Rocky Mountain Bride National Park Elopements

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“I think all weddings and celebrations of love are beautiful, but I am so drawn to elopements for their slower-paced nature. Eloping gives you the chance to focus on what you truly want out of your day, instead of focusing on the experiences of your guests. I find so many couples are getting creative with eloping, and choosing activities, places, and timelines that mean something to them, because there really are no rules.” - Kadie Hummel Photography

Kadie Hummel Photography

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National parks are some of America’s most treasured and scenic places. From dry desert landscapes to towering mountains and crystal blue lakes, each park is uniquely stunning and different in its own way. The National Park System is comprised of over 400 national park sites, though only 63 of them have the ‘National Park’ designation in their name. Over the years, many of those parks have become a sought after destination for couples looking to elope in an intimate and historic setting. As a Colorado native who grew up surrounded by the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, I too, have a love for the outdoors and our National Park System. I’ve visited a handful of parks such as Rocky Mountain, The Great Sand Dunes, Joshua Tree, Arches and Canyonlands, and I can tell you after leaving each park, it’s left me wanting more. They are a place to explore, take in the scenery and appreciate mother nature. No park is the same, each offering its own something fascinating. There’s a reason why so many people make national park bucket lists, including myself! This guide will offer you an in-depth look at jaw-dropping and adventure-filled elopement sites in national parks. It’ll also provide you with the resources, tools and vendor advice to plan your memorable day, while still protecting the resources of the park for future generations to explore. I hope this special guide inspires you to take the leap and elope in one of North America’s most beautiful backdrops and destinations. No matter which park you pick, I guarantee you won’t regret it. Whether your heart is set on planning your dream elopement, or you’re just looking for inspiration to say ‘I do,’ we’ve laid it all out here. We hope this guide inspires adventurous couples to pick their park! Congratulations on finding your forever, let the planning begin!

xo Angelica Lombardi, RMB Content Curator


TABLE OF CONTENTS PLANNING 7. Planning 101 10. Accommodations

ROCKY MOUNTAIN REGION 14. Arches National Park 26. Banff National Park 38. Bryce Canyon National Park 50. Canyonlands National Park 62. Glacier National Park 74. Grand Teton National Park 86. Great Sand Dunes National Park 96. Pecos National Historic Park 106. Rocky Mountain National Park 116. White Sands National Park 126. Yellowstone National Park 136. Zion National Park

NEARBY + NOTEWORTHY 150. Grand Canyon National Park 156. Joshua Tree National Park 162. Yosemite National Park

Julie Haider Adventure Elopements

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planning 101 "Do your research very well beforehand! Consider hiring an elopement photographer that regularly shoots in national parks so that you have a seamless wedding day. It's important to be aware of permits, fees and choosing an elopement location inside of the national park that is safe for both the client and the environment. Always leave no trace wherever you go and make sure to leave a few minutes to stop what you are doing and soak it all in,” - Mariah Treiber Photography Are you ready to pick your park? The planning starts here! National parks require you to purchase a special permit to plan an elopement, but it’s important for you to know where to start and what to do. The checklist below serves as a good reminder of things to consider before picking your park.

PERMIT The price will vary by park, but it’s important you check how far in advance it's needed, as some parks will require you to obtain it weeks or even months before the big day. You can obtain a permit by visiting the park’s website or calling the number listed online for your park. We’ve included both of those on each park page in this issue.

FEES/RULES Expect to pay the park entrance fee in addition to the special use permit at most parks. Remember, those fees go to a great cause and help preserve the historic place you picked to elope. Be sure to check if there are any regulations or fines for bringing celebratory items like flowers or glitter. Most parks will not allow you to bring in certain decorations or props in order to preserve the natural beauty of the park.

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GUESTS Will your elopement be just you, your significant other and your photographer? Or are you planning to bring close friends and family, too? Be sure to check with the park first to see if they have a restriction on the number of guests you can invite. Some parks will only allow you to have a limited number and many don’t allow over 50. If you are inviting guests, try to provide them with a GPS pin or site name so they know exactly where in the park to go.

CEREMONY LOCATION National parks span miles, so trying to pick a ceremony location may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! Don’t overwhelm yourself, instead keep timing in mind. Pick a spot that is easily accessible by car and foot. Remember, you don’t want to be spending too much time walking into the park, as you want to leave plenty of time for photos and celebrating. There can be crowds depending on the park and time of year, so try to pick a secluded spot that still offers a jaw-dropping backdrop.

WEATHER Just like any outdoor elopement or wedding, you need to keep weather in mind. If you're set on eloping in a desert climate like Arches National Park, remember it can be extremely hot during the summer so you should pick a month that is cooler. If your ceremony site requires you to walk a bit into the park, it can be beneficial to wear a different outfit from your wedding day attire. You will certainly want a change of shoes so you don’t have to track your heels through the park! Remember to pack and dress in layers, you never know what Mother Nature can throw at you.

VENDORS Although elopements offer more of an intimate setting, you can still utilize the resources of local vendors. Check with vendors who are familiar to the park or area. It’s important to work with photographers who are familiar with shooting or working in parks to make it an easy planning process.

Pets Most national parks welcome pets in developed areas, as well as on many trails, in campgrounds and in some lodging facilities. However, there are many areas in which pets are not allowed. Be sure to connect with the park you are interested in for specific locations to celebrate with you and your pet.

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“National parks are so special because they really are locations where everything is purposely left almost untouched by humans. Nature is left to do what it does best, which is just to be. The whole purpose for national parks is for humans to be able to come from all around the globe to come bask in their natural/nature filled beauty while leaving it still feeling and looking untouched or tampered with. National parks are the main attraction. You really just have to show up and let the views speak for themselves. They are better than any man-made venue.” - Taylor Ann Photo

WHAT TO PACK Don’t forget to bring these essential items with you into the park: •

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Taylor Ann Photo

Marriage license (some parks require you to obtain a license in the state you will wed) Park permit Entrance fee Change of clothes/shoes Water Snacks Sunscreen Blankets and/or coats Umbrella Flashlights (if planning to hike in early or late) Trash bags (leave no trace) Approved decoration or props (varies by park)

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ACCOMMODATIONS Why not make the most of your elopement and extend your stay? There are plenty of unique overnight accommodations in and near national parks for you and your guests to enjoy! Most places book far out in advance are only open during certain times of the year, so make sure you plan ahead and check opening dates far enough ahead of your big day. It’s almost important to note that some places are only available during certain months, so be sure to check. Several parks will allow you to camp overnight with permits, but if you’re looking for something a little more formal, we’ve compiled this list of overnight accommodations to help!

