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The Ultimate Guide to Eloping in Utah

Are you and your significant other toying with the idea of ditching the traditional wedding for something that screams “us” from the rooftop of a vintage VW van? If so, you’re in the right place, my friend. ;) Grab a cup of coffee, kombucha, an IPA, or whatever fits your fancy, and let’s dive into the magic of eloping in Utah, a place where your love story gets the stunning backdrop it deserves. If we’ve already connected via Instagram, you’ve heard me talking about my upcoming move from Texas to Utah, so writing this blog post has been the ultimate way for me to get hyped about experiencing the beauty of the state every. freaking. day.

Friend, this isn’t about just getting hitched; it’s about embarking on an adventure that mirrors the adventurous spirit of your relationship, capturing the essence of who you are together in photographs that you’ll look back on and feel the feelings you felt, the love you shared, and the excitement you had for a lifetime of adventures to be had.

But hey, eloping in Utah is more than just showing up in your hiking boots, ready to say “I do.” That’s why we’ll be diving into the logistics of securing your marriage license, how to travel to your elopement destination, and how to know if eloping in Utah is right for you. Want to exchange vows as the sun peeks over the horizon or under a blanket of stars in the quiet wilderness? Let’s make it happen.

Where is Utah?

Major Cities in Utah + Landmarks

  • Baddley House (George) – Side note, this place is super cute. Would be an adorable place to take engagements/elopement photos!! (again, including a photo from the website I linked until I can get some of my own ;))

National Parks in Utah

Here’s a peek at where all 5 of Utah’s National Parks are!

State Parks in Utah

Here are some state parks in Utah that would be BEAUTIFUL to elope at!! ◡̈

How to Travel Around Utah

Major Airports in Utah

While there are other regional airports in Utah, I’d recommend flying into the Salt Lake City International Airport for the best travel experience!

How to Travel Around Utah by Car

Overall, traveling by car during your visit to Utah will be much easier. If you’re anything like me, you love a good excuse to make a road trip out of pretty much anything, so as long as you’re planning on setting aside a generous budget for gas, you shouldn’t have any trouble traveling.

If you’re planning on flying to Utah, I would recommend renting a car for the duration of your stay! You should be able to do this from the airport when you arrive! You can find info on renting a car in Salt Lake City here. (Note, this is just a suggestion, and you are not limited to this service. I encourage you to do your research on what best fits your budget and needs during your stay here in Utah.)

However, if you’re in Northern Utah along the Wasatch Front, there are great options for public transportation, including the TRAX light rail, FrontRunner commuter rail, and the UTA bus system. This is really only viable, though, if you’re understanding of the fact that it may slow down your commute time, so it will be essential to keep this in mind when planning ahead for your elopement timeline. 

You also have the option to use Uber/Lyft while you’re here! As long as you’re in a major city, using rideshare services like this should be easy and seamless. Otherwise, it would be wise to rent a car or make a road trip out of your stay in Utah!!

Benefits of Eloping in Utah & Things to Be Aware of

Benefits of Eloping in Utah

  • Utah boasts some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the world, including the iconic red rock formations of Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks, providing a picture-perfect backdrop for your elopement.
  • Utah offers a diverse range of landscapes, allowing couples to choose a location that perfectly suits their vision for their special day.
  • With vast expanses of wilderness to explore, couples can find secluded and intimate spots to exchange their vows, away from the hustle and bustle of traditional wedding venues.
  • Utah is perfect for outdoorsy people, as it offers endless opportunities for adventure before, during, and after your elopement, whether it’s hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, or stargazing.
  • Utah has relatively simple and straightforward marriage license requirements, making it easy for couples to legally marry and elope without unnecessary paperwork or delays.
  • Compared to traditional weddings, eloping in Utah can be more cost-effective, allowing couples to allocate their budget towards creating unforgettable experiences rather than extravagant wedding expenses.
  • With its diverse climate and landscapes, Utah offers year-round elopement opportunities, whether you dream of a winter ceremony or a springtime celebration amidst blooming wildflowers.
  • From cozy cabins and luxury resorts to charming bed and breakfasts, Utah offers a wide range of romantic accommodation options for couples to enjoy before and after their elopement.

Some Things to Be Aware of

  • For couples located outside of Utah, traveling to the state for an elopement may involve significant travel costs and logistical challenges.
  • While Utah offers year-round elopement opportunities, weather conditions can be unpredictable, especially in the desert regions, which may require flexibility in planning and preparation.
  • If you plan to invite guests to your elopement, finding suitable accommodation for them near remote elopement locations in Utah may be challenging.
  • Some popular elopement locations in Utah, such as national parks and wilderness areas, may require permits or have restrictions on ceremonies, which could add complexity to your planning process.
  • If you and your partner have always dreamed of a traditional wedding with a large guest list, formal ceremony, and reception, eloping in Utah may not align with your vision for your special day.

FAQ’s About Eloping in Utah

How do I legally elope in Utah?

Can you get married on the same day in Utah?

  • Yes! There is no waiting period required in Utah, so you could get your marriage license on the way to your elopement destination if you wanted to!! (Though I don’t recommend it! Planning in advance will protect you against any issues that could take us off the beaten path on your special day.

Can you get married in Utah without being a resident?

  • Utah has no residency or citizenship requirements for marriage licenses. Anyone from anywhere can apply. Read more here.

What documents do I need to get married in Utah?

  • An in-person application with both applicants present at the time of application.
  • Valid picture ID such as a passport, birth certificate, driver license, or state ID card.

