Archive for Grand Canyon
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Clifton and Jennifer chose a gorgeous day at the Grand Canyon for their intimate elopement. Surrounded by their closes friends, and as the sun dipped below the horizon at Grandeur Point, the officiant, Phil, and I were able to witness the start of their life together. A nervous Jennifer giggled through their vows and even though he didn’t want to admit it, Clifton wiped away more than a few tears as his beautiful bride walked towards him.

Elopement at the Grand Canyon

The moments right before the wedding are some of my favorites with elopements. I get to hear about their story, how they met and why they chose the Grand Canyon. Most of the time, as was the case for Clifton and Jennifer, it was the beauty and peace that drew them there. And I would have to agree, I don’t think there is a more beautiful place to be married on earth.

After their ceremony I heard about their hopes and dreams, challenges and obstacles in getting to this day. I found out how kind they both were as Clifford told me about going to Puerto Rico after the hurricane to help restore power to the island. As he spoke of befriending many of the native islanders and helping them get back to normal, I knew why Jennifer adored this man so much.

I say it every time, but I mean it every time with my whole heart. It was such an honor to have been there for you both and I wish you a lifetime of love, adventure and happiness.

Getting married at the Grand Canyon is beautiful, but also presents some challenges. The permitting process isn’t very transparent and for visitors who have never been to this National Park, simply picking out a location for the ceremony can be daunting. If you’re considering an elopement at the Grand Canyon, check out my blog post on locations and the necessary permits and marriage license requirements.

Grand Canyon National Park is situated in Northern Arizona. The nearest cities are Flagstaff and Williams. To get married in the park, you’ll need the necessary permits and a valid Arizona marriage license.

Venue: Grand Canyon National Park, Grandeur Point

Officiant: Phil Waring, Arizona Ministers

Photographer: Melissa Dunstan, Tangled Lilac Photography

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The romance that surrounds a wedding day is only magnified when standing on the edge of the breathtaking Grand Canyon. It’s no wonder couples flock to the red rock wonder to cement their love. Some do it to escape the big wedding and others do it because a Grand Canyon wedding is the perfect place to begin a new life together.
I already shared everything a couple needs to know to plan the perfect Grand Canyon wedding. Now I wanted to share some of my recommended Grand Canyon wedding locations.
Grand Canyon National Park offers a variety of indoor and outdoor wedding locations for both ceremonies and receptions. The Grand Canyon is vast and has welcomed millions of visitors every year. Trying to narrow down a wedding location to one spot can be a challenge.
As someone who has photographed many weddings and elopements on the edge of the most spectacular landscape in the world, I want to help you find your perfect Grand Canyon wedding location.

The Best Grand Canyon Wedding Locations

Shoshone Point at the Grand Canyon

Probably one of the most popular wedding locations because it offers picnic tables, a large pavilion, grills, trash cans, and toilets. The location holds up to 85 people and is the only viewpoint available for outdoor receptions.
Shoshone Point lies at the end of a jutting peninsula East of The Village. It is available from May 1 to October 15 and is in high demand because of its spectacular views. Because of the demand, it has a slightly higher fee than other sites.

Lipan Point

Lipan Point lies half a mile north of the main drive. It offers views of the Colorado River and can hold up to 35 people. There is a mostly a 360° view – mostly because there is are pines on the east side which adds its own beauty the area. were it not for the pine woodland on the east side.  However, Lipan will soon be closed for some improvements.  Please contact me so I can update you on its availability.
The point looks down over Seventy-five Mile Creek of the Colorado River and its tributaries. Be forewarned that it is not unusual for tour buses to pull into the adjacent parking area.

Moran Point

Moran Point is one of the most visited points because of its far-reaching views.  And, because Lipan is about to close for improvements, it’s about to get even more visited.  Even so, it isn’t the busiest of locations and parking can usually be found nearby. The spot accommodates up to 35 people.
A little bit of history. Moran Point was named after famed landscape painter Thomas Moran. Moran came to the Grand Canyon for the first time in 1873. His work helped the canyon become a popular destination and eventually led to its designation as a national park in 1919. You know if its a favorite spot of a landscape painter, the views must be magnificent and dramatic.

Grandeur Point

Grandeur Point is located just west of Yavapai Point. The actual point is a small, flat promontory projecting westwards. It has a spectacular view of the whole length of the Bright Angel Trail along Garden Creek and to Plateau Point.  This is one of my favorite places for a ceremony because of it’s variety with rim views.
The location sees fewer people than the more popular Yavapai Point, but that is because there is no separate road access. Parking is available nearby but fills quickly. Follow the paved west rim trail to some spectacular views. The spot can hold up to 45 people.

Tips For Choosing A Grand Canyon Wedding Location

1. Consider the timing

One of the most important things to consider when choosing the perfect Grand Canyon wedding location is timing. Every season has its own special relationship with the canyon. Spring and Fall are more popular wedding times at the Grand Canyon. Winter at the canyon is beautiful especially if there is some snow. And then there’s summer. Summer is HOT! Regardless of the season, your wedding will be beautiful, so it is important to choose the season you love.

2. The Guest List

Who’s coming to your wedding? Consider the number of people and their mobility. Great-grandma Sue might have a hard time getting to some of the locations.  Also, if you have small children attending, please be mindful of them near the rim.

3. Required Services

What services will you need and will your providers travel? As a photographer who specializes in Grand Canyon weddings and elopements, I work with several service providers all committed to making your day a dream come true. Stay tuned for a list of service providers that specialize in Grand Canyon Weddings.

The Botton Line is with a little planning and preparation, getting married at the Grand Canyon can be as magical as the canyon itself. If you have questions, I most likely have the answers. Please don’t hesitate to contact me – no strings attached.

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October 14, 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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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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June 14, 2016
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The Grand Canyon at sunset is something magical, and the evening of Julie and Jason’s ceremony was perfection. Together with their mothers and two daughters, this sweet couple exchanged their vows while overlooking some of the most magestic views in the world.  This beautiful couple picked one of the most beautiful overlooks at the Grand Canyon, Shoshone Point.  This was the first time at the Grand Canyon for the entire family and it couldn’t have been a more perfect evening.  As Flagstaff and Sedona Photographers we are so lucky to get to go to some of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s evenings and families like this that makes our jobs so fulfilling! We wish you Julie and Jason a beautiful life! Congratulations!

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October 14, 2013
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Anneliese and Malte planned an amazing destination wedding at Shoshone Point and Thunderbird Lodge at the Grand Canyon.  They had a small group of friends and family from all around the world celebrate with them on their big day.  Anneliese and Malte live in Washington D.C. but travel to the Grand Canyon as much as they can.  They enjoy the amazing hiking, relaxation and beauty.  We got the pleasure of traveling around the canyon to all their favorite spots taking their couple photos.  Just before sunset we met their guests at Shoshone Point for their ceremony and champagne toast.  To finish off the evening, Anneliese,  Malte and guests enjoyed a relaxed reception at the Thunderbird lodge.  Congratulations to the beautiful couple! ~Kristen

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