Written by Cortlyn Adams
Complete Guide to Planning Your Olympic National Park Elopement
This guide to planning your Olympic National Park elopement will help you with everything you need to know to get married in the most geographically diverse national park in the country. Olympic National Park features hot springs, rainforest, whitecap mountains and the rugged Washington coast. It truly is a dream elopement destination, so (hypothetically) hop on a ferry with me, let’s cross over the Puget Sound, and we’ll explore why Olympic National Park is the perfect location for your elopement.
How to elope in Olympic National Park
1. Choose a time of year
2. Hire an Olympic National Park elopement photographer
3. Decide on the perfect elopement location in Olympic National Park
4. Get your Washington marriage license
5. Plan to celebrate on the Olympic Peninsula
When is the best time of year to plan an Olympic National Park elopement
Like I mentioned earlier, Olympic National Park is so geographically diverse. From the forest floor of the Hoh Rain Forest to the snow-capped mountain peaks, you will find a lot of different climates and weather patterns within Olympic National Park. This is great news for you when you’re choosing a time of year to elope at Olympic National Park, because it means that you will find accessible and stunning areas of the national park year-round. Here are my top recommendations for when to elope at certain regions in Olympic National Park:
Spring: you will find more sun on the coast than in most places in the state of Washington. So, if you’re wanting to elope during springtime in Washington, you should highly consider the coast in Olympic National Park.
Summer: this is peak season to have amazing mountain top views; elope in the mountains in Olympic National Park during the summertime
Fall: the foliage in the mountains will begin to change and the higher elevations will begin to get snow; fall sunsets are hard to beat in Olympic National Park and would make a stunning elopement backdrop
Winter: the Hoh Rain Forest is a great option for a winter elopement to avoid the winter conditions, but you can also take advantage of the snowy mountain peaks like this winter wedding at Hurricane Ridge
Eloping made easy: choose from these Olympic National Park elopement packages
Psst…I know of a pretty cool Washington elopement photographer who would love to document your Olympic National Park wedding day…just saying (lol). But, truly, hiring the right elopement photographer is a really important step in your Olympic National Park elopement planning process! Of course, you’ll want photos of your day to treasure for years to come. But, you also want to book a photographer with experience in adventure elopements. From day-of timelines, Olympic Peninsula weather patterns and uniquely scouted locations within the national park, it’s so important to work with a photographer who is well-versed in Olympic National Park adventure elopement photography. I work really hard to care for my clients to make the planning process simple and their elopement day unforgettable.
On average, an Olympic National Park elopement costs an average baseline of $11,000, including the wedding dress and suit, bouquet, photographer, airbnb, some travel, and marriage license. Which, considering the average wedding costs $30,000, everyone should consider eloping! Below, I’ve included the different Olympic National Park elopement packages I offer. I recommend the full day elopement package the most often to my couples.
Ready to start planning your Olympic National Park elopement? Check out these helpful resources!
Where to elope in Olympic National Park: Mollie’s list of the top 4 places
Hoh Rain Forest
Just like the diverse climates within the national park, there are so many possibilities of what your wedding day could look like in Olympic National Park. You could begin your Olympic National Park elopement day on the coast and end it at sunset at a mountain overlook! You could hike through the Hoh Rainforest with your family and friends and exchange your vows privately on the beach. Truly, I have so many location combinations to share with you, so my team made this map of the Olympic Peninsula to highlight my top four favorite elopement locations in Olympic National Park.
Hurricane Ridge sits at 5,242 feet of elevation, and is the perfect destination for a winter elopement or wedding in Olympic National Park! It’s an amazing drive-up location that is typically snow-covered. There is snowshoeing, cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, tubing and more available here. There are stunning mountain views and hikes that jet off from Hurricane Ridge. There are certain restrictions on how many cars can make it up to Hurricane Ridge, but you can follow updates on the road status by following their Twitter account. The roads are cleared throughout the winter, but I recommend carrying chains for your tires. The weather can change super quickly at Hurricane Ridge, and you can find live updates by clicking here.
There are so many location options along the Washington coast for your Olympic National Park elopement. You could tie the knot at the northwesternmost point of the contiguous United States at Cape Flattery. There are beaches that are easily-accessible drive-up locations and there are other beaches that you have to hike to arrive at. There are dramatic rocks jetting out of the ocean along the Washington coastline, and some beaches in Olympic National Park even allow bonfires. One of my favorite beaches in Olympic National Park is Ruby Beach. Ruby Beach is located where the Hoh River meets the Pacific Ocean. With incredible rock formations and huge pieces of driftwood marking the coastline, this beach is an amazing drive-up location for your Olympic National Park wedding.
The Hoh Rain Forest is a region of lush, green canopy with mosses and ferns covering the terrain, and it is the reason Olympic National Park is so famous for being geographically diverse. It’s located on the west side of Olympic National Park, and is about a two-hour drive from Port Angeles. It is truly the most green your eyes will ever be able to take in! From the incredible landscape to the roaring waterfalls, the Hoh Rain Forest is an incredibly striking location for your Olympic National Park wedding. There are also ADA-friendly paths throughout the Hoh Rain Forest, making it a great location if you’re wanting to include friends and family in your elopement.
