A complete guide to planning your adventure wedding in Leavenworth, Washington
(Updated for 2023)
Leavenworth, Washington is known for being a small German town in the Washington mountains. Proudly home to many beer gardens, beer cheese and pretzels, mountain ranges full of skiing, climbing and hiking galore. It is a Mecca for adventures and places to relax back to after being in the outdoors. It is located about two hours east of Seattle and full of sunshine, on most days. Leavenworth is one of the most dog friendly elopement locations within the state. It is a perfect place to elope if you’re looking for family fun and adventures for just you two and this blog will guide you through everything you need to know about eloping in Leavenworth!
- Traveling to Leavenworth, WA
- How to Legally Get married in Leavenworth
- Things to do in Leavenworth
- Leavenworth Elopement Locations
- Leavenworth Wedding Venues
- Leavenworth Elopement Packages
- How to be prepared for your elopement in Leavenworth, WA.
Traveling to Leavenworth, WA
You will for sure need to rent a car to go to this location if you are not local to Washington and plan to fly into Sea-Tac. From there drive two hours East taking the HWY 90 or interstate 2 – unless you are traveling during the Winter.
Best time to visit Leavenworth for your elopement
The area is visited really all year, as long as there are no road closures. In the Winter, folks are there for skiing and in the summer folks are there for floating the river. We recommend June to mid October for your elopement as most of the trails will be accessible during those months. Note that the summer can be hot in this region of Washington so plan accordingly.
- A winter elopement in Leavenworth would be best at one of the local ski resorts like Stevens Pass Mountain Resort, Mission Ridge Ski or Leavenworth Ski Hill. After your big day on the slopes together you could end the evening at sunset taking a horse drawn carriage around the downtown German village. Be sure to be flexible in the event that snow has closed off any of the roads in or out of the mountain areas. We do not recommend this if you do not have experience driving in snow. The pass yearly can be backed up due to wrecks and weather, so you need to fully plan accordingly.
- A spring elopement in Leavenworth would still be a good time to hit the slopes depending on the temperatures and weather conditions. You could also consider snow shoeing into a location or hitting one of the lower elevation trails. Know that even towards the end of spring and early summer some roads will still be closed due to trees that have fallen during the winter. However, late spring, the temperatures are perfection and hikes are possible. This is great weather before it gets too hot in the summer. Spring is for sure great as well for a climbing elopement in the area.
- A summer elopement in Leavenworth is busy season in the area. Most of the trails at this point should be clear of snow. You could float the river, jump in the lake, camp, hike the Enchantments, off road to some awesome overlooks or go bar hoping. For this time of year we strongly advise considering a weekday and sunrise elopement.
- As the temperatures start to cool off in the early fall months it’s a nice time for a horseback ride, zip lining, rock climbing or hiking to Colchuck lake! In October you could check out the Octoberfest held yearly in town, for sure expect crowds in the area during this time. Leavenworth is also one of the prime locations for fall colors in the state. The larch trees high up in the elevation paints the mountains with gold. While fall is when the wet season starts to pick up again in Washington, Leavenworth is probably the “safest” weather option this time of year.
Where to Eat in Leavenworth
Do not worry, we have a whole guide we provide our couples with about the area and the best vendors/restaurants/etc to check out when in the area! However, here are a few of our favorite place to grab a drink, coffee or dinner in the area:
- Larch for a fantastic dinner and cocktail. We highly recommend a reservation for dinning here.
- Leavenworth Cider House for great beers and ciders and what we think is the best pretzel in town.
- South is known in the area for being some of the best Mexican food.
- Ginger Bread Factory for a yummy treat in the morning.
- There are lots of spots to grab a coffee, we recommend checking out J5.
- There is a Safeway just outside of downtown Leavenworth which is perfect for shopping for groceries.
Where to Stay in Leavenworth
There are many hotels right on the “strip” close by to all of the restaurants and bars. There are also plenty of Airbnbs and VRBOs offering cute cabins to stay in or nice vacation homes. Don’t be afraid to be a little bit out of town, closer to the Lake Wenatchee State Park area as there are nice river and lake access points out this way. You can also camp finding spots with tools like Hipcamp and iOverlander. We stayed a few days at the Squirrel Tree Inn and it was a very nice pet friendly option! Here are a few epic stays that would be perfect for getting ready for you elopement or for relaxing at the end of the day:
We also love the Loge Riverside or Downtown – great for just you two, being central or you and all your guests.
Leavenworth is probably the most accessible of mountain elopement locations in Washington with its close proximity to great places to stay and eat. A lot of other mountain locations can be one to three hours from a decent sized town, giving this place some extra brownie points!
How to Legally Get married in Leavenworth
Leavenworth is in the state of Washington. In this state you will need an officiant and two witnesses to get married. If you book your elopement with us (Adventure and Vow) then you automatically get an officiant + one witness, or two witnesses if you already have an officiant.
You can pick up your marriage license at any clerk office in the state, but know there is a three day holding period. If the holding period doesn’t work with your travel plans you can obtain your paperwork online then mail for Whatcom county. Be sure to plan your travel with that information in mind. For more information be sure to check out King County’s information: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/records-licensing/recorders-office/marriage-licensing
You may also need a permit from the state park or forest service land for your wedding ceremony. This depends on many factors, but this is something we can discuss during planning. Typically Special Use Permits cost between $50-$300 and cost depends on land management and guest count typically.
