Let me guess… you want to plan a Utah elopement, yes? Congratulations! Now let us help you!
Utah is an incredible state and offers some of the most unique and dramatic vistas in the entire U.S.A. Bold canyons, jagged cliffs, delicate hoodoos, rosy sand dunes, valleys full of wildflowers, and snowy escarpments scatter the landscape.
What better place could there be to elope?
Whether you and your future spouse love hiking, mountain biking, camping, backpacking, boating, RVing, or straight-up relaxing, Utah has it all. Tie the knot and then have an amazing adventure to kick start your marriage.
How To Plan A Utah Elopement
Eloping to Utah is an exciting prospect. Although the logistics may seem daunting at first, we are here to help.
We’ll take you through the process step-by-step, from determining the costs to picking a location to choosing your wedding date to getting all the paperwork sorted. Let’s dive in:
Step #1: How Much Does It Cost To Elope In Utah? [Budgeting]
In order to elope in Utah, you should take the following costs into consideration.
A Utah marriage license costs between $20 and $50, depending on the county where you get it.
Officiants generally charge $500 to $800.
Tip: Save costs by getting a special friend or family member to be your officiant. Applying for a “Limited Duration Designee” officiant license only costs $25 in Utah County. Learn more about How to Legally Elope in Utah.
This is where you’ll spend most of your money. Depending on how long you want your photography session to be (usually ranging from two to eight hours), your adventure Utah elopement photographer could cost between $2,500 and $7,100.
Some photographers include planning and logistics in the price, including location scouting, elopement guides, and a custom-crafted elopement timeline. This can help cut costs in other areas.
If you’d like a florist to make your bridal bouquet, it could cost between $300 and $600
If you want a private venue, the cost will vary by location but can range from $300 to $4000.
If you’re getting married at a state or national park, you must apply for a special use permit. Remember to apply well in advance (1-2 months at an absolute minimum).
For state parks, the cost of special use permits is $60.
For national parks, the cost of a special use permit will vary by park. For example, a permit costs $100 at Zion and Bryce Canyon, $185 at Arches and Canyonlands, and $50 at Capitol Reef.
Step #2: Best Places To Elope In Utah
The next thing you’ll want to do to plan your Utah elopement is to choose the best location for your ceremony. Here are a few of our favorite places:
📍 Flaming Gorge
Flaming Gorge is a beautiful area in northeastern Utah. The Green River Dam created a 90-mile lake that winds around sweeping hills topped with banded cliffs.
The area gets its name from Frederick S. Dellenbaugh, who accompanied Major John Powell on his second expedition down the Green River. They were on a high promontory when the light of sunset struck the red cliffs and made them glow like flames.
Wild horses roam the hills, the fishing is excellent, and there are few better places to boat, raft, and mountain bike than in Flaming Gorge.
You can also go house boating, camping, tour the dam, go windsurfing, or visit surrounding historic sites. In winter, the area is perfect for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Where To Stay Near Flaming Gorge
There are plenty of resort and hotel options near Flaming Gorge, but our top pick is the Red Canyon Lodge. This beautiful lakeside lodge gives guests a one-of-a-kind stay in lovely hand-crafted log cabins.
➡️ Red Canyon Lodge
At Red Canyon, you can choose between a large cabin, perfect for wedding guests, or a small alpine cabin perfect for couples.
Enjoy a romantic evening fire at the private fire ring outside your cabin, stargaze at the lakeside, spend a chill morning fishing on the shore, or book a horseback ride through the virgin pine forest.
👉 Book your stay at Red Canyon Lodge by clicking here!
📍 Arches National Park
Arches National Park is another spectacular place to elope in Utah. The incredible landscapes, red rocks, flamboyant stone arches, and sweeping vistas make Arches one of a kind.
You can choose to have your Utah elopement ceremony beneath the delicate span of Landscape Arch, the blocky meadow-flower beauty of Pine Tree Arch, or in the stacked half-rings of the Windows Section.
Or, if you prefer a wider backdrop, choose the Delicate Arch Viewpoint or La Sal Mountains Viewpoint.
