How to Elope in Moab | Moab Elopement Planning Guide



Updated for 2024

Eeeee, you’re thinking of eloping in Moab! I cannot tell you how much of an awesome idea this is. I’m hopelessly biased (I freaking love Moab) but it’s super easy to see why. Moab is an absolutely stunning place for an elopement; it’s a staggering southwest setting and is absolutely bursting with adventure and color; dramatic red rocks, bright blue sky, winding desert river, narrow paths and dirt roads cutting through the desert like veins, distant mountains sitting on the horizon (and capped with snow in the winter!). Quite simply; it’s stunning. It’s an amazing spot, and though I’m hopelessly biased, I will say it’s one of my top favorite locations for an elopement. 

Moab is the biggest city in Utah’s Grand County and sits just south of the Colorado River. It’s home to two of Utah’s 5 National Parks, Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park. It’s also home to Dead Horse State Park and huge swaths of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. All of this to say- this place rules. For those with an adventurous spirit or those who just want to be adventure adjacent, this is your place. Home to rock climbing, white water rafting, river floating, ATVing, mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, BASE jumping and canyoneering… adventure thrives here.

Moab has a lot to offer – it’s a popular place and as such there’s loads of hotels (raged from the budget to the fancy), restaurants, spas, and shops. It makes a great home base for a small wedding or elopement; you have access to gorgeous scenery while also having access to more creature comforts if that’s what strikes your fancy. There’s also tons of awesome elopement vendors in the Moab area (think florists, hair and makeup artists willing to get up super early, private chefs, you name it. Moab has it.)



When Should We Elope in Moab?

Best Time of Day to Elope in Moab

Time of day as well as time of year are key components for planning your Moab elopement. In general, the sunlight can be pretty harsh on a clear day in Moab, and there isn’t a ton of shade. And the light at sunrise and sunset is truly spectacular- so I always suggest centering your day around one (or both) of those time frames. Sunrise can be pretty ideal, especially in warmer months, because it really helps minimize crowds in the more popular spots.

Summer in Moab is pretty hot- this can be thwarted by planning your elopement around sunrise and sunset- but even so June, July and August are wicked warm outside sunrise and sunset. A lot of folks wind up splitting their hours during summer (half their hours in the morning and half their hours at sunset) and really loving this setup. This allows for more locations, optimizing the best temperatures (and best light), and minimizing potential for crowds.

Best time of Year for Your Moab Elopement

Summers in Moab are very, VERY hot (think upper 90’s and into the 100’s). Even sunset temps can be pretty scorching, so if you’re wanting to elope in the summer, sunrise is the way to go. And- BONUS!- that will also mean way less crowds.

On the other hand winter can get somewhat chilly but if you’re VERY lucky you can even get snow. I personally love winter Moab elopements- they may be cold but it’s the quietest season in Moab (which means less crowds!). It’s possible to visit places that are usually swarmed with other folks. But be aware- special use permits are not granted on holidays, so it’s best to avoid holiday elopements if you have your heart set on a Moab elopement!

Shoulder season reigns in Moab; September-November and March-May are my favorite times to elope in Moab because of the mild temps. Definitely avoid Jeep Week (the week prior to Easter) as it is the busiest week in Moab out of the year. And while it is still busy in spring and fall, it is absolutely possible to find spots where you can have privacy (I love treasure hunting for these spots) but be ready for traffic and lots of fellow adventurers!

No matter the time of year I *always* recommend having your elopement on a weekday. You have the best chance of having a more private and intimate experience, especially if you are drawn to a more popular Moab ceremony location.





I’m in Moab alllll the time. So want more Moab adventures and loveliness?


Where can I elope in Moab?

Even as a an elopement photographer who freaking loves the area so much, I struggle to pick a favorite spot. One thing to prep for: more than likely you *will* need a permit. Both Arches and Canyonlands require a permit for a ceremony, and BLM land also requires very specialized permits. Think of it as your venue price- but instead of paying thousands of dollars for a hall or country club, you pay a couple hundred to help support our National Parks and public land. The permit process super depends on where you wind up selecting for your location- but don’t worry! I’m familiar with the process and can totally walk you through the steps!)

