How to Elope in Moab | Moab Elopement Planning Guide

How to Elope in Moab | Moab Elopement Planning Guide

A Guide by A Moab Elopement Photographer: Updated for 2022

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 as a Moab Elopement Photographer, 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.

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- but never fear, as a Moab elopement photographer I am here to help you pick the best time of day (and day of the week and season!) for your 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 to Elope in Moab

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!)

Shoulder season reigns in Moab; September-November and March-May are my favorite times for weddings in Moab because of the mild temps. But be warned- Moab gets wildly busy in the 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.

Where can I elope in Moab?

Even as a Moab 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 for your Moab elopement. 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!).

Canyonlands Elopement Ceremony Options

Island in the Sky

The Needles

The Maze

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.

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.

**2022 Update about Arches National Park: Arches is moving to a timed ticket entry system. This means that from April 3-Oct 3, visitors will need three things; a timed entry ticket, a photo ID, and a park entrance ticket. Timed Entry Tickets will not be required for those with camping, backcountry, Fiery Furnace, or special use permits (ie: elopements, elopement guests, and vendors). Tickets are released in three month blocks as follows:

  • January 3 at 8 am MST: April reservations (April 3–30) 
  • February 1 at 8 am MST: May reservations (May 1–31) 
  • March 1 at 8 am MST: June reservations (June 1–30) 
  • April 1 at 8 am MDT: July reservations (July 1–31) 
  • May 1 at 8 am MDT: August reservations (August 1–31) 
  • June 1 at 8 am MDT: September reservations (September 1–30) 
  • July 1 at 8 am MDT: October reservations (October 1–3)

A limited number of tickets will be available for purchase one day prior to entry at 6 pm MDT through, though those will 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.

Arches Elopement Ceremony Options

La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

The Windows Section

Sand Dune Arch

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch Viewpoint

Pine Tree Arch

Landscape Arch

Park Avenue

Devils Garden Campground Amphitheter

Panorama Point

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.

PRO TIP: Live or cut flowers are not allowed in Dead Horse (this includes dried flowers), so plan on using artificial flowers if you have your heart set on a bouquet!

Where Should We Stay for our Moab Elopement?


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.


Or you can always airbnb it at a cool airbnb like this one or this one. 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!

What Can We Do During Our 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 trying to figure out what you want to do on your elopement day, think about some of these questions: What are your favorite activities to do together? What do you do for fun on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? What have you always wanted or dreamed of doing, but never gotten around to? How can you incorporate what you love to do on your elopement day? Hell, what just sounds *fun*?

But if you want some ideas, here are a few options for 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

There are so many amazing things you can do during your elopement; this is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out this blog post for even more ways to make your elopement unique and special.

Meet Your Moab Elopement Photographer

Hi! I’m Aimée, your Moab, Utah elopement photographer. I specialize in adventurous, adventure adjacent, and intimate elopements all across the western United States. I spend about 2-3 months of the year in Moab every year and very much consider it my home away from home. Moab really is the crown jewel of the southwest- especially for the adventurous at heart. I truly think it’s one of the best places for an elopement 🙂

Moab Elopement Packages

While I’m based out of Flagstaff, Arizona, I’m in Utah super, super often, and travel all over the southwest (so I basically consider places like Moab to be my backyard.) It’s also important for you to know that don’t charge travel fees for any stateside elopement or adventure wedding. That way you don’t have to worry about additional travel costs to get me from here to there. Here’s whats included:

  • An exclusive 84 page elopement planning guide
  • Unlimited assistance (from me!) with planning and logistics. This includes customized location guides, vendor referrals from industry folks I know and trust, careful elopement timeline construction, packing list, local gems to check out, and just general hype woman.
  • Online gallery of high-res images and full printing rights (so you can print you pics on stamps, billboards, whatever floats your boat).
  • All packages include photographer travel expenses

   Four hours: $5000 | Eight Hours: $7000 | One 8-hr day + 4 hr day: $9200

Wanna see a whole shindig? Are you *also* a visual learner? I get it- there’s so many amazing places on earth (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 start to end.

And if you crave more Moab inspiration, here’s a few recent elopements:

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

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?
I'm Aimée, Southwest based adventure wedding and elopement photographer, mega nerd, wilderness fan, 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 rad, crazy, epic as hell moments, I'm also here (and to be totally honest, live for) those silly, wacky, off the cuff moments that adventure always brings. I'm here to tell your story in the epic and true  fashion it deserves.
Hey friend, I'm so stoked  you're here!

  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 […]

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