ELOPING – Where to Start?!

March 12, 2021

Where to Start when you are considering eloping!

What is an elopement? Why should we elope?

In the past, eloping was a dirty word that meant you just wanted to sneak away in the dead of night to get married in Vegas by a man dressed up as Elvis! (Low key that still sounds like a blast to me)

But today it is so different. Eloping today means crafting a truly authentic and intimate event.

Today, thanks to COVID, it’s the only way two people can actually celebrate their love with a small group of family and friends. It’s also giving you such a new way to view the day. I have learned that weddings with 30 people or less are truly the most intimate, sweet, authentic days. Imagine not having to worry about inviting (and paying for) 150+ people that you’ve only met a few times just because that is the social norm! Now you can forget trying to budget for that many people’s food, drinks and favors and now spend that money saving for a honeymoon! Or a new home to start your lives together!

What I REALLY want you to know and understand is that just because you are eloping, doesn’t mean this day shouldn’t get all the love and attention a full-formal wedding day would. It just means that you and your love are celebrating on a much more relaxed and intimate scale. You are still dedicating yourselves to each other. You are still in love and committing to one another. This is STILL YOUR WEDDING DAY!!

This article has great general information for planning an elopement, but also Washington State specific info on locations, vendors and timelines!

Elopement Checklist

  1. Pick a date! If you are considering vendors, you will need to know at least what date range, or couple different dates you are considering.
  2. Pick a location! It can be a mountain top, or your backyard. It needs to be somewhere that means something to you or that you think would just be so beautiful.
  3. Book your vendors! Obviously photography, but also if you want a cake, videography, Airbnb, any floral arrangements, or anything else to help this day to be 100% what you envisioned. 
  4. Keep an eye on the weather! As the day draws near, keep an eye out for any storms rolling in. I will follow you to the ends of the earth in a thunder storm, but if you don’t want to get wet or want to adjust the hours of coverage/ceremony time, definitely keep this in mind. 
  5. Line up possible permits needed! As your photographer, I will do my best to cover bases on the permit end for photography, but you may need to be the ones to fill out the permit to get married in a national park. Don’t forget about the marriage license!
  6. Kick back and relax as the day draws near. Spend weeks leading up to the big day pampering yourself! Get your hair done, nails done, tan if you’re into it. Pick out the perfect outfits for you and your honey. 
  7. Wake up and get married! Here’s the big day! Spend the day falling in love with each other all over again.
  8. Order prints and albums After the big day passes, be sure to invest in your memories so you can pull out photos and albums and feel that love all over again!

Locations for your elopement near Seattle

Washington State is one of the most gorgeous places. You can have either a mountain range behind you or a beach in front of you. You can be in the woods or on a cliffside. Deserts? We’ve got those too. Wheat fields as far as the eye can see. And you know what? You can make it from one side of the state to the other in under a day. It is truly so diverse and beautiful.

But for the sake of this guide, I’ll be focusing on the Snoqualmie Pass area. If you don’t know where Snoqualmie Pass, it’s about 1 hour east of Seattle. Just hop onto I90 and drive. Along the way, you will find some beautiful spots for your elopement. If you want, we can shoot your elopement at one spot and just drive around to all these spectacular locations!

Franklin Falls

Franklin Falls is a great option if you love the *idea* of hiking but really don’t feel like hiking a mountain on your wedding day. This is only 2 miles round trip and only a gain of 400 ft. You will need a National Forest Recreation Day Pass($5) or an Annual Pass($30). All USFS trailheads in Washington and Oregon with developed facilities (toilet, picnic table, etc.) charge a user fee – this includes most trailheads in the Cascades and Olympics. Read more about required passes here

Dirty Harry’s Balcony

Dirty Harry’s Balcony. Sounds romantic, no? This one is a little bit of a longer hike, but I believe it would be well worth it! With just 4.4 miles round trip and a gain of 1300ft it. You will need a Discover Day Pass($10) or an Annual Pass($30). Read more about required passes here

Rattlesnake Lake / Ledge

Here it is. No doubt one of the MOST iconic elopement locations in all of Washington State. Ever see that one photo from 2013 with the beautiful couple, the woman in a very boho-chic gown with black stitching, on a ledge overlooking this turquoise blue lake? THAT is Rattlesnake Ledge, overlooking Rattlesnake Lake. Seriously, this place is absolutely breathtaking. I would love the opportunity to shoot your elopement here.

Looking for an elopement venue? AKA an Airbnb!

I’ve done the hard work for you and found some amazing Airbnb’s in the Snoqualmie pass area! Just imagine getting ready at one of these beautiful homes before your wedding.

River’s Edge Get Away ~ A Magical Retreat

Ernie’s Paradise Lite – River, mountains and hot tub

Elliott’s Cabin ~ Charming and Cozy

Summit at Snoqualmie A-frame Cabin

Red Roof Chalet; only 80 minutes from Seattle

Planning an Elopement Timeline

Not sure where to start with planning your day oftimeline? Use this sample timeline to help guide your day!

