The Best Utah Elopement Guide

utah elopement in zion national park

If you’re planning to elope in the beautiful state of Utah, you’re in the right place. Home to five national parks, red desert rocks, salt flats and some of the most beautiful mountains you’ve ever seen, Utah is an ideal state to elope in. I’ve created this guide to help you with the details of your adventure elopement and give you some clarity on what places are best to elope in.

 

Utah Weather

Utah experiences all four seasons which means it can go from blazing hot in the summer to freezing cold temps in the winter with a few feet of snow. In my opinion, Utah is absolutely beautiful in all four seasons, so you can’t go wrong with whatever season you choose to elope in. To narrow down the location that’s perfect for you, you’ll want to think about what weather conditions sound ideal to you and your partner. The further north you go in the winter, the more snow you’ll see. As you go further south, like St. George, which is the popular town near Zion National Park, the weather is very enjoyable and mild in the winter and is an ideal time to elope if you’re planning on eloping at Zion National Park.

Eloping in the Spring

If you’re considering eloping in Utah during the spring, the desert regions are a great option. It’s not unbearably hot yet and the temperatures are very favorable. I talk later in this guide about how to avoid crowds for your elopement which is relevant because places like Moab and Zion become very touristy during spring and fall as the temperatures are warm but not too hot yet. In areas near Salt Lake, there tends to be more rain which is important to be aware of.

Eloping in the Summer

If you’re looking at eloping in Utah in the summer, my best advice would be to stick to northern Utah and the mountain regions. The southern Utah desert gets too hot, and I love the mountains for summer Utah elopements. During the summer is when Utah mountains shine with incredible wildflowers and canyon roads also open up.

Eloping in the Fall

If you’re wanting to elope during the fall, Utah mountains are also incredible. The leaves are changing color and the mountains feel like they are glowing. Aspen trees are truly in their prime and fall is their time to shine. Similar to spring, the deserts of Utah are more bearable when it comes to the heat so the national parks like Arches, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Capitol Reef and Canyonlands National Parks are perfect locations to elope during this time of year.

Eloping in the Winter

If you’re wanting to elope in Utah during the winter, your location would depend on what type of vibe you’re looking for. Are you looking for snow capped mountains and a cozy cabin vibe? Park City or Heber would be perfect. If you’re wanting more of a desert look, Canyonlands would also be a great location. If you do choose to elope in Zion National Park in the winter, take note that the lower elevation parts of the park are a good choice because certain parts of the park and high elevation roads do get snow in the colder months.

 

Avoiding Crowds for Your Elopement

I totally understand the importance of having your privacy as you say your vows and wanting a location that’s secluded and away from people and luckily, there are a lot of locations where that is possible.

Fall and spring is a big tourist time for people in places like Zion and Arches National Parks because of the desirable weather so be aware that sunrise would probably be the best time to beat the crowds for your elopement during this time of year. Otherwise, “shoulder-season” would be an ideal time of year to elope. Shoulder-season is the time of year just before and just after the peak busy season. June through August tend to be the busiest time for mountain trails in Northern Utah while late spring and early fall tends to bring all the tourists to the National Parks in southern Utah. If you’re looking to avoid people as much as possible, shoulder-season would be a great option. Eloping during the weekdays of Tuesday through Thursday is a great idea as well because people are more likely to take their long weekend on Friday through Monday.

 

Locations in Utah to Elope

Utah has a vast variety of places that are stunning to elope in. When it comes to choosing your location for your Utah elopement, my best recommendation is to check in with your adventure elopement photographer. The reason is that we make it an important part of our job to keep a running list of gorgeous elopement spots that most likely not shared anywhere online. If you’re looking for a private, secluded experience, the places that are shared online will have the likelihood of being heavily trafficked. Ultimately, I would discuss with your partner which type of landscape speaks to you and your partner. Is it the Rocky Mountains or the Utah desert landscape? Is it a high mountain field of wildflowers or an epic cliff location? Bring your ideas to your elopement photographer and I can help guide you in the right direction from there!

The Salt Flats

That being said, there are a handful of classic locations that are absolutely beautiful for an elopement. The first is the Salt Flats. The Salt Flats are mind-blowing. All you see is a flat ground of salt for miles and miles. You can also drive on them, which is awesome. When it rains, the water just sits on the flat ground, and you can see the reflection of the mountains. It’s seriously a beautiful place and the contrast of a black suit against the white salt is incredible, or a white dress with white salt also looks amazing. You can’t go wrong with the Salt Flats and there is no fee to enter the Salt Flats, but if you are eloping here, you do need to obtain a Utah marriage license from any county clerk office in Utah. More information can be found below under “The Legal Stuff.”

