Why Plan a Utah Elopement?
Planning an elopement is an intimate journey, but it can also be an incredibly beautiful adventure at the right location. If you and your partner want an elopement filled with adventure and natural beauty, then Utah might be just the place. Packed with incredible landscapes – stunning desert red rock arches, majestic mountains, clear blue lakes and skies – there’s no better place for an epic elopement than the gorgeous Utah landscape.
There are always new and exciting things to discover in Utah – with over 40 state parks and five national parks, the options are endless, especially if you’re a couple that loves to hike, run, camp, kayak, and adventure together! (Check out this site for the most epic mapped Utah hikes!) Maybe you want to plan a Utah elopement to have a totally new adventure together or maybe it’s because Utah already has a special place in your heart. Either way, Utah gives you the freedom to choose from a wide variety of diverse and incredible locations.
On my trips to Utah, I’ve always felt like the state revitalized my soul. The magnificent landscapes made me feel like being on a totally different planet and I cannot recommend planning your elopement in this state enough.
If Utah sounds like the place for your adventure elopement, read on to discover which Utah area might be just the perfect fit!
When to Plan Your Utah Elopement
Best Time of Year for a Utah Elopement
Utah has toasty summers and chilly winters depending on your location (getting as high as 105 in the desert and as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit in the mountains!) so the best months are spring and fall for ideal weather. But if you’re looking for a picturesque snowy mountain elopement then the winter could be the perfect time for you!
Peak busy season for the mountains is June-August and for the desert is late spring and early fall. The best months to avoid the busy season in both locations are March, April, October, and November. During these times, it is often sunny but not too hot or cold, and it’s also in between the usual top tourist seasons.
Best Time of Day and Week
It may be best to consider eloping on a weekday Tuesday – Thursday (instead of Friday or Monday in case of long weekend tourists) to really have the desert and mountains all to yourself. If that’s not possible, then consider a sunrise or sunset elopement. Not only will you be up before the crowds, but a sunrise in Utah is truly something special to behold, and will add to the magic of your special day.
Where to Elope in Utah – 10 Epic Locations
There are almost an infinite number of beautiful locations to elope in Utah, but here are my top 10 epic destinations. Each of these areas have incredible and unique landscapes and plenty of ideal spots for whatever you may be planning for your Utah elopement. If you want to visit multiple parks in Utah, you can buy an $80 interagency pass. Otherwise, each park usually costs between $30 – $35 to park and then an additional $100 – $200 to purchase a permit to elope.
1. Arches National Park Elopement
Arches is a dream destination for couples seeking a unique elopement experience. With its iconic arches and dramatic rock formations, the park offers a captivating and otherworldly setting. The majestic landscapes provide countless opportunities for stunning photos to create an unforgettable backdrop for a romantic ceremony.
Arches National Park Elopement Itinerary
Day 1 – Start your visit with a scenic drive through the park to admire the iconic red rock formations. Take a short hike to Delicate Arch, the park’s most famous arch, and witness a breathtaking sunset. Enjoy a romantic dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2 – Have an adventurous elopement day! Take a thrilling off-road tour to explore the backcountry of Arches National Park. Hike to lesser-known arches like Corona Arch or Tower Arch for a more secluded experience. Then in the evening, have a private sunset ceremony at a scenic spot with an arch as your backdrop. Celebrate with a champagne toast! Visit the nearby Moab Brewery for a celebratory dinner.
Day 3 – Wake up early to catch the sunrise at Mesa Arch and capture stunning photos. Embark on a moderate hike to Landscape Arch, Double Arch, and Balanced Rock. Arrange for a guided photography tour to explore the best photography spots within the park. Have a romantic picnic lunch amidst the unique rock formations. Enjoy a gorgeous drive along the park’s main road, stopping at viewpoints like Fiery Furnace or Park Avenue. Have a candlelit dinner at your accommodation or opt for a fine dining experience in Moab.
2. Bonneville Salt Flats Elopement
The Bonneville Salt Flats offer a unique and ethereal setting for a Utah elopement. The vast expanse of white salt crystals creates a surreal and minimalist backdrop, allowing couples to exchange vows in a one-of-a-kind landscape that symbolizes purity and eternity.
Bonneville Salt Flats Elopement Itinerary
Day 1 – Explore the vast salt flats and take artistic and unique photos. Visit the nearby Great Salt Lake and watch a stunning sunset. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant or a private dinner in your accommodation.