As an added benefit, the nearby town of Moab is great fun with plenty of mountain bike tours, hip cafés, and restaurant options.
Where To Stay Near Arches National Park
➡️ Sorrel River Ranch
The Sorrel River Ranch is a beautiful resort along the Colorado River. Stay in their Balcony Studio for an intimate getaway with your best love.
These rooms are cozy, rustic, and refined. Spend time together in the deep-soak jacuzzi, lounge in the comfy living space, or chill on the balcony while the river winds past.
Want a more active adventure?
Choose one of the Sorrel River Ranch curated experiences. You can go on an off-road trip, try your hand at canyoneering, or lift into the skies in a hot air balloon.
📍Bonneville Salt Flats
Another completely unique place to elope in Utah is the Bonneville Salt Flats. The Salt Flats cover 30,000 acres.
While some of that land supports vegetation, most of it is an impressive expanse of pure white salt. Wind and moisture make patterns in the salt, and after a rain, the entire region turns into a mirror, reflecting skies and mountains. This is an amazing place to get spectacular Utah elopement photographs.
It is best to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats in the summer or fall so that they will be dry. The weather will be hot, though, so keep that in mind when you pick the time for your ceremony.
Where To Stay Near the Bonneville Salt Flats
➡️ Peppermill Casino
If you don’t want to drive an hour and stay in Salt Lake City, the Peppermill Casino offers a variety of luxurious suites. Their Bay Suite and Corner Suites have sumptuous beds, sitting areas, and in-room jetted tubs.
📍 Mount Naomi Wilderness Area
The Mount Naomi Wilderness area is near the Utah-Idaho state line. It is a perfect place to catch the best of Utah’s alpine scenery with its deep canyons, towering mountain peaks, gorges overflowing with wildflowers, and miles of trails.
There are many beautiful spots to choose from when it comes to eloping in the Mount Naomi Wilderness Area. You can choose between a mountain peak, an overlook, a cozy valley, or a lake surrounded by tree-clad hills.
Where To Stay Near Mount Naomi Wilderness Area
➡️ Anniversary Inn
The Anniversary Inn in Logan, Utah is a unique bed and breakfast with themed suites. Choose your room according to the vibe you want, and have lots of fun with your significant other in a distinctive environment.
Some of their suites include the Caribbean Sea Cave, Arabian Nights Suite, and Juliet’s Balcony. They even have a Swiss Family Robinson Suite, complete with a two-story tree-house loft, twinkling star lights, fish aquarium, jetted tub, and complimentary sparkling cider.
📍 Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Embrace the beauty of the Utah desert at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. These rolling dunes are especially gorgeous at sunset, turning a brilliant (you guessed it!) coral pink. Sharp promontories in the background provide a nice contrast.
It’s best to elope to this park in the fall or winter, when daytime temperatures will be more moderate.
If you and the love of your life enjoy off-roading, Coral Pink Sand Dunes is a hot spot for off-highway vehicles. Time to slalom and fishtail in the shifting sands! Other fascinating nearby features include White Pocket, Toadstools, The Wave, and Buckskin Golf.
Where To Stay Near Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
➡️ East Zion Resort
One of the most beautiful places to stay near this lovely state park is the East Zion Resort in Orderville. The Resort offers interesting accommodations including yurts, tiny houses, tree houses, glamping tents, and a lodge.
We think the yurts or the original treehouse look like the best romantic getaway options, but whatever you choose is bound to be delightful.
📍 Zion National Park
Zion National Park is a magical place, with mountains parading along the edge of a valley, narrow gorges, streams, waterfalls, adrenaline-packed hiking trails, and unparalleled scenery.
You can have your Utah elopement ceremony on a bridge near Menu Falls, near the gigantic Pulpit Rock by the Temple of Sinawava, or overlooking Kolob Canyon. Check out our Zion National Park Elopement Guide for more information.
Where To Stay Near Zion National Park
➡️ Desert Pearl Inn
The Desert Pearl Inn is a gorgeous river-side hotel with soul. Consider staying in their King Room or Riverside Suite, have them furnish the space with artisan chocolates, cheese, and wine before you arrive. Then, order an in-room massage for the two of you.
