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How to Have a City Elopement in Seattle

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Whether you want to keep it romantic at a local park, make it official at neighborhood brewery, or even just do it the old fashioned way at the City Courthouse, there are so many ways to elope in your city!

What does it mean to Elope?

There is no strict rule to elopements these days, they can include absolutely anything or take place anywhere you want! Elopements are a way to break away from the traditional structure of wedding ceremonies and plan a smaller and more personalized wedding celebration. So instead of a 150+ guest count at a venue you only have for 8 hours, you could take your 15 best friends, parents, and have a sweet ceremony on the beach - in the forest - or even at the courthouse downtown. All while remaining in the city you live in!

Many folks see elopements as running off into the woods to some remote location with just your partner. While YES you can totally do this, some folks are not interested in fighting their way up the side of a mountain just to read their vows.

So why might you choose to elope in Seattle or another city?

  • Staying close to home so you or your guests don’t need to take time off from their regular routines

  • You can visit your favorite parks/cafe/vistas/cityscapes that hold significance in your lives

  • Inviting only your closest friends and family rather than feel overwhelmed by a huge guest list and people you don’t know

  • Get the paperwork out of the way before your larger wedding celebration

  • You don’t have to worry about feeding or entertaining a massive crowd

  • Feel more comfortable to be yourself with close friends and family

  • Cheaper and less stress overall!

How to Get Your Marriage License & Certificate in WA State

Every county will have their own online platforms for obtaining the correct legal documents, so whether you’re local to King County or in another part of the state you can use this site to apply for your marriage license!

Ministers from any state may perform marriage ceremonies, but the ceremony must be performed in the State of Washington. And it should be obvious, but you or your partner cannot also ordain or be a witness to your own wedding. But your photographer can be your witness! Woohoo!

For most weddings couples will ask a family member or friend to ordain their marriage. However you can also hire professional ceremony officiants to help tell your story or guide the ceremony! Or keep it simple and find a judge/minister to ordain the wedding.

Immediately following the ceremony, the couple, the officiant, and two witnesses will sign your marriage certificate. It is the officiant's responsibility to complete and return the license to King County within 30 days after the ceremony.

Make sure to review your county's policies and use the correct avenues of registration. But once you’ve managed to sort out all the nitty gritty details you can start planning the fun parts!

Where in Seattle to Elope?

There are so many incredible locations to have your elopement in Seattle, whether you want to keep it romantic at a local park, make it official at neighborhood brewery, or even just do it the old fashioned way at the City Courthouse.

Depending on your guest count or where you want the ceremony to take place you need to consider whether you need to reserve a picnic ground for larger group sizes. In most cases if you’re having an elopement at a local park with just a few guests/witnesses then you will not need to worry about reservations!

Here are a few ideas if you need some inspiration on where to have your Seattle Elopement:

Keep it casual - visit your favorite park and watch the sunrise/sunset with all of your closest friends! While the sun comes up you can read your vows to each other and then sign your wedding certificate when it gets brighter. Celebrate with mimosas or coffee! And don’t forget to bring all of your pets…after all they’re a part of the family.

Luxury or Bust - just because you’re not inviting a million people to join in your celebration doesn’t mean you still can’t feel like a million bucks. Dress up and feel like you just ran away together! You can visit all your favorite high end bars or restaurants because after all you’re just paying for the two of you ;)

  1. You can visit – Columbia Tower, Smith Tower, The Artic Club, Seattle Glass Museum or even the Space Needle

  2. Catch the sunset from the top of a high rise!

  3. Head to the waterfront pier to get some iconic Seattle shots

Wine & Dine - Rent out a space at your favorite brewery, winery, or cocktail bar for a handful of your friends and family!

Take It to Court! - Sometimes the hype and party of it all just isn’t your vibe and that’s ok! Being the center of attention isn’t for the two of you and you would prefer to get all the legal aspects done as simply as possible. You can in fact have a judge easily wed you in Seattle without having to acquire an officiant. Just make a reservation at the courthouse with a judge and boom you’re married (don’t forget to bring your witnesses)! Afterwards you can hop around to some of your favorite restaurants or spots in Seattle to celebrate.

When planning your elopement no idea is too big or small. Seattle has an almost unlimited amount of unique bars, beach view, forest trails, and cityscapes, so why not elope in the city you love and make it your wedding unique! And if you need more help planning the perfect day then don't hesitate to reach out. I'd be happy to help design your dream city elopement!




Hello I'm Alesha! Your lgbtq+ wedding & elopement photographer based in Seattle, Washington. I'm here to bring a supportive, enthusiastic, and all around easy-going energy to your wedding day! Get to know me a little bit more to see if we're a good match.

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