Day 2 – Wake up early to catch the sunrise on the Bonneville Salt Flats and capture breathtaking photos. Have an intimate ceremony on the salt flats, exchanging vows with the vast expanse as your backdrop. Grab lunch at a local spot and then arrange for a late afternoon private yoga or meditation session on the salt flats. Have a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 3 – Take a scenic drive around the Bonneville Salt Flats and explore the surrounding areas. Visit the nearby Bonneville Speedway and learn about the area’s racing history or visit the nearby Wendover Airfield Museum. Top it off with a cozy evening in your hotel.
3. Bryce Canyon National Park Elopement
Bryce Canyon National Park’s unique hoodoos and stunning rock formations make it an enchanting destination for a Utah elopement. The park’s vibrant colors and sublime landscapes create a magical atmosphere, providing a romantic and unforgettable backdrop for exchanging vows and celebrating love.
Bryce Canyon National Park Elopement Itinerary
Day 1 – Take a fun drive along the park’s rim and stop at viewpoints like Sunrise Point and Sunset Point. Enjoy a romantic picnic lunch overlooking the Bryce Amphitheater. Explore the park’s unique hoodoos on a leisurely hike along the Navajo Loop Trail. In the evening, have a candlelit dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2 – Wake up early to catch the magical sunrise at Bryce Point. Then, get ready together and head to your elopement spot for an intimate ceremony at one of the many scenic viewpoints. Have a photographer capture your elopement moments amidst the stunning rock formations. Celebrate with a champagne toast and a picnic lunch. Later in the day, embark on a horseback riding adventure through the park’s trails. Then finish off the day with a private chef to prepare a special meal for you.
Day 3 – Take a scenic helicopter ride for a panoramic view of Bryce Canyon. Or you can explore more of the park on a moderate hike to Fairyland Loop or Queens Garden. Visit the Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival for a unique stargazing experience. Then have a lovely dinner at a local restaurant.
4. Canyonlands National Park Elopement
Canyonlands National Park is a vast and awe-inspiring destination, perfect for couples seeking a sense of adventure and grandeur for their Utah elopement. The park’s towering canyons, mesas, and rivers create a dramatic and rugged setting, allowing couples to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature as they celebrate their love.
Canyonlands National Park Elopement Itinerary
Day 1 – Drive along the park’s main road and admire the panoramic views. Set up a romantic picnic at a viewpoint overlooking the canyons. Enjoy a sunset hike to Mesa Arch and witness the stunning colors. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2 – Wake up early to catch the sunrise at Grand View Point and capture breathtaking photos. Then have a getting ready photo shoot back at your hotel before your ceremony. Have an intimate ceremony at your favorite scenic spot within the park. Then celebrate with a hot air balloon ride over the park’s mesmerizing landscape. Pack a picnic and enjoy a romantic sunset dinner afterwards.
Day 3 – Drive to the Island in the Sky district and explore its various viewpoints and hiking trails. Visit the Green River Overlook for a stunning panoramic view of the river. Enjoy a quiet evening in your hotel.
5. Capitol Reef National Park Elopement
Capitol Reef National Park offers a unique blend of desert landscapes, towering cliffs, and historic sites, making it a remarkable location for a Utah elopement. The park’s colorful sandstone formations and orchards create a picturesque backdrop for a romantic ceremony, while its tranquility and seclusion provide an intimate and peaceful atmosphere.
Capitol Reef National Park Elopement Itinerary
Day 1 – Take a beautiful drive along the park’s main road and admire the unique rock formations. Explore the park’s orchards and pick fresh fruit for a romantic picnic. Visit the historic Fruita Schoolhouse and learn about the area’s history. Then close out the day with a lovely dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2 – Wake up early for a moderate but stunning hike to Hickman Bridge or Cassidy Arch. Then have a getting ready photoshoot back at your hotel and have a “first look” with your partner. Then head to your ceremony spot for an intimate celebration of your love together. After your ceremony, you can arrange for a guided horseback riding tour through the park’s scenic trails. This could also be an epic photo op. Celebrate with an intimate dinner in town.
Day 3 – Explore more of Capitol Reef National Park by visiting the Cathedral Valley or the Capitol Gorge.Take a scenic drive along Notom-Bullfrog Road for breathtaking views. Have a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant.
