Moab Elopement Planning Checklist

Weddings are stressful. So let’s opt for an elopement! But wait, a destination elopement can be stressful too? I know, you want to elope so that you don’t have to worry and stress about the chaos that is wedding planning. But there is still planning involved in elopements! Especially if you are traveling to an other worldly location like Moab. I designed this guide to take the stress out of Moab elopement planning. Because as a Utah elopement photographer, I want you to have everything you need for an amazing elopement!

cowboy groom kisses his brides forehead while holding her hands to his chest during their Moab elopement with Utah elopement photographer

Travel Plans

Before anything else, choose your travel dates and book your lodging. Suggestions for lodging are in my Moab Elopement Guide. When deciding your travel dates keep in mind that you will both need to appear in person with ID to purchase your marriage license. This will be at the Grand County building in Moab, Utah which is opened during the hours of 8-4:30pm and closed on federal holidays. I suggest planning to do this at least one day prior to your wedding date and contact their office to make sure they will be open on the day you are planning to get your marriage license. Their number is 435-259-8825 and detailed marriage license information can be found on their website HERE.

Utah elopement photographer captures couple hiking in Moab
Utah elopement photographer captures couple walking hand in hand in Moab
Moab elopement with bride and groom hiking to their ceremony location with Utah elopement photographer as the couple holds hands and walk up a red rock hill

Your Moab Elopement

This is YOUR day! You deserve for it to fulfill all of your wildest dreams! Decide how you want your big day look. THESE questions will give you ideas to discuss and help you create the perfect celebration of your marriage. Something that will help is looking at my location guide for Moab and Arches National Park wedding locations. Then make a list of your favorite backdrops so we can be sure to visit them on your elopement day!

bride and groom standing on top of a red rock cliff for their Moab elopement holding hands with the groom standing behind his bride and kissing her on the head captured by utah elopement photographer
Moab elopement with bride and groom on a trail in the red rocks hugging on another and laughing with rock formations in the distance
Utah elopement photographer captures couple embracing after Moab elopement planning

Moab Elopement Planning

Now is the fun part! We get to plan together! Schedule your planning session with your Utah elopement photographer (that’s me!). I will reach out to get you on my scheduled for this. Together we will create a timeline of your day so all your events flow and we are able to take advantage of the best lighting for photos. This is so critical to your elopement day experience. If we plan together beforehand we will be able to make the most of your day, as well as have the same understanding of expectations throughout the day.

Utah elopement photographer captures groom wearing cowboy hat in Moab
Utah elopement photographer captures black and white image of couple kissing
Utah elopement photographer captures bride and groom kissing in Moab

Ceremony Location Permit

You will want to wait until after our planning session to apply for this permit since we will be deciding the best location and time for your ceremony during that meeting. You will be choosing a 2hr time slot for your ceremony which is a good amount of time for your ceremony and photos. In most cases you will only need one permit for the ceremony location and not for additional locations where we will just be taking photos. (Refer to my location guide for all your options!). Based on where you want to hold your ceremony will determine who you contact to get your permit.

For Arches National Park Permits Submit an application.

For Dead Horse State Park Permits Submit an application.

And for BLM Land locations we work under my permit and will just need to email them a “notice of intent” with the location and time for your ceremony. This is the email address ( We will need to include the following info: Activity (Ceremony/Photos), Location, Date, Time, Number of People, Number of Vehicles.

NOTE: For events that include more than 10 people total or include special setup (arches, arbors, tables, chairs, etc.) we need to obtain a “Letter of Acknowledgement” from the BLM-Moab Field Office 435-259-2100

Utah elopement photographer captures couple in Moab after Moab elopement planning
Utah elopement photographer captures red rock in Moab
Utah elopement photographer captures couple sitting in rocks in Moab after elopement planning

Find An Officiant & Witnesses

I suggest contacting a few officiants and finding the best fit. Your Moab elopement officiant will make a huge difference in your ceremony. So you should make sure you vibe with them! You can also have one of your friends or family members officiate, this can be a really special thing to add to your ceremony! Just contact Grand County to make sure you get all the correct paperwork and info needed.

Here are a few of my favorite officiants in the area:

Ruth Lowe
Instagram @moab.officiant

Dave Lyle
Prefers phone calls

Beth Logan

Margaret Harris

Aubrey Davis

Rhiana Medina

Kyle VanArsdol
Prefers Phone Call

Kelly Stelter

Speaking of your ceremony, make sure you have two witnesses for your ceremony. This is something that your officiant will make sure you have as it is mandatory for the state of Utah. If you don’t have anyone traveling with you (no worries, this is common), I can be one of your witnesses and your officiant can bring someone along for another witness.

Utah elopement photographer captures couple holding hands during Moab elopement ceremony
Utah elopement photographer captures groom smiling at bride during Moab elopement
Moab elopement photographer captures bride smiling at groom


If you are planning to have any additional vendors, you will want to schedule with them once the above steps are completed. Here are some of my recommendations as a Utah elopement photographer:

Aubri – Sage & Stone Salon
Instagram @thatbeautybxtch
Lindsey Vaccaro
Instagram: @hairby_linzy
Beauty with Jocelyn (mainly makeup)
Instagram: @beautywithjocelyn

Utah elopement photographer captures bride looking at vow book before Moab elopement ceremony

Farmyard Floral
Instagram @farmyardmoab
(Full Event Stylist)
Instagram @tellurianevents
Succulents For Hire
Instagram @succulentsforhire
Forget Me Knot Moab
Instagram @forgetmeknotmoab

Utah elopement photographer captures wedding details after Moab elopement ceremony

Sweet Serendipity
Instagram @sweetserendipitymoab
Sugar Shaker Bakery
Instagram: @sugarshakerbakerymoab

Utah elopement photographer captures black and white portrait of couple celebrating recent Moab elopement


The Red Earth Venue
Indoor & Outdoor venue in a beautiful location 
Dead Horse State Park
Outdoor Venue with incredible view
HooDoo Moab
Hotel Ballroom Venue

Utah elopement photographer captures landscape of Moab

I am so excite for your to start your Moab elopement planning! Reach out if you have any questions or need help with finding vendors, locations and so much more! Happy Planning!

Utah elopement photographer captures couple celebrating recent marriage in Moab

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