How to Plan the Perfect Proposal in Sedona

A man kisses his soon to be wife on the top of the red rocks at sunset.

Your complete guide to proposing in Sedona, Arizona updated for 2023

The who, when, and what’s of proposing from a local adventure photographer in Sedona


Where to Propose in Sedona

The top proposal locations in Sedona are pretty much the same as the most popular trails to hike in the area or the best elopement locations. The three most popular locations to propose are:

When is the best time to propose at these locations?

A quick note about these three iconic spots.

These locations are the most popular by far due to their epic views. While all of these locations once were quiet corners of Sedona, that has surely changed. There is almost always a long line of people waiting to have their picture taken at Devil’s Bridge which starts as soon as the sun comes up. Cathedral Rock now operates on a shuttle system due to how busy it has become so definitely expect this trail to be dense with crowds. Thirdly, since there is no permitting system for weddings on Sedona’s national forest land, Merry Go Round can often have multiple weddings occurring at one time. While Devil’s Bridge and Cathedral Rock are always busy, due to Merry Go Round being a longer hike or a serious off road drive, Merry Go Round on a rare day does still have the chance of complete privacy.

Devil’s Bridge is a 4-mile hike that can be shorter if you off-road part of it. We always suggest to our couples proposing who have their heart set on this location, to do so at sunrise to avoid the large crowds and the lines to take photos on the bridge; this way you have both privacy and good light. Cathedral Rock is a 1-mile hike/scramble up a popular vortex spot known for its sunset cliff view. It’s important to note that despite how popular this trail is, the scrambling required midway on this hike can often send less experienced hikers back to the trailhead. We recommend to our couples proposing here to do so at sunset because the light is incredible. Yes, it will be busy at sunset, but everyone waiting in line to take their picture at the iconic spot are typically mindful of other visitors and there is always a roar of applause after the question gets popped. So if a ton of positive energy and congratulations while at a beautiful spot is your thing, Cathedral Rock definitely delivers. Merry Go Round is most often accessed by a lifted 4×4 capable vehicle or one of the many jeep tour businesses in town. If you don’t have your own vehicle that’s up for the task, we highly recommend Barlow Jeep in the heart of town. They have a seemingly endless roster of brand new lifted jeeps, and when you rent one for the day, it operates on your time schedule. While the jeep tours can be convenient for family events or a day trip, the jeep tours will not stay out until sunset which is when the most stunning light is for viewing and for pictures. We highly recommend to anyone proposing at a location that requires a 4×4 vehicle that if they don’t have their own, to rent a jeep so they can stick around and pop the question during the best lighting. If you and your partner are avid hikers, you can also access Merry Go Round by hiking 6 miles round trip. I think we’ve alluded to this already, but Merry Go Round is arguably the best spot to watch the sunset over Sedona! If you are proposing at any of these locations, I can not recommend enough considering a weekday for less crowds (and for sure not a holiday!)

If you are looking for a private location for your proposal in Sedona check out these options:

These locations are less crowded but also offer more options to kind of find your own quiet nook for the big moment! For example, while West Fork Trail has become a busy hike, it follows lots of water crossings and open forests. Unlike the equally popular areas mentioned above, there is plenty of space to break to the side and find a spot all your own. Doe and Bear Mountain are the same way!

Many resorts also offer options for proposals that can be 100% private like L’Auberge.

Or you could take a day trip from Sedona for your proposal and visit Horseshoe Bend….

Horseshoe Bend is a large tourist attraction in Page, Arizona. It is a hot spot for proposals, and for good reason! It is a romantic place to catch the sunset and take in the massive rock walls of the desert. Going from the parking lot to the overview is a short walk with big rewards. The drive from Sedona is 3 hours one way, so it is a great day trip to check out the charming mountain town of Flagstaff, drive the stretch up to see Lake Powell in the city of Page, and then circling back to Horseshoe Bend for popping the big question before driving the five minutes back to spend the night in the city of Page! Sunset is for sure the best time here, and again, try for a weekday! This location has become very busy over the years, but the bend is gigantic, so many visitors congregate to only a few areas, so making your way to a private spot isn’t hard to come by. Especially working with a local who knows the area!

Outside of just asking the question here are some Sedona Proposal Ideas!

  • Take a hike! The views are for sure what bring people into Sedona, but it’s also the hundreds of miles of hiking trails that surround the town. As you see above, a very common way to ask the question here in Sedona is to hike to one of the many great views and then get down on one knee!
  • Rock climb! While Sedona is not a climbing mecca of the climbing-verse, it certainly has no shortage of adventure climbing in abundance. And as an added perk, while the hiking trails can get busy, the climbs often offer pure solitude. Imagine getting to the top of a spire and asking your partner’s hand, or you could climb before or after to make for a full epic day!
  • Take a hot air balloon ride at sunrise! You could propose while in the hot air balloon, before you get in, or at the end of the ride when they hand you a glass of champagne!
  • Off-road! We mentioned Merry Go Round, but there are many places to off-road in Sedona and northern Arizona in general to stunning locations. You can take a Jeep, a dune buggy, or other off road toy.
  • Have a picnic! You can plan to go on a picnic or surprise your partner with one! Here at Adventure & Vow we offer options where we will hike in before you and set up a full set up with food and drink, candles (if there is not a fire ban), and/or music!
  • Go wine tasting at one of the many wineries near Sedona in Cottonwood, Verde Valley, or Cornville!
  • As I mentioned above, take a day trip! Maybe Horseshoe Bend is not your cup of tea; you could look into the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Rim Country, or several other options.

**keep scrolling for more planning tips and info**

A couple watches the hot air balloons at sunrise during their proposal session.

Working with your Sedona Proposal Photographer to help you plan this special moment!

