How do you Decide Where to Elope?

One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make when in the planning process is deciding where to elope. There are a lot of factors that affect your wedding experience, but location is one of the most important. Your location should be something that makes you happy and feel alive. Even if you haven’t been there before, it should be the type of spot that gives you that “just right” feeling.

A small wedding in front of Mt Hood in Oregon

Factors to Consider when Deciding Where to Elope

Background and Views

What type of scenery do you and your partner enjoy the most? Where do you feel most comfortable? Some couples prefer to be tucked into the woods while others may want a sweeping mountain vista. The choice is yours, but be sure to choose a background that speaks to both of you when deciding where to elope.

A couple under a clear umbrella when it rained on their elopement day in Washington

Season and Weather

Each location may look different when deciding on where to elope. The mountains may still be snow-covered into June or receive snow as early as September. The hike you love might really shine in the fall. If you want to get married next to an alpine lake, how are you with mosquitoes? If they really bother you, it’s best to wait until late summer or fall. Spring is wonderful for forested locations as the green colors really pop. Wildflowers peak in late-July or early-August at Mt Rainier. Or maybe you really love winter! Snow makes everything bright and beautiful but you’ll have to be comfortable in the cold, or be willing to adjust if adverse weather rolls in. The most important thing to remember is that you’ll want to choose a season you both feel comfortable in and a location that really shines during that time of year.

A small wedding on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park


Another factor you’ll want to consider when deciding on where to elope is how accessible the location is. This includes how easy it is to drive or fly there, hike there, or even ski there! Some trailheads require high-clearance vehicles to get to them. Other locations, like the San Juan Islands here in Washington, require a ferry that must be reserved in advance. Also consider whether your guests are willing and able to do the hike or drive required to get there.

A bride and groom walk onto a large log in the Washington backcountry on their elopement day


When deciding on where to elope, you’ll want to consider how secluded your ideal location will be. Here in Washington, trails get very busy on the weekends, especially if you’re closer to Seattle. Often times, the locations that are the most accessible will also have the most people. Generally, the further you travel from a city center, the more secluded you’ll be. You might also consider eloping at sunrise for more seclusion.

A bride and groom ride the chairlift at Grand Targhee Resort on their wedding day


Something else you’ll want to consider are the activities you want to do on your wedding day. Do you want to hike to the top of a peak? Do you want to take a scenic sea plane ride? What about taking a canoe out on a lake or having a picnic on the beach? The elopement location you pick should be a reasonable distance from the activities you want to do. If you want to have a small dinner at a brewery or restaurant, make sure your location is a decent driving distance to an area where you can do that.

A small wedding at Schwabacher's Landing in Grand Teton National Park


Make sure that whatever location you choose can accommodate the guests you are inviting. You’ll want to consider accessibility to parking, lodging, and the ability of your guests. Your location may also change depending on the size of your wedding. More guests need more room, and some locations have restrictions on guest count. Will you need to bring in chairs for any of your guests? Make sure that’s okay with your intended location.

There are many factors to consider when deciding where to elope, but ultimately the choice is yours! Whether your location is something new to you or a special location you and your partner love, it will be the spot you have in your hearts for years to come.

A bride and groom snuggle together on a beach on their wedding day near Seattle

Need a few ideas? Check out my posts on the best locations to elope in Washington, my Mt Rainier Elopement guide, or Olympic National Park Elopement Guide.

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Olympic National Park elopement photographer based in Port Angeles, Washington
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