Sedona Winter Elopement

Sedona Winter Elopement | Sedona Elopement Photographer

sedona winter elopement

This Sedona Winter elopement was chilly but man was it beautiful! Emma and Lauren traveled all the way from the UK to have their elopement day in Sedona and it was pure magic. When I first spoke with Emma and Lauren on the phone to start planning their special day they were originally torn between the idea of Eloping in Iceland or Eloping in Sedona. I am a HUGE fan of Iceland, we even had our own vow renewal there! But ultimately they decided that Sedona’s incredible views, red rocks and magical energy just couldn’t be beat, can you blame them?

Sedona is beautiful year round in my opinion but the season’s do have a big impact on where and when the best time to get married here is! Sedona is busiest during it’s peak tourist seasons which is typically September-November and February-March. The weather is beautiful during these months but you do have to worry about crowding in certain areas and traffic! We do not typically recommend having your wedding during the summer months in Sedona. Not only is it insanely hot but there are also higher chances of monsoon storms that can cause flash floods and be dangerous. Going into their Sedona Winter Elopement Emma and Lauren knew it would be chilly, they are used to it living in the UK but the snow was an awesome surprise!

When couples decide to elope with us we help build your elopement day photo timeline based on sunrise or sunset photos at the end of the day. Most couples prefer that golden hour sunset but Emma and Lauren had a really beautiful sentiment on doing their ceremony at sunrise. It was important to them as a couple to watch the sunrise together that morning so that they could watch the sun rise on this new chapter on their lives. We hiked to the peak overlooking the town of Sedona and had the place almost entirely to ourselves to read vows. It was super windy that morning so we did cut our time a little short here and went to a warmer area to enjoy views instead!

Our second hike of the day for Lauren and Emma’s Sedona Winter Elopement had stunning views of Cathedral Rock in the background and an area lower to enjoy the creek. We spent some time by the creek before they sat down to read hand written letters from their families back home and enjoy a pre packed charcuterie picnic box from Sedona Picnics with some champagne! It was the perfect little treat before our last hike of the day. Lauren and Emma absolutely loved Oak Creek Canyon, the rock formations were stunning and an absolute must see on their trip to Sedona! To our surprise the day before the elopement Sedona happened to get a TON of snow and we were able to spend some time enjoying a winter wonderland in Sedona.

Thank you so much Emma and Lauren for trusting me to capture your Sedona Winter Elopement, it was a day I absolutely won’t forget!

For more information on Sedona Elopements, check out our Ultimate Guide to Eloping in Sedona!

sedona winter elopement
sedona winter elopement

VENDORS:

Photographer: Charlotte Francis Photo
Videographer: Charlotte Francis Photo
Tux: King & Allen Tailoring
Dress: ASOS
Charcuterie Box: Sedona Picnics
Rings: Tiffany & Co.
Watch: Gucci
Bracelet: Tiffany & Co.
Trainers Gucci & Alexander McQueen

Red Agave Resort Wedding Sedona Micro Wedding

Red Agave Resort Wedding Sedona Micro Wedding | Sedona Elopement Photographer

Red Agave Resort Wedding

Natalie and Kyle flew all the way from Georgia to have their Red Agave Resort Wedding in Sedona. Knowing how important family was and how they really wanted to be able to spend time with those they loved most and not be overwhelmed by a large guest count, they decided early on in planning that a micro wedding in Sedona would be the best fit for their vision of their wedding day. Micro weddings are a favorite of ours, they are truly the best of both worlds! With micro weddings you are able to have the intimate parts of a low guest count like an elopement but also celebrate with a small group of friends and family. If you are wanting to incorporate some values from traditional weddings, want a smaller guest count but still crave the adventure of epic nature bridals and extra quiet time just you and your partner, I highly recommend considering a micro wedding for your special day!

Natalie and Kyle love the outfoors and the red rocks were so special to them as a couple! When it came time to deciding where they wanted to say i do, choosing a Red Agave Resort Wedding was a no brainer. Red Agave Resort is awesome in so many ways but a few that really sealed the deal for the couple was the insane red rock views from the property, the ability to transform the space to fit their vision of the day and the fact that the resort allows guests to stay in their a-frames making it super convenient for guests traveling for the wedding!

Picking favorite photos from Natalie and Kyle’s Red Agave Resort Wedding was SO hard. They are truly such kind, fun, genuine and easy people to photograph! They were truly just so excited to celebrate their love with eachother and their families the entire day felt like a party with family! A few things I absolutely loved that the couple did to incorporate more of the things they loved were the incredible details that Natalie had set aside for me to photograph.Natalie spent so much time picking every little detail to incorporate and I could definitely tell! I also really loved the taco bar, the neon sign for photo ops for guests, the live music and super cozy family style table they used to create an intimate setting for dinner!

If you loved this Sedona blog and are interested in more Sedona tips, make sure to check out our guide on eloping in Sedona!