ARCHES & CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK These two parks situated in eastern Utah are only about a half hour apart and have lots of nearby accommodations to choose from.

Moab Springs Ranch | Located on the north side of the Moab, this ranch offers 12-acres of beautiful open space and views of red rocks. You can stay at stand-alone luxury bungalows or opt for more space at their townhouses which offer up to three bedrooms. Moab Springs Ranch offers resort amenities like a swimming pool and hot tub, the perfect stay for newlyweds!!

Red Cliffs Lodge | This lodge offers some of the most stunning views of the Red Rock cliffs, located just 30 minutes shy of the park entrance for Arches. The lodge has five unique rooms options for guests to choose from, plus an on-site restaurant, exercise room, hot tub, pool and tennis courts – making it an ideal place to stay after your elopement!

Sorrel River Ranch Resort and Spa | Located just 30 minutes from Arches National Park, this four diamond resort offers all the amenities you’ll need to celebrate an elopement or start the honeymoon! The 160-acres resort is made up of 59 guest rooms comprised of studios, suites and private estates. The resort prides itself on offering the hospitality of a traditional ranch with luxurious accommodations like kitchenettes, room service, a hot tub, petting zoo and so much more.

Hoodoo Moab | Hoodoo Moab is a modern meets western desert escape just 5 miles from Arches National Park. With a full-service spa, outdoor pool and gym, it’s a great place to unwind after a long day of exploring...or eloping!

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BANFF NATIONAL PARK Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel | This luxury hotel, located in Banff, offers all of the amenities of a world class resort! It’s dubbed as Canada’s ‘Castle in the Rockies,’ and has been serving guests for more than 130 years. It’s located about a half hour outside the park making it easily accessible for you or your guests. For couples eloping in the park, this hotel also serves as the perfect honeymoon destination. Fairmont Banff Springs offers tons of amenities such as a spa, fitness center, concierge and more.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise | The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is located in Alberta’s Banff National park and offers some of the most breathtaking views of Lake Louise and the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Their 539 luxury resort offers plenty of space for your guests to enjoy. They offer a wide variety of services such as specialty dining, a luxury spa and local activities.

BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK Bryce Canyon Lodge | This park offers two great options for you to enjoy inside the park. They offer 70 motel-style rooms with private bathrooms and a porch, or you can opt for one of their 40 Western styled cabins complete with a gas fireplace, private porch and bathroom. The lodge is located near the Canyon Rim which is one of the most popular areas of the park, making it a prime location for lodging. Not only does it offer a cozy, cabin feel complete with rustic touches, but it’s also listed on the National Historic Register. Rates start at $135 per night and reservations can be made online:

Yonder | Complete with modern cabins, airstreams and camping options, Yonder Escalante is a hotel experience unlike any other. Enjoy the outdoor pool, drive-in movie theater, and food truck during your stay.

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK Yavapai Lodge | This lodge is located inside Grand Canyon National Park, making it easily accessible for you or your guests to stay at. It’s just a short walk or bus ride from the South Rim and steps away from the market. The lodge is complete with cozy seating areas, an outdoor patio, restaurant, tavern and more! Yavapai Lodge offers several different accommodations and even pet friendly rooms.

GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK Grand Teton Lodge Company | Grand Teton Lodge Company offers three different lodging accommodations: Jenny Lake Lodge, Colter Bay Village and Jackson Lake Lodge, all in the heart of Grand Teton National Park. They also offer the Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch conveniently located between Grand Teton and Yellowstone. All of their different accommodations offer a touch of luxury during your visit to the park. You can stay overnight at one of their historic cabins or opt for one their stunning suites. No matter which lodge you choose, you and your guests will be surrounded by breathtaking views of the Teton Range.

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JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARk The Desert Lily Vacation Home | The Desert Lily Bed & Breakfast is an intimate bed and breakfast rental retreat offering private rental cabins in the heart of Joshua Tree. It’s located just 10 minutes from the West Entrance to the park, making it a very convenient location for your elopement. This bed and breakfast prides itself on being a peaceful and delightful experience in the high desert offering different, unique cabins, rooms and even a converted bus to stay in.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK Aspen Winds on Fall River | Aspen Winds is located just three miles west of central downtown Estes Park and a mile and a half from the Fall River entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. They offer spa suites and one or two bedroom condominium suites on the river with beautiful views of the Rockies.

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK Hibernation Station | These luxury cabins are located just blocks from the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Montana. Just like it’s name, it’s the perfect place for you and your guests a to unwind and soak in the beauty around you. Their multiple cabins can accommodate anywhere from two to six guests and include a jacuzzi tub.

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK Ahwahnee Hotel | This historic and upscale hotel is located inside the park and known for its stunning interior design and architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark. The hotel offers tons of different rooms from junior suites to hotel cottages and also offer amenities such as a swimming pool, dining and more.

ZION NATIONAL PARK Zion Mountain Ranch | Located just minutes from Zion National Park, Zion Mountain Ranch offers premier lodging and expansive views. Their lodges can fit anywhere from a couple to small groups. Each one offers modern amenities and rustic finishes plus stunning views of the Buffalo Preserve! Staying here offers the unique experience of a rustic mountain getaway blended with the added luxury of amenities such as a sauna, private massage rooms and more.

AutoCamp Zion | Experience Utah’s iconic red rock landscape from the beauty of AutoCamp Zion, the newest place to stay! Located near Zion National Park, spend the day exploring the Narrows, hiking Angel’s Landing, or enjoying the scenic canyon drive. Their modern and roomy airstreams are awaiting your arrival.

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Hannah Jo Photography

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ARCHES NATIONAL PARK rocky mountain bride - national parks /


THE HISTORY Arches National Park, located in southeastern Utah, has more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches that began forming roughly 65 million years ago. The park lies on top of a salt bed and is known for its giant stone bluffs and formations, but is best known for its most famous arch, Delicate Arch. More than 1.5 million visitors come to Arches National Park each year. The park sits just five miles south of Moab which is the largest city in eastern Utah, surrounded by an immense red rock playground.

CEREMONY SPOTS The park offers a handful of different locations for elopements. Below you will find a list of the locations along with the corresponding group size limit.

THE PLANNING Arches National Park requires you to purchase a special use permit to hold a ceremony in its park. Here are some important details to know and follow when it comes to planning your elopement:



• •

The total cost for a wedding permit is $185 and can be secured online at $55 of the fee goes towards the non-refundable application Once the request is approved, the remaining balance of $130 covers the costs associated with issuing a standard permit. This fee also includes a minimum two-hour monitoring charged, if additional monitoring is required, a charge of $50 per hour per employee will be assessed. You are also required to pay the standard park entrance fee of $30 per vehicle. Wedding guests are encouraged to carpool since parking is limited in some spaces.