  • Getting ready location: Fall City Airbnb
  • Ceremony location: Rattlesnake Lake
  • Extra photo locations: Franklin Falls
  • Meal/Post ceremony celebration: Local winery, Fall City Airbnb ​
  • 6:00 (Yes it’s early, but you won’t regret it) everyone wakes up, has coffee and breakfast couple get’s ready in separate rooms
  • 7:00 quiet and intimate moment for your first look
  • 8:00 all leave and head to the ceremony location
  • 8:30 arrive at the ceremony couple relaxes with coffee while friends set up ceremony décor
  • 9:00 ceremony time portraits by the lake pop some champagne!
  • 9:30 brunch and mimosas by the lake cut the wedding cake (or donuts)
  • 10:30 couple hike to the ledge overlooking the lake for portraits
  • 11:30 head down to the vehicles
  • 12:00 leave to meet the group at a local winery for a private wine tasting family + friends portraits at the vineyard
  • 2:00 leave winery and head to Airbnb
  • 2:30 arrive at Airbnb snacks/lunch first dance
  • 2:30 arrive at Airbnb snacks/lunch first dance
  • 4:00 sparkler photos of bride and groom kissing

Need help planning your personal elopement timeline? Contact me and I’ll help you out!

What vendors do I need when eloping?

Literally any vendors that will make you elopement everything you ever dreamed of. But let’s go over some of the basics!


Brides for a Cause

“Brides for a Cause is more than a bridal store – it’s a bridal store that raises funds for charity! We collect and resell wedding dresses to raise money for charity!”


“Try at Home Wedding Dresses: Stay safe at home. Dream bridal gowns at accessible prices, made to measure, benefiting women’s programs. Made in 3-4 months. Bridal done differently.”

I Do Bridal Seattle

“I Do Bridal has celebrated over twenty years in Seattle! With our years of experience, we have created the perfect destination for brides to find their dream gown! I Do Bridal’s stylists ensure that every bride will have an unforgettable experience while finding the perfect dress with our personalized, interactive one on one appointments”




Fena Flowers

For the best and freshest flowers in Kirkland, Fena Flowers, Inc. has exactly what you’re looking for! Check out our wide selection of flower arrangements to make your next occasion memorable.

Love Blooms

Wedding and Event design along with floral arrangements based in Seattle, WA

Leigh and Mitchell

Artful & refined events for modern couples in the PNW.
Flowers for everyday, intimate events & celebrations.
Cut garden tips & tutorials.


Elopement, full or micro wedding, you still could use the help of a wedding planner or day of coordinator!

Cake & Lace

Cake & Lace Events is a boutique planning, design and coordination company that services clients in Seattle, Washington and Los Angeles, California. We bring an eye for design, energy and the organization needed to guarantee that your wedding day is perfectly executed. With your priorities top of mind, paired with our upbeat and ‘get it done’ approach, we are able to put together the wedding experience of your dreams.

Flowing White Events

At Flowing White Events we pride ourselves on making your special day stand out above the rest! After all, it isn’t just another day. Whether it’s your wedding, anniversary, birthday, or shower, it’s YOUR big event that you are hosting. 

A Standard of Grace

Classically elegant events and memories to cherish. Full-service wedding and event planning and coordination.


I founded 3eleven events with one goal in mind: to design and produce creative and unforgettable events for every occasion. From small intimate affairs to large-scale parties, I strive to execute events that not only aim to impress, but also create unique experiences for my clients and their guests that last long after the fun is over.


Kayla Kollection Artistry

A pristine makeup look that beautifully highlights and illuminates you best features so you can look and feel your absolute best on your big day!

Michelle Wright Makeup Artistry

Michelle Wight Makeup Artistry is a team of skilled makeup and hair stylists based in Seattle. Serving local and destination weddings, our team has years of experience to ensure your radiance on your special day.

Luxe Artistry Seattle

“May your day be as flawless as your hair and make-up” #LuxeArtistry

McKenzie Galanti MUA

Licensed Master Esthetician. Certified Educator for MUD. Certified Makeup Artist. Licensed In Permanent Makeup

Kaitlynn was more than we could have hoped for. She was extremely responsive when we contacted her, was willing to meet when we needed her, and really listened when I told her what we wanted, and what we didn’t. She got so many amazing photos and was always sending me new ones as she was in the process of editing. I felt like she really went above and beyond our expectations. We are awkward when taking photos but it really didn’t come across that way, our photos are beautiful and natural. My wedding day had a few hiccups but when I look at the photos I don’t remember what went wrong, the photos are amazing. I urge you to book with Kaitlynn! I am so glad we did. The wedding day came and went so fast but I have so many amazing memories thanks to Kaitlynn.




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