The Most Important Things to Know Before Eloping in Washington State

Not to be confused with Washington D.C.’s sea of concrete and grandiose man-made structures, Washington State, located in the Pacific Northwest, has some of the most exciting and accessible forest trails in the country, making eloping in Washington State quite popular among adventure-seeking couples. 

From the luscious green landscapes to magnificent lakes, it’s got everything adventurous couples could ever want in an elopement venue. Not to mention the ease of planning an elopement or even a micro wedding because some of the best venues are located near Seattle, the state’s capital.

Best Locales for Eloping in Washington State

Couples will have a tough time looking for their perfect venue because there are so many! There are plenty to choose from, especially just around the capital. But the abundance of choices isn’t really a problem with help from people who know the place. As adventure photographers who have covered a ton of elopements in the state, we’d be happy to lend our expertise at this early stage.

Couple holding hands and smiling as they walk down a clearing in the forest during their Washington State elopement shoot

To start you off, here’s a link to a piece we wrote earlier called Top 3 Reasons to Have a Mt. Ranier Elopement. We highly recommend you read that one because Mt. Rainier is just one of our absolute favorites.

But the venue options for eloping in Washington State are endless. So, to help narrow things down a bit further, we’ve rounded up for you three the best places for eloping in Washington State:

#1 – North Cascades National Park

If you’re looking for that alpine adventure vibe to your elopement, then you’re going to want to check out the North Cascades National Park. Its jagged peaks sprinkled with snow look just as stunning as the Swiss Alps. This way, you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of a European getaway instead of eloping in Washington State.

The breathtaking snow-capped mountains at the North Cascades National Park, one of the best places to elope in Washington State

And because it’s one of the least visited national parks in the country, you might just have your elopement spot all to yourself if you’re lucky.

You also won’t be limited to mountain peaks and rocks. The National Park is also home to Diablo Lake, famous for its breath-taking milky green hue. It captures the sunlight in such a way that not a lot of other lakes can.

#2 – Olympic National Park and the Entire Olympic Peninsula

While the snow-capped mountains and lush green landscape are definitely the crowning glories of Evergreen State, it would be a disservice to the state if we don’t mention its beautiful beaches. This versatility is one of the reasons why eloping in Washington State has become such a popular thing to do for couples nowadays.

The stunning view of the beach at Olympic National Park and the Entire Olympic Peninsula

The La Push Beaches, for example, is such a uniquely beautiful beach that it has been heavily featured in the blockbuster Twilight Saga. The best part about it is that it’s not exactly on the map for most beachgoers as the water tends to be cold all year. This means you won’t have the crop out pesky photo bombers. 

The Pacific Ocean waves are perfect for couples who love water sports. Care for a skinny dipping session right after your I dos? Then you’re looking at the right venue!

#3 – Snoqualmie National Forest

There’s nothing like taking a stroll in the forest to relieve you from the stress of everyday life. If you’re looking for an escape from everyday life, the Snoqualmie National Forest might be precisely the venue that you need.

The region’s most compelling attraction will probably have to be the Snoqualmie Falls. It’s a spectacular visual feast that’s both relaxing and exhilarating at the same time.

It’s also quite accessible as concrete trails and free parking spaces are available onsite. So if you’re planning to elope with a few friends, this might be one of the easiest venues for eloping in Washington State. It’s also just a quick 30-minute drive from Seattle.

A Note on the Best Time of Year for Eloping in Washington State

Washington does get some pretty cold weather, so while you can plan an outdoor elopement in winter, the best times for eloping in Washington state are from March to November.

Couple wrapping their arms around each other with their eyes closed during their elopement shoot with Off Path Photography

Requirements for Eloping in Washington State

Now that you have an idea about your venue preference for eloping in Washington State, it’s time to get down to business. Marriage, after all, is a serious business!

Couple sharing a kiss during their elopement shoot with Off Path Photography at a Washington State location

Here are the things you need to know for your marriage license:

Online and In-Person Application is Available – You can apply for a marriage license in any county in the state via online or in-person application. However, submission modes may differ. Depending on the county, you can expect online, in-person, or hybrid submission requirements. However, for a completely online application experience, we’d suggest King County Marriage Kiosk.

Fees For the Marriage License – The fees required to get a marriage license in Washington State depend on the county you’re applying in. It ranges from $69 to $72.

3-Day Waiting Period and 60-day Expiry – Upon receipt of the license, couples need to wait for three days before formalizing it with a ceremony. However, the ceremony can’t wait for more than 60-days.

Witnesses and Officiant Required – One drawback of eloping in Washington State is that the law requires at least two witnesses to sign in the marriage license. It’s impossible, therefore, to elope with just the couple and an officiant. However, you may be able to skirt this rule by letting your adventure photographer serve as a witness at the same time. We’re more than willing to do that for our clients.

And if you don’t have a specific officiant in mind yet, Ross would be more than happy to do the honors because he’s also an ordained officiant.

Wrapping Things Up: Eloping in Washington State

Washington State is called the Evergreen State for a reason. Its landscape is just incredibly lush all year round. The fact that even the most awe-inspiring venues are pretty accessible makes eloping in Washington State all the more enjoyable. You have the choice to either go on a long scenic hike or drive to your venue and enjoy the beautiful backdrop.

Couple walking along a path during their Washington State elopement with Off Path Photography

So, you can elope at any time and still get the moment immortalized in beautiful photos. If you need help on this end, don’t hesitate to let us know at Off-Path Photography.

Now, what are you waiting for? Let’s make it happen!


Collage of photos of bride and groom during their Washington State elopement shoot with Off Path Photography; image overlaid with text that reads The Most Important Things to Know Before Eloping in Washington State
Collage of photos of couple and the Washington State landscape; image overlaid with text that reads The Most Important Things to Know Before Eloping in Washington State

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