How to Elope in Phoenix | Elopement Planning Guide for Arizona

A bride leans on her grooms shoulder as they watch the sunset together.

How To Elope in Phoenix


Things that Make Eloping in Phoenix Great:

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.

A bride and groom hold hands staring at each other with a large cacti behind each other.

How do I legally get married in Phoenix?

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 license at the court house and mail it back or bring it back to any Arizona offices. You both must be 18 years old or older. You will need to go into the clerk office together withy our I.D.s to obtain the paperwork. You can expect this process to typically take 15-30 minutes. We do recommend having an appointment. (side note: myself and my partner are both 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!)

When to elope in Phoenix:

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 late October and early March for the best 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 our couples eloping anywhere to try and avoid weekends or holidays so the trails are less crowded and parking is smooth.

Where to elope in Phoenix:

The Phoenix area spans over a great deal of the desert. Within the Phoenix city paramerters there are even many mountains and areas to elope. Outside of the Phoenix area you will also find many beautiful places to elope. Let’s start with probably the most popular and well known location….

Lost Dutchman State Park Elopement

Lost Dutchman State Park is probably the most popular place to elope in the Phoenix region. Located just outside of the city called 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 state park does require a permit to get married here, this is great though because this means for your ceremony you will be the only couple at that spot at that specific time saying ‘I Do.’ While some folks say sunset is the best time to elope here I personally love sunrise as the trails are quiet and the sun comes up over the rocks creating a stunning view. Lost Dutchman is not just great for the park, hiking trails and ceremony space itself, but it’s also in a prime location close to several lakes, the old gold mining town and horse back rentals.

Superstition Mountains Elopement

Lost Dutchman is actually apart of this mountain range, but it is owned by the state. This area is ran by the Tonto National Forest Service Land. It encompasses the Salt River area which is so beautiful with a few different spots you can hold your ceremony, have a picnic or even float the river if you want. There is a herd of wild horses that live there and sometimes you can spot them at sunrise or sunset. There are also several areas you can hike up and be surrounded by desert peaks, cacti and catch stunning sunsets. The forest service here have a list of specific places you can go for your ceremony. The other great thing about this area is if you want an adventure, but you have guests then you can check out several small venue options right in the mountains and vendors that will come set up a private chef dinner.

Within City Limits

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. If you want to stay fully in the city then I would recommend eloping at the Desert Botanical Gardens, which is a paved walkway path through tons of cacti and plant life all native to Arizona.

What to Do in Phoenix for your Elopement

A great tip in helping you decide where to elope in Phoenix would be to think about what activities you want to include. Here are some of the epic things you can do on your wedding day in Phoenix:

  • Rock Climb/Boulder in the mountains
  • Soak in a spring/river/etc
  • Horseback Ride through the desert on a trail
  • Dirt Bike/Off Road
  • Hike
  • Kayak in one of the lakes
  • Water Skiing/Boating in one of the lakes
  • Bar hop
  • Go to an Art Gallery downtown
  • Star Gaze outside of the city
  • Enjoy a chef dinner with your guests
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride
  • Line Dance in Cave Creek
  • Go golfing

Do I need a Permit to Elope in Phoenix?

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. You want to pull your permit 30-45 days in advance from the elopement date.

A couple stands on a hiking trail near a large cacti as they explore Lost Dutchman State Park.

What will I need with me on an Adventure Elopement in Phoenix?

The desert is a lot different than those high alpine elopements. You may not need bear spray, but there are some things to keep on hand! One of the most important things to have on your at all times in the desert is 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. Here is a list of other items to pack for your Phoenix elopement:

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray pending time of year/location to water
  • Proper Hiking Boots
  • A sun hat
  • Lotion
  • Chapstick
  • A white neck fan! If you are a bride worried about heat on your hike this is perfect, we’re taking this idea from one of our past brides!
  • Tweezer’s if you are the type that may accidentally run into a cactus 🙂

Where should I stay in Phoenix for my elopement?

Phoenix is a unique city, where you can fly directly into the Tempe area by landing at the Phoenix Airport and from there you can uber or public transit to tons of hotels, resorts, Airbnbs and food. However, a lot of the adventure aspects are outside of the city meaning you 100% should get a rental car if you want to get out of the city at all. If you have a car, it also opens up many more options for where you can stay.