Vendors:

Venue: Red Agave Resort

Photographer: Charlotte Francis Photo

Video: Charlotte Francis Photo

Rentals: I Do Rentals / Retro Event Rentals

Makeup: Superstition Makeup Co

Bartenders: Arizona Bartenders

Live Band: Ben and Kassie with my One and Only Band

Cake: Take The Cake AZ

Catering: Modern Tortilla

Flowers: Sedona Florist

What to do if there’s rain on your wedding day?

sedona elopement

What to do if there’s rain on your wedding day? : Arizona Elopement Photographer

We have all heard the phrase “rain on your wedding day is good luck!” When it comes to your wedding day, seeing that ominous rain cloud can feel like the end of the world and instantly send couples into a panic. Whether the weather calls for a light drizzle or shows a downpour the entire day, it is understandable that couples obsessively check the weather and wonder what the heck they are going to do if it does in fact rain on their wedding day. There are a million questions that run through our couples heads – Will our outfits be ruined? How will our photos turn out if it’s pouring rain? Of course, in a perfect world we would have immaculate lighting all day, perfect temps and not a cloud in sight! Rain on your wedding day does NOT have to be a buzzkill though! We try to remind our couples that the weather is ultimately out of your hands and there is no use in stressing over something that has yet to happen, but that does not mean there is no need for a backup plan!

sedona elopement

Do we really need a rain plan?

Whether your wedding is in Arizona, where we get nearly no rain 90% of the year or in Oregon where it rains more often than not – yes you need a plan! It could seem silly if you are getting married in an area where it does not rain often but being prepared is key to having a stress free wedding experience and you will thank yourself if the day comes and it does in fact show signs of a drizzle!

rain on your wedding day

Here are 6 tips to help you stay ahead and feel prepared for any weather issues that may pop up!

1. Keep tabs on the weather app

If you are worried about rain on your wedding day, checking the weather app can help you feel a little more in control. The week of your wedding is best to check in my opinion since things can change so often there is no use in stressing over something that has not happened yet. As you get into the week of your wedding if it still is showing rain you can make a plan of action for the day. Is the storm all day, just at morning or just at night? If it is one or the other you could always see about moving your ceremony to an earlier or later time. If it shows rain the entire time you can make a plan to shift your event to all indoors! Please know while yes it is helpful to keep tabs on the weather, checking too often can add to your stress so try and limit it to the week of for a more accurate read.

2. Talk to your Wedding Planner About What Rain on Your Wedding Day Means

If you do not have a wedding planner that you have hired, more than likely there is a contact at your venue that handles wedding coordination that you are in touch with during those final weeks. It is best to keep in touch with the day of contact, especially because they are familiar with the venue and have probably seen what other couples have done when bad weather hits. Your planner will be able to find an appropriate location at your venue or help create a plan of action in the event that it does rain on your wedding day.

3. Create a Back Up Plan

Before even booking a venue you should be thinking about the weather and how different scenarios could affect your wedding day. When touring wedding venues it is important to ask what the plan is if it does rain on your wedding day. Will the venue move the ceremony inside? Are you able to move the time of your ceremony? Does the venue provide a tent or have some sort of cover if they do not have an indoor space? These are all questions to consider when booking your venue. Having a back up plan in place helps to feel more in control of the situation and gives couples less stress when something goes wrong.

4. Come Prepared!

Rain on your wedding day does not have to be the end of the world! If you see rain in the forecast here are a few things you can pack to help to keep comfortable. You will need to bring an umbrella to stay under during the heavy rain if choosing to continue outside for your ceremony. On the plus side, clear umbrellas photograph beautifully and actually add some charm to your photos. We love using them! Another must is a change of shoes just in case one pair gets soggy. You will want to keep in mind wet grass and how easy it is to sink during rain. If your dress is long enough you could wear sneakers outside and change into heels later or you can find some heel protectors here! Having your makeup and hair stylist stay until after the ceremony to provide any touch ups from the rain is an amazing idea as well!

5. Keep Your Guests Comfortable If It Does Rain on Your Wedding Day

Keeping guests comfortable during any weather scenario is a big deal for couples. Just like during the summer heat couples provide guests with paper fans, in the winter there tends to be blankets to wrap with, etc. If you know there will be rain on your wedding day we always suggest getting umbrellas for guests to sit under during the ceremony. If you know far enough ahead you can even buy custom umbrellas that go with your wedding color palette to be more aesthetic!

6. Be Flexible and Embrace The Rain!

The biggest tip I can give you on your wedding day is to trust your vendors and embrace it! Working in the wedding industry for over 6 years I can not tell you how many events have had rain regardless of if it was a sprinkle or a downpour. The most important thing you can do is to embrace it. It is still your wedding day, rain or shine!

If you live in Arizona and are planning to elope, check out our blog on our top 10 locations to elope!

