How to Elope in Downtown Seattle: Urban Elopement Guide



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bride and groom standing together downtown seattle

Crazy hiking elopements through the mountains of Washington are cool and all, but what about those of us who don’t really feel like making a multi-mile trek through the dirt right before we get into our fabulous (and $$$) attire to tie the knot? If you’re vibin’ with the idea of an urban Seattle elopement in the city rather than in the mountains or on the beach, then boy are you in the right place – I’ve put together a comprehensive guide to how to elope in downtown Seattle: city elopement edition! 

Absolutely nothing against adventure elopements – but they’re not for everyone! If you search “Seattle elopement” on Google, there’s a 99% chance you’ll come across a hodgepodge of epic, adventurous elopement guides & resources that might just not be your thing. I’ve got you, and you’re welcome here – join the club of humans who would rather drive up to a spectacular view, simply *step out of the car* and be perfectly happy. 

In this guide, I’ll take you on a lil’ romantic walk through the city, showing you all of the best venues & locations for your urban Seattle elopement. Then I’ll give you my simplified 10-step guide to how to plan your urban Seattle elopement, and wrap it up with a sample itinerary of an urban-inspired Seattle courthouse elopement to give you a glimpse at what your own elopement could look like. 


bride and groom walking together across crosswalk downtown seattle

Best Urban Elopement Locations in Downtown Seattle

We’ll start off with a list of my all-time favorite Seattle elopement locations that are perfect for your urban elopement, whether you want an upscale, all-day elopement with 300 guests at a popular industrial-chic venue, or you want a lowkey, afternoon elopement with your two BFF’s at the courthouse, followed by a delish dinner at your favorite eatery.

Best urban Seattle wedding venues

First, here are my personal favorite downtown Seattle wedding venues if you’re looking to hold your elopement (or a part of your elopement) at a formal venue! Whether your vision looks like a garden-party inspired celebration in the city or a post-ceremony dinner with your loved ones on a rooftop overlooking Seattle, these few venues are the ones that absolutely deserve your consideration.

Best Seattle urban-inspired wedding venue: Block 41

Best Seattle loft-style wedding venue: Within Sodo

Best Seattle industrial-chic wedding venue: The Foundry by Herban Feast

Best Seattle garden wedding venue: Dunn Gardens

Best Seattle wedding reception venue: Canlis Restaurant

Best Seattle venue with a rooftop terrace: Fremont Foundry

Want even more information about each of these stunning venues? Don’t miss out on my full guide to the Top 10 Downtown Seattle Wedding Venues for Intimate Weddings!

bride and groom holding hands during wedding ceremony downtown seattle

Best urban Seattle elopement locations

Now if you’d rather keep it more casual & save some moolah by not renting out an entire venue space, here are a few of the best downtown Seattle elopement locations that would be fabulous for either your ceremony, or simply for some dramatic city portraits of the two of you!

Best option for a quick & dirty elopement: Seattle Municipal Court

Best classic Seattle option: Pike Place Market

Best parks in Seattle for an elopement/elopement portraits: 

bride and groom kissing garden landscape

How to Elope in Downtown Seattle: A 10-Step Guide

1. Pick your dream venue(s) in the city

Refer to the big boiiiii section above for a big list of all of my favorite urban Seattle elopement locations for your special day 😉

bride and groom standing together downtown seattle graffiti

2. Pick your date

Next up: picking when you want to get married! Seattle is infamous for its lovely, cozy, rainy weather, but it’s not often too ideal for weddings & elopements. Be sure to think through what you’ll do & how you’ll adapt if you get unexpected rain on your elopement day, and have backup plans & locations in place.

