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
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
The Casey family wanted to come to beautiful Sedona, Arizona for their annual family photos and who could blame them? The red rocks, beautiful vistas, and the gorgeous sunsets are unrivaled in the Southwest. I love shooting in Sedona because at every turn there’s something that will take your breath away. There are many reasons why so many people make the pilgrimage to Sedona…from acclaimed vortexes to the healing waters and sounds of Oak Creek to the peace you get when you find a trail all to yourself. If you’ve never been, make the trip!
Jessica and Gerry are expecting their second baby in December and big brother, Elvis the Bernese mountain dog, and big sister, Delaney are very excited! I loved the custom signs for Delaney and Elvis! But mostly, I adored how much this family loved one another. There’s nothing quite like being able to observe a close family and how they make each other laugh and smile. The Casey family were adventurous and wanted to go to the summit of the Sugarloaf trail and Jessica hiked it like a pro! The views were definitely worth the effort!
It was great meeting each of you! Thank you for coming to Sedona! xoxo ~ Melissa
I’ve known Miranda since she was about seven years old and I could hardly believe it when her Dad, Dave, called me for her senior photos. Dave and I have served on the board of Flagstaff Biking Organization together for a long time. It’s a bicycle advocacy group here in Flagstaff with a mission to get more people and kids on bikes for health and the environment. Specifically, he and I have a passion for Bike to Work Week and our elementary school children program of Bicycle Rodeos, which teaches safe riding for kids. Dave also recently retired from the Flagstaff Police Department and has participated in the Police Unity Tour for many years. I’ve always been thankful for his service and dedication to the public.
When I first met Miranda, she was just getting into mountain biking. I remember her first ‘race’ in downtown Flagstaff where she and her sister rode one mile and at the end, collected a medal with hundreds of other kids. Her big grin and laugh were contagious. While her Dad lived in Flagstaff, Miranda, and her sister live in Camp Verde, so a couple of years would go by before I would see them again. This was the case when Dave called for her senior session. When Miranda showed up for her photo shoot, I almost didn’t recognize her. She is no longer the little girl of my memory, but a beautiful and smart young lady. However, that gorgeous smile is still the same. Miranda will be graduating from Camp Verde High School this coming May and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for her. Congrats Miranda! xoxo ~ Melissa
We chose Red Rock Crossing State Park for her senior session. I love discovering old locations and being inspired by the changes in the landscape and foliage. I’m usually at this park as a Sedona Wedding Photographer, and it’s always wonderful to be able to photograph seniors and families at my favorite locations. I’m loving being a Camp Verde Senior Photographer this year and getting to know many of the students there!