Zion National Park is one of my favorite spots in the country – both for elopements and personal visits! Located in Southern Utah, Zion National Park is made up of desert, canyon, and deciduous forest ecosystems. Thanks to all of this gorgeous biodiversity, there are so many fantastic spots to elope throughout Zion, and it’s a great choice for couples who love the outdoors. If you’re considering eloping in Zion National Park, be sure to read through the guide so you can plan the best possible Zion elopement!
In order to preserve the beauty of the park, Zion National Park has strict regulations about where and how weddings and elopements can take place. Although you are free to explore and take photos in almost any area of the park, if you plan on holding your ceremony within the boundaries of Zion, you will need to do so at one of the following locations.
Menu Falls is the most secluded and intimate location for elopements in Zion. With a maximum capacity of 10 people, it’s a great choice for anyone eloping with just their partner, officiant, and photographer. The waterfall is petite but charming, and the area is known for being peaceful and zen-like.
In the Kolob Canyon area of Zion, you’ll find Timber Creek Overlook. This ceremony spot can accommodate 20 people and is the only overlook in Zion that allows wedding ceremonies. The view is absolutely spectacular, and on a clear day you can see up to 100 miles. Another great thing about Timber Creek Overlook is that it’s removed from the rest of the park. Not only are there generally fewer crowds, but you also won’t have to worry about taking the shuttle and can drive right to the trailhead.
Just up the trail from Menu Falls, the Temple of Sinawava is one of the most stunning spots in the park. The ceremony site is at the base of the canyon, completely surrounded by cliffs, giving it a very secluded feel. It’s also the trailhead for the iconic Narrows hike, so it’s a great option if you plan to take photos in the Narrows right after your ceremony. Permits allow up to 35 people at a ceremony in this location, so it’s a great option for couples who plan on bringing some family or friends along.
If you’re looking to host a more traditional-style ceremony in Zion, the Nature Center North Lawn is a great option. The permit for this area allows up to 50 people, and you can even bring chairs for guests who may prefer to sit. It’s a beautiful open area with great views of the topography in the distance. Although the lawn is only available from November to April each year, it’s another area that does not require the shuttle to access.
The Zion Lodge Lawn is known for its massive cottonwood trees and gorgeous manicured aesthetic. The space can hold up to 75 people but does require shuttle access for most of the year. This is a great option for exchanging vows if you’re staying at the Zion Lodge before heading off into the park for more adventurous photos.
While the South Campground Amphitheater is known for hosting full-size weddings, it’s still a great place to consider exchanging vows on your elopement day. While the surrounding area is fairly well-trafficked, few tourists venture into the amphitheater itself. If you have any guests who may need to take a seat during the ceremony, this space already has benches set up and is easily accessible.
Choosing the perfect photographer for your wedding day is always important, but it’s especially true for elopements. After all, most of your friends and family won’t be present, so you’ll want to have perfect photos of the day to share with them afterward! In addition to typical factors like photography and editing style, it’s also important to consider your photographer’s personality. Not only will your photographer capture these moments for you – they’ll be a part of them! They’ll be with you while you get ready, while you’re hiking to your location, and may even be the witness for your ceremony. A good elopement photographer will give you great images, but a great photographer will be someone you connect with.
Although I love helping my couples create their perfect elopement day, I always recommend that they work with a planner or coordinator. This is especially true if you are having a destination elopement! Whether you choose to hire a planner local to southern Utah or someone who specializes specifically in destination elopements, having someone familiar with the area and vendors will be a huge help when putting together your big day.
In the state of Utah, anyone over 18 can become an ordained minister and officiate your wedding. This makes Zion a great option if you want a family member to perform your wedding ceremony! If you don’t plan on bringing any friends or family with you on your elopement, there are plenty of great officiants in southeast Utah. The state requires two witnesses, so if this is the case, be sure that your vendors will be present for the ceremony and are comfortable signing off as witnesses on your marriage certificate. Utah has fairly standard marriage laws in that your marriage license is valid for 32 days, and there is no required waiting period after receiving your marriage license. Overall, the legal process in Utah is easy to navigate, making Zion a great spot for elopements.
Zion is absolutely beautiful year-round, but eloping in different seasons will each bring its own pros and cons. In winter, many of the trails are closed, so you will be limited in where you can go. Meanwhile, in summer the park gets quite busy, and the heat can be very strenuous if you plan on hiking during midday. Spring and fall are some of my favorite times for elopements in Zion, with milder weather and smaller crowds. However, temperatures in Zion can range up to 30 degrees throughout the day during these seasons, so make sure you pack layers!
As at most National Park properties, I recommend my couples elope on a weekday for the most intimate experience. Crowds tend to be significantly lower these days, and it’s usually much easier to secure the permit for the location you want. For ideal light, I’d recommend a sunset or sunrise elopement to catch the sun peeking out from behind the stunning canyon walls.
There are tons of options for every budget and comfort level when it comes to lodging near Zion National Park. Zion Lodge is the only hotel located on the park property and is a great choice for your elopement night. The lodge lawn is one of the few designated areas for ceremonies in the park, so if you don’t want to worry about transportation, this is a great place to stay. If you’re looking for somewhere luxurious for your elopement stay, Cliffrose Lodge and Desert Pearl Inn are both beautiful properties near Zion that give you a resort feel. For anyone who wants something a little more unique for their elopement lodging, I’d highly recommend Under Canvas Zion. They offer high-quality clamping with stunning views of Zion and make for the most incredible getting-ready photos!
Zion National Park requires a special use permit for any couples having a ceremony within the park. Permits are approved for one of the specific locations we listed earlier, and start at $100. Zion special use permits MUST be submitted at least three weeks in advance of your elopement date.
In order to maintain Leave No Trace principles and protect the beauty of Zion, the park has some strict rules regarding what is allowed during your ceremony. Chairs are restricted to certain ceremony locations, and items such as confetti, banners, and food are strictly prohibited.
Elopements at Zion National Park are absolutely beautiful, and I jump at every chance I get to document these gorgeous celebrations. Zion has incredible views, tons of nearby accommodations, and so many options to create your dream elopement day! Whether you and your partner are avid rock climbers or just people who enjoy being outdoors, you should definitely consider Zion National Park for your upcoming elopement.