How To Elope in Sedona: Sedona Elopement Planning Guide

Updated for 2024

Ahhhh, friend! You want to elope in Sedona! This is so freaking exciting 🙂 As a Sedona elopement photographer, I fully support this decision (I adore Sedona) and it’s super easy to see why. Sedona is a fantastic spot for your desert elopement; it’s one of the more popular spots in Arizona and is bursting with color; insane red rocks, bright blue sky, green juniper and mesquite trees. Basically; Sedona is a stunner. It’s an amazing place and one of my favorite places in Arizona for an elopement. And on a personal note, was the place that I fell in love with so hard it prompted me to pack up my life in Chicago and move to Arizona. It’s an inspiring, life changing place 🙂

Sedona sits snuggly between Flagstaff and Phoenix, a little pocket of ridiculous red, almost like the heart of the desert, beating brightly and happily. It’s famous for its red rocks (red from iron in the soil), hiking, and jeep tours (my favorite is the easily spotted Pink Jeep tours– it was one of the things I did when I first visited Sedona and it was a freaking delight). 

Sedona offers a lot- it’s a pretty popular place both for elopements and just in general and as such there’s loads of hotels (ranged from the budge to the super fancy), restaurants (like one of the top rated mexican restaurants in the country – Elote Cafe), spas, and shops. It makes a great home base for a small wedding or elopement; you have access to gorgeous and rugged scenery while not having to sacrifice access to cool places to stay or great places to eat.

When Should We Elope in Sedona?

Best time of Year for a Sedona Elopement

This is *the* question to ask about eloping in Sedona. Time of day, time of year are key, and which day of the week are essential components for planning your Sedona elopement. Sedona is a touch more temperate than Phoenix, however still gets pretty hot in the summer (think temps hovering in the 90’s and even low 100’s). You could still pull off a sunrise shoot for sure, but it heats up fast and mid day can be brutal. It’s also exceptionally busy in Sedona during the summer months due to summer break and loads of folks coming up from Phoenix for a break from the triple digit heat.

Winter is an interesting thing in Sedona- I know when people think of Arizona they think constant heat but winter can get chilly enough for snow (if you are lucky)- but this is rare and usually only happens a couple times a year. If you want to elope in Sedona, fall, winter and spring are your best bet. Mid-September-November and Feb-April are my favorite times for an elopement in Sedona because of the comfortable temps and smaller crowds.

Best Day of the Week to Elope in Sedona

Regardless of the time of year I *always* recommend having your Sedona elopement or wedding on a weekday. Sedona has seen tremendous growth in popularity over last several years so weekends there, even during shoulder season, are very congested. 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 Sedona ceremony location (which are busy even on weekdays in shoulder and off season).

I also really recommend sunrise elopements in Sedona. Here’s the thing; yes, Sedona has grown in popularity and is quite the busy destination these days (which makes sense- I mean look at it)! But it is 100% possible to have a serene, joyful, and beautiful elopement. It does require a little flexibility (like hiking, sunrise starts, or venturing off the beaten path). I know the spots that are super busy and I also know spots (that may be a skosh harder to get to) that are stunning and where you’ll have privacy.

Sedona Elopement Locations

Even as an elopement photographer who freaking loves Sedona, I have a hard time picking a favorite spot. When you elope in Sedona, the world is your oyster. With the exception of Red Rock State Park, you don’t need a permit to get married there. 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 just more adventure-ish.

Bear Mountain Area

You can hike Bear Mountain (a 5 mile round trip hike rated as difficult) or you can use Bear Mountain as a beautiful backdrop. You can also hike to the top of Doe Mountain (one of my favorite hikes in Sedona) for some great views but a less intense hike. I like this spot because it’s not as heavily trafficked as other, more well known spots, but its every bit a pretty.

Cathedral Rock

This one is pretty popular and for good reason- it’s probably the most iconic mountain in all of Sedona. Cathedral itself is a lovely backdrop and has great trails snaking around the base but the real show is when you hike to the top for sunset. It’s a total show stopper and completely breathtaking (and heart-stopping!). The hike is short–but *challenging* (rock scrambling is definitely a part of it- and part of the fun!)