Lake Crescent is a glacially carved lake (so cool right?) in Olympic National Park. There are amazing hiking trails surrounding the lakes that are easily accessible for all people. Some trails take you to amazing views overlooking Lake Crescent. It’s lower elevation means it’s typically snow-free. NatureBridge is a wedding venue in Olympic National Park on Lake Crescent. It’s like a dream glamping experience, featuring canoes, cabins and even a custom dining experience for your entire wedding weekend.
The best places to stay on the Olympic Peninsula for your national park elopement
There are three historic lodges in Olympic National Park that would be such a fun place to stay for your wedding. There’s tons of hiking trails around these lodges, and there are restaurants located in the lodges, too. If you’re wanting to invite friends and family to your Olympic National Park wedding, staying at one of these lodges could be a great way for you to all be in the same area.
I’ve also created a list of the best Airbnbs in Olympic National Park in my guide to planning an Airbnb wedding. Click the link below to find out where my favorite Airbnbs are on the Olympic Peninsula and learn my top tips for planning an Airbnb wedding.
Thinking about a camping wedding? Here are the best Olympic National Park campgrounds for your elopement
If you’re wanting to raise the bar when it comes to adventure during your Olympic National Park elopement, then you should consider a camping wedding! Imagine sitting around a campfire with your best people, sipping coffee out of your camp cup and then exchanging your vows as an epic mountain overlook at sunset. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Here are my top recommendations for the best Olympic National Park campgrounds:
Located in the heart of Olympic National Park right along the Sol Duc River, Sol Duc Campground is right by hot springs and has access to many hiking trails. Once you arrive at Sol Duc Campground, you will have to purchase access to the hot springs at the front desk. All campsites at Sol Duc are equipped with fire rings, and you can purchase firewood and ice at the front desk. I highly recommend Sol Duc Campground for your Olympic National Park camping wedding.
This Olympic National Park campsite is located right off of Highway 101 near Ruby Beach (which you know I love!). At Kalaloch Campground, you get the best of both worlds: forest and beach. You can make reservations online and can click the link above to reserve your beach-overlook campsite at Kalaloch Campground.
You can camp alongside the Hoh River at the Hoh Campground. You will be staying amongst ancient trees at this campsite in the Hoh Rain Forest. You can find out more information and make reservations by clicking here.
Campground elopements are seriously so fun! For more ideas to plan your own camping wedding check out this post:
What to pack for your Olympic National Park elopement
Curious what to pack for your Olympic National Park elopement? Below are my top recommendations of what to pack before your adventure:
National Park Pass
Layers of clothes
Sunglasses and sunscreen
Who’s surprised that snacks is number-one on my list? The America the Beautiful annual national park pass costs $80 and will last you for an entire year’s worth of adventures. It’s so worth the investment! A headlamp is super important if you’re wanting to catch sunrise during your Olympic National Park elopement because most of your hike to the mountain views or coastline will be completed prior to sunrise. The temperature drastically changes as the sun rises, so I always recommend bringing plenty of layers that you can shed. Throw in a long sleeve, sweatshirt, down jacket and rain jacket and you’ll be set! It is always a good idea to be over prepared by bringing bear spray. You just never know what furry friend you could meet along a trail in the forest! Also, you can’t have an Olympic National Park elopement without a Washington marriage license. Do you have questions about how to get a Washington marriage license? Scroll on and I’ll explain everything you need to know!
How to get a marriage license for you Olympic National Park wedding
You’ve got your incredible partner, the stunning dress, the dreamy flowers and the epic Olympic National Park elopement backdrop. But, you cannot forget one of the most important witnesses to your adventure-packed vows: your marriage license! Here’s what you need to know about getting your marriage license in Washington:
You cannot get married the same day you get your marriage license because Washington has a three-day waiting period.
The Washington marriage license is valid for 60 days.
A Washington marriage license costs $69 and is nonrefundable.
You can obtain a marriage license from any county, and it is valid in any county in Washington. You just have to return the marriage license to the county where you obtained the license, and you are allowed to mail in the marriage license to the county.
Read about all the information you need to know about getting a marriage license for your Olympic National Park elopement by clicking here. Also, you’ll need to have someone ordained to officiate your Washington elopement ceremony and two witnesses present (and yes, I’m happy to be a witness, if needed!).
Meet your Olympic National Park elopement photographer
I feel most at home outdoors, so it is no surprise that is where I gravitate towards as an Olympic National Park elopement photographer. In college, I was known as the “granola girl” because my outfits were always fit to go to class or hiking (not that I ever skipped class to go to the mountains, lol). From my days of exploring the hills of the Ozark Mountains, I am now hiking through Olympic National Park trails, exploring the bases of waterfalls in Kauai and experiencing as many fire lookout sunset views in Washington as possible. I am passionate about this job of mine and the landscapes that Olympic National Park has to offer. I’m a Pacific Northwest-based elopement photographer who knows the state of Washington and Olympic National Park well. Basically, I’m dying for a reason to head back to the Olympic Peninsula, and I’d love for your adventure to be the reason! Click here to learn more about me, your Olympic National Park elopement photographer!
Ready to explore more elopements, weddings and adventures? Wander away below!
Between the Pine is an adventure elopement and wedding photography brand created by Mollie Adams. Based in the Pacific Northwest, Mollie travels with her camera in hand to document “I dos” in epic landscapes including Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii.