How do you elope in Washington state?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

How to Elope in Washington: A Checklist

Eloping in Washington state can be a truly magical and intimate experience. Whether you’re drawn to the stunning natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest or simply want a low-key wedding, eloping in Washington offers a variety of options. Here’s a detailed checklist to guide you through the process:

1. Choose a Time of Year:
Consider the weather and scenery when picking a time to elope in Washington. The state experiences four distinct seasons, each with its own charm. Spring and summer offer vibrant blooms and lush greenery, while autumn showcases stunning fall colors. Winter can be a romantic choice if you enjoy snow-capped mountains and cozy indoor settings.

2. Hire a Rad Elopement Photographer:
Capturing your special day with beautiful photographs is crucial. Research and find a photographer who specializes in elopements and aligns with your style and vision. Look for someone who can capture the natural beauty of the Washington landscape and the emotions of your intimate ceremony.

3. Choose an Epic Location:
Washington state is known for its diverse landscapes, from majestic mountains to picturesque coastlines. Consider what type of environment speaks to you and choose a location accordingly. Some popular options include Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, Lake Chelan, the San Juan Islands, and the Columbia River Gorge. Think about the backdrop you envision for your elopement and find a spot that resonates with you as a couple.

4. Apply for a Marriage License:
Before you can legally tie the knot, you’ll need to obtain a marriage license. In Washington state, both parties must be at least 18 years old and present valid identification. You can apply for a marriage license at any county courthouse in the state. Make sure to check the specific requirements and processing times for the county you plan to elope in.

5. Plan Your Ceremony:
Decide on the type of ceremony you want for your elopement. It can be as simple as exchanging vows privately in a scenic location or hiring an officiant to perform a personalized ceremony. Consider involving close friends or family members if desired. Keep in mind that Washington state requires two witnesses to sign the marriage license, so make arrangements for their presence if needed.

6. Arrange Accommodations and Travel:
If you’re traveling to a different part of the state for your elopement, make sure to plan your accommodations and travel arrangements in advance. Whether you prefer a cozy cabin, a luxurious hotel, or even camping under the stars, there are plenty of options to suit your preferences. Consider the logistics of getting to your chosen location and any necessary permits or fees.

7. Make It Meaningful:
Personalize your elopement to make it truly special. Write your own vows, incorporate meaningful rituals or traditions, or choose symbolic elements to include in your ceremony. This is your opportunity to create a unique and memorable experience that reflects your love and commitment to each other.

8. Celebrate:
After your elopement ceremony, take time to celebrate your newfound union. Treat yourselves to a romantic dinner at a local restaurant, enjoy a bottle of champagne, or plan a mini-honeymoon exploring the beauty of Washington. It’s important to mark this milestone in your lives and cherish the memories you’ve created.

Remember, eloping is all about focusing on what truly matters to you as a couple. Embrace the freedom to create a wedding experience that aligns with your values and desires. Washington state offers a plethora of breathtaking locations, and with careful planning and attention to detail, your elopement will be a day you’ll cherish forever.