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!
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.
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!
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.
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 (email@example.com) 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
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:
Prefers phone calls
Prefers Phone Call
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.
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:
– VENUES –
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!