Everything we are telling you here is based on working with us at Adventure & Vow for your proposal. We have spent years living in Sedona and have hiked up and down almost every trail on the map, so we are full of good advice 🙂 Capturing this moment is so much more worth it than having a maybe okay photo on your phone that someone took that would never print well. Hiring an adventure photographer for your proposal is so helpful when it comes to planning the moment, putting it into action the day of, and of course preserving this moment in time to share with your friends and family. So how does getting your proposal photographed work? Here at Adventure & Vow we recommend a few different ways to go about it:

  • Hire a photographer to capture the proposal as a total surprise!

Maybe the two of you already have plans for a hike or to go to dinner. This option works by you telling us where you want to propose and already having a plan in the works with your partner to go to this location. Then we let you know what time will be the BEST time to propose there based on light, crowds, and more. Then you work out a plan to get your partner there for that time. We are here to help with ideas to help keep it a surprise and from your partner getting too suspicious.

Usually the plan gets put together and it all goes perfect! Sometimes the plans may be pretty concrete so the best light timing may not be possible, but that doesn’t make capturing the moment any less perfect! As a tip, if this is your plan and you want your partner to dress nice, but don’t want to spoil the surprise, a great thing to do to is have brunch or dinner plans set for right after the hike/proposal! Then they don’t suspect anything and you don’t have to give any direction on attire.

  • Hire a photographer for a setup at the proposal location!

This is a surprise that always wows the person being proposed to. Imagine thinking you’re just going on a casual hike for sunrise to find a complete picnic setup in nature just for you and mega bonus! Now you’re engaged. This is a little more involved than selecting a location and just making sure to be there at the same time. A great example of this was a recent proposal we shot where we hiked in prior to the couple and set up a blanket with a basket of fruit and pastries with champagne, orange juice, and string lights so the person proposing could easily spot the setup. Their sunrise picnic was set up right where all of the hot air balloons take off in Sedona for a great morning start before they headed to brunch and more hiking in Sedona. This could be an option for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert!

  • Hire a photographer to do a couples session and then propose during the session!

This method is great if you are okay with there not being a huge element of surprise or if your partner will think nothing of doing a couples session together! Maybe you have been wanting to do pictures together for a while, or maybe it’s an anniversary, or maybe you’ve planned to go to Sedona for a long time and you can play the “no big deal, I booked us a couples session” card. If photos are a totally normal part of your relationship, then your partner wont blink an eye! If you are going about it this way I suggest popping the question at the end of the session because at this point you are both comfortable with us (the photographer) and being in front of the camera. Also, they’re less likely to suspect anything if you do it at the very end. If you are feeling really nervous, I recommend proposing at the start of the session so you can both enjoy it!

Once you decide which way you want to go about getting the proposal photographed, leave the rest up to us to help you plan, navigate, and make sure everything goes perfect!

What to wear for your proposal photos in Sedona!

First and most importantly, if you aren’t dressed to the nines, don’t worry about it, this moment is about you two and your love, not about what you are wearing. But if you do have any control over what you and your partner will be wearing for this big moment, here are some outfit tips!

  • Casual

    Sedona is mostly red rocks and juniper trees so colors like black, teal, tan, white, blush, navy, dark green, and burgundy all look great! If you are dressing casual, try to avoid any loud patterns or things with big bold words on them. No matter what, you’ll be able to control what you wear, so think solid, natural tones for your outfit. Avoid wearing a hat unless its a beanie so we don’t lose your face to shadows when taking photos.

  • Dressy

    If you are planning to propose while on a couples session, or for some reason you plan to dress dressy for this moment, there are a few things you want to consider. If you are a fella, make sure your pants aren’t too tight! Yes, this is a thing, We have seen someone rip their pants front-to-back. Make sure you can get on one knee easily! If you are hiking to the location in your dressy clothes, make sure you can easily move around and make sure to still wear hiking shoes!!! You can always change into a different shoe once you are at the location if desired 🙂 The same colors apply here as the casual attire.

Sedona Proposal Packages

Ready to do the thing?! We are here for you and can’t wait to help bring your plans alive and capture this special moment for you to get to relive the rest of your lifetime together.

While adventure weddings are what fills most of our time, Adventure and Vow is available to capture proposals around our elopement schedule. During the Fall and Spring, we are available in Arizona + Southern Utah. Our proposal packages average $1500, but this varies based on the couples needs and details for the day!

A portrait of a sedona photographer smiling at the camera on a summer day.

Hey there! I am your all-in gal ready to help you plan and document your proposal!

Here at Adventure & Vow we believe adventure is a lifestyle and something two people can be deeply rooted in that shapes their relationship and life. We are here to cheer on all moments of your relationship, from being a dating couple to capturing your elopement day! We are your all-in planners and photographers. No plan is too much. We are a get it done and make it happen kind of team, so whatever you’re, planning we are about it. When it comes to photography, we believe it’s the most beautiful way to capture who you two are as a couple and preserve moments in time that tell your story throughout your life. If you’ve been dreaming up a dream proposal and are looking for a team of professionals to bring it to life, just reach out and let the planning begin!

A women covers her face as she gets proposed to.
A couples hands showcasing the engagement ring.

16 Responses

  1. This is an AWESOME resource for proposal information in Sedona!! You clearly have lots of knowledge in this region so any couple would be lucky to have you capture their proposal!!

  2. This is such a useful guide to photography and proposal locations in Sedona. I had no idea there was wine tasting nearby, and I think the fact that you have a picnic add-on to any proposal is just going above and beyond – so thoughtful!

  3. It’s so cool you get to capture all these proposals in Sedona! An awesome place–and this is awesome advice. Go you!!!

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