Sedona Elopement at Merry Go Round Rock : Arizona Elopement Photographer

sedona elopement

Sedona Elopement at Merry Go Round Rock

sedona elopement

For their Sedona Elopement – Sam and Emily knew exactly what they wanted to bring their dream day to life. Sam and Emily told me when planning their dream elopement day : “We knew that a traditional wedding wasn’t for us. Deciding where to elope was easy! We both wanted to travel somewhere we have have never been, and Sedona sold us both very quickly.” 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. Also while also having an abundance of nearby hiking trails, wineries, and resorts. It is 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 has given us the chance to experience Sedona many times and never gets old.

Having visited Sedona many times, 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!

Emily and Sam opted for a cozy Airbnb to get ready for their Sedona Elopement. Having a hotel or Airbnb that has plenty of natural light and space for you to get ready the morning of your wedding is a must! They spent their wedding morning getting ready and writing vows to each other in the kitchen – it was super intimate and sentimental and all about just them, which is exactly what they wanted! After they finished getting ready we took separate cars and headed to a stunning creek in Sedona to do their first look together. We highly recommend weekdays for Elopements so that you can have the entire space to yourself and don’t have to

worry about crowds!

After an intimate first look, Emily and Sam were off to our favorite off road location in Sedona for more fun! Merry Go Round Rock is one of our favorite, more secluded places to bring our couples who decide on a Sedona Elopement. Merry Go Round is only accessible via an offroad vehicle so typically our couples can only access this location if they book a Pink Jeep Tour or hop in our jeep with us! Still wanting to incorporate some activities from a traditional wedding, the couple decided to share a first dance cliffside surrounded by Sedona’s beautiful red rocks. A little tip if you are eloping and wondering what kind of activities can we include to make our elopement day be THAT much more special? Check out my blog on what activities to include in your elopement day!

One of the things they looked forward to most about their Sedona Elopement was the beautiful views they could share during their vows and sunset photos. They had a jaw dropping view of the red rocks as the sun set along with blue hour overlooking the valley. Back at the Airbnb, Sam and Emily finished the night stargazing and enjoying s’mores fireside. It was an absolute dream ending to their Elopement in Sedona.

What Elopement Activities You Can Include In Your Big Day

 Elopement Day Activities : How To Make The Most Of Your Elopement Day 

pinetop elopement


So… you want to get married in a way that represents you as a couple and ditch the stress of a traditional wedding? Our couples come to us from all over the world wanting to plan their dream wedding in an incredible scenic location, but your wedding day is so much more than just a pretty spot to take photos! Sure, elopement days do not include the many activities that traditional weddings hold but that does not make it any less of an experience! Instead of focusing time and money on a huge production for guests, couples are deciding to elope and instead prioritize a day filled with places and activities that are special to them as a couple. 

There are many ways to get married, your wedding day does not have to be a one size fits all. If skipping the traditional festivities and planning a once in a lifetime experience sounds more up your alley, consider eloping! 

Aside from the vows and ceremony, what do couples actually do on their elopement day? When it comes to helping our clients with planning, this is always the first question we get! We created this to help more couples discover that their elopement day can be anything they dream of and to spark some inspiration on different activities that can be included on the big day to help your experience be unforgettable and everything you could wish for on a wedding day. 


Let’s dive in, what is an Elopement?

An elopement can mean different things to anyone. An elopement can be a quick courthouse wedding, a ceremony with just the two of you, an intimate gathering to get married, I could go on and on. For me personally, an elopement is an intimate experience that focuses on the couple and creating an intentional celebration of your love. When couples choose to elope, they prioritize themselves and their experiences instead of feeling obliged to perform in traditional activities that they do not align with.

Couples elope because they want the type of wedding day that they truly enjoy and are excited about. Your wedding day should never feel like a stressful time and planning should not feel like you are checking a box off of a list. a day they want to relive time and time again. Eloping does not necessarily mean it is only you and your partner either. Your celebration can include family, your closest friends or even just the two of you if you prefer it that way. The beauty in eloping is that it can truly look however you want.
A common misconception with elopements are that they are somehow looked at as less of an experience than a traditional wedding, which is absolutely not the case. Elopement days are just as important, and in my personal belief, even more special because you are choosing to go against traditional beliefs to create a day that is tailored to you and your relationship. You deserve just as much documentation and celebration regardless of the way you decide to say “I do.”

How could an elopement even last all day if it’s just me and my partner?

Listen, I totally get how a full day of coverage can seem like a bit much when there is only two of you. The idea of having photos clicked for a full 6-8 hours on your wedding day can feel daunting, but the day goes by so quickly! While it is not a traditional wedding yes, IT IS STILL YOUR WEDDING DAY!
For us, we absolutely are not clicking photos all day long! We create an experience for our couples, so while we may be together the entire day do not stress about needing to be photo ready at all times. Our time together could look like cooking a meal, writing vows, going on a hike, laughing together, exploring new places and stargazing and boom! 6 hours. Your wedding day will truly be a whirlwind of a day and I promise you will want every second documented.

