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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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Top 3 Tips for Planning a Dog Friendly Elopement

When planning your elopement there is a lot to consider: the where, the when, the who’s, and of course, how to bring your pups along for the adventure! So here are three of my top 3 tips for planning a dog friendly elopement.

Bride and groom walking dog during elopement at Artist Point | Megan Montalvo Photography

1. Choosing a Dog Friendly Elopement Location

First and foremost is making sure your dream location is an option for a dog friendly elopement. Here are two of my go-to’s for finding locations:

National Forests

While most people tend to first think of National Parks for their special day, National Forests are one of my favorite things to recommend for having a dog friendly elopement. They’re usually located near National Parks, but without all the crowds and restrictions in terms of bringing your pup along.

State Parks

While these can be a little more hit and miss than National Forests, State Parks are another great option to explore. When dogs are allowed there are usually less restrictions than you would find in a National Park.

What to Do When Your Dream Location IS in a National Park

Sometimes you already have a dream location in mind, and it might be in your favorite National Park. And while some might think that a National Park elopement is impossible for also being a dog friendly elopement, there are ways you can work around this. It usually means choosing to have your ceremony somewhere separate from where most of your photos will be taken.

In National Parks, dogs are often allowed in most campgrounds, picnic areas, and other specified places (usually near roads). This can be a good balance between having your pup with you for the ceremony, and then enjoying some time with just you and your partner wherever you’d like the rest of the photos taken. Just make sure to look up permits and guidelines for dogs in the National Park of your choice.

If you decide on a National Park, it’s not to say that your dog can’t be part of your day. Krystyna and Pat’s Hurricane Ridge elopement is a great example of having both. They chose to have their pup be at their AirBnb for the getting ready photos + their first look. It allowed us to get portraits of them as a family before heading out for the rest of the elopement. For them, it was the best of both worlds!

2. Make a List of Anything You’ll Need for Your Pup

It’s so important to be prepared on your elopement day! Regardless of where you choose to have your elopement, you’ll want to make sure you have everything prepared to keep your pup comfortable. Whether that’s extra bags to ensure you’re practicing Leave No Trace, their favorite treats, or paw protectors if you know you’ll be in snow. You’ll want to make sure you don’t have to think twice about anything your dog might need.

3. Have a Designated Person Ready to Take Care of Your Dog

One of the most helpful things to have during a dog friendly elopement is someone who is prepared to be responsible for your dog when it’s time to take photos without them. While you’ll likely want your pups in a lot of your photos, it’s also nice to be able to take the rest without worrying about them. By having someone designated to take care of them, play with them, and keep them busy with extra treats, you’ll be able to step away without worrying about them. 

Bringing your dogs is a really special part of making your elopement exactly how you envision it. Trust me, there are lots of ways to make this happen. As an MMP client, you’ll receive a customized location list in which your pups would be taken into account.

Oh, and one last tipdon’t forget their bowtie! This little guy pulled it off quite well for his Mom and Dad’s summer elopement in the North Cascades

Dog wearing blue bow tie for elopement at Artist Point | Megan Montalvo Photography

To see more elopements photographed by MMP, click here!

Megan Montalvo is a PNW Elopement Photographer based out of Seattle, Washington. Megan offers intimate wedding and elopement photography to surrounding PNW destinations. Locations include 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.

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