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Welcome to the blog! I’m a small-town Florida girl and Army wife relocated to the Seattle Suburbs, documenting love from one coast to the other. I live for a good PNW mountain breeze, sweat pants, and local eats. Let's be friends!

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Washington Elopement and Intimate Wedding PHOTOGRAPHER

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How To Elope In The Olympic National Park

Taking six hours to circumnavigate it – the Olympic National Park has boundless beauty to offer. From rugged coastline to turquoise lakes, fields of flowers, year-round evergreens, steamy hot springs, waterfalls, and vast peaks and valleys why wouldn’t one choose to Elope here.

But where do you start? Don’t worry, I got ya covered from start to finish so you don’t forget a thing!

Lake Crescent Elopement in the summer. Photographed by PNW Elopement Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography.

Choose the Perfect Time of Year for You

Each area of the Olympic National Park offers different advantages depending on the season. It’s important to understand how the season affects accessibility, weather, and the look of locations. 

  • Spring: We love the coast in the spring. More sunshine peaks through on the coast while the mountains are still packed full of melting-snow! Areas surroundings lakes, forests, and waterfalls tend to be extra lush this time of year!
  • Summer: Washington Summers always feel like they fall a bit short and this is the time to access those areas we can’t reach the rest of the year! Boundless peaks and layering mountain views await us!
  • Fall: Beautiful colors filter through in the fall affecting higher elevation locations first. This also tends to be that moody time of year where fog begins to creep in and rain becomes more frequent approaching the Winter months.
  • Winter: The colder it gets the more precipitation increases. In decent weather conditions, high elevation locations (like Hurricane Ridge) can offer a wintery wedding paradise for your elopement. If conditions don’t prove ideal, forests can be a lovely green escape!I have photographed elopements all over the Olympic National Park during each season. Each epic in its own way – it’s truly about what season speaks to you and the backdrop (if influenced by the season) you want!

Hire a Washington Elopement Photographer

Not to sound like the sales-pitchy person that I’m not, but a great Olympic National Park Elopement Photographer can make all the difference on your wedding day. I truly believe in being not only being a photographer but a full elopement guide. That means my insider knowledge of the area and ability to deliver an unforgettable experience regardless of circumstances can make all difference.

I aim to intentionally build a foundation that sets the tone for your entire marriage, to be your true selves and truly have THE BEST freaking wedding day. The entire process should feel like a breath of fresh air and truly unforgettable. The average wedding in the United States costs almost $34,000. Investing in an elopement, AKA best vacation and wedding all in one is significantly less but worth every freaking penny.

Decide on a Region Within the Olympic National Park

Considering that the Olympic National Park has over 900,000 acres, choosing an area to focus on is about as easy as climbing Mt. Olympus. Don’t worry – that’s why I offer a one-on-two planning session to help talk through it and figure out the best location for all your elopement dreams. Some popular areas to explore:

  • The Pacific Coast: Ruby Beach, Rialto Beach, Shi Shi Beach, Cape Flattery
  • The Coast along the Salish Sea
  • HOH Rainforest
  • Lake Crescent
  • Hurricane Ridge
  • Deer Park
  • Lake Cushman

Book a Place to Stay

  • Airbnbs: I recommend finding one with good access or a view just in case the weather isn’t ideal – it makes an epic backup location and is worth investing a little more.
  • Lodges: There aren’t too many options outside of the Port Angeles area. Lake Crescent LodgeLake Quinault LodgeKalaloch Lodge
  • Campgrounds: Lake Cushman / Sol Duc / Kalaloch / Ozette / Hoh

Get a Marriage License + Permit if Needed

A marriage license is a legal document you need to get married, whereas the marriage permit is what you obtain in order to have permission to get married at certain locations with the Olympic National Park. Commercial photography permits are NOT required but a Special Use Permit for over 5 guests is required, should it be applicable to your day. Important information regarding the marriage license: 

  • Washington has a three-day waiting period so plan ahead to apply.
  • Marriage licenses are valid for 60 days.
  • Marriage licenses cost $69 and are non-refundable.
  • HERE’s a link to more info and King County (where Seattle resides) license.

