Arizona Elopement Destination Guide
So you want to elope? I became an elopement photographer because I deeply love the intimacy, the excitement, and the way that eloping lets you hone in on what really matters. If you’re planning an Arizona elopement – congratulations! This state has some of the most awe-inspiring and unique natural beauty that the world has to offer. Weaving that beauty into your love story can only make for a truly rich adventure!
To help you dream about what your incredible Arizona elopement could look like, I’ve put together a list of five top Arizona elopement locations for you to consider.
Top 5 Arizona Elopement Locations
1. Lake Powell
4. The Grand Canyon National Park
5. Saguaro National Park
Lake Powell will make for an incredible backdrop to your Arizona elopement! The winding canyons filled with blue-green water, the shimmering expanse of the lake under the sun, and the humbling spires of red sandstone all combine to feel almost otherworldly.
Get married under the natural cathedral formed by the iconic Rainbow Bridge, or take in the views over Glen Canyon as you make your vows. Horseshoe Bend is also a must-see in Lake Powell. This incredible Arizona destination is overflowing with ceremony sites waiting to happen!
This famous town is nestled among some of the most breathtaking scenery in Arizona. I love the mix of elegant luxury and rugged adventure that Sedona offers! There is charming man-made beauty, like the Chapel of the Holy Cross. The chapel is open for weddings, but does require you to begin the booking process a good 9 months in advance. There’s also the stunning village of Tlaquepaque is nestled under the shade of beautiful sycamore trees on the banks of Oak Creek. In addition, Sedona offers jaw-dropping natural wonders, like the iconic Devil’s Bridge – a sandstone bridge you reach by a natural sandstone staircase, with panoramic views over the whole valley.
Phoenix pulses with incredible energy and, as you’d expect, it has so many amazing venues for your Arizona elopement. I love the Phoenix-based Cloth and Flame. They’re an incredible business that helps you bring your elopement day to life through intricate table setups & installations, wherever you choose to celebrate outdoors! They craft an immersive experience in nature, bringing the luxury of a top dollar venue to the desert.
Another Arizona elopement location to consider is the Lost Dutchman State Park at the base of the Superstition Mountains. This jagged mountain range glows in the light of the setting sun. Or, head down to the banks of the beautiful Salt River to make your vows surrounded by lush foliage and the sound of rushing water.
Grand Canyon National Park
No list of Arizona elopement locations would be complete without mentioning this wonder of the world. Getting married on the edge of the Grand Canyon would be a truly unforgettable memory. It’s the most iconic desert scene– layers & layers of sediment making up the canyon walls, each one telling the landscape’s story over billions of years!
For a more private elopement experience, head to the North Rim, which is visited by less than 10% of tourists. The views from Grand Canyon Lodge stretch for mile after stunning mile. Keep in mind that this section of the park is only open May 15- October 15, closing for winter.
Saguaro National Park
For an elopement location embodying one of Arizona’s most classic plant species, you have to check out Saguaro National Park just outside of Tucson. Named for the giant cacti it was created to protect, this park is particularly beautiful from April to June when the cacti are blooming. There are two sites – East and West. I would suggest holding your elopement in the West site. It’s much bigger and also features a woodland of oaks and pines, which is fairly unique for the desert!
Best Time for an Arizona Elopement
Arizona has an extreme climate, so the time of year you decide to elope is going to make a big difference to the day itself! For a glorious outdoor elopement at any of the locations we’ve been talking about so far, Spring and Fall are the best seasons. Getting married around these times of year will mean you can enjoy the warmth of the desert without the overwhelming heat of summer. If you’re looking for another elopement destination you can enjoy in the summertime with more pleasant temperatures, have a look at this beautiful Mount Rainier elopement!
I would highly recommend you plan your Arizona elopement on a weekday when a lot of these national parks are much quieter. You don’t want to fight through crowds of tourists or say your vows in front of an audience of strangers, so avoid the weekends and escape into a quiet weekday.
Arizona Elopement Checklist
1. Decide Your Location
As you can see, you have so many wonderful Arizona elopement options available to choose from. Deciding on 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 Sedona, you can go on a jeep tour, off-roading to more remote spots. Each unique piece of scenery holds unique opportunities to adventure.
2. Pick a Date
Once you’ve got a location, it’s time to choose a date! Keep in mind the advice above, and choose a date with mild weather and small crowds. Take time to research what each change of season will bring to the landscape. Certain colors will be more prevalent depending on time of year. 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
When you’ve decided on a location and a date, you can book your vendors. Consider what is important to you two: floral installations & bouquets? Live music? A delicious catered meal? 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. If you want to book a photographer who is passionate about capturing all of the freedom and fun of your Arizona elopement – let’s talk!
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 upfront. When the day of your desert elopement comes, you want to be focused fully on love and adventure – not the paperwork!
6. Get a Marriage License
An essential for any ceremony! Each state varies a little with its regulations, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to apply and for all the logistics to go through before you venture off to the desert for your elopement.
Final Thoughts on Your Arizona Elopement
There you have it – an overview of the top destinations for your Arizona elopement! I hope that every drop of the beauty and grandeur of these world-renowned places will find its way into your love story for a day you’ll remember forever.
Need someone to capture the magic? Let’s talk!
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