The park requires a minimum of four weeks to fully process a basic permit request. Weddings may be scheduled up to one year in advance.

tips •

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The Special Permit must be requested by the individuals getting married and not by a third party (e.g. wedding planner or photographer). The most popular time to visit Arches National Park is March and October, which is also when parking at popular trailheads are full most of the day. You are responsible for site clean up. Several items such as rice, birdseed and alcohol is prohibited in the park, check the website for a full list.

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La Sal Mountains Viewpoint, 50 The Windows Section (North Window, South Window, Turret Arch, or Double Arch) 25 Sand Dune Arch, 25 Delicate Arch, 10 Delicate Arch Viewpoint, 25 Pine Tree Arch, 25 Landscape Arch, 10 Park Avenue, 15 Devil’s Garden Campground Amphitheater, 80 Panorama Point, 50

ARCHES national park

highest point: 5,653 ft 76,519 acres

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Whitney + Tanner

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“The day started out very cold and windy because it was a sunrise elopement. Once the sun was up and the light was peaking through the arches it was magical. When the light hit the couple I just died with how beautiful everything was. One of my favorite moments from the day was Whitney and Tanner’s choreographed dance that they did together. Having a little dance party at the end of such an incredible day, was a fun way to celebrate.” - Hannah Kristine Photography

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love story There is something magical about the sun rising over the giant stone bluffs and red formations at Arches National Park that exudes romance and adventure, and that is exactly what Hannah Kristine Photography was inspired to capture for this styled sunrise elopement. Hannah along with her vendor team, Wild Wood Films and Blue Mae Studio teamed up to create this dreamy day. The couple’s addition of fringe jackets, hats and a bolo tie played into the Western and romantic feel of the shoot. Whitney and Tanner met through what they call, “A series of serendipitous events!” They knew about one another through mutual friends and kept bumping into each other until finally Tanner asked for her number and the rest is history! They treated this styled shoot as their vow renewal, making the day even more special. “This styled shoot meant a lot to us as we renewed our love and vows in one of the most beautiful and intimate destinations in the world! We worked with such incredible people who knew our story and captured our renewed love in now one of our favorite places,” Whitney said. The two read their vows to one another underneath a giant arch in an intimate setting. “There was one moment where Tanner moved a piece of Whitney’s hair out of her face, while she was reading her vows to him, and it felt like a scene out of a movie. It was so precious. The way he looked at her in the moment was so special, you could see just how in love they are with one another,” Hannah said.

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“Find a photographer who has shot at that national park you are looking into or one that is educated in shooting in national parks. That way they can help you walk through the process of your elopement. Another piece of advice for photographers and couples looking to elope is don’t go to the most touristy spot at that park at peak times. For example sunset, many people love to go and watch the sunset at national parks, instead go at sunrise when there will be less people.” - Hannah Kristine Photography

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“The views were breathtaking and created a magical moment to share with your partner and/or family and friends. We would recommend this destination for both elopements and weddings. There’s a town close by for everyone to stay in and it’s well worth the view and fun. A moment everyone will never forget!” - Whitney + Tanner

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VENDORS Ceremony: Arches National Park | Photographer: Hannah Kristine Photography | Blue Mae Studio | Videographer: Wildwood Films | Florist: Jennifer Joyce Floral & Event Design| Jewelry: Rings Out West | Bride’s Gown: BoneHaus Rentals | Gown Designer: Rue de Seine | Groom’s Accessories: Bolo Revival |

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BANFF NATIONAL PARK rocky mountain bride - national parks /


THE HISTORY Banff National Park is a picture-perfect mountain town located in Alberta. The park is known for its towering mountain peaks and turquoise lakes, specifically Lake Louise. Established in 1885, it was the birthplace of Canada’s national parks. The stunning lakes, glaciers and alpine landscapes draw in over three million visitors a year. In fact, it’s one of the most visited national parks in North America. Banff and Lake Louise are home to three world-class ski and snowboard areas, making it a popular destination year-round.

CEREMONY LOCATIONS Elopements are permitted at the following locations within the park: OUTDOOR CEREMONY SITES Central Park Recreation Grounds The Fenlands Meadow The Gazebo Tunnel Mountain Reservoir

THE PLANNING Banff National Park requires you to obtain a special permit and submit a registration form in order to hold a ceremony in the park. Here are some important details to know and follow when it comes to planning your elopement:



The cost of your permit will vary depending on the ceremony location you choose. You will be required to submit a refundable $250 damage deposit and purchase a park pass.

You must obtain a permit though Banff National Park and also submit an application to the town of Banff. You can find both online at: banff/activ/mariage-wedding You must submit the applications a minimum of 30 days before your elopement You can submit the applications up to 18 months prior

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INDOOR CEREMONY SITES The Fenlands: the Concourse, the Lounge, Meeting Room One, Meeting Room Two and Dry Floors

BANFF national park

highest point: 11,851 ft 6,641 square kilometers

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Sarah + Jay

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“There is nothing like a national park. The blues of the lakes, the smell of the trees, and being completely surrounded by the mountains completely grounds you. I love when my couples bring as much as the outdoors as possible into their day.” - Kadie Hummel Photography

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THE COUPLE The happy couple met while Sarah was living in Australia, which is where Jay is from. They call it a ‘modern day’ love story as the two met through the dating app, Tinder. After connecting on a long walk on the beach, they quickly became a couple and never looked back! Four years later, while on a trip back in Australia, Jay proposed on the cliffs along the shore with their family and friends nearby.

THE PLANNING Sarah and Jay knew an elopement was the perfect setting for them. With Jay being from Australia, they felt it was a lot to ask their families to travel either way. That’s what inspired them to say their ‘I Do’s,’ at Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. The couples photographer, Kadie Hummel, took care of the permit for them and the rest was a breeze. They didn’t want the ‘traditional wedding,’ and felt eloping in a national park added an entirely new level of love and fun to the experience. Picking Banff as their elopement spot was a no-brainer. Sarah grew up around the park and it became special spot Jay quickly fell in love with. They wanted their location to be semi-easily accessible and made sure to scope it out ahead of time. “We went out to search for our ceremony spot a couple of times which was a fun little adventure on its own. We had a few options and finally found the one that felt right for us. It was so nice to be able to pick the perfect backdrop and not have to worry about any extra money behind it,” recalls Sarah Smith, bride They chose a spot with the Bow River flowing through and the picturesque Castle Mountain in the background stole their hearts the moment they saw it. “There are so many beautiful spots in Banff National Park that a perfect ceremony spot definitely wasn’t hard to find,” reminisces Sarah Smith, Bride. With the two of them, their two good friends and their pup, they were ready to say ‘I do.’

