How to Plan a Moab Elopement: Utah Essential Adventure Elopement Guide

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Moab, Utah is seriously one of my favorite places to travel to just in general so having your elopement there is even more amazing! 

But, if planning a wedding is too overwhelming, figuring out an elopement can leave you wondering where to start. This is especially true when you are traveling to a location that you've never been to before!

I have captured MANY Moab, Utah elopement stories and have so many great tips to share coming directly from my own experiences! 

let me tell you why

You Should definitely elope in Moab

Moab can be a totally different place depending upon the time of year and the location that you select. Luckily for you, there are so many location and season options to choose from! There's no way to do an elopement wrong, because it should be whatever most perfectly fits the two of you. But,

THERE MAY BE A PERFECT SPOT FOR YOUR ELOPEMENT.

So let's find out where that is!

 choose a moab elopement spot first

why should you elope?

before you pack your bags for utah,

Moab is unlike any other place on this planet.

The arches specifically are an anomaly that just blows you away when you see them in person–they make you feel so small. What a magical place to get married!

When you think of Moab, you probably imagine red rocks and beautiful arches. It's actually a common misconception that Arches National Park is all that Moab has to offer just because it represents it so well! As you keep reading, you'll see this isn't the case, but even with all these other great spots, Arches is still my favorite! 




Sometimes, the places that you shoot the most aren't necessarily your favorite. I shot a lot of country club and ballroom weddings before I became an elopement photographer and I must say, it wasn't by choice! 

My favorite spot in Moab just happens to be the one I get to photograph the most! It's probably one of Moab's most iconic locations that couples usually picture when they think of Moab. 

Another misunderstanding can be where and what Moab is exactly. Moab is a city located in eastern Utah. You can find out more about Moab's history and start planning you trip right here!

why choose moab for your elopement

moab is the city for you

  • It's an easy spot to elope in but keep in mind it's a popular place. You will have to go early in the morning or at a less popular time of year.
  • Permits are also easy to obtain. If you aren't doing your ceremony there and only taking portraits, you don't even need a permit. 
  • The most beautiful time of day to capture the arches is at sunrise or sunset. 
  • If some spots are crowded, there are so many different arches to choose from for beautiful shots!

arches National Park Eloping Highlights

arches national park

DEAD HORSE POINT STATE PARK

more than its name

Obviously, the name of this Moab location isn't appealing. But, that doesn't mean that the beauty you can find in the spot is by any means affected by it! Dead Horse Point State Park was actually named after a legend that may not actually be true. You can make it whatever story you want it to be!












  • Overlooks a giant canyon above the Colorado River. 
  • Basically looks like the Grand Canyon but with red rock!
  • Runs parallel to the Canyonlands National Park.
  • Very easy to obtain a permit since it's a state, not a national park.












highlights of eloping at dead horse

canyonlands national park

This park includes such a variety of natural formations that the possibilities are endless for where to have your elopement!

As described by the park itself, this involves "colorful canyons, buttes, fins, arches, and spires in the heart of southeast Utah's high desert." It's such a fantastic area that Moab elopement photographers like myself love to capture!

The main difference between this elopement location and other spots within Moab is the fact that this area is split in two by the  the Green and the Colorado Rivers. These rivers also can't be crossed in many places so you have to plan ahead in order to visit different spots. You'll definitely want to make it a full-day adventurous elopement trip! 


A DIFFERENT SPOT BUT STILL IN MOAB

  • Very beautiful and has so many gorgeous spots to choose from!
  • Includes both red rock and riverside locations. 
  • It's a national park so it does require a permit.

HIGHLIGHTS OF ELOPING AT CANYONLANDS

Under Canvas Moab is a privately owned glamping campground that works as a wedding venue only seven miles north of Moab, close to Arches National Park. 

Most permits inside the parks limit the number of guests you can have attending your Moab elopement ceremony. If don't plan on it being just the two of you, that number generally must stay under 20 people. 

If you plan to have more than 20 guests attend then Under Canvas Moab is a great option! You can book it for under 30 people total or reserve the entire campground for 80-250 guests. 

We can still go into nearby Arches or any of the other parks for your first look, portraits, or first shots as newlyweds! 

Neither a state or national park, Castle Valley, Utah is a smaller town located 20 miles north of Moab. It is BLM land (Borough Land Management) that is independently run outside of the parks.

This entire area is so beautiful and offers a lot of different hikes to various viewpoints overseeing cascading red rocks and monuments. It's great for portraits or the ceremony itself! 

In order to have a ceremony on BLM land your photographer needs to have already been placed on an approved list that opens up annually each December. I am an approved photographer on that list and will walk you through the permit process. 



 

under canvas moab

castle valley, utah

moab elopement spots outside of the parks

when's the best time of year?

how to best prepare 

Although winter and spring won't be crowded, winter can still be cold and there will be snow! It's best to avoid late spring for the same reason. Though it can still be beautiful, it can get very cold and even snow.

