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Spanning across Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park covers a huge variety of ecosystems. With dramatic peaks, serene lakes, rocky beaches, and even a temperate rainforest, it’s the perfect destination for any couple who isn’t really on board with the traditional wedding thing. An Olympic National Park elopement allows you to shake off the stress and expectations, and gives you the freedom to get married in a way that feels right to you!
Before you tie the knot amongst the incredible scenery of the Olympic Peninsula, there are a few things you need to know first – but I’ve got you covered.
Here’s what you’ll find in this Olympic National Park elopement guide:
Olympic National Park is made up of different landscapes, ecosystems, and climates. Before you decide on an elopement date, here are some tips and what you can expect throughout the year.
The west side of Washington is notorious for rainy days and overcast weather – so Olympic National Park has a pretty small window of “good” weather. Most people elope in Olympic National Park in the summer, when the weather is warm, the sun is shining, and the snow melts from the mountains.
If you plan to elope in higher elevation areas, like the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula, mid July through September is the best time to ensure snow free trails.
On the coast and in lower elevation spots, summer weather brings the most tourists – but late spring and early fall can be great times to elope as well, as the temperatures are pretty mild. Just be prepared with a rain jacket or an umbrella, and keep in mind that you can enjoy the outdoors in any weather!
Because most people want to avoid the rainy season, summer is very popular in Olympic National Park, so the best way to avoid them is to elope in the off season! Though it’s likely to rain, the biggest advantage is that there will be much fewer people around – and the rain can actually make the greenery look even more lush. In spring and fall, the rain is usually a light drizzle, so if you brave the cooler temperatures and don’t plan to hike the mountain trails, it can be a great time to elope and get some privacy!
I also always recommend that couples plan their elopement for a weekday, and have their ceremony at sunrise or sunset – this ensures less crowds as well!
In Olympic National Park, you can see mountains, forests, and beaches – all within a few hours of each other! There are countless amazing places to tie the knot, and as an Olympic National Park elopement photographer, I’m all about helping couples find the right one. I create a custom location list for every couple, with lesser known spots tailored to your needs and your vision for the day!
Here are some ideas, and the best places to elope in Olympic National Park.
The towering peaks of the Olympic range offer some of the most incredible views in the park. For mountain views, Hurricane Ridge is one of the best places to elope in Olympic National Park – you can see jaw dropping scenery right from the parking lot, and you can tie the knot in one of the easily accessible picnic areas, or hike one of the trails that begins here. Or, do both – have your ceremony with your guests before taking off for an adventure!
Another great place to elope in Olympic National Park is Lake Crescent – a serene lake surrounded by mountains. There’s a lodge, several hiking trails, and amazing views. You can have your ceremony on the shore, then take a kayak out to explore the water!
All the way to the west of Washington, you’ll find the ocean – with dramatic, rugged coastlines, sea stacks poking through the water, and amazing beach trails! These beaches are remote and incredibly scenic, perfect for couples who want to elope with ocean views.
Some of the best beaches in Olympic National Park include Ruby Beach, Kalaloch Beach, and Rialto Beach – but there are plenty more driftwood covered, sandy beaches.
No, not the tropical, jungle kind – a lot of people don’t know that Washington has rainforests of its own! The Hoh Rainforest is one of my favorite places in the world. The temperate rainforest is full of hanging moss, lush ferns, and tree lined trails – so it feels incredibly remote and serene, despite the easily accessible location.
The Quinault Rainforest is a lesser known temperate rainforest in Olympic National Park, with some secluded places to exchange vows.
To have a ceremony at Olympic National Park, you may need a wedding permit – and to get legally married, you’ll need a marriage license.
For an Olympic National Park elopement, you will need a permit if your ceremony includes 10 or more people (including guests, vendors, and the two of you) you will need a wedding permit, also called a special use permit, and you’ll have a pre-approved list of locations to choose from for the ceremony. You can find the application here, and a permit costs $50.
For ceremonies with less than 10 people, you don’t need a permit, and you can elope anywhere in the park – as long as you aren’t blocking trails or setting up chairs or decorations.
To get legally married during your Olympic National Park elopement, you’ll need to get a marriage license. You can go to any county clerk’s office in Washington – Clallam County is closest, but King County is usually easier because you can apply online and receive your marriage license in the mail!
Washington marriage licenses have a 3 day waiting period, and they expire after 60 days. The fee depends on the county, but is $69 in King County. An officiant and two witnesses are required to sign the marriage license, and once the office gets it back, you’re married!
Your day should be stress free – so I create a timeline for every one of my couples! This outlines the day, so you can relax knowing that there’s a plan. An elopement timeline should leave room for flexibility and spontaneity, so that you aren’t stressing about following it to the minute – and it should include some activities and adventures to make your day truly unique!
Here are some examples of Olympic National Park elopement timelines, to get you inspired.
10:00 Hair and makeup begins at Lake Crescent Lodge
10:30 I arrive at the Lodge – detail photos of rings, accessories, etc
11:00 Getting ready photos
12:00 Put on wedding attire
12:30 First look outside the lodge, a few couple’s photos after
1:30 Ceremony at Lake Crescent
2:00 Family photos
2:30 Picnic with family
3:30 Start Mount Storm King hike
6:00 Snacks at summit
6:30 Sunset photos
8:00 Hike down
9:00 Pancake breakfast
11:00 Hair and makeup begins at Sol Duc Lodge
11:30 I arrive at the Lodge – detail photos of rings, accessories, etc
12:00 Getting ready photos
1:00 Drive to Sol Duc falls trailhead
1:30 Change into wedding attire
2:00 First look
2:30 Hike to Sol Duc Falls
3:30 Ceremony & couple’s photos
5:30 Hike back to trailhead
6:00 Drive to Lodge
6:30 Sunset soak in hot springs
Your elopement should be all about the experience – so my Olympic National Park elopement packages have everything you need to plan a one of a kind wedding day! As your Olympic National Park elopement photographer, my job is to be your planning assistant, and your hype man as you navigate this new adventure.
Elopement packages start at $4,000, and include:
What’s up! Meet your friendly, neighborhood Olympic National Park Elopement photographer (that’s me).
Growing up with Olympic National Park basically in my backyard, I’ve spent years exploring – and I’m passionate about helping couples like you plan a wedding day that’s truly your own.
I started adventure elopement photography a few years ago and immediately fell in love with how it mixes my favorite kinds of photography, adventure in landscapes and love.
I was born and raised in Western Washington, just outside of Olympic National Park. My summer job was at a marina with views of the Olympic mountains, so it’s only natural it turned into one of my favorite national parks.