Your wedding day deserves documentation, whether it’s just the two of you or with a full guest count. With traditional weddings it is standard to get 7+ hours of coverage. From start to finish traditional weddings are documented, what makes your wedding day deserve any less?

How to Start Planning Your Elopement Activities

Close your eyes and envision your absolute perfect day from start to finish. Are you enjoying a quiet morning together sipping coffee and reading a book or writing your vows? Are you cooking lunch together and having a picnic at your favorite spot? Are you taking a new hike or trying something brand new for the first time like zip lining or a hot air balloon? Are you in the desert in Arizona or chasing a waterfall in Iceland? Are you traveling to a new location or somewhere familiar and sentimental?

When it comes to envisioning the day, try and let go of realistic expectations and what seems logical. Focus on creating a day that will align with you, give you joy and excitement and be the most incredible experience of your life. That’s what your wedding day should be about! Ignore what social media says to do, what your family expects of you and what society deems appropriate as a wedding. Your wedding day is all about celebrating your love in the most intentional way.

20+ Elopement Activities You Can Enjoy On Your Wedding Day

Elopements are not a one size fits all. Your elopement experience should be so much more than just exchanging your vows and snapping a few quick photos. When it comes to deciding what activities to include on your wedding, ask yourself what makes us happy? What do we enjoy doing together? Is there a new place we want to see or a new thing we have been dying to try out? Is there a sentimental activity we can incorporate? The options are truly endless! Here are a few of our favorite ideas you can incorporate to have an out of this world elopement experience! 

stargazing wedding photo


Adventurous Elopement Activities

  • Stargazing
  • Have a campfire with s’mores! 
  • First dance by a campfire or under the stars
  • Sparklers
  • Make breakfast together
  • Have a picnic
  • Go to a craft brewery
  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Jeep off-roading 
  • Helicopter tour 
  • Kayaking 
  • Rock climbing 
  • Snorkeling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Skiing or Snowboarding
  • Zip-lining
  • Watch the sunrise or sunset
  • Hot Air balloon 
  • Taking a bath together
  • Read a book 
  • Go horseback riding
  • Yoga
  • Play an instrument or listen to music
  • Read letters from family and friends 
  • Write letters to each other to open on an anniversary
  • Paint together 
  • Soak in hot spring or lagoon 

confetti pop wedding

If you need some help on where to start planning your elopement, check out our 10-step-guide on how to elope! Wandering Weddings also has a great blog on Elopements and how to help couples decide if Eloping is the right decision for them, check that out here!

Elope in Arizona : Top 10 Locations

arizona elopement photographer

Top 10 Locations to Elope in Arizona

Eloping in Arizona

elope in arizona sedona


Arizona has some of the vastest scenery in the country ranging from sun-drenched deserts, cactus views, stunning overlooks, and mountainscapes. Also enchanting red rocks, slot canyons, forests, and even winter wonderlands in the right seasons. So it’s no wonder couples travel far and wide to elope in Arizona!

Arizona is home to 24 National Parks including the infamous Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, and Saguaro National Park. Along with 31 state parks and 6 National Forests. With the many parks and forests to choose from, there are many hidden gems off the beaten path to adventure. Couples can enjoy as well as spiritual journeys in everyone’s favorite destination, Sedona. Thus, making Arizona a destination fit for every type of couple’s wedding dreams.

As an Arizona Elopement Photographer, I’ve explored everywhere finding the best locations to share with couples. It’s best for making the decision to journey to Arizona for their elopement day. If you aren’t sure how to elope, make sure you check out my 10 steps on eloping blog!

elope in arizona

The top 10 locations to elope in Arizona

Sedona
Grand Canyon
Horseshoe Bend
Slot canyons
Flagstaff
Monument Valley
Lake Powell
Superstition Mountains
Mogollon Rim
Coal Mine Canyon

GET YOUR FREE ELOPEMENT PLANNING CHECKLIST HERE
READ ABOUT REAL ELOPEMENT EXPERIENCE HERE

sedona elopement

Sedona

When couples decide to elope in Arizona, it’s no surprise that Sedona is on the top of their list. Sedona is known for its colorful, surreal red rock formations. Its unique energy surrounds the vortex sites, with the infamous pink jeep tours. In addition amazing food, views, and incredible hikes throughout the town. The list of locations to elope in Sedona are endless, but here are a few favorites. The West Fork Trail, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Red Rock State Park, Merry Go Round Rock, Seven Sacred Pools. The Red Rock Airport, Red Rock Crossing, Crescent Moon Ranch, Bear Mountain Trail. These are just a few incredible options for couples choosing Sedona as their destination!

