Yosemite National Park is probably one of the top five places in the United States couples choose to elope at. The park is grand with its beautiful forests and large granite walls surrounding a valley full of deer, the occasional bear and outdoor enthusiasts. If you are a climber, hiker or national park lover, this is the park for your adventure wedding in California. The park has been drawing people to its beauty for so many years and not just adventurers and couples getting married. Did you know it once was at the location of the Winter Olympics?! This blog is to help you get an idea of what an elopement in Yosemite National Park would look like and how to plan your own very special day.
The park is located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. It is not super close to any one airport. You can consider flying into Los Angeles or Sacramento or even San Fransisco. I also recommend pairing a trip to Yosemite with a trip to Lake Tahoe. In this case you may want to fly into Reno, Nevada. Yosemite National Park is also next to Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon, so considering extending your trip for that too. California is home to 5 national parks, so the options are endless for exploring the state. From the airports you will for sure need to rent a car to drive to the park. Once in the park you can take the shuttles around to the trailheads/areas, bike or hike.
Honestly, this depends on what you are wanting to do and if you care how busy the park will be. The general recommendation is early May to late October. The summer is very busy in the park. I highly recommend eloping here on a weekday no matter what. One time we shot in the park at one of the popular locations, there were six other couples eloping and having engagement photos taken, so be prepared to share your space. I think late fall can be one of the prettiest times of year in the park, but mid spring can be less busy than the summer and fall. I would also consider eloping at sunrise here to avoid crowds. Can you imagine watching the first days light shine on the granite walls below you to start off your wedding day?!
Yosemite National Park has a few resorts you can consider staying right within the valley of the park. There are also camp sites all throughout the Valley. However, both of these options can book out even a year out, so you want to plan ahead! We recommend renting a cabin in the West Yosemite area. It is still in the park, but out of the valley and more tucked away from everyone else. It is also closer to areas like the grove and the Glacier point area. Outside of the park you can stay at Rush Creek Lodge or we love Autocamp. Other ways to find a stay are checking out Hipcamp, Airbnb or VRBO.
If you have any guests attending, you will need to choose from a specific location listed within the parks guidelines. For example, one of their ceremony locations with guests is the red chapel located in the valley across from El Capitan. The locations within the park that you can get married at range from the valley floor, to overlooks, to the groves and by the beautiful lakes or waterfalls. Know that some of the roads to some of the locations are closed due to snow until mid to late spring. So have a back up plan in place if you are considering one of the locations effected by road closures. However, you can take your just you two portraits almost anywhere within the park.
To get married in Yosemite National Park you need to pull a permit with a forest service ranger. You do this by downloading the application from their site, filling it out, mailing it in with your money order. Note - they are very specific about their process and it must be done correctly. Also know that your money order is not refundable and must be for the correct amount for exactly what you are applying for. You need to apply for your permit at least 45 days in advance, but we recommend doing this as soon as you have decided which location in the park you want to get married at. Your permit will cost around $150 for getting married in the park. Outside of the permit for the park, you will need your marriage certificate. This is the state of California, so you will need to obtain your marriage license from a local clerk office together. You will need an officiant to perform/sign the paperwork and one witness. You can have a second witness sign, but it is not required.
**It is important to note that as of 2021 the park is requiring a day-of pass to enter the park, or a permit or registered camping/stay within the park limits. Your wedding permit would allow you, your photographer and your guests in for that day only. So if you want to go to the park for more days than that, you need to plan ahead to book those reservations. Also be sure that everyone in your party has a copy of your wedding permit to be able to get into the park. (Expert tip: carpool, the fewer cars the better)
Now let’s talk about where would you want to do your portraits in the park. There are countless locations that are stunning in Yosemite, but there are a few that just hit different. For example, the meadows with any of the falls in the background or El Cap. Glacier Point (also another pre-approved location for a ceremony) is a classic along with Taft Point. However it is important to note the road up to Taft point and Glacier point is scheduled to be closed in 2022 for road construction. If you want to elope or do portraits at these locations you will need to prepare to do a pretty big hike. The good news though is that it will for sure be more private than it usually is!! Don’t limit yourself, the park is huge with tons of beautiful areas, you don’t have to follow the masses, you can always find your own special spot that is just as beautiful.
For your adventure wedding you may already know exactly what things you want to do, what things are special to you two that you want to incorporate on this special day. Or you may be open! Adventures in the park include, but are not limited to, camping, hiking, getting into the river, bouldering, back packing, biking and rock climbing. Yosemite has been famous for its big wall granite climbing for decades before ‘Free Solo’ came out, which put it on the climbing world map for everyone else too. There are of course those insanely epic big wall climbs, but there are also many shorter/easier climbs. There are trails that are short and sweet in the park, but a lot of the park is pretty long steep hikes that take you to wild vistas on top of the granite walls. We have met couples that eloped after completed the climb up the nose on El Capitan and we have met couples who eloped at Taft point after a short 2.5 mile hike. The adventure is truly what you want to make it. We are here to help you figure that out!
If you are visiting Yosemite National Park for the first time for your elopement here are some key notes to think about:
We are a photo video husband and wife team that travel all over the Western part of the United States. We are both familiar with Yosemite National Park and would love to capture your day here! We actually got engaged in Yosemite in the spring of 2021! We are available for bookings in the Yosemite area in the Spring, early summer and fall of 2022. We are also both ordained and can help you take care of the legal parts of getting married in California.
Before we dive into the eloping while pregnant guide, I want to share with you Alicia and Matt’s beautiful elopement day story that took place in Sedona this spring. Matt and Alicia had come to me looking to help plan their elopement. Their love story started out at one of Alicia's favorite bars in Detroit, after she had just moved to the city and was venturing out by herself for a Moscow Mule, which happened to be the same bar Matt was at with his sister at the time. When Alicia arrived, there were only a few people sitting at the bar and Matt says that right before Alicia got there, the bar was full, but then cleared out for her. Either way, shortly after sitting down, Matt attempted a pick-up line. An amoretto-7-up and a few Hop Slams later, Alicia and Matt couldn't stop talking and Matt couldn't stop winking. Matt and Alicia went on their first date the very next day at the Detroit Institute of Art. They were inseparable ever since. During the first month of their relationship, Matt had met most of Alicia's family. The next month, they went looking for houses together and ended up taking home a stray cat. It wasn't before too long that they were officially living together with 2 cats (Alicia brought home by surprise) and they moved to an apartment overlooking the water in Detroit. Meanwhile, Alicia and Matt would do fun things like go on motorcycle rides, hike Angels Landing, be avid goers of the theatre and comedy shows, tan in Jamaica, and much more. Eventually, right before Alicia started grad school, they moved to a green little suburb where they settled in a home with their sweet pup named Teddy. Alicia and Matt are now pregnant and are so overjoyed that they are able to share their love and life with someone else.
