Zion Elopement Photographer & Locations Guide | Updated for 2024


Zion Elopement Photographer

Hi, I’m Lucy! I’m a Zion Elopement Photographer and certified national park freak. Of all the places in the desert southwest to elope, none are as iconic as Zion. The opportunities for hiking and adventures are endless for adventurous couples. Especially if you love to be surrounded by nature, color, and take-your-breath-away views. The canyon’s formations are over 150 MILLION years old. This is a sacred, jaw-dropping place that must be experienced with respect and courtesy so we can all enjoy it for centuries to come.

The 6 Zion Ceremony Locations

Like Joshua Tree and Rocky Mountain NPs, Zion restricts the areas where you can have a ceremony, no matter if you’re having guests or not. There are six locations where you can have your ceremony in Zion National Park. I’ll walk you through the six beautiful locations and the pros and cons of each.

  • Temple of Sinawava
  • Menu Falls
  • Zion Nature Center
  • South Campground Amphitheater
  • Zion Lodge Lawn
  • Kolob Canyons

Temple of Sinawava Wedding Location

The Temple of Sinawava is the last bus stop on Zion Canyon drive. Still, it should be on the top of your list of places to elope! The ceremony site is on the shore of the Virgin River. It’s on a flat sandy beach shaded by the towering canyon walls, and it is absolutely stunning.

Max # of people: 35
Parking: 30 spots
Bathrooms: Yes, primitive
ADA Accessible: Sandy terrain, but mostly flat

Zion’s Waterfall Elopement Location Menu Falls

Menu Falls is a quiet, unknown spot in the upper Zion canyon. A short trail leads to a petite, two-tiered deck. It’s just big enough for the two of you to exchange private vows in front of the delicate waterfall.

Max # of people: 10
Parking: 4 spots
Bathrooms: None
ADA Accessible: No

Nature Center Elopement Location

At the south end of the park, two elopement ceremony sites are easier to access without using the mandatory shuttle system that runs from April – November. The natural look of the Nature Center makes it one of my favorite spots. Sunset rays will light up the nearby peak named The Watchman.

Max # of people: 50, November to April only
Parking: 15+ spots
Bathrooms: Yes
ADA Accessible: Yes (grass)

Zion Campground Amphitheater Ceremony Site

 The Zion South Campground Amphitheater has rows of built-in seating and can accommodate up to 100 guests, and is backed by a developed presentation stage.

Max # of people: 100
Parking: 35 spots
Bathrooms: Yes a short walk away
ADA Accessible: Yes except for the stage itself

Zion Lodge Elopement Location

The Zion Lodge Lawn is a busy lawn under a big tree. The area is great for those who are planning to invite up to 75 guests. Since the Lodge and Red Rocks Grill are so close, the location of this site makes it easy to include a reception.

Max # of people: 75
Parking: 20 spots
Bathrooms: Yes, primitive
ADA Accessible: Yes (grass)

Kolob Canyons Ceremony Location

The Kolob ceremony site is a paved, fenced area directly off the main parking lot. It takes about an hour to drive between the main Zion Canyon area of the park to the Kolob Canyons area, through a separate entrance.

Max # of people: 20 people and 4 cars
Parking: 20 spots
Bathrooms: Yes, primitive
ADA Accessible: Yes

What season should we elope Elope in Zion?

There’s no getting around it – Zion is a very busy National Park. The very best times to plan your elopement ceremony in Zion are on weekdays and early mornings for the best experience. In the heat of summer months, temperatures can reach the 90s every day and afternoon thunderstorms become likely. September, October, Early November, April & May are the best months to elope in Zion with warm days and sunny weather. Late October to mid November will bring fall colors to the valley.

How to Elope in Zion National Park

It’s important to remember that when Zion is your venue, you don’t need all the traditional trappings of a ballroom wedding. In keeping with the natural environment, no amplified sound, no confetti, and no exclusive use of locations are allowed. Basically, if you wouldn’t do it while hiking, you shouldn’t do it at your elopement in Zion. All leave no trace principles are enforced.

