We are Sam + Bryt, wife and wife elopement photographers, business educators, and LGBTQ+ activitists! We are so freaking excited that you are here!
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Elopements! More Elopements! AND EVEN MORE ELOPEMENTS! This is our very favorite topic EVER and for great reason!! Welcome to our Utah Elopement Guide!!! Over the past few years (and especially because of a mighty inconvenient pandemic!), elopements have become more and more popular!! Much to our joy, because WE LOVE THEM! Traditional weddings take sooooo much time, a cray amount of money, and a tremendous amount of simply avoidable stress… but you may be saying, “SAM… how on Earth could I avoid all of these things?!” My short answer? ELOPE!
Elopements are an ideal (and totally epic) alternative for those seeking to say I do in an intimate and adventurous way!! Need another big push? Here is an example from one of our very own, wonderful couples. This 2021 couple recently chose to cancel their big, stressful wedding and elope in Utah! HECK YEAHHH! So, what do you do when you have some really awesome news to share and want to help others in the same way? We thought we would create the ultimate Utah Elopement Guide to help them (and maybe you!) out!!
So many locations come to mind when you decide to elope – RIGHT? Sometimes it’s so dang hard to choose! From options like breathtaking classic cities to options like the most secluded forrest locations in the world. There is truly something for everyone in the big, wide universe of elopements! BUT if you are a couple of soon-to-be elopers looking for unconventional, natural landscapes and maybe a way to fit in some adventure on the way… Utah AND this blog are for you!
Utah is nestled right in Western region of the great U S of A! Whoop whoop!! In this corner of the land of the free you will find a wide variety of landscapes and natural beauty for your elopement! Sounds just a bit like perfection to us. Better news… Utah is home to FIVE national parks, FOURTY-FIVE state parks, and many natural wonders! EEK! It is honestly so easy to see why couples time and time again choose Utah to elope to! You are gonna wanna read the rest of this epic Utah Elopement Guide to figure out HOW on Earth you are going to settle on just one place.
Elopements have less planning to do (can we get a HECK YEAH), but that doesn’t mean eloping is just a quick and easy thing – STILL GATHER YO’SELF and PLAN. Especially, a legal plan! Eloping to national parks is all fun and games, but you absolutely have to follow all of the park rules and guidelines and sometimes that requires… you guessed it, a plan! What else better is there to help build your plan than THIS ultimate Utah Elopement Guide?! Nothing. Duh. 😉
Marriage license fees can vary in each county but typically you can expect to pay between $40 to $60. You will need to make sure you have a permit for wherever you are planning on eloping or having your ceremony/pictures taken at. Fees for permits can vary per park but you can expect to pay anywhere between $50 to $200. Sometimes you are also expected to pay a car fee. For the total cost of your Utah Elopement, you can expect to pay $5,000 to even $15,000, depending on how lavish your accommodations are 😉
Get yourself an AIRBNB! Airbnb’s are insanely awesome because if you elope AT your airbnb, it is smoooooth sailing from there! Eloping on your airbnb property eliminates the hassle of finding legal VS illegal elopement locations. Over here at Samantha Mitchell Photos, we are QUEENS are Airbnb-ing. We absolutely adore them and just so happen to have some epic locations lined up for elopements! Shoot us an email in the contact box and we will send our fav BnB’s your way 🙂
Once of our recent couples, Caitlin + Bryggs, decided to rent an Airbnb in Utah and have their beautiful intimate ceremony there too! Check it out here!
Aside from Airbnbs, we do the dirty work for you! We find and map out all of the most beautiful, favorite legal spots for eloping!! Keep on reading to see our list of favorite elopement locations! (Hint: It’s going to blow your minds!)
Whatever decision feels best for your individual, unique elopement, consider the following requirements needed to be legally married within this awesome little State of Utah… all of the following info in this Utah Elopement Guide is straight from the Utah County Clerk… we did the nitty gritty research just for YOU! Here are the requirements for making sure your marriage will be legal in Utah!
The question is not WHY to elope to Utah, but WHERE?! With multiple natural spaces to serve as backdrops for your marriage, the decision will be tough. Here are some of my favorites, and they include all the landscapes available across this beautiful state.
Located less than two hours drive from Salt Lake City, you will find a landscape like no other. This beautiful flat land full of salt sparkles and has a mirror effect when water floods the area. Flooding is never an issue as only less than one inch covers the space and creates a never-ending reflection that will look magical in your pictures. Bonneville Salt Flats is so so unique!
April to May is the season when you will find water over the salty territory. Just be aware of the wind since there are no barriers to stop it, and remember to bring proper shoes. This location would be like a desert but with a white predominance of color. You will need a permit to elope in the flats.
Check out Caitlin + Brygg’s day after couples session, here!
Just north of Moab’s city, Arches National Park honors his name with over 2000 magnificent arches naturally formed in red rock. During the winter months, the rocks are covered in snow, providing an incomparable contrast of colors, making this a popular Utah elopement location.
Erosion has made his work carving natural structures for 65 million years. The landscape is ever-changing, as rain continues to do its work. You will find a beautiful arch to host your elopement ceremony. Keep in mind this is a popular National Park, and peak season means you will find many visitors. Permit information can be found here!
In the southern region of Utah, you will find the first National Park of the state – ZION!. Canyons and waterfalls are the main attraction for hikers and nature lovers. The best time to visit is September and October, as the hot summer ends and warm days arrive. It is an ideal location for your fall elopement, as vegetation changes colors and offers a fairytale backdrop for your ceremony.
