“How The Heck Do We Elope?” The Ultimate Elopement Planning Checklist

February 25, 2022

Have you decided a traditional wedding isn’t for you? And now you’re wondering what options you have? This is an extremely common situation for couples to be in nowadays. The wedding industry has seen a huge shift in the past few years. Couples are choosing intimate elopements over big weddings more and more.

But how do you plan an elopement? What steps do you need to take to plan an unforgettable day? It can be an overwhelming thought but take a deep breath, I got y’all.

This guide is specifically designed for adventure elopements in the Pacific Northwest. Mostly Washington State, but also Oregon, Northern California, and Alaska. I’ll walk you through the process and provide tons of resources along the way.

Let’s dive in!

Choose Your Dream Location

There is no shortage of incredible elopement locations in the Pacific Northwest. I think I’ve said that sentence three thousand times in my career  but it’s SO TRUE. I’ve spent a lot of time traveling but I always come back to my home state of Washington with a sense of appreciation and awe for its landscapes and accessibility.

My top three most booked locations are: Paradise at Mt Rainier National Park, Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, and Lake Cushman in Olympic National Forest. These three locations don’t even begin to scratch the surface of the epic locations in the Pacific Northwest but they’re a good start.

Check out these resources for more location ideas:

5 Washington State location ideas that don’t require hiking

The best places to elope at Mt Rainier National Park

Choose Your Date

Arguably the most important choice you need to make. This decision will greatly impact almost every element of your elopement day. Temperature, hours of daylight, snow levels, road closures and restrictions, accessibility of locations. It’s a lot to consider.

If you’re skimming through this, and you take one piece of advice from me, have your Pacific Northwest elopement in August or September.

Hire Your Vendor Team

Okay, one of my favorite steps! This is the time during planning when things really start coming together and feeling real. There are SO MANY vendors in the Pacific Northwest. Tons of artists who are talented, knowledgeable, and kind. My #1 tip for choosing your vendors is to choose folks you feel comfortable around.

You will spend a significant amount of time communicating and planning with your vendors. And you’ll spend time with them on your elopement day as well. Make sure you love their style AND you vibe with them.

As a reference point, I’m a VERY chill and laid-back vendor and my clients are often this way as well. I like to add a calm presence to my clients’ days. I’m not the vendor that will be yelling over the top prompts at you and I’m not the photographer that will turn your day into an 8 hour photo session. We keep it relaxed and authentic over here at Leesha King Photo.

Get in touch to receive my vendor guide. All of the vendors listed on my guide are vetted, professional, and have similar approaches as me.

Are you looking to elope in Washington State but wondering how to do it? This blog gives you the exact elopement planning checklist you need

Accommodations

Choosing where you’ll get ready for your elopement is such a fun step in the planning process. There are tons of stunning and unique rentals in the Pacific Northwest. We have mountain A-Frames, Coastal Yurts, Vintage Airstreams, the list goes on. Aim to book your accommodations as soon as you’ve locked in your date.

Check out some of my favorite elopement rentals below. And always check with your host about events.

Top Western Washington Airbnb recommendations >

Are you looking to elope in Washington State but wondering how to do it? This blog gives you the exact elopement planning checklist you need

Secure Your Permits

A boring but important part of planning your elopement. This step is not nearly as stressful as it sounds. Every ranger I’ve encountered during permitting has been kind and helpful.

I’m always more than happy to help my clients research and secure permits for whichever location they choose.

Check out the blog below for permit info in some of my most commonly booked Washington locations. 

Securing your elopement permits >

Are you looking to elope in Washington State but wondering how to do it? This blog gives you the exact elopement planning checklist you need

Plan Your Elopement Day Timeline

Time to really dive into dreaming up your day! Want a sunrise vow ceremony? Or does a slow morning getting ready with close friends and family sound more like your style? Do you want to sightsee? Maybe go for a hike? Kayak in an alpine lake? Private vows at sunset? There’s really no end to the plans you can dream up!

Check out these blogs for some planning tips and activity ideas.

5 reasons you should have a full day elopement (+ timeline tips) >

10 elopement activity ideas for a full day timeline >

Your Elopement Day

And before you know it, it’s your elopement day. Months, maybe even years, of planning, comes to fruition. The day you marry your best friend. On your own terms. In a way that feels authentic and comfortable. Take it slow and soak it all in.

If this sounds like the kind of day you’d like to plan and experience, reach out today and let’s get started dreaming up your day. Can’t wait to hear from you!

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Are you looking to elope in Washington State but wondering how to do it? This blog gives you the exact elopement planning checklist you need

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