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the main reasons couples choose to elope in Arizona. It is one of the most famous national parks in the entire United States. Containing 277 miles of the Colorado River, many-branched canyons, filled with a multitude of geologic features and rich archeological history. The Grand Canyon also has some of the most breathtaking lookouts you could ever dream of including :

Mather Point, South Rim
Redwall Bridge, North Rim
Hopi Point, South Rim Trail
Plateau Point, Bright Angel Trail

Horseshoe Bend

With its incredible views and natural beauty, Horseshoe Bend is a top destination for those who elope in Arizona. Its 270° bend in the Colorado River offers a lookout view over the river and unique Navajo sandstone walls. Horseshoe Bend is a popular tourist attraction for those exploring the Southwest. There are also tons of activities near Horseshoe bend for those who are planning a road trip through Arizona. Suggestions in seeing the Grand Staircase Escalante, Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, or a Horseback ride through the canyon!

elope in arizona horseshoe bend

Slot Canyons

Slot Canyons are formed by millions of years of wind and water erosion. These incredible rock formations are known for their flowing smooth shaped sandstone. It makes them one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It is also with being one of the deepest gorges on the Earth. It’s no mystery why flocks of tourists seek to explore these canyons every year. It is truly one of the most magical places you can explore when planning to elope in Arizona. Some beautiful slot canyons to explore include Upper Antelope Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon, Rattlesnake Canyon, and Mountain Sheep Canyon.

Flagstaff

Flagstaff is the perfect location for couples who want to elope in Arizona but don’t want the desert heat. Nestled at 7,000 feet near the base of the San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff reigns as the mountain jewel in the crown of the desert state of Arizona. Flagstaff is popular among the outdoor adventure community who come to see the vast aspen forests, cool crisp weather, hiking, and historical sites, you can even stargaze at the Lowell observatory! Flagstaff is also perfect for couples who love the a-frame elopement vibe, here is my favorite a-frame AirBnB for you to stay if you are considering eloping in flagstaff!

Monument Valley

monument valley elopement

Monument Valley is not a valley at all, but rather a wide, flat landscape interrupted by colorful red buttes and spires rising hundreds of feet into the air. Couples eloping in Arizona choose Monument Valley to experience one of the most majestic and most photographed places on earth. This great valley boasts sandstone masterpieces that tower at heights of 400 to 1,000 feet, framed by scenic clouds casting shadows that roam the desert floor. The angle of the sun accents these graceful formations, providing scenery that is absolutely breathtaking.

Lake Powell

elope in arizona

Lake Powell is part of the Colorado River in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The beautiful rocks and cliffs are majestic against the turquoise blue water. The long and winding Lake Powell is known for its scenic beauty and recreational opportunities including houseboating, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, water skiing, and jet skiing. Lake Powell is top on our list of where to elope in Arizona!

Superstition Mountains

This mountain range, less than an hour east of Phoenix, is famous for more than its beauty. Its very name derives from the mystery surrounding it. The Superstition Wilderness offers a stunning desert environment to explore. Sun-drenched mountains, golden light with massive saguaro’s, and cotton candy skies are some of our favorite things about the Superstition Mountains and one of the reasons many couples decide to elope in Arizona! At the base of the Superstition Mountains, is Lost Dutchman State Park – one of Arizona’s most popular state parks! Lost Dutchman is a perfect spot to experience the beauty of this desert region and a great spot to elope in Arizona! They even allow hourly rentals as well as unique setups for couples wanting to say “I do” in the desert!

Mogollan Rim

payson arizona elopement

Stretching 200 miles from Yavapai County to New Mexico, the Mogollon Rim provides breathtaking views overlooking an expansive forest of pine trees. The Mogollon Rim offers some of the most far-reaching scenery in Arizona, you’ll find breathtaking overlook spots for sunset photos, and can even enjoy a picnic, hiking, biking, rock climbing, boating, fishing, and horseback riding, and stargazing there!

Coal Mine Canyon

Coal Mine Canyon is an incredible hidden gem in Arizona we’ve been wanting to tell you about for a long time. And it will blow your mind. It is one of the most remote canyons in Arizona and its main characteristic is the rainbow of colors painted on the badlands, the pinnacles, the hoodoos, the ravines, and the unique balanced rocks that emerge from the base of the gorges. This canyon gets around 200 visitors each year making it the perfect place to elope in Arizona if you are longing for privacy and breathtaking views.

This list is only a glimpse into some of the absolute gems Arizona holds, and it was so hard to narrow it down to just 10! But any place in Arizona will give you a magical experience. Hopefully, this list helps you begin the search for your dream elopement location. Let’s start planning your elopement day!

