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If you’re looking to elope in Moab, you’re in the right place!!! This guide for your Moab elopement will be full of helpful tips & tricks. I know you’re most likely wanting to elope because it seems much more simple than a big, elaborate wedding. I’ll discuss park rules and regulations at the different national and state parks near Moab. You’ll learn more about gorgeous locations in the area as well as find great vendor recs. Obviously, you’ll want to create your dream team for your big day, and that’s what I’m here to help you do! If you’re still looking for a photographer, I would love nothing more than to fill that spot for you. Fill out this form and let’s chat about any questions that you have!
As an elopement photographer, it’s important that first and foremost in my elopement guides, I discuss the importance of Leaving No Trace. The popularity of a lot of these areas that I share have skyrocketed in the last few years, thanks to social media. While they are absolutely beautiful, it’s essential that we care for Mother Nature, just like she cares for us. There are 7 principles of Leave No Trace that I’ll quickly run through that will reduce the damage caused by outdoor activities.
Moab is one of the most incredible locations to have an adventure elopement because of the vast variety of settings that you can elope in. From arches to mountains to cliffs to waterfalls to wide open spaces and more. I’ll cover them all!
Moab is clearly known for its impressive red rock formations and dry, desert weather, however there is so much more to Moab. The beautiful mountains that can be seen from Moab are the Manti La Sal mountains. Hikes, overlooks, cliffs and alpine lakes are some features of this mountain range. If you want a place to cool off and enjoy colors that you normally wouldn’t see in Moab (think fall colors and pines), look no further than the La Sal mountains. One huge bonus of eloping here is that there is currently no need for a permit. Make sure you have no decor and no large groups and you’re good to go!
Dead Horse Point State Park is so beautiful, and I find it’s less crowded than the national parks. The scenery is very similar to Canyonlands, besides where Dead Horse Point overlooks the beautiful Colorado River. There are unique trails all along the way to Dead Horse Point where eloping can happen as well! A permit is required to elope or have an intimate wedding at Dead Horse Point, as well as the required entrance fee.
If you’ve never been to Canyonlands National Park, it’s actually huge! There are different sections of the park, four in total, that are separated by rivers. The section closest to Moab is called The Island In The Sky. A permit is required for any type of elopement, vow renewal or wedding ceremony. The cost of the permit is $185 and does not exclude you from paying the entrance fee. Canyonlands seems to be less congested than Arches. The most congested part is usually at The Island In The Sky, which makes the other sections less congested!
Arches National Park is so unique and beautiful, you can’t help but look around in amazement and wonder. Eloping or having a micro-wedding in a national park definitely comes with fees. The permit fee is $185 plus you must pay the entrance fee into the park. You also must keep things to a minimum. No decor or frills or big set up. I also recommend only having the ceremony at sunrise because of the huge amount of tourists, especially if you’re having your elopement during busy season in Moab (March-October). Ceremonies in Arches National Park are permitted in 10 different areas, which means we can get photos at a few different locations!
Moab has so much more to offer than just the popular national/state parks that are in the area. Some of the most beautiful desert land is not in the parks, but is public land managed by the BLM. Free camping is a huge plus of eloping on this public land as well as more cliffs, arches and a lot more privacy. However, eloping or having a ceremony on this public land means that photographers and all vendors participating in the ceremony must have permits. The permits are only given out every 6 months. As far as permits go for the actual couple, there really are none. Just make sure your vendors have the necessary permit or they can be fined and get into serious trouble. Other than that, let’s go explore together!
I know I know, you might be wondering why I’m recommending any wedding planners in an elopement guide. If it’s in your budget, I would highly recommend hiring a wedding planner whether you’re eloping with just you and your fiance or having some friends and family attend. Wedding planners help everything run smoothly, from different vendors to contracts to helping with a wedding day timeline and more! I did a Q+A with Moab wedding planner, Jessica DeWitt that should answer some questions that you might have pertaining to wedding planning.
One thing that I love about marriages and eloping in Utah is that anyone can be your officiant. Learn more about requirements for whoever you designate to be your officiant here. If you don’t have anyone specific in mind and need a little bit of direction, check out this list of authorized officiants here.
I’m a big believer that every wedding, whether it’s just the two of you or 200 guests, needs gorgeous flowers. I’ll link a couple of gorgeous floral shops in the Moab area for you to check out!
In my experience, you’ll almost never go wrong eloping during the week. Most of the time there are little to no tourists, especially mid week. Many people will extend their vacations to Monday or Friday, which makes mid-week much more open! When it comes to sunset vs. sunrise, it depends upon the time of year. During the busy tourist time and summer months, I highly recommend eloping at sunrise. The temps are slightly cooler and there are less people. Winter elopements are better at sunset because of the cooler weather at sunrise and obviously less tourists because it’s not busy season!
Spring in Moab means rain but luckily the rain storms are not long lived. Because we are talking about the desert here, rain storms usually pass through pretty quickly. More rain means more plants/flowers alive and the sandstone seems to be extra bright, which is beautiful. If you decide to elope in Moab in the spring, I definitely recommend doing so before the end of May. Memorial Day weekend is when tourists really start to come in and kids are out of school. The temperature during this time of year is perfect in my opinion!
Summer in Moab is busy season, especially during holidays. It’s also hot, with temperatures usually reaching over 100 degrees F during the day and not really cooling off at night. If you want to elope during the summer in Moab, I recommend eloping during sunrise and ideally during the week. This will allow you more privacy from tourists (obviously not guaranteed that there won’t be SOME people). Bring way more water than you think! Higher altitudes and hot temps call for a lot of water.
As far as temperatures go, fall in Moab is very similar to spring. The main difference being that plants, wildflowers and sometimes rivers are dried up from the hot summer temps. Because Moab itself is a desert, there’s not usually changing colors unless you go to the Manti La Sal mountains, which has aspen trees and brush that change colors beautifully during the fall months.
Winter in Utah in general is crazy. One day it’s sunny and you only need a light jacket. The next day it’s pounding snow or rain. Moab definitely follows this pattern.
I’m sure you’re already aware that you need a marriage certificate for any type of ceremony happening in Utah and most all other states. Moab is located within Grand County. The license fee needed to get the license is $30 and is non-refundable. This fee will also get you one copy of your marriage license for your officiator to sign. After the officiator signs the license, he or she is responsible for returning it to the Clerk’s office within 30 days. Both you and your fiance are required to be present at the Clerk office and must both show a photo ID. It is required that you know the date of your ceremony as well as your officiants name for the application. After getting your marriage license, it is valid throughout the whole state of Utah.
To apply for your marriage license in Moab, go to the Grand County Clerk, located at 125 East Center Street, Moab, Utah 84532.
I hope this guide was helpful to you! I’ll link some more resources down below that will help you as you’re navigating the wedding/elopement planning process. Moab elopements are unlike any other! As always, I’m here to help you out with any questions that you have pertaining to weddings, eloping, or anything. I’m an open book!