There are some really stunning spots with spectacular views both for sunset and sunrise. Some have super easy access (less than half a mile flat hike) and some either require a 4×4 vehicle to get to. There’s a perfect fit for everyone, whether you are a hardcore adventurer or consider more yourself adventure adjacent.

Canyonlands National Park




Canyonlands National Park is such a great spot if you want to elope in Moab. I love the La Salle mountains on the horizon and the way the canyons below snake through the cracked earth like the deserts veins. Canyonlands is epic and sprawling and huge and I love it. It’s on the west side of Moab and, fun fact, much bigger than Arches National Park but also gets way less visitation per year, which means, and this is key!-less crowds (yay!).

Get inspired with this Colorful Canyonlands Elopement, this fun elopement with the best cake smash ever, or this rainy Moab Micro Wedding.

Canyonlands Elopement Ceremony Options

Island in the Sky

The Needles

The Maze

Current rules around ceremonies can be found here. It is important note that ceremony length is limited to 10 minutes and it is possible you will be monitored by a ranger to make sure you abide by that length of time.

BLM Land (Bureau of Land Management)




The first thing you need to know about eloping on BLM land is that your photographer *must* have a permit. If your photographer says anything differently, they are wrong. The permitting process is extensive and thorough- and I am one of those photographers who has such a permit. It opens up so many awesome doors to off the beaten path locations near and around Moab. If you are wanting a more rugged adventure or little to no crowds, then a location on BLM land might be a perfect fit.

Check out this Full day Moab Adventure, this epic Rock Climbing Adventure Wedding, or this elopement in the red rocks of Moab.

Arches National Park




Arches is the smaller of the two National Parks outside of Moab, but is jam packed with amazing locations to explore. Arches is great because you can really get amongst it- you can walk right up and into sooo many of the arches 🙂 And they look SO GREAT at sunrise and sunset. Pro Tip: If you are eloping during busy season (spring) and have your heart set on Arches- sunrise is a *great* option.

**2024 Update about Arches National Park: Arches has a timed entry system for part of the year. This means that from April 1st-Oct 31st, visitors arriving to Arches between 7am-4pm will need three things; a timed entry ticket, a photo ID, and a park entrance ticket. Timed Entry Tickets are not be required for folks with special use permits (ie: elopements, elopement guests, and vendors). Tickets are released in three month blocks:

  • April reservations (April 1–30) open January 2nd at 8:00 am MST
  • May reservations (May 1–31) open February 1st at 8:00 am MST
  • June reservations (June 1–30) open March 1st at 8 8:00 am MST
  • July reservations (July 1–30) open April 1st at 8:00 am MDT
  • August reservations (August 1–31) open May 1st at 8:00 am MDT
  • September reservations (September 1–30) open June 1st at 8:00 am MDT
  • October reservations (October 1–31) open July 1st at 8:00 am MDT

There will be a few tickets available for purchase one day prior to entry at 6 pm through Recreation.gov, though I would not recommend relying on those- they will likely sell out very quickly.

So what does this mean for your elopement? This is a net good thing. Arches was getting very very crowded and this is a good thing for the park and visitors (even folks getting married). It does mean that planning ahead will be essential for visiting Arches whether for fun or for an event like an elopement.

Here’s a real Arches National Park Elopement.

Arches Elopement Ceremony Options

La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

The Windows Section

Park Avenue

Devils Garden Campground Amphitheter

Panorama Point


Canyonlands and Arches are permitted by the same office, so the rules are very similar. More info can be found here. Ceremony length is limited to 10 minutes and it’s very common for rangers to be present to monitor your ceremony.

