mt rainier wedding photographer and videographer

How to Elope in Mt. Rainier National Park in 2024

How to Elope at Mt. Rainier National Park in 2024

Your Ultimate Mt. Rainier National Park Elopement Guide

mt rainier elopement photographer

The stunningly beautiful Mt. Rainier is an absolute gem to its visitors from all around the world and a local icon. Even us locals in Washington are still obsessed with her and wonder daily, “Is the mountain out?” Whether you’re a local or a traveler, experiencing an elopement at Mt. Rainier adds an extra layer of magic to this iconic landscape.

At a height of 14,410 feet, Mount Rainier is the highest volcanic peak in the contiguous United States. Imagine saying your vows to your best friend at the base, or the summit, of this incredible mountain!

In addition to the mountain herself, Mt. Rainier National Park is home to:

  • Five major rivers
  • 91,000 acres of old growth forest
  • 260 miles of hiking trails
  • An abundance of wildflowers during peak season (late July to mid August)
  • The largest alpine glacial system outside of Alaska
  • 182 bird species, 65 mammal species, 15 reptile and amphibian species, and 12 fish species

To help preserve this magical oasis, join us in practicing Leave No Trace (LNT) ethics and never step off trail or pick wildflowers. We are ALWAYS on trail and often use low angles so the trails aren’t visible, but we never step off trail because of the extremely fragile ecosystem of the park!

We value the parks and meadows immensely and want to be able to enjoy them for so many decades to come! Whether you’re visiting for a hike, camping trip, or elopement at Mt. Rainier, respecting these principles ensures that this natural wonder remains pristine for future generations.

So, How Does an Elopement at Mount Rainier National Park Work?

1. Hire a Photo and Video Team You Vibe With and Trust

The *most* important vendor (and sometimes your only elopement vendor!) that you will hire on your elopement day is your Mt. Rainier elopement photographer and videographer team. Make sure your personalities mesh well, and it feels like you are hanging out with your closest friends! Your photo and video team should also help you with everything else on this list.

Things to Look for in Your Mt. Rainier Elopement Photographer and Videographer:

  • Regularly plans and documents (preferably specialize in!) adventure elopements
  • Creates your dream timeline while planning around the golden hour and blue hour
  • Knowledge of trails, permits, and wilderness safety
  • Can help you pack, train, and prepare for your adventure
  • Practice Leave No Trace (more on this below, but a very important principle to keep national parks pristine)
  • Brings snacks. This is probably most important.

mt rainier elopement videographer

2. Choose a Location

This is one of the most exciting parts of planning your dream elopement at Mt. Rainier! There are endless beautiful options to select from that range from roadside to an easy hike to a backpacking, climbing, or mountaineering adventure. A few questions to ask yourself to help you narrow down locations:

  • Do you want to hike?
  • Do you want a *just the two of you* experience or do you want to bring guests?
  • Do you prefer magical snow or green meadows?

Mount Rainier National Park has four entrances:

  • Nisqually: Southwest Entrance (open year round with special winter schedule)
  • Carbon River: Northwest Entrance (open year round)
  • White River/Sunrise: Northeast Entrance
  • Stevens Canyon: Southeast Entrance

Weekday vs Weekend

When possible, choose a weekday sunrise or sunset ceremony that can help with crowd control so much! The lines to get into the park are shorter, parking is easier, and there are fewer people on the trails.

snow elopement mt rainier

mt rainier elopement videographer

mt rainier elopement photographer

Timed Entry Reservations

Two of the Mt. Rainier National Park entrances will be requiring timed entry reservations in 2024. Luckily, with the special use permit you’ll need for your elopement inside the park (more on this below!), you won’t need a timed entry reservation. If you do plan on visiting the park via those two entrances on a different day, below you can find all the necessary information on how to visit.

Reservations are needed to enter the Paradise Corridor (entering through the Nisqually Entrance or through the Stevens Canyon Entrance) and to enter the Sunrise Corridor (entering through the White River Entrance).

Paradise Corridor Timed Entry Reservations are required May 24, 2024, through September 2, 2024, from 7 am until 3 pm. Sunrise Corridor Timed Entry Reservations are required July 3, 2024, through September 2, 2024, from 7 am until 3 pm.

Mt Rainier Timed Entry Information

mt rainier videographer

3. Apply for Your Mt. Rainier National Park Permit and Marriage License

Once you’ve selected your date, location, photo/video team and how many (if any!) guests you will have, you can officially apply for your special use permit! Make sure to do this at least 4 weeks prior to your wedding, however we always recommend doing this as early as possible. Your Mt. Rainier elopement photographer and videographer team should help you step by step with this!

How Many Guests Can You Invite to Your Mt. Rainier Elopement?

  • 1-12 participants: may use certain pre-determined locations, which may include select trails, picnic areas, roadside locations, and campground amphitheaters.
  • 13-24 participants: may use certain pre-determined locations, which may include picnic areas, roadside locations, and campground amphitheaters.
  • 25-60 participants: may use certain pre-determined locations, which may include roadside locations and campground amphitheaters.
  • 60 + participants: may use campground amphitheaters.

This incredibly handy map of MT Rainier wedding ceremony locations shows a variety of locations where you can get married within Mt. Rainier National Park! The map even details how many guests each location can have. Seriously, MRNP hit it out of the park (ha!) with this one.

Map of Mt Rainier Wedding Ceremony Locations

mt rainier wedding photographer and videographer

When Do I Apply for My Marriage License to Get Married at Mt. Rainier National Park?

