There are many reasons couples are eloping in Sedona in record numbers: The weather is perfect, the scenery is stunning and the atmosphere is magical.
Eloping in Sedona
As a photographer, spending time with couples who are eloping in Sedona is one of my favorite things. Nothing gives me greater joy than helping a couple find the perfect spot with a stunning backdrop that captures their joy and love and showcases the couple and their personalities.
Whether to elope or not is a personal decision and each couple makes the decision for different reasons. But if you are considering eloping in Sedona, ask yourself these five questions before making plans.
1. Should we hire a local wedding planner, photographer, and videographer?
Wedding planners can be helpful in many ways but aren’t always necessary depending on your vision for your big day.
Sedona is unique because there are many different themes that can be intertwined with your ceremony and photos.
From minimalistic to extravagant, from elegant to casual, from country to chic, a wedding planner can help pull all the details together to give you the day of your dreams with local touches that will make your wedding unique to you.
On the other hand, though, plenty of couples arrive in Sedona and are able to pull their day together after doing some basic research online.
It really depends on you and your comfort level and the amount of free time you have available.
Now, your photography is another story.
As a photographer, of course, I’m going to say there is no substitute for a professional photographer. And there isn’t.
One of the things I hear most often from couples eloping in Sedona is how the photos of Sedona don’t do the area justice. And it’s true. Sedona and its sweeping landscapes require a professional’s touch.
Your wedding photos will be something you treasure forever.
Pairing up with a photographer who knows the area and who you trust and connect with will translate to the images you receive.
2. Do we invite others or keep it personal?
Answering this question goes to your motivation for eloping in Sedona in the first place.
Do you want to escape family drama, avoid the big ceremony or just eliminate the stress of planning a wedding?
If you choose to invite others, it’s easy to have a weekend full of fun activities that include hikes, jeep tours, and exploring.
If you choose to keep it simple, you may want to consider inviting your two closest friends to act as witnesses, but even that isn’t necessary.
Of course, I always recommend a couple surround themselves with those they love the most, including their furry friends. It will make the cherished photographs from the special day much more meaningful.
3. Do we send announcements and when do we send them?
It is common after eloping in Sedona for the couple to return to home and have a reception for loved ones and cherished friends.
A wonderful touch to the announcement of your wedding and/or invitation to the reception is the use of one or more of photos from your actual day.
Unique ways to share the story of your special day is something to consider. A cinematic slideshow that captures the emotion and beauty of the day is perfect for your the reception back at home. It makes everyone feel they were part of your special day.
4. Where do we get married: The courthouse, hotel or on a location?
Again, this is a personal choice, but if you are making a point to elope in Sedona, it makes sense to capitalize on your beautiful surroundings.
It makes the most sense to utilize the diverse area with their red rocks and unique landscapes that will make for one-of-a-kind images that will be cherished for a lifetime.
If a church wedding is part of the plan, there are a few options for you to consider. Local clergy will conduct ceremonies outside. If you have your heart set on a church service, there is a stunning chapel, Tlaquepaque, that embodies the spirit and feel of the southwest.
Regardless of what you choose for the location of your ceremony, you will want to make sure to schedule a stop at one of the many local scenic spots for your photographs.
You can’t elope in Sedona and not have the beauty of the area captured in your memories.
5. What do we wear?
Let me begin by saying the backdrop of Sedona goes with any outfit.
But let’s be real, it has to be about the dress.
Gowns that move in the breeze, fabulous ball gowns and a little drama goes best with the dramatic red rocks and breathtaking sunsets.
You’ve decided to forgo the big wedding, so why not splurge on the dress and the images?
A few things to keep in mind.
- To get to the very best locations, some hiking is required, so bring your hiking boots
- Your dress will get dirty, but that’s what dry cleaners are for
- Bring a spare dress for a dip in Oak Creek. The photos are stunning and worth the effort.
With a little preparation and the right photographer, eloping in Sedona can be spectacular and provide you with a visual love story that will last a lifetime.
This couple came from the gorgeous area of San Francisco and San Diego to meet in Sedona to enjoy some quality time together. They choose the Enchantment Resort and I can’t think of a more relaxing and rejuvenating place to be. Once you’re on site, every care in the world just melts away as their staff makes your stay easy and restful. If you’ve never been to the Enchantment, put it on your bucket list. It makes for a luxurious and wonderful long weekend or week splurge.
Shaila and Jarod were so wonderful to work with and I loved getting to know them as we hiked along a trail in Sedona. Since they live so far apart from one another it was important to them to choose a location where they could have some romantic quiet time and I loved that I was so lucky to have been able to document their relationship. As the sun dipped below the horizon, I enjoyed using my off-camera-flash to capture some dramatic looks and dreamy sunset skies. Being a Sedona photographer is such an amazing job, especially when I get to spend it with such wonderful and caring people like Shaila and Jared.
