Yosemite National Park is probably one of the top five places in the United States couples choose to elope at. The park is grand with its beautiful forests and large granite walls surrounding a valley full of deer, the occasional bear and outdoor enthusiasts. If you are a climber, hiker or national park lover, this is the park for your adventure wedding in California. The park has been drawing people to its beauty for so many years and not just adventurers and couples getting married. Did you know it once was at the location of the Winter Olympics?! This blog is to help you get an idea of what an elopement in Yosemite National Park would look like and how to plan your own very special day.
The park is located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. It is not super close to any one airport. You can consider flying into Los Angeles or Sacramento or even San Fransisco. I also recommend pairing a trip to Yosemite with a trip to Lake Tahoe. In this case you may want to fly into Reno, Nevada. Yosemite National Park is also next to Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon, so considering extending your trip for that too. California is home to 5 national parks, so the options are endless for exploring the state. From the airports you will for sure need to rent a car to drive to the park. Once in the park you can take the shuttles around to the trailheads/areas, bike or hike.
Honestly, this depends on what you are wanting to do and if you care how busy the park will be. The general recommendation is early May to late October. The summer is very busy in the park. I highly recommend eloping here on a weekday no matter what. One time we shot in the park at one of the popular locations, there were six other couples eloping and having engagement photos taken, so be prepared to share your space. I think late fall can be one of the prettiest times of year in the park, but mid spring can be less busy than the summer and fall. I would also consider eloping at sunrise here to avoid crowds. Can you imagine watching the first days light shine on the granite walls below you to start off your wedding day?!
Yosemite National Park has a few resorts you can consider staying right within the valley of the park. There are also camp sites all throughout the Valley. However, both of these options can book out even a year out, so you want to plan ahead! We recommend renting a cabin in the West Yosemite area. It is still in the park, but out of the valley and more tucked away from everyone else. It is also closer to areas like the grove and the Glacier point area. Outside of the park you can stay at Rush Creek Lodge or we love Autocamp. Other ways to find a stay are checking out Hipcamp, Airbnb or VRBO.
If you have any guests attending, you will need to choose from a specific location listed within the parks guidelines. For example, one of their ceremony locations with guests is the red chapel located in the valley across from El Capitan. The locations within the park that you can get married at range from the valley floor, to overlooks, to the groves and by the beautiful lakes or waterfalls. Know that some of the roads to some of the locations are closed due to snow until mid to late spring. So have a back up plan in place if you are considering one of the locations effected by road closures. However, you can take your just you two portraits almost anywhere within the park.
To get married in Yosemite National Park you need to pull a permit with a forest service ranger. You do this by downloading the application from their site, filling it out, mailing it in with your money order. Note - they are very specific about their process and it must be done correctly. Also know that your money order is not refundable and must be for the correct amount for exactly what you are applying for. You need to apply for your permit at least 45 days in advance, but we recommend doing this as soon as you have decided which location in the park you want to get married at. Your permit will cost around $150 for getting married in the park. Outside of the permit for the park, you will need your marriage certificate. This is the state of California, so you will need to obtain your marriage license from a local clerk office together. You will need an officiant to perform/sign the paperwork and one witness. You can have a second witness sign, but it is not required.
**It is important to note that as of 2021 the park is requiring a day-of pass to enter the park, or a permit or registered camping/stay within the park limits. Your wedding permit would allow you, your photographer and your guests in for that day only. So if you want to go to the park for more days than that, you need to plan ahead to book those reservations. Also be sure that everyone in your party has a copy of your wedding permit to be able to get into the park. (Expert tip: carpool, the fewer cars the better)
Now let’s talk about where would you want to do your portraits in the park. There are countless locations that are stunning in Yosemite, but there are a few that just hit different. For example, the meadows with any of the falls in the background or El Cap. Glacier Point (also another pre-approved location for a ceremony) is a classic along with Taft Point. However it is important to note the road up to Taft point and Glacier point is scheduled to be closed in 2022 for road construction. If you want to elope or do portraits at these locations you will need to prepare to do a pretty big hike. The good news though is that it will for sure be more private than it usually is!! Don’t limit yourself, the park is huge with tons of beautiful areas, you don’t have to follow the masses, you can always find your own special spot that is just as beautiful.
For your adventure wedding you may already know exactly what things you want to do, what things are special to you two that you want to incorporate on this special day. Or you may be open! Adventures in the park include, but are not limited to, camping, hiking, getting into the river, bouldering, back packing, biking and rock climbing. Yosemite has been famous for its big wall granite climbing for decades before ‘Free Solo’ came out, which put it on the climbing world map for everyone else too. There are of course those insanely epic big wall climbs, but there are also many shorter/easier climbs. There are trails that are short and sweet in the park, but a lot of the park is pretty long steep hikes that take you to wild vistas on top of the granite walls. We have met couples that eloped after completed the climb up the nose on El Capitan and we have met couples who eloped at Taft point after a short 2.5 mile hike. The adventure is truly what you want to make it. We are here to help you figure that out!
If you are visiting Yosemite National Park for the first time for your elopement here are some key notes to think about:
We are a photo video husband and wife team that travel all over the Western part of the United States. We are both familiar with Yosemite National Park and would love to capture your day here! We actually got engaged in Yosemite in the spring of 2021! We are available for bookings in the Yosemite area in the Spring, early summer and fall of 2022. We are also both ordained and can help you take care of the legal parts of getting married in California.
It is my personal opinion as an Arizona local photographer that Winter is the best time to elope in the Grand Canyon. You are probably thinking, WHY it’s cold then! Well, yes, it is cold, but it is also empty. The Grand Canyon is a super busy National Park and if you are wanting privacy and freedom from having to take the bus around to the locations then you for sure want Winter and not to mention you get the stunning view of a snow covered canyon possibly!! Outside of Winter the spring and fall are great times to elope in the park. I would highly suggest avoiding the Summer months due to the heat and crowds. Timing wise you want to elope at sunrise or sunset in the canyon for the best lighting within the canyon and for yourselves. Blue hour, the time right after the sun dips down or comes up, is truly a treat in the canyon because the colors pop!
There are two sections of the Grand Canyon, the North and the South rim. It is important to note that the North Rim is closed in the Winter months because of snow fall. At the North rim you can get married at Cape Royal Amphitheater or Point Imperial Viewpoint. Along the South Rim you can get married at Pima Point, Rim Worship Site, Grandeur Point, Shoshone Point, Moran Point (where most of the photos in this blog are taken) or Lipan Point. Each site has a specific number of people you are allowed to have for the wedding listed on the National Park’s Website. It is extremely important to note that you must pull a permit with the National Park at least 4 weeks in advance, but not longer than one year out. Pulling the permit can be done via the application and fee found on their site.
