If you’re at all familiar with me + my brand, then you probably already know I’m obsessed with the PNW. I mean James and I just keep moving back and forth between Seattle and Portland, even though I was born in NY and raised in CA – so that really says something doesn’t it. And that is precisely why I wanted to deliver all of my incredible couples with an in-depth guide to how to elope in the Pacific Northwest, filled to the brim with every piece of information you’ll need to plan your dream Washington or Oregon elopement!
Whether you’re looking for the perfect place to stay, you simply can’t make up your mind and choose the right location, or you need to learn about the logistics of getting married in the PNW, you’ve come to the right place my friend. I want to help you create the most intentional, thoughtful Pacific Northwest elopement possible that is fully, 100% unique to you and your story. Feel free to navigate thru this guide using the table of contents below, or simply scroll and scroll to your heart’s content!
Let’s start off with what you probably came here for: the ULTIMATE list of the absolute best elopement locations in the Pacific Northwest! The PNW truly has no shortage of jaw-dropping, ass-kickin’, breathtaking places for you to choose from, so I’ve narrowed it down to the best options depending on the type of vibe you’re going for. Want a fairytale elopement in the forest?? An overnight backpacking trip in the mountains?? A horseback ride into the sunset on the peninsula?? You name it, the PNW has GOT IT!!
Keep in mind that you don’t have to pick just one location – if you’re doing a multi-day elopement, or want to pack as much adventure into one day as you can, pick a few locations that you can travel to easily. Let’s take a road trip and hit up every damn spot you’re dreamin’ of visiting.
Click on the name of each location to get some more deets + find out if it’s the location for you! I’ve also included up to 3 hiking/trail options of different difficulty levels for certain locations.
I still have not gotten over Blake + Porter’s elopement on the Olympic Peninsula – see all the dreaminess here!
Check out Sarah + Jay’s moody adventure session for some jaw-dropping Cannon Beach inspo!!
MyTien + Garret flew to Oregon for an adventure session at Latourell Falls that you HAVE to see here!!
Alvord Desert – southeast OR
The time of year you choose for your elopement really depends on the type of vibe you’re going for.
If you want to elope in a wildflower meadow (on a designated trail, of course!) with snow-capped mountain peaks behind you, opt for a springtime elopement! The temperatures will be mild, snow will have begun to melt at higher elevations, and the trees + meadows should be all vibrant and luscious. Just be prepared for rain – I’m allll about embracing + dancing in the rain rather than letting it ruin our celebration!!
If you’d rather elope in the sun + warmth and are okay with hotter temperatures (especially if you’re eloping in the desert), then summertime will be wonderful for you. You’ll have the least chance of getting rained on and you’ll be able to have those warm, wonderful evenings around the campfire with mild temperatures and clear skies making way for starlight. Two things to watch out for in the summer in the PNW at many of the locations mentioned above: crowds + wildfires. We’ll do our best to avoid crowds by visiting your location at a less-busy time of day, and we’ll also want to monitor trail + road conditions carefully if it’s an especially dry summer that could cause wildfires and smoke!
Fall is a gd UNREAL time to elope in the Pacific Northwest because we’ve got the perfect landscapes to experience those fall colors you could only dream about. We’re talkin’ autumn color palettes galoooore, especially in the mountains with leaves changing colors + surrounding alpine lakes. If you choose to elope in the fall, make sure you’re prepared for the possibility of early snowfall causing closures or colder temps!!
Winter usually isn’t the best time to elope in the PNW simply because a lot of the great locations available become closed off due to snow + winter weather. If you really want to elope in the winter, I’d consider a coastal location or a lower-elevation mountain option that stays open during the winter season!!
You’ll also need to choose the time of day you want to hold your elopement ceremony at: sunrise, sunset, mid-day, blue hour, twilight. . . the world is your oyster!! Every time of day has unique lighting + opportunities, and you bet your ass I can create MAGIC at every second of the day, no matter the light or location.
Sunrise is the best option for super popular locations that get crowded during the day, and if you want to have the whole rest of the day to enjoy with your guests. Sunset is great if you want to spend the morning hiking up a mountain & want a mountain-top ceremony so you can be GLOWING + basking in that delicious golden hour light while you say your vows (let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that?!).
Plan out all the diff activities you want to do + things you want to incorporate into your day, and plan your ceremony time around those!! This is one of the benefits of multi-day elopements: you will NOT run out of time to do everything you want to do, and you’ll have way way more freedom to plan your ideal timeline + go with the flow.