THE DETAILS Their boho-styled and neutral toned elopement offered the perfect contrast against the mountain peaks. Meadow and Vine floral utilized as many native Australian flowers as possible, inspired by the couple. Jay built their ceremony arch which was custom made with their ceremony location in mind. After the ceremony, the couple had dinner at Storm Mountain Lodge’s picnic tables amidst the gorgeous mountain backdrop.

“I think having a vendor team that has experience with national park elopements is extremely important. Most parks can get very busy, so it’s important to find a team that can take you to the quieter ‘hidden gems,’ understand the elements, and have the required permits for various locations. Because elopements are so intimate, it’s also a good idea to get to know your team ahead of time to make sure you jive together, as you will be spending most of your day with them!” - Kadie Hummel Photography

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“I loved the vibe of their day. Both Sarah and Jay were so happy, and there was absolutely no stress. Everything was very ‘go with the flow’ which allowed plenty of time to explore and take in their surroundings, and just enjoy being together. They put so much thought into every little detail from Jay’s Australian and Canada map cufflinks, to Sarah’s bouquet parading various Australian wild flowers.” - Kadie Hummel Photography

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“If you are thinking about eloping, do it! You will not regret it. It is hard to feel any kind of stress when you are out in the mountains and your special day should be absolutely stress free! Don’t worry about anything else but what you and your partner envision for your day. Plan your dream day with the love of your life and go for it.” - Sarah + Jay

VENDORS Ceremony: Castle Mountain Junction, Banff National Park | Reception: Storm Mountain Lodge | Photographer: Kadie Hummel Photography | Videographer: Rocky Mountain Photo Co. | Cake: Kake By Darci | Florist: Meadow and Vine | Bride’s Dress Shop: Novia Mia Bridal Shop| Gown Designer: Wilderly Bride | @wilderlybride Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden | Groom’s Attire: Bridal Centre Calgary | Groom’s Cufflinks: TheBlueAgaveStudio | Etsy: TheBlueAgaveStudio Hair & Makeup: Bare Beauty | Officiant: Tamara Jones | Honeymoon: Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge |

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BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK rocky mountain bride - national parks /


THE HISTORY Bryce Canyon National Park, located in south Central Utah, is famous for its rock formations and unique geology. It was recognized as a park in 1928 and spans over 35 thousand acres to explore. Over the years, rainwater shaped the colorful formations we know today as Slot Canyons, Windows and more! “This is one of the most sublime landscapes on Earth. No place else looks like it. I think of the vibrant umbers, ochres, and creams of otherworldly rock formations against the bright blue of the sky; some of the longest views in North America overlooking landscapes shaped over millions of years; evergreen trees persistently growing and surviving within narrow canyons and at cliff edges; and night skies as dark as any you’ll find along paved roads,” Peter Densmore.


THE PLANNING The demand to elope at Bryce Canyon National park has significantly increased over time. “Previously we’d see no more than 10 ceremonies a year, but that’s essentially doubled to 20 – 25 a year in the last three,” Peter Densmore.

After acquiring a special permit, you have the option to select from the following two sites for your elopement or wedding. The initial site offers a view of the Main Amphitheater, while the second option is the Silent City at Sunset Point. Both locations can accommodate a maximum of 30 guests.

cost, Tips + Deadlines The park entrance fee is waived for the bride, groom and the official performing the ceremony. Wedding party guests must pay the park entrance fee or are encouraged to carpool. No music, chairs or props are allowed. Receptions are not permitted in the park. In order to get married inside the park you must do the following: • First, obtain a Utah state marriage license. The fee is $40 with no waiting period; both parties must be present to obtain the license. • Second, obtain a special use permit for $100 from the National Park Service. You must submit a request in advance and it can take two to four weeks to process. • Third, you must arrange for someone to perform the ceremony, a Justice of the Peace, Municipal Judge, Mayors or an ordained pastor, priest or bishop.

Information courtesy of:

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BRYCE CANYON national park

highest point: 9,115 ft 35,835 acres

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“With elopements, the traditional rules of getting married are thrown out the window, and couples can have a day that truly reflects them. I love that every elopement day is different and full of unique details. With the more relaxed pace of eloping, couples can focus more on each other and the amazing experience of getting married while enjoying amazing scenery. I love every element of what makes elopements so different,” - Julie Haider

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THE COUPLE Brooke and Branden’s love story goes all the way back to middle school where they met! They stuck together in high school and were able to merge their friend groups into one. The two slowly began hanging out everyday together after school but it wasn’t until college approached and their friends moved away, that they finally began dating. After dating for a bit, they went on a road trip around Oregon to visit national parks. Little did Brooke know, Branden was planning the perfect and intimate surprise proposal. Overlooking Crater Lake near a hidden trail, he got down on one knee and popped the question!

PLANNING They planned their rustic and bohemian inspired elopement at Bryce Canyon National Park on a cool October day. They love to travel, hike and explore national parks, so it was only fitting that they’d elope in one! “We absolutely fell in love with traveling and since then we visited over 12 of the national parks and are adding more every year. We got engaged in Crater Lake National Park and so began the planning for the wedding. We couldn’t help but notice that we have always circled around Bryce Canyon but never went in, so during another trip on the way back out to Zion, we decided we would not step a foot inside Bryce Canyon unless we are wearing a suit and a dress” states Brooke. The couple wanted to incorporate certain details and decor like flowers on their ceremony arch, but since real flowers aren’t allowed in the park, they held their ceremony outside the park at a nearby location before heading back into the park to celebrate. “The top focus on our end was the land itself, our national parks are so beautiful throughout this whole country and they need to be protected. We didn’t want to cause any damage to the land just so we can say “I do” with a view. The planning process revolved a lot around research and luckily for us the National Park Service posts a lot of information on their websites, and is always a phone call away if needed. It is so important to read up on what parks allow and do not allow. For instance, Bryce Canyon did not allow any real flowers inside the park, and the wedding areas are not closed to the public. Those two details can really change a lot in the planning and need to be thought out thoroughly to avoid any fines or surprises on your elopement day. Be sure to plan ahead, way ahead” advises Brooke.