When it came to looking into eloping, they were interested in going this route because "We are both not ones for big parties, especially ones focused on us. We also wanted to do something sooner than later, with COVID and the baby on the way. We just felt like something more intimate feels more like us and what we value." So we planned a beautiful sunrise hike, headlamps at the ready, to get married on a plateau overlooking much of Sedona's beautiful red rocks. Before getting on way to hike, we did a first look at their bed and breakfast, with the moon still high in the sky, where they took a moment to soak in the approaching "I do". Alicia had hiked all the way up Doe Mountain, in her beautiful touch of pink ballgown dress all while pregnant. Once we reached the top, the sun was starting to peak, and they spent some time admiring the views and enjoyed a light hearted first dance together. As we had prepared for the ceremony, a birthday celebration group cheered them on and gave them many congratulations, the birthday girl signing as one of their witnesses for their marriage certificate. They had decided to self-solemnize on the rock ledge, for a beautiful and intimate vow exchange. After their ceremony, they sat down to enjoy a breakfast picnic, complete with a one tiered cake, and Alicia's favorite chocolates from back home, that actually moved to this area, Gayle's chocolates. It was a sweet surprise to find a small chocolate shop she used to work at, now local to where she had got married. Matt and Alicia had drank coffee from Matt's grandmothers cups, and the day before their elopement, they had saw a hummingbird and a butterfly and it reminded them both that their grandmothers were present with them throughout this experience. They were both so excited that their little one also got to be a part of their wedding day experience. They are so excited for this next big chapter of their lives.
What makes a great location for a pregnant bride to consider when planning their elopement is partly is this accessible? You don’t want to go on an intense off road adventure while pregnant and probably want to avoid extremely long or hard hikes. It may also be important to pick a location that is not too remote from a city with amenities depending how far along you are, not too far from a hospital. Here are some of the areas/location that I think offer a lot of options to our expecting brides:
Tip from the bride herself when it comes to an adventure elopement while pregnant:
“I would say my tip would be if you're hiking a mountain (or anything rigorous) do it between months 3-5. It’s now month 5 and my body is changing rapidly and I am much more sore and I can't tolerate heat so well. Some mommas have a rough trimester 1, so as long as they're up for it closer to month 3, go for it! Also, about the dress, make sure it is not tight or restrictive, and opt for an empire dress, or something that hits above the baby bump. Your boobs and belly and (most likely other parts too) will grow!”
If you are flying or road tripping to your elopement location consider packing these items: travel in something comfortable shoe wise and outfit wise, have luggage that can be easily wheeled over carried, letter from your doctor approving travel (3rd trimester), ginger chews, compression socks, healthy snacks, water, list of local doctors to where you will be traveling to, etc
If you have guests at your elopement tell them all in person of the exciting news!
You have seen this iconic beauty, Cathedral Rock, in travel blogs, hiking sites, numerous ads and of course many wedding photos. I call it the classic hike of Sedona. It is one of the most popular elopement locations in Arizona. In this blog I will tell you exactly how to get married at Cathedral Rock and how to plan for the best experience there. As a Sedona local elopement photographer I have photographed many engagement sessions, proposals and you guessed it, elopements here and I can wait to share all of this info with you, so lets get to it!
Cathedral Rock trail head is just off of the 179 going into Sedona from the Village of Oak Creek. Cathedral Rock Trail is not the only access point to the route that will take you to the top of the rock though. You can also take the temptation trail for a longer hike, more parking and different views. That access will also start near the VOC (aka - Village of Oak Creek). Parking at the trailhead for Cathedral Rock will cost $5 unless you have a weekly or yearly Sedona Red Rock Parking pass. America the beautiful passes distributed by the national park service will also count for parking here. Your parking pass can be bought at the trailhead with a debit or credit card at the machine or any local gas station can sell you a pass. The most important thing to note about parking at this trail head is that it is always packed, especially on weekends and Tuesday evenings for a local event. My best advice is to arrive 30 minutes early to get parking and wait patiently in the line rather than circling around. Do not park in areas that are not designated for you. You will very likely get a parking ticket.
Alright! If you didn’t guess this from the information above you want to avoid weekends, holidays and Tuesdays (local event happens and parking gets crowded). I typically say the best days are Wednesdays and Thursdays to avoid crowds. The thing with Cathedral is you really can’t avoid crowds since it is the most popular location in the area for hiking and photos. This is for good reason because it has one of the best spots for sunset, so embrace the other hikers and maybe even other folks getting married! Sunset to me is half of why this location is so iconic, getting to watch the sun set behind the mountains surrounded by red rock walls is breathtaking. If you do want less crowds you can elope here at sunrise for a whole different view and experience. At sunrise you still can see the sun come up and get beautiful colors, it’s different but not in a bad way at all. When planning your timeline for your elopement keep in mind you want to block out around four hours for an elopement here, one hour to hike up, two hours for photos and a ceremony and then one hour to hike down. This allows the perfect amount of time for changing, not being rushed on the hike and to enjoy the experience. Even though Cathedral is more Northern Arizona, it still gets really hot in the summer. I recommend considering eloping here during the early fall or the late spring. In my personal opinion based on weather and tourist traffic the best two months to elope on Cathedral rock is March and November.
Yes, you can!!! Currently the Red Rock Forest service district does not require a permit to get married here (as of Jan 2021). This could change in the future so be sure to ask your photographer or call the forest service ranger to speak with them. However, they do have rules for your ceremony: no arches, no flower petals or birdseed to be thrown, no set up of chairs and do not block trail or disturb other hikers. Outside of that you will need a marriage license for the state of Arizona from a clerk office in the state, this also means you must be at least 18 years old. To obtain your license you can set an appointment by phone and then go together to get it. If you are local to Arizona you may apply and get yours in the mail currently due to covid. For the ceremony you will need an officiant and two witnesses above the age of 18 as well. The great news about Cathedral is if you do not have any friends or family present at your elopement, there will be plenty of folks to ask along the hike to sign as witnesses! After the ceremony and signatures, your officiant will mail the license back in for you and boom, you’re married!!!! You can only hold the ceremony at the bast of Cathedral around the first rock shelve. Ceremonies are only allowed to be held on Forest Service land and the top of Cathedral Rock is considered Wilderness land. Don’t worry though, because this is really quite nice as the lower rock shelve is less crowded meaning you will have a more private ceremony.
Short answer, it depends on the dress. Long answer - It truly depends on your comfort level and your mobility in the dress. If the dress is too tight around your thigh area you wont be able to move as freely as you need to get up the scramble part of the hike. If you have a large heavy dress like a ball gown I wouldn’t recommend hiking it in because you want your hands free for that section as well so if you can hold the train of your dress in one arm that is more ideal. I would say half of my brides hike it with their dress on and half of my brides change at the top. What do you do if you are changing at the top?? There are a few areas you could do the ceremony that are more private, slightly off trail, and that you could hike to in your dress and then change to go up and then change again. We have a changing tent that we carry with us for our brides that want to change up top and want privacy to do so. Otherwise there are plenty of trees or more private areas to change. You for sure want to wear hiking boots to do this hike. Some experienced hikers will do it barefoot, so if you are conditioned for that, feel free. You can always bring a change of shoes for photos, but I would highly recommend not wearing heels at the top.