Applying for the ceremony permit in Zion National Park

Use the National Park’s website to apply for your $100 ceremony permit. Ceremonies must take place in one of the 6 designated locations. You’ll need to know which ceremony site and what time it’s going to be when you apply, so it’s best to coordinate with your photographer before applying. Ceremony permits are accepted between 3 weeks and 1 year before your date. Bouquets are allowed for your wedding – so long as they contain NO seeds, dried or alive.

How to plan an elopement in Zion in 2024

Planning a simple yet stunning elopement in Zion is easy!
1. Select a season and date range
2. Book a way to get there (plane or car) and some accommodation in Springdale or Hurricane
3. Choose a Zion elopement photographer who is familiar with the park (hello!)
4. Work with your photographer to apply for the ceremony permit so you know which location and time will be best
5. Select your garments, accessories, and hire an officiant, florist, or private chef
6. Show up with your Utah marriage license and park permit and you’re ready to get married in Zion!

Do we need an officiant in Zion?

Yes and no! You can’t self-solemnize here, but you can elect to have your photographer officiate your marriage instead. If your photographer is ordained that is, which I am! Additionally, you will need two witnesses who are over 18 to make your marriage legal in Utah. You can obtain a $70 marriage license at a courthouse in any Utah county, some even offer online applications. The closest courthouse to Zion is the Washington County courthouse in St. George, Utah. More information about obtaining your marriage license in Utah is here.

Officiant Options:
– Hire a professional officiant ($500 to $1800)
– Elect for me to officiate and create your ceremony for $0
– Bring a friend who gets ordained
– Get legally married in your home state and have a non-legally binding ceremony in Zion.

How much does it cost to elope in Zion?

Your Utah Marriage license costs $50 or $70 depending on if you’d like a copy, and the permit to marry in Zion in $100. Above those costs, your elopement can be as cheap or expensive as you’d like! Pick a few things that are super important to you and let those be spendy. If photography and food are your most valued elements, put most of your budget towards that and let your accommodation and flowers be simple, or vice versa. Here is a budget breakdown of a Zion elopement for just two people.
$5000 to $8000 Elopement photography
$500 to $5000 Elopement clothes and accessories
$1200 to $4000 Accommodation (be as bougie as you desire)
$0 to $1800 Officiant
$0 to $1500 Flowers, Hair & Makeup
$400 Rental car + gas
$500 Food for yourselves

Zion Elopement cost saving tips

The most expensive part of weddings, events, and even elopements is.. other people! Costs go straight up if you host guests and feed them too. I’m not saying you should invite people and not feed them (a faux pas for sure!) just to be careful to keep your guest list small. Some things are DIYable, like your hair and makeup. Try getting dried or faux flowers from Etsy instead of real flowers designed by a florist. Consider getting your garments from poshmark, stillwhite.com, or preownedweddingdresses.com. Make your own veil instead of spending hundreds on simple tulle. You don’t have to have something borrowed or blue – don’t let rhymes expand your budget past what is reasonable. Make it a road trip and drive your own car instead of flying and renting a car. Look for accommodation further away from Springdale, where rooms are expensive. Read more about cost saving methods here.

2024 Zion Elopement Packages

I offer Zion elopement packages that include a full day of elopement photography & planning for a one stop shop option. There are no travel fees, download fees, watermarks or other hidden fees. These prices are for 2024.