While you’re choosing the time of year + time of day you want to elope, here are a few important things to keep in mind and take into consideration:
Don’t forget to find a place to stay for your elopement!! There are so many options depending on your elopement location, how much you’re looking to spend, whether you want to sleep on a budget or enjoy a bougie + luxe experience, & if you want to stay in the same place as your guests.
Here are some of the best lodging options in both WA & OR for you to check out!!
Here comes the boring part – don’t forget to take care of all the legal shiz beforehand!! Let’s go thru how to legally tie the knot in WA + OR, from getting your marriage license to getting the correct permits for your location – because we want you to enjoy a worry-free day and make sure EVERYTHING is taken care of properly!
Here’s whatcha need to know about getting a WA marriage license:
To get married in a WA National Park, you’ll need to obtain a Special Use Permit. Follow the links below to see the specifics for each NP!
Aaand here’s whatcha need to know about getting hitched in OR:
Same as Washington – you’ll need a Special Use Permit to tie the knot in Crater Lake NP! Get all the deets here.
Being sustainable + environmentally conscious is one of the biggest things I value in this business of mine, and that includes in the way I work with my couples. I’m a strong believer that it’s our duty to respect the land we get the privilege of using, whether I’m out on a day hike or on an overnight backpacking trip with a couple who’s getting married.
And my absolute favorite way of minimizing my impact on the outdoors is through the 7 Principles of the Leave No Trace Organization! Leave No Trace is an absolutely incredible resource through which you can learn about how to protect land, how to minimize your impact, and explore the outdoors sustainably.
LNT has created guidelines through 7 different principles to help us all minimize our impact on the outdoors, and I always put these into practice with my couples throughout their elopement. Here are the principles, along with links that you can click to learn more about each one in detail! They’ll play a role in the way we plan your elopement, and the locations we choose + how we use them. Let’s work together to leave land JUST as beautiful as we found it for all future visitors and wildlife, while being fully present in nature + exploring all the beauty it has to offer!
And finally, let’s wrap this thing up with some fun ideas of activities you could incorporate into your elopement! Your celebration should be a mixture of everything you love and that brings you JOY; everything that allows you to celebrate intentionally and feel 1000% like you. Think of your elopement as one giant birthday celebration where you get to do whatever you want, go wherever you want, and most importantly – eat whatever you want!
What’s more fun than driving around tiny towns on the Washington or Oregon Coast, stopping at pubs, breweries, and local restaurants for some delish clam chowder + ice-cold drinks??
If you’re a big fan of winter activities, take advantage of the PNW in the winter season and hit up the slopes!!
Keep your elopement dinner simple by packing a picnic and setting it up by the ocean – bring your fav finger foods, a bottle of champagne, even a whole-ass charcuterie board if you wanna make it a lil bougie.
Yes, this is ABSOLUTELY an option: find a company that you can book a horseback through, and ride on the back of a damn horse in your wedding attire through the forest! Now that’s some straight up Disney fairytale shit.
If you wanna keep your ceremony intimate + cozy, book an Airbnb that has some sort of deck or outdoor patio area that you can say your vows on. Have your guests huddle around you or set up some deck chairs, enjoy the fresh air, and head inside for a yummy meal once you’re done!
Food lovers unite: why not rent out a room at a local restaurant or brewery for you + your guests?? Enjoy a private evening in an elegant atmosphere (or hit up a dive bar if that’s more your thang) surrounded by your loved ones + good-as food and drinks.
Eloping in the summer means warm weather + the perf time to take advantage of any body of water!! Bring along or find a local shop to rent paddleboards, kayaks, floaties, or anything that you can take out onto the water with your friends to cool off on a hot day.
The perfect way to end a hike: swimming in a waterfall!! Just make sure the waterfall is safe to swim in + that swimming is actually permitted there. Hop in in your elopement attire, or strip down to your swimsuits!
Make your elopement a muti-day adventure and take a roadtrip across the PNW, stopping along the way wherever the hell you want! Make it spontaneous and find little bars + restaurants to eat at, reserve campgrounds ahead of time, stop at every scenic viewpoint that your heart wants to.
And finally, take a backpacking trip through the mountains + spend a night (or multiple!) under the stars. What’s more magical than that?!
Whewww you officially made it to the end!! I hope that this guide helped get ALL your creative juices flowin’ and that you’re feeling excited af to plan your PNW adventure elopement. If you’re looking for a pretty cool photographer to tag along on your adventure and capture it all as it happens, hiii I’m your gal – reach out to me here & let’s make this shit happen!