Winter is also a good time to elope. The park is open all year, and winters tend to be mild. You will find it pleasant if searching for privacy. Snow is common in moderate quantities from December to April. You can find more information about weddings in Zion here!
Lake Powell is one of a stinkin’ kind. Next to the border of Arizona, you will find this Lake surrounded by red rock formations. You get to choose between saying I do from the top of a red rock overseeing the water or down in the lake around giant rock formations. Permits are required for your elopement.
A state park with the most unique sand you will find, the particular color of the dunes comes from high winds that erode the sand from mountains Moquith and Moccasin. Imagine how your white dress will stand out from the coral background and blue skies.
Located in Utah’s southwestern area, Coral Pink Sand Dunes is an ideal place for your spring or fall elopement, as temperatures can go high during the summer. If you want to have a summer celebration, I recommend you visit in early June, and you will get to watch the peak of wild blooms. A permit is also required for this state park.
Utah is known for some hidden gem (and off the beaten trail) places. We found this super cool video that highlights a few and we just couldn’t NOT share it! Check out the top 10 places that are not National Parks! You’ll be super surprised to know that you can elope at some of these!
Now it is very likely that the reason you are eloping is to avoid all the planning of a traditional wedding… BUT any marriage requires a bit of paperwork! If you decide to tie the know at one of Utah national or state parks, chances are you will need to have a permit. Permits allow authorities to keep track of special events and fees maintain those beautiful parks in perfect conditions for everyone to enjoy.
Permit requirements will depend on the location you choose of course, but typically, keep in mind the following:
OH BABY, we love youuu! Utah sees all four seasons – CRAZY for a state in it’s area, but its true! Of course, just like any state, it will vary depending on the zone you decide to elope! Northern Utah will have a longer and colder winter than the Southern regions. We are even prepared with a general guide for YOU to help find you the best elopement spot. Ya welcome 😉
December through February is the coldest season for most of the state! Winters are known for their snow, which can arrive as early as November and last until April. Temperatures range between 22°F to 25°F. Consider that mountains in the northern regions are always colder and snowier.
March to May is SPRINGTIME (a personal fav), a transition season, and a bit unpredictable; showers and sunny days are all likely to happen. April and May are the months with larger precipitation. Temperature goes from 33°F up to 70°F. It is ideal if you love blooms and rather avoid the hot summer and harsh winter. You can even catch the start of blooming for seasonal flowers.
June to August is the peak season for most national parks throughout the state. Summers can be hot in the southern area with temperatures reaching up to 100°F, remember the south of the state is mainly desert. If you want a cooler elopement, I recommend you go north to the mountains or near a lake to get a breeze.
September to November is a wonderful time to elope if you love warmer tones and comfortable weather. It is a rather dry season, especially if you stay closer to September, temperatures range between 40°F and 60°F. National and State parks dress in fall colors, and it is quite a show from nature.
We couldn’t leave you hanging without a few epic places to stay in Utah! Airbnbs offer privacy, freedom, and even some pretty epic views! You can also even elope at a few of these on our list! Yup, you read that right! You can actually exchance your vows at an airbnb! Best part? NO PERMIT REQUIRED! You just have to get permission! Alright, let’s get to it! Here are a few epic airbnbs that we love! Click HERE to see the full list of Utah Elopement Stays!
Mystic Hot Springs: After your wedding day has come and gone, relax in the best hippie hot springs in the West! These natural hot spring soaking tubs are perfect to relax in! To get in it’s $15 per person, but we think it’s a perfect stop on your Utah adventure!
Four Corners Monument: Some people think it’s pretty cool to be able to step onto a marker that joins 4 states at once. If you are a history buff, this might be up your alley! It’s the only one of its kind in the US and joins New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah!
17 Room Ruin: Tucked beneath a desert cliff, is a well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan ruin. The 17 Room Ruin will honestly blow your mind as you realize that it has been protected by the elements for nearly a thousand years!
Sun Tunnels: Here at SMP we truly enjoy seeing all different types of art. The Sun Tunnels in Wendover, Utah do not disappoint! Nancy Holt created a sculpture for the sun and stars in 1976. The design allows for the constant changes in shadow and light.
The UP House: Obviously we could not forget to fail to mention the “Up” House! It’s a replica that wont “float away” if you know what I mean! And while it isn’t surrounded by the high rises and industrial park like in the movie, every little detail is exactly as it is presented! So grab your polaroid and maybe even bring your own DOUG along 😉
Home of Truth: This ghost town was once a cult-like religious utopian settlement. The property owner plans to reopen it someday so that people can tour inside, but for now you will just have to peer into the abandoned buildings from the road. It’s the perfect creepy place to stop at before you get to the Needles District of Canyonlands State Park!
Last, but not least. We know there is so much more we can’t put on this list in the blog! SO see for yourself all of the unique, crazy, and epic other stops that you can visit while you are in Utah! Atlast Obscura is our favorite place to check out before planning all trips. HERE you can find over 101 things to do after your epic Utah elopement! The only question that remains is… which will you do first?!
Eloping is magical for so many reasons! You don’t have to convince us – we already believe in the magic of elopements!! OBVIOUSLY! If it was you that was needing a bit of convincing, we hope this Utah Elopement Guide helped you get a better idea of this magical thing!! You get to tie the knot in an intimate and unique environment where the only thing you must focus on is the love you share; nothing, and we mean nothing gets quite better than that. Have we convinced you yet?! Utah is truly a little hidden gem in the world of elopements! Now, what are you waiting for?! Let’s do this! Contact us today to begin planning your epic Utah Elopement!
Sam + Bryt