Archive for Elopement
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August 03, 2018
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You may have figured out a few things about me by now.

1. I live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world.  The forests of Flagstaff, the red rocks of Sedona, and one of the seven wonders of the world that is the Grand Canyon are where I get to play.

2. I’m lucky enough to get to spend my days preserving memories for brides and grooms with the jaw-dropping backdrops these natural playgrounds provide.

One of the most frustrating things for me is the lack of information about how to elope to the Grand Canyon. I get lots of emails and phone calls from couples from all over the world trying to navigate their way towards marital bliss at the Grand Canyon, but by the time they find me, they are usually confused.  Well, I am about to right a wrong.

What You Need to Know to Get Married at the Grand Canyon

Let me begin by saying you can’t just show up and get married at the Grand Canyon. It requires a permit and only certain locations are available for weddings – whether you are eloping by yourselves or traveling with an entourage.

If you have questions or want help getting your permits, email me at melissa@tangledlilac.com. I am happy to walk you through the process of planning your Grand Canyon wedding and give you tips on how to start the process.  I even know some great planners who can help you along the way.

How to Get a Permit for Your Grand Canyon Wedding Ceremony

Click here to review the National Park Service guidelines for getting married at the Grand Canyon.  

Click here to get the actual permit to get married at the Grand Canyon.

Allow FOUR WEEKS to get the application processed. Email your Grand Canyon wedding permit application to grca_permits_mail@nps.gov.

Grand Canyon Wedding Special Use Permit Fees

The Grand Canyon is entrusted to the care of the National Park Service. As such, there are fees to help maintain and preserve the natural lands for future generations.

Permit fees are based on an annual cost recovery analysis conducted by Commercial Services. These fees include the cost of permit processing, administration and the basic monitoring of events. 

Grand Canyon Wedding Permit Fees for 2018:

  • General Grand Canyon Wedding Permit Fee  – $140
  • Grand Canyon Wedding Permit Fee for Shoshone Point – $420
  • Grand Canyon Wedding Permit Fee for Shrine of the Ages – $230
  • Extended Day Hiking – $175

Some additional information about Grand Canyon wedding permit fees:

1. Do not include payment information on your application submission. You will receive detailed online payment instructions after the receipt of your application.

2. Larger events or other special uses that require additional management and/or administrative time will incur additional fees at $65.00 per hour.

3. Remember to allow FOUR WEEKS for processing.

How to Get a Marriage License for Your Grand Canyon Wedding

Typically, your officiant will help you obtain your marriage licenseYou’ll need someone authorized to perform a Grand Canyon wedding in Arizona.  

If you need help finding an officiant for your ceremony, please call Phil or Gwen at Arizona Ministers.  They are the sweetest, most caring individuals and I know you’ll love working with them.  

Here is how to get your marriage license:

Getting Your Marriage License in Person

In Arizona, both parties have to show up in person to get the marriage license.  

Flagstaff and Williams are popular choices due to the proximity to the Grand Canyon. Click here for a link to marriage license information in Coconino County.  

In Phoenix, click here to make an appointment to get your marriage license.   

If you are traveling from Las Vegas, you’ll have to wait until you get to Arizona to get your marriage license.

From the Clark County Website:

Nevada marriage licenses are only valid within the State of Nevada. Marriage ceremonies must be conducted within Nevada’s borders and may not be conducted within another state or country. It is recommended that ceremonies conducted in the air or water be restated, with witness, once back on Nevada soil.”  

Also, you have to get the license in person at Clerk at a Clark County Marriage Bureau location. I find this last fact extremely funny because it throws all the romantic comedies out the window. My favorite movie is “What Happened in Vegas” and it makes me sad it couldn’t be real, lol. {sigh}

Getting Your Marriage License by Mail

Mohave County allows a marriage license by mail for US citizens only, with some restrictions

Click here for a copy of the marriage license application you can print out, fill out and mail in  

It’s all happily ever after once you get your application processed and have your marriage license in hand, right?

Well, not quite. There are only certain spots available for weddings at the Grand Canyon. And you’ll need a list of vendors that will travel to the Grand Canyon to provide services.

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing how to pick the perfect Grand Canyon wedding spot and exactly what you need to know to plan the perfect Grand Canyon wedding.