10-Step-Guide-On-How-To-Elope

telluride elopement

10 Step Guide on How to Elope | Arizona Elopement Photographer

how to elope in sedona

Congratulations, you’re engaged! Now that the question has been popped and you have had a moment to relax… you are probably wondering how to elope, that’s where we come in. First things first, a big question we get asked often is what is an elopement anyway? Eloping means that all of the wedding day choices you have to make, are yours entirely. You make the rules. You can truly make your day any adventure you want. Your elopement day can be a day that reflects the two of you instead of being focused on everyone else’s needs, opinions, and expectations. In traditional weddings it is easy to feel like you are putting on a production for guests and to feel so much stress on how to please others that you often forget about what the day is truly about – YOU. Elopements used to be only known as a quick, hush hush ceremony in a Las Vegas church or a trip to the courthouse but we are here to break that stigma and to tell you about how you can have the wedding day of your dreams without the hassle of a huge production. All of this freedom to plan your dream day can feel a bit overwhelming but we are here to help! How to Elope requires 10 easy steps:

How to Elope: Step by Step Guide

  1. Envision your dream wedding day
  2. Create an Inspiration board
  3. Determine a budget
  4. Begin research
  5. Decide on a location
  6. Start booking your dream vendors
  7. Book lodging, rental cars, flights
  8. Start thinking about attire and details
  9. Finalize details
  10. Announce the big news to family and friends!

While planning an elopement is a lot less stressful than planning a traditional wedding, there are still many aspects you will need to consider when jumping into planning your big day. Being an elopement photographer over the last few years has helped us compile a list of tips and tricks to help guide our couples on how to elope with the least stress as possible! In the past we have found that couples tend to shy away from an elopement for a few reasons, typically it all comes down to them not understanding how to elope, what an elopement truly is and how their day could look when they choose to elope. Having been in this position ourselves when we got married, we are here to tell you that you CAN have the wedding day of your dreams without the hassle of planning a traditional wedding. You can incorporate family, friends and traditions to where you are still getting the full wedding day experience without the headache of a huge production and regret from not planning your wedding the way you intended. We are here to help you plan the wedding day of your dreams, feel free to check out this Arizona elopement for more elopement ideas!

How to Elope Step 1: Envision Your Dream Wedding Day

colorado elopement

When you are first looking into how to elope, a big task that you will want to start with is envisioning what your wedding day will actually look like. The best way to brainstorm ideas that will truly make the most of your elopement day is to sit together and dream about what means the most to you on your wedding, things you would love to experience together and what time of year or scenery is pulling at your heart. A fun date night would be a great time to do this together! It is important to keep an open mind when envisioning your elopement day. This is a place for you to think of your wildest dreams. If you could elope anywhere in the world, where would it be? What landscapes scream your name? Try not to get caught up in the logistics just yet of what you can and can not do. This is a time to be open minded and lay all of your ideas out on the table.

How to Elope Step 2: Create An Inspiration Board

san diego elopement

Creating an inspiration board plays a huge part in how to elope in a way that encompasses everything that you love and want to be a part of your wedding day.I know it may seem cliche to say to look at Pinterest but it is actually a great way to look into other couples elopements, get an idea of different and unique things that you can incorporate into your day and see different locations that you may not have even thought about. It is important to put together colors and styles on your inspiration board that you are drawn to, this will help you tie in flowers, decor if you have any, colors for attire and will also help your photographer to determine locations that may work best for the color and style you are looking for. If you still need any help thinking of some great styles, we loved the style of this Airbnb elopement!

How to Elope Step 3: Determine A Budget

san diego elopement

When determining your budget, it is essential to look into how to elope in whichever area your eyes are set on. This can mean researching several different locations as costs will be different ranges in different areas of the world but it will give you a good estimate to go off of. The average for a traditional wedding in the US is $34,000, but you can absolutely have an incredible elopement for less than half of that cost. Expect to spend a majority of your budget on photography and the rest on travel, attire, rings, flowers, hair & makeup, an officiant, food, activities, and your marriage license. This is definitely the least exciting part in wedding planning but it is very important to determine a budget range early on so that you can see what experiences may be doable and what you should not waste as much time on. We suggest starting at a base range that you are both comfortable with and then a top range of your budget where it is not as likely you will get to unless you find an out of this world experience that you HAVE to do. It is definitely easier to splurge when it comes to experiences that excite you!

How to Elope Step 4: Begin Research

how to elope in sedona

Research plays a big part in determining what you will need to do in order to have your elopement at a certain location. You will need to look into how to elope at certain locations. This can mean looking into permits, regulations, weather and the best season to get married at your destination. When determining your ceremony site, make sure you first confirm that it is legal to have a ceremony or photos taken there. Certain locations may or may not allow this and it is important to realize and plan for a new location rather than showing up and finding out the hard way. As well as any restrictions you will want to stay up to date on any permits your destination may require. Some locations require multiple permits for both you and your photographer so it is important that you check into your sites rules and regulations to make sure you do not hit any bumps in the road on your elopement day. It is also important to look into weather and seasons at different locations as this plays a huge part in how to elope in these places. Different locations will be busier during certain times of the year based on the weather, meaning you may want to plan around these to avoid hikers or large crowds of tourists. You also want to research so that you know what to pack to keep yourselves comfortable and prepared. Will you need thermals for cooler weather? An extra change of clothes if your location has rainstorms frequently? Hiking boots for a rugged hike to your ceremony? These are all key factors to keep in mind when planning your elopement day!

