I love getting to capture your love story as a Utah elopement photographer. But, what I enjoy even more is helping you plan your Moab elopement! Moab is filled with adventure, stunning views and wonderful landscape. Making it the perfect place to say your vows and explore! Here is everything you will need to know for your Moab elopement.
Individuals and family travel from across the country to visit Moab, Utah and see the whimsical landscape that is Arches National Park. This bucket-list worthy location has out of this world canyons, cliff and arches. What makes Moab really special are the unique red rock arch formations. They truly are other worldly, and leave so many in awe of their majesty.
With its outstanding landscape, Moab is well known to those who seek outdoor adventure and exploration. Attracting those who “dirt bag” climb, rope swing, canyoneer, hike, and base jump. As well as embracing the summer by floating in the Colorado River. I have grown to love Moab more and more over the year, so I am excited to jump in and share everything you’ll need to know for your Moab elopement!
Elope in Moab
Wondering how to elope in Moab? Let’s break it down:
Find your Elopement Photographer and work with them to find a date that works for you both
Pick a Moab elopement location
Make plans and book: transportation, lodging, restaurant reservations, etc
Book vendors: florals, officiant, etc
Get your needed permits for you location
Get your Utah Marriage License
Best Time For your Moab Elopement
The best time to get married in Moab is in the early spring and fall. For one, these times in the year are considered off season. So there wont be as many crowds and will be even more picturesque! In addition, the temperatures are cooler, making for a more enjoyable trip!
Mar-May & Oct
Average Temps: 35° – 75°
Low-Medium Chance for Rain
12-14hrs of sunlight
Average Temps: 58° – 100°
Very Low Chance for Rain
13-16hrs of sunlight
Average Temps: 20° – 45°
Medium-High Chances for Snow
9-11hrs of sunlight
Making Your Moab Elopement Legal
There are quite a few items you need to make your marriage legal in the state of Utah. First, you will both need to apply in person for your marriage license. You will also need to bring documents and IDs. You can find more on the specific documents here.
If you do not want to physically go in to obtain your marriage license, Utah county has the option to apply for the paperwork online. Just remember that the marriage license is only valid for 32 days, and must be used in that time or it will expire.
For my couples that are simply reading vows and celebrating, you do not need to have a Utah marriage license. And for my out of state couples, if it is easier to obtain a marriage license in your home state, I definitely advice you do what is the most simple for you! However, Utah does not have a waiting period with marriage licenses, so as soon as you get your license you will be able to use it.
To make things even easier, there is a local clerk office in Moab! Although it is your officiant’s legal responsibility to bring your marriage license paperwork back to the clerk office, some couples do opt to bring it back themselves. Either way, it will take the clerk office up to six weeks to have your license ready to pick up!
In addition, there must be an officiant and two witnesses over the age of 18 at your ceremony. If you are having a hard time finding an officiant, I have a list of those perfect for a Moab elopement. And if you are planning a true elopement without any guests, I can one of your witnesses! And often times we can find another on the trail!
Moab Elopement Locations
As a Utah elopement photographer I have been all over Moab, scouting ou the best places to get married. Here are my favorites:
Dead Horse Point State Park Elopement
Just about 10 miles outside of Moab you can find Dead Horse Point State Park featuring dozens of trails for both hiking and biking. I love this area because the parking is rather close, making it easy to hike to the stunning views and unique landscaping of this location. It is mostly flat with views that look into the valley of red rocks.
As well as being an easy and beautiful location, some trails are pet friendly! So if you are wanting to include your furry friends you can!
You will need to apply for a special use permit for this location, which I recommend you do 1-3 months before your date. This location does allow you to set up decor for your ceremony, so it is a more popular option for a lot of couples.
Arches National Park Elopement
If you are looking for the iconic red rock arches for your Moab elopement, head into Arches National Park! Every way you turn your will be amazed by arches, red rocks, cliff and even wildlife. Because of its beauty, you are more likely to have crowds, especially during the busy season. I recommend eloping on the off season, or having a sunrise/sunset elopement.
National Parks do have a higher standard when it comes to rules and regulations. In addition, you will need to apply for permits. Find all the information for your Arches National Park elopement here.