Stay tuned. When I’m done, you’ll have everything you need to make your special day the day of your dreams.

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July 30, 2018
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Meet Alvin and Cheryl. They came all the way from Singapore to get married at one of the seven wonders of the world.  Shoshone Point is not only one of my favorite spots, it also happens to be a favorite of couples eloping to the Grand Canyon.

Eloping to Shoshone Point at the Grand Canyon

Couples interested in eloping to the Grand Canyon should know that you can’t just show up. Permits are needed and fees must be paid. You’ll also want to make sure and arrange any services (like a great wedding photographer 😉) ahead of time.

Shoshone Point lies at the end of a jutting peninsula East of The Village. Every location at the Grand Canyon has stunning views, but Shoshone Point provides the most spectacular.

There is a large Ramada complete with BBQ and restrooms at the point that can be reserved from May to October, making it the perfect spot for wedding ceremonies.

Getting to Shoshone Point

Take the Desert View Drive 1.2 miles east of Yaki Point (just beyond mile marker 244). Find the unmarked pull off on the north side of the road. Park and begin your journey to magical views with an unrivaled display of colors.

The trailhead to Shoshone Point is about one mile each way. The path follows a fairly flat graded dirt road. It is slightly uphill on the way in which makes getting out a bit easier.  With your wedding permit, you’ll be given the code to the gate and have the opportunity to drive up the road and park near the rim.

One of the best reasons to pay the extra fees to secure Shoshone Point is it will seem as if you have the canyon to yourself.

It is so much fun hanging out with a couple that is giddy with excitement. You can see how much they adore each other and how much fun they have together in the pictures.

Alvin and Cheryl made it easy to capture stunning pictures. They were naturally at ease in front of the camera. In fact, I’m pretty sure they forgot I was even there.

 

Luckily they were not afraid of heights because the ceremony and many of the photos were right on the edge of the Canyon. It’s important that you work with a wedding photographer that knows the Grand Canyon. As the sun begins to set, the shadows often create false ledges, so be careful!

In the end, though, you will have breathtaking images that will capture this special time.

The best time of day for pictures is an hour before sunset, which also happens to be the hottest time of day. Make sure and bring plenty of water and some good walking shoes.

Consider the heat and the hike when choosing your wedding garb. Some people choose to change into their finery after the long hike.

I always make a point of including some black and white images when I photograph a wedding. It may seem odd to photograph the Grand Canyon and its beautiful array of colors in black and white, but there is a timeless feeling that is difficult to reproduce in full-color images.

Alvin and Cheryl were such good sports. They were so happy to be getting married at the Grand Canyon, they didn’t mind all the little extras it took to get just the right shot.

They are one of those couples that makes you love being in love. It’s infectious.

Congratulations, Alvin and Cheryl! I am so grateful to have been witness to such a beautiful day.

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May 07, 2018
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Abby, Parker and only their closest friends made the trek from Colorado to Sedona for their big day

Sedona is known for its beautiful scenery and spectacular hiking, but a lesser known sport is its epic mountain biking. When Abby and Parker were considering locations for their intimate wedding, these avid mountain bikers wanted to include their favorite activity.

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Why Couples Choose Sedona as a Wedding Destination?

While Abby and Parker chose Sedona because it would allow them to partake in their favorite past-time, there are other reasons why couples choose Sedona to tie the knot.

1. The Spiritual Energy

Surrounded by the beauty of the red rocks, Sedona has vortexes that are swirling with a subtle energy from the earth. People have been traveling to Sedona specifically to absorb the energy of the vortexes for centuries.

If mystical energy sounds appealing, you can participate in a wedding week retreat or just a day tour to spiritually prepare you for your next chapter.

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2. Down to Earth and Stress-Free

Sedona is the perfect destination for a beautiful and elegant wedding without all the fuss. The pace of life in Sedona is a little slower than most places. Sedona, with all her beauty and magic, is a great reminder to couples of what’s really important at this time – each other.

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3. Sedona is an Outdoor Enthusiast’s Mecca

With hundreds of trails for hiking and mountain biking and a creek for fishing, if you love the outdoors, you will love Sedona. Trails vary in difficulty from easy to challenging and provide a variety of views of the surrounding landscape. Some couples even choose to hike to their favorite spot to exchange their vows.

