As a couple that had spent the last five years together adventuring and traveling, enjoying experiences these two knew an adventure elopement somewhere they had never been was right for them. Jennifer and Bryce wanted an intimate elopement somewhere beautiful with a dinner to follow that looked like it had appeared in nature. We set up an epic elopement location that their family could also get to, via off roading. We ventured high up into the desert for an awesome view of Sedona, Arizona. Jennifer's mother and father walked her down the trial to her soon to be husband as the rest of the family gathered around. They wanted their ceremony to be more than vows and be interactive for the family. They made a unity cocktail that was passed around to each family member to start off the ceremony. The cocktail they chose was a new one to them and meaningful to their personalities and story. The cocktail consisted of champagne and a little Crème de Cassis. After the vows and formalities they had a family member from each side come up to sign the marriage license before sealing the deal with a kiss! It was beautiful to see all of the love that surrounded them, I do not think there was a dry eye during there ceremony. After the ceremony we set out to explore the rock ledges for couples photos, share a beer and soak in the sunset. During portraits the family headed back to their jeeps to drive back to the Airbnb where dinner would be held. While some of the family members stayed behind to take some of their own photos and hang out on the ledge. We took in the last big of light hanging out, enjoying the view and watching them enjoy an intimate first dance where they had said their vows to each other.
We returned to where the couple was staying for dinner on a beautiful property surrounded by the river, lots of land and under the beautiful starry sky. While these two eloped in Sedona, they opted for a place to stay in Page Springs, which is not too far of a drive but offers a lot more amenities and privacy. Did I mention this is wine country of the Northern Arizona area? The dinner set up was stunning, just like a fairy-tale. They had chefs prepare a salad and cheese board for appetizers as everyone trickled in from the trail. Following that was a variety of wood fired pizzas. The family shared laughs, stories and toasts before the couple cut their cake for everyone to enjoy. One of my favorite moments from the dinner was when the newly wed couple resolved the debate on if its better to resolve an argument before going to bed or sleeping on it and talking it out in the am. They decided it was best to take a short nap and then talk it out before bed lol. Following dinner everyone retreated inside to relax and reflect on the day as Jennifer and Bryce joined me for star gazing on the balcony.
Jennifer and Bryce's day was a perfect example of an adventure elopement that was connective, fun and beautiful all while including family. It was the best of both worlds tying together a traditional ceremony and reception, but also having a unique intimate day in nature. While these two didn’t decide to split up there day like Ashley + Daniel, they still got their alone time to just be together, soak it in that they just got married and enjoy the stunning place they had selected as their wedding location. Their elopement day is also a really good inspiration to heck yes, you can have that epic adventurous wedding that is authentic and connective, but not miss out on the beautiful reception/dinner details that maybe you have always dreamed of or traditions like being walked down the isle for that first look with your future husband.
Ashley and Daniel met in college while both living in Colorado. From the first moment she saw him, she knew Daniel was who she would marry. While Daniel never thought he would get married, Ashley was going to be the one that completely changed his mind. Through the seven years of dating each other, their love with stood long distance and big moves to a different state. When they moved to Arizona together, they visited Sedona, Arizona and it was a memorable and special trip for them, leading them to choosing it for their elopement location where they wanted epic backdrops for their wedding day celebration.
The morning of their elopement, Ashley and Daniel met us before the sun came up and the stars were still twinkling in the sky. We started our ascent up one of the red rocks for a cliff side view overlooking all of Sedona. We got to the top just as all of the colors started to pop during the morning blue hour. The stunning greens started to show up more, the red rock with its purple tones from the dewy blue sky. The two got changed into their more formal wear and prepared to share their vows together. We gave them some space to share this intimate moment together without any distractions. Daniel lost his bet that he wouldn’t shed any tears during their wedding day. One of my favorite parts from their day was after their vows when Ashley looked at us laughing and smiling saying that she felt like she was just looking into his soul. We love elopements for the sheer fact that couples get to share this super special moment together, free of stress or expectation and be moved in such a beautiful place together. I’m not sure about you, but I think it’s the perfect way to start out your wedding day. We hung out up top as the sun rose over the red rocks shining light down onto the trails we had scrambled up. We hiked down looking back on where we were before leaving the area.
