FRIENDS! I have been SO. EXCITED to share this amazing Zion National Park Elopement with you. L + E reached out to me wanting to elope “somewhere beautiful we haven’t been before where we can have a quick ceremony and take lots of gorgeous photos just the two of us.'” Goodness did this day deliver. Their day truly had it all- epic off roading, slot canyons, a lovely hike, plot twists a plenty, and an absolutely incredible, knock-your-socks-off view.
L + E were very intentionally with the choices they made in the days leading up to their elopement. Privacy being important, both locations the couple picked were slightly difficult to get to (PRO TIP: This is often how to get amazing views AND privacy) and they picked a sunrise focused timeline- again for maximum privacy. They wanted to integrate yummy donuts and coffee (the source of E’s lifeblood). Did I mention that L also sewed her wedding dress? Cause she did! (even in the early morning hours leading to their elopement- but she got it done in time). They picked a spot in Zion National Park– a spot with an unrivaled view. I, along with my good friend and assistant KC, hiked out to their spot the day before their elopement- the stoke was high all around.
Then, things went even so slightly awry. Here’s the thing, I always let couples know that with elopements (and honestly wedding planning of any kind) things are bound to go wrong. And when they do, we roll with it, pivot as needed, and still have an epic as hell time.
So when I got (deservedly worried) texts from L at 3:00am that one of their vendors was delayed three hours due to an unforeseen road closure… our sunrise centered timeline went out the window. It was time to pivot.
This is why it’s so important to have a photographer who knows and understands elopement timelines, the area, crowd sizes at different times, etc. Because within 30 minute I had sent L + E a totally new timeline, this time sunset focused, but still including all the epic and important parts of their day. L + E were able to get some much needed sleep, KC and I procured items for a lovely cliffside charcuterie (cause who wants to eat stale donuts on their wedding day), and the Zion National Park elopement adventure was back on.
We met up at the trailhead in the afternoon and was BLOWN AWAY by L’s wedding dress (I seriously can’t believe she made it herself), piled into a Jeep together, and made our way down a very sketchy, very sandy (like… super deep sand) road to the first location of the day: a slot canyon. When we arrived- we walked through together and it was *so fun* watching L + E’s reaction. Slot canyons are truly incredible and getting to see L + E experience it for the first time was such a freaking treat. During our walk through those sandstone walls E surprised L with a sweet little mountain necklace (saying “because we’re getting married among the mountains”).
Once we returned to the jeep we made our way to the second spot of the day where we embarked on a 7 mile hike to the overlook. This hike was was a BLAST- two avid travelers and fellow nerds made the conversation lively and oh-so-fun. L + E had actually hiked Angels Landing in Zion National Park in the days previous- so while they had seen *some* of Zion, the view when we reached to overlook took everyone’s breath away (and actually looked down on some of the hiking they had done in the days prior!)
We set and relaxed a while (E refueled on coffee) all while taking in the views. A few hikers arrived as L + E got ready to say their vows. It’s a sweet thing I see a lot- folks are usually pretty stoked when they see a couple getting married. This was no different, as a sort of hush depended on the overlook and L + E exchanged tearful words (that they’d written on Zion post cards). L + E had already taken care of all the wedding legalities prior to our trip- but that didn’t mean that their vows were any less emotional. When they sealed their marriage with a kiss, the nearby hikers erupted in applause.
The Zion National Park elopement ended with a cliffside charcuterie- L + E enjoyed quiet the spread and playfully tried to catch blueberries with their mouths. The sun set and the hikers dispersed and we had the treat of taking in this amazing views with almost total privacy. As all the light left the sky we journey back to the trailhead by headlamp light, laughing and joking the whole way, and 100% ended the day as friends.
I was (and am!) beyond grateful to have been a part of this amazing Zion elopement. I can’t wait to share these photos with you.
— Ryan + Styhiln