Yes, you can totally bring guests along for the adventure for this location. This is also a dog friendly trail, if your dog is comfortable with heights to get to the top. The lower areas to elope on the rock shelves are family friendly, but not accessible by wheel chair. Getting to the top is a 1.2 mile hike that is very steep, so everyone may want to go to the top. The most important thing when bringing guests along to this location is to carpool or have people dropped off. Plan ahead for any drop offs because there are only a couple of Ubers in town and one taxi. A lot of folks will do the ceremony at the bottom and then hike up for sunset for portraits. The walk to several of the ceremony options is approximately ten minutes. To get to the top I allow usually 40 minutes from ceremony locations. The hike down usually takes 30-45minutes depending on folks comfort levels.
Your closest options will be in the Village of Oak Creek or in Uptown Sedona. There are plenty of restaurants in these areas as well. Restaurants I recommend in the Village of Oak Creek: Butterfly Burger, Tortas de Fuego, The Hudson, Javelina Cantina and Oak Creek Espresso. Restaurants I recommend in the Uptown area are The Hudson, The Vault, The Cowboy Club, Mariposa and Creek side Coffee.
Best places to stay in the VOC:
Best Places to Stay in Uptown:
Cathedral Rock is iconic. I totally understand the draw to eloping at it, from conquering the hike together as newly weds, to the stunning sunset views and the ability to have a family ceremony and an adventure. I think Cathedral Rock offers a great space for a ceremony with family and sunset photos, but I strongly suggest doing part of your elopement day somewhere else too. Why? To offer you some privacy to enjoy your day or a different adventure too. The thing is, it’s your wedding day so you should celebrate this whole day, giving it the attention it deserves to start off your marriage. Eloping at a place like Cathedral is STUNNING and exciting, but not private. It is nice to spend some time with just you two on this day reflecting on the time that got you here, what this day means and thinking about your future together. A nice thing several of my couples do is get up for sunrise to do a hike together to share private vows or a letter. This is a great way to set the tone and experience for this day. You can also do a breakfast picnic together where ever you go for sunrise or back at the Airbnb. Sedona has over 50 million acres and offers opportunities from hot air balloon rides, hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, cliff jumping into the river and so much more. I share a 54-page guide with the best elopement locations in Sedona with my couples and you guessed it, Cathedral rock is on there! The guide goes over all of the locations, trail information, parking information and more! I love helping couples plan a day that is truly them and the experience of a lifetime <3
2020 was…. a doozy to say the least. With that being said it was honestly one of the best years for me finding peace on the road, falling in love with my partner, learning to get out of my comfort zone and working with so many people that have truly touched me. I don’t say that lightly because I know this year was extremely devastating on many levels between losing people dear to them, working to the point of exhaustion on the front line of this virus, not seeing loved ones, bringing new life into the world alone and the list goes on and on for the year 2020. I ask you to look at the positives though as we go into the new year, and look back on this year and move forward as a community and as individuals.
This year I photographed 35+ elopement days, photographed in 5 states, captured over 5 proposals. To all of my 2020 couples, I admire you, respect you and thank you. This year was not an easy year to get married, but you all pushed through together and celebrated your love in beautiful ways despite the hurtles thrown at you every direction from the pandemic; travel restrictions, wild fires and more. I am forever thankful for ever single one of you who trusted me in helping you plan a wedding day that speaks to who you two are and to capture all of those little moments purely and creatively to look back on forever. Being an elopement photographer for me means a lot, but it means the most to be a part of something so special and helping couples start off their marriage in the best way to them.
Throughout this blog you will find the top 20 photos from 2020! Trying to narrow down the countless thousands of images from this year was so emotional for me reliving each elopement or session. I definitely shed some tears. It is an impossible task to narrow down the images like this. I become attached to specific images for many reasons like composition, memories, conversations, color, artistically, conversations in the moments and more. I couldn’t just share the top 20 so in the slide show below you will find my personal favorite images from each session this year, which even this felt SO hard to do lol.
With all of the big wedding blogs and websites (The knot, Harper's bazaar, Brides.com and more) naming the biggest trends for weddings in 2021, I wanted to put together something extra special for elopement couples. Currently all of the stats are showing there will be more elopements (hell yes!) and micro weddings to come in 2021. So this my friends, is the top Ideas and Trends for Elopements in 2021.
Well what do you know, elopements already fall into the category of a more sustainable wedding! Elopements naturally also create less waste because there are no guests or just a few! This also means fewer people are traveling to the event creating an even smaller footprint. The question here though is how will we see elopements become more sustainable in 2021?
In the elopement world, bouquets, flower crowns and flower decor are still used. For most elopement locations the couple can only use flowers local the the area due to Leave No Trace principals, this helps in sustainability because flowers are most likely not being shipped or flown in. There are still ways though that we could see flowers changing for 2021.
Wedding dresses and men’s attire may also be something that we see change due to sustainabilty. Brides may purchase used dresses more! Some great resources for that is:
Another option rather than buying used we may start to see more of is brides wearing their mother’s dresses, just as they are or with some modern touches added.
For grooms a more sustainable option would be wearing something they already have or continuing to rent tuxes rather than buy.
Fashion wise we may be seeing a lot more bridal capes, which I am not mad about. Veils can often times easily find their way out of your hair, especially on top of a mountain (I’ve literally scrambled down a cliff to retrieve one once) so capes can give you that dramatic flowy shots without loosing them! Etsy is also a great place to shop for a bridal cape.
There is also a huge projection that we will see more short wedding dresses! Which I am also not mad about lol. Shorter dresses will be great on the trail and for rock climbing brides.
Once again, elopements for the win! Really I forsee elopements just being the number one trend in 2021 for weddings. Elopements come in many different forms. Here at Adventure and Vow, we focus on adventure elopements so much of our weddings happen in National Parks, on BLM land or in National forest land. If this isn’t your style you can also consider an elopement in a downtown place, in a garden, or in a home or an Airbnb.
If elopements are basically already outside then what does this trend mean for elopements?
This is my personal opinion, but as an elopement photographer I see it as, if people are wanting to more their weddings outdoors, it’s because they are seeking peace and fresh air. I am sure part of this is also due to covid and not wanting folks to be so close to one another. So my thought is with elopements this will mean couples wont want to get married in mainstream elopement locations where several other couples may be saying I do or that have a lot of other tourist. I think folks are going to want to elope in quieter spots or harder to get to spots.
This also ties into another wedding trend that has been cast for 2021, mutli-day weddings will be more popular. This has been suggested because folks are ready to celebrate and party! They are ready to gather. A lot of couples getting married in 2021 have been waiting over a year past their original date so they want to really enjoy it and go all out. On top of the 2020 couples who postponed, you have so many people who havent seen each other in so long, or some people who haven’t traveled in so long really wanting to enjoy these moments!
