A bride and groom on a hanging rappel in Moab on a famous arch rock.

Best Places to Elope in Moab

How to Elope in Moab Guide: Best Locations + Everything else you need to know about getting married in Moab! – updated for 2023


What is Moab Known For?

Moab, Utah may be a place you have never heard of or it could be a place that has a spot already on your bucket list. Moab, Utah is known for Arches National Park probably the most. These unique red rock arch formations spreading across Moab’s land are not found anywhere else in the US the way they are here. Moab is greatly known for being an adventure mecca – home to “dirt bag” climbing, canyoneering, base jumping, rope swinging and more. Folks come here from all over for off roading, hiking, to see the dinosaur tracks fossilized into the dirt, and the general sight seeing of it all. In the summer people are often drawn to the Colorado river to float, kayak, or just jump in to cool off.

We know how special this place can be and we are so excited to share with you why it is one of our favorite elopement destinations!

A couple holds hands and looks into each others eyes as they stand on a sandstone boulder overlooking Moab.
Deadhorse Point State Park Elopement | Adventure and Vow

How to Elope in Moab

Here is a simple check list for how to elope in Moab:

  • Pick a date
  • Pick an Elopement Photographer + Book them for your date
  • Pick an elopement location in Moab (more info below)
  • Book your travel: flight, rental car, stay, activities + check out restaurants you may like
  • Book any other vendors needed like a hair and make up artist, flowers, etc
  • Pull the proper permits as needed for your elopement location
  • Get your Utah Marriage License
  • Have a fantastic, fun day eloping in Moab!

Now, let’s dive deeper into each of these important steps of planning your elopement in Moab!

When is the best time to elope in Moab?

We think the best time to elope in Moab is the time on the outskirts of busy season! Why? There are far less crowds, less traffic, and plenty more privacy! Busy season in Moab is typically Mid March through mid October. So to us, all of March, October and November are the best times to elope in Moab. No matter what, avoiding Jeep week would be advised, unless you are wanting Jeep Week to be a part of your wedding day 🙂

Outside of picking what date to elope in Moab, selecting if you elope at sunrise or sunset can be a big factor in helping you get more privacy for your ceremony out on the trail. Let’s dive into what each season in Moab is like:

  • Spring: From March to May temperatures go from in the 60s to in the 80s during the day. These temperatures are mild and all fantastic for eloping in the area. Spring is when heavier winds are present in the desert. Spring doesn’t get much rain either so there is not much to worry about there.
  • Summer: During this season, the temperatures can get to be 100 degrees. We strong encourage people not to elope when temperatures are this high because for most people it is harder and less enjoyable to adventure in wedding attire when it is this hot. Summer is also super busy in Moab, making logistics harder for an elopement wedding.
  • Fall: This is our favorite time in Moab! Temperatures start to drop, crowds start to go away. Do keep in mind that September usually gets the most rainfall in Moab. However, October is perfection! Getting into November it can start to be colder, but we love the snow capped La Sal Mountains from the desert.
  • Winter: While the evenings are super chilly, the day temperatures can be in the 30s and 40s. Still warmer than most of America in the Winter, but you may want to plan to wear layers! It can add a super beautiful element if you get snowfall in Moab for your elopement! Moab typically can see anywhere from 2-9 inches of snow during the winter season.

How to Legally Get Married in Moab:

In the state of Utah you will both need to apply in person for your marriage license with all of your proper documents and ID’s. You will need an officiant to hold the ceremony and to have two witnesses present who are above the age of 18. To make sure you are properly prepared to legally get married in the state please read all of the guidelines. Every state is different in how they handle their marriage licenses, in terms of Utah state there is no waiting period from the time that you have the paperwork in your hand to being able to use it. That means you can get married the moment you have the license. Note, if you are eloping you can also always handle the “paperwork” side of things prior to your official elopement in your home state if that is easier for you two. If you are working with us for your elopement, we are both ordained and can officiate your ceremony for you and one of us can sign as one of your witnesses. If you are eloping just you two, then we can find the second witness anywhere on trail, in the parking lot or back at your stay/town.

