Post Summary: This blog post is all about helping you set realistic expectations for your PNW elopement and making sure that you pick the best season + location possible for your big day. I’ll be going through what the weather conditions typically look like in the PNW in each season, and what each season would look like to elope in the PNW. I’ll also be giving you all of the best places to elope in each season (because not all locations are accessible/beautiful year-round!), as well as a list of the best season to elope depending on the type of views you’re envisioning!
Weather in the PNW is known for being super unpredictable (and rainy!). So while Washington & Oregon are absolutely beautiful places to elope in the PNW, it’s important to set realistic expectations for your elopement and to remember that every season looks totally different + you can’t control the weather! The goal of this blog post is to help you set realistic expectations as far as what’s possible for your elopement during every part of the year, and for every type of location.
For example: I often have couples inquiring with me who want those dreamy wildflower meadows & clear mountain views in April – but realistically, the mountains are usually buried in snow until July, and the wildflowers are at their best in August.
I hope this blog post helps you get a better grasp on the seasonality of the PNW and how important it is to plan with weather in mind, as well as how to set realistic expectations so that you know exactly what you’re planning + aren’t disappointed with the end result if the views aren’t clear, if the wildflowers aren’t in bloom yet, etc.. Let’s dive right in!
If you’re looking for general PNW elopement guides instead, you can find those below!
What is the Best Time of Year to Elope in the PNW?
Overall, summer & autumn (June-October) are the best seasons to elope in the PNW due to the beautiful weather, clear trails, and the best mountain views.
In my opinion, August is the best month to elope in the PNW because the weather is comfortable everywhere you go, and every location is most likely accessible during this month (minus unexpected road closures, construction, etc.)! Summertime in the PNW mountains is also pretty dang unbeatable, which is why sooo many people come from around the country to visit around this time!
Best Season to Elope in the PNW
Now let’s dive into what each season really looks like in the PNW, and help you figure out which seasons would/wouldn’t be ideal for the adventure elopement that you’re dreaming up.
Winter elopements in the PNW (December-February)
Best for: Privacy, stunning winter landscapes, & lower travel/accommodation costs
Do not elope in the winter if you’re wanting: Mountains, waterfalls, or wildflowers
We’ll start with winter in the PNW, which is typically considered to be December-February. Our winters have super short days and usually a ton of precipitation (snow/rain), road closures, and limited access to parts of the national parks. Low elevations tend to be pretty overcast, moody, and gloomy, so this definitely isn’t the time to elope if you’re looking for blue skies and beautiful views!
Winter is great if you’re wanting to elope on the coastal beaches or in the rainforest, as well as if you’re wanting fewer crowds & more privacy. While winter isn’t the ideal time to elope in the mountains, it is a great time to elope in the lowlands, like the high desert, where temperatures are more mild and drier!
Here’s a quick overview of what it could look like to elope in each month of winter:
December is a great month to elope in the PNW if you love the snow, and want to go snowboarding, snowshoeing, or skiing versus hiking! Temperatures typically stay between 30-40°F, with 10 hours of daylight on average per day. 71% of the month is overcast or mostly cloudy with 49% chance of rain, and winds up to 6mph - so it's important to wear lots of layers and bring microspikes/snowshoes! I also recommend bringing a thermos filled with hot coffee, tea, or soup to stay warm.
January is pretty much the same as December as far as conditions go, with temperatures averaging between 31-42°F, 9-10 hours of sunshine every day, constant cloud coverage about 72% of the month, and 46% rainy days. This is a great month for couples who don't want to hike & would rather participate in snow activities like snowboarding, snowshoeing, or skiing! Again, you should wear lots of layers and bring a hot drink with you while you're outside to keep warm. And don't forget to bring microspikes/snowshoes - they will be a must!
February starts to warm up just a liiiiittle bit with average temperatures of 33-47°F, around 9 hours of daylight, and overcast or mostly cloudy skies 69% of the month (clearing up slowly but surely!). There's less rainfall in February than other winter months, but you should still be prepared - after all, it is the good old PNW! This is the last winter month that you'll be sure to enjoy snow activities like snowboarding, snowshoeing, and skiing in many areas of the PNW.
Spring elopements in the PNW (March-May)
Best for: Mild weather, smaller crowds, & waterfalls
Do not elope in the spring if you’re wanting: Mountains or clear skies
Spring is the rainy season in the PNW, so if you’re not a fan of that classic Seattle rain you may want to avoid eloping in the spring! While the mountains are still inaccessible and covered in snow, lower elevations begin to melt out and turn to those gorgeous shades of PNW green. Spring is the perfect time for a waterfall elopement, especially with the quiet + moody atmosphere that rainforests bring this time of year! Cherry blossoms also begin to bloom in the Seattle area in the spring, but the window to see them is fairly small, as they don’t stay around for long.