What to consider when choosing your Seattle elopement date:

  • Crowds/tourists
  • Weather – rain, fog, snow, cold temps, etc.
  • Lighting at your locations/venue
  • Travel costs if you/your guests will be traveling in
  • Accommodation costs
  • Activity/excursion costs
bride and groom walking together in rain downtown seattle

3. Hire your downtown Seattle elopement photographer

Whether you want to hire your Seattle elopement photographer to be present solely for the ceremony itself, or turn it into a full-day affair frolicking through the city with a ceremony followed by an evening celebration, I’ll be ready for it all. Let’s adventure to a rooftop for epic views of the city, stop at your favorite bar, or grab a cupcake at your favorite bakery – the world (well, the city) is your oyster! There are ENDLESS fun things to do in the city, which is why so many people come from all over to visit Seattle in the first place. I’d be honored to document it all for you and be your tour guide through the vibrant streets of downtown Seattle 😉

bride and groom kissing downtown seattle public market sign

4. Hire the rest of your Seattle elopement vendors

I recommend reaching out to your dream photographer ahead of the rest of your vendors, since we typically book out farther in advance than most other vendors!

Here’s a list of vendors to look through so you can decide who you want & don’t want to hire (depending on your budget + vision for your day):

  • Officiant (the only one you actually need)
  • Planner/coordinator
  • Designer/decorator
  • Florist
  • Stationery
  • Baker
  • Caterer/chef
  • Bartender
  • Rental provider
reception food set up

5. Invite your guests

Want to keep it on the DL with just the two of you, your officiant, your photographer (who can double as a witness!), and one friend/family member to serve as your second witness? Be my guest! No need to invite anybody whose presence wouldn’t align with the vision for your elopement day, even if you think you “should” invite them, or are feeling some pressure from your loved ones. This is your day to invite whoever the hell you want – and if that means you bring 20 of your favorite people together for an intimate wedding, do it. You deserve to have the people by your side that will celebrate you, cheer you on, and bring meaning to your day – whether that’s just your partner, or all of your grandparents, your immediate family, and 10 of your BFF’s. 

wedding party downtown seattle

6. Pick your Seattle elopement attire

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves for this one – I’ve compiled a variety of absolutely gorgeous, magical, jaw-dropping urban/city elopement outfit inspiration for you to drool over below! There’s something so fun about casual city elopements that open up opportunities for unique, fun urban-inspired outfits that differ from traditional wedding attire.

Urban elopement outfit inspiration:

7. Book your accommodations + where you’ll get ready

Next up: don’t forget to book your accommodations, and to plan somewhere where you’ll get ready the morning of your elopement! If you’ll be staying in a hotel downtown, such as the Lotte or the Woodmark, your hotel room can easily double as a getting-ready location. If you do want to get ready in your room, I recommend booking one with as many windows + as much natural light as possible (trust me when I say that artificial hotel lighting is not your friend in wedding photos), clean furniture, and plenty of space for you and your partner/family/friends to move around.

Below are some of the best hotels in downtown Seattle for your elopement accommodations!

Best hotels in downtown Seattle:

If you’re looking for a separate space to get ready, check out studios like Enter The Studio, The Banana Stand, or this Minimal Sun-Filled Studio Space. These studio spaces can also double as backup reception/post-ceremony celebration spaces in case your original outdoor location gets rained on!

bride and groom holding each other

8. Plan your activities + itinerary

Looking for some fun Seattle elopement ideas? The best ways to make the most of your time in the city? Take a look at some of my best ideas for your urban Seattle elopement, from park picnics to walks through breathtaking museums all the way to the best places for elopement-day brunches.

Fun Seattle elopement ideas:

bride and groom dancing together downtown seattle

9. Get your Seattle marriage license

Because your elopement involves, well, you getting married, you will need to pay for and pick up your marriage license before your wedding. This is obviously pretty important, because without it, you won’t be able to get legally married! The license is $64 at King County, and they’ll only take cash. Marriage licenses issued by King County are valid for 60 days after issue, so be sure to schedule your elopement date within that range before your license expires! Once you tie the knot, you’ll need to return the license to the Records & Licensing Services Division office at King County or Seattle Municipal Court to make things *officially official.*

bride and groom standing together
municipal court of seattle

10. Celebrate!

Pop that bubbly, babe, because you did it – the planning is over, and the big day has arrived. It’s time to celebrate & finally elope in downtown Seattle! 

bride and groom holding hand downtown seattle

Sample Itinerary: Urban-Inspired Seattle Courthouse Elopement

Now that you’ve fallen in love with every one of these fabulous urban Seattle wedding venues & have learned how to plan your Seattle elopement step-by-step, let’s take a look at what your day could actually look like. This couple is having an urban-inspired, lowkey Seattle courthouse elopement, followed by a celebratory evening with a group of their closest friends.