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4. The Spectacular Red Rocks and All Their Glory

There is no denying that the picturesque backdrops and the dramatic scenery attract visitors of all kinds. You don’t have to be an outdoor enthusiast to appreciate what Sedona has to offer.

The funny thing, though, when couples are exchanging their vows the scenery doesn’t matter. Just look at how Abby and Parker get lost in each other during their vows.

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I simply adore small, intimate weddings because I always leave feeling part of the family. There is something to be said for sharing an intimate moment with those that matter the most. The emotion, love, and support for the couple shine through to the images that I capture.

Look at the images of the family and friends that traveled with Abby and Parker to celebrate with them. The love is pure and beautiful. I can still feel the love of the group as I look back on these photos. 2018-02-14_0011.jpg
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It is easy to say couples choose Sedona because of its beauty. There are no words that truly do Sedona justice. And truthfully, the images don’t do it justice either. As breathtaking as Sedona looks in the images you see, it is even more glorious when you experience it in person.

There is something about Sedona that is timeless, just like a marriage should be. Maybe there is something to those magical, mystical vortexes after all.

Abby and Parker, may the magic of the vortexes bring you many years of happiness. Thank you for choosing me to be a part of your special day.

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Meet Dana and Walter from Oklahoma. Walter’s wife of forty years passed away and he was blessed to find love again in Dana. The couple wanted to keep it simple and true to their adventurous spirit.

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They chose to elope to Sedona. Hitting the spectacular red rocks wasn’t adventurous enough, though. They wanted to add some pink to their day.

A Pink Jeep Tour Elopement

Pink Jeep Tours offers unique Southwest adventures in Sedona, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.

Dana and Walter wanted to add a little extra something to their day. And what could be more special than a private tour around the beautiful red rocks to celebrate beginning their new life together as man and wife?

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About Pink Jeep Tours

Pink Jeep Tours has conducted over 700,000 tours during their 58 years in business. They offer quick treks or full-day excursions for an up-close look at Sedona’s Red Rocks, the mighty Grand Canyon, and the always thrilling Las Vegas.

Click here to learn more about Pink Jeep Tours.

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The Red Rocks Glow

The famous Red Rocks are made of red sandstone formations. They change color as the sun changes its position in the sky. They can look bright red in the middle of the day, a bright orange about an hour before sunset and the purple hues come out at dusk.

As a photographer that specializes in engagement and elopement sessions, I never tire of staging a photo with the breathtaking backdrops that Sedona has to offer. There is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world. 2018-02-14_0051.jpg

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A Good Black and White Photo Speaks Volumes

Yes, the Red Rocks are spectacular in all their color. But a good black and white photo captures the soul of the subject. The timelessness of a good black and white holds a magic that is hard to capture in color.

Just look at these images of Dana and Walter. Their relationship and love become the focus – you can feel their emotion. It captures the true essence of that moment in time.

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Sunsets in Sedona are Magical

Did you know Sedona is ranked as one of the best places to see a sunset by Travel & Leisure magazine? In the world!

Travel & Leisure says:

“Watching the sunset can be a near-spiritual experience in the raw beauty of Sedona, where the desert meets the mountains. Sedona is known for its famous red rock buttes, and the sun’s setting rays make the vibrant colors of the landscape glow against the deepening blue of the desert sky.”

I’m not sure I could have said it better myself. I love late afternoon hikes that end as the sun is setting behind some of the stunning formations like Cathedral Rock or Courthouse Butte.

It also happens to be one of my favorite things to photograph. I’m glad my afternoon with Dana and Walter ended with the glow of the sun as it set on the red rocks followed by a beautiful, tranquil dusk.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Dana and Walter. I’m honored to be a small part of their special day.

Dana and Walter, may you enjoy each other and the beautiful images from your special day for years to come. ~Melissa

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March 24, 2018
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After a few weeks of posts highlighting a personal passion, pet photography and my new offering, Reflections Photo Booth, it’s time to get back to showcasing the beautiful area in which I live.

Horseshoe Bend is one of the most photographed landmarks in desert Southwest surrounding the Grand Canyon. I get excited every time I’m scheduled to head out that way.

