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How to Pick the Perfect Elopement Location in Washington
Your Go-To Guide for Finding the Ultimate Washington Elopement Spot
When it comes down to it, eloping is about breaking down the barriers of what you’ve been told to believe and fully investing in a day that makes you and your partner feel alive, connected, and happy.
As professional elopement photographers who dedicate our lives to helping couples create these adventurous wedding experiences that are truly reflective of who they are, we’ve got to say — picking out the perfect location is a big part of crafting a couple’s epic elopement day.
No, we don’t think that the elopement location is everything — in fact, we think the jaw-dropping beauty of some of the most amazing places in the world will always pale in comparison to the sheer power of a couple choosing to take hands, say their vows, and jump into the adventure of a lifetime together.
But still, we definitely think that part of that epicness comes from choosing to give yourselves the freedom to pick an elopement location that’s fitting and perfect for what you both want.
And honestly, we’d have to kick ourselves if we didn’t mention Washington.
Washington is undeniably one of the most beautiful places in the United States — from snow-capped mountain peaks to rugged coastline to alpine lakes to glaciers, it’s a little bit of everything and a whole lotta magic.
Over the years, we’ve explored Washington again and again, each time finding ourselves absolutely blown away by its limitless beauty, its opportunity for endless adventure, and it’s an epically diverse landscape. For these reasons — and so many more — we think that Washington is the perfect place to elope.
But here’s the deal about Washington — it has everything. We’re not kidding, it has everything (glaciers and backpacking and skiing and coastline and wildflower and fall colors). Ad while all of that freedom is absolutely amazing, it can also be absolutely overwhelming.
That’s where we come in.
We’ve included a few helpful tips here to assist you in narrowing down your Washington elopement location process. At the end of the day, there are no wrong answers or wrong locations — as long as you and your partner are doing everything in your power to make sure your elopement day in your elopement location is exactly what you want, you’re doing this whole elopement thing perfectly.
Think About Your Elopement Backdrop — What Do You See?
Trying to zero in on where to elope in Washington can be really overwhelming — especially when there are so many stunning options at your fingertips. So, do us a favor. Try something with us.
Grab your partner. Sit down in a comfy spot. Cuddle up, hold hands, do whatever is that you do when you’re together. Now, shut your eyes. That’s right — shut ‘em.
Together, think about the day you’ll say your vows. Let your mind wander and your heart soar. It’s okay if this is a little fuzzy, you’re not supposed to have it all figured out. Just think and brainstorm and let go of boundaries. Share your visions with each other openly and honestly.
Where do you see yourself when you’re saying your vows? Are you on the top of Mt. Baker? Helicoptering to a glacier? Exploring an island off the coast of Washington? Getting lost together in an old-growth rainforest? (Yeah, every last one of those things is possible in Washington).
You don’t need to have the specifics nailed down, but once you’re both able to really get an idea of what the views and the scenery look like on your elopement day, you’re one step closer to narrowing down your perfect Washington elopement location.
If you can’t pick just one type of scenery or landscape, don’t sweat it — who said you have to pick one? Multi-day and multi-location elopements are absolutely a thing. Remember when we said your elopement day has no rules or boundaries? We meant it. Don’t settle for anything that won’t make you and your partner the absolute happiest — your elopement day can truly be anything you want.
Washington Weather — Consider Your Seasons
Washington is famously adored for it’s moody, PNW-vibes, and those vibes usually go hand-in-hand with the rainy season. If drizzly, PNWonderland weather isn’t your cup of tea, though, that doesn’t mean that Washington is off the table. In fact, Washington actually sees the full range of seasons — you’ll have pops of Fall color, winter wonderland weather, a drizzly season, and an unbelievable summer. No matter what type of weather or seasonality you’re about — from give-me-the-moodiness of the rainy season to 75-and-sunny-only, please, Washington is totally an option.
Be sure to visualize your perfect day with the weather in mind. When you say your vows, is it snowing? Are you bringing along umbrellas just in case of a spring shower? Are you bounding through a wildflower meadow in the sunshine? Once you figure out what type of weather and seasonality speaks to the both of you, you’ll be better able to narrow down the perfect elopement location in Washington.
Check out even more Washington weather info right here in our Best Places to Elope in Washington Guide.
Intimacy, Privacy, and Accessibility
Awhile back, we did a little study and conducted some research to figure out why couples decide to elope. The number one reason? They wanted a just us experience — meaning, they were looking to have a totally intimate wedding experience for just the two of them. In private, in nature, with total freedom to cry and laugh and hug and express themselves exactly how they wanted to.
Of course, we think Washington is the perfect place to do that. But, and this is the case anywhere, it’s impossible to guarantee total privacy in a national park, state recreation area, or other public lands because (and we totally stand by this concept), the outdoors are for everyone.
Still, if intimacy and seclusion are very important to you, that doesn’t mean we can’t help you figure out the ultimate location to give you the best shot at total privacy.
For example, if you’re looking to be left totally alone on your elopement day with a very small chance of seeing other people, choosing a more difficult hike during the off-season or eloping in one of Washington’s best-kept secrets (North Cascades National Park) or heading to the chain of islands off Washington’s coast when the tourists aren’t out could give you that seclusion edge you’re looking for.
Helpful Washington Elopement Location Tools
As much as we’d love to help you choose your ideal Washington elopement location (and we totally can), we get that doing your own research is fun — and we’d never take that away from you. If you’re itching to dive into researching your Washington options for your elopement, more power to you — check out a few of our favorite helpful tools to get the search going.
- Check out our other Washington info we’ve published, liked our Best Places to Elope in Washington Guide, a full list of our favorite Washington ceremony locations, and of course, the 10 reasons we think eloping in Washington absolutely rules.
- Social Media like Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram
- 4×4 Road Maps
- Google Tools like Google Maps, Google Earth Pro, and Google Street View
- Washington Adventure Forums
- Local Guides & Guiding Companies
Don’t Forget — Your Last-Minute Washington Elopement Location Checklist
Okay, okay, you’ve figured out some of the big pieces to the perfect Washington elopement location puzzle. But what about those little, tiny details that make a huge difference? It’s hard to always consider the small stuff when picking out the ultimate location for an elopement but thinking about teeny things can make a huge impact on where you decide. We’ve laid out a few last-minute factors to consider about your selection of Washington elopement locations.
- Does your ideal Washington location have specific requirements, fees, or permits you’ll need to handle ahead of time for your elopement? Most national, state, or private land areas will likely need you to pay for a permit or pony up a fee before you can say I do (or take pictures doing it), so make sure these requirements align with your vision of the perfect day.
- Can everyone that you want to attend your elopement (whether that’s family, friends, witnesses, an officiant, or just the two of you) make it to your spot? No matter what type of elopement day you want (and you deserve exactly what you want), accessibility matters.
- Does your Washington spot have outdoor guidelines that don’t align with your desires? For example, a dry area that won’t allow the sparklers you totally envisioned for your ceremony? Abiding by outdoor rules and Leave No Trace Principles is super important!
No matter where you decide to elope — in Washington or anywhere else on the planet — remember, it’s your day. That means that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, says, or pressures you to do — as long as you and your partner are doing what makes you happiest and makes you feel the most alive, you’re doing your elopement exactly right.