5 Easy Steps to Eloping on San Juan Island

Eloping used to strictly mean running away to get married in secret, especially without parental consent, evoking images of fair maidens being swept onto galloping stallions in the middle of a foggy night. As times have changed elopers have evolved from budding Romeos and Juliets to romantic realists, who don’t care what other people think about who they love and how they marry. Equally evolved has the meaning of elopement itself. It now is almost synonymous with “small wedding”  and in our times and age involves some planning. We here at the Bird Rock Hotel are thrilled to have aided and abetted in numerous elopements and deeply believe that your wedding day should be whatever you want it to be.

So if you’d like your story to start with:

“We eloped in the midst of Winter to a small island on the border”

We have some tips for you to make that happen:

1.  Marriage License

Apply for a marriage license with San Juan County online for $62. There is a three-day waiting period. Once you apply you can marry under that license for the next 60 days

The Captain at Schooner North Sailing Charters can marry you on the Salish Sea

2.  Find an Ordained Minister

Finding an ordained minister can be as easy as having one of your friends or relatives become one online, for free, effective today. You may also consider reaching out to a whale watch tour or sailing charter captain to marry you at sea. Or contact one of the many San Juan Island Officiants, who speaks to your values.

3.  Have Two Witnesses

Legally speaking, you’ll need two witnesses to co-sign your marriage license. Ask two of your guests to bear witness to your union. If you are an old-school eloper and are not bringing any guests, then pick us, pick us! We would love to be there.

Finding a romantic location for your elopement is easy on San Juan Island

4.  Select a Romantic Location

That’s the easy part on San Juan Island. We’ve already mentioned the idea of marrying on a boat in the Salish Sea. How about on the cliffs of the whale watch park with San Juan’s iconic Lime Kiln Lighthouse in the background? Or at South Beach, San Juan Island’s longest and most dramatic beach, followed by a glass of bubbly around a blazing bonfire. Depending on the size of your party, you could reserve part of a restaurant, maybe one with water view or a separate, utterly romantic meeting space.


5.  Tell it to the World!

Decide as a couple on how to break the news to the world

Regardless whether you have chosen to tell nobody or your wedding was small and sweet or not so small and sweet, think about how’ll you announce your news to the world. Will you announce on social media, write postcards from San Juan Island or have professional cards printed? Talk about how you’ll explain your motivation to elope, the reactions you expect, and how to deal with them as a newlywed couple. You may also consider throwing a party or reception after you

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