Grand Canyon ElopementArizona Elopement Photography

Ivana and Kyle Arrive at Horseshoe Bend in Style

I knew I was going to adore these two when they drove up in a canary yellow 2017 Camero. There’s just something about a muscle car that drives all the girls crazy, don’t you think?

I joked with Kyle and asked him if he got to test the car‘s speed, and he smiled shyly and said it handled pretty good above 110 m.p.h. A man after my own heart, lol. 🙂

Ivana was the sweetest ever and the perfect compliment to Kyle. She looked perfect in her long lace gown with a beauty that reminded me of a young Demi Moore.

Grand Canyon Elopement

Eloping to the Grand Canyon

Kyle works as a police officer in a small community twenty hours north of Toronto and Ivana lives in Toronto proper.

Because our region is just so different from Northern Canada, these two wanted to get married in Las Vegas but do their post-wedding photos at Horseshoe Bend.

For your reference, you can choose to have your elopement ceremony at Horseshoe Bend, or just head to the area for your photos like Kyle and Ivana did.

Arizona Elopement PhotographyGrand Canyon ElopementMany people assume Horseshoe Bend is part of the Grand Canyon, but it actually resides within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

It overlooks one of the most spectacular views on the Colorado River, 4 miles south of the Glen Canyon Dam, and 7 miles north of mile zero of the Grand Canyon.

It has all the characteristics of the Grand Canyon: The river, the canyon, and the beauty.

Horseshoe Bend is close to Page, Arizona with scenic Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon nearby.

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Getting to Horseshoe Bend

The trailhead to Horseshoe Bend is a 3/4 mile hike. A bit of climbing may be required for some of the stunning backdrops Horseshoe Bend has to offer.

There are parts that can be a little steep and there is some sand. So be prepared with hiking shoes or other comfortable footwear.

You can always change into pretty shoes when you are on location. Although some shots of what it takes to get to a spot can be fun to look back on later. Horseshoe ElopementGrand Canyon Elopement

Looking Great in the Heat

On average, the Grand Canyon has 264 sunny days per year. So, chances are you will have a bright day – and if it’s during the summer, it will be hot. With shade being scarce, it’s important to prepare for a session that might make you sweat.

Keep these tips in mind when preparing to head out to your sunny and hot photo session.

1. Bring plenty of water because hydration is essential.

2. Apply sunblock thirty-minutes before heading and out and bring some extra with you.

3. Bring towels to soak up the sweat.

4. A portable personal fan is a great tool for cooling off between shots.

5. And finally, don’t forget a makeup bag for touch-ups.

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Horseshoe Bend is Perfect All Day Long

As a photographer, there is a perfect time of day to take photos. It’s the hour right before the sun sets and is what we in the business lovingly call the golden hour.

Despite the crowds, the heat, and the fact it was high-noon with no shade (a photographer’s nightmare), we were able to get some incredible images that I hope they’ll treasure forever.

Kyle and Ivana’s tenderness towards one another was so sincere and so heartfelt, and I loved watching them interact.

Congrats you two! I hope you enjoyed your desert honeymoon!

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March 03, 2018
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What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of romance and privacy in the same sentence? A vacation? An elopement?

Well, you can have both and they happen amidst the majestic red rocks of Sedona.

Sedona has become one of the most popular romantic elopement destinations in the world because of its stunning landscapes, breathtaking sunsets, and intimate wedding locations.

Here is a sneak peek into few of my favorite Sedona elopement spots.

As you read through them, the one thing you’ll notice is Sedona is not lacking for stunning views and magical moments to help make your day special and unique to you.

1. Courthouse Vista/Bell Rock

This is one of the most requested spots thanks to its beautiful views and magical red rocks on full display. It is easily accessible and easy to find with plenty of parking.

I mentioned the beautiful views, but they are worth mentioning again. And because of that beauty, it is a popular hiking trail which means it can be a bit crowded on the weekend.

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While most people like to hike the Bell Rock Trail, you can get away from some of the congestion and madness along the Courthouse Butte trail.

My recommendation is to choose a weekday for your ceremony if your timing is flexible to minimize surrounding activity.

2. Tlaquepaque

The Tlaquepaque chapel is the perfect place for a truly intimate wedding for couples wishing to honor their faith while eloping.

