The Go-To Guide for Eloping in Zion National Park
Everything Couples Need to Know About Eloping in Southern Utah’s Best National Park
When it comes down to your wedding day, the only thing that matters is that you and your partner are doing exactly what you want.
And for many, doing exactly what you want on your wedding day means eloping among the red rocks, jaw-dropping rock formations, and otherworldly landscape of southern Utah.
If you’ve ever experienced the grandeur and magic of places like Zion National Park, you probably know what I’m talking about. If you’ve only seen photos of it, let me be straightforward–this place needs to be on your bucket list, even if it doesn’t make your wedding location list.
If eloping in the beauty of southern Utah is high on your list, this blog is for you. Just like choosing the right location, vibe, and feeling you want on your wedding day are all important elements of the planning process, the details matter.
This is especially true when it comes to incredibly important details like the legal stuff, the permits, and the licenses. (Because it’s hard to make your dream wedding happen if you don’t know what you need to do to make that dream wedding happen).
Today, we’re going to dive into some fun facts about this must-see, must-elope spot in southern Utah, but I’m also going to drop a little knowledge on the need-to-know legal, permitting, and licensing details so we can start making your dream Zion wedding a reality.
How to Elope in Zion National Park
Zion is one of the most beautiful national parks in Utah–actually, scratch that, it’s one of the most beautiful national parks in the country.
Famous for its stunning red rock formations, pops of green color (especially in the spring) and rushing Virgin River, it’s no secret that tons of couples dream of eloping in Zion. And if that’s your dream, I’m here to make it a reality.
Before we dive into the details of how to elope in Zion National Park, here are a few fun facts about the park you need to know if you plan on eloping there.
Zion’s got a little bit of everything you could possibly ask for in a southern Utah location: some green forested trails, rushing water, dramatic cliffs, rock formations, meadows, and more.
There’s actually a rule about no vehicles in the park–you can drive to the park entrance and around the park-town Springdale, but to get into the park’s main attractions, you’ll have to either take a national park bus or rent/ bring bicycles.
Pets are not allowed on park trails, unfortunately.
There are fabulous places to camp in Zion, hotels in nearby Springdale, and of course, adorable Airbnbs to rent in surrounding towns like Kanab, Hurricane, and St. George. Consider checking out unconventional, fun options like glamping at Under Canvas Zion.
I highly recommend planning your ceremony or reception in the Spring for cooler temps, beautiful blooms, and a more comfortable experience (because the desert gets hot).
On that same note, Zion is a very popular park because it’s so beautiful. I recommend opting for a sunrise or sunset ceremony to avoid crowds if you’re looking for a more secluded, intimate moment.
Permits, Fees, & Licenses to Consider For a Zion National Park Elopement
Getting married in Zion is a total dream–one that a lot of people have, actually. Because this is such a popular option, the park has details, rules, and regulations laid out pretty clearly. Here are some must-know details about your Zion elopement permits and fees:
You’ll definitely need a permit to have a wedding ceremony inside Zion (no matter how many people are attending–whether it’s just you and your partner or a few extra guests).
The application fee for the permit is about $100, and it will need to be approved at least three weeks before you plan to elope. That being said, I recommend getting this taken care of early on in the planning process. Acquiring these permits can get tricky sometimes.
No ceremony site in Zion will allow more than 100 people maximum–many of the approved ceremony spots allows for even less than that (I’ll list them out below).
You’ll need to have your photographer make sure they’ve got the proper permits to take your wedding photos in the park, too.
You will likely need to pay the appropriate fees to get into the park in addition to your permit fees.
Though you do pay for the permit, you’re not paying for exclusivity–that means other park guests are free to come and go through your location as they please and can watch your ceremony.
The Best Elopement Locations in Zion National Park
Here’s the tricky thing about eloping in a national park. Most parks, Zion included, only allow you to choose from a few locations in the park for your ceremony.
Most parks will have a cap on the number of people who can be present, as well. That means the number of guests you plan on inviting will narrow down the ceremony locations you can choose from.
However, you’re welcome to take portraits just about anywhere in the park.
So, if you absolutely dreamed of getting your bridal portraits in The Narrows, don’t fret–this can probably still happen. The ceremony will need to be in one of these approved locations.
Temple of Sinawava (35 people max)
Menu Falls (10 people max)
Zion Lodge Lawn (75 people max)
Nature Center North Lawn (50 people max, only available November-early April)
South Campground Amphitheater (100 people max)
Timber Creek Overlook (20 people max)
These locations do tend to change every now and again, so for the most updated information, make sure you check Zion’s page to see where they allow elopement and wedding ceremonies within the park.
How to Get Your Marriage License in Zion National Park
Aside from the park permits we already discussed, there are a few more things you’ll need to have figured out before you tie the knot. The most important one? Your marriage license, of course.
This is going to be a must if you’re planning on getting legally married in Zion National Park. I say legally married because some couples (especially when eloping) choose to handle the paperwork in their hometowns or cities before or after their actual ceremonies.
Here are a few important things to know about getting your marriage license for your Zion elopement or wedding:
Marriage licenses are issued by each county’s County Clerk or Auditor.
Marriage licenses in Utah counties can be used anywhere in Utah
For nearby options close to Zion, check out Washington County (it borders the park on the West) and Kane County (it borders the park on the East). Every county clerk will have different requirements and fees, so check the county’s site for the most accurate information.
It’s All in the Details–That’s Where We Come In
I hope all of this info was incredibly helpful. Now that you’ve got the legal stuff on lock, it’s time to start thinking about the fun stuff–your wedding details.
Ask yourself questions like:
What do we envision for the perfect Zion National Park reception?
What kind of elopement ceremony will we go with?
What areas in Zion National Park do we want to consider for our elopement ceremony?
Will we have a reception in the park? Somewhere else?
What will our décor look like?
Can we bring décor into the park for our Zion National Park elopement?
Not sure where to start? That’s where I come in. I’ve been a top-rated boutique wedding and event planning company for a few years now, and when I say that making couples' dreams come true is my passion, I mean it.
I’m big on the details, highly organized, and know a thing or two about bringing your wildest ideas to life. I proudly offer tons of unique service packages that are tailored to your needs–from helping with small, assistive tasks to becoming your full-on wedding manager.
How Irene+Co Events Can Help You Create Your Dream Elopement
The good news? The details don’t have to be all on you. Your main focus should be you and your partner’s dream day–I’m here to make that happen.
Well, for starters, I’m there with you to help navigate the permitting and licensing journey. If you have questions, don’t know where to start, or need some guidance, I can definitely help you with this facet of your dream elopement in southern Utah.
More than that, though, I can brainstorm all the best reception ideas (can you say mountainside picnic?), help you with all the setup and takedown, and create stunning decorative landscapes that bring your dreamy southern Utah elopement to reality.
At the end of the day, the best part about getting married is making that lasting commitment to the one you love–but the details do matter! My advice? Plan the day you both want, and don’t get too bogged down in the nitty-gritty of it all–that’s what coordinators and planners (like me!) are for.
If you have an epic vision for your Utah elopement and are looking for a top-notch professional to make your wedding dreams come true, I’m your girl. Reach out to me to start discussing your dream elopement in Zion National Park, southern Utah, and beyond.
Photography by Mather Photo and Film.
Contributed by Boundless Copy.