Ready to dive deep into researching all about getting married or having an elopement at Mount Rainier National Park? First off - HECK YES. You are in for the adventure of a lifetime. Whether it’s your first time in Mount Rainier National Park or your 10th, there are always new gems to be found! I would encourage you to DREAM BIG at this point, without restraints and then we’ll work together to figure out logistics! Mount Rainier’s website is super encompassing so I’d encourage you to check that out too! Here are some details from my years of experience around the National Park as an elopement photographer (and hiker) as well as some of the resources shared by the park’s site itself! MMP Clients have exclusive access to my 93 page elopement guide that will walk you through ALL the details of planning your elopement non-specific to Mount Rainier National Park!
ready to elope?!
Choose the Perfect Time of Year for You
From vast mountain views, rocky lookouts, fields of flowers, evergreen forests and serene waterfalls, each area of Mount Rainier National park has a different feel and offers a different view of the mountain if visibility permits! Seasons greatly affect Mount Rainier’s accessibility, weather, and the look of locations so it’s best to know a timeframe in order to narrow down what is available.
I start with Summer because this is truly how I feel most “envision” Mount Rainier National Park. Summer at Mount Rainier visually begins in mid-July when the snow melts out and the wildflowers begin to bloom. There’s not an exact science to this one - it just depends on how quickly the snow melts. I’ve personally seen that as early as mid-June and as late as the beginning of August. It’s a short season with boundless areas in the park - all within an arms reach. It’s also important to understand that this is the peak of tourist season and often when crowds flock to the park. I highly encourage weekdays to make accessibility a bit easier. If you’re looking to hike, this is the perfect time of year for you. So many of the trails are only accessible during Summer and early Fall. If you’re open to easy to access locations, another season (or once school is back in) may drastically increase your ability to gain some privacy.
Beautiful colors filter through in the fall affecting higher elevation locations first. Fall colors begin as early as the beginning of September but more commonly towards the end of the month. 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. It is not uncommon for a dusting of snow to sweep through as early as the beginning of October. Sometimes it stays and sometimes it melts back out reviving Fall colors.
The colder it gets the more precipitation increases and for high elevation locations, that means SNOW! Most areas of the park are not accessible after mid-October when road closures begin to limit access. The exact date depends on conditions so I highly recommend planning for the Nisqually entrance or Crystal Mountain.
This is the lovely time of year where the Snow is beginning to melt out. Lower elevation locations tend to be clear with vast amounts of water creating “pop-up” waterfalls. Higher elevation areas are still packed with thick slippery snow until becoming patchy around June.
Standing on the summit of a mountain is one of my favorite places to be. In that moment, everything fades away and it’s just us, the invigorating breeze, and immense calmness that comes from just being present. Did you know your wedding day can feel like that too?
Having a knowledgeable and local Mount Rainier National Park Photographer can make all the difference on your wedding day. I truly believe in 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 the difference in your day.
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 the “best vacation and wedding all in one” is significantly less and worth every freaking penny. I’ll work with you step by step to craft an unforgettable experience.
Most commonly my clients stay in Airbnbs but you're not limited to that - camping, lodges and bed and breakfasts are all options as well!
Most clients stay in Ashford or Packwood. I only recommend Packwood in the summer time as it’s access to the park is affected by seasonal road closures. I recommend finding an airbnb 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. A handful of locations are ideal from Enumclaw.
Alta Crystal Mountain
Visit Rainier Lodging Guide
Click Here to Request Access to Our Airbnb List!
| Paradise Inn
Mount Rainier Campgrounds: Cougar Rock | Ohanapecosh | White River | Mowich Lake
Nisqually / Southwest entrance:
This is the main entrance open year round which easily gains you access to the Longmire and Paradise areas. Ashford is a convenient place to stay!
Carbon River / Northwest entrance:
Mowich Lake and Tolmie Peak are popular attractions from this entrance and open year round when road conditions permit. This is one of the more limited entrances in my opinion. Enumclaw is convenient here!
White River / Sunrise entrance:
One of my favorite entrances only open June-mid-October. This easily leads you to Tipsoo Lake and Sunrise areas if traveling from the city.
Stevens Canyon / Southeast entrance
This entrance is closest to Packwood, an awesome mountain town with rad places to stay along the river! It is open from late-May to early October. The Grove of the Patriarchs is easy access through this entrance than you can continue onward to Paradise or the Sunrise side.
-Naches Peak Loop
-Mount Fremont Lookout
-Tolmie Peak Lookout
-High Rock Lookout
popular attractions and general
Paradise + Nearby
sunrise + Nearby
tipsoo lake + Nearby
carbon river entrance
grove of the patriarchs
Most of these general locations require very little walking. Should you wish to have a hiking adventure, a lot more unique + intimate locations can be accessed. I highly recommend checking out WTA’s website to find the perfect hike for your day. There are filters to narrow mileage/elevation gain and you can often see previous hikers views! This will give us a better starting place and I can help you from there! A few of my favorite hikes are listed below.
**Please understand that each location’s “look” varies greatly by season and weather. Certain locations loose visibility quicker than others on cloudy days and some areas are only accessible during certain times of the year and are dependent on road openings. The park is ALWAYS stunning, you just may not always have the anticipated mountain. Snow typically melts mid-late June in most of the higher elevation easy to access locations.
My location recommendations are based on the season with weather conditions in mind. Below is the best site to track hourly weather based on GPS coordinates + some popular locations within and around Mount Rainier National Park:
I always joke that my second job is a meteorologist.
Washington has a 3 day waiting period but you can apply online and have the license mailed to your home address. You can apply within 60 days of your wedding date.
1. Hire an officiant to perform a ceremony
2. Have a family member or friend get ordained and perform the ceremony.
3. Have a friend or family member perform a ceremony OR privately read vows and I can legalize your paperwork.
Let's get married
Seattle Area Application (King County)
Tacoma Area Application (Pierce county)
Choose one of 3 options:
Click HERE to access the application + info sheet
We recommend submitting for permits at least 4 weeks prior to your event. Mount Rainier National park has a $175 non-refundable fee.
General rules include:
• Not 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
fast facts + resources:
$30/vehicle (up to 7 days)
$55 Annual Pass (free for military)
can be affected by weather or wildfires
MountRainierNPS on Twitter:
Updates about road and other seasonal conditions are also posted on twitter.
Pets are not permitted on the trails at Mount Rainier National Park.
Between November 1 and May 1, all vehicles in Mount Rainier National Park are required to carry tire chains. This requirement applies to all vehicle types in all weather and road conditions.
Mount rainier's website:
Honestly - the NPS has done a fantastic job sharing information and resources. This guide only share’s a cliff note’s version so if you’re looking to dive a bit deeper, feel free to check out their site.
Cell coverage is limited so downloading maps beforehand is highly recommended.
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Partnering with a few high-quality, amazing vendors who can help bring your dream wedding to reality can absolutely elevate your experience and showcase your unique style. Hiring vendors isn’t necessarily about turning your day into a big production, but about getting some help so you don’t have to do everything yourself.
The most common vendors that couples hire for elopements & intimate weddings are florists, hair & makeup artists, officiants, chefs & caterers, and videographers.
If you have an idea and aren’t sure who to hire to help, just ask.