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Utah Intimate Wedding and Elopement Guide – Utah Videographer

May 21, 2024

Your Ultimate Guide to Eloping or Planning an Intimate Wedding in Utah

Are you ready to set your love story against Utah’s mesmerizing landscapes? Let’s chart the course for your perfect intimate wedding or elopement. Here’s your bespoke roadmap to a celebration brimming with romance, adventure, and indelible memories. Your wedding day deserves to be nothing short of authentic and epic, a reflection of your unique love story. In this blog I will go over the steps to plan a successful day, a few locations to check out, and a list of ideas to fill your day with unique activities. Be sure to watch the film at the end of the blog!

Steps To Plan Your Intimate Wedding or Elopement in Colorado

Step 1. Finding Your Dream Location

Imagining saying “I do” with the pine trees or red rocks as your witness, stating vows by a mountain lakeside or desert landscape. Utah truly has so much to offer. With our abundant of national and state parks – we have both rocky mountains and gorgeous deserts. Whether you crave the dramatic heights of a mountaintop ceremony to the cozy seclusion of a forest clearing, or even a red rock desert. Let your imagination run wild as you choose the backdrop for your love story! Utah is the place for you! The first step is to pick a location – is Utah what you are looking for?

Step 1 and Step 2 can be interchangeable. Simply because often times your photographer and your videographer can assist you with picking a location. If you have already decided on Utah, but not sure where in the colorful state, hiring these vendors may be your next thing to decide. If you are hiring a seasoned intimate wedding and elopement photographer / videographer, they will then assist you with picking a location based on their knowledge. However, if you are already set on a location then more power to ya!

Step 2. Hire your Photographer and Videographer

Your love story deserves to be immortalized in stunning imagery and a heartfelt film. Beyond just snapping shots, your chosen photographer and videographer will become your partners in planning. They’ll assist with scouting the perfect spots, chasing the best light, and weave together a narrative that reflects the essence of your love. Act fast to secure these creatives – their calendars fill up quick.

Your wedding day is a symphony of emotions, a whirlwind of love, laughter, and heartfelt promises exchanged beneath the vast Utah sky. While photographs freeze moments in time, a wedding film breathes life into your memories, preserving not just what was said and done, but how it felt. A wedding film isn’t just a recording; it’s a time capsule of emotions, a treasure trove of precious moments that you’ll revisit time and time again. Don’t skip documenting your wedding day!

Step 3. Planning for Your Loved Ones (If Any)

While eloping can be just the two of you, some couples opt to include close friends and family. Keep in mind any location restrictions, especially if you’re envisioning a larger gathering. Communication is key – let your guests know what to expect, from hiking trails to accommodation considerations, ensuring everyone can share in the joy of your special day.

Inviting guest may limit where you can have a ceremony – but it can also make your ceremony that much more meaningful. Many couples will include an adventure in their day before or after a ceremony where a few loved ones are invited to attend. Some couples even do private vows before their ceremony to keep it that much more personalized while still including a few guests.

Step 4. Hire Any Other Desired Vendors

From hair and makeup artists to officiants and florists, each vendor plays a vital role in bringing your vision to life. Collaborate closely with them to ensure every detail – from your bridal bouquet to the words spoken during your ceremony – reflects the beauty and authenticity of your love.

I have had couples get elaborate cakes or cupcakes from local bakers, inspired by the local scenery. I have seen couples set up a beautifully decorated arch next to a lake – and I have also seen bride’s florals extend to only a bouquet. Hiring a HMUA is always worth the investment. My brides always love feeling truly beautiful on their special day.

As far as an officiant goes – my recommendation is to convince a family member or friend to get ordained online and conduct your ceremony. It makes it more personalized to you two as a couple. If this is not your jam, you can also hire great officiants who will absolutely make your ceremony so special. Although, if you are eloping just you two – you can simply exchange vows + rings and skip the ‘ceremony’ or an officiant all together. In that case though, one of your vendors (usually the photographer) will have to be ordained and can sign your license / assist you with the legal side of making it official!

Step 5. Navigate The Legal Things

Before you say “I do” against Utah breathtaking backdrop, ensure all legalities are in order. Obtain any necessary permits for your chosen location and secure your marriage license in advance. Crossing these tasks off your list early will leave you free to focus on the joy and excitement of your impending celebration. Many locations in Utah do not need a permit, however some of the best ones do!

Some locations (especially if they are in a national or state park), require a permit to get married on the land. Don’t let this stop you! It is meant to protect the space. Usually local government websites will let you easily learn about what permits need to be obtained. Also, look into what it takes to get a marriage license. If you are eloping alone, many times your photographer and videographer can be your witnesses. In my experience, many elopement photographers are ordained and can sign your marriage license if needed.

Stunning Locations In Utah To Consider

In Utah, the possibilities for your intimate wedding or elopement are as vast and varied as the state’s breathtaking landscapes. Take the time to explore the diverse options Utah has to offer, allowing your hearts to guide you to the place that feels like home for your special day. Here is a list of places to look into! (In no particular order).

It is also important to consider the time of year as many of these location turn into a busy ski area or become inaccessible in the winter months. The best times to have a mountain wedding in Utah are June thru October – this includes the Salt Flats. Although, I had a couple who had an amazing December elopement at the Salt Flats. While the best time to have a desert wedding (meaning Zion, Moab, St. George, etc.) are the spring and fall months. I also highly encourage you to consider a weekday, as the weekends tend to get very busy with tourists. If you want a winter elopement, a ski area with open amenities may be your best option! Some mountain passes in Utah are closed in the winter months and won’t open until the snow melts in June.

  • Moab
  • Arches National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Dead Horse Point State Park
  • Bryce Canyon State Park
  • Zion National Park
  • San Rafael Swell Area
  • Snow Canyon State Park
  • Park City
  • Bonneville Salt Flats
  • Uinta Mountain Range
  • Big or Little Cottonwood Canyon
  • Sundance Ski Area
  • Antelope Island State Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Utah’s Ski Resorts Offer Intimate Wedding Options

Activity Ideas To Make Your Day An Experience

Besides getting beautiful photos and videos taken, sharing vows + rings, and actually getting married – I always recommend doing something on your day to make it more of an experience for you two! Because you already chose to do something less traditional, so why the hell not! Make it more personalized to who you are as a couple, or go all out and truly do something epic. Here is a list of things I have seen other couples do, as well as a few ideas of my own!

  • Get tattoos (I once saw a couple hire tattoo artists to come to them)
  • Go on a helicopter ride (I had a couple do this in Zion, and it was epic!)
  • Take a boat ride
  • Have a picnic
  • Go on a sunrise or sunset hike
  • Hire a private chef to make you a dinner at your rental property
  • Hot air balloon ride
  • Go canoeing or kayaking
  • Rent 4×4’s or jeeps and go off roading
  • Have a private first dance by a lake or cliffside
  • Do a stargazing tour or photoshoot
  • Pop champagne
  • Depending on the legality of the state you’re in, smoke a little. (I once had a couple in Joshua Tree do a joint ceremony… if ya know what I mean.)
  • Read letters from people who aren’t in attendance
  • Wine tasting
  • Cliff jump
  • Ski / snowboard
  • Hot tub or got to a hot spring
  • Have a campfire and roast s’mores
  • Do a cake cutting
  • Make a charcuterie board

I hope all this information was helpful for planning a Utah elopement or intimate wedding. As always, be sure to inquire for videography packages by heading to my contact form. I also have a wonderful list of recommended vendors to share with my clients. Including a list of fantastic photographers who specialize in elopements and intimate weddings.

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