The Ultimate Moab Elopement Guide
For a lot of people who are planning their Utah elopement, the first area that pops into their head is Moab (and for good reason too). Seriously, if you’re looking for some of the most epic views in UT, then Moab is by far the best choice. But Moab is huge, and planning your elopement there can be a little intimidating, especially if you’re not familiar with the area. Our Moab elopement guide will touch upon everything you need to know while planning your wedding adventure.
We’ll go over everything from the best places to elope in Moab to permits and LNT principles to keep in mind. When in doubt, we always recommend teaming up with an elopement vendor who specializes in Moab adventure weddings. You’re in luck because we feature some of the BEST Moab vendors!
This resource is probably just as epic as Moab itself, so it’s best to use the links below to jump to the specific section you’re interested in.
- Moab Elopement Vendors
- Where to Elope in Moab
- Let’s Make it Legal: Marriage License in Utah
- Permits and Leave no Trace
- When to Elope in Moab
- Best Places to Stay in Moab
- Planning and Activities For Your Moab Wedding
Featured Moab Elopement Vendors
Why should you connect with a vendor who specializes in Moab weddings? Your vendors are by far the best resource and team to have on your wedding day, especially on adventure-packed days. Their Moab elopement packages often include things such as location scouting (including remote locations the tourists don’t know about), timelines, permits, wedding outfit recommendations, and other suggestions you may not think of in the first place.
Ready to start planning? Connect with one of our elopement vendors below:
Aris Ringas Photography
Ashley Smith Photography
Aimée Flynn Photo
Clarissa Wylde Photography
New Mexico & Southern Utah's Premier Elopement Photo+Video Team
Best Places to Elope in Moab
Videography by Adventure and Vow
Moab is huge, so it’s easy for couples to get overwhelmed with where they will exchange their vows. Luckily for you, we put together a list of some of the best places to get married in Moab, featuring some awesome photos from our vendors. Keep in mind we are mentioning general, more well-known areas to elope. If you want to know about all the hidden gem locations you can elope in the Moab area, then connect with a vendor to get started.
Arches National Park
Videography by Abby Bostian Visuals
Arches National Park is probably one of our vendors’ favorite locations in Moab. There are so many arches and sandstone canyons to explore, perfect for that dramatic wedding portrait you have been dreaming of. Getting married at this park is also eye-opening since most of these arches appeared over 2,000 years ago. We can’t think of a better place to say you got married.
Arches is a great location for both elopements and small weddings. However, there are a good amount of rules you need to follow if you want to have your wedding ceremony here. Leave no Trace (LNT) is huge here (like it is at any state and national park). Please stay on the trail and respect the park’s regulations surrounding weddings.
First and foremost, you need a permit. The special use permit costs $185. You’ll also need to pay the entrance fees. You need to apply for your permit at least a month in advance, but you can also apply up to a year before your desired wedding date. You’ll need a permit regardless if you’re eloping just the two of you in Arches, or if you’re bringing your closest family and friends.
Another thing to note is how a special use permit does NOT guarantee you or your guests access to the park or guaranteed parking. Arches is known for closing once reaching capacity, so make sure you team up with a vendor who has experience here.
Designated locations in Arches for wedding ceremonies:
- La Sal Mountains Viewpoint, 50 people or less
- North Window, 25 people or less
- South Window, 25 people or less
- Turret Arch, 25 people or less
- Double Arch, 25 people or less
- Sand Dune Arch, 25 people or less
- Delicate Arch Viewpoint, 25 people or less
- Pine Tree Arch, 25 people or less
- Landscape Arch, 10 people or less
- Park Avenue, 15 people or less
- Devils Garden Campground Amphitheater, 80 people or less
- Panorama Point, 50 people or less
You can take your portraits at other locations when you’re exploring Arches, so feel free to wander to lesser-known scenic spots! Also, keep in mind the park is still open to the public, so you have a limited amount of time for portraits under a specific location (10 min). North Window Arch, for example, is one location that gets pretty crowded during sunrise with tourists.
For more information, including updated regulations and prohibited activities visit Arch’s website.
