Utah Elopement Guide
Utah boasts some of the world’s most stunning scenery, and it is home to some of my favorite places to photograph elopements. The desert radiates a truly humbling kind of awe – the kind that sweeps you up and makes you grateful to be alive. It’s an incredible thing to weave into your love story. If you’re dreaming of a Utah elopement, I’d love to share the five most epic locations to get married. Let’s dive in!
Most Stunning and Epic Utah Elopement Locations
1. Bonneville Salt Flats
2. Zion National Park
3. Canyonlands National Park
4. Arches National Park
5. Lake Powell
Bonneville Salt Flats
Picture it: you and the love of your life are standing in a pool of light. Vibrant color streams out from an endless sky and stains the miles below in pink and orange, radiating out in every direction. This is what a Utah elopement at sunset on the Bonneville Salt Flats could be like! In Northwestern Utah, just west of the Great Salt Lake, these otherworldly salt flats glimmer under the sun and reflect the light. Lakes and shallow pools in the flats create mirror-perfect reflections of the surrounding mountains. You have more than 30,000 acres of uninterrupted BLM land to choose the perfect spot for your unforgettable Utah elopement!
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is the oldest park in Utah, and absolutely one of the most epic spots for a Utah elopement. The stunning skyline carves a jagged path across the sky, while the Virgin River has created an incredibly intricate canyon. The unending wild landscape of this park provides you with various enthralling trails & beautiful backdrops for your elopement adventure. To name a few there’s Observation Point, Angel’s Landing & Canyon Overlook Trail, all giving you grand vistas of the canyon from high above. Check here for a list of trail descriptions by the National Park Service.
Additionally, the Narrows is one of the most awe-inspiring locations in all of Utah, where Zion Canyon is only 20 or 30 feet wide – and the walls soar up over 1000 feet high! Imagine how small these magnificent monoliths will make you feel – it’s the perfect place to feel hidden from the world, just you and the ones you love.
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands offers access to some of Utah’s most rugged terrain. Specifically, the views that you can get at Dead Horse Point State Park will be etched into your mind for years to come. ‘Epic’ doesn’t really do them justice. From their lookout points, you can see miles and miles of deep red cliffs and dramatic canyons. Positioned at an iconic horseshoe bend in the Colorado River, the landscape is unforgettable and would make the adventure of a lifetime to explore as part of your Utah elopement – or even as a honeymoon!
Arches National Park
Perhaps the most iconic spot for a Utah elopement, Arches National Park offers a unique and otherworldly kind of beauty. There is so much power in a place, and nowhere is that more felt than somewhere so truly unique. The endless sculpture-like rock formations will fire your imaginations as you trace countless arches, spires, and bridges in the red stone. Getting married under one of these arches or standing with a view of the valley would give you memories – not to mention jaw-dropping photographs! – that you will cherish for a lifetime.
You just can’t talk about a Utah elopement without mentioning the incredible Lake Powell. With acres of the endless sky reflected in the vast expanse of the lake itself, this destination is truly epic. Explore the winding canyons and admire the striking pillars and columns formed in the rock. I love the way that the intense blue-green of the lake and the Colorado River contrast with the warm tones of the cliffs and canyons!
Not only is the beauty and the sheer scale of Lake Powell totally awe-inspiring, but it also presents so many opportunities for you to plan an adventure. From kayaking and paddleboarding to boating and hiking – you could celebrate your Utah elopement in so many thrilling ways!
Best Times of Year for a Utah Elopement
When you’re planning your Utah elopement, the time of year is so important. With blistering temperatures in summer and freezing ones in the mountains in winter, the best times of year for your Utah elopement are the spring and the fall. This is when the weather is going to be the most comfortable, so you can soak up every moment of being outside.
For some of the more popular parks, I highly recommend planning your Utah elopement on a weekday. You want the day to be purely about you and your love, so try to avoid the weekend crowds!
My Utah Elopement Checklist
I love photographing elopements – the energy is so full of love and pure adventure. After shooting my fair share in the desert, I have a few tips to help you smash the planning of your Utah elopement. Get these details out of the way beforehand so that you can be fully present in the midst of your glorious day.
1. Decide Your Location
As you can see, you have a wealth of incredible Utah elopement locations just waiting to be discovered. Picking a location is the first step towards planning everything else! Think about what landscape amidst the desert speaks to you most as a couple. Another important thing to ponder is what activities you want to engage in together! For Lake Powell, you can rent a boat, spending your day on the water venturing to hidden slot canyons. In Moab, you can go on a jeep tour, off-roading to more remote spots near Arches National Park. Each unique piece of scenery holds unique opportunities to adventure.
2. Choose a Date
Once you’ve got a location, it’s time to choose a date! Keep in mind the weather, which can be extreme in the desert, and choose a cooler time of year. Take time to research what each change of season will bring to the landscape. Certain hikes/areas will best be accessed when water levels are lower. Additionally, various plant life will bloom in each season. Make note of these seasonal changes and decide what you’d be most excited to see!
3. Hire Your Vendors
Once you’ve got a location and a date, you can book your vendors. For a Utah elopement in the desert, this shouldn’t take too long. You’ll want a photographer who is up to the challenge of capturing all of the spontaneity and intimacy of your outdoor celebration. I would love to be that person – let’s talk!
When you are thinking about your other vendors, consider your priorities: a beautiful bouquet? A delicious mini-cake? A particular officiant to marry you two? Also think about what activities will require guides & rentals! You can book a helicopter ride over the canyons. Maybe you want to rent a jeep to find the perfect off-road destination. The great thing about elopements is that you can truly do what makes you happy. There’s no set list of must-haves, so it’s up to you and what will celebrate your love the best!
4. Book Lodging
Find somewhere special to call home for the week! Airbnb is a great place to find unique lodging for you and your loved ones. It holds a plethora of beautiful retreats ready to host you on your adventure, even bringing in elements of the surrounding terrain. A few of these desert spots even have luxury resorts, giving you lots of moments to relax throughout your time!
5. Research Permits and Passes
As much as it is a privilege to visit these places & visit their land for your elopement, it is also a responsibility to make sure you’re respecting it. You may need special permission or passes to access different parts of national parks or to conduct any kind of ceremony on them – so do the research well in advance. When the day of your desert elopement comes, you want to be focused fully on love and adventure – not the paperwork!
Final Thoughts on a Utah Elopement
There are so many mind-blowing places for a Utah elopement – you might even have trouble choosing. Hopefully, this has helped you to envision what your elopement could look like! Any of these destinations will form a worthy backdrop to celebrate your love.
Need someone to capture the magic? Let’s talk!
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