So if the eloping couple is wanting to really enjoy it, and get further out to quieter less crowded places, I am think we will see more off-roading and back-packing elopements that will be full day or two day events. A mix of this could be more couples doing multi-day elopements where one day they spend by themselves deep off into a National Park and the second day really spending quality time with friends/family. Here are just a few elopement ideas for 2021 that offer seclusion and are fit for multi celebrations!
The top trend sites for travel like Forbes, Travel Leisure and more are predicting that beach weddings will be huge this year! Once travel is back open, I think people will be ready to go explore again and get back to their favorite places/countries or go to new ones! I think we could see a lot more big destination elopements once travel is more open. Could be beaches in the states or beaches in Thailand, Kenya, Greece, Iceland or anywhere! Here are some of the places that are creating a lot of buzz lately that make for dreamy elopement destinations, along with an Airbnb recommendation. People are defiantly looking for more experiences in 2021, so I have pulled an Airbnb for each location that offers an experience, great space to get ready in together, or come back to for a romantic evening.
Tulum, Mexico - This ticks all the boxes, beaches and an adorable town. There’s lots to do here if you’re looking for a stunning beach get away for a honeymoon and relaxing elopement.
Iceland - This Nordic wonder seems to be at the top of any travelers list and especially for folks wanting to have an adventure elopement. Iceland is full of wonder, peace and beauty perfect for an elopement.
Alaska, US - Alaska always reminds me of Iceland, but with more….. home of the biggest National Parks in the states, wildlife galore and glaciers never ending. Whether you want to go on some epic adventures or relax and unwind with beautiful views this is seeming like a hotspot.
New Zealand - This country has been gaining some interest over the years and for great reason, mountains and ocean. Stunning, relaxing views. Great place to elope and get away. Think Iceland, but SUNNY!
Wherever 2021 takes us, may the adventure have high stoke and the love be bound in deep connection. Keep scrolling for more from 2020 and a final note into the new year!
Favorite photo my second shooter captured this year ———>
<——- Favorite personal photo from this year <3
Back during lock down the trails in Sedona in the back country stayed open. Bill and I (and sometimes Indy) would go scout locations taking photos together on the tripod for what would become the huge pdf of the Best Places to Elope in Sedona guide. I chose this photo because its all three of us & easily has become my favorite place in Sedona.
This year one of my photos received honorable mention in the best of 2020 wedding photos by photobug/june bug, I was interviewed live with one my couples by Good Morning Arizona, was featured in my first podcast with the “Southern Girls View,” and was featured on many blogs like Aisle Memories, Diversity Weddings, Wandering Weddings and more. The most meaningful recognition to me are the words that come from my couples though. With over 30 of you leaving 5 star reviews on my google page I am speechless and so thankful for the connection with my couples. I also held my very first workshop for aspiring elopement photographers, Love on Earth Workshop, this year which was so incredible and I can not wait to announce next years workshop! This year was BIG, it was wild, scary, spontaneous, adventurous and changing to the core. I am looking forward to stepping into 2021. Stay tuned for a few big anouncements and changes coming in 2021, we are excited to always be learning, growing and being a part of your big day! <3
Well, look no further! I am an elopement photographer living the best life in a van! I am available for elopements in the Southwest, Pacific Northwest and Iceland. We have a 2021 travel schedule you can check out to see if we are in your dream elopement location at the time you want to elope, but feel free to inquire for your date and location even if it’s not on the list as we are always adding new locations and dates! Here at Adventure and Vow, I believe helping you create an elopement day experience that is true to who you two are as a couple, just imagine your best day ever together, no limits, restrictions or what you should be doing conversations. I believe in capturing this day authentically to who you are, creatively so you can have pure, beautiful images in your home. I will be with you every step of the way from on the trail to those initial stages of figuring out how to narrow down those options!
Starting in 2021 we will be offering officiating at no additional charge to all of our packages, a second photographer at all elopements and video services. Big things are coming in 2021 and we can’t wait for you to join the Adventure and Vow experience! <3
Have you ever wondered which of those magical beaches in Oregon would be the best one for your elopement!? Welp I am here to give you the complete low down! From the location, to planning, to the towns near by, adventure and more! Oregon is one those places that doesn’t seem real offering everything from forests, mountains, high desert, cliff side beaches, waterfalls and hot springs! When it comes to things to do along the Oregon coast for your adventure elopements you have all sorts of options like hiking, surfing, picnic on the beach, fire on the beach, horseback rides, search for sea life or fly a kite! The state is truly an elopement gold mind, but where are THE best spots?!
All of these locations will be the most beautiful at sunset! Although, if you want to avoid crowds consider a sunrise elopement or private vow reading. The best time of year is late spring to mid fall, but these are all locations that could be used year round too. Beaches can be busy on the weekends during the summer so consider a weekday elopement!
Do not be fooled by the fact that these beaches are not the easiest to get to, because they are the most dramatic in their cliffs creating unreal sunsets and more privacy than most of the beaches in the state. Some of the beach trails range from a half mile to over three miles so there is plenty of adventure along the coast here. Not to mention near by parks, gardens and trails through forest. Just about 15 minutes south of the beaches you have a Red Woods trail that goes through groves up to 800 years old! If you are coming in from California you can stop and see the Red Woods at the State Park as well. This location truly offers the best beach location for a full day elopement.
How do you get to it?
The closest town to these beautiful coast line is Brookings, Oregon. So if you are going to elope here you could fly into Portland, Bend or San Francisco. You will most definitely want to rent a car to be able to get to your destination and different parts of the shore.
Where to stay in Brookings, Oregon
The Wild Coast Lookout - This Airbnb is a modern look and a perfect nook for just the two of you. It comes complete with a hot tub, perfect for those 60 degree nights along the coast and for some steamy photos after your elopement day! The space has a lot of greenery, offering a great spot for a first look before you head out for your big day!
The cabin in the mountains - This beautiful cabin is sure to bring you relaxation prior to your elopement day, tucked back in the mountains! Offering two bedrooms, but 4 beds so if you plan to bring along any guests this would be a great spot to consider!
Beach front luxury - If you are looking for a place to stay for your wedding that has all of the bells and whistles this is it! The stay has beautiful bedrooms, perfect to get ready in, hot tub, a big deck with ocean views, a great kitchen and more! This place will also accommodate you two and a few guests!
Almost in the center of the state and probably the closest to many waterfalls is a beautiful surfer’s paradise perfect for an elopement! Here you can surf together on your big day or grab a beer right on the water. This beach is a great beach to have a little fire at the end of the night to roast marshmallows, have dinner or read letters from family! Not only can you explore this beach by foot, but also by horseback! Nearby there is opportunity for kayaking, going to the Tillamook factory for lunch or ice cream and or fishing!
How to get to Pacific City, Oregon?
The closest town is Pacific City to this beach. To get here the closest airport is Portland, Oregon. From there you will most likely want to rent a car. If you are driving in from the North or South I highly recommend driving the 101 or highway 1 all the way up the coast for some pretty epic views along your trip.
Where to stay for your elopement at Pacific City?