THE DETAILS Fowles Floral’s vibrant blooms adorned the ceremony arch, complementing the nearby orange and red hues of Bryce Canyon. Surrounded by their closest loved ones, Brooke and Branden were united in matrimony, officiated by Branden’s sister. Post-ceremony, the couple embarked on an adventure, guided by photographer and planner, Julie Haider. “Seeing the look in Brooke’s eyes when she walked up to the venue is something I will never forget, her eyes lit up and I don’t believe she was even thinking of the wedding at that moment. She couldn’t take her eyes off this view and it was the happiest I think I have ever seen her,” recalls Branden. Brooke and Branden truly made the most of their chosen park by hiking deep into the trails, under the arches and onto the ridges for some dreamy photos.

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“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with planning an elopement, even though it’s not as big as a traditional wedding. Hiring a photographer who also assists with the planning is something I can’t recommend enough - it will truly save you hours and hours of work and a lot of stress. Plus, they’ll have all the expert knowledge for creating a day beyond your dreams and helping it go smoothly. Then you get to enjoy your elopement and have some fun!” - Julie Haider

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“Try to remember why you’re there in the first place, for us the parks are an absolute foundation for our relationship, we’ve learned more about each other while stuck in a car for 14 hours than we ever would otherwise. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment with planning a wedding or elopement that sometimes you veer away from why you chose that park to begin with. So do your research, do some more, and then take a breath and really look at the view. Remember what these parks represent and the opportunity that we are given by being able to have such an amazing day here.” - Brooke + Branden

Vendors Ceremony: Ruby’s Inn Suites | Portraits: Bryce Canyon National Park Photographer: Julie Haider | Florist: Fowles Floral | Groom’s Attire: Suitsupply | Honeymoon: Westin Maui Resort & Spa |

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CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK rocky mountain bride - national parks /


THE HISTORY Canyonlands National Park lies in the heart of southeast Utah’s high desert. It’s made up of four districts that are divided by the Green and Colorado rivers. The park spans nearly 338,000 acres of arches, formations and colorful canyons. There are several stunning destinations within the park that makes it memorable such as ‘Island in the Sky,’ which offers expansive views of the park. Needles, Horseshoe Canyon Unit, the Rivers and the Maze are also some of the most sought after spots in the park.

CEREMONY LOCATIONS The park offers six different locations for wedding ceremonies, followed by the corresponding group size limit. Grand View Point, 25 Green River Overlook, 25 Mesa Arch, 25 Shafter Canyon Overlook, 10 Pothole Point, 10 Needles Group Campsites, 50

THE PLANNING You must obtain a special permit in order to elope in the park. You can schedule your elopement with the park up to one year in advance.

Tips + Deadlines • • • • •

The cost of a wedding permit is $185 (the couple must request the permit). You must also pay the standard park entrance fee. The Park requires a minimum of four weeks to fully process a basic permit request, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time when applying. Chairs are allowed on a case by case basis. You are responsible for site clean up.

Information courtesy of:

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CANYONlands national park

highest point: 7,120 ft 337,597 acres

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“One of my favorite parts of their elopement was at the very end of the night, we had finished shooting, and we’re just hanging out in Canyonlands talking and sipping champagne. I had given Sara and Lea White Claws at the beginning of the day as a cheesy “cheers, your married” sort of thing, and somehow it came up in conversation at the end of the night that Lea had NEVER had a White Claw. So naturally we had to drink them together, right then and there. Turns out she loves them.” - Sarah McClure

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THE COUPLE Lea and Sara wanted to create an intimate elopement day filled with fun and relaxation, which fits their relationship perfectly. The two met on Tinder, Sara was planning to visit Thailand where Lea was living at the time. They matched, met up and instantly connected. It’s that same type of adventure they wanted to capture and feel during their elopement. After dating for a few years, Lea proposed to Sara on New Years Eve and she said yes! After a year-long engagement they made plans to elope in Canyonlands National Park.

THE DETAILS They knew Dead Horse Point State Park would be the perfect place to say ‘I do,’ as it was Sara’s favorite spot. Dead Horse Point is located on the edge of Canyonlands National Park, 2,000 feet above the Colorado River. Lea and Sara read their vows standing on the edge of the cliff overlooking the canyon and Colorado River. It was just the two of them and their photographer Sarah McClure, capturing an intimate and special moment. Sarah even acted as the couple’s officiant! It was a surreal moment as they held hands, prayed and cried. “Sara, Lea and I just CLICKED. I was recommended to them via a Facebook post with literally hundreds of other suggestions, I stuck out to them, and after our first phone call together we knew it was meant to be! These two are the kind of personalities you just vibe with. I was lucky enough to also officiate their marriage, which creates such a strong bond between humans,” Sarah McClure. After eloping, the couple exchanged sentimental gifts, a bracelet from Bali with the coordinates from where they met in Thailand, and moonstone earrings and necklaces engraved with messages from their family member’s. They kept the rest of their special day low key with no reception and ended the evening drinking White Claws under the sunset. After the elopement, they continued their adventure honeymooning in The Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and Las Vegas.

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“When it comes to shooting in a national park, please be respectful of the land! Be sure to research places you’re allowed to shoot, if you need permits, and how to leave no trace. National parks are such a special place and it’s heartbreaking to see them mistreated. I do my best to educate my couples when we’re in the parks if there are places we shouldn’t step, flowers we shouldn’t bring with us, etc. Besides that, my biggest advice is to remember to have fun! Make an adventure out of your day, it’s something you’ll remember for the rest of your life!” - Sarah McClure

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Vendors Ceremony: Dead Horse State Park Photographer: Sarah McClure Photo | Hair & Makeup: Lesley Lind Makeup Atelier | Bridal Boutique: David’s Bridal | Jewelry: Jewelry by Johan | Lodging: Red Cliffs Lodge |

“Elope!! Keep it simple and intimate and make sure you have an amazing photographer like we did. Just make the day all about you and your love. Laugh and just have fun. It makes all the difference in the world.” Lea + Sara

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GLACIER NATIONAL PARK rocky mountain bride - national parks /


THE HISTORY Glacier National Park spans over 700 miles of trails and jaw-dropping views for the adventurous heart. It is the country’s 10th national park known for its glacier carved peaks that began forming 170 million years ago. The parks peaks, valleys and pristine turquoise lakes continue to attract millions of visitors every year.

CEREMONY LOCATIONS The park offers several different locations for elopements. Below you will find a list of the locations along with the corresponding group size limit. Glacier National Park allows no more than 30 people for all elopements and wedding ceremonies, however most ceremony spots have a limit of 15 people.

