I’m a wedding & elopement photographer for laid back couples that value the idea of being married more than just having a party. They want photos that show their true selves and represent their love of nature, and prefer to be more natural than overly posed.
Washington’s wilderness is full of some pretty epic elopement and intimate wedding locations! From the state’s more well-known spectacular sites like Mt. Rainier National Park to smaller, hidden gem spots like Whistlin’ Jack’s, Washington is one of my favorite places in the U.S. for couples to tie the knot.
I met up with Cassidy and Collin, a beautiful, adventurous couple in the heart of the Evergreen State, to help them celebrate and document their unforgettable outdoor elopement experience. Every moment of the couple’s day was intentional, filled with thoughtful moments, love, and excitement. It was an honor to be a part of Cassidy and Collin’s heartfelt day, and I’m so excited for you to read all about it below! If you and your partner are in need of some mountain elopement inspiration, I hope Cassidy and Collin’s rustic celebration at Mt. Rainier and Whistlin’ Jack’s sparks some heart-fluttering planning creativity!
Whistlin’ Jack’s is a cozy outpost and lodge near the banks of the Naches River in the Central Cascades of Washington State. The rustic and relaxing getaway is just minutes from some of Washington’s best hiking, off-roading, boating, and wildlife viewing areas. Whistlin’ Jack’s lodging options range from private cottages to beautiful riverfront lodge rooms and picturesque campsites. The outpost and lodge also offers many amenities, such as on-property fishing, yard games, dining, and more! If you and your partner are looking for an outdoor ceremony location and accommodation all wrapped in one, Whistlin’ Jack’s is the perfect place to celebrate and unwind. The hotel is one of the best spots in Washington for a quiet, unplugged celebration with riverfront views!
Cassidy and Collin met online in the Summer of 2020. They chatted back and forth for some time, bonding over their shared interests in outdoor activities like hiking. Eventually, the soon-to-be couple scheduled a walking date in Colorado, and the rest was history! Both from Washington State, Cassidy and Collin are outgoing and love adventure! When planning their elopement day, the couple prioritized connection, intimate moments, quality time, good food, laughter, and exploration. Collin grew up near Mt. Rainier National Park and spent a lot of time there, so the pair knew the National Park had to be a part of their elopement experience!
I met Cassidy and Collin just before dawn at Sunrise Visitor Center in Mt. Rainier National Park! The couple swapped private vows written on a wooden card before sharing a sweet first look along a quiet trail. Collin and Cassidy’s reactions to seeing one another during their first look was heartwarming and pure. A snow-capped Mt. Rainier peaked through the tree line in the distance, setting the mood for a perfect elopement day in Washington for the pair.
After documenting their first look, we set out on a morning hike. It was the hottest day of the year, so hiking early in the morning saved us from getting overheated in the afternoon Sun. Once we reached the top of the hike, Collin, Cassidy, and I were treated to a gorgeous sunrise over Tahoma! After taking some time to capture the couple at the overlook, we hiked back down the trail. On the way back to the Sunrise Visitor Center, I took photos of the couple as they shared kisses, hugs, and laughter.
After our time in Mt. Rainier National Park, it was time to make our way to Whistlin’ Jack’s, where we’d meet up with the couples’ families! On the way, we stopped at a few scenic spots, one of them being Tipsoo Lake. At Tipsoo Lake, Cassidy and Collin frolicked in the sunshine and admired the meadows full of wildflowers.
After a beautiful early morning spent adventuring with Collin and Cassidy, it was time for their vow ceremony at Whistlin’ Jack’s! Before the couple’s ceremony, they had a private moment together, where they enjoyed a few sips of coffee and quality time. Afterward, Cassidy, Collin, and their guests headed to the family cabin for a mid-morning vow ceremony by the river.
The ceremony was simple and rustic yet soul-stirring. The couple had a few chairs set up for guests and an A-Frame arch decorated with greenery. The couple held hands, recited promises to one another, and exchanged rings before sharing a kiss to make their elopement official! Collin and Cassidy’s vow ceremony was heartfelt and authentic to their love story!
After saying I Do, Collin and Cassidy’s family prepared a delicious brunch. The couple’s family surprised them with a beautiful cake (which was delicious)! After enjoying great food and family time, the celebration continued with a dance party before Collin and Cassidy cooled off in the nearby river.
If you and your partner travel from outside Washington, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the closest international airport to Mt. Rainier National Park and Whistlin’ Jack’s! The airport offers shuttling to off-site rental car companies, or you can rent a car for airport pickup through services such as Turo! The scenic drive from Seattle to the Mt. Rainier area and Naches is around two and a half hours!
Mt. Rainier National Park is open year-round, with a wide variety of activities and sightseeing opportunities depending on the season. If you want to avoid crowds and still experience the park before seasonal closures, plan to visit in late August or early September.
You and your partner can grab your marriage license at the Yakima County Clerk’s Office before your Whistlin’ Jack’s wedding! Ahead of your arrival, be sure to fill out the marriage license application online. Once a marriage license is issued, Washington State requires a three-day waiting period before a ceremony can occur. So, be sure to visit the Yakima County Clerk’s Office on a weekday, at least three days before your elopement ceremony. A one-time license fee is typically around $70, and you and your partner must be present to provide government-issued identifications during your visit. To make the marriage official, two witnesses must be present, along with an officiant. The ceremony must occur within 60 days after the three-day waiting period. The signed marriage license must also be turned in to the Yakima County Clerk’s Office within 30 days of the ceremony.
Hi, I’m Erica, a Pacific Northwest elopement photographer! If you and your partner are looking to plan an epic mountain elopement, I’m here to capture a day you’ll never forget! Be sure to check out my Washington elopement packages and reach out to me via my inquiry form here! If you want to learn more about eloping in Washington, check out my guide on How To Elope In Washington! I can’t wait to explore the Evergreen State with you and your partner, while documenting the celebration of your love story!