We took a break for them to be able to catch up on some sleep from the early am and get ready for the rest of the big day! They set up their reception space in Amara together. It was a super special moment for them to be able to create this romantic space they would later join their family for dinner after the ceremony. They decorated with candles, flowers and photos from their last seven years together. It was the perfect space for them, that they got to do together before not seeing each other until the first look. We arrived back at the Amara resort to capture them getting ready into their wedding attire before seeing each other for the first time. We did the first look down by the river in an intimate setting. Their smiles were big and you could feel all the excitement to finally get married! We left the resort to drive to their ceremony location where their family had already started the short hike. They hiked the trial together towards their family and the location they had hand picked to become husband and wife at sunset. Daniel walked down the hill to the plateau overlooking Cathedral Rock first to start the ceremony. Followed by Ashley accompanied by her brother, mother and the two flower girls that carried her train. During there ceremony they both were able to include their moms. Daniels mom brought forward the ribbon for their hand fasting during the cermeony and Ashley’s mom brought forward the rings. The location picked up some intense wind, which happens in Sedona sometimes, so we moved family photos following the ceremony to a spot along the trail with some protection provided by the Juniper trees. We ended the evening with a beautiful sunset taking portraits with views of Courthouse Butte and Cathedral rock before heading back to Amara to rejoin the family. The newly married couple entered the ceremony space with cheers from everyone and hugs of congratulations. We signed the marriage license, grabbed drinks and cut the cake before leaving the couple with their family to enjoy their intimate dinner together.
Ashley and Daniel’s elopement day was so beautiful, intimate, purposeful and authentic! We loved getting to hike different locations with them and grabbing coffees together when we were in the same part of Arizona! It was a perfect mixture having family along for the adventure wedding and getting to celebrate with just the two of them in an intimate space, but also bring so much joy to tying two families together! Read what Ashley said about their elopement day with us:
“There are not enough good things to say about Traci + Bill! They made all of our elopement dreams come true! From the moment I saw Traci's work, I knew she was the photographer for our elopement. From the first time I reached out to her she was so friendly and had excellent communication - and I know that as a bride trying to work through all the details of getting married.. communication from a vendor is so important. Traci was key in making sure that our day was connected to us and was meaningful. We are absolutely in love with our photos and the video - both the photos/video perfectly captured our intimate day with our families and all the emotion that was involved.
Bill was our officiant and did such a beautiful job writing our ceremony and added such a nice touch to our day. They both truly take the time to get to know their couples and it is so appreciative. Thank you, Traci + Bill for helping Daniel and I make our day everything we dreamed of and more. We can't wait to get together again sometime soon and look forward to taking anniversary photos before we know it!” - Ashley
Here at Adventure and Vow we strongly believe in couples having a wedding day experience that is true to who they are, that is authentic and connective. We know that often times elopements come with the stigma that you’re getting married on a whim with no family. Each couple, relationship, family and wedding day is different. Some folks get married with just them two and some people get married with their family, this doesn’t mean you cant have an epic adventure wedding!
To get married in the state of Arizona you will need an officiant to perform the ceremony and two witnesses. You can pick up your marriage incense at the court house and mail it back or bring it back to any Arizona offices. During covid the process is a littler different, buy typically you both need to go in person to pick it up together with your legal ID. You both must be 18 years old or older. (side note: myself and my assistant are bth ordained and can perform your ceremony for you if you do not want to hire this out or want to elope with essentially no one else there!)
As you may know Phoenix is HOT lol. This doesn’t mean that it is out of the question for an epic elopement though! If you want to elope in Phoenix consider a date between mid to late October and early to mid March for the best chances of mild temperatures. I strongly urge you to stick to these months. As you know it can be cool in the evenings and mornings in the desert, but that mid day heat and sun while in your wedding attire is a killer. It’s not just about what is logistic, it’s also about what the experience will be like and you want to enjoy this day! I also tell all couples eloping anywhere also try to avoid weekends so the trails are less crowded and parking is smooth.
The Phoenix region has an abundance of location options from the surrounding mountains to within the city. Some of my favorite locations are within the Superstition Mountain range. There is a state park just outside of the city called, Lost Dutchman State Park with amazing views and epic hikes it is a perfect place to elope. It offers a great space for family too with communal fire pits, cabins, tent space, rv space and locations where family wouldn’t have to hike for a ceremony but you could after! The Salt River where Nat and Jon eloped is also a great location since you can fish, watch for wild horses or relax by the water, just out of the Mesa area of Phoenix. Within the city limits you have the South Mountain area with great hikes and vista views, Squaw peak and Camel Back Mountain! If you want to go further out look into the Cave Creek region, Four Peaks, White Tank Mountains or even more south you will find more mountain ranges. Outside of the peaks there are also many lakes in the Phoenix Region: Canyon Lake, Reflection Lake, Roosevelt Lake and more. These are great options if you want to hop on a boat, kayak or have a picnic by the water for your elopement.
This all depends on where you elope in the Phoenix region! A lot of the areas are within the Tonto National Forest region and if you are eloping with no guest and no set up you do not currently need a permit. South Mountain, Camel Back, Papago Park and other things within the city will be apart of Parks and Recreation and you would need to contact them. You will notice with permits every location is different. What I urge my couples to do and I do myself is call the park service to get the initial information and get in contract with the right ranger. From there I email over all the specifics of the day to see if permits are needed.
The desert is a little different that those high alpine elopements. You may not need bear spray, but there are some things to keep on hand! You may for sure want sunscreen or a lite hat if you are going on a long day hike. I suggest hiking in pants and high socks so in case you brush a cactus you are safe from the prickles. For sure bring the right hiking boots so you are steady on the rocky trail. And it goes with you say, but WATER!!! How much water depends on how far you are hiking, how hard the hike is and how hot it is. Staying hydrated in the desert is so important. No matter what you are doing keep at least one liter on you.
I personally recommend Airbnbs or VRBOs so you can have a cozy space to hangout and get ready at. Outside of Airbnb’s you will find there are SO many hotels in the region. Some of the top resorts or hotels I recommend are Boulders Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona Baltimore or Royal Palms. Anything in the Scottsdale area will be super nice and near a lot of the great places to dine. If you are eloping at Lost Dutchman and looking for something quieter I recommend one of their cabins. Not wanting to stay inside somewhere or maybe you’re a van lifer like me and you dont need a place? There are countless places to camp and/or disperse camp on the outskirts of the city near the Superstitions and Cave Creek.
Top 5 Airbnb Suggestions for Phoenix:
Elopement cost is so different per couple, it all depends exactly what you want your day to look like. A simple way to break down costs is:
If you are eloping in Phoenix you are close to an Airport which makes travel easier. It can be cheaper to elope in Phoenix due to travel and the cost of hotels and food since it is not based around tourism much like Sedona. The trails will be less crowded on the week day than Northern Arizona trails and finding any other vendors that you need will be easy. If you elope in the Phoenix region you can go out on your adventure, but also come back into town for great cocktails or food since there are so many awesome places to dine, maybe check for a private room dinner?! You also get the chance for many different options of adventure on your elopement day in Phoenix. Starting with a hot air balloon ride, picnics, off roading, horseback riding, climbing, or water activities. From Phoenix your honeymoon options are vast as well since just a short drive away is Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Page, Tuscon or Joshua Tree. Phoenix is urban meets adventure elopement.
Are you ready to elope in Phoenix?! Reach out to me! I am an Arizona Elopement Photographer and Planner. I am here to help you have the very best day designed specific to you two and your relationship!
Now that you know a little bit about eloping in Phoenix, here is some full day elopement inspiration for you!
John and Natalie met each other in college at Arizona State University. Natalie was in the all girls choir, The Pitchforks, and Jon was in the all Men's Choir, Priority Mail, that he started. They instantly clicked upon their first meeting and started seeing each other more and more. These two were initially supposed to get married in April on the anniversary of their very first date together. But due to Covid they had to change their plans. Since it was very important to them to get married on that specific date they got married in a living room with just their family present to still celebrate their marriage and then rescheduled the full celebration to October of this year. They wanted something casual and private. So we started the day on a weekday early in the morning at the Salt River. Since they live in Phoenix, they were able to come out and find the exact spot that felt right to them for their ceremony. Natalie and Jon shared a private first look over looking the river with the most excitement for the day ahead. Jon's twin brother officiated and was able to share stories of their relationship through the last ten years starting from when was first introduced to Natalie, their college days, travels and more. During their ceremony, they passed their rings around to each of their guests who was just close family members to bless the rings and put their love on the rings that they were going to wear forever. Also during the ceremony they made a burrito together and they chose to make a burrito because that's something that they both really have in common is their love for burritos and they wanted to physically make something together on this day. They planned to have the burrito for dinner later that day! Once the ceremony was done we headed closer to the river for family photos which was followed by a family picnic with sandwiches and fruits. Natalie’s father proposed a toast to couple and they spent some time enjoying themselves before the evenings adventure.
Once we had a small break to regather ourselves for the hike ahead we met at a trail on the opposite side of the Salt River in the superstitions to hike out for sunset for them to share their private vows with each other and quality time. Their vows were very sweet and talked about this year and how this year is kind of like marriage and how it's changed their perspective on life in a relationship and how they really admire each other's minds and their their ability to connect and share those deeper conversations with each other. After their emotional vows, they shared a first dance on trail and even some champagne. As the last light started to touch the desert mountains they sat down to enjoy their Sprinkles Cupcakes one of which was pumpkin and the other was caramel, true to fall flavors. It was a special moment as the day ended and they got to soak all the events in together just them and the desert. It was just a really beautiful day listening to them talk about their relationship, laughing together and connecting.
Kerry and Jason met at Ragbrai on Kerry’s birthday. They both attended the event, despite the fact that Kerry had initially not planned to go. They had dinner the following evening leaving a lasting impression on each other with a strong spark of connection. As time passed they entered a long distance relationship. Their proposal was one for the books! These two hopped a fence at one of their favorite places that had closed down to share an evening together reading, watching hot air balloons and the moon rise. During this time Jason got on one knee and asked Kerry to marry him! When they hopped the fence to get back to the car, there were police waiting. After the police officers heard about the happy news of the engagement, they let them off with a warning!
These two have a relationship full of passion, communication, connection and deep love. Their ceremony could not have been a better reflection of what they share together. They were set to get married on Cathedral rock as the sun rose, but due to Covid-19 the trail was closed. They choose to get married on a beautiful open plateau with Cathedral in the background. Jessie, a local Sedona flute player, played several different flutes as they got ready for the ceremony, during the ceremony and after. One of the flutes he played was the Twin Flame. This flute is rare and can only be played in a still environment. It was magical when the wind stopped just in time for Jesse to play the Twin Flame during their ceremony and then the wind started up again just as he finished. It was a beautiful touch to reflect their chemistry. Jen, their officiant, put together a lovely ceremony recalling their relationship, allowing a space of gift giving and ring exchanging. She also preformed sage smudging for purification. The act of smudging is done to clear negative energies and provide a healing and sacred space for the ceremony. The smoke attaches itself to negative energy, and as it clears it takes that negative energy with it, releasing it into another space to be regenerated.
After the ceremony, their excitement of finally becoming husband and wife shined! They were excited to hike a trail that they had felt drawn to in the red rocks for portraits. After we finished taking photos in celebration these two went back on the trail in their wedding attire to just enjoy the time and space together in celebration. Covid has changed a lot of folks weddings and elopements. Luckily for these two they only had to change their travel plans from flying to driving and where they were staying! I am so thankful that they got to share this pure, connective experience and I wish them many years of hopping fences for their moon-versay, laughter and growth in their love!!! <3