I might be a little biased as an Arizona elopement photographer, but once you see the peaks and valleys, the canyons and plateaus, and the vast deserts and rushing rivers that cover the state, you’ll understand why Arizona is an epic destination for outdoor adventures! You deserve a wedding day that’s everything you want – and if a big party in a traditional venue doesn’t fit into your day, consider eloping in Arizona! Before you do, there are a few things you’ll need to know to plan your adventurous wedding, so this guide will cover how to elope in Arizona, with location recommendations, marriage laws, tips, and more. Here’s what you’ll find in this Arizona elopement guide:
Overall, the best time to elope in Arizona is spring and fall. The temperatures are mild in both the mountains and the desert – it’s not too cold or too hot, making it perfect for outdoor adventures.
Autumn is my favorite time of yours in Arizona. The weather is starting to cool down and the trees are beginning to change colors. From Mid-October to December is your best time to enjoy autumn eloping in Arizona. You can even catch the start of winter when the snow starts to fall up north if you wait until the last weeks of December. Autumn can be gorgeous if you catch the fall foliage in Arizona.
Depending on where you elope in Arizona, winter temperatures can vary a ton. For example, Houston is pretty warm in the winter, while the Grand Canyon often sees snow. Many desert locations will be freezing at night, but pretty mild during the day, so eloping during this season can be a great way to avoid crowds – just make sure to dress in layers! The mountains in northern Arizona are much colder, and usually, snow is covered in the winter, offering opportunities for skiing and snowboarding.
In the spring, you can often see the wildflowers – the grassy meadows and the tops of Saguaro cacti erupt in colorful blooms! This is the season when everything begins to bloom and you can get to enjoy all the Arizona weather before the heat. Spring will usually be between February – April.
Summer in the deserts of Arizona can be pretty brutal – it’s hot, dry, and sunny. But, you can beat the heat by eloping in the morning or evening, when the temperatures are milder. In the mountains, summer is one of the best times to elope, as the higher elevations mean cooler temperatures and the weather is great for hiking!
Exploring the scenery of Arizona is one of my favorite things to do – and sharing it with my couples is even better! As an elopement photographer, I know it’s important to find private, uncrowded places where you can exchange vows. These are a few of the best places to elope in Arizona, but you can contact me for personalized, lesser-known recommendations!
The town of Sedona is something special – with red rock scenery, desert foliage, towering rock formations, and more to explore. There are plenty of trails and overlooks to explore, and after a day of adventures, you can wander around town and relax at a local restaurant or visit a winery! There are so many options to choose from when it comes to Sedona. * Check out my Sedona Elopement Guide
How could I make a list of the best places to elope in Arizona without mentioning one of the most iconic views there is? The Grand Canyon, layered by bands of colorful rock carved out by the Colorado River, offers some of the most incredible backdrops for an adventurous elopement! Whether you hike the trails or find an easily accessible overlook, the sweeping views will take your breath away.
One of the best places to elope in Arizona is the Salt River, as it offers a unique view of the state’s landscape – the desert scenery, with cacti, boulders, and towering rocky formations divided by a river! Less than an hour from Phoenix, this is the perfect place for an elopement, with plenty of spots to choose from – and if you’re lucky, you may even spot the wild horses that live here.
During your Arizona elopement, if you want to get legally married, you’ll need to get a marriage license and have it signed by an officiant and two witnesses.
The marriage license needs to be obtained in Arizona, but you can get it from any county clerk’s office in the state. If you’re a resident of Arizona, you can complete this process online and have your marriage license mailed to you! If you’re traveling from out of state for your Arizona elopement, don’t worry – you can still get married here. You’ll need to visit the office in person and some offices require an appointment, so check this ahead of time! You can often begin the application process online, then go to the office in person to pick up your marriage license. Regardless of how you apply, you’ll need a photo ID and money for the marriage license fee. The fee varies depending on the county, but in Maricopa County, it’s $83.
An officiant is required to sign the marriage license, and you have a few options for your Arizona elopement. You can hire a professional, or have a friend or family member get ordained. As an elopement photographer, I know how important privacy and flexibility are on your day. I can double as an officiant and legally marry you!
Along with the officiant’s signature, you’ll also need two witnesses to get legally married. If you’re inviting guests, you can ask them to sign. If you aren’t you can ask your elopement vendors or even any two people you run into during the elopement! The only requirement is that they be over 18, and people are usually stoked to help out.
Here are some things to keep in mind, and tips for your Arizona elopement!
Some Arizona elopement locations require a permit – these rules will depend on where you want to have a ceremony. Once you’ve decided, be sure to do some research! You don’t want to get kicked out of a park on your elopement day.
Much of Arizona is a dry, desert landscape – and temperatures can get hot! But even if you aren’t in the desert, staying hydrated is important. You’ll be moving around a lot, possibly hiking, so bring more water than you think you’ll need. You’ll feel better!
In most Arizona elopement locations, summer is the busiest time of year – and when you tie the knot, you don’t want an audience! Eloping in the off-season can help beat the crowds, but no matter when you elope, I have a few tips. Plan your elopement for a weekday, and have your ceremony at sunrise for the best chances at a private ceremony. Avoid really popular locations, and talk to an elopement photographer who can help you find beautiful, lesser-known spots!
If you’re ready to have a wedding day that’s truly one of a kind – to elope in Arizona amongst the rocky deserts, mountain peaks, cactus gardens, and epic scenery – I’m ready to help you plan your adventure! As an Arizona elopement photographer, my job goes beyond documenting this day. I’m your planning assistant, your cheerleader, and your new adventure buddy. Here’s what you’ll find in my Arizona elopement packages, starting at $3,300:
Contact me to learn more, and let’s plan your Arizona adventure!