Requirements for obtaining a marriage license in Washington state:

While the process of getting your marriage license might differ from county to county, the rules of getting married in Washington remain the same.

Washington State has a mandatory 3-day waiting period, which cannot be waived.

Marriage Licenses are valid for 60 days after the 3-day waiting period and this waiting period begins when the auditor’s offices issues the license.

You can apply in-person or via mail for most counties. The in-person application is usually easier since if you are applying via mail, both parties must sign the printed application in front of a Notary Public before mailing it to the Auditor’s office.

Both applicants must have current photo ID.

Application fee applies – The fee varies from county to county ranging from $33 to $72.

You do not need to be a resident of Washington State to get married here but you do need to get your license from a Washington State County.

A marriage license from ANY Washington State county can be used to get married anywhere in Washington. Here are a few county options:

mt rainier elopement photography and videography

Do I Need an Officiant and Witnesses for My Washington State Wedding?

Yes! You will need an ordained officiant (Coleman happens to be one!) along with two witnesses (both of us are beyond happy to sign those lines for you!).

Your officiant cannot double as a witness, so if one member of your photo and video team is your officiant, and you don’t have any guests coming along, it’s super fun and easy to grab a nearby hiker and ask them to sign as your witness! They are always so eager and excited to help.

If you’ll have guests in attendance, and one of them would like to become ordained, the process is very easy and can be done through this website here:

Universal Life Church Ordination.

4. Lodging and Other Vendors

Staying in an adorable A frame cabin, a historic inn, or being one with nature at a beautiful campsite, is an incredible way to kick off your elopement experience!

Packwood WA Mt Rainier A Frame Cabin


Little Owl Cabin at Mt Rainier


Historic Paradise Inn

5. What to Bring on Your Mt. Rainier Elopement

  • A custom packing list (including layers, gear, amount of water, etc) that your photo and video team will help you curate based on your specific adventure.
  • Tire chains. Between November 1st and May 1st, 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. If you don’t own chains, they can be rented from
    Whittaker Mountaineering in Ashford for $25 – Mt Rainier Tire Chain Rentals
  • Bug spray. From June through September, we always bring bug spray with us!
  • Sunscreen. This is important year round, even on cloudy winter days.
  • Plenty of water and snacks. Having some extras stashed in your vehicle is a great idea too.
  • Headlamps and batteries. We are usually hiking up in the dark for the sunrise or down in the dark after the sunset to make sure we capture the incredible golden and blue hour!
  • Permit. Bring your Mt. Rainier National Park special use permit to grant you free entry into the park, exemption from the reserved timed entry, and in case a park ranger asks to see it. You can bring a paper copy or just have it downloaded on your phone.
  • Marriage license. These are often signed on the back of your car as your adventure is coming to an end or you can pack it in with you in case an extra witness is needed (like a random hiker!)
  • Vows. A beautiful way to connect deeply during your elopement is by writing your own vows to one another. This can be done during your ceremony (whether it’s just the two of you or you’re surrounded by a few of your favorite people) or it can be done after your ceremony during a private vow reading.

mt rainier elopement

unique elopement

6. Have Your Dream Mt. Rainier Elopement!

Your elopement day is here and it’s time for all of your adventure elopement dreams to come true! Seriously. This is your day. The sky is the limit and you deserve every single second to be filled with love, adventure, and connection.

There are infinite ways to elope, but here are a few ideas to get you started! Choose a ceremony that mostly represents you and your love, elopement at Mt Rainier with just bride and groom or elopement with Family at Mt Rainier.

With your trusted Mt. Rainier Adventure Elopement Photographer and Videographer team you can capture moments you’ll cherish forever. Contact us today and book your elopement from dreams.

Washington Elopement Photography

Additional FAQs

Can I bring my dog to Mt. Rainier National Park? Dogs are not allowed on the trails or in wilderness areas at Mount Rainier National Park. Leashed dogs are allowed in campgrounds, parking lots, and on paved roads. We are huge dog lovers and know some amazing locations outside of the park that have beautiful views of Mt. Rainier! Here is more information from the park itself on its pet policy – Mt Rainier Pet Policy.

When is wildflower season at Mt Rainier National Park? Peak wildflower usually starts at the end of July and runs through the second week of August. This is when the multi colored wildflowers, including purple lupine, red Indian paintbrush, and avalanche lilies, can be found. Often, some of the white wildflowers will stick around into the fall.

How much does it cost to elope at Mt. Rainier National Park? It costs $250 to get married at Mt. Rainier. Once your application is received by the Permit Coordinator, you will be given instructions on paying the non-refundable application fee online.

Can we get married at the summit of Mt. Rainier? Yes! Upper Mountain Area has a maximum day use group size of 12 and allows multiple permits to be issued per day. Permits can be issued for any day of the week, any time of day. You, your partner, and anyone else in your party need to have rope team experience on a glacier along with being physically conditioned for the climb.

When can snow be expected on the ground at Mt. Rainier? The snow usually melts out for the summer around mid to late July, depending on the elevation, and the snow typically starts to fall again in mid-late October or early November.

Mt. Rainier wedding couple

Elopement Photographer, couple stands atop canyon wall in the wilderness

Welcome

Boom! You made it and the adventures that come next will be unforgettable! We are Vannessa and Coleman, the two-person photography team here to take you on some amazing adventures whether that’s backpacking into a remote vista, climbing some cascade peaks, or getting sandy on a coastal beach, were already in and want you to come with!