Is Utah a good place to elope?

  • While I’m partially biased when it comes to this, I have to say that I think that Utah is the perfect elopement destination!! However, I dive deeper into this later on in the blog, so keep reading to see my list of benefits to eloping in Utah, as well as some things you may want to be aware of before committing to your Utah elopement!

Utah Marriage License, Laws, & Permits: How to Legally Get Married in Utah

There is no waiting period, but you must be at least 16 years old to get married in Utah. The license is only valid for 32 days, but once you have obtained your license, you can get legally married! 

To apply for a marriage license, both applicants must

  • Apply in person together.
  • Provide full names, addresses, birth dates, and places.
  • Share social security numbers (if applicable).
  • Give parents’ names and birthplaces, including mother’s maiden name.
  • Show valid photo ID (passport, birth certificate, driver’s license, or state ID).

Utah National & State Park Special Use Permits

Utah National Parks

  • Zion National Park
    • A Special Use Permit is required for all weddings, regardless of group size.
    • Application fee: $100.00.
    • Applications must be submitted three weeks in advance to receive consideration.
    • View their Wedding Information Sheet Here.
  • Arches National Park
    • The application fee for a wedding permit is $185.
    • The standard park entrance fee also applies. They “encourage wedding attendees to carpool; space is limited in some places.”
    • You can view the ceremony site options here.
  • Capitol Reef National Park
    • Wedding Permits are $100.00.
    • “Under the wedding special use permit, officiate and photographer hired by the permittee is included on the permit and is not required to obtain an additional permit for their services.”
    • “Weddings or ceremonies may be scheduled up to one year in advance and no later than 7 days prior to your event.”
    • Time Limit: 20 minutes
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
    • “The cost of the permit is $100. This fee covers the cost of processing the permit, administrative costs, and oversight of the function
    • The park entrance fee is waived for bride and groom and the official performing the ceremony
    • Wedding party guests must pay the park entrance fee (carpooling or shuttle use is encouraged).”
    • Time Limit: None mentioned, but it would be wise to check on this during the application process.
  • Canyonlands National Park

State Parks in Utah

You can find information on special use permits at the links below!!

Where to Stay In Utah

Airbnbs/VRBOs

The Zion House – The Loft

  • This place is super cute and close to Zion National Park!! Perfect if you’re eloping in Zion, or if you’d like to make a stop there as an excursion. :) Plus, it’s pet friendly! It’s cute boho vibe would make for the most dreamy getting ready shots! ;) 

Curated abode w/ close proximity to the Mighty 5

  • This airbnb has plenty of natural light which will be a godsend for your getting ready shots, and the decor is super modern and minimal decor. It’s around 2 hours from the “Mighty 5” National Parks, so you just can’t go wrong with this place!!

There are so many options when it comes to airbnb’s in Utah!! When we’re diving into the details of your elopement, feel free to let me know if you need help finding an AirBnb close to you and I’d be happy to suggest some places that will fit your needs and provide a cutie backdrop for your getting ready photos, or even for your ceremony if you’re feeling that kind of vibe!!! 

Utah Elopement Photographer

Luckily for you, you’re already on your way to knocking the first thing off of your to-do list to plan the ultimate Utah elopement: booking your elopement photographer! I am a (now) Utah-based elopement photographer who is already itching to photograph your adventurous elopement. 

A lover of all things adventurous, full of light, and buzzing with life, I seek to close the gap for the youthful and vibrant who want a photographer that will follow them along on whatever journey they’ve dreamt up.⁠

My whimsical, earth-tone photos capture the energy of each couple and their unique love story. What truly makes me stand out? My understanding of what it means to scratch the itch of adventure and my love for all things unorthodox when it comes to weddings.⁠

Okay, formal introductions out of the way, here are 3 fun facts about me: ⁠

1. I am an avid plant collector, but don’t let me fool ya… I have killed (and will continue to kill) my fair share of plants. But I like to think that with each dead plant, comes a lesson that I carry into the future! even if it’s just “don’t buy expensive plants without researching them… rookie mistake)⁠

2. My wedding packages are actually named after my 3 fur babies, Rosemary, Sage, and Basil. I think each package is somewhat of a reflection of each of their personalities, but that explanation would take ages… And then, of course, my portrait package is called Evergreen, which is my dog’s middle name!⁠

3. Photography actually isn’t my full time gig! I’m a High School English Teacher full time and I’m also a part-time Social Media Assistant. So needless to say, I am a busy busy gal, but so in love with the life I’ve created!!

Utah Elopement Packages

All of my elopement packages have travel to Utah included in my rates, so you bet your bottom dollar I’m ready to document your love and create some really beautiful art with you!! You can see my packages here!! 

Final Notes 

Friend, I’m already dreaming about the beauty of your love and how we’ll get to document your adventurous elopement in a way that is intuitive and authentic to you. 

If this sounds like you, my books are open, and I’m so freaking ready to create the ultimate experience for you and your lover!!

More Elopement Planning Resources

The Hardest Pill to Swallow About Your Wedding Day

How to Rest & Relax Before Your Elopement Day

What to Bring to Your Bridal Session

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I am genuinely so passionate about telling your story authentically. Eloping in the mountains calling your name? I'm your gal. Feeling more like a private AirBnb ceremony is more your style? I'm already there. You're about to embark on the most amazing journey, and I'm beyond honored to get to be your guide, your friend, and your photographer.

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