Antelope Island

If you’re looking for a place that has shoreline, beautiful mountains AND rolling hills all in one, Antelope Island is your place. Antelope Island is a state park and is convenient to get to because it’s only located about 45 minutes from Salt Lake. There is currently a $15 fee to get into the park which you pay for at the booth before you enter the park. You might also spot a buffalo, antelope, or deer while you’re at the park which makes it an even cooler place to elope. If you’re going to Antelope Island in the summer though, beware of the bugs. My favorite time of year to visit this beautiful island is spring or fall, but it also varies depending on the time of day.

Moab, Utah

Moab is an incredible place because although it has two National Parks, Arches and Canyonlands, it also has places where you can get more privacy. It truly feels like another planet, in a cool and awesome way. If you want to see some beautiful engagement photos I took recently in Moab, check out this post here! There are also some really fun places for lodging and if you have any more questions, I would love to help you out further. The fee to enter wherever you’re going depends upon which area you choose to elope in.

Capitol Reef National Park

It sounds crazy to suggest a national park as a place to elope, but this one made the list for good reason! Capitol Reef National Park is one of the most hidden gems of the state of Utah. It has beautiful and stunning landscape, and you get privacy. Try going to Zion and missing the crowds, sometimes it seems impossible, which is why Capitol Reef is a perfect place for an elopement. Check out this blog post that I wrote about eloping in Capitol Reef. You still get those desert, cliff, red rock vibes without all the people. It’s fantastic. Entrance into this park costs $20 per vehicle or $10 per person if you’re on foot.

Zion National Park

Everyone has heard of eloping in Zion National Park and for good reason. The desert scenery is stunning. The only key to eloping in Zion is choosing the right time of year, week and day. Seems easy, right? 😉 I’ve been to Zion during the off-season (November-February) and the weather is not terrible. It’s fairly warm, there is snow on the peaks of some of the cliff areas but overall it’s not unbearable. Eloping in Zion during a weekday during the slow season is a great time to avoid visitors. You almost can’t go wrong eloping at sunrise, either! If you have your heart on eloping in Zion, I say go for it!

bride and groom at utah elopement in zion national park

 

Little Cottonwood Canyon

Last on the list, but definitely not least is Little Cottonwood Canyon, located only 30 minutes from SLC. It is an epic destination exploding with wildflowers in the early summer months. You really only have to walk a very short distance to achieve stunning mountain views and can also find privacy here fairly easy.

 

The Best Time of Day to Elope

There are two perfect times of the day to elope. Sunrise and sunset. These two times of day provide warm, softer light and avoids that harsh lighting that you see mid-day. Once you’ve selected your time of day, it’s best to chat with your elopement photographer about the specifics of the timeline.

 

Book Your Elopement Vendors

If you’re looking for an efficient way to ensure that your elopement day goes smooth, it’s important to have awesome vendors on your side. You will feel a load lift off your shoulders as your vendors are able to guide you through a lot of the process. I’ll link you to a few of my favorite elopement vendors here in the state of Utah!

Wedding Planners

Wandering Weddings

Cakes

Annie’s Cakes

Sugar Rush

Videographers

Grey Giraffe

Shades of Jade Films

Florists

Olive & Sage Floral

The Potted Pansy

Mille Fleur Design

Hair and Makeup Artists

Lexi Harker Beauty

Bridal By Caitlin

Photographer

Me, of course!

 

The Legal Stuff

A Marriage License

Rules regarding getting your marriage license will vary from state to state, so it’s important that you take into consideration Utah’s laws before you make your Utah elopement plans. There is no waiting time to get married after you obtain a marriage license. That said, you only have 30 days to get married after you officially get the license. To get the license, you need to apply online (Salt Lake City, Tooele, or whatever county you’re marrying in). You can obtain the license by appointment only right now. You need a valid picture ID such as a driver license, birth certificate, passport, or state ID card. To obtain a marriage license, you’ll also need social security numbers and contact info. There is usually a small fee to obtain the license which varies from county to county.

The Officiant

When you elope in Utah, you will need an officiant to solemnize your marriage. You have two options when doing this. You can first hire an elopement officiant. Officiants who specialize in elopements will be down for whatever adventure you have planned for your elopement. He or she will be able to get to know the two of you as a couple, and create a personalized ceremony. If you want the elopement to be more personalized, you can have a family member or friend officiate. Getting ordained is so simple and takes only a few minutes. If you want to add a personalized touch to your elopement, you can have a friend or family member officiate! Getting ordained takes just a few minutes. You can find more on how to do that here!

Witnesses

You must also have the proper officiant and 2 witnesses over 18 years old to sign the document. The witnesses can be strangers, or they can be your vendors if you want it to just be you two and myself and the officiant.

 

Are You Ready For Your Utah Elopement?

Let’s do this! Now that you’re an expert on all things Utah Elopement, let’s make it happen! I’m here to help you through this all. Planning your elopement shouldn’t give you headaches, it should be fun and exciting! Tell me what fun and crazy ideas you have for your elopement day, and we will make it happen. Contact me here to get your date booked on my calendar.

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