While these are the only places you can hold your ceremony you can also hike down some of the trails for a different perspective after/before the ceremony for photos. If you are seeking a true adventure wedding then consider hiking rim to rim to stay the night at Phantom Ranch then hike back to the top just in time for a sunset ceremony! Keep in mind you need a reservation to stay at Phantom Ranch and will need to book this well in advance.
When working with Adventure and Vow we include officiating services in our packages. You can self solemnize or you can have us do the ceremony for you. We also have several officiants we can recommend out if you are looking for a specific ceremony that involves saging or things like that. In the state of Arizona you need an officiant, two witnesses (this is not hard to find at the Grand Canyon if you do not have any quests attending your ceremony) and you both must be 18 years or older. You will need to make an appointment at a Clerk’s office somewhere in the state of Arizona to obtain your marriage license together. I would recommend the Flagstaff or Page (depending which direction you are coming from) clerk office. If you are an Arizona resident you can get your marriage license mailed to you currently, due to covid. After the ceremony and the license being signed your officiant will mail it back to the clerk office and just like that you are married!
The application fee for the wedding permit is $120, but the actual fee for the wedding can be anywhere between $200 and $500, the cost depends on the location you choose for the ceremony. Outside of permit costs within the park things you would want to budget for are:
Travel (rental car, place to stay to stay, flight, food) - estimated budget $1250-2500
your Arizona marriage license - $83
photographer - estimated budget $2500-$4600
officiant - estimated budget $0-250
dress - estimated budget $500 - $1500
suit - $500
potentially flowers - $300
Here are my top recommendations for Airbnbs in the Grand Canyon area coming from Flagstaff, Kanab or Page - all of these are the gate way towns to North or South rim.
Getting to the Grand Canyon slightly depends on which rim you are going to (north or south). If you are going to south rim I recommend flying into Phoenix or Flagstaff. From there you can rent a car for your stay. If you are going to the North Rim I recommend flying into Las Vegas and renting a car from there. Alternative options are flying privately in to Page, Arizona or taking the train from Williams into the South Rim.
Things to do near the South Rim include: exploring downtown Flagstaff, Skiing on Humphreys peak, hiking/biking/climbing in Sedona, etc.
Things to do near the North Rim include: Zion National Park, eating in downtown Kanab, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, etc.
Look no further! Hi, I am Traci the owner of Adventure and Vow. I have been planning and capturing adventurous weddings all over Arizona for the last three years and I love being able to help couples plan a day that truly speaks to them and allows them the space to really connect on this big day! Reach out about your Grand Canyon elopement or adventurous wedding in Arizona and we will be with you every step of the way!
You have seen this iconic beauty, Cathedral Rock, in travel blogs, hiking sites, numerous ads and of course many wedding photos. I call it the classic hike of Sedona. It is one of the most popular elopement locations in Arizona. In this blog I will tell you exactly how to get married at Cathedral Rock and how to plan for the best experience there. As a Sedona local elopement photographer I have photographed many engagement sessions, proposals and you guessed it, elopements here and I can wait to share all of this info with you, so lets get to it!
Cathedral Rock trail head is just off of the 179 going into Sedona from the Village of Oak Creek. Cathedral Rock Trail is not the only access point to the route that will take you to the top of the rock though. You can also take the temptation trail for a longer hike, more parking and different views. That access will also start near the VOC (aka - Village of Oak Creek). Parking at the trailhead for Cathedral Rock will cost $5 unless you have a weekly or yearly Sedona Red Rock Parking pass. America the beautiful passes distributed by the national park service will also count for parking here. Your parking pass can be bought at the trailhead with a debit or credit card at the machine or any local gas station can sell you a pass. The most important thing to note about parking at this trail head is that it is always packed, especially on weekends and Tuesday evenings for a local event. My best advice is to arrive 30 minutes early to get parking and wait patiently in the line rather than circling around. Do not park in areas that are not designated for you. You will very likely get a parking ticket.
Alright! If you didn’t guess this from the information above you want to avoid weekends, holidays and Tuesdays (local event happens and parking gets crowded). I typically say the best days are Wednesdays and Thursdays to avoid crowds. The thing with Cathedral is you really can’t avoid crowds since it is the most popular location in the area for hiking and photos. This is for good reason because it has one of the best spots for sunset, so embrace the other hikers and maybe even other folks getting married! Sunset to me is half of why this location is so iconic, getting to watch the sun set behind the mountains surrounded by red rock walls is breathtaking. If you do want less crowds you can elope here at sunrise for a whole different view and experience. At sunrise you still can see the sun come up and get beautiful colors, it’s different but not in a bad way at all. When planning your timeline for your elopement keep in mind you want to block out around four hours for an elopement here, one hour to hike up, two hours for photos and a ceremony and then one hour to hike down. This allows the perfect amount of time for changing, not being rushed on the hike and to enjoy the experience. Even though Cathedral is more Northern Arizona, it still gets really hot in the summer. I recommend considering eloping here during the early fall or the late spring. In my personal opinion based on weather and tourist traffic the best two months to elope on Cathedral rock is March and November.
Yes, you can!!! Currently the Red Rock Forest service district does not require a permit to get married here (as of Jan 2021). This could change in the future so be sure to ask your photographer or call the forest service ranger to speak with them. However, they do have rules for your ceremony: no arches, no flower petals or birdseed to be thrown, no set up of chairs and do not block trail or disturb other hikers. Outside of that you will need a marriage license for the state of Arizona from a clerk office in the state, this also means you must be at least 18 years old. To obtain your license you can set an appointment by phone and then go together to get it. If you are local to Arizona you may apply and get yours in the mail currently due to covid. For the ceremony you will need an officiant and two witnesses above the age of 18 as well. The great news about Cathedral is if you do not have any friends or family present at your elopement, there will be plenty of folks to ask along the hike to sign as witnesses! After the ceremony and signatures, your officiant will mail the license back in for you and boom, you’re married!!!! You can only hold the ceremony at the bast of Cathedral around the first rock shelve. Ceremonies are only allowed to be held on Forest Service land and the top of Cathedral Rock is considered Wilderness land. Don’t worry though, because this is really quite nice as the lower rock shelve is less crowded meaning you will have a more private ceremony.
Short answer, it depends on the dress. Long answer - It truly depends on your comfort level and your mobility in the dress. If the dress is too tight around your thigh area you wont be able to move as freely as you need to get up the scramble part of the hike. If you have a large heavy dress like a ball gown I wouldn’t recommend hiking it in because you want your hands free for that section as well so if you can hold the train of your dress in one arm that is more ideal. I would say half of my brides hike it with their dress on and half of my brides change at the top. What do you do if you are changing at the top?? There are a few areas you could do the ceremony that are more private, slightly off trail, and that you could hike to in your dress and then change to go up and then change again. We have a changing tent that we carry with us for our brides that want to change up top and want privacy to do so. Otherwise there are plenty of trees or more private areas to change. You for sure want to wear hiking boots to do this hike. Some experienced hikers will do it barefoot, so if you are conditioned for that, feel free. You can always bring a change of shoes for photos, but I would highly recommend not wearing heels at the top.
Yes, you can totally bring guests along for the adventure for this location. This is also a dog friendly trail, if your dog is comfortable with heights to get to the top. The lower areas to elope on the rock shelves are family friendly, but not accessible by wheel chair. Getting to the top is a 1.2 mile hike that is very steep, so everyone may want to go to the top. The most important thing when bringing guests along to this location is to carpool or have people dropped off. Plan ahead for any drop offs because there are only a couple of Ubers in town and one taxi. A lot of folks will do the ceremony at the bottom and then hike up for sunset for portraits. The walk to several of the ceremony options is approximately ten minutes. To get to the top I allow usually 40 minutes from ceremony locations. The hike down usually takes 30-45minutes depending on folks comfort levels.
Your closest options will be in the Village of Oak Creek or in Uptown Sedona. There are plenty of restaurants in these areas as well. Restaurants I recommend in the Village of Oak Creek: Butterfly Burger, Tortas de Fuego, The Hudson, Javelina Cantina and Oak Creek Espresso. Restaurants I recommend in the Uptown area are The Hudson, The Vault, The Cowboy Club, Mariposa and Creek side Coffee.
Best places to stay in the VOC:
Best Places to Stay in Uptown:
Cathedral Rock is iconic. I totally understand the draw to eloping at it, from conquering the hike together as newly weds, to the stunning sunset views and the ability to have a family ceremony and an adventure. I think Cathedral Rock offers a great space for a ceremony with family and sunset photos, but I strongly suggest doing part of your elopement day somewhere else too. Why? To offer you some privacy to enjoy your day or a different adventure too. The thing is, it’s your wedding day so you should celebrate this whole day, giving it the attention it deserves to start off your marriage. Eloping at a place like Cathedral is STUNNING and exciting, but not private. It is nice to spend some time with just you two on this day reflecting on the time that got you here, what this day means and thinking about your future together. A nice thing several of my couples do is get up for sunrise to do a hike together to share private vows or a letter. This is a great way to set the tone and experience for this day. You can also do a breakfast picnic together where ever you go for sunrise or back at the Airbnb. Sedona has over 50 million acres and offers opportunities from hot air balloon rides, hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, cliff jumping into the river and so much more. I share a 54-page guide with the best elopement locations in Sedona with my couples and you guessed it, Cathedral rock is on there! The guide goes over all of the locations, trail information, parking information and more! I love helping couples plan a day that is truly them and the experience of a lifetime <3
Have you ever wondered which of those magical beaches in Oregon would be the best one for your elopement!? Welp I am here to give you the complete low down! From the location, to planning, to the towns near by, adventure and more! Oregon is one those places that doesn’t seem real offering everything from forests, mountains, high desert, cliff side beaches, waterfalls and hot springs! When it comes to things to do along the Oregon coast for your adventure elopements you have all sorts of options like hiking, surfing, picnic on the beach, fire on the beach, horseback rides, search for sea life or fly a kite! The state is truly an elopement gold mind, but where are THE best spots?!
All of these locations will be the most beautiful at sunset! Although, if you want to avoid crowds consider a sunrise elopement or private vow reading. The best time of year is late spring to mid fall, but these are all locations that could be used year round too. Beaches can be busy on the weekends during the summer so consider a weekday elopement!
Do not be fooled by the fact that these beaches are not the easiest to get to, because they are the most dramatic in their cliffs creating unreal sunsets and more privacy than most of the beaches in the state. Some of the beach trails range from a half mile to over three miles so there is plenty of adventure along the coast here. Not to mention near by parks, gardens and trails through forest. Just about 15 minutes south of the beaches you have a Red Woods trail that goes through groves up to 800 years old! If you are coming in from California you can stop and see the Red Woods at the State Park as well. This location truly offers the best beach location for a full day elopement.
How do you get to it?
The closest town to these beautiful coast line is Brookings, Oregon. So if you are going to elope here you could fly into Portland, Bend or San Francisco. You will most definitely want to rent a car to be able to get to your destination and different parts of the shore.
Where to stay in Brookings, Oregon
The Wild Coast Lookout - This Airbnb is a modern look and a perfect nook for just the two of you. It comes complete with a hot tub, perfect for those 60 degree nights along the coast and for some steamy photos after your elopement day! The space has a lot of greenery, offering a great spot for a first look before you head out for your big day!
The cabin in the mountains - This beautiful cabin is sure to bring you relaxation prior to your elopement day, tucked back in the mountains! Offering two bedrooms, but 4 beds so if you plan to bring along any guests this would be a great spot to consider!
Beach front luxury - If you are looking for a place to stay for your wedding that has all of the bells and whistles this is it! The stay has beautiful bedrooms, perfect to get ready in, hot tub, a big deck with ocean views, a great kitchen and more! This place will also accommodate you two and a few guests!
Almost in the center of the state and probably the closest to many waterfalls is a beautiful surfer’s paradise perfect for an elopement! Here you can surf together on your big day or grab a beer right on the water. This beach is a great beach to have a little fire at the end of the night to roast marshmallows, have dinner or read letters from family! Not only can you explore this beach by foot, but also by horseback! Nearby there is opportunity for kayaking, going to the Tillamook factory for lunch or ice cream and or fishing!
How to get to Pacific City, Oregon?
The closest town is Pacific City to this beach. To get here the closest airport is Portland, Oregon. From there you will most likely want to rent a car. If you are driving in from the North or South I highly recommend driving the 101 or highway 1 all the way up the coast for some pretty epic views along your trip.
Where to stay for your elopement at Pacific City?
Ocean Front - This Airbnb is right on the ocean! Literally sand coming right up to the front door. Beautiful place with great views and a classic look.
Ocean Front perfect for Guests - This home is super spacious perfect for you and your guests if you have folks coming along with you. It is also dog friendly and has a hot tub!
Home on the River - This spot is a cute cabin right on the river with its own dock. The Airbnb offers kayaks if you want to venture out onto the water! This spot is perfect for just you two!
Cannon Beach is probably the most popular iconic spot along the Oregon coast and for good reason. The town is full of life, great coffee shops and the rock has lots of sea life around it. The state park in town, Ecola State Park, is a known spot by local surfers, but also hikers. The nearby town, Seaside, is typically a little less busy with great restaurants, swings on the beach and of course this is a perfect spot for a campfire along the shore. Whichever town you end up in this area is great for morning walks on the beach with coffee in hand to ending the evenings on the shores, both are relaxing places to be! What this area has to offer doesn’t stop there though, if crowds arent’ your thing there are plenty of other beautiful beach accesses just south of the town!
How do I get to Cannon beach?!
Cannon Beach and Seaside are both closest to Portland, Oregon’s airport. Although, if you are making your elopement be apart of a bigger trip, say you’re honey mooning after then I suggest flying into Portland and then out of Seattle so you can explore either Olympic National Park or Mt Rainier after! There is a bus that goes from the Portland area to Seaside so you may not want to rent a car, but note taxi service and Uber are very limited in this area.
Where to stay at Cannon Beach?
Whimsical Cottage - This cottage will give you all of the PNW vibes with the wood fire place, trees surrounding it and ocean views. This is tucked away and perfect for just you two to enjoy your elopement!
Dog Friendly perfect for Guests - This is right on the beach! Complete with hot tub, dog friendly and a deck for grilling and dining.
Mid-Centry Home - This home is in Seaside, OR with beautiful indoor and outdoor space to spend with just you two or you and your guests. It is a short walk to the beach and the local shops and restaurants.
Washington coast is much like Oregon, but moodier in my opinion. Washington is known for its mountain ranges, national parks, the big ole’ city of Seattle and coastal life of sailboats and islands. Washington coast elopement locations offer whale watching at certain times throughout the year, eagle watching, surfing, hiking and campfires along the coast.
The best time to elope on a beach in Washington is the Summer months to early Fall, but you can brave the rainy season if you wish! Sunset is the best time to elope at these locations, but again sunrise will offer less crowds and quiet vibes. These beaches are pretty vast so you can for sure find your own nook at them. It is important to plan ahead with your guests and photographer because many of these spots have limited cell range.
Olympic National Park is by far one of the best elopement locations in the United States in my opinion 🙂 I have recently written an entire blog about how, when and where to elopement, but this blog I will be focusing strictly on the beaches! The entire park has multiple epic beaches with dramatic rocks, forests and you guessed it moody vibes on your typical pnw day. Some beaches you park and you’re right there and others you have to hike in. You can backpack and camp on some of the beaches with a permit from parks.gov. Either way eloping here can be a full day adventure exploring the different beaches, hiking through the forest, surfing or watching eagles!
How do I get to Olympic National Park?
The closest airport is SeaTac in Seattle, from there you will need to rent a car. You can drive your car the whole way from the airport to the area or you can take your car on a ferry to Port Angeles and drive from there. Port Angeles is the closest bigger town, but inside of the park is Forks, WA (where they filmed a lot of Twilight).
Where to stay in Olympic?
Tiny Cabin - This cabin is closest to the La Push area so closest to Rialto beach and Third Beach. It is perfect if it is just you two and you want something cozy with a hot tub.
Secluded Oceanfront Cabin - This place is super cute with a great out door space and to get away from it all. There is a good spot to do a first look before heading out on your elopement day. It is located closest to Ruby Beach.
Stunning Home - This super cute little home with it’s modern look is located in Port Angeles, so the closest town. It is perfect for just you two or you and one other couple. It is near the shops, ferry and restaurants complete with a fireplace to cozy up to.
The islands are located in Northern Washington and offer a variety of things to do, places to see and adventure! You can find in my blogs a complete guide to eloping on the San Juan island with the town of Friday Harbor, but for this blog post I will be talking about all of the islands and what the offer, how to get to them and where to stay. Among the Islands you have the town Friday Harbor the largest town and island, then you have Orcas Island, Shaw, Lopez, Sucia and MORE! Orcas and San Juan are the most popular among tourist offering the most things to do, but the more secluded you get the more privacy and intimacy you can have for your day.
How do I get to the Islands?
To get to the main island, Friday Harbor area, or Orcas you can take a ferry from Anacortes, WA. To get to the ferry you can drive or bus from the SeaTac airport. To get to the other islands you will need to ferry from other ferries on the islands. Other options are boating or a sea plane! You want to make sure to make a reservation with the Washington Ferry system and make travel plans ahead of time.
Where do I stay on the Islands?
Ocean Front Cabin - This cabin right on the water faces West, aka all of the sunset! This is a perfect nook on Orcas island perfect for a romantic get away with just you two for your elopement!
Modern Stay with Guests - This home has a hot tube and pool table. With its three bed rooms it is perfect for you two or you and two other couples. The home is located on Orcas Island.
3 Cabins! - Located on Lopez island is this little gem with three separate cabins, yard space and a private beach entrance. Perfect way to stay with your guests, but also keep some privacy!
My soul was deeply captured by the magic at Olympic National park many years ago and set me on this path, becoming an elopement photographer. Since then I have deeply explored the Oregon coast and Washington coast scouting out elopement locations, capturing couples love stories and of course vacationing lol. I am your go to gal for helping you plan your epic adventure elopement day in the Pacific Northwest and capturing the moments of your love story to preserve forever. My partner/officiant spend our June - October in the Oregon and Washington area traveling all over in our van and we can not wait to connect with you two about your day!
These two knew they wanted a red rock background with vast landscapes for their elopement. They planned to do a big southwest trip for the week of their elopement. Ultimately they decided to elope in Zion National Park in between their time exploring Page, the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon. We picked a trail that was easily accessible with stunning views and that would be the least crowded. How to avoid the crowds? Hike in at sunrise of course! We met as the stars were shining and began our hike not being able to see anything on the trail except for the path to take to the view point. We arrived before the sun rose and and the morning blue hour light really brought out all of the color in the canyon walls. It was stunning! A great way to see Zion for the very first time!!! We explored the area before they selected the perfect spot that felt right to them to say their hand written vows to each other. They had previously gotten legally married at a lake near their hometown with their dog to make the trip easier and let this day be truly just about them sharing this experience together. They said their vow in complete privacy on a rock overlooking all of the huge canyons, sealing the deal with a kiss! Before hiking back to our next location they popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate, BUT there was an extra surprise. I pulled another bottle out of my bag for them, but told them not to pop it, but to read the card I also gave them. A friend had contacted me on Instagram and set everything up to deliver them a hand written card on this day with a nice bottle for them to enjoy that evening. We hiked back down the trail seeing all of its beauty for the first time. We headed over into a slot canyon, that was so beautiful with stunning pockets in the wall, sand to play in and of course Vanessa’s favorite the red rock canyon walls!! We ended the day in the river by the visitor center that was quite cold, but had the most beautiful sea-foam green color. It was such a perfect day that these two best friends, turned partner’s, turned married couple deserved to celebrate their love! Big congrats Vanessa and Trevor!!! I hope you have so many epic adventures on anniversaries in Zion National Park!
Fall or Spring is the best time to visit Zion. The winters can get a lot of snow and the summers can be super hot! Let’s be honest summer heat is a whole other type of hot when the sun bakes the red rocks that you’re surrounded by when hiking. The park is less crowded early spring and late fall, but be sure to keep an eye on the weather in case winter is coming early or late. It is also best to elope at sunrise to beat the crowds on the trial. I also always recommend eloping on a weekday to avoid crowds since the weekends can be even busier.
I have to say I am partial to staying in Kanab, UT due to its cute small town vibe, restaurants, being less busy than other areas near Zion and it being close to Page, Arizona. If you are strickly going to Zion I recommend staying in Springdale since it is the closest. The other option would be Hurricane, Utah. Below are some great Airbnb options to check out:
Well this depends on the next question too! There are several trails that are perfect for an elopement! When it comes to picking a trail it is important to think about how far and how hard of a hike you are willing to hike. The trail Vanessa and Trevor did was under three miles and was rated easy/moderate. There are trails with just as epic views that are around 7 miles, which would be even less crowded! One other thing to consider is do you need the bus shuttle to access the location? Currently you need a ticket to get a shuttle ticket and they sell out FAST. So if you pick a location that you need the shuttle for it is important to have a back up plan you would be just as happy with if you do not get a ticket. The only way to purchase a ticket is by visiting recreation.gov. Helping you find the best trail for your day is a huge part of what I do for you two!
Zion is known for it’s beauty and for sure the Angel’s Landing trail. There are many other hiking trails that are super epic for your elopement day. Outside of hiking there are also countless technical and non-technical slot canyons to explore! Perfect for a wedding day adventure! You can also take guides down into the slot canyons if it is something you want to do together, but maybe need some help! You can also take a horse back ride on one of the trails! Outside of the National Park there are so many countless places to explore if you want to do a half day in Zion and a half day somewhere on the lake, on the sand dunes, off roading or in any of the state parks.
So if you are legally getting married in the park, yes you will need a permit. You can apply for your permit on the parks website and you can see which locations the ceremony is allowed as well. If you get married outside of the park say at the court house, nearby BLM land or at a private location like an approved Airbnb, etc and are just taking photos in the park then no, you do not need a permit. If you are needing a permit then it is important to apply around 45-30 days in advance to your wedding day.
I am Traci, an elopement photographer and planner based in Northern Arizona! I love hiking and exploring the perfect spot for my couples to elope that speaks to them. If you are looking for someone to be just as excited about your day as you are, but bring the expertise in planning, executing and photographing the you are in the right place!
A fire tower is housing for folks who are looking over the lands to make sure no fires have started. Some fire towers are still active, meaning park rangers still stay in them. Some are no longer active and you can visit the inside or even camp inside! Eloping at a Fire tower is great because of the 360 degree sweeping views they offer and they offer a fun a place to get ready if it is one you can go into and reserve for privacy! Not to mention Fire lookouts offer a unique elopement experience and location! They are also stunning places to see the the sunrise and/or sunset. Often times you will catch unreal cloud conversion between yourself at the fire tower and the mountains below, a unforgettable experience. Fire towers differ, but some have a lot less trail traffic as well since some require a 4x4 to get to or a permit. Did I mention you could camp at some of these?! Welp, you can! What an epic way to elope, hike to a stunning place, have killer views of the stars all night and wake up to a mountain!
Fire towers are also great locations for your adventurous engagement session, vow renewal or anniversary session <3
There are fire towers all of the United States over 8000 to be exact, in this blog I am going to focus on the ones in Washington. There are currently 93 fire towers in Washington state, so let’s break this down a little better for which ones are best for an elopement.
Mount Rainier National Park
In Mount Rainier there are four fire towers. The most popular being Fremount Lookout, then Tolmie, Shriner Peak and Gobbler’s Knob. While Mount Rainier has restrictions on where you can hold a ceremony in the park you take your portraits almost anywhere. The fire tower lookouts are great options for epic views of the mountain, a good hike and a nice place to hang out. Fremont is about a 5.6 mile hike coming from Sunrise Visitor center, it sees lots of visitors and for good reason! It is one of the best places to see a sunrise, sunset or cloud conversion in the park! Tolmie is literally my blow your socks of hike, I have never been so moved by the view in front of me at sunrise than on this trail. It is less crowded, partially because it’s trail access is not central in the park and is down along dirt road. Shriner peak is a harder, longer trail in the park, but with the same epic views of Mount Rainier. Gobbler’s Knob is a bit out there too, on the most West side of the National Park. It is also a longer hiker, making it hopefully pretty secluded for a place to spend your wedding day!
Fire Lookouts outside of Mount Rainier National Park, but same great views:
You may not want to deal with National Park traffic or entrance fees on your elopement day, but may want the same view of Mount Rainier’s beauty. Do not worry! There are several Fire Towers that showcase Mount Rainier’s beauty from outside of the park with even shorter hikes! There are two Fire Towers just outside of the park off of long winding dirt roads with 1-3.5 miles of hiking to get to them. One is best for sunrise and you must have no fear when it comes to heights and cliff edges and the other is super family friendly and best at sunset. Since these are shorter hikes you are bound to have some folks at them, so it is important to set the expectation that you may not be alone! The third one outside of the park, but with the same views is a bit further from the park and off of a longer dirt road, but incredible! You can also camp along the road so if you’re getting there for sunrise you can be closer!
Fire Towers Not Near Mount Rainier at all, but BOMB locations!
Evergreen Fire Lookout - This is just a bit over a three mile hike to get to with 360 degree views of mountains. It is located near Index, Washington. The biggest reason this one makes it on the list is because you can camp here! You have to make a reservation to camp and need to pay an $85 dollar fee, but what an experince for your elopement morning/evening!
Hidden Lakes Lookout - If you are looking for one heck of an adventure on elopement day and a two day elopement you may want to consider this lookout! It is a 8.5 mile hike and extreme snow fall can be present until July, so you want to plan carefully here. The views are astounding! For planning and overnight usage you want to talk to the Mt Baker Ranger district.
Park Butte - This 7.2 mile hike will take you through some beautiful scenery in the Mt Baker Wilderness. The lookout is nestled along the rock with incredible views. You guessed it, you can also camp here!
The fire towers are overlooking the mountains, so they are high in elevation! Each Fire tower is different, but ideally you want to consider July-October, but be sure to check weather conditions, road conditions, snow fall and check in with the rangers when planning.
Once you have started planning with your photographer and chosen where and when you want to elope you need to check in with the park rangers to make sure you can pull any permits you may need to get married there. If it is a fire tower that you can not hold the ceremony at then you will need to do the paper work portion prior. Check to be sure to get your camping reservation or be sure you know which pass you need for parking (i.e. - National Park pass, discovery pass, etc). Some of the Fire Towers require a 4x4 to be able to go to the trail head so make sure you have the proper car or rental. You want to keep and eye on weather as you get closer to your elopement date for road closures are common in Washington as snow fall begins to impact the road condiditons. Essentials to pack for your Fire Tower elopement is the right hiking shoes, water, binoculars , possibly hiking poles since some of these trails can be quite steep.
I have a whole blog on this! If you want a more in depth answer check it out! Basically you need an officiant and two witnesses to legally get married in Washington State.
I have hiked mile and miles through the Washington mountains with you in mind! I am here to help you find the perfect place to get married, walk with you through the logistics of planning and there to capture all the connected, authentic moments on the big day! From Fire towers to sail boats around the San Juans, I got you covered! Reach out to me about your elopement! I can’t wait to get to know you two!
Olympic National Park in Washington offers so much variety when it comes to planning an adventure elopement. It is one of the most diverse National Park in the United States. The park itself has mountains, clear lakes, beaches, a rain forest and a variety of wildlife and activities to do. The park offers locations to anyone for any level of adventure. The accessibility to stunning places is unreal. If you are looking to elope somewhere that is super dreamy, easy to get to and filled with beauty and wildlife you have found the right spot. It is one of the top places to elope in Washington and this guide is here to tell you everything you need to know about how to elope in the National Park. Check out the check list below to help you in planning in the most basic form and then read the blog for ideas, and more!
Late June to Early August is the best time to elope here due to colder temperatures the other months. During the busy season of the Summer, I recommend eloping at certain locations at sunrise. For example the Hurricane Ridge area is less busy and has active wild life in the morning. At sunset, the coast is at its peak in beauty. During the summer months you can expect clouds, rain, and temperatures in the 60s. The weather can change drastically throughout the park during the day. If you want to elope in the winter Hurricane Ridge again, is perfect for snowy mountain views and winter activity.
From a half day, full day or even a two day elopement there are so many epic locations in the park. Many locations in the park are not far from each other so it is easy on your elopement day to be in two different ecosystems. Some of my favorite areas in the park are:
The park has many access points! Getting to the park from Seattle is either a 2.5 hour drive to the park entrance or you could take a ferry ride into the Port Angeles area and drive in from there. Port Angeles is the closest town, nesting just outside of the park on the North East side. Coming from Portland, Oregon it is a 4 hour drive which will bring you into the Western side of the park, driving up and along the beautiful coast. Portland or Seattle are your best airports to fly into when traveling further than driving distance. If you are coming from Canada you could consider taking the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles.
Within the park there are many campgrounds you can stay in that are privately owned or you can stay at a campsite within the park. One of the best campgrounds in the park is Mora, which is located near Rialto Beach and Fairholme Campground, on the rim of Lake Crescent. You can also stay right on the beach! You have to have a permit to do so, but this is easily obtained by booking on reservation.gov, but make sure you have a tide chart to make sure your tent does not get swept away in the night! If back packing or camping is not your jam check out some of these super epic Airbnb’s in the area:
In the state of Washington you will need an officiant and two witnesses to legally become married. There are several officiants that are fantastic in the area that I recommend out to my couples, or you can get one of your guests to become ordained and they can hold your ceremony for you. Prior to the ceremony you will need to apply for your marriage license, which you can do at at the county government's auditor's office or online. There is a three day waiting period to obtain your license so if you plan to apply for your permit in person you will need to be there several days in advance. You must get married within 60 days of obtaining your license, or it becomes invalid. Fees for your marriage license are different per county. After you have held your ceremony and the documents are signed, do not forget to mail them back to the county office!! Since marriage license in Washington are based by county you can visit this goverment site to direct you to the right county for you elopement.
As far as legally getting married within the park you will need to download the permit form on the National Park’s website and either mail or email it in after filling out all of the information requested. I recommend doing this at least 3 weeks in advance from your elopement day.
Hiya! I am Traci, your pacific northwest elopement photographer! I believe that Olympic National Park is magical and an amazing place to get married. I have explored the park countless times scouting out trails that would be perfect for your day and familiarized myself with the area. I am your go to gal when it comes to finding the perfect place to elope here, helping you plan and connect with other vendors and authentically capturing your love story. So if you’re looking for someone who will be just as stoked as you on your elopement day, contact me!
Welcome my friends to the blog post all about Sedona Elopement Spots meant to leave you saying Holy Sh*t…… Living in Sedona I was set on finding the MOST dreamy elopement locations in town outside of the ones we all know about and see all the tourist hiking. Here at Adventure and Vow I believe your elopement day is sacred and if you want a spot that is just as rocks your socks off as much as the popular spots, but without the crowds, I was going to find it for you. And I did. You have no idea how excited I am about this! So let’s dive straight in!
Sedona has millions of tourist a year and for good reason, it is a stunning hiking mecca. These are the trails that are super well known on the internet that just so happen to also be epic for an elopement.
Most importantly if you are coming to Sedona to get married let’s talk about how to make it all legal! In the state of Arizona you need an officiant and two witnesses. If you are working with Adventure and Vow for your elopement we have you covered. We are a two person team and we are both ordained, so you can self-solemnize or have us perform your ceremony. Or we can count as a witness if you want to hire an officiant out, which we have recommendations for. Do not worry if you do not have guests coming to your elopement it is never hard to get some fellow hikers on the trial to sign as witnesses or folks back in town near where you are staying. To get your marriage license if you live in state you will can (currently due to Covid-19) get it mailed to you by ordering it online. If you live out of state you will need to make an appointment online to pick it up at any Arizona clerk office.
The top three elopement locations in Sedona based on location, light and their popularity are :
I call this THE classic Sedona hike. There is just something about this rock that is beautiful and draws people in from all over. The hike itself is straight up the rock and about two miles round trip. Cathedral rock offers amazing views, epic and easy places to get to for a ceremony with friends and family. The location is best at sunset, but can also be amazing at sunrise. It is one of those hikes everyone is happy on!
Another staple of Sedona. Probably the most shared photos of Sedona are those of the bridge or people on the bridge in general. The hike is longer than cathedral giving you more of an adventure through the red rocks, but if you have an off road vehicle you are in for a treat on this trail! The natural bridge is stunning itself, but the view is awesome! You can also take a trail under the bridge if you wanted. At the trailhead is a perfect spot for a ceremony with family and friends.
This spot is big! Yes, I mean big like spacious so it is great for a ceremony, but also big for all of the jeep tours in Sedona, hikers and folks with their own off road means. This place is so worthy of whatever journey you take to get there. Easily one of the best views at sunset in Sedona. Since the Jeep tours come here it means you can get to your elopement location without the hike and you get can bring anyone in the family along for the adventure!
First, what exactly makes an elopement location THE BEST?
This depends on you two as a couple. In my personal opinion as an elopement photographer, what makes a location the bomb are a few things: lighting, accessibility, the adventure to it creating the experience, the views and the privacy. When working with couples to help them select a location we go over what is important to them and narrow it down. After that it comes down to what spot feels the best to you, what spot do you want to get married at?!
The top three well known elopement locations listed above are truly amazing. They are ranked as the best of the best for good reason, but in my book they are not THE best in Sedona. These three spots are still places I recommend to my couples, but I do not think they are always good spots for the elopement experience. Like a lot of the other best locations in Sedona i.e. Slide Rock State Park, West Fork Trail, etc it is all about planning. Avoiding Sedona for your elopement mid May - mid September is smart if you want privacy on any trail. Sedona can also get into the triple digits in the summer so you do not really want to hike a long distance in that heat! If you can, avoid the weekend, because honestly Sedona is a small town with limited trail parking. If you can not avoid the weekend, for sure try to have a sunrise elopement! So what do I consider the best of the best?!
There are so many trails with epic views equivalent to the popular spots that rarely have anyone on them, and those to me offer the best elopement experience! Imagine eloping in a place that is stunning, tucked away in the red rocks and makes you feel like the only two people in the world? I have put together a 54 page guide to ALL of the very best elopement locations in Sedona!!! The guide goes through in detail the trails distance, difficulty, how long it will take, trail traffic, parking, bathrooms at the trial head or not, location and what time of day is best to elope there! The guide has many photos of the locations, couples at the locations and links to further galleries from previous couples elopements at these spots. The locations range from areas with water, family friendly, in Oak Creek, in caves, amazing vistas, areas you have to off road to and even some spots you have to rock climb to! The majority of the trails take 4-8 hours to complete including the time for the elopement and portraits. At the end of the guide you will even find locations that are near Sedona that offer incredible elopement options as well and all of my recommendations on places to stay, food, drink, camp and coffee as a local of the town!
Check out a sample of one of the locations in the guide!
Now you are asking, how do I see this guide??? By booking with me of course! This guide will only be available to couples eloping with Adventure and Vow.
I truly believe in the magic of a location, what type of feeling and the experience it can give you on your elopement day. I also believe that location knowledge is what really sets apart a lot of elopement photographers. Sedona still leaves me in awe even after living there. It’s stunning and surreal. I am dedicated to this place as much as I am dedicated to your day, your experience and telling your love story authentically.
You may be wondering why I am not sharing more of the locations here on the blog with you all! As an adventure elopement photographer and an avid hiker I do my best to follow Leave No Trace Principals. Due to the amount of tourism Sedona receives, social media attention and some of these locations not being on main trails I feel it is best not to disclose them publicly.
Looking for more information while planning your Sedona elopement? Check out this blog post on the top places to stay while you are in two and places that will accommodate groups of guest!
Eloping in the winter offers you a lot of things that may get over looked. For one many locations have less crowds during the winter. Two, can you say snowy winter wonderland?! In this blog I hope to inspire your plans for your Winter elopement in the United States or out of the country!
Once again, the great state of Arizona makes the list for best places to elope. Winter tends to be overlooked here, but it is truly a great place for a winter elopement. In Flagstaff, you will for sure have a snowy elopement during the winter since the mountain is a hot spot for skiing. Sedona’s temperatures are still pretty moderate making for a great elopement location and on a lucky day you may catch the red rocks graced in snow. Snowfall in Sedona is uncommon and doesn’t stay long, but typically happens between the last week of December and the mid February. Sedona is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Arizona and the Winter allows you to have easier trail access, less crowds and less traffic. Don’t forget you can always take a plane ride to the snow from Sedona or Phoenix if you are looking to elope in a winter wonderland in the middle of the Arizona high desert. Phoenix is also at the perfect temperature in Winter! Phoenix offers a great place for visitors to come from out of town to enjoy food and drinks, hiking in the city, but also so many awesome elopement locations near by. The superstition mountains have endless places to elope and in the Winter you won’t run into a rattlesnake 🙂
Moab has so many killer desert elopement locations. The temperatures in the winter range from the 40s-50s and has less travelers during this time of year making it a great time of year to elope at Arches, Canyonlands or Dead Horse State Park. Moab is much like Sedona and when it is graced with snow it offers the most beautiful sight against all of the red rock. Also, like Sedona the snow can be unpredictable, but most of the snowfall happens in late December. If you’re looking for some sure winter activity there is back country skiing and more near by at La Sal Mountain. Moab is not the only gem hiding in Utah in the Winter, you could also consider Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.
The top of the list for a California winter elopement has to be Lake Tahoe! There is endless skiing, amazing elopement locations, an abundance of snow and cute towns to spend your time. You would want to plan your trip around early Winter or the end of Winter since the snowfall can be intense and roads can be closed. If you want to spend your elopement day skiing, snowshoeing, sledding or ice skating this truly is the place. The contrast of the lake and the snowy mountains is so romantic.
Next up is Death Valley National Park! This places has the highest recorded temperature in the United States, but in the Winter it is perfect! In Death Valley you will find perfect spots to elope like the sand dunes, Zabriskie Point, the salt flats and Dante’s view. The park is less crowded in the Winter, believe it or not making it a great time to visit.
Last, but certainly not least is Joshua Tree National Park. In the winter this crowded park sees way less visitors making it easier to pull your wedding permit for that day and be able to truly enjoy it. The parks temperatures in the winter are usually in the 60s. Occasionally, but rarely the park will get snowfall and what a magical sight!
Colorado is a top location for a Winter wonderland elopement. One of the most unique places on the list is the Ice Castles in Dillon, Colorado. This frozen attraction is one you should plan early in advance and make plans for soon! The stunning ice castle offers an elopement location that feels like it is straight out of a Disney movie. Other locations to consider in Colorado are Telluride, Steamboat, Breckinridge and Garden of the Gods. Colorado can have intense Winters so I suggest looking into an early or late Winter date and be prepared for anything. If you’re traveling in Colorado, rent a car that can get around in the snow!
I am a huge fan of Iceland in the Winter! It is like you entered your own personal snow globe. There are hardly any crowds anywhere. That being said their Winters are harsh and not for the light at heart and there is not much sunlight. Although, the trade off is so worth it. Sitting in a hot spring surrounded by snow is so relaxing! Having those stunning views to your self is even better. I do not recommend the Northern part of Iceland in the Winter, but the Vík area is awesome!
If you are looking to escape the Winter weather all together and find a little bit of paradise you may consider Belize, Spain, Anguilla, Bermuda, Peru or Costa Rica!
Eloping in the winter requires some extra planning and packing! Some things you for sure want to pack for your Winter elopement are:
layers i.e. nude colored tights, extra under layers, outer layers you dont mind being photographed in
If you are eloping in an area in the Winter that will have snow you want to stay on top of the weather the week of the elopement day, check out the road conditions and check check in with the Forest Service or National Park site to make sure things are open and safe. Be prepared to drive on snow with having the proper tires, chains and car. You may want to go ahead and have a back up plan in case the area gets too much snow that you can not elope there!
I hope you have enjoyed this inspirational blog on where to elope in the Winter! I love helping couples find the best location for them to share their vows and spend the most important day of their lives together. If you are looking for an elopement photographer that will care about the experience you share on this day just as much as you, help you plan step by step and be the best photographer, friend and guide the day of I would love to chat!
Elopements are gaining a lot of attention from a lot of couples lately, which is great! It warms my heart to know that more couples all around the world are choosing a wedding a day that they connect to more, that allows them to plan a day perfect for them, a day to be emotive with each other. There a lot of locations that are beyond popular for an elopement. Places like Horseshoe Bend, Yosemite, Joshua Tree and Rocky Mountain National Park seem to be a go to location for elopements. These places are unbelievable mind blowing and equally romantic to spend your elopement day. I can not help but think though, are these locations and this design of a day THE best way for this couple to spend their wedding day together? In this blog post I am going to throw some ideas for you for full day elopements that are different than the mainstream elopement. These are not elopement plans that I am saying you should do, but if you feel like it fits you and your partner, by all means go for it! I just hope that these can help you and your partner start spinning wheels together plan an elopement day that is absolutely the best, most connected day you two could have together to join in marriage. If are just starting your elopement planning process and want more information on how to plan your elopement download my free adventure elopement planning guide.
Mystic Saddle Ranch is a company in Idaho that will take you via horse back into the Sawtooth Mountain Range. They take groups of six people on private guided tours into the wilderness. So between you two as a couple and a photographer, if you invite three more people you would have a completely private elopement in the wilderness surrounded by beautiful mountains. In the state of Idaho you do not need an officiant to marry you, nor do you need witnesses. So eloping in Idaho gives you the same privacy as eloping in Colorado! Mystic Saddle Ranch offers hiking, fishing and hunting as apart of their camps if you wanted to do a little extra adventuring together for your elopement. This is such a fun, unique elopement day plan for any couple who loves the outdoors together, who hunts, fishes or camps together. Working with a company like this will also take a lot of stress off you having to plan and put everything together, instead you can simply enjoy each other and the outdoors.
Want to take this idea local to Arizona?
There are many horse riding companies in Arizona. Mystic Saddle Ranch actually spends their Winters here in Cave Creek for trail rides. If you are looking for a horseback elopement experience in the Southwest my recommendation would be go to Monument valley. There are a few options for horse back packages. All the companies have different hours and options, some put together camping or Jeep tours with it. Since eloping would be a different type of booking for them you would want to call and see what company can offer what. The Discover Navajo site is a great resource for this. If you wanted a ride to just be apart of your day and way to get close to the beautiful outdoors together, but do a vow ceremony elsewhere you could visit John Ford’s Point at sunrise or sunset. Monument Valley border’s Utah and Arizona so keep that in mind. Also remember in the state of Arizona you need an officiant and two witnesses to get married.
Remember the blog post I wrote for you all on how to elope on the San Juan Islands? Welp, today I bring you even more great ideas for eloping in this area. So maybe hiking is not your thing, but you still want to do an adventure elopement! A popular alternative to this has been taking a helicopter up to peaks in Hawaii or Alaska, but there are so many more options! You can take a sail boat for one day or overnight around the San Juan Islands. I can not think of a more romantic way to elope. It would relaxing, exciting to see the whales and other sea life and you could go to a remote place to say your vows. You would have your pick of Orca Island, Shaw Island or the San Juan Island to say I do at. If you use Sailing Northwest for your sailboat charter for this elopement idea you would to stay the night at Friday Harbor Suites. If the Pacific Northwest is not your jam there are so many other epic places to take this elopement idea like Croatia, Greece, San Diego or New England.
Want to take this idea local to Arizona?
While Arizona does not have ocean access we do have one heck of a gem mine, Lake Powell. Here you can rent a boat or take a boat tour. The private tour out of Lake Powell resort and marina will take you through the canyon of Lost Eden. You can rent a boat and take it where you wish, lots of really cool slot canyons to access by boat will require you to dock the boat and hop onto a paddle board or kayak. While this would be an epic adventure it is not required to still experience eloping in this beautiful area. You can also rent a house boat on Lake Powell so you can spend your wedding night right on the water!
Maybe you are super drawn to a hiking adventure elopement. I am for sure not here to tell you not to do that! I am here to give you some unique location ideas. Let’s talk Iceland…eloping in Iceland is huge and for great reason, there are no words for its’ beauty. Most folks who elope in Iceland choose the black sand beach, Skógafoss, Jökulsárlón Glacier or in the Westfjords region. Iceland is an entire country of epic places, so let’s branch out. Do you remember Jóhann and Stefanía’s engagement session near Vík? This location is incredible! It is just North of Vík, you can camp here and cook yourselves a romantic dinner for two in a candlelit cave after you say I do! There are beautiful mountain views along the ride in and a beautiful canyon where you can hike to a water fall. Another epic area to consider is Landmannalaugar, though it has gained more popularity online in the list six months it is still has way less tourist traffic than other places in Iceland. There are several day hike options in the area, the longer the hike the less likely you will see tourist. Here you can ride Icelandic horses, go fishing, camp or bath in a hot spring! Over Iceland, I am always down to venture to Greenland to photograph an elopement 😉
Want to take this idea local to Arizona?
Just like Iceland, Arizona is a popular destination for elopements. Sedona, the Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend still the show often for Arizona elopement locations. Folks, this state has SO much more to offer! In Tuscon you hike Mt Lemmon for your hiking elopement, which in the fall is so beautiful! There is also that secret canyon, I am always telling you about near Flagstaff on the Hopi Reservation land. You will need a permit to visit, but you will most likely have the place to yourself. While the wave is a popular location the permit process is intense, you could go to White Pocket, but will need a 4x4 due to the deep sand. The hike once you are there is only about four miles. If you want to hike a slot canyon, but want to avoid the crowds I suggest Waterholes Canyon.