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!