November 28, 2022 /

Utah Elopement Planning Guide: For The Adventurous Couple


Bride and groom walking hand in hand together during elopement session; image overlaid with text that reads Utah Elopement Planning Guide For the Adventurous Couple


Adventurous Utah Elopement Guide

As an experienced Utah elopement and wedding photographer, I enjoy putting my experience to use helping my clients plan and capture memorable adventures. Utah just so happens to be an adventurer’s playground. It’s home to some awe-inspiring desert landscapes, including the Great Salt Lake, and five incredible National Parks.  The warm and dry climate makes the perfect setting for spring or fall elopements and weddings. All reasons why I’ve written this guide to help you craft the most epic Utah elopement.

How to Elope in Utah

Step 1: Choose Your Location



One of the first steps for anyone planning their Utah elopement is to find a suitable location. One way is to use this Utah elopement guide. But even this guide has its limits. Utah is a massive state with lots of spots for you whatever your vision may be, which is partly what makes it so wonderful for you adventures. While this guide will only focus on a few, please know there are plenty more. 

If you don’t find what you’re looking for in this guide, you can also contact me. I’ve done my fair share of exploring Utah for elopements, and I’m happy to provide you with even more help and advice. I’ll even help you do further research, using my knowledge to keep you from choosing a location that may have no shade from the sun in the warmer season or that may be inaccessible by car or prone to windy conditions. Also, most National and State parks require a special use permit for ceremonies within the park. These are easy enough to apply for, but you’ll need to make sure you are checking all the boxes to follow the rules & regulations of the land you have in mind.


Utah Elopement Planning Guide: For The Adventurous Couple. Couple during elopement ceremony with a view.



Step 2: Select Your Date

The time of year and season can play a big role in your Utah elopement decision process, especially if you’re planning to combine some specific adventures into your Utah elopement. For instance, if you love skiing, you may want to plan a winter or early spring elopement close to a ski resort. Maybe you want to hit the trails for your elopement day or climb your favorite sandstone crag! Then a spring or fall elopement in Utah would be best. If you’re more interested in a helicopter ride over the vast canyons, taking a swim in the many rivers that split through the red rock, or off-roading to a more private setting, consider scheduling your elopement in the warmer months. But you’ll probably want to avoid the high heat of the desert, in the hottest parts of summer!


Step 3: Ensure Everything is Legal

If you’re wanting to legally elope in Utah, it’s important to make sure you’ve done what’s required. To elope in Utah, you do not need to worry if you live in another state. However, you will need to apply for a marriage license when you are in Utah and have the marriage solemnized by an authorized officiant in Utah. You will both need to be present when you apply and bring along identification. There is also a small marriage licensing fee to pay. For the elopement itself, you will need to have two witnesses present.



Step 4: Book an Adventurous Photographer



I may be biased, but if you’re planning an adventurous Utah elopement wedding, I think I’m your girl! Utah holds an incredibly special place in my heart because its landscape is what ignited my fire for the outdoors. I still remember it vividly, beholding the state’s unique beauty for the first time and feeling a posture of complete wonder & humility. It’s what has brought me back almost every year since 2017, exploring more and more of its unlimited trails and scenes of glory, making me a seasoned visitor with loads of knowledge for how to best experience each piece of land.

Step 5: Book Your Accommodation

Once you have selected the best location for your adventurous Utah elopement, you’ll then need to begin your search for the perfect place to host you. Some of my favorite “basecamp” experiences have been through airbnb. Not only do these home-away-from-homes make for a cozy stay, but some are beautifully decorated to match your environment, making for a very easily photographed space. Some couples even choose to have their ceremonies on the property of their airbnb, giving you a completely private experience and choosing to explore the other landscapes later for activities. Here is a list of some cool spots to get your research going:


Bride and groom looking off into the distance during their elopement shoot with Alexa Ann

Step 6: Book Your Utah Elopement Vendors

Some of you may feel a little intimidated and overwhelmed by the thought of planning your own Utah elopement. Luckily, there are many vendors willing to help. As for me, when I work with couples, I’m always willing to help however I can. I plan timelines, help you find the best spots for your desired activities, and can even connect you to all the other creative people in the industry to help you execute your Utah elopement vision. Other vendors include a wedding officiant, a wedding videographer, an elopement planner, a florist, a private chef, and more!


Utah Elopement Seasons

Spring and fall are the ideal seasons for your Utah elopement. Of all the months within those two seasons, October is my favorite for the way that the yellow foliage compliments the landscape. However, if you’re planning a summer elopement in Utah, I strongly recommend preparing for the desert heat. It’s essential you bring and drink enough liquids during this time. Sunscreen, hats (or some other means of shade), planned breaks, and practicing hiking beforehand all help keep you safe during the summers in Utah.

If you’re looking for a winter elopement in Utah, you’re in luck because it’s an off-season. When you elope in the winter, you’ll find fewer crowds, and it can remain relatively warm depending on where you are. That’s not to mention how beautiful the snow looks spread across the desert landscapes. It’s a unique look you don’t see very often, so it’s one to consider for your Utah elopement.

Popular Utah Elopement Locations

#1 – Moab



Moab is a charming town in southeastern Utah and a haven for adventurous couples looking to explore the iconic parks, rivers, and mountains in the Utah desert. This part of Utah offers some of the most incredible rock formations and monuments, and it is home to several national parks, including Canyonlands and Arches.


