ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
Thinking about having your wedding at Arches National Park? This planning guide for an Arches National Park Wedding will help you create an adventurous national park elopement.
Arches is one of the most unique parks in the entire United States of America — some may also argue on EARTH. According to Google, “Arches National Park lies north of Moab in the state of Utah. Bordered by the Colorado River in the southeast, it’s known as the site of more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, such as the massive, red-hued Delicate Arch in the east.”
It is important to note that with these 2,000, it has THE densest concentration of natural arches in the world. It also just so happens to be the perfect spot for your National Park Wedding!
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN PLANNING AN ARCHES NATIONAL PARK WEDDING
National Park Elopements are so much fun and can be the dreamiest place to say, “I Do.” Arches National Park Weddings are no different.
Although the excitement should take precedence, knowing the ins and outs while planning is very important as well. It isn’t quite as simple as hopping over to the courthouse. I would hate for you to show up and be anything but prepared!
GETTING TO ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
FOR YOUR WEDDING
FOR YOUR WEDDING
If you aren’t going the road trip route, there are two airports that I recommend flying into.
- Salt Lake City International Airport: This airport has affordable and direct flights into Utah. Once you land, you will need to rent a car and drive 230 miles (4 hours) to the park.
- Grand Junction Regional Airport: This airport is in Colorado near the Utah border. Although it is only about 110 miles (2 hours) from the park, the flights are more expensive and indirect.
CHOOSING YOUR DATE
Before setting a date you’ll need to consider a few things first…
Remember that this park is smack dab in the middle of the desert. The best time to have an Arches National Park Wedding is in the Spring and Fall when the temperatures are relatively mild.
Storms are more frequent in the summer so not only do you need to worry about heatstroke, but you could also face flash floods. It can get pretty frigid in the winter here. If you are planning on having your Arches National Park wedding in the colder months, you will need layers for sure!
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CLIMATE AND AVERAGE WEATHER YEAR-ROUND IN ARCHES NATIONAL PARK VIST HERE.
TIME OF DAY:
Like most things, especially if photography is included, sunrise and sunset are the best times of day for your elopement. Not only is it the most flattering light, but the weather is cooler (which could be good or bad depending on the time of year). You also will have less traffic/visitors which is always a huge pro!
Arches National Park expects high traffic yearly from April to October. Large crowd numbers can also be expected on holidays weekends including Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day.
To avoid having lots of random people being a part of your wedding, I recommend shooting for early spring or late fall. I also would try to plan a weekday typically Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
CHOOSING YOUR ELOPEMENT LOCATION
There Are Only Nine Pre-Approved Ceremony Locations In Arches National Park. Don’t Let This Scare You Though! You Are Still Able To Take Photos In Other Parts Of The Park For Your Arches National Park Wedding.
The number of guests you are planning on will help determine which locations you will be able to have your ceremony.
NOTE: Guest count includes couple themselves, photographer, officiant, and videographer
NATIONAL PARK ELOPEMENT LEGALITIES
To have an Arches National Park Wedding, you must secure a special use permit. This permit is $185.
Your special use permit must be received at least 10 days BEFORE your elope date. Some locations in the park take up to four weeks for approval. I recommend applying as soon as possible. It’s a popular place for elopements, and I don’t want you to miss out on your ideals location!
You’ll need to get a Utah marriage license in order to elope here.
The office closest to the park is the Grand County Office in Moab. If you are traveling from out of state, make sure you arrive early enough to do that since you will need to sign your marriage license in front of the county clerk.
Be sure to bring both of your photo IDs and $40 for the licensing fee.
Your license will expire after 30 days, but there is no waiting period so you will be to use it as soon as you get it signed.
An officiant is required to sign your marriage license in Utah. For this, you will need to provide their name when you apply for your license. Be sure to know who you want to officiate your wedding before you apply for your marriage license.
You have the option to hire an officiant, or you can have a family/friend get ordained to perform your ceremony. Learn more about that HERE.
