there that don't require a permit. I'm happy to discuss how to find them and what type of elopements work best for them. Y
Step 3: Make it Legal! Understand when, where, and how to get your marriage license!
Applying for Your Marriage License
One of the great things about eloping in Washington is that you can pick up a marriage license from any county, regardless of where you decide to say “I do.” But it’s important to note that you MUST wait 3 days after picking up your marriage license to be able to legally wed. Make sure you plan accordingly!
Each county has its own specific rules and regulations for applying. Here’s a list of commonly used counties:
Kings County - Seattle (Apply online or by mail)
Pierce County - Tacoma (Apply online and then schedule an appointment with the auditor’s office)
Clallam County - Port Angeles (Apply online or in-person)
Whatcom County - Bellingham (Apply online and sign in office)
Skagit County - Mt Vernon (Apply in-person)
Snohomish County - Everett (Apply online then pick up and pay in office)
Spokane County - Spokane (Apply in-person or by mail)
Chelan County - Wenatchee (Apply online and sign/pay in office)
Who Can Marry You
In Washington, you can be wed by judges, religious officials, and regularly licensed ordained ministers. If you want a friend or family member to officiate your wedding, simply have them apply for free ordination through American Marriage Ministries!
After the Ceremony
You and your brand new spouse, your officiant, and your two witnesses will need to sign your marriage document and return it to the county your marriage license came from within 30 days of your elopement.
Want to learn more? Check out my comprehensive guide on the legalities of a Washington wedding.
Choosing a Location
If you have a crew of less than a dozen, you can get married virtually anywhere in Seattle! Here are some of my favorites that offer the best views of the city and surrounding mountains.
- Kerry Park is a tiny park in the Queen Anne neighborhood offering absolutely incredible views of downtown Seattle with a backdrop of Mt. Rainier. Best on a clear day at sunset!
- I LOVE Golden Gardens Park. It’s a beachy park right on the Puget Sound with plenty of private nooks and crannies for an exceptional elopement. Also amazing at dusk when you can watch the sunset over the Olympic Mountains. You can reserve a ceremony permit for Golden Gardens, which also doubles are a commercial photography permit, here.
- Golden Gardens can get crowded. If privacy is a priority, check out Sunset Hill which is located just up the hill from Golden Gardens and boasts the same gorgeous view. Reserve a permit for Sunset Hill here.
- Space Needle! Could it be any more Seattle? While some may consider the Space Needly touristy, it truly is the best way to catch 360-degree views of the entire city.
- Gas Works Park is an old oil plant with incredible views of Lake Union and Downtown Seattle. It’s a must-visit, and a perfect spot for a sunset elopement and stylized picnic!
Where to Stay
- Lotte Hotel Seattle (Don’t forgo this one!!!)
- The Edgewater Hotel
- Palihotel Seattle
- Sky Cabin Apartment with Views
- One Block Off Broadway on Hip and Historic Capitol Hill
One Hour from Seattle
An hour’s drive is all it takes to access lush forests, tall peaks, and beautiful, gloomy beaches.
- Snoqualmie Pass is a mountain pass through the Cascade Range:
- Rattlesnake Lake epitomizes the Pacific Northwest with a beautiful alpine lake and forested mountains in every direction. It’s just a quick walk from the parking lot, making it ultra-accessible.
- Snoqualmie Falls is an epic waterfall with multiple observation decks. Consider staying at the Salish Lodge & Spa overlooking the falls!
- Bybee Farms is a blueberry farm in North Bend that offers incredible views of Mt. Si!
- Hop on the ferry to Bainbridge Island to elope at Hawley Cove Park.
- Hike the 1.3 miles to Heybrook Lookout on Stevens Pass to say your vows in a fire lookout overlooking the surrounding snowy mountains.
Where to Stay
- Tiny House with Mountain View Stay (North Bend, Snoqualmie Pass)
- Ansel’s Cabin, The Refined Riverfront Getaway (North Bend, Snoqualmie Pass)
- The Roaring River Bed and Breakfast (North Bend, Snoqualmie Pass)
- Salish Lodge and Spa (Snoqualmie, Snoqualmie Pass)
- Gorgeous A-Frame Cabin w/ Stunning Mountain Views (Gold Bar, Stevens Pass)
Two Hours from Seattle
- Mt. Rainier National Park’s closest trailhead is just under 2 hours from Seattle. Check out my full guide for how to elope to this magnificent volcanic backdrop!
- Bellingham is an adorable outdoorsy town 90 miles north of Seattle. Here, you can elope in mossy, picturesque Whatcomb Falls Park. The mountains are just a hop skip and a jump away, and I’ve got plenty of AMAZING locations up my sleeve in the North Cascades.
- Leavenworth is a gorgeous Bavarian village in the foothills of Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest.
- Crystal Mountain is a ski resort in the northeast foothills of Mt. Rainier. We can take the Mt. Rainier Gondola all the way to the top, and have your intimate ceremony directly overlooking the volcano!
Where to Stay
- Bavarian Lodge (Leavenworth)
- Camp Howard (Leavenworth)
- Blackbird Farmhouse (Bellingham)
- Blackbird Lodge (Bellingham)
- River Rock Cabin (Crystal Mountain)
- Lindgren Haud (Crystal Mountain)
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Ready to start planning your unforgettable Washington elopement!? Nomadic Weddings proudly offers complimentary planning assistance from start to end, customized packages and timelines to fit any needs, and an experience that will make this adventure your best one yet! This thing won’t plan itself! Reach out today to get started.
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I want to make your day what you want to make your day. I’ve been obsessed with tailoring my own path to what I want it to be that I’ve gone on to help guide people down the same path with adventure elopements. It can seem scary, but I promise I’ll be here from start to finish to help you build your own adventure.