There are several activities on offer in Moab for couples who choose to go there. There’s the Colorado River Boat Tour on offer by Canyonlands by Night & Day. You could even get up close to the impressive Arches or the edge of Canyonlands National Park by taking a ride in one of the helicopter flight tours offered by Pinnacle Helicopters


Elopement Locations

Moab has plenty of elopement locations to consider too, including Fisher Towers, which has unusual rock formations, Monument Valley with its hiking trails and panoramic views, Deadhorse Point, a photo spot with a great view of the Colorado River and the Canyonlands, or the Arches, with its 2,000+ natural stone arches, many of which could be great backdrops for an elopement moment.


If you’re planning to elope with a group, the Red Earth Venue is a good option. It’s private, intimate, and still nestled right in canyon country, a short drive from Moab and the other locations described above.  


Bride and groom walking together during their elopement shoot in


#2 – Zion National Park

Situated in the southwest with year-round sunlight, unique landscapes, tumbling rivers, emerald pools, stunning waterfalls, high cliffs, narrow gorges, spectacular rock formations, and breathtaking views, it’s no wonder Zion National Park is rated one of the most popular destinations for an elopement wedding in Utah.


There are endless adventures and activities to enjoy in Zion National Park too, including hiking trails, horseback tours, camping, canyoneering, and stargazing experiences. For a great horseback tour, check out the Pine Knoll Horseback Tour offered by East Zion Adventures or their Stargazing Experience.

Elopement Locations

The Zion National Park offers an abundance of elopement locations, but my favorite spots are definitely Observation Point and the Canyon Overlook Hike. Observation Point is quite a challenging hike to reach, but once you get there, you can enjoy all your hard work with a view of the spreading valley below. The Canyon Overlook Hike may be simpler, but no less rewarding as it puts you right in the thick of the red rock and still gives you a view of what lies below.



#3 – Snow Canyon State Park

Snow Canyon State Park is an incredibly beautiful state park close to Zion in the Red Cliffs Desert. It is laced with red Novaja sandstone and capped by lava tubes and lava flows from the extinct Santa Clara Volcano.


You have several options when it comes to exploring Snow Canyon State Park. Like many of the locations on this list, you can do so by walking, biking, or even on horseback. A horseback elopement would definitely make for a unique experience. Other activities include canyoneering, camping in one of 26 campsites, checking out petroglyph sites on the Gila Trail, and more. 

Elopement Locations

Most couples that choose to elope in the Snow Canyon State Park like to combine a little adventure by including one of their impressive hikes in the occasion. Two of the most common hiking trails available at the Snow Canyon State Park are the Lava Tube Trail and the Petrified Dunes Trail. 

For the Lava Tube Trail, imagine descending into an old tunnel left by lava. You’ll be surrounded by hardened lava with just a spot of sunlight or two poking through from above. For those looking for something a little moody, the Lava Tube Trail may be what you’re after.

Looking for something above ground? The Petrified Dunes Trail is exactly what you think: sand dunes that turned to stone over time. It’s a short trail, but one worth considering for it’s unique, layered look set amidst the rising rock formations all around.


Utah Elopement Planning Guide: For The Adventurous Couple. Landscape of


#4 – Sand Hollow State Park

This park is renowned for its remarkable red rock formations and red sand beaches. Off-road enthusiasts love Sand Hollow State Park because of its perfectly sculpted dunes and off-road terrain. The park also boasts a reservoir that offers a great backdrop for some fun elopement shots.


Popular activities at Sand Hollow State Park include cliff jumping and a guided all-terrain vehicle tour like this one offered by Mad Moose Rentals and Tours. Boating, swimming, and kayaking are fun water activities. Plus, the park also offers camping options.

Elopement Locations

Two options that stand out here are Jumping Rock and Sand Hollow Island. Jumping rock is filled with rippled sandstone and large red rock cliffs perfect for a post-ceremony celebratory jump. You can access Sand Hollow Island by paddleboard or canoe, making for a great day-of elopement adventure, located in the middle of the reservoir.


#5 – Wasatch Mountains

The Wasatch Mountain Range is an adventurist and ski lovers’ paradise. You’ve got meadows, forests, lakes, and more here. The best time of year to visit is summer. This is due to the warmer temperatures at high altitudes and blooming wildflowers. Fall’s another great option due to its aspens exploding with color.


There is plenty to offer in the Wasatch Mountains, including backpacking, hiking, alpine lake swimming, skiing, snowboarding, helicopter tours, and general sightseeing tours. Wasatch Adventure Guides offers all kinds of activities in the Wasatch Mountains. 

Elopement Locations

As far as elopement locations go, the Wasatch Mountains have the vast Uinta Wasatch Cache National Forest, the beautiful Cecret Lake housed inside that forest, the Alta Ski Resort, and the impressive Bell’s Canyon.

Planning the Perfect Utah Elopement

If you’d like to chat with a fellow adventurist and elopement specialist or if you would like to find out more about my Utah elopement photography packages and services, I’d love to connect. Let me know what you need, and we can get started!




Bride and groom posing for their elopement shoot with Alexa Ann Photo; image overlaid with text that reads Utah Elopement Planning Guide: For The Adventurous Couple

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