Ocean Front - This Airbnb is right on the ocean! Literally sand coming right up to the front door. Beautiful place with great views and a classic look.
Ocean Front perfect for Guests - This home is super spacious perfect for you and your guests if you have folks coming along with you. It is also dog friendly and has a hot tub!
Home on the River - This spot is a cute cabin right on the river with its own dock. The Airbnb offers kayaks if you want to venture out onto the water! This spot is perfect for just you two!
Cannon Beach is probably the most popular iconic spot along the Oregon coast and for good reason. The town is full of life, great coffee shops and the rock has lots of sea life around it. The state park in town, Ecola State Park, is a known spot by local surfers, but also hikers. The nearby town, Seaside, is typically a little less busy with great restaurants, swings on the beach and of course this is a perfect spot for a campfire along the shore. Whichever town you end up in this area is great for morning walks on the beach with coffee in hand to ending the evenings on the shores, both are relaxing places to be! What this area has to offer doesn’t stop there though, if crowds arent’ your thing there are plenty of other beautiful beach accesses just south of the town!
How do I get to Cannon beach?!
Cannon Beach and Seaside are both closest to Portland, Oregon’s airport. Although, if you are making your elopement be apart of a bigger trip, say you’re honey mooning after then I suggest flying into Portland and then out of Seattle so you can explore either Olympic National Park or Mt Rainier after! There is a bus that goes from the Portland area to Seaside so you may not want to rent a car, but note taxi service and Uber are very limited in this area.
Where to stay at Cannon Beach?
Whimsical Cottage - This cottage will give you all of the PNW vibes with the wood fire place, trees surrounding it and ocean views. This is tucked away and perfect for just you two to enjoy your elopement!
Dog Friendly perfect for Guests - This is right on the beach! Complete with hot tub, dog friendly and a deck for grilling and dining.
Mid-Centry Home - This home is in Seaside, OR with beautiful indoor and outdoor space to spend with just you two or you and your guests. It is a short walk to the beach and the local shops and restaurants.
Washington coast is much like Oregon, but moodier in my opinion. Washington is known for its mountain ranges, national parks, the big ole’ city of Seattle and coastal life of sailboats and islands. Washington coast elopement locations offer whale watching at certain times throughout the year, eagle watching, surfing, hiking and campfires along the coast.
The best time to elope on a beach in Washington is the Summer months to early Fall, but you can brave the rainy season if you wish! Sunset is the best time to elope at these locations, but again sunrise will offer less crowds and quiet vibes. These beaches are pretty vast so you can for sure find your own nook at them. It is important to plan ahead with your guests and photographer because many of these spots have limited cell range.
Olympic National Park is by far one of the best elopement locations in the United States in my opinion 🙂 I have recently written an entire blog about how, when and where to elopement, but this blog I will be focusing strictly on the beaches! The entire park has multiple epic beaches with dramatic rocks, forests and you guessed it moody vibes on your typical pnw day. Some beaches you park and you’re right there and others you have to hike in. You can backpack and camp on some of the beaches with a permit from parks.gov. Either way eloping here can be a full day adventure exploring the different beaches, hiking through the forest, surfing or watching eagles!
How do I get to Olympic National Park?
The closest airport is SeaTac in Seattle, from there you will need to rent a car. You can drive your car the whole way from the airport to the area or you can take your car on a ferry to Port Angeles and drive from there. Port Angeles is the closest bigger town, but inside of the park is Forks, WA (where they filmed a lot of Twilight).
Where to stay in Olympic?
Tiny Cabin - This cabin is closest to the La Push area so closest to Rialto beach and Third Beach. It is perfect if it is just you two and you want something cozy with a hot tub.
Secluded Oceanfront Cabin - This place is super cute with a great out door space and to get away from it all. There is a good spot to do a first look before heading out on your elopement day. It is located closest to Ruby Beach.
Stunning Home - This super cute little home with it’s modern look is located in Port Angeles, so the closest town. It is perfect for just you two or you and one other couple. It is near the shops, ferry and restaurants complete with a fireplace to cozy up to.
The islands are located in Northern Washington and offer a variety of things to do, places to see and adventure! You can find in my blogs a complete guide to eloping on the San Juan island with the town of Friday Harbor, but for this blog post I will be talking about all of the islands and what the offer, how to get to them and where to stay. Among the Islands you have the town Friday Harbor the largest town and island, then you have Orcas Island, Shaw, Lopez, Sucia and MORE! Orcas and San Juan are the most popular among tourist offering the most things to do, but the more secluded you get the more privacy and intimacy you can have for your day.
How do I get to the Islands?
To get to the main island, Friday Harbor area, or Orcas you can take a ferry from Anacortes, WA. To get to the ferry you can drive or bus from the SeaTac airport. To get to the other islands you will need to ferry from other ferries on the islands. Other options are boating or a sea plane! You want to make sure to make a reservation with the Washington Ferry system and make travel plans ahead of time.
Where do I stay on the Islands?
Ocean Front Cabin - This cabin right on the water faces West, aka all of the sunset! This is a perfect nook on Orcas island perfect for a romantic get away with just you two for your elopement!
Modern Stay with Guests - This home has a hot tube and pool table. With its three bed rooms it is perfect for you two or you and two other couples. The home is located on Orcas Island.
3 Cabins! - Located on Lopez island is this little gem with three separate cabins, yard space and a private beach entrance. Perfect way to stay with your guests, but also keep some privacy!
My soul was deeply captured by the magic at Olympic National park many years ago and set me on this path, becoming an elopement photographer. Since then I have deeply explored the Oregon coast and Washington coast scouting out elopement locations, capturing couples love stories and of course vacationing lol. I am your go to gal for helping you plan your epic adventure elopement day in the Pacific Northwest and capturing the moments of your love story to preserve forever. My partner/officiant spend our June - October in the Oregon and Washington area traveling all over in our van and we can not wait to connect with you two about your day!
To get married in the state of Arizona you will need an officiant to perform the ceremony and two witnesses. You can pick up your marriage incense at the court house and mail it back or bring it back to any Arizona offices. During covid the process is a littler different, buy typically you both need to go in person to pick it up together with your legal ID. You both must be 18 years old or older. (side note: myself and my assistant are bth ordained and can perform your ceremony for you if you do not want to hire this out or want to elope with essentially no one else there!)
As you may know Phoenix is HOT lol. This doesn’t mean that it is out of the question for an epic elopement though! If you want to elope in Phoenix consider a date between mid to late October and early to mid March for the best chances of mild temperatures. I strongly urge you to stick to these months. As you know it can be cool in the evenings and mornings in the desert, but that mid day heat and sun while in your wedding attire is a killer. It’s not just about what is logistic, it’s also about what the experience will be like and you want to enjoy this day! I also tell all couples eloping anywhere also try to avoid weekends so the trails are less crowded and parking is smooth.