Updated for 2024: Cathedral rock is gorgeous- but it has grown in popularity an immense amount. So much so that even in the off season on a weekday there are lines to take photos out at this iconic view. The parking lot fills up early in the morning and then entire road leading the the trailhead closes- and the only way to access Cathedral Rock is via shuttle. If you love this spot- I have a place a few hours north that looks veeeery similar (see below: the one on the one on the right is Cathedral Rock, the one on the left is my secret spot).

Courthouse Butte

Courthouse Butte is one of my favorite spots in Sedona. The trail can be super gentle while still being super pretty. This spot is a total stunner at sunrise (pictured) and there are some nearby spots that are equally as lovely at sunset.

Off-Roading Sedona Elopement Locations

One of the hands down prettiest places in Sedona- and also the hardest to get to. You can walk the 6.4 mile moderate hike, or you can drive. If you opt for the latter you will 100% need a 4×4 vehicle. Like, a legit one (believe me, my husband and I tried in our Subaru just to see how far we could get. Spoiler alert: not very far). Think a jeep or maybe a 4Runner. There are several companies in Sedona that offer private tours that are experts at that drive because it is rather technical.

And this is literally the tip of the iceberg. There’s also Seven Sacred Pools, Fay Canyon, Devil’s Bridge…throw a dart at a map of Sedona and you’ve landed on somewhere gorgeous.

Hidden Gem Locations

This is super key- I mentioned before that Sedona is seeing a huge increase in visitors. Popular locations like Cathedral Rock and Devils Bridge will have a straight up line (like at Disney World) to get out to the famous overlook. For this reason I spend a lot of time scouting in Sedona, finding spots that are not as crowded that still have spectacular views. I love location scouting and finding amazing new, never before photographed spots to bring my couples to. Having privacy makes such a huge difference and while a Sedona elopement makes that a hair harder to come by, it is absolutely doable.

Do I Need a Permit to Elope in Sedona?

As a general rule, no matter where you’re thinking of eloping, the permit situation and rules change regularly. So it’s super important to double check with your photographer (I stay super on top of this for all my couples so there’s never any uncertainty) what the rules are.

Okay with that out of the way- the rules and permit process in Sedona depends on what area you’re in. Red Rock State Park and Wilderness areas are going to have specific rules to follow. No matter where you are in Sedona, following Leave No Trace is super important. Staying on trails, avoiding the crypto, and packing out any trash is super important.

Where Should I Stay if I Elope in Sedona

Sedona Airbnb’s

Sedona has tons of housing options. I’m super partial to Airbnb I once stayed in an adorable airbnb RV for a few nights during an elopement! They also have glamping next to Oak Creek for all your Red Rock yurt fantasies and lovely, light filled ranches that would be a dream to get ready in.

Sedona Hotels

The hotels in Sedona are also incredible. From the luxurious Enchantment Resort, to the centrally located Amara Resort and Spa, to the king of sunsets aka Sky Ranch Lodge

Other Options

Love the look of Sedona but curious what else is out there? Want a place that is more desert, or more adventure? Or 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 at!

Things You Can Do During Your Sedona Elopement

Friends! You can do so many things!!!! If you making the rad decision to in Sedona you have tons adventure and fun right at your fingertips. 

I know it can be overwhelming to try and think of things to do on your elopement day. If this is a struggle for you, here are some questions that can get your whees turning: What are your favorite activities to do together as a couple? What do you do for fun on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? Is there anything you always wanted to do, but never gotten around to? How can you incorporate what you already love on your elopement day?

But if you want some ideas, here are a few options Sedona has to offer: 

  • Hot Air Balloon Ride
  • Hiking
  • Rock Climbing or Bouldering
  • Mountain biking
  • Dancing
  • Taking a motorcycle ride
  • Riding bikes
  • Horseback riding
  • Soaking in a hot tub
  • Relaxing in a hammock together
  • Doing yoga together
  • Wine Tasting
  • Having a picnic
  • Fishing

And check this post out for even more ideas on how to make your elopement special and unique.