THE PLANNING You must obtain a special use permit to elope in Glacier National Park. The earlier you apply the better, as the park has seen a significant increase in requests for elopements over the past few years.

Tips + Deadlines • Applications can be accepted one year in advance • The cost of an application is $125 • You will also need to purchase a park entrance pass • Permits are typically written for one hour • Each site has limits on number of people, vehicles and equipments used • Peak season at the park is considered May through October

glacier national park

Information courtesy of:

Elevation: 10,466 ft 1,013,125 acres

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Agar Amphitheater, 30 Fish Creek Amphitheater, 30 Fish Creek Picnic Area, 15 Avalanche Amphitheater, 30 Avalanche Picnic Area, 15 7 mile pullout (Sandy Point), 15 10 mile pullout (Jackson Bay), 15 Sprague Picnic Area, 15 Lake McDonald Lodge Beach, 15 Apgar Picnic Area, 15 Ryan Beach/Meadow, 15 Big Bend, 15 Juniper River Access, 12 Bowman Lake, 12 Kintla Lake, 8 Running Eagle Falls, 12 Pray Lake, 30 Two Medicine Campground Amphitheater, 30 Two Medicine Picnic Area, 12 Walton Picnic Area, 15 St. Mary Amphitheater, 30 Rising Sun Amphitheater, 30 St. Mary Shoreline, 20 Sun Point, 12 1913 Ranger Station, 20 Wild Goose Island Pullout, 6 Red Eagle Trailhead, 12 Shore of Josephine Lake, 20 Many Glacier Hotel Beach, 15 Hotel Deck, 10 Many Glacier CG Amphitheater, 20

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“Photographing in a pational park is inspiring and showing couples around these beautiful landscapes on their elopement day never gets old! I love that couples can come back to these parks for years to come to celebrate getting married there and maybe even one day bring their kids to the exact spot they said “‘I do!’ I feel like that’s an extra-special part of getting married in a national park vs. a wedding venue – you can literally come back 30 years from now and stand at that exact spot at Lake McDonald for example!” - Jessica Billings Photography

“My biggest piece of advice for couples planning a national park elopement would be just take the time to enjoy every moment of it and make the day all about you, and also to plan some downtime after to really take it all in! I have no regrets about our day, it turned out exactly how I could have pictured it; It was so stress free because Beau and I got to plan it with just in mind. I also think you have to keep in mind that as much as you can plan, nature can totally change any of those plans so you have to really have an open mind and attitude with planning a national park elopement.” - Abby

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THE COUPLE Abby and Beau are high school sweethearts who met through mutual friends and instantly connected. After dating for eight years, Beau planned a romantic and adventurous proposal at the bottom of a waterfall during their favorite hike along the north shore of Duluth, Minnesota. Abby was completely thrown off and excited to start planning an elopement with their closest family and friends by their sides.

THE PLANNING The couple knew they wanted to elope in Glacier National Park, the planning was easy, the hard part was picking a ceremony spot as this park has some of the most to pick from. They settled on Sun Point as the perfect spot to say ‘I do,’ with 9 of their closest family members and friends. “Being able to have it be so intimate with just our closest family and friends there was really special,” reminisces Abby.

THE DETAILS They wanted a simple and rustic theme to the day, and that’s exactly what Jessica Billings captured. Beau’s Brother was the officiant, adding another personal touch to the day. After the ceremony, they gathered around picnic tables and ate sandwiches they made and brought! “It was really nice being able to sit and talk with everyone there and just embrace the moment together,” recalls Abby. Although intimate, Abby and Beau wanted their elopement to embody who they were as a couple and allow their guests to experience their adventurous sides, too. Together, they all spent time hiking, zip lining and exploring, making their entire elopement more personal and memorable. The next morning, Abby, Beau and their photographer, Jessica Billings, woke up at sunrise for a hike to Saint Mary and Virginia Falls.

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“It is super super super important for both couples and photographers to be sure to get any necessary permits! I think a really big thing is also for photographers to speak to the permitting office and be well aware of the rules of the park and where photography is and is not allowed. Doing this along with being aware of Leave No Trace principles help insure that other couples can enjoy eloping in these national parks for years to come.” - Jessica Billings Photography

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Vendors Ceremony: Sun Point Photographer: Jessica Billings Photography Florist: Forage and Floral | Hair: Madeline Cooler at Glacier Beauty Co. Makeup: Beauty by Emily | Bridal Boutique: David’s Bridal | Jewelry: Amazon | Bride’s Ring: D.J. Bitzan | Bride’s Shoes: Oboz | Groom’s Attire: Express | Groom’s Accessories: The Knights Chamber Groom’s Shoes: Columbia | Lodging: VRBO |

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GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK rocky mountain bride - national parks /


THE HISTORY Grand Teton National Park is known for its iconic rugged mountain range and abundance of wildlife. The park sits in northwestern Wyoming and spans over three thousands acres. It’s just 10 miles south of Yellowstone National park, which drives even more tourists to this destination yearly. In 2021, Grand Teton National park drew in over 350,000 visitors, a drastic increase from years prior which has also lead to an increase in wedding and special permit requests in the park.

CEREMONY LOCATIONS The park offers a handful of locations for elopements: Chapel of the Scared Heart Chapel of the Transfiguration Blacktail Ponds Overlook Schwabacher’s Landing Signal Mountain Summit

THE PLANNING A permit is required to hold a wedding in the park unless it is at the Chapel of Transfiguration, the Chapel of the Sacred Heart or a concession facility. Arrangements with the chapels must be made directly with the church.

Tips + Deadlines • • • • • •

For locations requiring a permit, you must complete an online application form and email it to the park The permit application must be received no less than 30 days prior to your event There is a non-refundable $200 fee due at the time you submit your application You must also pay the standard park entrance fee which is $35 for a private vehicle and good for seven days You must also obtain a marriage license in Wyoming which costs $30. There is no waiting period and you do not need to be a resident of the state in order to obtain one Historical buildings or structures may be used as backdrops only

Information courtesy of:

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grand teton national park

Elevation: 13,775 ft 310,044 acres

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THE PLANNING From day one, Rebecca knew she wanted an intimate celebration and considered eloping, but Adam and their families wanted them to throw the big traditional wedding at a hometown venue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The pandemic hit shortly after and that’s when they realized to go back to their original plan to elope! Rebecca got her wish and the two planned their elopement in just one week. “We were lucky that our lovely photographer was 100% down for a destination elopement. Once Mariah was on board, planning was super easy! We did a little research on ceremony, reception, and lodging locations, and the rest really fell into place. Finding the ideal picturesque locations and determining how we would get there in our wedding attire was the fun and challenging part. You definitely need to decide in advance how adventurous you’re willing to get and whether or not you mind a little dirt on your dress! Come prepared with an alternative pair of comfortable shoes (hiking boots FTW) and do a little research on the difficulty level and busyness of the trails/ceremony site you’re in love with,” advises Rebecca. Rebecca and Adam were drawn to the Teton’s because of its jawdropping views from all angles. Grand Teton National Park had always been on their bucket list to visit and the two thought it’d be the perfect place for an elopement. They picked Schwabacher Landing for their ceremony, a location on the outskirts of the park that’s known for its moose sightings. Just three minutes before their parents and siblings arrived for the ceremony, a giant bull moose emerged from the trees and paused right in the backdrop! They also made sure they utilized the beauty and landscape of their ceremony site and picked out hiking trails to take photos at after they said ‘I do.’