I personally recommend Airbnbs or VRBOs so you can have a cozy space to hangout and get ready at. The Phoenix, Cave Creek and Scottsdale area are known for having very beautiful and quaint Airbnbs. 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 and 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:

  • The Fox In the heart of Scottsdale near amenities perfect for just you two!
  • The Howard Closer to the tempe area near lots of amenities, perfect for you two and one other couple!
  • Oasis – Paradise for the whole family. If you are wanting to stay with your guests but have the space to celebrate with outdoor dinner space, pool and be closer to the mountains this is the place!
  • Cowboy House RanchBack yard views fit for a ceremony and right on the river. If you are looking for that Arizona rustic feel this place is a dream.
  • Cave Creek Ranch – If you want to be in Cave Creek near the horse ranches, trails in the park and near the old western town restaurants this is the place is so beautiful!

How much does it cost to elope in Phoenix?

Elopement cost is so different per couple, it all depends exactly what you want your day to look like. Some elopements can be $5,000 and some can be $25,000. A simple way to break down the cost of your elopement would be to fill this in:

  • Travel – including but not limited to food, flight, rental car, place to stay etc.
  • Photography and Videography ($4000 to $10,000)
  • Attire (Dress, suit, etc)
  • Your Marriage Paperwork the paperwork depends on the office ranges from $60-$100
  • Officiant – if a family member gets ordained and performs your ceremony it’s about $50, hiring an officiant can cost anywhere from $100-300, but we include officiating with our services!
  • Flowers
  • Adventure Costs – this could horse back riding, boat rental, kayak rental, trailhead parking, off road rental etc.
  • Permit – in this region it mostly ranges from $50-200

Phoenix Elopement Packages

We work in the Arizona and Phoenix region yearly from October to April! I used to live in Phoenix, my partner and I met each other in Sedona and lived there for years! Now we split our time between Washington and Arizona. We know the desert well. We have hiked, backpacked, rock climbed and off roaded many areas of the Phoenix and Arizona region. Our packages include officiating, assistance in putting together your dream day, photography and we offer video add ons! Not only are we the creatives capturing your day and the folks here to assist you in the logistics, but we are the pack mules, all round elopement gurus and more! We treat each of our couples just like family and want each of them to have the most authentic surreal experience on the big day!

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!

“I don’t even know here to start!

When my husband and I reached out to Traci, we were feeling lost and overwhelmed trying to plan our elopement in a 4 month timeframe, 2 of which had already passed by the time we found Traci. If we hadn’t found her blog post that led us to see her work, I truly don’t think our day would have been the same experience.

From the day we reached out, she was so kind and responsive. She eased our nerves instantly with her knowledge on photography, the location we had chosen, and all the nitty gritty details of what an elopement entails.

We were lucky enough to meet Traci the day before our ceremony and although our nerves were high, it felt like we were instant friends. It was such a calming feeling going into our elopement day! She was willing to answer all questions, go through all the worst case scenarios, and help us stay positive and upbeat for the next day. On the day of our ceremony, Traci was all business. She is extremely punctual and knows exactly what needs to get done in order to make your dreams come true.

We are so thankful to have met and get photographed by both Traci and Bill and we are so hopeful to cross their paths again someday! Thank you both so much for making our elopement the very best day of our lives!!!!”

-The Seibergs <3
A bride laughs as her groom leads her down the trial in the desert.

10 Responses

  1. Arizona is such an elopement hotspot, this blog is sooo helpful! It can be hard to know where to start and it’s really great when photographers take the time to spell it all out for their potential clients. So valuable. BTW, this couple is adorable and their cupcake idea is such a good way to elop-ify a wedding cake!!

  2. These photos are seriously so beautiful!! Love all the great info you included. Wonderfully helpful, especially as the Phoenix area is so big. And that champagne pop photo made me chuckle <3

  3. I love how you combined a real elopement experience, and ample information on how to make one happen too! They sound like the sweetest darn couple ever too!! Beautiful photos, lovely job!!

  4. I love the cacti in Phoenix, the old Saguaro’s are so beautiful and magestic! I love the detail you placed in this, lots of helpful info and your photos are stunning!

  5. I think this is one of the most important information for me.
    And i am glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general
    things, The website style is ideal, the articles is really great
    : D. Good job, cheers

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