Canyonlands National Park
Looking for plenty of options? Canyonlands National Park is the largest national park in Utah. It’s bigger than Arches, and it has some amazing canyon views, no matter where you are in the park. There are actually 4 sections to this park: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers that divide the park. Canyonlands requires a special use permit ($185) plus entrance fees, no matter what type of ceremony you are having. Like Arches, you have to apply for your permit at least a month in advance and you can reserve your date up to a year in advance.
Approved wedding locations within Canyonlands:
Locations at Island in the Sky
- Grand View Point, 25 people limit
- Green River Overlook, 25 people limit
- Mesa Arch, 25 people limit (this location can get very crowded)
- Shafer Canyon Overlook, 10 people limit
Locations at The Needles
- Pothole Point, 10 people limit
- Needles Group Campsites, varies
Please note Canyonlands does not have guardrails at a lot of locations, so be careful at the ledges and explore wearing the right shoes! For more information, including updated regulations and prohibited activities visit Canyonland’s website.
Dead Horse Point State Park
Dead Horse Point State Park is close to Canyonlands, but it can sometimes be a little less crowded. This can be a great thing to consider if you’re looking for similar views to Canyonlands. You’ll get endless canyon and cliff views overlooking the Colorado River. This is also a fun spot to elope with your dog (except on the mountain biking trails)!
You do need a permit if you want to have any ceremony or photography done at Dead Horse Point. A special use permit is $60, and you should add an additional $20 per vehicle to park. There are also designated ceremony locations you need to specify on your permit.
Dead Horse Point Ceremony locations include:
- Shade Shelter, 100 people limit
- Cliff Side Site, 20 people limit
- Point Beach Site, 5 people limit
- West Bench Site, 50 people limit
- La Sal Site, 25 people limit
For more information, including updated regulations and prohibited activities visit Dead Horse Point’s website.
Manti-La Sal Mountains
A mountain elopement may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a Moab elopement, but it’s 100% possible. Manti-La Sal Mountains are actually the peaks you see in the distance from Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point, and Arches. The mountains themselves are just outside of Moab and offer a great remote option for couples who may want a mountain elopement and desert elopement combined during their multi-day adventure. There are plenty of scenic views and alpine lakes to enjoy too.
At the moment (and this can change at any time), elopements with no setup and under 75 people do not require permits. However, all paid vendors must have a yearly forest service permit even just for photos (this works a lot like the BLM permit.
If you’re planning on having a small wedding ceremony, then we recommend reaching out to the Forest Service Office to confirm if your ceremony requires a permit.
Did you know that the majority of public lands in Moab are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)? BLM Land in Moab is probably the most remote option if you want a more exclusive and private wedding day experience. The one thing you’ll need to do is connect with an experienced elopement vendor. This is essential because there are so many areas to explore (unless you’re willing to do the scouting yourself, but we highly recommend teaming up). Another thing you want to confirm before booking your elopement photographer and other vendors is if they have the necessary permits to document your wedding on BLM Land. If they don’t have a permit, then find a vendor who does!
Most of our Utah vendors have this permit because they all understand the importance of permits and LNT anywhere they go for a wedding. All a couple needs to get is a letter from the BLM office (free) indicating you have permission to have your wedding on BLM Land.
Something else to note about the Moab BLM permit is the requirement to bring “wag bags” or other portable toilet systems to pack any solid human waste. You have to sign documentation agreeing to leave no trace and stay off the crypto soil, so please respect the land.
Castle Valley is just north of Moab, but it’s a great small town to escape all the tourists who do visit Moab. The best part about this elopement spot? The view itself is one of the best backdrops for your elopement ceremony. Castle Valley gets its name from the sandstone that looks just like a castle from the distance (talk about a pretty amazing backdrop as you say “I do”). Castle Valley is part of the BLM Land, so make sure your vendors have the appropriate permits. There are also locations where you can and cannot take photos, so please double-check before settling on a location here.
Crypto soil is a BIG deal in Moab and extremely delicate. The crypto soil in Castle Valley is very prominent, so please stay on the trails here.
