Olympia Courthouse Wedding

Olympia Courthouse Wedding

I'm Rachel, your PNW elopement photographer. I say "yes" when other people have told you "no," for the most you wedding day.

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This Olympia courthouse wedding was something of a last-minute booking. It was a beautiful surprise that rounded out the end of my season.

Brittany and Trevor are planning a more adventurous, outdoor elopement sometime in the future. But for now, they wanted to tie the knot at the courthouse.

If you’ve read my article on courthouse weddings, you’ll know that, far from being “trashy,” they’re actually delightful. To be honest, I shied away from them at first. The vast majority of my couples elope outdoors or at a small venue. I thought courthouse weddings had too much of an urban vibe, that I wouldn’t be able to work the same magic.

I’ve photographed several courthouse weddings in the last few years. And luckily, I was wrong.

For this wedding, we met up near the water in Olympia. We hiked a trail to the sound, skipped stones, and explored the mossy trees. They told me stories about how they met (on a diving trip in Honduras), how many countries they wanted to visit together before they elope (16, just 2 to go), and when they want to get a dog (soon).

We then got to spend some time exploring downtown. We saw the old courthouse, the old capitol building, and the holiday lights.

The ceremony at the county courthouse was intimate and lovely. Gone are the days of short and sterile legal proceedings. The judge who performed the wedding even checked in beforehand to ask how Brittany and Trevor would like to be referred to; wife, husband, spouse, etc. She gave them a beautiful wedding ceremony that had everyone a little more emotional than we thought we’d be.

Because even though it’s “just paperwork day,” even though they’re planning another elopement celebration later, it’s still special. It’s still emotional, still a big moment, and still something worth remembering.

And especially if you’re planning on eloping abroad, courthouse weddings are enormously practical. For those of you planning elopements in Ireland, for example: the paperwork situation over there is much more complicated than it is in the United States. Handling the paperwork at home with a courthouse wedding will make your lives so much easier. And if you’re in Washington, I’m happy to photograph it for you!

I’ve also had couples for whom the courthouse wedding is all they have planned, it’s their wedding day. And that’s lovely too. Send me an email to start planning your courthouse wedding!

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