Getting Married in Arches National Park?
You can legally get married in Arches National Park in certain locations. You can hold your ceremony in the following locations:
Devils Garden Camp Amphitheater
La Sal Mountain View Point
The Windows Section
Delicate Arch View point
Sand Dune Arch
Pine Tree Arch
Arches National Park Wedding Permit
Regulations, requirements and fees are subject to change, so for the most accurate information visit Arches National Park permit page. “The purpose of these permits is to ensure the protection of the park’s natural and cultural resources, as well as to minimize conflicts between park visitors and your guests.” So being well informed will allow you to not only have a beautiful wedding day and ceremony, but also to preserve the land so you can come back and visit for years to come.
You can apply for your special use permit within a year of your elopement date, and the application typically takes the park about four to six weeks to be completes. In addition, there are a lot of rules and regulations for having a ceremony int he National Park. So, if you are not set on having your ceremony in Arches, may I suggest that you instead just have bridal portrait taken in Arches. With you ceremony held at a different location.
Arches National Park Reservations
From April 1st to the last day in October you are required to have a reservation to get into Arches National Park. As well, there is an entry fee of $35 per car to get into the park. You can find more about the park entry times on the parks website.
Canyonlands National Park Elopement
Right past Dead Horse Point State Park, is Canyonlands National Park. Although this Moab elopement location is the furthest from Moab, it is well worth the drive! Known best for the Island in the Sky region, which you can have your ceremony at! You will have to apply for a permit to have your ceremony in Canyonlands National Park. As well as follow the parks regulations.
Ceremony Locations In Canyonlands National Park:
Grand View Point
Pothole Pt in the Needles Section
Needles Group Campsites
Green River Overlook
Shafer Canyon Overlook
For more information on Canyonlands permits and regulations, visit here.
Castle Valley Elopement
With trails perfect for hiking and biking, as well as the Colorado River for floating, all surrounded by castle like rock formations. Castle Valley is a wonderful option for those looking to elope in an adventurous and scenic location. In this same area is a dog friendly spot that doesn’t require a permit! Visit Mary Jane Slot Canyon for a dreamy and easy going elopement.
La Sal Mountains
Look past the red rocks and you will find stunning mountains right outside of Moab, worthy of an adventure elopement. The La Sal Mountains are magnificent, littered with Aspen trees, featuring lakes and vista points. In addition, there are local free range cattle that come and go as they please! It is a little different from the wildlife I am used to as a Utah elopement photographer, but I am here for it!
Moab Wedding Locations
Although I specialize in elopements and adventure, I am always more than happy to help those who are looking for a more traditional wedding, rather than a Moab elopement.
Because of Leave No Trace guides, typically you can have no more than 15-20 guests at your Moab elopement because of park regulations. This is to help preserve the parks, and is something I stand by and support fully. So for those who want the adventure, as well as to be surrounded by loved ones. Might I suggest having an adventure portrait session separate from your wedding ceremony. This way you still get the stunning images for your wedding, as well as the fun exploration! And you still get to celebrate with loved ones outside of the parks.
Moab Wedding Venues
With views of the river, red rocks and even horses. You cannot go wrong with Sorrel Ranch! This outdoor wedding venue in Moab is not only a venue, but also a luxury spa and lodging. Creating an all in one experience for your wedding and honeymoon.
Under Canvas Moab
This glamping venue is iconic! With unmatched natural beauty, as well as a curated event with a dedicated team, you and your guests will be impressed. At Under Canvas Moab you can strictly have your wedding, with up to 30 people. Or you could buy out the entire venue and invite up to 150 guests!
Whispering Oaks Ranch
With a 55,000 sq ft lawn on 50-acre private mountain property, you will have a private and intimate wedding, no matter how many guests! Offering gorgeous views of the La Sal Mountain Peaks, Whispering Oaks Ranch is a Moab wedding venue to highly consider.
What To Do In Moab
As a Utah elopement photographer, I always recommend a Moab elopement for those who love adventure and the outdoors. Your wedding day can be so much more than vows and a ceremony. In Moab you can really get out there and experience the outdoor unlike any other location in the states!