How to Elope Step 5: Decide On A Location

superstition mountains elopement

At this point, you should have a location nailed down. This is the part where you look into how to elope in that part of the world. Now that you have your budget decided, an inspiration board filled with the most magical ideas, you have researched a ton on different locations and seasons – it is time to decide on where to hold your wedding day! If Arizona made the cut, we have a great list of the best places to elope in Arizona. Certain factors to keep in mind when deciding on this location are: Do you want this experience to be just the two of you? Do you want family and friends to join you on your epic elopement, if so how many will you have join you? Once you have nailed down who and how many people you will be expecting for your big day then it becomes easier to nail down specifics like exact locations for a ceremony, an adventurous hike to bridals or a cozy camping spot to stargaze at the end of the night. Another great thing about elopements is that couples often can save money by eloping and combine their elopement with their honeymoon to their destination of choice, it’s a win win!

How to Elope Step 6: Start Booking Your Dream Vendors

sedona elopement

The next and our personal favorite step is to book your dream vendors! If the elopement day is only the two of you it is especially important to book the right photographer and videographer quickly as those will be the only real images and memories you will have for the day, you want someone who can capture it perfectly for you. This is also a great time to book other services for your elopement day such as florist, hair, make up and experiences like a helicopter ride, renting paddle boards or kayaks, a boat tour or a hot air ballon ride! How to elope and have the best experience is to make sure you and all of your vendors are on the same page, this can mean sharing timelines, vision boards or viewing galleries prior to the elopement day to ensure your vision fits their styles!

How to Elope Step 7: Book Lodging, Rental Cars and Flights

catalina island elopement

Depending on where you are eloping as well you will need to research on if your location requires an officiant, if you can self-solemnize or have your photographer sign for you, if they are ordained. When booking other services like flights, lodging and rental vehicles keep it mind that the closer your hotel is to the ceremony site, the more streamlined your timeline will be. You will also want to keep in mind lodging size if you are expecting guests, you may want to look into a larger Airbnb or a hotel block so that you can all stay close together. When it comes to transportation you will need to factor in how traveling to your ceremony location will look like. If it is a rugged road that requires off roading you will need to look into a 4×4 or consider a rental company that provides an off road service.

How to Elope Step 8: Start Thinking About Wedding Attire and Details

superstition mountain elopement

This is such a fun step, especially if you have decided to go the route of no guests. We have found that a great way to keep family feeling involved in the wedding process without actually being present on the day of is to invite them along on some wedding errands – especially dress or tux shopping! When deciding on attire try to keep in mind the location that you have chosen and elements that will look beautiful in these places. An example of this was this epic wedding in San Francisco where our couple had a traditional dress for their ceremony and then changed into her more functional but fabulous dress to attend outside lands for their reception see it here! Factors you will want to keep in mind are if your location requires lots of hiking or uncertain weather where you would need to bring a change of shoes and some extra clothes to keep warm. If you will need to bring an umbrella to shield yourselves from rain or a change of clothes if you are wanting to change into your dress at your ceremony location. This is a great time to pack momentos, letters from relatives or any heirlooms!

How to Elope Step 9: Finalize Details

cabo elopement

To keep yourselves feeling free of stress make sure that you finalize a game plan ahead of time. It is easiest to make a 1 month, 1 week and 2 day prior schedule to ensure that you have taken care of any last minute duties. All vendors should be booked at this time and have a copy of your day of timeline to be best prepared as well as your marriage license if needed. This is also a great time to plan a surprise for your significant other like a gift, a special song to share your first dance or letters from family members that could not attend. You will want to sketch our a rough timeline and check list to keep everything running smoothly, make sure you take adequate time to eat, drink and rest so that you can enjoy yourselves!

How to Elope Step 10: Announce the big news to family and friends!

sedona elopement

A big question we get is how to elope without feeling like we are not including our family and friends. The choice to elope is a big, bold and brave decision that ultimately only you can make but it is so worth it. It can be tough making the choice to elope without friends and family. A few things that you can do to help ease uneasy family members is to keep them involved as much as you can. You can bring them dress shopping with you, make lunch or dinner plans together to talk about activities you will be doing during your elopement, take them along to florist appointments or even throw a BBQ “reception” to still include family in your celebration. Ultimately, this is up to you and your comfort level and what you feel comfortable including family members on!

Are you ready to start planning the elopement of your dreams? Let’s start planning!

Eloping in Sedona: The Ultimate Guide | Arizona Elopement Photographer

eloping in sedona overlook

The Ultimate Guide for Eloping in Sedona | Arizona Elopement Photographer

Eloping in Sedona is a dream for couples residing in Arizona and all over the world. Over the years we have had couples travel 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 is it!

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. Also while also having an abundance of nearby hiking trails, wineries, and resorts. It is 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 has given us the chance to experience Sedona many times and never gets old.

Having visited Sedona many times, 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! 

