What to Pack For Your Desert Elopement (+ how to style your day)

What to Pack For Your Desert Elopement

If you’re reading this, that must mean you have fallen in love with desert elopements. We have so much in common already! Don’t worry, we are going to get to all the fun stuff – how to style your wedding day and what to pack for your desert elopement. But first, I’m not gonna lie. Wedding planning can be a lot to deal with. Make sure to make time to enjoy being engaged (and as much as possible, the planning process). This might be your first time, but it isn’t mine, so when you are ready to save the date for your desert elopement, contact me here. The below post has a few tips to get started but you don’t have to plan your desert elopement alone. I’m here for you!

Desert Elopement in Arizona with bright florals and flowy dress

Choosing a Desert Elopement Location

Your elopement photographer should be able to help find the perfect location for your desert elopement. From main hot spots to hidden gems – most of the time it kind of depends on how much hiking you are willing to do. One of the things that couples don’t consider when choosing an elopement location is whether or not you need a permit! Some parks (both national parks and state parks) will require a special use permit or reservations. Add a permit to your “what to pack for a desert elopement” list.

I know I am biased, but I truly believe Arizona is one of the most incredible states to plan your desert elopement. We had everything. Dreamy desert locations with soft endless sand in the background, but also more dramatic desert wedding locations like the Grand Canyon. In case you are wondering – the Grand Canyon is one of those locations I mentioned that requires a permit!

Desert Elopement in Arizona with bright florals and flowy dress climbing up sand hill
Sunset photos in Arizona desert elopement with bride and groom
Bride and groom climbing uphill in desert

Hiring your Wedding Vendors

Arizona, like most states, requires an officiant to get married. That means no matter how intimate you want your elopement, there are at least going to be four of you: you, yours, your officiant, and your photographer (obviously photos are non-negotiable). I can also be your witness if you need me.

When it comes to hiring your wedding vendors, you want to work with people who create the kind of work you love. Choose a florist, who shares your vision of bold florals on your wedding day. Choose an officiant who values getting to know you both as a couple before just “showing up on the day”. Set your priorities first, and hire vendors that “check all the boxes”. But (did you know that a “but” was coming?), make sure you also hire vendors that you connect with on a personal level. Especially someone like an officiant or photographer that will be with you on the day. If you are wondering if I might be the right fit, I would love to hop on the phone (contact me here) or I am always keeping it real on the ‘gram.

Desert Elopement in Arizona with bright florals and flowy dress
Bride and groom walking in desert elopement

Planning your Elopement Timeline

Planning your elopement timeline is similar to planning any wedding day timeline. There are more moving pieces than you realize when you start to put everything together. I always love to start with when the sun sets (depending on the time of year). In the world of wedding photography, we talk about the golden hour (the hour before the sun sets). The lighting is soft and easy to work with. It leads to stunning photos. Don’t get me wrong, I will make you look (and feel!) good, no matter what time of day you want to get married. But if you are looking for a recommendation, an elopement around sunset sounds extra dreamy to me.

One last thing I don’t want you to forget – include time for hiking. When planning your elopement timeline, always leave a little room in the schedule in case you run late or get from one place to another takes a little longer than you expect. No part of your wedding day should feel overly structured or stressful. A relaxed day starts with a relaxed timeline.

bride and groom sitting in sand dunes in Arizona with wedding bouquet beside her
Bride with flowy dress with the sun behind her
Desert Elopement in Arizona with bride and groom on top of a hill

What to pack for your desert elopement

Now, what you came for? Your ultimate list of what to pack for your desert elopement. Every wedding is unique, so I recommend starting a list as you start to buy/collect things for your wedding day. I know I’ve been saying this a lot but if you have any questions about what to pack for your desert elopement, contact me here and I will be happy to walk you through the process and answer any questions!

  • Wedding Dress & Outfit (you don’t have to hike in your dress!)
  • Hiking shoes (comfortable shoes). Bring some heels for photos if you fancy but please don’t try to walk through the desert in them!
  • Your Marriage License (and permit, if desired)
  • More water than you expect to need
  • Champagne. We are going to celebrate your intimate wedding in a BIG way.
  • Your written copy of your vows. Don’t rely on memory – the feels will be REAL.
  • Flowers. Your bouquet is a given, but consider adding petals or another floral decor for when we get to our destination.
  • Decor (optional, but wonderful). What’s more romantic than pillow seating and an over-the-top dinner for two?
  • Wedding Rings (I recommend getting them cleaned before and taking them out for photos right before your ceremony for extra shine!)
  • & Snacks. Always bring snacks
Pillow seating and picnic with florals in intimate desert elopement setup
Pillow seating and picnic with florals in intimate desert elopement setup
Groom dips bride during kiss in desert elopement with sunset in the background

Arizona Wedding & Elopement Photographer

Truth be told, I love any kind of love. But intimate weddings and elopements? They make my heart sing like no other. I would be honored to be the third wheel with you and yours on your wedding day. I’m based in Glendale, but I would with couples getting married all over Arizona (+ beyond – I’m always down to travel!). I am SO grateful for the couples I have worked with, and my schedule is booking up fast for 2021. I’ve even started booking for 2022! Contact me here to inquire about availability. I would love to connect and bring your desert elopement vision to life.

Groom holds up bouquet in celebration with his bride


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Whether you're seeking adventure or prefer a more relaxed vibe with easy walks and scenic views, we'll find the spot that suits both of you. Because your wedding day should reflect your unique love story every step of the way.