February 4, 2022
Are you planning a Washington State elopement ceremony in one of the state’s three national parks? Don’t forget your special use permit. Acquiring a permit is often an overlooked factor when planning. But don’t worry, it’s an easy process to secure one.
Before we dive in, it’s worth noting that you should always follow Leave No Trace principles when having an elopement in the outdoors. It’s best to keep your elopement ceremony small and simple. Let nature be your backdrop!
Alright, let’s dive into the process for each park!
Mt Rainier National Park Special Use Permit
From the parks website: “A permit is required for all wedding ceremonies held within Mount Rainier National Park. Most ceremonies in the park are brief and simple; elaborate ceremonies do not work well in the park’s natural setting. Weather in the park is unpredictable, and at higher elevations such as Paradise and Sunrise, snow often remains on the ground well into July. ”
You can view the park’s restrictions and conditions here. Mt Rainier certainly has the strictest guidelines for wedding ceremonies. These restrictions are in place because the park has nearly 2.5 million visitors annually.
Steps to take to apply for your permit:
- Applications must be submitted at least four weeks before the requested date. Please contact the Permit Coordinator via email if expediting of your application is requested (less than four weeks advance submission).
- Once your application is received by the Permit Coordinator, you will be given instructions on paying the non-refundable $60 application fee online.
- Application fees must be paid before the permit
Olympic National Park Special Use Permit
Special use permits are required for weddings and ceremonies in Olympic National Park. The park requires 4 weeks for processing time.
From the park’s website: “To apply for a Special Use Permit you can download a Special Use Permit application, but we also recommend that you e-mail us or write to c/o Olympic National Park, 600 East Park Ave, Port Angeles, WA 98362″
Olympic National Park’s permit fee is $50.
North Cascades National Park Special Use Permit
Paraphrased from the park’s website: “North Cascades is home to many beautiful landscapes and locations affording visitors opportunities to conduct special events including weddings or organized special events”
The North Cascades application form and payment can be found at this link.
Additional Locations That Do No Require Special Use Permits
Below are a few locations in Washington that don’t require permits for elopement ceremonies. These are great options if you only have a few weeks to plan or don’t have time to secure a permit.
- Artist Point in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
- Mt Si near Snoqualmie.
- Lake Cushman in The Olympic National Forest.
- My favorite not so secret alpine lake in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
One last thing to note, you will need to pay an entrance fee and/or a parking fee at all of these locations. The fee is typically $25 per car entering the park.
There you have it folks. How to secure permits in the most popular elopement locations in Washington State. Ready to start planning your elopement? Reach out here.
Wanting more National Park Elopement Inspiration?
If you’re dreaming up your own elopement or engagement session in Washington State, check out more inspiration below!