Here are just a few of my couples favorite things to do after their Moab elopements:
Horse Back Ride
Float the River
Find Dinosaur Tracks & Fossils
Star Gazing (more info below)
I would definitely recommend hiring a guide service for any of the activities listed above. The desert is a beautiful place with so much adventure to be had. With that said, it can be dangerous to participate in many recreations in Moab without the proper training, gear and knowledge. So play it safe, and find a professional to help you make the most out of the adventure!
I would be crazy if I didn’t highlight just how amazing star gazing is in Moab, Utah! Because this area is classified as “dark sky communities”, you are able to see constellations, galaxies, planets and so much more in the night sky! With little to no light pollution and clear desert skies, Moab is the perfect place to watch the stars.
There are so many amazing places to eat in Moab. Some places are better for a celebratory meal with either a more upscale environment or they accomodate large groups if you are wanting to celebrate with guests. Reservations would be required for large groups and are suggested for nice intimate dinners as well.
CELEBRATORY DINING – LARGE GROUPS
Josie Wyatt’s Grille (Private Room/Can accomodate very large groups)
VENUE WITH CATERING OPTION
The Red Earth Venue (Rentable space with catering recommendations)
CELEBRATORY DINING – SMALL GROUPS
BRUNCH DINING OPTIONS
CASUAL DINING OPTIONS
Food Truck Park in the center of town. The Quesadilla Truck & Pizza Truck are my favorites.
Arches Thai Delicious Thai Food
98 Center Moab Asian and local fusion
Moab Kitchen Food from the local organic garden
Fiesta Mexicana Tex-Mex
Sweet Cravings Bakery & Bistro
Hidden Cuisine South African Cuisine
Moab Diner American Diner
Blu Pig BBQ & Bar with live music 7 nights a week
There are several international airports within 1/2 a day’s drive from Moab. These larger hubs will have international and domestic flights arriving multiple times a day.
From the international airport you can either rent a car or use a connecting flight to a smaller regional airport that is even closer to Moab. Moab has a small regional airport with flights daily to and from the major international airports listed below:
Salt Lake City International Airport: 234 miles -> Moab
Denver International Airport : 276 miles
Las Vegas International Airport : 468 miles
Canyonlands Field Airport : 18 miles -> Moab
Grand Junction Regional Airport : 114 miles
Montrose Regional Airport : 170 miles
Vernal Regional Airport : 217 miles
Durango-La Plata County Airport : 171 miles (visit Mesa Verde on your drive over to Moab!)
The best place for most vehicle rentals will be from the international airports. When in Moab, I recommend renting a Jeep to get a good reliable vehicle for transportation and all your adventures.
Taxis & Shuttles
Located 20 mins from Moab Office
Shuttles within 250 miles of city of Moab
There are so many options when it comes to lodging in Moab, Utah. I recommend booking your lodging as soon as possible, especially if you are planning your Moab elopement in the busy season. Here are some of my favorites:
UPSCALE HOTEL OPTIONS
NICE / CLEAN HOTEL OPTIONS
RANCHES / BED & BREAKFAST
OPTIONS FOR GROUP LODGING
Moab Springs Ranch (Individual Cabins & Townhouses)
Sorrel River Ranch (Various Options)
Sage Creek (Various Options)
Leave No Trace
I am a Leave No Trace Aware photographer. This means I uphold and honor the guides and principles of LNT.org, as well as individual parks departments. I am passionate about Leave No Trace, especially for elopements and weddings, because I want these parks to last! So your future generations can visit the same beautiful location that you eloped to! Preserving the land, protecting wildlife, and overall enjoying the land can be found in the seven principles of Leave No Trace:
Plan ahead and prepare
Travel on durable surfaces
Dispose of waste properly
Leave what you find
Minimize campfire impact
Be considerate of other visitors
In addition to these seven principles, I suggest to not geo-tag locations. This helps keep the locations off the beaten path. And speaking of paths, stay on the trail!! This helps protect the soil that is unique to the deserts ecosystem, that can easily be killed. This is also why it is suggested to keep party counts low, and in some locations in the parks there are group regulations to sustain the land.