There is a local clerk office right in town in Moab, Utah making it super easy to obtain your marriage license. While it is the officiants legal duty to bring your paperwork back to the clerk office from where you obtained it from, some couples opt to bring it in themselves as this can sometimes speed up the processing of the marriage license. While it is usually quicker, the turnaround time for your marriage license to be processed can be up to six weeks. Just remember, the clerk offices have basic bank hours so plan your pick up around that.

If having the marriage license physically in your hand to sign the day of isn’t a crucial part of your vision for the day, Utah county has the option to apply for the paperwork all online. We have worked with plenty of couples who decide to go this route for the simplicity, however this is when it becomes important to know that the marriage license is only valid for 32 days, so be sure not to file for this too far in advance or else you’ll have to purchase a new marriage license.

A couple shares a slow dance by the back of their jeep as a vendor plays guitar and sings for them.

Where Can I elope in Moab, Utah?

These are some of the best elopement locations in Moab:

  • Dead Horse State Park
  • Arches National Park
  • Canyon Lands National Park
  • La Sal Mountains / National Forest Land
  • Moab BLM Land like Fisher towers, Castleton tower and other areas
  • Private land like Red Earth Venue + other resorts and locations

Let’s go over these locations and how you can get married at them!

Dead Horse Point State Park Elopement

This state park is just about 9 miles out of Moab and has a seemingly endless supply of hiking and dirt biking trails. A lot of their trails are pet friendly which is great if you want to bring your pup along for your elopement! It is best to plan your elopement or small wedding at this location at least 30 days in advance so you can apply for your wedding permit without being stressed about your application getting approved. The state park will require you to apply for a special use permit to get married on location. This is one of the few locations within the Moab area that you can include a set up for your ceremony like an arch or other ideas. This location is also a great family location option since the parking areas are very close to the elopement ceremony options. The entire state park for the most part is a flat plateau overlooking the East and West side of the valley of red rocks. While most people think sunset is the very best time to elope here, it really is just as stunning at sunrise and it offers you more privacy. For complete information on getting married at Dead Horse Point State park you will want to read this guide.

Dead Horse Point State Park FAQ:

Where can I watch the sunset in Dead Horse Point state park?

You can watch sunset at Dead Horse State Park anywhere along the rim facing West. Our favorite spot for sunset at Dead Horse is the Colorado River Overlook.

Can you use a drone at Dead Horse Point State Park?

You can only use a drone here from November to February and must have permission from the park. If drone photography/video is important to you for your elopement day, consider eloping on a date between this time period or pick a different location!

A couple stands holding hands at sunset on a red rock cliff overlooking the canyons.
Deadhorse State Park Elopement | Adventure and Vow

Arches National Park Elopement

What a gold mine this place is for all desert lovers! The 2,000+ red rock arches are so beautiful and it is just outside the center of town. Eloping here would mean getting married at one of the iconic locations of the America Southwest. Since Arches is a National Park, there are stricter regulations that need to be followed and permits that need to be applied for in advance for specific locations you are allowed to hold a ceremony at within the park. The National Park put everything you need to know and actions to follow here. This is one of the most popular National Park’s in Utah. It is important to make sure you are tracking closures due to high visitor volume and understand your privacy will be limited. To elope here with privacy my suggestion would be to elope in one of the equally stunning but less popular locations in the park, to elope during the early hours of sunrise or to hold your ceremony during the off season. Some of the most iconic shots you have seen of elopements in Moab are 100% at Arches. If you can plan it properly to be a good fit for the experience of your day it is worth it!

Arches National Park FAQ:

Can I get Married in Arches National Park?

