The Ultimate Guide for Eloping in Sedona | Arizona Wedding Photographer

eloping in sedona overlook

The Ultimate Guide for Eloping in Sedona | Arizona Wedding Photographer

Eloping in Sedona is a dream for many, not only for couples residing in Arizona but couples all over the world. Over the years we have had several couples fly in from other parts of the world to have their wedding day captured in Sedona’s enchanting red rocks. Whether you are looking for a location with spiritual values, an outdoor adventure or just incredible views – Sedona can’t be beat!

The Ultimate Guide for Eloping in Sedona | More about Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is known to be one of the most magical locations in Arizona. The energy vortexes attract many couples wanting a more spiritual feel for their Elopement while also having an abundance in nearby hiking trails, wineries and resorts – perfect for those who want to make a weekend trip out of their Elopement! The possibilities for Eloping in Sedona are endless. Being an Arizona Wedding Photographer (and living just 2 hours away in Phoenix our whole lives) has given us the chance to experience Sedona many times and it never gets less magical. Having been to Sedona more times than we can count we have also had a chance to off-road in our Jeep being able to access those difficult off road trails that couples come to love and desire for an epic overlook for photos! Couples are able to do Pink Jeep Tours to access most spots but for a more intimate feel we always recommend renting your own jeep for the weekend or jumping in the Jeep with us! 

The Ultimate Guide for Eloping in Sedona | What to Wear

Depending on what time of the year you are planning on Eloping in Sedona is a major factor to consider! Sedona weather varies and depending on the month you could be changing for your Elopement after a tough hike in hotter weather or bundling up in a fur coat and trudging through snow! We shoot in Sedona frequently and have truly seen it all. A few things we recommend for each couple holding their Elopement in Sedona is to ALWAYS bring hiking boots, water, an emergency bag and a flashlight or headlamp if we are exploring a location where it could potentially get dark quicker than we can get back after taking those to die for sunset photos!

The Ultimate Guide for Eloping in Sedona | Weather

Sedona more often than not has beautiful weather year round. However, it is Arizona so you can expect bipolar weather here and there. Personally I feel weather changes like a surprise rain storm can make Elopement photos that much more epic, but that’s just me! Typically Spring and Fall are our most popular dates for couples Eloping in Sedona. Spring is wonderful and if you are lucky you’ll find gorgeous spring flowers blooming during your adventure as well as amazing weather. Fall is equally as charming with the leaves changing color and the cooler weather it provides for couples looking to escape the heat. While we still photograph many Elopements during Summer and Winter, they are much less than the latter. Summer in Arizona can be tricky as sometimes temps can reach above 100 degrees making it a bit rough to hike. Summer is also monsoon season in Arizona so random flash floods and rain storms can surprise you and make plans a bit more difficult. Winter in Sedona can absolutely be a dream. The snow covering the red rocks is one of the most incredible sights to see but it is chilly so we always recommend our couples to bring layers, warm coffee or hot chocolate and hand warmers! 

The Ultimate Guide for Eloping in Sedona | Locations

One of the best parts about Eloping in Sedona is the variety in scenery Sedona provides. Breathtaking overlooks, red rocks and creeks are available within miles of each other making it the perfect destination for any couple to say “I do”. While we do keep some of our favorite spots a secret to keep our clients experience exclusive, we’ve attached a few of our favorite spots below!

Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock is known for it’s magical overlook at sunset. Over the last few years it has become increasingly popular for weddings so planning your elopement on a weekday may be more ideal for this location as it can get crowded fast with other weddings and hikers enjoying the scenery on weekends. Hiking distance is just about 1.2 miles round trip for this location but the 740+ ft elevation gain make this a moderate to difficult hike with portions where near vertical climbing is required. From the trailhead the hike can be half hour to an hour each way. Planning around an hour and a half total just for the hike and photos is ideal when shooting at Cathedral Rock. Always remember to bring good hiking shoes, tons of water and flash lights or a head lamp in case the sun sets and you are hiking down in the dark after photos at the top!