Dead Horse Point State Park




Dead Horse State Park is a great spot for elopements- you get absolutely KILLER views of the goosenecks in the Colorado River. There are 8 overlooks- some facing east and some facing west so you are able to get amazing views no matter time of day. Another fun thing about Dead Horse is that your dogs are allowed (as long as they are leashed)- so if you want your fur baby to be a part of your day, this is a great option.

Check out this Dawn to Dusk Moab elopement that ended with a stunning Dead Horse Point picnic or this incredible Dead Horse Point wedding with the most incredible sunset.


Where Should We Stay for our Moab Elopement?

Luxury

While Moab and luxury are not necessarily synonymous, the Sorrel River Ranch is a great resort if you want to balance your adventure with some high class pampering. It’s in a gorgeous spot (and has a spa!).



Luxury/Adventure Hybrid

Under Canvas is one of my favorite lodging options, anywhere. There are locations all over the western US, and the one in Moab is so incredibly beautiful. Under Canvas Moab is glamping at it’s finest! It has lots of amenities of a typical hotel, but you get to stay in a stylish and well appointed canvas tent. It’s also a great option venue option if you want to have friends and family present for your ceremony and celebration, but also want to have some time just the two of you in a nearby park.




Airbnb

Or you can always airbnb it at a cool airbnb like this one or this one (or even stay in a dome!). Airbnb’s are a great base because you have access to a kitchen and have a living space to chill- but often if you’re in Moab you’ll be out adventuring anyway!

How to Get to Moab

Moab is a teeny desert town so there are a few logistics to consider when you plan on your travels. There *is* an airport, but car rentals are slim (basically… you get a jeep) and it’s pretty expensive to fly into Moab. The closest major airport is Salt Lake City (this is what most folks wind up doing) but you can also fly into Grand Junction CO.

Fun Things You Can Do During Your Moab Elopement?



It’s important you know that your elopement day is not just an all day photo shot. Your experience is super important to me, and if you’re making the rad choice to elope in Moab you have so much adventure right at your fingertips.

If you’re stuck trying to decide or brainstorm what you want to do on your elopement day, think about these questions: What activities do you like to do as a couple? What things do you do together on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? Are there things you’ve always wanted or dreamed of doing, but just have never got around to? How can you integrate what you already love to do during your Moab elopement day? Simply, what just sounds like freaking *fun*?

I also love offering ideas to help brainstorm, here are a few options for fun elopement day activities!

  • Paragliding
  • Hiking
  • Rappelling
  • Rock Climbing or Bouldering
  • SkyDiving
  • Base Jumping
  • Slacklining or Highlining
  • Canyoneering
  • Mountain biking
  • Dancing
  • Sightseeing
  • Doing a river float
  • Taking a motorcycle ride
  • Riding bikes
  • Horseback riding
  • Soaking in a hot tub
  • Relaxing in a hammock together
  • Doing yoga together
  • Drawing or painting
  • Having a picnic
  • Checking out Moab’s local breweries or distilleries
  • Drink tea or coffee
  • Fishing

And friends, this is not an exhaustive list. Check out this blog post for even more ways to make your elopement special and unique.

Meet your Moab Elopement Photographer

That’s me! I’ve been spending huge swaths of my spring and fall season in Moab since 2020 (think cumulative 2-3 months out of the year). It’s genuinely one of my favorite places on earth, and a place I’m always stoked to photograph. And ::whispers:: it’s one of my favorite places for an elopement.

Truly- if someone were to say I could only work in one location for the rest of my life, it would be Moab. From the landscape to activities to amazing local vendors in the area, Moab will forever have my elopement loving heart.