6. Lake Powell Elopement
Lake Powell’s sparkling blue waters and towering red rock cliffs make it a breathtaking location for a waterfront Utah elopement. The combination of the lake’s tranquil beauty and the surrounding sandstone formations creates a serene and romantic atmosphere, providing couples with endless opportunities for stunning photos and a memorable celebration on the water’s edge.
Lake Powell Elopement Itinerary
Day 1 – Take a scenic boat tour on Lake Powell and admire the breathtaking red rock canyons. Enjoy a romantic picnic lunch on a secluded beach. Then take a leisurely kayak or paddleboard ride on the lake. Have dinner at a local restaurant and talk about all the gorgeous views you saw that day.
Day 2 – Wake up early to catch the sunrise at Horseshoe Bend and capture stunning photos. Embark on a scenic hike to Antelope Canyon or Rainbow Bridge. Then get ready for your ceremony and head to your favorite stunning spot on the lake’s shoreline. Exchange vows and take breathtaking pictures. Later in the day, arrange for a private boat tour to explore the hidden gems of Lake Powell. Then enjoy a romantic dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 3 – Explore more of Lake Powell by renting a jet ski or a powerboat for an exhilarating experience. Visit the nearby Glen Canyon Dam and take a guided tour. Then have a cozy night at your hotel.
7. Monument Valley Elopement
Monument Valley’s iconic red sandstone buttes and vast desert vistas make it an extraordinary destination for an elopement. The timeless beauty and cultural significance of the Navajo Nation land add depth and meaning to the celebration, creating an unforgettable experience immersed in natural wonder and Native American heritage.
Monument Valley Elopement Itinerary
Day 1 – Drive through the iconic red rock formations and stop at incredible viewpoints like John Ford Point and Artist’s Point. Enjoy a romantic picnic lunch overlooking the majestic valley. Then visit the Navajo Tribal Park Visitor Center to learn about the local culture and history. In town you can enjoy a traditional Navajo dinner with cultural performances.
Day 2 – Wake up early to have a breathtaking ceremony as the sun rises at the Valley of the Gods or the Mittens. Have a photographer capture your elopement moments amidst the stunning landscapes. Then celebrate with a breakfast picnic. In the afternoon, take a guided tour with a local Navajo guide to learn about the area’s geology and culture. Have an intimate dinner at a local restaurant in the evening.
Day 3 – Explore more of Monument Valley by taking a drive along the awesome 17-Mile Valley Drive. Visit the Navajo Hogan Village to experience traditional Navajo dwellings. Have a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant.
8. Sand Hollow State Park Elopement
Sand Hollow State Park offers a stunning backdrop for an elopement with its red sand dunes and sparkling reservoir. The turquoise water really makes you feel transported to another magical land. The park’s natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere create a romantic setting for an intimate ceremony and celebration.
Sand Hollow State Park Elopement Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrive at the park and explore the stunning red sand dunes and reservoir. Then take a guided ATV or off-road tour to explore the park’s hidden gems and enjoy some thrilling adventure together. In the evening, have a private dinner at a local restaurant or enjoy a cozy evening in your accommodation.
Day 2 – Have an adventurous elopement day by getting up early to rent kayaks or paddleboards and spend some quality time on the reservoir. Take a scenic hike along one of the park’s trails, such as the West Rim Trail or the Sand Mountain Trail. In the afternoon, have a couple’s massage or spa treatment to relax and rejuvenate. As the sun begins to set, exchange vows and have an intimate ceremony at your favorite scenic spot in the park. Celebrate with champagne and pack a romantic picnic for under the stars.
Day 3 – Wake up early to catch the beautiful sunrise at Sand Hollow State Park. Arrange for a private yoga or meditation session with your partner amidst the serene surroundings. Have a leisurely afternoon and enjoy dinner at one of the local spots.
9. Snow Canyon State Park Elopement
Snow Canyon State Park boasts breathtaking red rock formations and lava tubes, making it a picturesque location for an elopement. The park’s serene trails and secluded spots provide a sense of privacy and intimacy, perfect for exchanging vows surrounded by natural beauty.
Snow Canyon State Park Elopement Itinerary
Day 1 – Enjoy a hike along the park’s scenic trails, such as the Jenny’s Canyon Trail or the Petrified Dunes Trail. Explore the lava tubes and caves within the park. Enjoy a romantic sunset picnic at a picturesque viewpoint within the park.
Day 2 – Start your elopement day with a rejuvenating couple’s sunrise yoga session amidst the stunning red rock formations. Then get ready together and have an intimate ceremony at a secluded spot, such as the White Rocks Amphitheater or Johnson Canyon. Take photos against the absolutely incredible backdrop. In the afternoon, go rock climbing or rappelling for an adventurous experience. In the evening, enjoy a romantic dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 3 – Explore more of Snow Canyon State Park by hiking to popular destinations like the Red Sands or the Three Ponds Trail. Rent mountain bikes and embark on a thrilling ride through the park’s trails. Have a couple’s spa treatment or massage to relax and unwind. Spend the evening stargazing and having a cozy picnic under the night sky.
10. Zion National Park Elopement
Zion National Park’s towering cliffs, lush canyons, and emerald-green rivers make it an idyllic location for an elopement. The park’s diverse trails and viewpoints offer a range of breathtaking settings, from panoramic vistas to intimate alcoves, allowing couples to customize their ceremony to their preferences and create lasting memories.
Zion National Park Elopement Itinerary
Day 1 – Take a leisurely stroll along the Virgin River and enjoy the stunning canyon views. Rent bicycles and explore the park’s scenic paths and trails. Finish the day with a romantic dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2 – Explore more of Zion National Park by hiking lesser-known trails like Observation Point or Hidden Canyon. Arrange for a canyoneering adventure for an adrenaline-filled experience on your elopement day! Then have a private ceremony at a secluded spot within the park and celebrate with champagne and a picnic lunch. End the day with a leisurely stroll along the Riverside Walk and admire the night sky.
Day 3 – Rise early to catch the first shuttle to the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Embark on a hike to iconic spots like Angels Landing or The Narrows. Enjoy a picnic surrounded by the park’s majestic cliffs and waterfalls. Take a scenic helicopter ride for an incredible bird’s-eye view of the park. Have an intimate dinner together back in town.
Legal Requirements for Eloping in Utah
Planning a Utah elopement requires adhering to certain legal requirements to ensure that your marriage is legally recognized. Here are some important aspects to consider:
Obtaining a marriage license is a crucial step before eloping in Utah. Both you and your partner must appear together at a county clerk’s office in Utah to apply for the license. You can apply for a marriage license at any county clerk’s office. You will need to provide identification, such as a valid driver’s license or passport, and pay the required fee. It’s advisable to check the specific requirements and fees for the county where you plan to elope, as they can vary slightly. Find more information here.
You’ll need an authorized officiant to perform your marriage ceremony in Utah. This can be a judge, a member of the clergy, or someone who is authorized by the state to solemnize marriages. It’s essential to ensure that your chosen officiant is legally authorized to marry couples in Utah. They will sign the marriage license and provide you with a marriage certificate after the ceremony. (PS – Did you know, I’m not only an elopement photographer but an ordained officiant as well!)
Utah requires at least two witnesses to be present during the marriage ceremony. These witnesses must be at least 18 years old and have the mental capacity to understand the significance of the marriage ceremony. It’s a good idea to arrange for witnesses in advance, especially if you plan to elope in a more remote location where finding witnesses may be challenging.
After the marriage ceremony, the officiant will sign the marriage license, and it should be returned to the county clerk’s office within 30 days for recording. Once the license is recorded, you can request a certified copy of the marriage certificate, which is an official document proving your marriage.
Make sure you check the permit requirements for whichever park you want to elope in. Some parks need advanced planning in order to elope and you need to buy the permit in advance as well. Permits usually range from $100 – $200.
Remember to check the specific requirements and procedures for the county where you plan to elope in Utah, as there may be slight variations in the process. It’s also recommended to contact the county clerk’s office in advance to confirm the necessary documents, fees, and any additional requirements. By following the legal requirements, you can ensure that your elopement is not only a memorable experience but also a legally recognized union.
Your Utah Elopement Photographer
Amelia Marie Photography specializes in guiding adventurous couples to plan and photograph their perfect elopement day. If you’re ready to pull the plug and plan the most epic, fun, and – dare I say – badass elopement celebration, contact me today to get started on bringing your elopement vision to life!