If you’re planning to elope in Washington, you’ve come to the right place!
Elopements are all the rage right now. They may have been somewhat…well…forced upon us in 2020, but plenty of couples are making the best of it and loving every minute. I think it’s a trend that’s here to stay, and I am all about it!
Why do I love elopements? For too many reasons! Big weddings can be a freakin’ blast, but they can also cause some serious headaches. It’s a lot of planning, and more people usually means more drama. Often, it feels like couples forget that this day is supposed to be all about THEM, and not everyone else!
Elopements are easier to plan, more affordable, and allow couples to focus on the most important thing—their love for one another. D’aw! Plus, because you have less people to plan around and more flexibility cost-wise, you can spend the day however the heck you want!
It’s a great way to keep your wedding sweet and simple, but there are still a few things you’ll need to take care of before you elope in Seattle.
Get your Washington State Marriage License
As with any wedding, first you need to get a marriage license that is valid in the state where you’ll be marrying.
You should apply for your Washington State Marriage License at least three days before your elopement as there is a waiting period, and then you have 60 days to use it before it expires.
However, note that they may be experiencing changes in their services and longer delays due to the pandemic. I recommend applying at least 1-2 weeks before your elopement date to allow for a safety net. Learn more about how to obtain your marriage license here.
Your officiant should drop off the signed marriage license within 30 days of your Seattle elopement.
Select your elopement date
Now the fun stuff starts! I love that elopements let you do just enough planning to get excited, without becoming overwhelmed.
When deciding when to elope in Washington, it’s tough to go wrong because there are just so many amazing spots. That being said, it’s important to recognize that the time of year will definitely have an impact.
If you’re all about sunshine and warm weather, a summer Washington elopement is for you! It’s a busier time of year, but there are also more location options because of the nice weather.
Fall is a beautiful time to elope in Washington! The colorful foliage is tough to beat. It’s chillier, but if you’re into cozy fall vibes, this is the time of year for you.
Love snowy elopement photos? If you’re planning on getting out into the mountains, that can definitely be a reality for your Washington elopement in the winter! If you plan on sticking to the cities, you can expect some rain and grey skies, which can also offer a really cool vibe.
A little warmer than winter, but still often rainy and overcast, spring can make for great elopement photos. It’s perfect if you love the classic Seattle fog and moody imagery.
You should also consider the time of day for your elopement. As a Washington elopement photographer, I recommend sunset. It’s a beautiful time of day and that golden hour glow simply makes for the best pictures.
If you’re an early bird, sunrise is also a killer option! You still get that awesome lighting, but it’s quieter, so you’re more likely to have privacy at the busy locations. Plus, you get to spend the rest of the day adventuring as newlyweds!
Decide who’s joining your Washington elopement
Don’t worry, it should be a lot easier than building a 100-person guest list! Your elopement is all about you two, but you will need a couple other people present.
First, your officiant, who is required to make it the real deal! There are plenty of great officiants that you can hire in Washington. You could also have a friend or family member officiate, but make sure that they are ordained to perform marriages in Washington State.
Next, your Seattle elopement photographer. Of course, this isn’t required, but it’s the one extra thing that most couples choose to add. I may be biased, but I truly believe that you’ll want someone there who can capture the magic that this day will bring. Plus, your photographer often doubles as a witness, a helping hand throughout the day, and an elopement-planning helper.
Speaking of witnesses, you need two of them. Often your photographer is willing to be one of them!
For many elopements, that’s where the guest list ends, if you can even call it that. But some couples choose to have a few others there, like their parents or best friends. This, of course, is totally up to you!
Select your location to elope in Washington
There are so many incredible Seattle elopement locations to choose from!
First, think about the kind of scenery you’re after. Majestic mountains? Trendy city streets? The romantic seaside?
Whether you choose to elope at a Washington wedding venue, out in nature, or in a City Hall, you really can’t go wrong. There’s a perfect option out there for everyone, from couples who love adventuring in the wilderness to couples who love sipping beer at craft breweries. Hell, you can do both in one day if you want to!
Decide what else to do while you elope in Washington
Like I mentioned earlier, elopements are the bomb because it’s all about you and the things you love to do together. Your elopement can be so much more than just the few hours it takes to officially tie the knot—make a whole day or weekend of it!
Whether you’re traveling from outside the city or you’re a Seattle local, I encourage you to take some time to really bask in this moment. Explore the amazing sights, line up some of your favorite activities, splurge on a staycation—make it a time to remember!
I love getting to know my couples and recommending fun stuff to do around Seattle during their elopement.
If you’re looking for a Washington State elopement photographer who’s down for adventure and happy to help you out along the way, I’d love to help! Let’s chat and figure out how we can make your elopement dreams come true.