Oak Creek Canyon

Oak Creek Canyon is a river gorge located in Northern Arizona between Flagstaff and Sedona. The canyon is often comparable to the Grand Canyon because of it’s scenic beauty. There are several locations in Oak Creek Canyon to Elope though permits may be needed for some of these locations. Eloping in Oak Creek Canyon is great for couples who need less of a hike, have elderly family members who can’t walk as far of a distance or just want something more simple while still providing an amazing backdrop. 

Crescent Moon Ranch

Crescent Moon Ranch is a perfect option for more low-key elopements with lower guest counts. Currently Crescent Moon caps guests at 15 for Elopements with a permit of $50, though this may change after the pandemic. Crescent Moon Ranch offers a beautiful backdrop of Cathedral Rock alongside Oak Creek Canyon. This location is easily accessed by taking a short hike from the parking lot and one of our top recommendations for couples who want something jaw dropping without necessarily wanting to hike far. 

Courthouse Vista

Courthouse Vista is a popular trailhead with dramatic red-rock views without a terribly difficult hike. This location is one of our favorites when couples want something similar to Cathedral Rock without wanting the hike included. There is plenty of parking available and a beautiful 360 view of Sedona at the top. 


Tlaquepaque can host one wedding reception per evening and can accommodate wedding ceremonies in the Tlaquepaque Chapel or on an intimate courtyard. Couples who are eloping can pay a daily permit to photograph here if they are not wanting to host a full blown wedding. Tlaquepaque is known as one of Sedona’s most romantic staging grounds for weddings and vow renewals. 

The Ultimate Guide to Eloping in Sedona | Things to do

Horseback Riding

Wine tours

Hot air balloon rides

Tlaquepaque shopping and arts

If you are thinking of Eloping in Sedona you’ll love this blog we did on Allie and Robert’s Elopement day!

DIY Elopement St. Louis | Destination Wedding Photographer

diy wedding details

DIY Elopement St. Louis | Destination Wedding Photographer

Jasmine and James Wedding day was the epitome of a DIY Elopement. Last minute, Jasmine and James were forced to make the tough decision between keeping their original wedding date or postponing to 2021, a struggle many other couples have faced over the last few months. The decision came easy to the couple though, they could postpone their party another year but their love? No that could not wait!

Planning a DIY Elopement sounds simple right? Yes and No. In the state of a majority of the United States right now a chunk of businesses are shut down and the uncertainty of places like tailor shops, hair and makeup artists, vendors to cater the event, etc are up in the air. They could be available one moment for couples and then be ordered to shut down the next day. While normally planning a DIY Elopement can be a cinch, these days it takes a bit of prep to make your day stress free!

James and Jasmine made planning their DIY Elopement less of a stress to them by having family and friends assist in the Wedding day duties. Jasmine’s mother spent weeks altering her dress by hand as tailor shops in the area had been closed with no sign of opening anytime soon. James and Jasmine’s mothers spent the days leading up to the wedding arranging florals by hand, setting up the family home for the Elopement and preparing care bags for guests. The care bags included a handmade mask with a sewn heart from Jasmine’s dress material that was left over, some water and utensils for dinner so that any germs would be kept to a minimum. The care bags were such a sweet and thoughtful touch, we could hear guests raving about them all afternoon!

Originally, the pair had planned an incredible wedding at a local art venue in Downtown St. Louis. This was the perfect choice for them as Jasmine is a violin artist and James is a videographer, art plays a huge part in their lives together and they wanted something that represented that in their Wedding day. While Covid-19 may have closed their venue down, the couple was able to snag some gorgeous photos from The Last Hotel that were able to bring the modern artsy feel they wanted. The Last Hotel was filled with elegant modern fixtures and paintings that would make any DIY Elopement a dream.

From The Last Hotel, we ran through the streets of Downtown St. Louis. Jasmine and James actually took their Engagement Photos in downtown as well, the wedding photos here were only fitting! The couple expressed their love for the city and mentioned how important a few shots of the current state of St. Louis would be in their gallery. Masks on, boarded buildings and a Global Pandemic, their love trumps it all. Being a Destination Wedding Photographer, we see a lot of different wedding events but this one takes the cake for how they truly embraced the chaos. Jasmine and James shared handwritten vows privately in a lush green park downtown before heading to Jasmine’s parents home for an intimate ceremony.

