Planning a wedding is intimidating! After the excitement of the engagement has worn down a bit and you turn to the drawing board…it’s a bit like “wait, I’ve never done this before, where do I start?!” You’d think that planning an elopement would be easier! But you’ll be surprised to find yourself still spinning in circles wondering where to land! Don’t worry, though, because that’s what I’m here for. I’ve got all the tips and tricks to help you plan your elopement in the Olympic National Park!
Five Tips for Planning Your Olympic National Park Elopement
#1 Choose the Best Time of Year for Your Elopement
There are benefits to every season so you can’t go wrong! But, there may be a best time for YOU. There are pros and cons to everything, so let’s dive in!
Classic time of year to get married in the PNW. And for an Olympic National Park elopement, this might seem like the best option. Pros are that it’s easier for friends or family to get time off of work, warmer weather and less chance of rain, and you’re more likely to get a location you want since it’s not buried in snow!
However, despite all these great pros, there are some cons. Crowding is a big one! Everyone and their mother likes to be outside in the summer in the PNW. And I don’t blame them! It’s beautiful out, but it might make it difficult to find free space. There is a solution to that! Go really early in the morning for a sunrise elopement! Guaranteed more alone time.
The only other con for summer, is the smoke. It can be hard to predict when wild fires are going to ravage our state. Good thing about elopements is they’re usually easy to postpone if we need to make something else work. Safety first!
Another popular time to elope in Washington State. The leaves are changing, the colors are stunning! More pros to getting married in the Fall are slightly cooler weather so you’re not sweating through your clothes. Moody lighting and great golden hour shots. Usually, mountains aren’t closed yet with snow!
Cons are that school has started back up so it might be harder if you’re having any kids or family’s with kids join the festivities. Higher change of rain or unpredictable weather in general. Still a pretty popular time for PNW nature-seekers to be outside.
I gotta admit, I love a winter elopement! You can check out a recent one here. Pros to getting married in the winter: snow session. If you haven’t seen epic pictures in the snow, then go look! There is something extra special about that expansive white backdrop! Also, you’re not bound to run into too many people!
The cons might be a bit more obvious: harder to get where you want to go. Since a lot of roads close to popular locations, it will take more work to find a spot. However, there is no shortage of beautiful locations, and if you’re willing to put on some boots, the locations increase exponentially.
I love wildflower season. Cherry blossom season. So romantic, so beautiful, and perfect if you want sweet, romantic vibes for your Olympic National Park elopement. There will be no shortage of great spots in the springtime.
Cons are the weather is so unpredictable in Spring in the PNW. Will in rain? Snow? Be 70 degrees? Who knows! But I’m the elopement photographer for you in any circumstance because I’ve shot in all those environments and I’m ready for anything!
#2 Hire Your Dream Team
You will find a great group of vendors to complete your wedding dream team! I’ve got recommendations of vendors that typically do elopements and have all the tricks to make sure it goes off without a hitch!
There are vendors who specialize in elopements meaning they know all the do’s and don’ts, and aren’t afraid of weather, adapting, and know how to make intimate weddings thrive! Another aspect of vendors is those that are all about Leave No Trace. It’s a movement among photographers and other vendors to protect Washington’s beauty and nature by cleaning up after ourselves, not trampling wildlife, and generally respecting wherever we choose to shoot.
#3 Decide Your Location
This will depend on the time of year you choose because some locations won’t be open for an Olympic National Park elopement. But, again, don’t worry, because I’m here to guide you and help find the perfect spot.
It helps to know what kind of vibe you’re hoping for! Do you want a view? Waterfall? Rainforest? Ocean? The Olympic National Park has a lot of options!
Here are some of my favorite spots:
Accessibly right off the 101 and a beautiful spot! It’s just south of the town of Forks. It is a mixture of beach and giant boulders which help give so much depth and dynamic to the area.
The perk to this location is that you get oceanside as well as coastal forest. Lush green trees! Lots of spots you’d recognize from Pinterest or Instagram.
Lake Cushman or Lake Crescent
You’ll see lots of evidence of amazing shoots are these locations! Surrounded by hills and mountains, crystal blue lakes. You can’t go wrong with these elopement locations.
This is a great option for those that love views but don’t want to hike. Great mountain views, epic fog at the right time of year, and only 17 miles outside of Port Angeles.
I love a good rainforest. Both tropical and temperate rainforest, but I’m partial when you’re doing an Olympic National Park elopement, to the Hoh Rainforest. You might run into some showers, but that makes the moodiness of the forest that much more magical.
#4 Make it Official!
First step, get a marriage license! This might be self-explanatory. Think of this as a checklist, and make sure to write this tip down! You don’t want to forget. If you have a friend officiating, make sure they get ordained through the Universal Life Church, it’s a very fast online process. Or, if you want it to be just the two of your saying your vows with a couple witnesses, then I’m ordained and can sign your license for you.
We’ll also want to make sure that wherever we’re shooting your Olympic National Park elopement, we’ve got all the permits we need.
#5 Let’s Celebrate!
The day arrived, everything planned, you pulled it off! Now, we just get to enjoy the two of you being together, saying your vows, getting those beautiful portraits, and real moments together. I can’t wait to celebrate with you!
If you’re thinking about an Olympic National Park elopement, please reach out to me and let’s chat about making it happen!