Yes! You can legally get married in Arches National Park. These are the locations within Arches National Park that you can hold your elopement ceremony:

  • La Sal Mountain View Point
  • The Windows Section
  • Sand Dune Arch
  • Delicate Arch View point
  • Pine Tree Arch
  • Park Ave
  • Landscape Arch
  • Devils Garden Camp Amphitheater
  • Panorama Point

Arches National Park Wedding Permit

Wedding permits can be applied for within 1 year of your elopement date. The permit currently costs $385 and it takes the park 4 weeks to complete your permit/application. Your ceremony can only be 10 minutes long. In some situations you would also need to pay for a park ranger to be present during your permitted time in the park. You can apply for your permit and obtain all the permit rules and information by visiting the parks permit page. In full transparency, Arches National Park has implemented some of the most strict rules for 2023 around ceremonies. We actually do not recommend doing your ceremony here. Instead we would encourage couples to share a first look in the park or to have portraits captured without a ceremony in the park. No permit is generally required unless your holding your actual wedding there. If you want your ceremony to be under an arch or near an arch we recommend looking at options in BLM land.

Are Reservations Required at Arches National Park?

Yes, you are required to get a reservation to enter Arches from April 1st to the last day in October yearly. Learn more about the parked entry times on the parks website. If you have a wedding permit this may cover your entry, this is important information to speak to the ranger about. Entry into the park is $35 per car.

Canyon lands National Park Elopement

This national park is just past Dead Horse Point State Park, but this park is vast. You may know this park best for the Island in the Sky region which is where all three of the locations the parks allows weddings to take place. If you’re interested in eloping at this mind blowing national park you will need to apply for a permit and make sure your event falls into place within the parks restrictions. Note that if you aren’t looking for a longer drive on your wedding day, this is one of the furthest areas from Moab.

Can you get married in Canyonlands National Park?

Yes, these are the locations you can legally get married + hold a wedding ceremony in Canyonlands National Park:

  • Grand View Point
  • Green River Overlook
  • Mesa Arch
  • Shafer Canyon Overlook
  • Pothole Pt in the Needles Section
  • Needles Group Campsites

Each location has a corresponding maximum guest count per the National Park.

Canyonlands is just like Arches in how it handles permits, ceremony locations and cost of their permits.

Castle Valley + more BLM Elopement Locations in Moab

Well you guessed it! This small town just North East of Moab got its name from the castle like rock formations that surround the area. There are many great trails for hiking, mountain biking and horse back riding in this area. Or if being on the water is something you absolutely love, you can spend part of your elopement day floating the Colorado River! Not too far out of Castle Valley you will also find Mary Jane Slot Canyon which would be so dreamy for an elopement and (bonus!) it is dog friendly and currently no permits are required!!

This is just one of the areas laid out by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) office that are per-approved elopement locations for photographers already holding a permit with the Moab BLM. Several areas on the list include places you can hike to, off road to, climb at or even mountain bike or kayak. If you find a location that is on BLM and sustainable to hold your event, there is the possibility of applying for it through your photographer to still get married there. As permit holders we are provided an entire list of locations you can elope at. Many of which we are familiar with and we are always learning more every time we go to Moab to know if a particular spot is a good location both experience and photo wise for our couples. Because of Leave No Trace ethics which land management agency largely ground themselves in, we are not allowed to lay all of these locations out publicly, but we do share them with each of our couples eloping in the area so they know all of their options!

With all of the red rocks around, it is easy to forget about the beautiful mountain range right outside of Moab. The La Sal Mountains are stunning, full of Aspen trees, a few lakes here and there and jaw dropping vista points. Not to mention, surprise visits from the local free range cattle. If you are eloping in the Moab area in the Fall you do not want to miss the yellow explosion of color that will be all along the mountain range. I think that this is a component that makes Moab super special, because you get the easy diversity of desert and mountains all in one place.

A couple raps down a canyon on a winter day in the morning for their adventure elopement.
BLM Land Elopement in Moab, Utah | Adventure + Vow

Where can I have a wedding in Moab?