Moab Elopement Packages

I’m based in the southwest I’m in Southern Utah super, super often (both for elopements and also for fun- I truly do love it there) and cumulative wind up spending about 1-2 months out of the year in Moab. This means there are no hidden costs or travel feels for your Moab elopement- just the base price (listed below) and sales tax. Here’s whats included in all my elopement packages:

  • An exclusive 84 page elopement planning guide
  • Unlimited planning assistance with all things elopement and logistics. This includes (but is not limited to) customized location guides for the Moab area, local vendor referrals from industry folks I have worked with before and trust, careful elopement timeline creation, an elopement packing list, local gems and recommendations to check out (both wedding related and fun related), and just general elopement hype woman.
  • Online gallery of beautiful high-res images and full printing rights (so you can print you photos on postcards, posters, the side of a yacht, whatever floats your boat ;).
  • All packages include photographer travel expenses

   Four Hour Package: $5900 | Eight Hour Package: $7900 | Two Day Package (One 8-hr day + 4 hr day): $11,000

Wanna see a whole shindig? Are you *also* a visual learner? I get it- there are a gazillion incredible places in this world (and even just in Moab!) that it can be tough to pick just one place to elope. So here ya go: an epic as hell two day elopement to see from beginning to end.

And if you crave more Moab inspiration, here’s a few more elopements to check out:

Or! Follow along on instagram for more Moab inspiration, southwest adventures, and ridiculous and silly stories:


Feeling stoked but not ready to reach out yet? I totally get it. In the meantime…

(plus lots of other adventurous antics!)














If you want to hear more about how to elope in a national park, this is the blog post for you! And if you’re looking for some other national park inspiration, check out this yosemite elopement planning guide!

view packages + pricing

— Ryan + Styhiln

Ready to have your own adventure of a lifetime?
SO WHAT DO YOU SAY?
I'm Aimée Flynn, Southwest based adventure wedding and elopement photographer, mega nerd, former therapist, and taker of the epic pics. But don't think I'm here just to take pretty photos (though there will be pretty photos a-plenty) I’m here to guide you through every step of your elope elopement experience; I’m your location scouter, gatherer of all in info, formal wear wrangler, & hype committee. 

I’m also a storyteller. Your storyteller. And while I'm here for the epic, magazine-cover-worthy, totally bananas moments, I'm also here (and to be totally honest, live for) those goofy, silly, unexpected moments that adventure always seems to bring. I'm here to tell your story in the honest and epic fashion it deserves.
Hey friend, I'm so stoked  you're here!
LEARN MORE About Me

  1. […] Want more logistics? I also have a Joshua Tree Elopement Planning Guide as well as a Moab Elopement Planning Guide. […]

  2. Adriana says:

    WOW, what a dream elopement! This is seriously so beautiful, amazing job!

  3. sydney says:

    Such a great guide for couples looking to elope in MOAB.

  4. Maaike says:

    Love the ambiance of that Moab elopement!

  5. Valerie says:

    Such a fantastic guide! A Moab elopement sounds so dreamy

  6. This guide to eloping near Moab is awesome! I loved the attention you put towards needing the correct permits and even the note on flowers not being allowed in Dead Horse State Park. All really good things to know and be aware of.

  7. Ariel says:

    This elopement guide is so easy to read and helpful for couples who are considering eloping in Moab! Love it!

  8. Leah says:

    This is such a great guide, and I am *obsessed* with that first photo of the couple happy dancing under the arch.

  9. Natalie says:

    Such an awesome guide! That photo of the couple in the tight spot between the two rocks is just stunning!

  10. […] Want to know more about eloping in Moab? Check out my Moab Elopement Planning Guide. […]

  11. […] a place where it’s easier to find a place all to yourself? Check out Moab! I’ve got a Moab Elopement Planning Guide (just like this one) that is super helpful to look […]

  12. […] Love this elopement? Check out more in my Moab Elopement Planning Guide. […]

  13. […] Moab. Land of stunning desert and adventure. You have my heart. (I actually have a whole blog post dedicated to this rad as hell town, so that’s definitely something to check out if Moab […]

  14. Danielle says:

    The permitting process between wedding photography vs commercial work is so confusing in Moab so I’m so happy you mentioned the BLM permits! Great reference for photographers too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *