Clifton and Jennifer chose a gorgeous day at the Grand Canyon for their intimate elopement. Surrounded by their
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.
Officiant: Phil Waring, Arizona Ministers
Photographer: Melissa Dunstan, Tangled Lilac Photography
The Best Grand Canyon Wedding Locations
Shoshone Point at the Grand Canyon
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
See for yourself.
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
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.
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.
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.
Many 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
The trail is surrounded by towering canyon walls and it is semi-shaded by trees with parts of the trail situated alongside Oak Creek.
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.