If eloping is not your jam and you can not imagine your wedding day without all of your loved ones, you may want to consider holding a more traditional wedding. For adventure elopements we recommend 15 guests or less to be able to follow Leave No Trace to the best of our ability and for the best experience over all. Couples who are looking to tie together more elements of tradition with their elopement can always do an adventure day together before the wedding. We’ve also worked with many couples who have gone on an intimate just them outing in the morning and then in the evening or next day have a more formal wedding. Now, just like Moab’s elopement locations the wedding venues here are just as unique! So, where do you have a wedding in Moab?? These are our favorite Wedding Venues in Moab:

  • Under Canvas Moab – Here you can have a wedding of up to 30 people or do a complete buy out of the glamping venue for a group of 80-150 people. People attending your event must stay on property. While a wedding here comes with its stipulations, it would be a unique experience.
  • Red Earth Venue – We love this location because it was inspired by elopements and the beauty of Moab. It doesn’t feel like you are at a venue, but it accommodates in all the important ways a venue would.
  • Sorrel Ranch – We love this place as a place to stay in the Moab area, but you can actually get married here! They have wedding packages with the river nearby and red rock canyons towering over head. We love that your guests can all stay where you get married so no one has to worry about driving, making it an easier experience on your guests.
  • Whispering Oaks Ranch – While the view here is mostly of the La Sal Mountain range it is a fantastic place for both you and your guest to stay and to enjoy time together for your wedding in Moab! This location can house up to 45-65 guests. We would highly recommend this as a full day wedding at this ranch followed by a next day or day before adventure in the red rocks with just you two!
A couple walks around Under Canvas in Moab on their wedding day.
Under Canvas Elopement in Moab | Adventure + Vow

Top things to do in Moab on your elopement day:

Moab is a place where adventure literally seems to never end. It is a complete dream elopement location for a couple who really wants to get out there and experience the desert together on their wedding day. Our personal list of favorite things to do in Moab include taking the cat canyoneering, hanging out at Wall Street and off roading for an epic sunset view. What will you do on your elopement day?!

  • Backpack
  • Camp
  • Off Road
  • Explore Slot canyons on a canyoneering trip
  • Hike
  • Sight See
  • Rope Swing
  • High Line
  • Base Jump
  • Sky Dive
  • Horse back Ride
  • Float the River
  • Rock Climb a spire or hangout at the crag
  • Star gaze
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride
  • Take your pup out on an adventure
  • See Dinosaur tracks and fossils

Moab Adventure Elopement Guide

Something that is very importantly to understand is that we are not guides. There is a very important legal distinction here that matters a lot to be aware of when working on public lands. Secondly, I do not know a single elopement photographer that is also a guide. So, in terms of the legal definition, what exactly is a guide?

Commercial guides and outfitters operate on federal lands across the United States, providing
visitors with a wide range of outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. Guide and
outfitter activities include backpacking, hunting/fishing trips, educational excursions, float trips,
canoe or horse rentals, shuttle services, ski touring, helicopter skiing, and vehicle/boat tours. Both
for-profit and nonprofit entities engage in commercial guide and outfitting activities on federal

We recommend if you are interested in doing any of these activities listed above, but do not have the proper gear or knowledge to fully and safely do it on your own to hire a guide service! There are plenty of climbing, rafting and other guide companies that you can hire in Moab that can for sure come on your elopement adventure. While many of these activities are things we have personal experience with and have our own gear to do along side of you, we (nor any photographer) can not legally provide you with any gear or instruction for any activity you’ve chosen. We hope that this in no way discourages you from taking the leap to trying something new that excites you on your wedding day! We can capture your love perfectly right along and around a guided service so they would not be in your images if you did not want them to be.

A bride and Groom sit on a tree together in the La Sal mountains reading letters from their loved ones.
La Sal Mountains Elopement | Adventure and Vow

Moab Elopement Packages

We offer elopement packages in Moab, Utah during the months of February, March, April, May, October and November yearly. Our elopement packages are:

  • Mini elopement – 4 hours of time
  • Half day elopement – up to 8 hours of time
  • Split day between sunrise/sunset – up to 14 hours of time
  • Two Day Epic Elopement – up to 18 hours of coverage split between two days ( If we are covering lots of ground between locations, a one day gap in between the two days is allowed and even encouraged)

Our elopement packages range from $4500 to $9500 with no hidden fees. Our packages include:

  • Two photographers
  • An officiant + 1 witness or 2 witnesses, pending what you need and if you have guest with you
  • Location Scouting
  • Timeline planning
  • Experience Consulting
  • Vendor recommendations
  • We are already permitted BLM photographers in Moab
  • Same day sneak peak images
  • An online gallery with high res images for you to download

We are with our couples every step of the way from the moment we connect until after their photos are in their hands. We believe adventure elopements can be a direct reflection of marriage + your relationship. We love helping couples plan dream elopement days that reflect who they are, what they connect to the most and that are filled with so much intention.

