A Deception Pass wedding may be right for you if:
Deception Pass is a stunning wedding location and one that requires much less effort than hiking thousands of feet up a mountain. Read on for how to have your very own Deception Pass wedding!
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Deception Pass State Park is the most visited state park in Washington.
And for good reason.
If you’ve ever been to Big Sur in California, or Point Lobos, Deception Pass is like that. Only…more. It’s kind of a unique spot in Washington. Because it’s tucked in behind the Olympic peninsula and not right out on the open ocean, it’s got the rocky, coastal vibe going on without the typical beach look.
It’s also a great option if you want to elope in the early spring and don’t want to worry about snow. The mountains around here hold onto their snow until July sometimes, but Deception Pass is at sea level.
The park covers almost 4,000 acres across Whidbey and Fidalgo islands, full of hiking trails, campsites, lakes, and miles of saltwater shoreline.
It’s important to note that the area served Coast Salish tribes for thousands of years before it was mapped by the Vancouver Expedition in 1972.
Technically, you can have a Deception Pass wedding whenever you want. The park is open year-round, but depending on your preferences, there are “better” times to elope at Deception Pass.
For optimal weather, the best time of year to elope in Deception Pass is between May and October. It’s your best shot at “not raining” and “not dark.” Washington is beautiful in the winter, but be prepared for colder temperatures, fewer hours of daylight, and a much higher chance of rain.
As I tell all of my couples, if privacy is important to you, get married on a weekday. It’s not a guarantee, but for somewhere popular like Deception Pass State Park, you’re more likely to find solitude on a weekday than on a weekend.
As usual, I don’t give out all my secret places willy-nilly on the Internet, but some of the most popular, lovely places are excellent choices for your Deception Pass wedding.
There are so many activities available to you in Deception Pass Park! Here are just a few:
For most places in Washington, you’ll need to at least inquire about a permit. Deception Pass State Park is no exception, but I promise it’s not complicated or expensive.
Getting the proper permits is important for so many reasons. The money helps support the parks, and permitting ensures that the park isn’t damaged or mistreated. Which means couples can continue getting married at Deception Pass State Park for years to come.
At the end of the day, getting a permit is an easy process that will cost you just a few hundred dollars. Much cheaper and easier than a big venue, right?
Here’s how to sort out your permits:
There’s plenty of information online, but no matter what you read in an online forum, rules can change over time, and not everyone follows those rules. Your best bet, always, is to contact the local rangers for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
At Deception Pass, weddings can fall under the “special activities permit” heading. Again, talk to the rangers for specifics based on the type of wedding you’re having. You can find more information here on the Washington parks website.
Your photographer will likely need a permit too! This is in addition to your Special Activities permit. Also easy and not very expensive. Talk to your photographer if you need help navigating any of this.
You’ll need a Discover Pass to park at Deception Pass State Park. They can be purchased for $10 for a day pass or $30 for a yearly pass. These can be purchased ahead of time (which I recommend) or at any of the automated pay stations in the park.
Deception Pass is easy to get to.
If you’re coming from Bellingham, it’s easiest to take I-5 south to Route 20 west. Drive time is only 45 minutes.
If you’re coming from Seattle, head up I-5 north to Route 20, easy peasy. Should take about 90 minutes. You can also take the ferry to Whidbey Island from Mukilteo.
If you’re looking for a Deception Pass wedding photographer, I’m your human! I’m based in Bellingham and familiar with the park; it’s basically in my backyard.