James and Jasmine kept their DIY Elopement sentimental by having their church pastor officiate their ceremony, hiring a fellow violin artist to play as she walked down the aisle and inviting only their closest family and friends. A Facebook live was set to record and play live for guests who wanted to tune in and could not make the day because of the virus. The couple even included time for a short drive by reception where guests could come by and send love or deliver a small gift to the couple. Jasmine and James Elopement shows that you can do it yourself and still have a wonderful wedding.

Planning an Elopement? Read a few tips here!


Eloping During Covid-19 | Arizona Wedding Photographer

Elopement during covid-19

Eloping During Covid-19 | Arizona Wedding Photographer

We’ve compiled a list of ways you can make Eloping during Covid-19 a breeze! First, go ahead and throw out any expectations that your dream day can not happen because of the current state of the world right now. You can have an incredible, out of this world Wedding still while also keeping those around you safe! Being an Arizona Wedding Photographer, we’ve seen it all and we are here to help!

Eloping during Covid-19 does not mean you two will run away to some hidden place where no friends or family will witness your special day. I mean, unless that’s what you want, because if that’s the case Adventure Elopements are a dream. I’ll help you plan it! With most states right now the rule of thumb is 50 guests or less. To some, that may push their comfort levels and to others they feel they are eliminating a huge portion of their guests. Whether you have 10 guests or 50, a way to include those guests who are not able to attend is Live Streaming! You are able to stream on Facebook Live and even save the video for yourselves after. We have also seen couples have a relative record via Zoom or call friends and family on FaceTime during the ceremony so that they are still able to take part in the event. Another way you can include guests is a drive by cocktail hour, this way friends can drive by and say congratulations or drop a card off!

Next, you’ll want to plan a spot to take formal photos! If the location you are getting married at is say a backyard of a friend or a random park, maybe there isn’t a ton of picture perfect options. Working with your Photographer you can create a timeline that will allow you to find a special place that’s private to the two of you. Jasmine and James, the couple in the photos here, planned their photos to take place in downtown St. Louis! This was a perfect choice for them as they live in the heart of St. Louis and it’s where their relationship blossomed. Eloping during Covid-19 and a Pandemic, taking photos of the current state of the city around them was extremely important to them. Jasmine and James are a true reflection of how love always wins.

Keep it clean! If you are Eloping during Covid-19 the number one goal is keeping everything sanitized and safe for you and guests. Disposable utensils, pre packaged drinks and a few sanitize stations around the event and you are ready to roll! Skipping buffet style dinner and pre plating is also a huge way you can reduce risk for guests. To top it off, you could even throw the utensils, some sanitizer and a mask into a bag and count that as your wedding favor. Easy, practical and guests will thank you for thinking of them!

Incredible Portland Flowers shown above are from:

Last, there’s the huge question of venues needing to shut down again. If your venue is mandated to shut down but you do not want to wait several months to tie the knot, you have options! Exploring into a huge open meadow for a ceremony, finding a cute Airbnb to host your friends and family or reserving a local lot at a State Park are all amazing options for a last minute Elopement location.

See another Elopement here!

Wedding Favors that Stand Out

Wedding favors can be a great way to say “thank you” to your guests for putting in the effort to make it to your big day.  Are you looking for favors that will stand out? I have seen all sorts of unique wedding favor ideas at Arizona weddings. Whether you’re looking for something guests can munch on, or something they can keep forever, these are a few wedding favor ideas that will stand out!

Continue reading “Wedding Favors that Stand Out”

Planning A Wedding : 8 things you need to know | Charlotte Francis Photo

wedding planning tips

Planning A Wedding

Congratulations!  You have a wedding to plan!  This will be such a busy and exciting time in your life.  Being a wedding photographer, I get to see a lot of behind-the-scenes action when it comes to wedding planning.  I’ve compiled a list of things you need to know when planning your wedding.  Hope it helps you to get things planned and enjoy the process!