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“We chose a three-ish mile trail around Leigh Lake in the park to hike for pictures because the water was like glass, clear as can be with a gorgeous backdrop. We also stopped by Mormon Row for some shots that turned out amazing. We happened to visit during peak fall foliage, so the colors were vivid and perfectly contrasting!” recalls Rebecca. “There are so many favorite moments from shooting Becca and Adam’s elopement, but my favorite had to be hiking for their photos the day-of the elopement while showing them a bunch of new places and views in the national park. The whole day just felt like a stunning adventure with friends. These two were a blast to work with and we had a great time showing them around some of our favorite photo spots. Another favorite moment HAS to be their first look. It was genuine, sweet, and full of pure happy emotion, the kind that makes you tear up just watching it,” Mariah Treiber Photography, Pennsylvania wedding photographer. With their closest family and Rebecca’s sister Marrying them, it was the intimate, simple, yet perfect day they’d always dreamt of. Gold Dust Floral utilized tones of light pink, mustard and whites in the bouquet arrangement that was delicately held together with a terracotta-colored ribbon. The newlyweds extended the wedding celebration a few days and spent the rest of their time in Jackson.

why the rockies?

“There’s something so fulfilling about spending time in the mountains. Why not spend the happiest day in the place where you’re the happiest?” - Rebecca

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“Shooting an elopement is so much different from traditional weddings, but I would say that the best thing about an elopement is the intimacy and personalized feel of it. Elopements are unique and beautiful because they are completely customizable and can be literally anything you want it to be. At times, I feel like my clients who choose a traditional wedding day feel that they are supposed to do everything a certain way and it many times feels as if they are missing out on some unique elements and/or activities that they would have otherwise incorporated with a smaller wedding or elopement. An elopement is 100% about the couple, their vision, and their love.” — Mariah Treiber Photography

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Vendors Ceremony: Schwabacher Landing in Grand Teton National Park | Reception: Orsetto Italian Bar and Eatery | Photographer: Mariah Treiber Photography | Florist: Gold Dust Floral | Hair & Makeup: Hair & Makeup By Tanya | Gown Designer: Theia Couture | Bridal Boutique: Blanc de Blanc Bridal Boutique | Jewelry: Chanel | Bride’s Shoes: Aldo | Accessories: BHLDN | Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers | Groom’s Accessories: J.Crew | Groom’s Shoes: Allen Edmonds | Lodging: Rustic Inn at Jackson Hole Creekside Resort & Spa |

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THE HISTORY Great Sand Dunes National Park offers a dramatic landscape of huge dunes in the southern pocket of Colorado. The dunes formed thousands of years ago after a large lake, which one covered the San Luis Valley, dried up. The park has some of the tallest dunes in North America, rising over 750 feet high against the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. When visiting the park, you’re able to walk and climb the towering dunes for miles. You can even hike them at night, which offer some of the best dark skies to see the Milky Way and constellations.

CEREMONY LOCATIONS The park offers a handful of different locations for elopements:


Amphitheater View #1 Amphitheater View #2, Wide Angle View Amphitheater at Night Edge of Dunes North Ramada Picnic Area View #1 North Ramada Picnic Area View #2 South Ramada Picnic Area View #1 South Ramada Picnic Area View #2

Special use permits are required before holding a wedding or special event, and for still photography in the park.

Tips + Deadlines • • • •

You must submit a ‘general special use permit application’ online A non-refundable processing fee of $100 is due at time of the application Apply early! Send your application in with plenty of time for the park to approve The park recommends requesting a meeting with park staff if your elopement involves an unusual location or complex details

great sand dunes national park

Information courtesy of:

highest point: 13,610 ft 107,342 acres

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THE PLANNING After dating for a year, Luke knew he wanted forever with Emily. They had moved from New Mexico to Colorado after the pandemic and were in need of a fresh start. Driving their two jam-packed cars filled with furniture and blow-up mattresses to the brim, Emily thought they were just moving, but Luke had bigger plans. After living together for a short time at their apartment they were slowly turning into a home, Luke got down on one knee and,” he told me ‘we made this place our home and filled it with so much love that I wouldn’t want t ask you to marry me anywhere else,” She, of course, said yes and next began the planning! Originally they planned on a traditional wedding but soon had their hearts set on eloping. “As things went on the more we realized we were planning a wedding around everyone else but ourselves. That’s when we knew we wanted to elope. We wanted to focus on us and the real reason why we were getting married because we love each other. We wanted to spend the day stress-free, spending time together, doing what we love. It was by far the best decision we’ve ever made,” says Emily. The planning process was easy for the couple, they focused on the vendors that were most important to them. “The first thing we looked into was photographers and videographers. We made it a priority to have the best of the best capture our day so we could share it all with our loved ones. The next thing was choosing a location and researching national parks regulations. We looked into several locations but landed on the Great Sand Dunes. We have visited several times before and loved the location. After that, we researched permits and how to apply. It didn’t take very long to get approved. We also double-checked with the campgrounds to see their availability. It was first come first serve so we went two days before to set up camp and get everything settled,” recalls Emily.

CHIC COWBOY-INSPIRED ELOPEMENT On a warm August day, Emily and Luke said ‘I do’ among the glistening dunes in the distance. They chose Great Sand Dunes National Park because of its natural beauty and history with the park. “I told my husband I just want to get married on the top of a mountain surrounded by the beautiful scenery and profess our love for each other, so we did,” reminisces Emily. It was just the two of them, their videographer and photographer Hannah Jo who captured the couple’s authentic love story. “This entire day was a dream and SO laid back. We started at their campsite where they had just gone down to the river to fish the morning of their elopement, and we went over details and packed up the car to go get ready,” recalls Hannah Jo Photography. Their inspiration for the day was chic cowboy and disco. They incorporated their cowboy boots, pops of pampas grass, disco balls, and rugs to tie it all together. Emily picked and styled all of the florals and decor on her own and thrifted most of it from Amazon. Before their vendors arrived, they took a moment to be alone, sit and pray at the nearby picnic tables and campsite. Their favorite moment of the day was the first look and reading of their vows. “My favorite moments have to be when they played rock paper scissors to decide who shared vows first and listening to their words to each other, and then definitely the campfire first dance they shared,” reminisces Hannah Jo Photography.