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 hike in hot weather or bundling up and trudging through snow! We shoot in Sedona frequently and have truly seen it all. A few things we recommend to bring, hiking boots, water, an emergency bag, and a flashlight or headlamp if we are exploring a location where it could potentially get dark quickly.

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 rainstorm can make Elopement photos that much more epic! 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. Fall is equally as charming with the leaves changing color and the cooler weather.

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 the temperature can reach above 100 degrees. Summer is also the monsoon season in Arizona, so random flash floods can make it harder. Winter in Sedona can absolutely be a dream. The snow covering the red rocks is one of the most incredible sights to see. It is chilly so we always recommend our couples to bring layers, warm coffee or hot chocolate, and hand warmers! 

Locations

One of the best parts about Eloping in Sedona is the variety in scenery Sedona provides. Breathtaking overlooks, red rocks, and creeks are everywhere! This makes 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 will share a few of our favorite spots below!

Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock is famous for its magical overlook at sunset! Over the last few years, it has become popular for weddings so eloping on a weekday may be more ideal. It gets super crowded quickly with weddings and hikers enjoying the scenery.

Hiking distance is just about 1.2 miles and the 740+ ft elevation gain makes this a moderate to difficult hike. There are portions of it, where near-vertical climbing is required. From the trailhead, the hike can be half hour to an hour each way. Plan for around an hour and a half total just for the hike and photos at Cathedral Rock. Always remember to bring good hiking shoes, water, flashlights, or a headlamp 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 its scenic beauty. There are several locations in Oak Creek Canyon to elope, and permits may be needed for some of these locations. Eloping in Oak Creek Canyon for couples who don’t want to hike or have elderly families who can’t walk far.

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 fee of $50. 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. It is one of our top recommendations for couples who want something jaw-dropping without going too far.

Courthouse Vista

Courthouse Vista is a popular trailhead with dramatic red-rock views without a terribly difficult hike. The 2.2-mile hike, which leaves from Upper Courthouse Vista, is a loop with a few descents——– The Court of Flags area features two short paths, one behind the Flag Court that leads to another viewpoint overlooking the monument. A second path goes around the West Front Grounds, past the benches on the south end where you can sit and enjoy your surroundings.”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 Arts and Shopping Village

Tlaquepaque can host one wedding reception per evening and can accommodate wedding ceremonies in the Tlaquepaque Chapel or Courtyard. Couples who are eloping can pay a permit to photograph here. Tlaquepaque is known as one of Sedona’s most romantic staging grounds for weddings and vow renewals. 

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!

Airbnb Elopement in Pinetop | Arizona Wedding Photographer

Airbnb Elopement in Pinetop

Elopements are in and the 1975 Cabin is the perfect Airbnb Elopement in Pinetop to hold your special day! Originally Taylor and Daniel were planning a beautiful wedding in the woods of the Pacific Northwest until Covid-19 brought those plans to a crashing halt. Still wanting to incorporate the woodsy feel of Oregon Taylor and Daniel found the perfect Airbnb tucked in a pocket of pines in Pinetop, Arizona. At first glance of the Airbnb you are welcomed with a massive A frame structure and incredible updated modern fixtures throughout the cabin. Between the several rooms for guests to stay and nearby scenic locations to plan your ceremony it is the perfect choice for an Airbnb Elopement in Pinetop!

Taylor began her day surrounded by her sisters and best friends in the downstairs portion of the Airbnb while Daniel got ready upstairs with his groomsmen. They incorporated things like Daniels jewelry that Taylor adores and Taylor’s cheeky converse visible under her slit dress to keep it feeling the most them. Daniel made sure to slip us a note for Taylor as he stepped out of the cabin before heading to the ceremony, which *que the tears* had a drawing he had done of her with a love note. There was no shortage of happy tears for this Airbnb Elopement in Pinetop.

Taylor and Daniel found a hidden meadow filled with pines and flowers for their ceremony space. Guests sat together in the meadow, aisles were lined with fresh flowers and the pair had a copper arch made with dangling floral strings to complete the whimsical feel of their Elopement day. One thing that really stood out was as Taylor walked up the aisle and they faced each other for the first time, they were so overcome with emotion that they just embraced. A rule breaker, yeah yeah. It was one of those moments that you witness and truly understand how much love is really there. They shared captivating hand written vows in front of guests before running down the aisle, I mean running. You could not find a couple happier to finally be married than Taylor and Daniel. 

After the ceremony, we returned to the Airbnb for celebratory shots. How else are you supposed to celebrate? The couple celebrated and embraced friends and family before ending their Airbnb Elopement in Pinetop with an epic champagne pop off the front of the A-frame balcony.

As an Arizona Wedding Photographer there is not shortage of gorgeous locations around the state to shoot your Engagement! See Taylor and Daniel’s Engagement Session here!

Venue : https://www.instagram.com/getawayframe/?hl=en

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: https://www.instagram.com/wildflower_portland/

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!