How to get to Moab + Best Places to Stay in Moab for your Elopement:

Moab is basically in the middle of no where, but also conveniently near everything. The best thing to do is fly into Salt Lake City, rent a car and drive down. Alternatively, you could fly into the Grand Junction Airport in Colorado then drive over. Moab has a very small airport that you can also fly into, but expect ticket costs to be much higher and you will still need to rent a car or Jeep. If you are up for a road trip and want to see other places or include your honeymoon elsewhere on the same trip, you could also fly into the Denver or Las Vegas airport for a 5-6 hour drive.

Moab has sooooo many hotels in town, it feels literally endless with the options of just hotels. However, there are lots of free camping options on BLM land, paid campsites with general amenities, glamping with even more amenities and of course VRBOs + Airbnbs. Below is a list of locations to stay that we recommend based on having an epic experience and places that would photograph super well.

  • Under Canvas – This is a super cool unique glamping opportunity. You can stay here with just you two or you two and all of your guests! It is conveniently located near Arches National Park and other areas for eloping. While all of their other locations have an in house chef, this location does not. If you wanted to host a dinner here after your elopement I recommend reaching out to Cloth + Flame.

  • For paid camping, you can check out the Moab KOA and also the many camp grounds near town and along the river. I also highly recommend checking out HipCamp options in Moab for the ability to stay somewhere private, beautiful and get to know some locals!

  • Hotel wise I recommend the Hyatt, but do not be afraid to look around because there are so many hotels in the area.

  • Sorrel Ranch is located East of Moab proper, but is closer to many BLM elopement locations like Castelton Valley and Fisher Towers. We love this location because it is beautiful, it has actives to do and a way to dine on property. It is a wonderful place to spend your time during your elopement experience.

  • I highly recommend checking out VRBO and AIRBNB for options in Moab.

A bride and groom kiss as the wind catches the bride's dress.

Things to keep in mind when planning a wedding in Moab:

  • Moab is in the desert, so all of our usual tips for eloping in these dry climates exist here too. Bring lots of water, be aware of the temperatures, know your dress will get red dirt on it, bring sunscreen and more water 🙂
  • If you have never been to Moab and you just starting your research into where you want to elope I suggest browsing the Discover Moab website since it is packed with information on lodging, food and more! Always feel free to reach out to me! I am here to help you two find the perfect location for your elopement. Moab has so many countless amazing spots for an adventure wedding and I am happy to help you narrow it down for what would best fit your day <3
  • Restaurants in Moab can close early, especially during off season. Our favorite spot for coffee + breakfast is for sure Moab Garage. Our go to for lunch in Moab is a visit to the Moab Food Truck park in the center of town. Our favorite spots for dinner are at Arches Thai, Bangok House Too and Spit Fire BBQ. There is no shortage of options for places to eat in Moab. There are also a couple of grocery stores.

How to follow Leave No Trace while eloping in Moab

Leave No Trace has 7 principals laid out by LNT.org and that the public land systems uphold for people recreating in on the land. It is so important to follow LNT when you are eloping on the land for several reasons like preservation for future visitors, keeping the ability to get married on public lands available for other couples, protecting the wildlife, allowing others visiting the area to still enjoy their visit if you are eloping while they’re visiting and more! The seven principals are:

  • Plan ahead and prepare (this saves your life and others!)
  • Travel on Durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impact
  • Be considerate of other visitors
  • BONUS: do not geo-tag on social media platforms

One of the very most important and special things about Moab is that there is a lot of cryptobiotic soil. People often just call it crypto for short.This soil is what helps keep animals and plant life alive in the desert. It takes hundreds of years to grow and form and one step can kill it. This is one of the reasons it is SO important to stay on the trail in Moab and other desert regions. Cryptobiotic soil comes in a few different forms so it is important to look it up before you go to know what to look out for, but if you are ever in doubt, stay on the trail.