Keep in mind that you can either:

  • Book a judge to perform your ceremony through the courthouse (see a list of available King County judges here)
  • Have your own officiant meet you at the courthouse to conduct your ceremony

Even if you bring your own officiant, you’ll want to contact the courthouse ahead of time to make arrangements for your ceremony!

Note that my elopement packages begin at 3 hours of coverage, so I’ve included potential photo start & end times in the timeline below!

For courthouse-specific elopement planning advice, be sure to check out my Seattle Courthouse Wedding Planning Tips Guide!

2:00 – Get ready together in your hotel room at the Lotte

3:00 – Photographer arrives

3:30Leave for pre-ceremony portraits & to get in line at the courthouse

4:00 – Check in at the courthouse*

You’ll either check in with the judge you booked for your ceremony, or have your officiant meet you there. We can take some gorg portraits in front of the courthouse while you wait!

4:30 – Ceremony! (with your own witnesses, or witnesses from the courthouse – read your own vows, or recite the traditional ones that your judge/officiant will read!)

5:00 – Wrap up ceremony*

*Note that because you likely won’t be the only ones getting married at the courthouse on your special day, the wait times for your ceremony can vary! While you can reserve a time, you’ll still want to arrive at least 30-45 minutes early. Your ceremony will likely last under 30 minutes! Read this blog post for more courthouse details.

5:30 – Sunset portraits at the waterfront

6:00 – Photographer leaves

6:00 – Head to dinner with family

8:00 – Night out + drinks with friends

If you want photos of your elopement but would rather keep it quick & dirty than have a full-day photoshoot, I do offer a 90-minute, courthouse-specific wedding package! This timeline looks like:

4:00 – Meet at the courthouse & take portraits around the area while we wait (potentially including on the rooftop if they let us up!)

Ceremony – Time will vary based on wait times + any additional time we spend on group photos or portraits in front of the courthouse, or at your ceremony site

5:30 – Wrap up & send you on your way! No more cameras in your face 😉

bride and groom holding hands

Sample Itinerary: Full-Day Downtown Seattle Elopement

And one more for good measure! If you’d like to spread your day out a little more and celebrate alllll day long, here’s a sample itinerary for a downtown Seattle elopement that takes you through all the best parts of the city, with an intimate ceremony partway through the day alongside a few of your closest friends.

8:00-11:00 – Get ready together in your hotel room at the Edgewater

11:15 – Head downtown for some city elopement portraits

12:30 – Make your way to the Banana Stand studio

1:00 – Intimate studio ceremony with a few friends & family members

1:45 – Champagne toasts + snack break in front of the courthouse

2:30 – Head to the hotel to rest, change into more casual evening outfits

4:00 – Head to Canlis for your dinner reservation with a group of close family + friends

7:00 – Make your way to a nearby building for rooftop sunset portraits

7:45 – Dramatic direct flash portraits downtown

8:15 – Head downtown to meet back up with your friends for a celebratory night out!

downtown seattle public market sign

More Seattle Elopement & Wedding Resources

I hope you enjoyed this guide to how to elope in downtown Seattle & planning your urban Seattle elopement! I’m such a fan of couples celebrating in the way that feels right to them, and if you’re all about those city vibes, then Seattle is a wonderful option for you, my friends. I’ve linked some more Seattle elopement resources for you below that I know you’ll love if you had a good time reading this one – happy planning, darlings!

Top 10 Downtown Seattle Wedding Venues for Intimate Weddings

Backyard Elopement in Bothell, Washington

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