It's best to avoid summer altogether due to the desert heat and crowds. Sunrise is usually the only option during this time.

The most friendly weather is April--May or September--early November. Be prepared for the fact that because Moab is a desert and the weather operates in extremes, it can change unexpectedly. Expect the sunrises to super cold even in the fall 




  • Cold Seasons: warm outerwear and leggings to wear under the wedding dress. 
  • Bring lots of snacks, water, and sturdy shoes or hiking boots! There's a large grocery store in town to grab anything that you may have missed.
  • Leave No Trace: you can bring in approved flowers but you must remain on the approved trails. 
  • BLM land and Dead Horse Point State Park allow some other decorations but the other parks do not. 


If you've gotten this far, you may find the idea of planning an elopement overwhelming. From the choices you have to make to the
This isn't my first adventure, and I'm also not new to Moab. So for your elopement, let me be your guide! As we walk through the elopement planning process together, I can provide you with tips and tricks to make the planning process easier. If you have questions or worry that you're missing something I'm happy to walk you through those steps!

Hiring an elopement photographer provides you with way more than just photographic coverage of your day. I'm also your partner, and support as you plan out your adventurous elopement. We can work together using my expertise in both elopements in generally and specifically a Moab elopement! 

Are you ready to start planning? Let's do this thing! 

psst here's a note from me on planning

let me plan your elopement!

how should you be prepared?

why do I need a permit?

Good question! This is really important.

You need to make it legal if you want to get married in Moab–and I mean ANYWHERE where you plan to hold an actual ceremony.

Go to the website of the specific park where you want to get married to read more about how to get a permit, and fill out the application. Requirements vary by park and there may also be restrictions on the guest total too (usually no more than 30).

Once you fill it out, it costs range from $60 to $185 to save your date depending upon which park that you choose. After we have that, we’ll be able to head out and get you married!

Keep in mind: Always keep it legal. If there aren’t any papers to prove you can get married, then there is big potential to get in trouble. And we definitely don’t want that!

and how do I get one to get married in moab?

Find out more about permits

things to do:

Dining: The town of Moab is very small and quaint but has a lot of food options! There are some great breweries and if you want a really fancy dinner try the Sunset Grill Moab which has the best sunset mountaintop views! One of my favorites is a restaurant famous for it's pizza: Antica Forma. There isn't much of a night-life in town but there are plenty of amazing spots to eat!

Activities: There's seriously so much to do in Moab! Everything from several stables for horseback riding to hiking. You can rent a Jeep, ATV, or dirt bikes. Moab is known for its off-roading trails that have self-guided and guided touring options! Read more for the top things to do in Moab!

Sightseeing: Even if you opt to get married in one specific location, you should still check out the rest! Make sure you head out and see all that Moab has to offer through hikes, long drives, off-roading and more. There are SO many beautiful things to see, making Moab worth the stay for more than just a day or two. 

Some of my favorite activities to do in moab:

Hotels: these can be on the pricier side but can still be a great option if it's the style and location that you want! I recommend Springhill Suites & Fairfield Inn by Marriott Moab: this hotel is next to the Colorado River and is the closest hotel to Arches National Park.

where to stay:

Airbnbs in Moab: I recommend searching for local Airbnb's especially for elopements. You will have more space to work with for getting ready and there are many options to choose from. 


 








Camping: Moab has a mix of both reservation and first-come-first-serve campgrounds. 



Best vendors:

These are my favorite vendors to work with when photographing a Moab elopement! It's amazing working with experienced vendors who know the drill!

let me help!

Ready for your elopement adventure?

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not only am I a photographer, but i'm also an elopement planner!

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Marlee A.

"We loved everything about Dani! Dani is beyond talented. Her attention to detail is amazing. Her use of lighting is timeless and her attitude is full of energy. Our friends and family keep speaking about how stunning the photos are from the big day. We loved Dani’s use of non posed photos. They came out more authetic and genuine and we couldn’t be more happier. Everything about these photos speaks fairytale dream come true. Thank you so much."

Rebekah H.

"Dani is such a people person, I had no hesitation in booking her because she has such a gracious presence about her on all platforms. She does such a good job at giving you direction but not making you feel forced or awkward about it. She's genuinely there to be a friend, she was so kind to both me and my husband and I may be a little bit biased but honestly I don't think I would ever book another photographer besides her if I needed photos taken."

Bryanna C.

"Dani was more than we expected! She was so happy and very calm on our wedding day. Her passion for photography did not go unnoticed! She even came to the rehearsal to scope it out and stayed longer than she was supposed to take pictures. She got me a few pictures by the next morning which made me even more excited to see all our photos. She was always on time and took all the photos that I wanted to be taken. I highly recommend Dani and will definitely use her in the future!"