Here’s a quick overview of what it could look like to elope in each month of spring:
March is the windiest month of the year, but if you don't mind a little bit of a breeze and are down for chilly temp, it can be a beautiful time to elope in the PNW! Spring is by far the best time of year to visit waterfalls and see the cherry blossoms as long as you don't mind the rain, and temperatures begin warming up, averaging around 38-56°F. You'll still have about 10 hours of daylight and rain about 46% of the month, so make sure to bring waterproof layers and be prepared for overcast or partly cloudy skies.
April is a great month to elope if you want to check out some waterfalls, see wildflowers at lower elevations in the mountains, and don't mind the rain! Temperatures stay around 42-63°F with 8-10 hours of sunshine every day on average, and rain only 33% of the month (that's pretty solid for the PNW). Everything starts to warm up after a chilly winter, and this time of year it's usually comfy enough for light clothes during the day, but you will definitely need warm layers at night.
May is by far the best month for hiking at lower elevations thanks to the wildflowers that are starting to bloom and the snow melting away! It's also a great time to elope if you want to see waterfalls and experience slightly more comfortable temperatures, warming up to a range of 48-71°F on average. You get a lot more sunlight in May than in the winter or early spring, with 14 hours of sunshine per day, and less rain - but you should still bring waterproof layers.
Summer elopements in the PNW (June-August)
Best for: Longer days, warmer weather, outdoor activities, & accessibility
Do not elope in the summer if you’re wanting: Minimal crowds/tourists/other visitors
Summer is no-doubt the best season for PNW elopements because the warm weather has FINALLY rolled around, with clearer skies + longer days making it a great time of year for a sunrise-to-sunset elopement! Mid-summer is when the snow in the mountains begins to melt & become fully accessible, so even if you’re eloping early/late summer you should make sure all the snow is melted at any higher elevations that you want to visit. Roads to the mountains usually melt out and begin opening up towards the end of July!
Almost all locations are fully accessible in the summer (except for random road closures, traffic, etc.), and this is also the season that wildflowers also start to pop up at higher elevations! So this time of year is great for any kind of elopement, but especially for couples who are wanting to hike or elope at a higher elevation, orrr in those picturesque wildflower meadows you’ve seen in the pictures.
Keep in mind that this is also when wildfire season tends to start, so there is potential for road closures & smoky skies due to fires. This can happen quickly and unexpectedly, so make sure to have backup plans in place that are far away from your original location in case of wildflowers!
Here’s a quick overview of what it could look like to elope in each month of summer:
Woohoo, summer has finally arrived! June is a good month for you to elope if you like warm weather, you want to hike at lower elevations, you love the golden light of sunrise and sunset, or you want to do any water-based activities like kayaking, swimming, or sailing. Temperatures are finallyyyy getting up there, ranging between 54-80°F, with 11-14 hours of beautiful sunshine and only 18% rainy days + 40% cloudy days. However, June can be the trickiest month to try to elope in, especially if you want the mountains, because the weather is so unpredictable. If we're having a warm year, snow might melt out early, but it could also be present in the mountains until August! Make sure you have realistic expectations about this time of year, and have a couple of backup locations in place (e.g. have a lower-elevation option in case there's still snow at the higher-elevation location you originally wanted).
July is the hottest month of the year and is great for couples looking for warm weather, clear skies, long days, plenty of hiking opportunities at both low + high elevation locations, and beautiful sunrises + sunsets! This is also a fantastic time for water-based activities such as kayaking, swimming, or sailing if you want to cool off, or spend a day out on the water with your friends and family. Temperatures stay between 61-90°F and you'll get 12-14 hours of sunshine, plus mostly clear days (which is a huge win in the PNW!). It's important to know that wildfires are, unfortunately, super common this time of year, so it's possible that certain locations (trails, roads, etc.) could be closed off due to wildfires or smoke. It's also the most crowded time of the year at most locations in the mountains, so you should elope at sunrise or sunset to avoid crowds as much as possible.
Just like July, August is one of the best times to elope in the PNW thanks to the warm weather, clear skies, long days, and snow-free mountains. High elevations have most likely fully melted out by now, making it pretty safe to assume that you'll be able to access any trails you want to unless there's a crazy early snowfall or late snow melt for some reason! On average, temperatures stay between 61-89°F, and you get 13-14 hours of sunshine per day. It's a great month for seeing wildflowers and taking advantage of the clear skies, as long as there's no wildire smoke.
Fall elopements in the PNW (September-November)
Best for: stunning sunsets, comfortable weather, & classic PNW moodiness
Do not elope in the fall if you’re wanting: Clear skies, sunshine, or mountain views
Fall is when things start to cool down in the PNW, but the gorgeous autumn colors can easily make up for the drop in temperatures! Colors are changing from those spring greens to shades of red, orange, and gold – the fall colors in the mountains are seriously phenomenal if you time it right. The perks of eloping this time of the year is that kids have begun to go back to school, summer vacations end, and crowds in the national parks dwindle, which gives you a better chance at more privacy than during the summer.
Keep in mind that days quickly become shorter this time of year, so you won’t have as much daylight. Snow can also arrive early in the PNW, which is why it’s important to have a backup plan – especially if you’re wanting to elope in the mountains!
Here’s a quick overview of what it could look like to elope in each month of fall:
September is the best month to elope if you want beautiful fall colors, fewer crowds, and to be able to hike at high or low elevations. You should have backup locations in place just in case mountain roads close earlier than expected, but temperatures tend to stay pretty warm + comfortable for hiking.
If you're eloping in the PNW for those beautiful, golden larches you've seen in photos, October is the time to do it! October is typically when the first snowfall in the mountains will occur, so be prepared for the weather to change really drastically + unpredictably this time of year. Temperatures are between 44-64°F on average, and the amount of rainy + cloudy days increases by a lot once fall hits, so bring your waterproof layers!
Finally, we've arrived to the wettest month of the year. If you're down for gloomy, rainy days and want to avoid crowds, this is a great time to do so! Almost all mountain roads are fully closed by this point, so you'll have to stay in low elevations. Expect to get 8-10 hours of sunshine per day, overcast skies 71% of the month, and rainy days 56% of the month.
Where to Elope in the PNW Based On the Season
This section is for couples who:
✅ know what season they want to elope in
❌ don’t know what location they want to elope at
I’ve laid out a whole list of all the locations in Washington & Oregon that are awesome for adventure elopements during each season, so you don’t have to spend any more time playing a guessing game. It can be super hard to figure out which locations you can actually, realistically elope at during each season – e.g. don’t expect to elope at Mount Rainier in November, when the park is totally covered in snow – so hopefully this helps you out!
Here’s where you can elope in the PNW in the winter!
- Hot springs
Here’s where you can elope in the PNW in the spring!
Cherry blossom groves:
Here’s where you can elope in the PNW in the summer!
- Mt. Rainier National Park
- North Cascades National Park
- Mt. Baker
- Hurricane Ridge
- Crater Lake National Park
- The Wallowas
- Hoh Rainforest
- Southern Oregon Coast
Last but not least, here’s where you can elope in the PNW in the fall!
Where to Elope in the PNW Based On the Views
This section is for couples who:
❌ don’t know what season they want to elope in
✅ know what type of location they want to elope at
Here is the best season for you to elope in the PNW based on what kind of scenery you’re looking for as a backdrop to your big day.
Alpine lakes (high elevation): July-September
Beaches: Any time of year
Botanical gardens: Late March-early April
Fall colors: Late September-October
Hot springs: December-March
Lookouts: Late July-early September
Low lakes: May-November
Mountains: Late July-early September
Meadows: Late April-early September
Sand dunes: June-August
Wildflowers (low elevation): Late March-early April
Wildflowers (high elevation): Late July-early August
At the end of the day, it’s important to be super realistic with where + when you’re eloping, and the pros and cons that come with every time of year and type of location. The PNW is a freaking incredible place to elope, so I want to make sure you can have the most epic day possible no matter what the weather is like or what else could come up unexpectedly!
If you want further help planning your elopement for the smoothest day possible (no matter the weather or anything else that could get in your way), I’ve got two more guides you’ll want to check out: How to Handle Bad Weather on Your Wedding Day & Why You Need to Have Backup Plans for Your Elopement!
PNW Elopement Photographer
If you’re ready to say heck yesss to planning an epic, adventurous PNW elopement and want a pro to help you make it happen, I’d love to be your gal! Check out my PNW elopement pricing + packages below, and reach out to me here if you’re ready to create something beautiful together. I can’t wait to take you to all of my favorite places in the PNW and help you plan the most magical day!
Elopement Packages and Pricing for Washington & Oregon
- Full day of elopement photography coverage anywhere in Washington & Oregon
- Your own personal elopement guide & consultant
- Unique and personalized location scouting
- Vendor recommendations
- Permit and marriage license assistance
- Hand-crafted elopement timeline
- Created just-for-you activity list
- Unlimited guides and resources
- 100+ page How to Elope Guidebook
- Optional complimentary officiant service
- Digital online gallery with full resolution image and printing rights
- Sneak peek images within 1 week
- Photographer travel fees covered anywhere in Washington & Oregon
Starting at $4,500
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