Step #3: Best Time To Elope In Utah
If you’re wondering when is the best time to elope in Utah, the answer is, that it depends. There are beautiful locations available for all four seasons. You can pick your location by the date you want to elope or choose the date according to the location.
Both methods work just fine.
Important Things To Consider
Southern Utah is essentially a desert. During the summer months, the heat can be intense, whereas if you want to elope in winter (and aren’t a fan of snow), the south can be perfect.
If you for sure want to elope to this area during the summer, we recommend a sunrise elopement in Utah. That way the weather won’t be too hot yet.
On the other hand, spring and fall are both lovely seasons to elope to this region since the temperatures aren’t as extreme.
The alpine region in northern Utah offers great summer temperatures. Roads that get snowed-in during the winter are open, giving you access to more off-the-beaten-track locations.
Winter weather can be very cold, but if you’re prepared, your elopement could be a winter wonderland. Fall in this region is beautiful as well, with all of the leaves changing color.
The area surrounding Salt Lake City can get quite rainy in the spring, so keep that in mind if you pick that region or season for your elopement.
Step #4: How to Legally Elope In Utah
Eloping in Utah is pretty straightforward. You will need:
- Two witnesses
- An officiant
- A marriage certificate
Arranging your witnesses
Your witnesses must be adults over the age of eighteen. If you want a small, private ceremony with just the two of you and your officiant, you may be able to use your photographer/s as your witnesses.
Arranging your officiant
You may be married by a minister, priest, rabbi, country clerk, judge, justice, and all the usual people.
However, if you’d like to make your wedding extra meaningful by having a friend act as your officiant, your friend can apply to be a Limited Duration Designee. This means that they can get authorization from the county clerk to officiate your wedding.
Getting your Marriage Certificate
You can get a marriage certificate in any Utah county passport and marriage office. The cost of the certificate varies by county but is usually between $20 and $50.
Important: Utah marriage certificates are only valid for 30 days. If your officiant doesn’t return it to the issuing county clerk within 30 days, you’ll have to get a new one.
There is no waiting period. As soon as you have your marriage certificate, you can use it.
Your marriage license comes with two certified copies.
Getting your marriage certificate online
If you’d rather not stop by a county clerk’s office, you can apply for your Utah marriage license online.
If you have a friend you want to officiate, they can also apply for their wedding officiant authorization online.
What if I’m divorced?
If you’ve been divorced within the last 60 days, the county clerk will probably ask to see your divorce decree.
What documents do I need to get a Utah marriage license?
You will need to show any one of the following photo IDs:
- Driver’s license
- Utah-issued ID card
- Military ID card
You must provide your social security number if you have one, and bring documents to confirm. Any one of the following will do:
- Social security card
- Tax return
- Pay stub
- Bank statement
In order to fill out your marriage license application, both you and your future spouse will need to provide the following information:
- Your preferred title (groom, spouse, or bride)
- Your name
- Your birth name (if it’s different from above)
- Your birth date and birth location
- Your current address (No PO Boxes allowed)
- Your gender
- Your phone number
- Your social security number
- Your marital history (# of times you’ve been married, divorce dates & cause if applicable)
- Your race/nationality (optional)
- Your education
- Your father’s name and birthplace
- Your mother’s maiden name and birthplace
- The expected date, city, county, and officiant for your wedding ceremony
Step #5: Book Your Utah Elopement Photographer + Videographer
If you’re looking for a Utah elopement photographer, you’ve come to the right place! Send us an email at [email protected] with basic information about what you’re looking for and your elopement plans/ideas. We’ll get back to you right away.
Whether you get married on the stunning expanse of the Salt Flats, among the bold peaks of the Mount Naomi wilderness, or in a lush valley in Zion National Park, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more dramatic place to elope than in Utah.
Not only are the landscapes stunning, but the paperwork is hassle-free, adventures wait around every bend in the road, and there are fabulous spots to elope no matter the season.