Are you a national park fanatic and have plans to visit all of the ones in the U.S. in your lifetime? What about getting married in one? Utah has FIVE national parks that are all stunning in their own way, and all showcase that red rock desert landscape that Utah is loved and known for. Eloping in Utah’s national parks doesn’t need to be complicated. And I’m here for any questions you may have!
I’m going to go through a little bit of information for each park to give you a better idea of what park may be best for you on your elopement day.
Utah weather is a little finicky, but can be a huge factor when eloping in Utah’s national parks. It can be 92 degrees one day, and the next 70. But in general, these are the conditions you can expect:
If you are eloping in one of Utah’s national parks and want to make it legal and the real deal, there are a few steps you will need to go through to make it binding. There is no waiting period before you can get married, so as soon as you get your license, you can get married. However, the license is only valid for 32 days. If you do not have the marriage solemnized within that time, the license will expire.
When eloping in one of Utah’s national parks, you will need the following to apply for a marriage license:
Arches is probably the most known national park in Utah. Its stunning display of sandstone arches have been carved out by wind and water over thousands of year. But due to it being so well known, it can get insanely busy during late spring and summer. And during the summer there is a timed entry ticket system to moderate the amount of people in the park.
If you plan to have your ceremony in Arches, you must fill out an application and there is a $185 fee. You can apply for the permit up to a year in advance. But must apply within 30 days before your wedding. It typically takes about 10 business days to process these applications. To find out more about the permit and how to apply here.
While the Devils Garden Campground Amphitheater can accommodate 80 people, most locations in the park allow around 25 people total, including you two and me. You can find a list of ceremony locations permitted in the park, along with group sizes in that link about with the permit information.
There are a number of things you can do in Arches! Here is just a few ideas:
Bryce Canyon is kind of like the middle child in the family of Utah national parks. But when it comes to elopements, I can’t say that I have seen many done in this park! However, I like because it makes it more unique. Between the out of this world Hoodoos and stunning overlooks, you can’t go wrong with this location!
If you plan to have your ceremony in Bryce Canyon, you must fill out an application and there is a $100 fee. You can apply for the permit up to a year in advance, but must apply within 30 days before your wedding. It can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to process these applications. To find out more about the permit and how to apply here.
Bryce Canyon can only has two ceremony locations that can each hold 30 guests. Check out the link above for all of the details.
Canyonlands is the lesser known park in Moab, Utah, but don’t let that fool you. While many people skip this park on their visit to Moab, I would argue that they are missing out! Seriously, I think everyone is sleeping on this national park and I’m obsessed with it. You’ll stand on the edge of cliffs and see incredible overlooks of the canyon and Colorado River below.
Another underrated park in my opinion, this place has so much history and stunning landscapes! I think I am about 1 of 5 photographers who have actually photographed a wedding in this park (that’s an exaggeration, but you can’t find many when you look online)! But if you are looking for a place that has that stunning red rock and is not super crowded, Capitol Reef is for you. It’s a geological treasure!
If you plan to have your ceremony in Capitol Reef, you must fill out an application and there is a $100 fee. You can apply for the permit up to a year in advance, and no later than 7 days before your wedding. To find out more about the permit and how to apply here.
While the maximum number of people allowed for any location is 100, most sites are more suitable for 15-20 people. In general, the park will approve permits for small weddings in locations around the picnic area, campground, or other front-country areas.
Zion is the other national park Utah is well known for. People come from all over the word to hike here and see the breathtaking views!
If you plan to have your ceremony in Zion, you must fill out an application and there is a $100 fee. You can apply for the permit up to a year in advance, and no later than 3 weeks before your wedding. To find out more about the permit and how to apply here.
Zion has 6 ceremony locations within the park that can hold anywhere from 10-100 people. Make sure to look over the link above to see the different locations, maximum amount per site, and photos of each location.
As always, remember to Leave No Trace on your adventures and leave the parks better than you find them!
If you are eloping in one of Utah’s national parks or just need more tips on how to elope in a national park, head here for more tips and inspiration!