The Phoenix region has an abundance of location options from the surrounding mountains to within the city. Some of my favorite locations are within the Superstition Mountain range. There is a state park just outside of the city called, Lost Dutchman State Park with amazing views and epic hikes it is a perfect place to elope. It offers a great space for family too with communal fire pits, cabins, tent space, rv space and locations where family wouldn’t have to hike for a ceremony but you could after! The Salt River where Nat and Jon eloped is also a great location since you can fish, watch for wild horses or relax by the water, just out of the Mesa area of Phoenix. Within the city limits you have the South Mountain area with great hikes and vista views, Squaw peak and Camel Back Mountain! If you want to go further out look into the Cave Creek region, Four Peaks, White Tank Mountains or even more south you will find more mountain ranges. Outside of the peaks there are also many lakes in the Phoenix Region: Canyon Lake, Reflection Lake, Roosevelt Lake and more. These are great options if you want to hop on a boat, kayak or have a picnic by the water for your elopement.
This all depends on where you elope in the Phoenix region! A lot of the areas are within the Tonto National Forest region and if you are eloping with no guest and no set up you do not currently need a permit. South Mountain, Camel Back, Papago Park and other things within the city will be apart of Parks and Recreation and you would need to contact them. You will notice with permits every location is different. What I urge my couples to do and I do myself is call the park service to get the initial information and get in contract with the right ranger. From there I email over all the specifics of the day to see if permits are needed.
The desert is a little different that those high alpine elopements. You may not need bear spray, but there are some things to keep on hand! You may for sure want sunscreen or a lite hat if you are going on a long day hike. I suggest hiking in pants and high socks so in case you brush a cactus you are safe from the prickles. For sure bring the right hiking boots so you are steady on the rocky trail. And it goes with you say, but WATER!!! How much water depends on how far you are hiking, how hard the hike is and how hot it is. Staying hydrated in the desert is so important. No matter what you are doing keep at least one liter on you.
I personally recommend Airbnbs or VRBOs so you can have a cozy space to hangout and get ready at. Outside of Airbnb’s you will find there are SO many hotels in the region. Some of the top resorts or hotels I recommend are Boulders Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona Baltimore or Royal Palms. Anything in the Scottsdale area will be super nice and near a lot of the great places to dine. If you are eloping at Lost Dutchman and looking for something quieter I recommend one of their cabins. Not wanting to stay inside somewhere or maybe you’re a van lifer like me and you dont need a place? There are countless places to camp and/or disperse camp on the outskirts of the city near the Superstitions and Cave Creek.
Top 5 Airbnb Suggestions for Phoenix:
Elopement cost is so different per couple, it all depends exactly what you want your day to look like. A simple way to break down costs is:
If you are eloping in Phoenix you are close to an Airport which makes travel easier. It can be cheaper to elope in Phoenix due to travel and the cost of hotels and food since it is not based around tourism much like Sedona. The trails will be less crowded on the week day than Northern Arizona trails and finding any other vendors that you need will be easy. If you elope in the Phoenix region you can go out on your adventure, but also come back into town for great cocktails or food since there are so many awesome places to dine, maybe check for a private room dinner?! You also get the chance for many different options of adventure on your elopement day in Phoenix. Starting with a hot air balloon ride, picnics, off roading, horseback riding, climbing, or water activities. From Phoenix your honeymoon options are vast as well since just a short drive away is Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Page, Tuscon or Joshua Tree. Phoenix is urban meets adventure elopement.
Are you ready to elope in Phoenix?! Reach out to me! I am an Arizona Elopement Photographer and Planner. I am here to help you have the very best day designed specific to you two and your relationship!
Now that you know a little bit about eloping in Phoenix, here is some full day elopement inspiration for you!
John and Natalie met each other in college at Arizona State University. Natalie was in the all girls choir, The Pitchforks, and Jon was in the all Men's Choir, Priority Mail, that he started. They instantly clicked upon their first meeting and started seeing each other more and more. These two were initially supposed to get married in April on the anniversary of their very first date together. But due to Covid they had to change their plans. Since it was very important to them to get married on that specific date they got married in a living room with just their family present to still celebrate their marriage and then rescheduled the full celebration to October of this year. They wanted something casual and private. So we started the day on a weekday early in the morning at the Salt River. Since they live in Phoenix, they were able to come out and find the exact spot that felt right to them for their ceremony. Natalie and Jon shared a private first look over looking the river with the most excitement for the day ahead. Jon's twin brother officiated and was able to share stories of their relationship through the last ten years starting from when was first introduced to Natalie, their college days, travels and more. During their ceremony, they passed their rings around to each of their guests who was just close family members to bless the rings and put their love on the rings that they were going to wear forever. Also during the ceremony they made a burrito together and they chose to make a burrito because that's something that they both really have in common is their love for burritos and they wanted to physically make something together on this day. They planned to have the burrito for dinner later that day! Once the ceremony was done we headed closer to the river for family photos which was followed by a family picnic with sandwiches and fruits. Natalie’s father proposed a toast to couple and they spent some time enjoying themselves before the evenings adventure.
Once we had a small break to regather ourselves for the hike ahead we met at a trail on the opposite side of the Salt River in the superstitions to hike out for sunset for them to share their private vows with each other and quality time. Their vows were very sweet and talked about this year and how this year is kind of like marriage and how it's changed their perspective on life in a relationship and how they really admire each other's minds and their their ability to connect and share those deeper conversations with each other. After their emotional vows, they shared a first dance on trail and even some champagne. As the last light started to touch the desert mountains they sat down to enjoy their Sprinkles Cupcakes one of which was pumpkin and the other was caramel, true to fall flavors. It was a special moment as the day ended and they got to soak all the events in together just them and the desert. It was just a really beautiful day listening to them talk about their relationship, laughing together and connecting.
These two knew they wanted a red rock background with vast landscapes for their elopement. They planned to do a big southwest trip for the week of their elopement. Ultimately they decided to elope in Zion National Park in between their time exploring Page, the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon. We picked a trail that was easily accessible with stunning views and that would be the least crowded. How to avoid the crowds? Hike in at sunrise of course! We met as the stars were shining and began our hike not being able to see anything on the trail except for the path to take to the view point. We arrived before the sun rose and and the morning blue hour light really brought out all of the color in the canyon walls. It was stunning! A great way to see Zion for the very first time!!! We explored the area before they selected the perfect spot that felt right to them to say their hand written vows to each other. They had previously gotten legally married at a lake near their hometown with their dog to make the trip easier and let this day be truly just about them sharing this experience together. They said their vow in complete privacy on a rock overlooking all of the huge canyons, sealing the deal with a kiss! Before hiking back to our next location they popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate, BUT there was an extra surprise. I pulled another bottle out of my bag for them, but told them not to pop it, but to read the card I also gave them. A friend had contacted me on Instagram and set everything up to deliver them a hand written card on this day with a nice bottle for them to enjoy that evening. We hiked back down the trail seeing all of its beauty for the first time. We headed over into a slot canyon, that was so beautiful with stunning pockets in the wall, sand to play in and of course Vanessa’s favorite the red rock canyon walls!! We ended the day in the river by the visitor center that was quite cold, but had the most beautiful sea-foam green color. It was such a perfect day that these two best friends, turned partner’s, turned married couple deserved to celebrate their love! Big congrats Vanessa and Trevor!!! I hope you have so many epic adventures on anniversaries in Zion National Park!
