So, you’re thinking about eloping in Arizona. I can’t blame you – Arizona has so much to offer – from red rock slot canyons to cactus deserts, if you’re planning an Arizona elopement you’ve got literally endless options for beautiful places to tie the knot. But, elopement planning is no joke and you’ve got a lot to think about – that’s where I come in. As an elopement photographer, part of my job is to guide you through the planning process and make sure that everything is smooth sailing. So, without further ado, let’s get to it: keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to elope in Arizona.
The first step to planning your elopement in Arizona is to decide time of year. There are a few considerations when it comes to settling on a date – time off work for you and your guests (if you choose to invite any), crowds, and weather. You don’t need to have a specific date in mind, but a general idea on when you’d like to Elope. If you’re choosing to Elope in the desert around Phoenix, or Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, the best time of year is October-April. If you’re looking to go further North, you would want to stick to the months of May-October.
Arizona is full of tourist destinations, and on the weekends even the most remote hiking trails will get crowded. When choosing an elopement date, my best advice is to aim for a weekday – especially Tuesday through Friday. Another way to avoid crowds is to plan your elopement for the off season – however, you might have to brave some cold or hot weather conditions depending on the location you end up deciding.
While Arizona is a large state and the weather differs from place to place, in general, Arizona winters get very cold, and Arizona summers are hot and dry.
The weather averages for Sedona, Arizona. As you can see, the winter months in Sedona are fairly cold – but if you don’t mind a little chill in the morning and evening, day time can be absolutely beautiful. The weather averages in Page, Arizona. As you can see, it’s very similar to Sedona, but the winters are a little bit colder.
In Arizona, the summer months can be very, very hot – so a midday elopement ceremony would not be ideal, unless you’re okay with a little bit (or like, a lot) of sweat. The best time to elope in Arizona is Spring or Fall.
After you’ve decided on a general time of year to Elope, it’s time to choose a location! Your ceremony spot could be somewhere you’ve visited before and fallen in love with, or it could be somewhere you’ve never been and are dying to explore. My two favorite cities in Arizona for Elopements are: Page, Jerome, Bisbee, and Sedona. Each city/part of Arizona has its own unique vibe.
Page is a popular destination, and for good reason. You can wander around the slot canyons, take a boat (or jeep) tour through Lake Powell, visit the infamous Horseshoe Bend, and of course, get off the tourist-beaten path to find some magical, less traveled places to explore. You can glamp in the desert if you want some isolation, or stay in this unique cabin to be completely immersed in nature.
Top spots for elopements in Page: Horseshoe Bend, Slot Canyon, Secret Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell.
Nestled a mile high on the side of a hill, overlooking the Verde Valley with stellar views of the Red Rocks of Sedona and the distant San Francisco Peaks above Flagstaff, Jerome is a clear ‘don’t miss’ stop in Arizona. It has a very unique history rich in “Old West” stories, and with that the town itself provides an incredible back drop for any eloping couple. Jerome is also aptly nicknamed “Arizona’s Ghost Town”, and is a lot of fun during the month of October.
Sedona attracts hikers and travelers to its red rock formations and pine forests, as well as to its thriving art scene and unique shops. If you want to spend the day exploring the beautiful views Sedona has to offer and spend the night unwinding in a town like no other, Sedona is an amazing place to elope. The shops in Sedona will give you a look at the unique heritage of the town. Fun fact: I myself got married in Sedona at the most amazing venue called Tlaquapaque. It offers beauty and old world charm in the heart of Sedona. There are also so many incredible trails and hiking locations in Sedona. No matter whether you want to be spoiled and book a 5 star hotel, or do a 7 mile hike. Sedona is the perfect place for Elopements and Intimate Weddings.
Top places to Elope in Sedona: Yavapai Trail, Schenbly Hill, Red Rock State Park, Tlaquapaque, Slide Rock, and so many more!
Arizona has so many unique towns, cities, and varying landscapes. Depending on what vibe/type of location you want for your Elopement, cliffside on the Mogollon rim, the middle of the desert next to a Saguaro in Phoenix or Tucson, or in slot canyons or red rocks, Arizona has it all. I have a full location guide to help you choose the Arizona elopement location of your dreams.
Top places not mentioned: Mt. Lemmon, Grand Canyon National Park, Saguaro National Park, Flagstaff, Salt River.
An amazing team of elopement vendors is a must for any elopement – they’ll be able to guide you through the process and take the weight of planning off your shoulders! But wait, Ashley. We’re eloping! Do we really need vendors? The answer is a resounding, YES! You deserve to have your day be a testament to who you are as a couple. You need an elopement photographer who is more than that, and understands how to make your day about you. You need someone who understands what type of experience you want, and the styling of it. Do you want a simple ceremony? Do you want to set up an arbor and benches? The sky is the limit when it comes to planning your elopement day, and that’s where your vendors come into play. Don’t worry though. I know some of the best ones around.
Finding a good florist is all about finding someone who will work with your taste and with the environment to create a bouquet or an arch for your ceremony that will look amazing with the scenery you choose.
Photos and videos are truly the only thing you’ll have to remember all the little moments of your elopement – you’ll be surprised (and a little bit sad) how quickly those memories fade away, and having a video to look back on will be something you treasure forever.
You deserve to have the full story of your elopement day told – from getting ready to watching the sunset together, from beginning to end. Luckily, I know an elopement photographer who’s ready to capture the one of a kind elopement experience you deserve. Wink, wink, it’s me – your photographer and guide to the perfect elopement in Arizona.
When it comes to eloping, there’s more to it than just the wedding dress and the pretty location – to elope in Arizona, you need a marriage license, an officiant, two witnesses, and possibly a permit, depending on your location.
In Arizona, you must get your marriage license in person within a year of your elopement date. There is no waiting period, so you can go to any Justice Court office in the state on the day of your elopement and pick it up. You both need to be present to get your license, and you’ll need $83 and your IDs. For more information and addresses of Arizona courthouses, click here.
Arizona requires an officiant to sign your marriage license and perform the ceremony. You can hire an elopement officiant who will join you on your adventure, or if you like the idea of having a friend or family member perform your ceremony, getting ordained on Universal Life Church is super easy! Anyone (over 18) can become a minister in seconds, and will be able to legally officiate your ceremony.
To legally elope in Arizona, you will need two witnesses. The only requirement is that they be over the age of eighteen – so if you’re not inviting guests to your elopement, don’t fret! Your photographer or any other vendors can act as witnesses, or you can ask anyone you run into at your trailhead or ceremony spot – everyone is usually thrilled to sign the papers and help out.
There you have it! Your ultimate, beginning to end guide on how to elope in Arizona. If you’re planning your own elopement in this amazing state, contact me for planning assistance! I’d love to get to work and be your guide to the elopement experience of your dreams.
May 28, 2020