Sedona Elopement Pro-Tips

If you were to ask me, Aimee, what are the most important things to remember and keep in mind when thinking about our Sedona elopement? Here’s what I would say:

  • If you have your heart set on a more popular Sedona location, strongly consider sunrise. Yes it’s early, but sunrise in Sedona is *stunning* and those iconic spots will be way, way less crowded (which means a more private and intimate experience for you)
  • Split your day! This is one of my favorite timelines- but consider splitting your coverage between sunrise *and* sunset. This way you get to experience even more of Sedona’s glory, you maximize allllll the best light, and you get to take a nap in the middle of the day. It’s amazing 🙂
  • Make sure you get to Sedona at least 24 hours before your elopement- 48 for even more breathing room. This way you get to get acclimated to the area, take in the sites, and have plenty of time before your elope day to do any last minute prep.
  • Make sure to be prepared and know what to expect weather wise. Sedona is cold in the winter (it can snow!) and very very hot in the summer. Be prepared with layers and sun protection, and always always bring water.

How Much Does it Cost to Elope in Sedona: Sedona Elopement Packages

So, cost. It’s a thing, right? I’m based out of Flagstaff AZ which is a cool 45 minutes from Sedona. So there won’t be any surprise travel feels or additional travel costs to get me from here to there. So what is included and what does it cost?

  • All packages include travel expenses
  • Unlimited assistance (from me, your Sedona Elopement photographer!) with planning and logistics
  • Online gallery of high-res images and full printing rights (so you can print you pics on stamps, billboards, whatever floats your boat).

Four hours: $5900 | Eight Hours: $7900 | One 8-hr day + 4 hr day: $11,000

Ready to chat about your dream Sedona Elopement?

Or, follow along on the gram for more Sedona inspiration, adventures across the west, and a lot of really random stories 🙂

Not sold yet? Need a little more visual aid? Look, I get it. There are soooo many amazing places to elope. It’s hard to pick. Here’s what I’ll say about Sedona; it’s a colorful, classic desert space. It’s got a little bit of everything. Rad hikes? For sure. Luxurious hotels? Too many to pick from. And if seeing a full story helps you get your head around things, here’s a full Sedona elopement story to get your wheels turning even more. And if you need even more inspo? Here’s another epic jeeping Sedona Elopement or this beautiful Sedona Micro-Wedding.

view packages + pricing

— Ryan + Styhiln

Ready to have your own adventure of a lifetime?
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!

  1. Daniela says:

    Oh man, Sedona is such a bucket list location of mine that I wanna visit so badly! It looks so spectacular and serene at time same time, just perfect for an elopement!

  2. OOO if I’m ever out in Sedona I’m going to check out this guide again for sure! Great tips and images

  3. Sedona looks like such an amazing place for an adventurous elopement!

  4. Josie says:

    Love Sedona!! What a perfect spot to elope. Those red rocks are stunning, as are your images!

  5. alex says:

    SEDONA!!! this is so gorgeous. You truly do a fantastic job with intimacy in an adventurous setting. Great job.

  6. I just always love your colorful images of Sedona! This guide to eloping in Sedona is just perfect.

  7. Aneisa says:

    I am way too obsessed with their mugs!! So freaking cute! Love this!

  8. […] it again; I love Sedona. Check out this post if you want to see more of this magical place or this Sedona Elopement Planning Guide to learn more about Sedona as an Elopement […]

  9. Marc says:

    Way to go above and beyond to provide such helpful info!

  10. […] Plopped right between Flagstaff and Phoenix is our Red Rock Country. I dare you to drive down the looping switchbacks of 89A and not fall in love with this totally bananas place. There’s countless amazing hikes here (like Fay Canyon Trail, Devil’s Bridge, and Cathedral Rock ranging in difficulty from easy to hard), off-roading (also ranging from easy to… quite difficult), swimming, horse back riding, shopping, relaxing, etc etc etc. Downtown Sedona is quite the tourist attraction but this allows for a very solid home base (complete with grocery stores, spas, and a top rated Mexican Restaurant). I know I say every place is my favorite place but Sedona honestly is one of my favorite places. It’s where I first fell in love with the desert and one of my favorite places to elope in Arizona. You can check out one of my Sedona sessions here and even check out a whole flippin’ guide on How to Elope in Sedona here. […]

  11. […] vow renewal and this adventure session for more amazing red rock beauty. And! I’ve created a Sedona Elopement Planning Guide because Sedona is really *that amazing* of an elopement […]

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