Things to do in Leavenworth
There are so many epic places to elope in and around the Leavenworth area! A lot of it comes down to how much you want to adventure and what kind of adventure you want to have. Some of the elopement locations in this region are close to town and some may require an hour drive or so, because well, driving in the mountains sometimes takes a while :). Those treks are worth the views though!
What to do during your Leavenworth elopement?
- Rock Climb/Boulder
- Horseback ride
- Zip line
- Horse carriage ride downtown (or in the snow pending season)
- Bar hopping
- River float
- Swim in the lake
- Visit the Reindeer Farm
- Off Road
- Star gaze
- Have a picnic
- Visit a Winery
Knowing what actives you want to include on your elopement day in Leavenworth will help you on deciding on a location.
Leavenworth Elopement Locations
Probably the most well known hike in the Leavenworth area is Colchuck Lake. This trial is easily one of the most known in the state of Washington. This 11 mile hike goes through the thick forest ending at the Dragon Scale rock, looks just how it sounds. The beauty of this location is you can hike in, camp, get married, chill out even go for a swim and hike back. Or you can do it in one day. You may find yourself with a wedding guest that is quite cute, were talking about the mountain goats! This trail is a classic and if you love hiking this is a great option for your Washington Elopement!
We can not talk about Colchuck lake without mentioning the Enchantments. While you can hike this in one day I do not really recommend that for your elopement experience. Instead, this is a great Leavenworth elopement location for a couple interested in backpacking. This trail is AMAZING during early fall because the larch trees turn golden, a beautiful contrast from the blue lakes and gray stone mountains. This would for sure be an adventure, one you like back on with the most fond, warm memory of.
This is a State Park just outside of Leavenworth close to Plain, WA. The park is close to tons of trails in the area. We love this location as a family friendly ceremony location or even lunch area followed by or before your “just you two” hike. The lake can be quite busy in the Summer so we recommend a morning ceremony if going during peak season. You do need a permit to hold a ceremony here, but that does not take away from the beautiful mountains surrounding the large body of water. Anyone up for a swim after I Do?
There are many other trails you can consider for your elopement in Leavenworth – these are simply the most well known. On average the trails in the Leavenworth area range from 1 mile to 20 miles. I would say for an elopement in this area if you plan to hike you want to plan for around a 7 mile hike as most the trails sit around there.
Leavenworth Wedding Venues
Do you have guests for your elopement?? We typically recommend for couples to have a total of 15 people or less when eloping out on public land. We advise this because it gets a lot harder to follow Leave No Trace with a large group, harder to park at trailheads and harder to find locations that in general can handle groups. Typically with more than 15 people we will recommend that you do your ceremony + dinner at a venue and you can spend the morning portion of the day just you two still out on an adventure. Here are the wedding venues we recommend in Leavenworth if you need one:
Leavenworth Elopement Packages
Our elopement packages for Leavenworth, Washington include photography, assistance in planning, an officiant and a witness. We are available in the Leavenworth area from May to January yearly. Our elopement packages are broken down to four options:
- Half Day Elopement (6 hours)
- Full Day Elopement (up to 12 hours – this is the best option for an elopement with guests)
- Two Day Elopement (up to 22 hours – these are perfect for backpacking, climbing and adventures on day one and family the next)
- Three Day Elopement (up to 33 hours – If you’re looking to have an absolute adventure with no limitations and have stunning images to preserve it all for a lifetime, then this is the way to go!)
We also offer add-on videography to any of our elopement packages. These are 3-5 minute films – perfect for sharing your elopement day with family and or reliving it yourselves as the years go by.
Ready for an epic I Do in the mountains?
Thinking of eloping in Leavenworth, Washington, but not sure where to start? Welp my friends, you are in the right place! We are Traci and Bill, a husband wife team capturing and planning elopements because we believe marriage is the most valuable adventure you can have in life and because we love helping couples have a space to freely express themselves. We are avid hikers, campers, climbers and hopeless romantics. We are here to help you bring your adventure wedding to life. We have explored the Leavenworth area well and know many of the trails, best eats and more. We can not wait to connect with you and hear your love story!
How to be prepared for your elopement in Leavenworth, WA.
Plan ahead! This is a popular area for folks to vacation in the summer and on the weekends since it is an easy place for adventurers and sight seers to escape to. Airbnbs, hotels and other stays can be booked out a month or even longer in advance. This goes for adventures you may be wanting to go on that take a reservation as well like zip lining, horse rides, etc.
Know that you are heading into the mountains, prepare for your adventures by packing bear bells, bug spray, sun screen and as always expect to not have service going into you elopement day.
Depending on the time of year, have a back up plan in place for your elopement plans. Coming out of the winter there may be snow still covering roads up to trials or left over avalanche mess blocking roads.
We always suggest to our couples to arrive at least two days ahead of your elopement so you can acclimate to the mountain elevation, air and get familiar with the area. Having a day before and after open allows for some wiggle room if needed due to bad weather on the elopement day or anything else that may come up. Remember, you can’t control the outdoors.
Pull permits early! Most state park and Forest service lands require a permit to get legally married on the land. Many areas in Leavenworth, Washington currently do not require permits. However, it is important to email/contact the local rangers and get everything approved. We recommend doing this as soon as you decide where you want to elope. Most offices require a minimum of 45 days in advance, and while it may still be possible to acquire one in less time, it isn’t guaranteed and getting it ahead of time gets all of that stress out of the way.