Fall or Spring is the best time to visit Zion. The winters can get a lot of snow and the summers can be super hot! Let’s be honest summer heat is a whole other type of hot when the sun bakes the red rocks that you’re surrounded by when hiking. The park is less crowded early spring and late fall, but be sure to keep an eye on the weather in case winter is coming early or late. It is also best to elope at sunrise to beat the crowds on the trial. I also always recommend eloping on a weekday to avoid crowds since the weekends can be even busier.
I have to say I am partial to staying in Kanab, UT due to its cute small town vibe, restaurants, being less busy than other areas near Zion and it being close to Page, Arizona. If you are strickly going to Zion I recommend staying in Springdale since it is the closest. The other option would be Hurricane, Utah. Below are some great Airbnb options to check out:
Well this depends on the next question too! There are several trails that are perfect for an elopement! When it comes to picking a trail it is important to think about how far and how hard of a hike you are willing to hike. The trail Vanessa and Trevor did was under three miles and was rated easy/moderate. There are trails with just as epic views that are around 7 miles, which would be even less crowded! One other thing to consider is do you need the bus shuttle to access the location? Currently you need a ticket to get a shuttle ticket and they sell out FAST. So if you pick a location that you need the shuttle for it is important to have a back up plan you would be just as happy with if you do not get a ticket. The only way to purchase a ticket is by visiting recreation.gov. Helping you find the best trail for your day is a huge part of what I do for you two!
Zion is known for it’s beauty and for sure the Angel’s Landing trail. There are many other hiking trails that are super epic for your elopement day. Outside of hiking there are also countless technical and non-technical slot canyons to explore! Perfect for a wedding day adventure! You can also take guides down into the slot canyons if it is something you want to do together, but maybe need some help! You can also take a horse back ride on one of the trails! Outside of the National Park there are so many countless places to explore if you want to do a half day in Zion and a half day somewhere on the lake, on the sand dunes, off roading or in any of the state parks.
So if you are legally getting married in the park, yes you will need a permit. You can apply for your permit on the parks website and you can see which locations the ceremony is allowed as well. If you get married outside of the park say at the court house, nearby BLM land or at a private location like an approved Airbnb, etc and are just taking photos in the park then no, you do not need a permit. If you are needing a permit then it is important to apply around 45-30 days in advance to your wedding day.
I am Traci, an elopement photographer and planner based in Northern Arizona! I love hiking and exploring the perfect spot for my couples to elope that speaks to them. If you are looking for someone to be just as excited about your day as you are, but bring the expertise in planning, executing and photographing the you are in the right place!
A fire tower is housing for folks who are looking over the lands to make sure no fires have started. Some fire towers are still active, meaning park rangers still stay in them. Some are no longer active and you can visit the inside or even camp inside! Eloping at a Fire tower is great because of the 360 degree sweeping views they offer and they offer a fun a place to get ready if it is one you can go into and reserve for privacy! Not to mention Fire lookouts offer a unique elopement experience and location! They are also stunning places to see the the sunrise and/or sunset. Often times you will catch unreal cloud conversion between yourself at the fire tower and the mountains below, a unforgettable experience. Fire towers differ, but some have a lot less trail traffic as well since some require a 4x4 to get to or a permit. Did I mention you could camp at some of these?! Welp, you can! What an epic way to elope, hike to a stunning place, have killer views of the stars all night and wake up to a mountain!
Fire towers are also great locations for your adventurous engagement session, vow renewal or anniversary session <3
There are fire towers all of the United States over 8000 to be exact, in this blog I am going to focus on the ones in Washington. There are currently 93 fire towers in Washington state, so let’s break this down a little better for which ones are best for an elopement.
Mount Rainier National Park
In Mount Rainier there are four fire towers. The most popular being Fremount Lookout, then Tolmie, Shriner Peak and Gobbler’s Knob. While Mount Rainier has restrictions on where you can hold a ceremony in the park you take your portraits almost anywhere. The fire tower lookouts are great options for epic views of the mountain, a good hike and a nice place to hang out. Fremont is about a 5.6 mile hike coming from Sunrise Visitor center, it sees lots of visitors and for good reason! It is one of the best places to see a sunrise, sunset or cloud conversion in the park! Tolmie is literally my blow your socks of hike, I have never been so moved by the view in front of me at sunrise than on this trail. It is less crowded, partially because it’s trail access is not central in the park and is down along dirt road. Shriner peak is a harder, longer trail in the park, but with the same epic views of Mount Rainier. Gobbler’s Knob is a bit out there too, on the most West side of the National Park. It is also a longer hiker, making it hopefully pretty secluded for a place to spend your wedding day!
Fire Lookouts outside of Mount Rainier National Park, but same great views:
You may not want to deal with National Park traffic or entrance fees on your elopement day, but may want the same view of Mount Rainier’s beauty. Do not worry! There are several Fire Towers that showcase Mount Rainier’s beauty from outside of the park with even shorter hikes! There are two Fire Towers just outside of the park off of long winding dirt roads with 1-3.5 miles of hiking to get to them. One is best for sunrise and you must have no fear when it comes to heights and cliff edges and the other is super family friendly and best at sunset. Since these are shorter hikes you are bound to have some folks at them, so it is important to set the expectation that you may not be alone! The third one outside of the park, but with the same views is a bit further from the park and off of a longer dirt road, but incredible! You can also camp along the road so if you’re getting there for sunrise you can be closer!
Fire Towers Not Near Mount Rainier at all, but BOMB locations!
Evergreen Fire Lookout - This is just a bit over a three mile hike to get to with 360 degree views of mountains. It is located near Index, Washington. The biggest reason this one makes it on the list is because you can camp here! You have to make a reservation to camp and need to pay an $85 dollar fee, but what an experince for your elopement morning/evening!
Hidden Lakes Lookout - If you are looking for one heck of an adventure on elopement day and a two day elopement you may want to consider this lookout! It is a 8.5 mile hike and extreme snow fall can be present until July, so you want to plan carefully here. The views are astounding! For planning and overnight usage you want to talk to the Mt Baker Ranger district.
Park Butte - This 7.2 mile hike will take you through some beautiful scenery in the Mt Baker Wilderness. The lookout is nestled along the rock with incredible views. You guessed it, you can also camp here!
The fire towers are overlooking the mountains, so they are high in elevation! Each Fire tower is different, but ideally you want to consider July-October, but be sure to check weather conditions, road conditions, snow fall and check in with the rangers when planning.