We highly recommend if you are eloping in any of the popular areas of Moab or anywhere with fragile soil to keep your elopement guest count below ten people. This helps give you the ability to really follow the leave no trace principals. If you want the iconic places, but want a larger group of guests we recommend doing the ceremony/things with the group on private property or sustainable places then going on an adventure with just you two to the fragile locations.

Best Places to Eat in Moab

Moab, Utah is for sure a small town with less than six thousand people living there! However, there are some yummy places to eat! These are some of our favorite places for dinning while visiting:

  • Moab Garage – for breakfast, lunch + coffee
  • Arches Thai – Surprisingly, Moab has a lot of good Thai places!
  • Spit Fire – Great for BBQ, casual dining, drinks + a game of pool
  • Bangkok 2 – Great for poke bowls, Thai and Boba tea!
  • Sweet Cravings – Coffee, breakfast, sandwiches + deserts like whole pies + cakes
  • Food Truck Park – The food truck park has many options, its a lovely place to bring the fam/guests and dine outside with the views.
  • Sunset Grill – While we have not eaten here it is a common place our couples go! I would highly recommend going for lunch or before sunset, as the view is definitely an attraction to this dining option.
A man and woman walk through a slot canyon in Moab as they feel the texture of the rocks.

Meet your Moab Elopement Photographer!

When booking an elopement photographer in Moab, we highly recommend that you book someone that already holds a photography permit with the BLM office or that there is enough time for your photographer to obtain one (recommended early or late in the year with at least 60 days in advance). While there are plenty of places to elope in Moab outside of BLM land, those locations often tend to be far busier.

Bill and I love adventuring in Moab and would love to help you plan your epic adventure and capture all the memories. Moab holds a special place in our heart as we have many memories of taking our cat canyoneering there, adopting our dog Tucker from Under Dog, yearly friends-giving out in the open desert, hosting photography workshops, climbing adventures and more! We would love the chance to connect with you and to help you create special memories here on your big day together! <3

It is impossible to put into words the appreciation we have for all that Traci and Bill did to create the most perfect elopement day for us. We began the process of wedding planning frustrated, stressed and confused on where to even look as none of the “traditional” route felt very us. It was perfect timing that we stumbled across Adventure and Vow. The beautiful photographs captivated us and we decided to reach out. From the very first inquiry Traci and Bill were so informed, patient, and really helped us flesh out the dream we had for our elopement. They were quick to adjust when we decided we did actually want some close family to join for the ceremony and they made each piece so personal and exciting. Then the big day came, we were nervous to meet Traci and Bill but so quickly it felt like we were just hanging out with lifelong friends. They did a great job of making sure we were comfortable and made us feel so natural despite not having any prior experience in front of a camera, much of the day we forgot there was even a camera there. The locations they scouted out for us were exactly what we were hoping for, they really made it feel like a dream come true. We received our full gallery and all of the images are so stunning it is hard to even pick favorites. We are still talking every day about how beautiful and perfect the entire experience was, if you are thinking of eloping we cannot recommend Traci and Bill more!

– Bailey + Sydney

Some of our Moab elopements have been featured in Trends Magazine!

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43 Responses

  1. Holy heck this list absolutely rocks!! I’ve been wanting to visit Moab so badly, I’ve always loved the desert. The images and that light are absolutely gorgeous!

    1. They were super cute and committed to drive there and back on a weekday night! Had the view to ourselves though!

    1. Congrats Sarah! That is awesome, if you are still looking for a photographer I would love to chat with you!

  2. That’s such an amazing place for pictures out there. I know Arizona has the look in some places, but it really reminds me I need to make a trip out to Utah in the near future.

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