2 Day Zion elopement photography – $9900

1.5 Days of Zion elopement photography – $7900

1 Full day Zion adventure elopement photography – $6900

Up to 4 hours Zion elopement photography – $5500 **Only available on select dates**

Here is my Zion National Park elopement locations map:

Purchase The Zion Locations Map

This map is like a virtual tour of Zion National Park. It even includes additional locations outside the park with color photos I’ve taken of each place. So you can see all the great spots without leaving your living room. If you’re planning from afar, this is a visual key to picking out the elopement spot that works for you. Details like what seasons and time of day are best for each location are included. It will help you plan your activities, accommodations, and your day’s itinerary. Lastly, it’s easy to have a great backup location picked out with this map in front of you. Having that Plan B in your back pocket will keep your planning stress-free!

Does Zion require reservations? What’s with the shuttle?

The main area of Zion National Park – called Zion Canyon – is only accessible by free shuttle. You must park at the visitor center just inside the park and ride the shuttle to the 9 stops within Zion Canyon. It is EASY to take this shuttle!
You do NOT need a permit or reservation to ride the free Zion Park Shuttle within Zion Canyon.
You do NOT need a permit or reservation to enter the park. (You do need a National Park pass.)
You do NOT need a permit to hike the Narrows.
You DO need a $2 reservation to hike from Scout’s Lookout to Angel’s Landing.

About Lucy – Zion Elopement Photographer

I’m a colorful Zion elopement photographer with an obsession for mountains, hiking, and epic natural landscapes. My photography style emphasizes the experience eloping in the great outfoots and the authentic moments that make you two.. well, you two! I love my job and my nature-loving clients. Zion is one of my favorite places on the continent – it is like nowhere else. Maybe I’ll see you there!

What are the best photo spots in Zion in 2024

Now there’s a million dollar question! Zion is packed with incredible landscapes to photograph you in front of. Before or after your ceremony, you can take off and explore the dozens of incredible landscapes in Zion. Spend the day creating your own adventure on the many trails. It’s YOUR day, and you can make it reflect your passion for the outdoors. You can’t NOT have a giant smile on your face when traveling through this canyon! I can help you obtain the right permits and choose locations based on your ideas and desires. Some of my favorites are:

1. The Narrows in Zion

This upriver hike known as The Narrows is one of my favorite hikes in the entire USA. You’ll be walking up a river instead of on a dry trail. Pack water sandals and hiking poles and be sure to only do this hike in the warm summer months! The Narrows river walk is an unforgettable way to adventure together after your intimate wedding ceremony. Walk up the river with water rushing around your ankles! Grab life by the freaking horns!!

2. Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park

Along the Zion-Mt Carmel Highway, the Canyon overlook trail is incredible. However, this tiny parking area fills up fast. The payoffs for this short hike are stunning and it is a must for any post-ceremony photos! Sunset is a great time to visit this epic lookout. The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway is a must-drive if you get the chance. Long tunnels connect you to one of the most scenic drives in the country. And there are even a few slot canyons along this road, if you know where to look!

3. Angels Landing Elopement

You can’t actually get married on Angel’s Landing, Scout’s lookout, or the trail that leads to it. But, don’t rule it out! Only a short portion of you day is the actual elopement ceremony. You can make the 4-mile difficult hike before or after your ceremony, or even the next day! This being the #1 thing to do in Zion National Park, it’s often busy. Reservations are required in most seasons, so choose an off-season time like March or November for the best luck in getting a reservation. Angel’s landing may be the most well-known hike in the park, but there are over 50 miles of trails with incredible scenery to explore. Tip: the Big Bend shuttle stop is the best place to spot a California Condor 🙂

4. Zion Mt Carmel Highway

The most alien like landscapes await you on the east side of “The tunnel” along Mt Carmel Highway. The large petrified sand dunes or beehive formations are so incredibly tall, it would take a day to climb just one of them. Visit the checkerboard mesa and there are even slot canyons if you know where to look!

5. Zion’s Emerald Pools

The Emerald pools area is confusing and not well marked. More than one trail leads to the tiny spit of a waterfall from above. The mist falls into a few small pools. You can get up close to the sheer red stone walls. The trails all seem to criss-cross, but that’s what makes it an adventure, right? The first half of the trail has no shade, but gives great views of the canyon.

