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 plan every detail of your wedding day in one of the most geographically diverse national parks 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 us, 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 we mentioned earlier, Olympic National Park is extremely geographically diverse. From the forest floor of the Hoh Rain Forest to the snow-capped mountain peaks of the Olympic Mountains, you will find a lot of different climates and weather patterns within Olympic National Park. With so many different climates, Olympic National Park is the perfect destination for your elopement anytime of year! You will find accessible and stunning areas of the national park year-round. Here are our 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 our top recommendation for time of year to plan your Olympic National Park elopement. Why? Olympic National Park has a lower elevation compared to other national parks in Washington state, which means faster snow melt! Plus, you can explore the ocean, mountains and forest all in one day for your elopement! Talk about a win, win if you ask us!
- Fall: the foliage in the mountains will begin to change and the higher elevations to deep reds, oranges, and vibrant yellows. Pretty dreamy if you ask us! The temperatures will start to get a bit more chilly as the mountain peaks start to get their first snow falls of the year. Just imagine: a fresh dusting of snow on the mountain peaks, vibrant fall colors all around you and a sunset that illuminates the sky! This is what makes it hard to beat Olympic National Park for your fall elopement 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. You can also take advantage of the snowy mountain peaks like this winter wedding at Hurricane Ridge, if you are dreaming of a snow capped mountain backdrop. Plus, you can also visit the rugged coast filled with giant sea stacks emerging from the ocean. Want to see what an Olympic National Park elopement along the coast could look like, click here!
Eloping made easy: choose from these Olympic National Park elopement packages
Psst…we know some pretty cool Washington elopement photographers who would love to document your Olympic National Park wedding day. 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 reminisce on the incredible adventure you and your partner had during your best day ever. 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. We work really hard to take care of our clients by making the planning process simple and their elopement day unforgettable.
On average, an Olympic National Park elopement costs an average baseline of $12,000, including the wedding dress and suit, bouquet, photographer and marriage license. Which, considering the average wedding costs $50,000, everyone should consider eloping! Click here to learn more on the cost of eloping and see actual budgets some of our couples have used during their elopement day or check out our elopement packages, here!
Where to elope in Olympic National Park: Mollie’s list of the top 4 places
- Hurricane Ridge
- Washington Coast
- Hoh Rain Forest
- Lake Crescent
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 your best day ever watching the sunset at a mountain overlook! You could hike through the Hoh Rainforest with your family and friends and then exchange your vows privately on the rugged beach. Truly, we have so many location combinations to share with you, so we made this map of the Olympic Peninsula to highlight our top four favorite elopement locations in Olympic National Park.
Hurricane Ridge sits at 5,242 feet of elevation, and is the perfect destination for an elopement or adventure wedding in Olympic National Park! It’s an amazing drive-up location that is typically snow-covered in the winter, and snow free in the summer. Imagine your aisle being lined with wildflowers in the summer, being surrounded by vibrant colors in the fall, or strapping on your snowshoes in the spring or summer. There are stunning mountain views and hikes that jet off from Hurricane Ridge (we know of a few where we can easily escape the crowds!). The weather can change super quickly at Hurricane Ridge, and you can find live updates by clicking here.
For inspiration on planning your elopement at Hurricane Ridge, click 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 or find yourself at Rialto Beach with surfers catching the waves as your exchange your vows. 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 (did someone say celebratory s’mores?!). One of our 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.
For inspiration on what your Ruby Beach elopement could look like, click here!
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 lake that are easily accessible for all people. Some trails take you to amazing views overlooking Lake Crescent while others start at the lake and end at dramatic waterfalls. The lake is at lower elevation compared to other parts of the park, meaning it’s typically snow-free year-round. 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.
Bonus! 3 More places to consider having your Olympic National Park Elopement
- Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach is a stunning elopement location where sea stacks meet a coastal forest! Plus, this beach is adjacent to Mora Campground, making it a great option for couples who are looking for an Olympic National Park camping experience during their best day ever!
- Marymere Falls
Located near Lake Crescent, Marymere Falls is truly an incredible Olympic National Park elopement location. Walk just one-mile on a well maintained trail that winds through an old growth forest and you’ll be greeted by a stunning waterfall that would make the perfect backdrop for your I do’s.
- Lake Quinault
Lake Quinault is surrounded by temperate rain forest filled with breathtaking waterfalls, old growth trees and incredible wildlife. Walk along one of the many wooden pathways that winds through the rain forest and take in the lush green that is iconic to the Pacific Northwest. Not to mention Lake Quinault makes a gorgeous backdrop for your Olympic National Park elopement.
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 an incredible place to stay for your wedding. There are tons of hiking trails around these lodges and restaurants located inside 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.
Kalaloch Lodge (Our favorite!)
We’ve also created a list of the best Airbnbs in Olympic National Park in our guide to planning an Airbnb wedding. Click the link below to find out where my favorite Airbnbs are on the Olympic Peninsula and learn our 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 favorite camp cup and exchanging vows at an epic mountain overlook at sunset. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Here are our top recommendations for the best Olympic National Park
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. We 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. 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.
What to pack for your Olympic National Park elopement
Curious what to pack for your Olympic National Park elopement? Below are our top recommendations of what to pack before your adventure:
- National Park Pass
- Layers of clothes
- Rain jacket
- Bear spray
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Bug spray
- Marriage license
Who’s surprised that snacks are number-one on our 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 we 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 we’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 through 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, we are happy to be your witness, if needed!).
Meet your Olympic National Park elopement photographers
We feel most at home in the outdoors, so it’s no surprise that is where we gravitate towards as your Olympic National Park elopement photographers. Between the Pine was founded by Mollie in 2018 and she has hiked hundreds of miles all over the Pacific Northwest and Kauai, to capture couples during their Olympic National Park elopement. Since 2018, we’ve grown our team and hired two incredible photographers (cue Dawn and Kass)! Dawn has been photographing elopements all over the Pacific Northwest for the last seven years and is truly incredible when it comes to capturing all the in-between moments of your Olympic National Park elopement! Kass was previously an outdoor recreation guide and knows all the best locations to adventure during your Olympic National Park elopement. She transitioned from guide to photographer six years ago and hasn’t looked back since! Our team at Between the Pine is passionate about our jobs and adventuring to the most beautiful locations to document your best day ever. We know the Pacific Northwest like the back of our hands and are dying for a reason to head back to the mountains, forest and everything in between! Click here to learn more about the Between the Pine team, your Olympic National Park elopement photographers!