A Mt Baker elopement is one of the best ways to experience the wilder side of Washington. From the Canadian border to Mt Rainier, the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is snugged up against the North Cascades. Almost 2 million acres of old-growth forests, meadows, waterfalls, glaciers, alpine lakes, and mountain views means your Mt Baker elopement can be anything you want.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Arguably, the best time of year to elope at Mt Baker is during the summer. In northern Washington, that means July-September. At higher elevations, it’s not uncommon to have snow into June. Summer also brings wildflowers and some gorgeous sunsets.
My second-favourite time of the year to elope at Mt Baker is autumn. The crowds start to thin out, and the colours are stunning. I’m a sucker for those autumn colours and a little nip in the air.
If you want a snowshoeing elopement, Mt Baker in the winter is your girl. If you want winter but no snow…you can both cross your fingers and stick to the lowest elevations!
Mt. Baker Lodging is plentiful! From campsites to vacation rentals to lodges, there’s something for everyone here. The ski area is popular in the winter, and the summers draw hikers from all over, so there are plenty of places to stay.
You can explore various campsites here, and for rentals, I recommend Airbnb, VRBO, and Mt. Baker Lodging. I recommend you check with your host before you book if you can have a photographer on-site. Most people are fine with it, but not everyone is on board. Or they’ll have certain restrictions that we need to be aware of. Some rentals will let you host a small ceremony but definitely check the details ahead of time. It’s not worth trying to do it anyway, then getting caught and having your day interrupted and ruined.
The Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is so large that I couldn’t possibly list out all the elopement locations here. I also wouldn’t do that even if I could—I spend a lot of time and effort finding special places for my couples. It’s one of the perks of booking with me.
As I mentioned above, one of the things that I help my couples with is finding a place to elope. I maintain and constantly add to a database of locations. Every entry in the database has information like hike length and elevation gain, difficulty, suitability for groups, attributes (mountain view? lakes? forests?), images, level of accessibility, and Leave No Trace info.
When you book with me, one of the very first things you get is a questionnaire that will help me narrow down my suggestions for you.
Disclaimer: I am not a planner or certified outdoor guide. My location suggestions are suggestions only, and the final decisions are always up to you!
For your elopement to be officially recognized by the government here in Washington, you need three things:
Your other option is to get “paperwork married” at a courthouse, either nearby or in your home state if you’re traveling. And then you can elope here at Mt Baker without worrying about any of that!
If you’ve never eloped before or never been to an elopement, you may not have a vision in your head yet. That’s perfectly ok, we can work on it together. I make sure that your timeline always has some extra time woven in to account for plans changing, spontaneous decisions, and space to take breaks when you need them.
To kickstart some of the daydreams, check this out:
12:00 PM – We meet at your cabin rental as you’re enjoying your morning together. I photograph all your elopement details like rings, vows, flowers, invitations, and any special items you’ve brought with you. You and your partner(s) get ready either separately or apart.
2:00 PM – You share a first look near the cabin to see each other in your wedding clothes for the first time and shake out any jitters.
2:15 PM – 2:45 PM – We pack up our things and drive to the trailhead.
2:45 PM – 5:15 PM – We hike a few miles together, exploring and taking portraits. When you find a spot that feels right, you exchange your private vows.
5:15 PM – 6:45 PM – We hike back down, then drive the short distance to the second location, where we meet up with your loved ones.
6:45 PM – 7:30 PM – After a short hike, we arrive at your ceremony location.
7:30 PM – Your ceremony takes place as the sun sets, followed by a picnic of your favourite foods, admiring the views.
8:15 PM – 9:00 PM – We hike back down and take some final photos in the gathering dusk with lanterns.
9:00 PM – Photography coverage wraps up.
For more example timelines and info on how to start thinking about your own elopement dream, you can read this article.
As with most things, choose your own adventure. If you’re looking to have a bougie, super fancy, Mt. Baker elopement, you can totally do that. But if you’re sticking to any kind of budget and want to get an idea of where your dollars will likely be spent, here you go:
Your lodging could be free if staying with someone local, as low as a campsite, or as middling-to-high as a cabin rental from a weekend to several weeks. Prices vary depending on the time of year and how near you are to popular areas. An average vacation rental in the area costs $190-350 per night. You can find cheaper and (much) more expensive, it all depends on your preference.
If you’re eloping alone, it’s likely you won’t need a permit at all, and neither will your photographer. The more people you have, the more likely it is. Generally, these won’t run you more than a few hundred dollars. (Not bad compared to a 5-figure venue, right?)
You don’t have to hire a single vendor for your elopement, not even a photographer. I obviously recommend you hire a photographer, but you know, you do you. Everyone you add to your vendor team should add to your elopement experience. Hiring someone for the sake of it because you feel like you’re supposed to never made sense to me. It’s tough to ballpark the expected spend on vendors in general because it’s so variable depending on your preferences, the size of your wedding, and your preferred vendors’ prices.
My best advice here is to determine your priorities and go from there. You can expect to spend several thousand dollars on your vendors, depending on your preferences.
I’ve separated this from other elopement vendors because I am a photographer and can speak to this specifically.
Your mileage may vary here, but typically, photography is one of the most expensive parts of an elopement. There are several reasons for this that I can get into elsewhere if anyone is interested, but in a nutshell: when you elope, your photographer often takes on many roles. Not only do we document this once-in-a-lifetime day that few people (if any) witness, but we also usually help with finding locations, drawing up schedules, finding other vendors, and generally making your day come to life. Photographer prices and expertise cover the entire spectrum. Scroll down to read more about mine!
Mt. Baker is essentially in my backyard. I live up in Northwest Washington, so my personal adventures often take me all over the forest; I fall more in love with it every season.
And I love getting to share that with couples on their wedding day.
My Mt. Baker elopement packages start at 4 hours for a mini elopement but go all the way up to two days if that’s what you’re into. Most couples book me for 8-12 hours. If you’re paralyzed by that and have no idea how much time you need, I have two recommendations: