Grand Canyon Elopement Planning Guide
from your grand canyon elopement photographer
When is the best time to elope at the Grand Canyon?
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! 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!
Where can you get married in the Grand Canyon?
There are two main 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 and unmaintained roads. At the North rim you can get married:
- Cape Royal Amphitheater
- Point Imperial Viewpoint.
Along the South Rim you can get married:
- Pima Point
- Rim Worship Site
- Grandeur Point
- Shoshone Point
- Moran Point (where most of the photos in this blog are taken)
- 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.
Do you need a permit to get married at the Grand Canyon?
Yes, you do need a permit from the Grand Canyon National Park to get married in the park. You will need to pay a non-refundable fee for applying for your permit in the National Park. Then pending which site and your guest count you will owe between $200-$500. The park requires at least 4 weeks to process a Special Use Application.
How do I make it legal?
When working with Adventure and Vow, we include officiating services in our packages. You can hold a symbolic self-solemnization ceremony 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 cultural aspects or traditions. 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 guests 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 for the closest locations. 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 is signed, your officiant will mail it back to the clerk office and just like that you are married!
How much does it cost to get married at the Grand Canyon?
The cost to elope always varies because each elopement is different, however you can use this list as a base point for you to determine how much your elopement would cost:
Permit – $300-600
Travel (rental car, place to stay to stay, flight, food) – estimated budget $1250-2500
your Arizona marriage license – $83
photographer – estimated budget $4500 – $8000
officiant – estimated budget $0-1000 (we include officiating in our packages)
dress – estimated budget $500 – $2500
suit – $500-800
potentially flowers – $300
Elopement Day Timeline Samples for the Grand Canyon
- 4 hour elopement timeline
- getting ready photos at campsite in the park
- drive into the GC
- first look at location one along the rim, personal vow reading
- location two, ceremony with family/friends
- family and couples portraits
- toast with champagne
- 8-12 hour elopement day timeline
- Meet at Airbnb for getting ready photos
- lunch picnic in the aspens on top of Humphreys peak/or in Sedona
- drive to the Grand Canyon
- hike down to Ooh Aah Point via the South Kaibab Trail for portraits
- hike back and arrive at ceremony location along the rim
- sunset photos along the rim, snack/champagne
- star photos
- 2 day elopement in the Grand Canyon
- meet at the Grand Canyon Bright Angel Trail
- hike down to Phantom Ranch
- photos along the Colorado River, at camp, etc
- morning coffee together
- hike back up the canyon via South Kaibab Trial
- ride to ceremony location
- sunset ceremony
- picnic dinner along the rim or private chef dinner at airbnb nearby
- Or a 2 day elopement option could be one day at the Grand Canyon and the other day in Sedona/Flagstaff/Page/Zion etc
How to get to the Grand Canyon? What is there to do near the Grand Canyon?
Getting to the Grand Canyon depends on which rim you are going to (north or south). If you are going to the south rim, we recommend flying into Phoenix or Flagstaff. From there you can rent a car for your stay. If you are going to the North Rim, we recommend flying into Las Vegas and renting a car from there. Alternative options are flying privately into 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.
Are you looking for a Grand Canyon Wedding Photographer and Planner?!
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!
Soooo much helpful information! Thanks so much for sharing this! Your images are stunning.
Thank you! Always happy to help! 🙂
OMG, snow in the Grand Canyon. Hard to beat. These photos and tips are AMAZING!
Snow in the Grand Canyon is the absolute best, cold but truly special.
So awesome Traci! Love your work so much and this has to much helpful information
Thank you so much!
So much helpful information! Thank you for including the sample timelines and information about permit and licensing costs. Also, these photos are beautiful.
Thank you so much for sharing! Very informative for anyone planning their elopement at the Grand Canyon. Beautiful photography as well!
Oh my gosh Traci, you’ve nailed it! These are such great tips, and I love how you laid everything out so clearly. Anyone looking to elope in the Grand Canyon would be lucky to have you as their guide!
Oh my gosh I love the bride’s hair!!! So freaking cool. And I love all of these tips! The Grand Canyon would be such a cool place for an elopement.
These are such great tips and I can’t agree with you more. For busy spots, the off season in the winter or early spring are the BEST!
I never would have thought the best time to get married at the Grand Canyon is Winter! Full of all kinds great little nuggets!
Ahhh I’m dying to shoot an elopement at the Grand Canyon! The photos are beautiful and this is such an informative post! Great job! 😀
Girl! I love this blog post so much! It’s so helpful and the photos are gorgeous! Your double exposure photo made my jaw drop as well. 🙂