How to Elope at Mt. Rainier National Park
As a huge fan of elopements, I’m always pleased when a couple decides on taking this non-traditional route to getting married. By eloping, you can tie the knot in the most beautiful places in the world while leaving the stress of typical wedding planning behind. When Ashley and Josh reached out to have me photograph their intimate elopement in Mount Rainier, Washington, I was just as excited to be there as they were. The two invited me to hang out in their Air BnB with their friends and family for 4 days. This was a photographers dream. The thing about Mt. Rainier is that it’s a great location in nature that features spectacular panoramic views of the mountains. It seems like you can always see the mountains wherever you are. There are slo wide open fields filled with flowers and beautiful forested hikes with magical waterfalls. You certainly don’t have to walk far to find an epic spot to say, “I do.”
Ashley shares why she decided to have a Mt. Rainier Elopement.
“Even after traveling to 20 other national parks, Mt. Rainier is our favorite place in the whole world. We knew after going to other weddings that a more traditional setting was more of going through the motions and making sure your guests were happy. Not that we didn’t love our family and friends and have them in mind… but our wedding day was supposed to be about us and committing ourselves to each other for the rest of our life. This was OUR wedding day. That means it didn’t matter if there was just us or 500 people… we wanted a day WE would remember.
That led us back to Rainier. We wanted to make an incredible experience out of it and bring us back to the place that we loved. We also knew that our parents, siblings and CLOSEST family members wouldn’t miss it for the world and this gave them an opportunity to travel and see something they would never otherwise go see.
We planned a week of hiking and exploring everyone packed up and came out. It was the easiest planning… in just under 5 months time! I didn’t stress at all! We didn’t need flowers or lights or anything fancy because everything around us was incredible. It was just us and 25 of our closest friends and family. I remember every detail of that day as does everyone else. We took our time, enjoyed our day, and didn’t have to rush around for anything. It was an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world!” -Ashley
What You Need to Know about Eloping at Mt. Rainier
All you need to elope in Mt. Rainier National Park is someone ordained to marry you, 2 witnesses, and a permit. A completed application form along with a $60 check for a non-refundable application fee is all that’s due to make it official with the park. The link to that permit and more information can be found HERE – https://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/upload/sup-info-weddings-july2012.pdf
“The biggest thing about a wedding in Rainier is the amount of people. You are not allowed too many people in the park for a wedding so that was a little tricky. It was helpful because we didn’t want a lot of people and that was a good way to help keep it to a smaller party. The other tricky part was just making sure everyone got a hotel room. Other than that… it was so easy! We had catering from the local grocery store and they were very sweet! We rented a house which had a hot tub and view of Rainier so we got to relax every night. It was a very easy process.” -Ashley
I met Ashley and Josh at their Airbnb not far from Rainier. I spent 4 days hiking and exploring with the family, and documenting the days leading up to, and the day after their elopement. It was an experience none of them will forget and allowed the bride and groom to spend quality time with their closest friends and family in a much more intimate way than a large wedding party. They chose Pinnacle Peak Trail for the hike to take for their elopement. The saddle featured an epic view of Mt. Rainier and Paradise, we stopped there for them to say their vows.
“My favorite memory is after the ceremony when everyone hiked down but we stayed behind for pictures. We spent at least an hour just enjoying the view, hiking around, and of course taking the most spectacular wedding photos you could ever see. It is hard to look at them and believe they are really mine. That time with just the 2 of us was so special because we weren’t in a hurry, we had no place we had to be, all of our family was enjoying themselves and relaxing, it was truly just our time to enjoy our day. I don’t think that would have been possible if we hadn’t eloped and it is one of the reasons I highly recommend it!” -Ashley
If you’re needing a photographer experienced shooting elopements, I’m your man. I hope this article inspired you, but feel free to also reach out to me with questions or to inquire about availability for your elopement by clicking here.
Josh Hartman – Elopement Photographer
What is your favorite photo from the day?
“There is a photo of the 2 of us from the distance looking out at the mountains after the ceremony. I actually printed it on metal for our bedroom. It is less about us and more about the landscape. We aren’t posing for a cute photo with smiles on our face. We are truly just staring in awe of the scenery around us. It is a spectacular picture that takes us right back to that moment.” -Ashley