Out of the five national parks in Utah, Zion gets bragging rights for being the first! Amongst the narrow slot canyons, towering red cliffs, sweeping valleys, and rushing waterfalls, you’ll never run out of places to explore. That’s why we think a Zion National Park elopement is perfect for any couple that wants to get off the beaten path, ditch the stress and expectations of traditional weddings, and say their vows somewhere truly wild.
But, it’s not as easy as buying a dress and hopping in the car – before you elope in Zion National Park, there are a few things you should know. Don’t worry though, we’ve got the scoop on all of it – so keep reading to learn how to elope in Zion!
Set an Elopement Date
An elopement date is one of the first things you’ll need to figure out when it comes to your Zion National Park elopement. But, before you do that, there are a few factors you’ll need to consider.
Zion National Park Weather
Zion is a huge park, and there can often be an equally huge difference in temperatures throughout the day. The park lies in the desert region of Utah, so while temperatures can be hot during the day, nights are often as much as 30 degrees cooler. Here is a graph of Zion National Park’s average temperature throughout the year:
As you can see, summers get very hot – and winters can be bone-chilling! The time of year to elope in Zion will depend on what you want to do. For hiking, spring and fall are amazing because temperatures are warm, but not quite as hot as summers. However, if you want to explore the narrows, summer is the best time to do so, as water levels are low.
Avoiding Crowds at Zion National Park
Summer is the busiest season in Zion – parking lots regularly fill up, and the trails are crowded. We recommend eloping during the spring or fall – when crowds are significantly thinner, and temperatures won’t leave you sweating all day! If you aren’t afraid of a little snow, winter in Zion is peaceful and nearly empty – however, many roads close and the weather can be unpredictable.
Another way to avoid crowds is to plan your Zion National Park elopement on a weekday! Weekends are busiest in nearly every park, so eloping on a weekday, especially Monday through Thursday, will guarantee that you get a little more privacy while most people are at work.
We also recommend planning your elopement ceremony for either sunrise or sunset. Sunrise will be your best bet for getting even the most popular locations to yourself. But, if you’re not a morning person (we don’t blame you), sunset tends to be much less crowded as well. It’s always a plus when you can say your vows without a bunch of strangers around!
Choose an Elopement Location
There are too many beautiful places in Zion National Park to count – but they’ve made it a little easier to narrow down a ceremony spot by creating a list of spots where ceremonies are allowed. Don’t worry if your dream location isn’t on the list – there will be plenty of time for exploring and photos either before or after the ceremony!
Here are some spots in Zion National Park where you can have your elopement ceremony:
- Temple of Sinawava
- Menu Falls
- Zion Lodge Lawn
- Nature Center North Lawn
- South Campground Amphitheater
- Timber Creek Overlook
For the most up to date information on elopement locations in Zion, check out nps.gov!
The Legal Stuff
Paperwork may not be the most exciting part of planning your elopement day, but it’s important to make sure your marriage is legal and valid! You’ll need to brush up on Utah’s marriage laws, and on Zion’s rules for wedding ceremonies.
You can apply for a marriage license at any county clerk’s office in Utah. This needs to be done in person, so if you’re travelling from out of state, make sure to give yourself enough time! There is no waiting period, so you can get married as soon as you pick up your marriage license – though it does expire after 30 days.
Utah does require an officiant to sign the marriage license, but you have a couple of options for this!
You can hire an elopement officiant who’s up for any adventure you have in mind, or have a friend or family member officiate! Getting ordained is free and easy on ULC.org, so if someone you know can handle the honor of marrying you, that can be a really great personal touch to your ceremony.
In Utah, you need two witnesses to sign your marriage license – but don’t panic yet if you aren’t planning to invite any guests to your elopement! The only requirement is that they are over 18 years old, so as an of-age team of two who specializes in elopements, we’re ready to serve not only as your photo/video team, but also as your witnesses. You can also ask any other vendors, or even find two people at the trailhead or at your ceremony spot to help out!
Zion Park Permits
Most national parks require a permit to have a wedding ceremony on the grounds. Yes, even if it’s just the two of you! You can apply for a permit here, and this must be done at least three weeks in advance. However, we recommend applying as soon as possible to make sure you get your spot, and to give the park time to process your application. There is a permit fee of $100, but this money goes right into supporting the park – so your elopement helps mother nature too!
Hire Your Zion Elopement Vendors
A lot of wedding and elopement vendors fill their calendars a year out – so don’t hesitate to reach out to your favorites! Getting your vendors booked early will take a lot of pressure off of you – because most vendors who specialize in elopements are ready to help you out with the planning process.
As elopement photographers and videographers, our favorite part of the job is helping couples like you plan a wedding day that’s rooted in you. We help with everything from finding the perfect location, to getting the right permits, to building a timeline – so reach out if you’re ready to start planning! We’ve got a list of vendor recommendations ready too.
Book Flights and Lodging for Zion
Booking flights and lodging early on will get you the best prices, and guarantees that you’ll find somewhere to stay close to the park!
The closest airport to Zion National Park is the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. From there, you’ll need to rent a car and drive about an hour and a half to get to Zion.
Where to Stay
For your Zion National Park elopement, you’ll have a huge selection of hotel rooms, Airbnbs, and resorts to stay in right outside the park. Since this is the best day of your life and all, don’t hesitate to stay somewhere amazing! Your entire elopement should be an experience, so you can’t go wrong spending the week at an awesome resort.
On the west side of Zion, we recommend Under Canvas. Their glamping tents range from cozy teepees to luxury suites with bathrooms and all the amenities. So you can enjoy the beauty of camping, without having to rough it.
If you’re staying on the east side of the park, check out Ponderosa Ranch! You can choose from camping tents, glamping suites, or luxury cabins, and the resort features a pool, guided tours, and tons of dining options. All just 10 minutes away from Zion National Park!
Ready to Elope in Zion National Park?
Are you convinced that eloping amongst the sandstone is just right for you? We can’t blame you – it’s hard not to be sold on Zion once you see how beautiful the park is! To start planning your epic elopement, contact us! We’re ready to help you plan the adventure of a lifetime.