Photography for Elopements: A Superior Court Wedding in Seattle, WA

You would think that a short wedding at Seattle’s Superior Court downtown would be a mundane affair. But even with all the rules and regulations, that are tightly written and firmly enforced, exceptions are still made for love and elopements.

Photography for elopements

When I went there to photograph a wedding a couple of weeks ago, the guards loosened up big time. This is what they let through: a bulky carbon fiber tripod, photo gear with all the sundry metal trappings and a  bottle of champagne with two flute glasses.

Photography for elopements

What didn’t make it through? The heavy buckle on my belt which set off the alarm. I was obliged to take my belt off, and just as I was  putting it back on, the bride and groom arrived. I don’t usually fidget with my pants while talking to clients –  but the thought did cross my mind that when photographing a wedding at the Superior Court things don’t go by the usual strict rules. 

Photography for elopements

Double Duty at a Superior Court Wedding

All obstacles had now been overcome, or so we thought, until we discovered a second witness was needed during the signing procedures to make it all air tight and legal. Everyone’s eyes turned toward me, and I realized that sometimes a photographer has to do double duty at a wedding.

Photography for elopements

The laws are different for those who fall in love!

After that photos were made around the courthouse and champagne was consumed in public. I am telling you: the laws are different for those who fall in love!

Photography for elopements

How to Elope in Washington State

Elope Definition: run away secretly in order to get married, especially without parental consent.

Thanks to my home county, King County, there is some great information on elopements in Washington State. Maybe I’m missing something, but Washington State’s government website has little to no information.

  • There is a 3 day waiting period after getting your marriage license, and a 60 day expiration date. Meaning, when you get your marriage license, you need to wait 3 days before getting married, and you need to get married within 60 days after the 3 day waiting period.
  • You can’t already be married, of course!
  • You’ve to be 18 or older, or 17 with some extra permission from their parents (now, that wouldn’t be eloping would it)
  • No brother’s marrying sisters, of course!
  • You both must have must have current photo ID: U.S. passport, U.S. passport card, U.S. military ID, permanent resident card, driver’s license or state photo ID card issued by the Department of Licensing (DOL), or foreign government issued passport
  • As of 2024, the application fee is $69
  • You don’t have to reside in Washington State to get married here
  • You don’t have to get married in the country where you got your license
  • You can’t use a Washington State license to get married in another state

For more information, King County has a lot of information!

Photography for elopements

Famous Elopements: Celebrities Who Eloped

  • Clark Gable and Carole Lombard
  • Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles
  • Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio
  • Henry Fonda and Afdera Franchetti
  • Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Fisher
  • Brigitte Bardot and Jacques Charrier
  • Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow
  • Brigitte Bardot and Gunter Sachs
  • Jane Fonda and Roger Vadim
  • Raquel Welch and Patrick Curtis
  • Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner
  • Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson
  • Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor
  • Demi Moore and Bruce Willis
  • Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos
  • Kim Kardashian and Damon Thomas
  • Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie
  • Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin
  • Britney Spears and Jason Alexander
  • Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott
  • Jack Black and Tanya Haden
  • Mel B and Stephen Belafonte
  • Jessica Alba and Cash Warren
  • Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson
  • Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon
  • Jason Biggs and Jenny Mollen
  • Jewel and Ty Murray
  • Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen
  • Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem
  • Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart
  • Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher
  • Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr
  • Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz
  • Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock
  • Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell
  • Scarlett Johansson and Romain Dauriac
  • Emily Ratajkowski and Sebastian Bear
  • Mary Fitzgerald and Romain Bonnet
  • Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas
  • Lily Allen and David Harbour
Photography for elopements
Photography for elopements
Photography for elopements
Photography for elopements
Photography for elopements

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