 

Rules that apply to getting married in the Olympic National Park

  • No impeding the activities of other park visitors.
  • Modest decorations may be allowed (additional permissions required).
  • The setting up of chairs, tents, or awnings is not permitted.
  • Throwing of rice, confetti, etc. is not allowed.
  • Leaving no trace and respecting protected fields

Plan the Best Day for YOUR Elopement

Whether it be waking up to fancy coffee, an all-day hike, a road trip to all the epic locations you can dream of, a low-key picnic with a view, popping champagne, ending with your first dance at a brewery or back home to your Airbnb, your wedding day deserves thoughtfulness and intentionality. It’s not about being rigid, it’s about planning ahead and hiring the best team of vendors so when the day arrives, you can relax, reconnect with your partner along-side mother nature and enjoy. I am here to help you every step of the way!

And because I’ve been talking (or writing ;)) for way too long, here’s one of my favorite Olympic National Park Elopements from 2020! 

Bridal portraits at Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park | Megan Montalvo PhotographyBride and grooms first look at Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park | Megan Montalvo PhotographyBride and grooms first look at Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park | Megan Montalvo Photography
Bride and grooms first look at Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park | Megan Montalvo Photography
Bride and grooms photos at Lake Crescent Elopement in the Olympic National Park | Megan Montalvo Photography
Bride and grooms photos at Lake Crescent Elopement in the Olympic National Park | Megan Montalvo PhotographyLake Crescent Elopement | Megan Montalvo Photography
Elopement ceremony at Lake Crescent in the PNW | Megan Montalvo Photography
Elopement ceremony at Lake Crescent in the PNW | Megan Montalvo Photography Crescent Lake Elopement | Megan Montalvo Photography
Crescent Lake Elopement | Megan Montalvo Photography
Intimate moment between bride and groom at Lake Crescent Elopement. Photographed by PNW Elopement Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography.
Lake Crescent Elopement photographed by PNW Elopement Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography. Olympic National Park Elopement at Lake Crescent. Photographed by PNW Elopement Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography. Olympic National Park Elopement at Lake Crescent. Photographed by PNW Elopement Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography.
Olympic National Park Elopement at Lake Crescent. Photographed by PNW Elopement Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography.
Olympic National Park Elopement at Lake Crescent. Photographed by PNW Elopement Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography.
Olympic National Park Elopement during COVID-19. Photographed by PNW Elopement Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography. Olympic National Park Elopement at Marymere Falls. Photographed by Adventure Elopement Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography.
Olympic National Park Elopement at Marymere Falls. Photographed by Adventure Elopement Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography.
Olympic National Park Elopement at Marymere Falls. Photographed by Adventure Elopement Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography.
Olympic National Park Elopement at Marymere Falls. Photographed by Adventure Elopement Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography.
Olympic National Park Elopement at Marymere Falls. Photographed by Adventure Elopement Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography.
Olympic National Park Elopement | Megan Montalvo PhotographyOlympic National Park Elopement | Megan Montalvo Photography
Crescent Lake Elopement | Megan Montalvo Photography
Crescent Lake Elopement | Megan Montalvo Photography
Crescent Lake Elopement | Megan Montalvo Photography
Crescent Lake Elopement | Megan Montalvo Photography
Bride and groom elopement photos at Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park | Megan Montalvo PhotographyCrescent Lake Elopement | Megan Montalvo Photography
Bride and groom elopement photos at Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park | Megan Montalvo Photography
Bride and groom elopement photos at Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park | Megan Montalvo Photography
Bride and groom elopement photos at Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park | Megan Montalvo PhotographyBride and groom elopement photos at Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park | Megan Montalvo PhotographyBride and groom elopement photos at Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park | Megan Montalvo Photography

To see more elopements photographed by MMP, click here!

If you’re still trying to decide if an elopement is right for you, check out our blog “5 Reasons To Elope or Have an Intimate Wedding.”

Megan Montalvo is a PNW Elopement Photographer based out of Seattle, Washington. Megan offers intimate wedding and elopement photography to surrounding PNW destinations such as Tacoma, Olympia, Mount Storm King, Lake Crescent, Hurricane Ridge, Mt. Rainier, Lake Quinault, Snoqualmie, Snoqualmie Pass, Cle Elum, Suncadia, Leavenworth, Ruby Beach, Cape Kiwanda, Canon Beach and the San Juan Islands.

Tips for how to Elope in the Olympic National Park from PWN Elopement Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography.

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