How to Elope in Zion National Park

There are some places in this amazing country of ours that are so beautiful, they bring tears to our eyes. They’re so captivating, we’re moved to silence, just standing in awe of the incredible vista before us. Zion National Park absolutely fits into that category, which is why so many people are inspired to elope there. Surrounded by its towering red rock walls, or standing on top of a mesa looking down on the Virgin River, there are so many possible places to elope and start the next chapter of your love story. 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 Zion 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.

Elope in Zion National Park, Engagement, Wedding Photographer | KLEM Studios

The permit must be received at least three weeks before the requested elopement date. The rangers are typically easy to get ahold of to ask questions about the permits, approved ceremony locations, approved props/decor, etc. In Zion, there are six preapproved ceremony sites: Temple of Sinawava, Menu Falls, the Zion Lodge lawn, the Nature Center lawn, the South Campground amphitheater, and the Timber Creek Overlook. Since these areas are designated and the only allowed places in the park to get married, there’s a chance that some of them 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 advise 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 acquired.

Some of the common restrictions in Zion National Park are the types of props/decor that can be used, typically dogs aren’t allowed, throwing confetti/glitter/birdseed isn’t permitted, among others. These are in place to protect the park and it’s flora and fauna, and these are great questions to ask a Park Ranger when you ask about your permit!

Elope in Zion National Park, Engagement, Wedding Photographer | KLEM Studios

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. I suggest planning your ceremony time for either sunrise or sunset. This will give you the most flattering light of the day, with the least amount of foot traffic from other visitors. Chat with your photographer about what time and location would make the most sense to you. When it comes to Zion, I typically suggest a sunrise/early morning ceremony so you have lots of time for traveling around the park to take photos, and then you’ll be able to enjoy the sunset afterwards. For the couples that are looking to pamper themselves and celebrate with an intimate group of people, I always recommend making a reservation with King’s Landing Bistro for an intimate reception experience that’s out of this world.

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 Zion tend to be cool, especially if you’re eloping outside the summer season

  • Water/snacks, maybe some bubbly?

  • Any easy, cute props, like a rug/blanket to stand on

  • 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 Zion National Park elopement provides an intimate, spectacular venue for one of the best days of your lives, filled with gorgeous scenery and amazing photo opportunities. It’s perfect for the adventurous couple that wants to start their forever with a breathtaking view. There are so many more tips and tidbits that I have for couples looking to elope in Zion, from lodging/campground options to hike suggestions to restaurants. I would be happy to share them with you; feel free to email me directly at kate@klemstudios.com

Stay curious,

Kate


P.S. Are you currently planning your elopement, in Zion or otherwise? KLEM Studios has special elopement packages set up for the wanderlust, deeply in-love couples that want their wedding day photographed in an authentic, meaningful way. Click here to inquire about our options.