  • Research always pays off.

Doing your research, no matter how time-consuming, is so worth it.  You will never regret researching instead of booking your first option. Always ask to see galleries of full weddings and ask about what you should expect day of from your photographer as well prior to booking to make sure their style fits what you are wanting for your wedding day. Testimonials and reviews should play a huge role in deciding who your vendors will be.  I have worked with an amazing group of Arizona wedding vendors, so feel free to ask for recommendations!

  • Find a photographer + videographer you vibe with.

I cannot sufficiently stress the importance of finding the right photographer and videographer for you — as a couple.  They are the people who you will be with the most on your wedding day, so it is vital that you vibe with their personalities and techniques. Get to know a couple of photographers through their social media posts and “About Me” pages, and get in contact with those you think you would want to work with! Most photographers will schedule a consultation with prospective clients to see how they get along; take advantage of this!

  • Check out the lighting of your ceremony space.

The mood of your wedding matters.  If you are looking to have a light and airy wedding — but your ceremony space has dark and moody lighting — you might want to look into different locations.  If you choose a ceremony space because of religious or sentimental reasons, your photographer will most likely be able to create lighting that is closer to the mood you want for your wedding.  However, if you are looking for an outdoor space or venue, check it out before you make any big decisions. A good idea for outdoor weddings is checking how the light will be at your ceremony site ahead of time, photographers are great at working with different lighting situations but we always recommend your ceremony have ample shade for you and your guests, especially during Arizona summers or be shot during golden hour. Talk with your photographer to get their input as well, we are here to make your photos the best they can be!

  • Your DJ matters.

Your wedding reception’s success will likely depend in a large part on which  DJ you select.  Every DJ has a different style and will bring a different atmosphere to your celebration, so choose wisely!  Get recommendations from friends who have gotten married recently and  look at online reviews.  Make sure and talk to your DJ before booking to ensure your ideas about the perfect reception align with theirs. In my opinion, your DJ is just as important as finding the right photographer. Finding a DJ who knows how to read the audience and play the right music to get the party started is so important to a successful reception!

  • Get organized.

Because wedding planning is so busy and fast-paced, it is easy to become disorganized.  If you start out with an organized plan, it will be easier to stay organized as you begin to book your vendors and make big decisions! A wedding planner is a huge asset for every wedding, especially for couples who are busier and do not have the time to sit and plan down to the very last detail. A day of planner or coordinator is extremely helpful for any event so that you and your guests can relax and enjoy the party!

  • Your budget is a huge part of wedding planning.

Your budget is not everything, yet maybe it is.  Being realistic with your wedding budget will help you avoid unnecessary debt and financial stress as you enter married life.  Once you have determined who is contributing and how much they will be paying for, it is important to decide what your personal budget will be.  According to a 2017 study from “The Knot,” the average wedding in the United States costs over $33,000.  Many factors affect what the cost of your wedding will be — guest count, location, flowers, etc.  For a rough idea of how much each item will cost, use these national averages.

  • You will have to prioritize.

Budgeting will help you to leave space for your priorities.  Sit down with your fiance and figure out what the most important aspects of your wedding are to the two of you.  Determine what percentage of your budget you will be spending on the items you have prioritized. Prioritize these details and compromise on less important items to stay within your budget. Decide together what percentage of your budget you will be spending on the items you have deemed as most important.

  • Plan your wedding for you.

This is your wedding.  Although you can be thoughtful and think of your guests, do not let your guests’ preferences overpower your own.  Be assertive and make sure you are making decisions for the two of you! This is your special day! Some creative ways you can make your wedding more unique are having live music for your ceremony or reception, smore’s or a hot chocolate bar for those chilly winter weddings or an icecream truck for summer, a photo booth for your reception, a tattoo bar, customized favors for guests (some of my favorites have been handmade soaps, succulents to take home and grow, mini shots and fresh coffee grounds!) The list goes on and on! Sit down and think about all of the things that would make your wedding a dream and implement those. This is one of the most special days of your life and you deserve to have it revolve around all of the things you both love!

Check out Pj and Diana’s Spring Arizona Wedding here!