The rustic chapel is full of character which will can’t help but fill the room with love and emotion from the day.

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The chapel easily holds 30 people who will be comfortably seated in pews. If you are traveling with a large group, additional chairs can be set up in the back for a maximum seating capacity of 45.

Nestled among the Red Rocks, this is a perfect compromise between eloping and a traditional wedding.

3. Enchantment Resort

The aptly titled Enchantment Resort is well … enchanting. It’s perfect for the couple that wants the atmosphere of a traditional wedding with an intimate feel that an elopement brings.

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Enchantment Resort, nestled at the foot of the Red Rocks, delivers the landscapes that Sedona is known for and adds touches that elevate the experience to a certain elegance.

You’ll need to hire a wedding planner to coordinate the logistics of hosting your elopement ceremony and celebration at the property. This is a perfect option for a couple that plans on having family and friends surround them on their big day.

4. L’Auberge de Sedona

For someone who wants all the details take care of for them, L’Auberge de Sedona may be just the answer.

From their website:

“For a fairy tale rendezvous, couples can tie the knot with the “Elopement” package. The package offers a romantic location for a private dinner or ceremony, a two-night stay in a luxurious Spa Cottage, flowers, and a six-course dinner the with wine pairings and champagne toast.”

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Celebrate in style and headache free with the L’Auberge de Sedona elopement package.

5. Creekside Inn Bed and Breakfast

The Creekside Inn Bed and Breakfast has several romantic settings for your Sedona elopement.

You can choose the Glade that includes giant Giant Sycamores and Cottonwoods that provide a canopy to the lawn that sits adjacent to Oak Creek.

Or maybe you’d prefer the homier feel of the Porch that welcomes the sounds of the creek it overlooks.

The Creekside Inn boasts six perfect locations for your ceremony accommodating groups of all sizes.

6. Sun Cliff Sedona

If you need a luxury elopement or intimate wedding surrounded by beautiful red rocks of Sedona, this spot is perfect for you. It is very quiet with beautiful views that surround you with the energy and serenity the region is known for.

This privately-owned piece of property sits on 24 acres providing a playground for you and your guests, should you choose to share your day with others.

Sun Cliff Sedona offers elopement and honeymoon packages and is a perfect choice if you are seeking a luxury Sedona elopement experience.

7. Sky Ranch Lodge

Sitting 500 feet above the picturesque city of Sedona, Sky Ranch Lodge offers 360-degree views of the famous Red Rocks.

It boasts beautifully landscaped grounds littered with gardens, ponds and a patio with 180-degree views perfect for your ceremony.

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If a spectacular sunset elopement ceremony is on your bucket list, Sky Ranch Lodge will deliver.

8. Crescent Moon Ranch / Red Rock Crossing

Crescent Moon Ranch is a historic ranch house on the banks of Oak Creek with Cathedral Rock towering above it in the background.

After your ceremony, have a celebration and sleepover in the cabin located on the property that can accommodate up to ten overnight guests. You’ll also enjoy plenty hiking, swimming in the creek or simply relax and enjoy the breathtaking views.

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An additional option is to enter through the public entrance and head to the beaches of Red Rock Crossing for a celebration of love surrounded by flora, fauna, the waters of Oak Creek and spectacular rock formations.

9. Sugar Loaf Trail

Surrounded by rock formations with names like Chimney Rock, Thunder Mountain, and Sailing Ship Rock, you can only imagine the breathtaking beauty of the Red Rocks as they sit against the bluest of blue skies.

A lesser known spot in the area means less crowding and more exclusivity. But the mile-long hike means you have to work for it.

I promise you, the effort pays off big time and creates a very special story that will be evident in the photos of your day.

10. West Fork Trail

Oak Creek’s West Fork trail is one of the best hiking experiences in the area. It also makes for a pretty picturesque spot for an elopement ceremony.

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The trail is surrounded by towering canyon walls and it is semi-shaded by trees with parts of the trail situated alongside Oak Creek.

Final Thoughts

These ten spots are all amazing, each with its unique features.

You can see why Sedona is becoming a preferred elopement destination. If wedding photos are important to you, and they should be (just saying), start by talking to a photographer that is familiar with the region.

They will know the nuances of each spot and can help you pick the perfect location for your day.

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