2024 NOTE – To access the Emerald Falls, you must use bus stop #4 due to bridge repairs at stop #5.

8. Kolob Canyon

The Kolob Canyons area contains just 3 hiking trails, but the views are just as epic with a fraction of the visitors.

7. The Watchman Mountain

At the mouth of Zion Canyon, the Watchman is a magnificent rock mountain that looks over the entire valley. For a super challenging hike, tackle the trail to the top! For everyone else, it’s easy to admire the Watchman from many locations in the southern half of the Canyon. The Campground Amphitheater and Nature Center lawn are the Zion elopement locations with the best views of this iconic peak.

8. The Court of the Patriarchs

A seldom visited area behind the history museum in Zion, this stunning wall of rock is a great place to be alone.

9. Kolob Terrace

This is a little hidden gem that most visitors to Zion National Park don’t even know about! The Kolob Terrace and Kolob Reservoir offer dispersed and formal camping, lake access, and shady deserted trails.

10. Lava Point in Zion

The Lava Point overlook is really dramatic, if far away. It takes some time to get here, so plan ahead. There are even some places outside of the National Park nearby that could make a great elopement location without the permit and regulations of the NPS.

What’s open in Zion in 2024?

Most of Zion Canyon is open year round. The Kolob Canyon (separate entrance) and Lava Point trailhead closes in winter due to ice and snow. The weeping rock is closed in 2024 due to rockslide. Visit the current conditions page for the most recent updates.

Where do we stay around Zion?

Springdale, Utah is the town at the mouth of Zion’s main entrance, and it’s where you should begin your search for the right accommodation. You don’t have to settle for a bland hotel when there are so many cool options here! Try looking for cabins, yurts, glamping tents, tiny homes and more unique stays. This will be your relaxation center and home base for your elopement experience, so pick something that fits your vibe. Here’s a collection of my top picks for unique stays near Zion.

How much time do we need in Zion?

You can see many of the parks’ highlights in 3 or 4 days. If you’d like to combine your honeymoon and elopement, consider filling out the rest of your week by visiting Bryce Canyon National Park as well. For your elopement day, 4 hours is the minimum amount of time I’d recommend. Don’t cram too much awesomeness into a short few hours, which will make you stressed and rushed trying to get to all the places you want to experience. A full day is much more relaxed and fun. Imagine being surrounded by ancient stone walls as sunlight comes into the canyon, lighting up your partner’s face as they speak their heart and choose you. It will be unforgettable! 

Sample Zion Elopement Timeline – 1.5 Days

Use this sample timeline as a starting point to imagining your dream elopement in Zion National Park.

9:30 Hike up Zion Narrows
12:00 Get dressed at lodge & First Look
1:00 Family arrives for lunch together
2:00 Intimate ceremony in Zion
2:30 Family photos & toasts
3:00 Shared cake & first dance
4:00 Cool off in the river, go tubing!
6:00 Hike to Canyon Overlook for portraits

Sunrise Hiking adventure to epic location

Do we have to hike to elope in Zion?

5 of the 6 ceremony sites within Zion National Park require NO hike to access. Menu falls is a short uphill walk on an established trail with some stairs at the end, but it is not long or strenuous. If you don’t want to hike, that’s totally fine. You can and should still have an amazing elopement in Zion. Just being in the canyon and taking the Zion Shuttle to the many stops will give you that magical feeling. This is a very easy to access park.

The entire park is a national treasure. I would love to be your Zion elopement photographer & location guide. I’ll help you have the adventure elopement of your dreams. I offer half day, full-day, 1.5 day and 2 day elopement photography in Zion National Park and the wild lands outside of it. See my pricing and package details here. I would love to chat with you and help see if an elopement with me is what you’ve been dreaming of. The first step is to inquire and start the conversation! Let’s have an adventure!

Make me your Zion elopement photographer:

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