How to Elope in Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park provides a phenomenal backdrop for any elopement. From the captivating calcareous rock, to the famous Bryce Amphitheater, this National Park is a staple of Utah, and will definitely make your elopement seem right out of a fairytale. Most of the National Parks allow elopements and ceremonies to take place within their boundaries, but many of them have rules/suggestions when it comes to getting married in their specific park.
To elope in Bryce Canyon National Park, a special use permit must be secured first. The permit itself is $100, and the application for the permit can be found here. You also must obtain a marriage license for the state of Utah. This is an extra $40 fee, and all fees are non-refundable. The number to contact Garfield County Courthouse is (435) 676-1100. On the day of your elopement, the park entrance fee is waived for the bride and groom, as well as your officiant.
The permit must be received at least two weeks before the requested elopement date. The rangers are typically easy to get a hold of to ask questions about the permits, approved ceremony locations, etc. In Bryce Canyon National Park there are two pre-approved sites both at Sunset Point: The Main Amphitheater Overlook and the Silent City Overlook. Since these areas are designated and the only allowed places in the park to get married, there’s a chance that one or both are booked well in advance, so the earlier you’re able to turn in your permit, the better. Some people choose to forgo the permit, simply winging it or risking it, but I strongly advice applying for the permit. You certainly wouldn’t want to be fined or asked to leave on your wedding day because of a permit that wasn’t required.
Some restrictions in Bryce Canyon National Park include no “throwing” of rice or other objects before, during, or after the ceremony, and receptions are not allowed in the park. A maximum of thirty people are permitted on the site, and the use of event or directional signs are not authorized. Incorporating decorations, balloons, chairs, and other props are prohibited, as well as any music. These regulations are in place to protect the park and its flora and fauna, as well as the experience of all park visitors. Contact a Park Ranger with any further questions when you ask about your permit!
None of the approved ceremony locations require strenuous hiking, but to venture into other areas of the park to take photos may require a fair amount of hiking and might be muddy. The main park road does lead straight to Sunset Point where there is a parking loop and very short pathways to the Main Amphitheater Overlook and the Silent City Overlook. From there, hiking trails lead to Sunset Point and Inspiration Point, as well as the Bryce Canyon Lodge. There are plenty of amazing spots to hike to in Bryce Canyon; the Queen’s Garden Trail is a must-see! I suggest planning your ceremony time for sunset, this will give you the most flattering light as well as cooler weather. In fact, dusk and dawn are ideal times to watch the light and shadows create a stunning display of color on the “hoodoos.” Chat with your photographer about what time and location make the most sense to you.
Here are a few things to be sure to bring with you as well:
Hiking shoes, as well as the shoes you’ll be wearing for your ceremony
Sweater/jacket – the mornings and evenings in Bryce Canyon tends to be cool, especially if you’re eloping outside the summer season
Water/snacks, maybe some bubbly?
Headlamp or flashlight if you are shooting at sunset and need to hike down in the dark
If there is a chance of rain, bring a jacket and/or umbrella. KLEM Studios is all for embracing the weather and running around in the rain—it can be so dreamy! Just be sure to have a jacket or blanket along to warm up afterwards
Have a few locations in mind to take photos after the ceremony (your photographer can help you with this as well)
A Bryce Canyon National Park elopement provides a jaw-dropping venue for one of the best days of your lives, filled with spectacular scenery and memorable photo opportunities. It’s perfect for the adventurous couple who want to start their forever with an unbeatable view. There are so many more tips and tidbits that I have for couples looking to elope in Bryce Canyon, from lodging/campground options, to hiking suggestions, to restaurants. Feel free to email me directly at email@example.com.