Two witnesses are required to sign your marriage license as well.
Check with your photographer and other vendors. Most of the time, they are more than happy to double as your witness if you aren’t inviting other guests. You also can find someone around your Arches National Park Wedding to sign for you!
The only requirement for witnesses is that they have to be at least 18 years old.
You cannot bring pets into the park. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed either. If you are planning on bringing rice, birdseed, or non-native seeds, you will need to reconsider. The last restriction is that you cannot have musical instruments or amplified sounds.
TIMED ENTRY TICKETS
As of 2022, Arches has implemented a timed entry system for 6 months April 3-October 3, 2022 to help control congestion in the park. For your elopement or wedding day, you and your guests included in your permit will not need a timed entry ticket. However, if you are wanting to take photos or explore on a separate day inside of the park, be sure to purchase a timed entry ticket months in advance as they are already seeming to book out quickly.
BEST SPOTS TO EXPLORE FOR PHOTOS
- Sand Dune Arch: 10 minute walk through sand surrounded by sandstone walls.
- Turret Arch: Lower traffic than other arches in the area. It is super accessible and close to a parking lot. I love when couples choose to have their first look here.
- La Sals ViewPoint: Near the entrance of the park making it accessible. It has great views of the entire park.
TIPS AND ADVICE
Plan to coordinate carpooling to lower your entrance fees as well as to ensure that everyone can find parking for your ceremony location.
The park occasionally caps the number of visitors inside at one time. You may need to leave and come back a few hours later. Planning for Arches National Park wedding at sunset or sunrise makes this less likely to happen. If you do end up planning to come mid-afternoon, know that you may get told to come back later.
Print out a map or pick one up at the visitors center as cell service can be pretty spotty.
WHAT TO BRING
- Hiking Shoes
- Ceremony Shoes (if different)
- Sweater or Jacket – mornings can be chilly even in the summer
- Headlamps – SUNRISE/SUNSET
PLANNING YOUR ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
WEDDING OR ELOPEMENT DAY
The best part about having an Arches National Park Wedding is that you can play your day however you want! I fully believe that your day should be an EXPERIENCE. That being said, as your plan your day, make sure to include fun adventures to get the most out of your elopement!
LOOKING FOR A PHOTOGRAPHER OR VIDEOGRAPHER TO CAPTURE YOUR ARCHES NATIONAL PARK WEDDING?
Your photographer and videographer should be the first vendors you book after choosing your date and securing your permit — especially you’re having an Arches National Park wedding.
Photographers and videographers typically book out 8-12 months in advance, so if you’ve had your eye on someone, contact them asap and get the conversation started. Your photos and video will be the only thing you have left after your elopement so don’t skimp on these vendors!
Choose a photographer and videographer you absolutely LOVE – trust me, it’s worth the extra expense!
I am a traveling intimate wedding and elopement photographer and videographer based in Minneapolis, MN.
I am passionate about the “in-between” and raw authentic moments of life
I thrive on intimate, emotional moments I feel it’s my purpose in life to preserve people’s stories.
I believe every couple deserves the kind of wedding they’ve always dreamed of.
If you’re on the search for a wedding or elopement photographer and/or videographer, I’m here to help you with planning along the way.
Whether you need permit help, a customize elopement timeline, or location recommendations, I will be there to walk you through it all
aRCHES NATIONAL PARK WEDDING + ELOPEMENT PACKAGES
Want to have an Arches National Park Wedding? Check out some of what I offer below:
- 6 hour, 8 hour, 10 hour, and/or 2-Day Photo + Video Packages
- Elopement Planning Guide
- Unlimited Planning + Timeline Assistance
- Permit + Marriage License Help
- Online Gallery
- Highlight Film
- Super 8 Films Add-Ons
- Drone Footage
- Personal Printing Rights
- No Travel Fee
Photo Packages start at $4500
Video Packages Start at $5500