Lake Crescent Elopement Guide — How to Elope at Lake Crescent

It is impossible to come up short when you’re drafting a list of possible locations in Washington to elope at. I know you see it said all the time, but Washington really does have every kind of outdoor landscape to give you your dream celebration! Lake Crescent, located in Olympic National Park about 18 miles west of Port Angeles, is another stunning location for you to consider getting married at. I’m going to give you all the details you’ll need for a Lake Crescent elopement, so you can plan with confidence and rest assured that you have every detail covered. 

We’ll go over:

  • What makes Lake Crescent unique & why I love it
  • All the legalities to officially tie the knot here
  • Specific lakeside location recommendations for your ceremony
  • Weather and season considerations
  • Bonus: a styled elopement I shot at Lake Crescent with an amazing group of people to give you an idea of what an elopement at Lake Crescent might look like!

Let’s dive right in. 

Why Choose Lake Crescent for Your Elopement?

First and foremost, Lake Crescent is perfectly located for a destination elopement. Yep, even if you live in Seattle! It’s far enough away from the city that you’ll feel energized and refreshed in a new area. And, it’s a pretty easy drive to Port Angeles — you could take a day to explore the town, and spend the rest of your time at the lake. 

Being close to Port Angeles also means convenience when you’re figuring out your lodging. If you have guests, staying in this little city is going to be charming and so much fun! Of course, you can also decide to go for the full adventure, and stay at Lake Crescent Lodge or choose a camping site for a weekend (the Fairholme campground is closest, and the spots are on a first-come, first-serve basis). 

Another reason to love Lake Crescent is that it’s glacially-carved. This means the lake primarily comes from ice, which makes the water incredibly cold and crystal clear. In some places, you can see nearly 60 feet down! I recommend planning a picnic here during your elopement, or enjoying water activities like kayaking or sailing. 

Two small wildflower bouquets held by two brides in white dresses, arms around each other at Lake Crescent
A folding table holds simple flowers and a cake on display in front of Lake Crescent for an elopement

Permits, Licenses, & Fees

Now that I’ve convinced you to have your elopement at Lake Crescent (🤗), let’s talk about the legal side of things. 

All national parks require a special permit to be able to get married inside the park, but sometimes there are exceptions or special circumstances that you might fall under. For Olympic National Park, if your whole group is less than 5 people, you won’t need the permit! I recommend reading the special use permit page in full, to make sure that you understand all the requirements. You can also find the application directly on this page. The park recommends that you send them an email in addition to filling out your permit application!

If you have any questions as you fill out your permit application, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! As your elopement photographer, I have navigated national parks permit applications many times, and can help you if you get stuck or aren’t sure on anything. 

Locations I Recommend for a Lake Crescent Elopement

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. “Marla, isn’t Lake Crescent the location?” And, well, it’s a big lake! Even if you’re just looking to elope in the Lake Crescent area, there’s lots of little gems you can find beyond just the lakeside, and each one is a bit different. I want to highlight a couple so that you know about all the options you have in addition to the shores!

Marymere Falls

Marymere Falls is Olympic National Park’s most-loved waterfall. You can reach it via a paved path that starts at the Storm King Ranger Station. You’ll get to see a ton of old-growth forest as you walk, which is an experience unique to this area of the Pacific Northwest. I can’t say enough good things about our forests!

Devil’s Punchbowl (Spruce Railroad Trail)

This is a 2.4 mile out-and-back trail that’s rated an easy hike! Plus, this is one of just a few dog-friendly trails inside Olympic National Park. You have to keep them on a leash, but you can bring your pup(s) along for your elopement if you choose this trail. The hike will take you right alongside Lake Crescent — what’s more perfect than that?

Devil’s Punchbowl is also accessible year-round, so if you’re hoping for an elopement at Lake Crescent in the off-season, this is a great choice. 

When to Have a Lake Crescent Elopement

Speaking of year-round trails, let’s talk about the weather in the Lake Crescent area! Parts of Olympic National Park close during certain seasons due to harsh weather or closed roads, but generally, Lake Crescent is open all year long. It sits at a lower elevation, so you won’t run into as extreme temperatures as some other places. 

This means you can choose any season to elope here! And I don’t think that one is particularly better than the others — to me, Lake Crescent is equally beautiful on the sunny days, and the moody, cloudy ones, too. 

Styled Elopement with Zoe & Katia

Just in case you’re still on the fence about a Lake Crescent elopement, I want to feature this gorgeous elopement here for you. My hope is that this will give you an idea of how you can make your elopement special and beautiful in this amazing place! 

We went all-out on a wildflower-themed elopement — including handmade petal paper, floral jewelry and accessories, wildflower-painted cookies, and even a floral lace design on Zoe’s dress. 

Here’s everyone who collaborated to make this happen:

Planning: Hummingbird Event Co.

Hair & Makeup: Liz Kellerman

Florals: Farm and Flower

Desserts: So So Sweet by Ashley

Rentals: Celebrations for Every Season

Jewelry: Greenlake Jewelry

Stationery: Of the Earth Seattle

A dark-haired bride kisses her new wife on the forehead as they sit beside each other on a log, wrapped in a gray blanket at their Lake Crescent elopement
Two brides in long, white dresses stand facing each other, holding hands between two huge trees at their Lake Crescent elopement

Do you have more questions about a Lake Crescent elopement? Or, ready to dive in and say yes to this location? Reach out to me here to have me as your elopement photographer — I’ll help you plan your day and document every moment.


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