Once you have started planning with your photographer and chosen where and when you want to elope you need to check in with the park rangers to make sure you can pull any permits you may need to get married there. If it is a fire tower that you can not hold the ceremony at then you will need to do the paper work portion prior. Check to be sure to get your camping reservation or be sure you know which pass you need for parking (i.e. - National Park pass, discovery pass, etc). Some of the Fire Towers require a 4x4 to be able to go to the trail head so make sure you have the proper car or rental. You want to keep and eye on weather as you get closer to your elopement date for road closures are common in Washington as snow fall begins to impact the road condiditons. Essentials to pack for your Fire Tower elopement is the right hiking shoes, water, binoculars , possibly hiking poles since some of these trails can be quite steep.
I have a whole blog on this! If you want a more in depth answer check it out! Basically you need an officiant and two witnesses to legally get married in Washington State.
I have hiked mile and miles through the Washington mountains with you in mind! I am here to help you find the perfect place to get married, walk with you through the logistics of planning and there to capture all the connected, authentic moments on the big day! From Fire towers to sail boats around the San Juans, I got you covered! Reach out to me about your elopement! I can’t wait to get to know you two!
Olympic National Park in Washington offers so much variety when it comes to planning an adventure elopement. It is one of the most diverse National Park in the United States. The park itself has mountains, clear lakes, beaches, a rain forest and a variety of wildlife and activities to do. The park offers locations to anyone for any level of adventure. The accessibility to stunning places is unreal. If you are looking to elope somewhere that is super dreamy, easy to get to and filled with beauty and wildlife you have found the right spot. It is one of the top places to elope in Washington and this guide is here to tell you everything you need to know about how to elope in the National Park. Check out the check list below to help you in planning in the most basic form and then read the blog for ideas, and more!
Late June to Early August is the best time to elope here due to colder temperatures the other months. During the busy season of the Summer, I recommend eloping at certain locations at sunrise. For example the Hurricane Ridge area is less busy and has active wild life in the morning. At sunset, the coast is at its peak in beauty. During the summer months you can expect clouds, rain, and temperatures in the 60s. The weather can change drastically throughout the park during the day. If you want to elope in the winter Hurricane Ridge again, is perfect for snowy mountain views and winter activity.
From a half day, full day or even a two day elopement there are so many epic locations in the park. Many locations in the park are not far from each other so it is easy on your elopement day to be in two different ecosystems. Some of my favorite areas in the park are:
The park has many access points! Getting to the park from Seattle is either a 2.5 hour drive to the park entrance or you could take a ferry ride into the Port Angeles area and drive in from there. Port Angeles is the closest town, nesting just outside of the park on the North East side. Coming from Portland, Oregon it is a 4 hour drive which will bring you into the Western side of the park, driving up and along the beautiful coast. Portland or Seattle are your best airports to fly into when traveling further than driving distance. If you are coming from Canada you could consider taking the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles.
Within the park there are many campgrounds you can stay in that are privately owned or you can stay at a campsite within the park. One of the best campgrounds in the park is Mora, which is located near Rialto Beach and Fairholme Campground, on the rim of Lake Crescent. You can also stay right on the beach! You have to have a permit to do so, but this is easily obtained by booking on reservation.gov, but make sure you have a tide chart to make sure your tent does not get swept away in the night! If back packing or camping is not your jam check out some of these super epic Airbnb’s in the area:
In the state of Washington you will need an officiant and two witnesses to legally become married. There are several officiants that are fantastic in the area that I recommend out to my couples, or you can get one of your guests to become ordained and they can hold your ceremony for you. Prior to the ceremony you will need to apply for your marriage license, which you can do at at the county government's auditor's office or online. There is a three day waiting period to obtain your license so if you plan to apply for your permit in person you will need to be there several days in advance. You must get married within 60 days of obtaining your license, or it becomes invalid. Fees for your marriage license are different per county. After you have held your ceremony and the documents are signed, do not forget to mail them back to the county office!! Since marriage license in Washington are based by county you can visit this goverment site to direct you to the right county for you elopement.
As far as legally getting married within the park you will need to download the permit form on the National Park’s website and either mail or email it in after filling out all of the information requested. I recommend doing this at least 3 weeks in advance from your elopement day.
Hiya! I am Traci, your pacific northwest elopement photographer! I believe that Olympic National Park is magical and an amazing place to get married. I have explored the park countless times scouting out trails that would be perfect for your day and familiarized myself with the area. I am your go to gal when it comes to finding the perfect place to elope here, helping you plan and connect with other vendors and authentically capturing your love story. So if you’re looking for someone who will be just as stoked as you on your elopement day, contact me!
This is your wedding day. This day deserves attention, celebration and care. Every single elopement looks different because every couple is different. Unlike your traditional wedding this is not a one shoe fits all when it comes to planning and putting it together. Eloping is truly the most authentic way to get married because you get to have a day that tells your love story, share moments that mean a lot to you, get married in a place that you connect with and have who ever you want there. Or just you two! Eloping is not a shot gun wedding or something you show up for a short ceremony and then take a few photos and go home. Eloping is an experience, it is the way you start your marriage and the rest of your lives together. It is one of the most important days you two will share together so far in your journey. It deserves the attention of its significance. Here at Adventure & Vow we help all of our couples plan a day that truly fits them and gives them the experience they want. We build timelines for our couples after getting to know them and hearing more about what they want out of the day and from there we make changes together. Below are some timeline samples of elopements to help you get an idea of what your elopement day could be like!
Olympic National Park Elopement - Some locations may not require much of a hike and the drive may be short making it easier to have a half day elopement with just you two. This was a 5 hour elopement day.
Sedona two locations - Sometimes you end up at two different locations for a variety of backgrounds or due the accessibility of the ceremony location.
Sedona Split Day Elopement - Not all full day elopements are split up in time, but sometimes you may want time on the day of to yourselves, but also time with your family. This is a 8-9 hour elopement day.
Joshua Tree Elopement - Some places, like Naitonal Parks, may involve a lot of driving time to and from locations or traffic in the area which makes for a longer day. In the National Parks you can only hold a ceremony in specific places, but you may want to take photos at some of the epic locations on the other side of the park so it is important to plan timing accordingly. This is an 8 hour elopement day.
Iceland Elopement - Maybe you are eloping somewhere you have never been before and I mean somewhere epic! There are so many stunning places and you’ve traveled far to be here. Celebrate and enjoy!
High Desert Elopement in Oregon - Maybe you didn’t travel far at all, but you want to do the things you love most together without being rushed and document your true love story to its fullest.
I hope that these elopement day timeline samples give you some inspiration in planning your own big day! There are so many things you can do on your elopement day! I tell all of my couples to sit down and have a date night where they sit and imagine their wedding day. I ask them to chat about things that are important to them to have documented that day, what things they love doing the most together and what they are most excited for the day. I have them imagine being in the place they’re eloping at and this helps us draw an outline to fit their day. I am here to help each couple the logistics. Check out these lists below to give you some ideas of things you can do on your elopement day!
Not only am I your photographer but I am your planner, friend and guide for the day of your elopement. I truly believe eloping is the most connective and authentic way to get married. I am passionate about the places you may get married at and telling your love story in them. If you are looking for a photographer that will be just as excited and dedicated to your day as you are, reach out!contact me now!