I hope you both enjoyed your trip and I can’t wait to see you next time! xoxo ~ Melissa
When I photographed Julianne and Andrew last summer for their engagement session in Oak Creek, they told me about planning their wedding full of Scottish details. I love being a Sedona wedding photographer, but I’ve never had the honor of photographing a Scottish wedding! Andrew’s family is from Scotland and brought with them rich cultural heritage and customs. I loved seeing all the traditions unfold during the wedding. Andrew’s family presents the Arizona Highland Celtic Festival here in Flagstaff every year! And it goes without saying…those Kilts were fantastic! Julie was breathtaking in her lace gown and her Badgley Mischka shoes were what so many women dream of :). The couple chose to have their wedding at the panoramic Sky Ranch Lodge over looking the red rocks of Sedona. They definitely have one of the best views in Sedona! But what I loved most about this wedding was meeting the couples’ family and friends and seeing just how much they were adored. It was so wonderful to spend a day surrounded by so much joy, love and laughter! Congrats you two! xoxo ~ Melissa
Photographer: Tangled Lilac Photography
Ceremony Site: Sky Ranch Lodge
Reception: Agave of Sedona
Hair and Make Up: Northern Arizona Glam Squad
Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Floral Art: Jazz Bouquet of Sedona
Wedding Cake: Sedona Cake Couture
Catering: Heartline Cafe
Linens and rentals: Verve
It’s been over a month since I’ve posted any of my work to my website. The first quarter of 2017 was the busiest I’ve ever been in ten years and I’m so grateful to all my clients with trusting me with their memories. And then there came new equipment to learn and new computers to install, a new employee to train and priorities were just redirected. Being a full-time photographer for the past ten years in Flagstaff has been a blessing. But, I’m always amazed at how much time I spend doing other things than actually photographing. When I had college photography interns, that was their greatest disappointment, they were not using their camera. I crunched the numbers one afternoon and found out that I only click my camera shutter about 12% of my working time. While it wasn’t a surprise to me, seeing that small number stare back at me was an eye-opener to how I spend my time. However, I’m getting into a rhythm now and I wanted to kick off my return to posting with one of my most cherished clients, the Byers Family.
Amee has been my hairstylist for the past ten years and owns Shanti Salon here in Flagstaff. When I’m in her chair, I feel loved and with a friend. Her husband, Thomas, owns Thomas Byers Guitar Studios and teaches music to students and adults in Flagstaff. I’ve been with this couple every step of the way from their wedding to their first baby, Cohen and their rescue dog Maple. Amee and her family are now expecting their new little boy any day now and I can’t wait to meet this little angel! I love that they are going to wait to name him until they get to meet him face to face. What a lucky soul to have chosen these kind and loving people to be its parents. Congrats! I can’t wait to see him! ~Melissa
Amee chose the gorgeous Oak Creek Canyon as her backdrop and it was so fun watching Cohen play in the creek while we did her photos. If you’ve never been to Oak Creek, I highly recommend you go, but on a weekday. The secret is out about this enchanting slice of Arizona and the weekends are crowded and chaotic. Amee’s rose colored maternity gown was gorgeous and her gold headband enchanting. Amee has always been very stylish! Amee was even brave enough to step into the creek for a few photos despite the creek being freezing! (Snow melt is very cold, lol). Thanks for being so adventurous Amee!
Congrats to the Byers Family! I can’t wait to see him! ~Melissa
On a beautiful day in Sedona, AZ, I met Celia and Sergio for a maternity shoot to celebrate the birth of their first child, a baby girl. Sedona is a magical place, and somehow, it seems that every time I photograph there it looks different. It’s almost as if the landscape is matching the mood of my clients. On this day, the skies were muted and dreamy, just like this loving couple so excited for the arrival of their new baby girl. Being a Sedona maternity photographer is so much fun, watching clients get married and grow into families is so rewarding and heartwarming. I could almost feel the love permeate from both Celia and Sergio and I couldn’t help but think, what a lucky baby to have chosen this amazing couple to be her parents.
Congrats you two and I can’t wait to meet her! ~ Melissa
They say that babies are the closest to heaven as you can get. I take this advice quite literally and often ask these sweet little ones what heaven was like. I always get a laugh out of the parents, but I secretly think our smallest humans might have all the answers if they could only communicate. Sometimes, the sweet little angels look at me with the most serious gaze and I feel like they desperately want to tell me details. Little Gracie had that look and I could almost feel the heavenly love permeate through her.
Welcome to the world sweet girl. xoxo ~Melissa