Permits in Moab
A lot of couples automatically assume they can elope or plan a micro wedding ceremony for free at state and national parks. While this may be true for some, for a lot it is not. A big part of “how to elope” is actually obtaining the right permits. These permits are not a way for these parks to “gouge” you for money. The purpose of these permits is to ensure the protection of the park’s natural and cultural resources. It’s also put into place to minimize wedding ceremonies and keep an eye on those ceremonies that do happen within the park and even outside of the parks (BLM Lands).
Please do your part and make sure you obtain any necessary permits and follow any rules and regulations in place for the elopement location you have selected. While your elopement vendors are great resources, the most reliable way to make sure you are following the correct rules is to contact the park itself. If you do not follow the rules and optician your permits, you’ll be at risk of not only being fined but also getting kicked out of the area (which no one wants on their wedding day).
Vendors: You can become an official Leave No Trace photographer to get the LNT badge for your site!
Let’s Make it Legal: Marriage License in Utah
The other important thing to consider when thinking about how you elope in Moab is obtaining your marriage license! You will need to apply for your marriage license in Grand County ($30), hire an officiant, and make sure you have your witnesses.
Keep in mind you can always plan a commitment ceremony for your Moab elopement! This is a great way to keep your ceremony super intimate between the two of you without worrying about any additional paperwork or people during your day.
When to Elope in Moab
We kind of mentioned it at the beginning of our guide, but Moab is one of the best places to plan your adventure. So with this title comes a ton of tourists and other couples who want to get married here too. So when is the best time to get married in Moab? Since Moab has pretty good weather year-round, this makes their busy season pretty long compared to other places on our list of best places to elope.
Since Moab is busy almost year-round, it’s better to think about what season and activities you want to do in Moab during your wedding day. Another tip we have is to plan a weekday wedding (avoid holiday weekends) and consider a sunrise or sunset ceremony. Not sure when to elope in Moab? When you’re chatting with a potential elopement photographer, ask what they suggest and even see some photos from the season you’re considering.
Seasons in Moab
- Lots of activities to do
- Plenty of locations to hide from the heat
- Has gained popularity
- Can get HOT (over 100F)
- Temperatures are comfortable
- Any trees and shrugs start changing colors
- A perfect time to combine a desert and mountain adventure
- Can get crowded
- No wildflowers
- Mild winters
- Unique portrait options
- Unpredictable weather
- Slick surfaces while adventuring
- Temperatures are very comfortable
- Red Rocks often look more vibrant from the recent rain
- Can rain during your elopement
- Probably the most popular time to plan your wedding in Moab
- Can get VERY windy
Best Places to Stay in Moab
There are so many places to stay in Moab! From glamping spots to unique Airbnbs around the area. You’ll want to think about if you’re staying overnight just the two of you, or if you’re bringing along any friends and family to stay with you too.
Check out some of our favorite places to stay:
Tips For Activities and Planning During Your Moab Wedding
Moab offers so many unique activities that you can do. A lot of couples just think they can hike during their wedding day, but you can honestly do so SO much more. A lot of our elopement vendors share some pretty amazing ideas including:
- Cooling down in a lake or river
- Rock Climbing
- Discovering Canyons
- Jeep Adventures
- Hot Air Baloon Rides
- Bringing your dog along
- Star Gazing
- Mountain Biking
When it comes to planning your Moab elopement. After you have selected where you want to elope, elopement vendors, when you’re going to elope, and what you’re going to do, you’ll want to prepare what to bring!
Here are some of our top must bring for a Moab wedding adventure:
- GOOD hiking shoes – this is important even if you’re not going to do a long hike
- Comfortable wedding attire – wear a wedding dress you can easily move in
- Bring PLENTY of water and snacks – seriously
- Bring a copy of your permit – physical copies are a MUST and avoid any confusion
- Pack layers – especially if you’re planning a winter Moab wedding
- Expect other people to be around you during your ceremony and go with the flow
There’s so much to consider when planning your wedding day in Moab, UT. It’s important to remember to prioritize the things that are important to you. If you find yourself struggling with including all the activities and places you want to do and see in one day, then talk to your vendor about multi-day experiences!