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After their ceremony, they spent the morning fishing and caught a 19-inch rainbow trout they brought back for lunch. “We slept in a tent, ate campfire food, went fishing, and soaked up the beautiful scenery. It was so simple and we wouldn’t have had it any other way,” recalls Emily.

“I recommend calling offices and asking tons of questions to make sure you aren’t breaking any laws or regulations! The park ranger we spoke to gave us several beautiful location recommendations and it helped a lot! If you plan on eloping at the Sand Dunes I highly suggest minimal or heavy decor and a beautiful updo because it gets very windy on the dunes. Lastly, the best advice I can give to all future couples looking to elope is to have fun with it. You can go as extravagant as you want or as simple. You really can’t beat getting married surrounded by the beauty of national parks!” - Emily

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“It was very warm, and it took us a while to get up to the top of the sand dunes as climbing in the sand is a lot different than climbing rocks or a regular hill, but it was 100000% worth it! There are so many options when it comes to the scenery as you can get the right viewpoint and get the water, the mountains, and the dunes in the portrait all at the same time and THAT was breathtaking. The look of the sand in photos is otherworldly and truly adds to just a magical vibe.” - Hannah Jo Photography

Vendors Ceremony: Great Sand Dunes National Park Photographer: Hannah Jo Photography | Videographer: Golden Moments CO | Caterer: Graceful Grazing Co | Dress Shop: Lulus | Bride’s Shoes: Boot Barn | Bride’s Ring Designer: Zales |

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PECOS NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK rocky mountain bride - national parks /


THE HISTORY Pecos is unique in that it is a ‘National Historic Park,’ a different distinction from a traditional national park. Located in New Mexico, this park is a short drive from the state’s capital, Santa Fe. The park is known for its beauty, history, and culture. Its landscape is filled with thousands of miles of Redstone, junipers, ponderosas, and more. It’s considered a cultural crossroad where hunters, explorers, immigrants, and more once passed through. Its also widely recognized as a major battle site of the American Civil War. Its unique landscape and history dates back 7,000 years ago and is one of the most influential landscapes in New Mexico. Offering some of the most beautiful and unique sceneries, it’s easy to see why couples opt to elope here.



Pecos National Historic Park allows wedding ceremonies within the park, with the understanding that couples respect the values and purposes for which the park was established. The park approves requests based on the size of your group. The most popular location within the park is ‘The Ruins Church.’

Special use permits are required to perform a wedding ceremony within the park. You can apply for a permit with the ‘Special Park Use Coordinator’ via email or phone.

Tips + Deadlines • • • •

It’s recommended that you check with the park on the availability of dates prior to submitting the application and the $100 non-refundable application fee. Special use permit requests will not be considered more than one year in advance. Post-event activities, such as receptions, are not permitted on park grounds. An approved, signed copy of the permit must be in your possession before the ceremony.

Information courtesy of:

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pecos national Historic park

elevation: 7,000 ft 6,000 acres

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“We felt like we were a part of something bigger than us. As much as our day was about us, it was also about being in nature surrounded by the ones we love most and this historic place that has been preserved to teach us its history.” - Stacey

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THE PLANNING Stacey and Morgan were one of the successful Tinder stories and have the dating app to thank for their relationship! After hitting it off, they dated for seven years and knew it was forever. Instead of a fancy proposal, they opted to skip that and plan their adventurous elopement at Pecos National Historic Park. They held an intimate New Year’s Eve elopement, just them and 8 of their closest friends and family. “It was surprisingly easy as we started planning very early and knew we were keeping the list small. The hardest part [was] keeping the engagement and wedding a secret from so many friends, sorry guys,” recalls Stacey. The couple recalls planning their elopement at the park, a breeze. “[It] was very easy once we got the ball rolling with our Park Ranger. We completed an application (not done online) and mailed in a check the old-fashioned way. Once the ranger was able to see what size guest list we had and that we didn’t require much else, we were verbally approved for our Special Use Permit. Once we were closer to the date we were able to meet with the Ranger, get our permit and discuss the dos and don’ts of the area because it’s a historic park we had to make sure we weren’t disturbing the space in any way like climbing walls, staying on appropriate paths, etc. Our Ranger was super fantastic and was in touch with us about weather changes early enough that it barely caused a ripple in our day. Thanks, Chief Ranger Scott,” says Stacey.

SOUTHWESTERN, 70’S INSPIRED ELOPEMENT The setting of their elopement was inspired by the beauty of the park, mixed with southwestern influences and the ’70s. The couple included handmade jewelry from the Kewa Pueblo/Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico as a way to honor both Morgan’s family and the Pecos land. Stacey wore dangling turquoise earrings that complemented Morgan’s handmade turquoise necklace. “A big part of the day for us was getting ready together. Our photographer, Haley Nord, suggested we consider what WE wanted from our day, not just do what was ‘traditional’ or ‘expected’. We started our day together, enjoying breakfast and a game of chess and vow writing. We then got dressed together, I helped Morgan with his cuff links while he zipped up my dress, it was very comforting to know he was right there with me from the start of the day to the end,” Stacey They said their ‘I do’s’ in the ruins of an adobe church built back in 1717. “We let the adobe walls and ruins shine and brought nothing to the ceremony except ourselves. Beyond the ruins, there is an Ancestral Sites trail with Kiva’s and original dwellings from the Pecos Pueblo people that Morgan, myself, and Haley were able to explore for our photos and personal vows after the ceremony,” reminisces Stacey. “After the ceremony, we climbed down into an Ancestral Puebloan kiva, which is a ceremonial in-ground space used by the Indigenous people who built Pecos. When we climbed down, you could see the snow softly falling through the hole in the roof we climbed down through. It was warm and sheltered from the storm, and was one of those moments where the world feels completely still. They also decided to share vows privately after their ceremony, so we went on a walk through Pecos and found a spot that felt right for them to share these with each other,” recalls Haley Nord, photographer. Stacey and Morgan recently moved from Los Angeles to New Mexico and fell head over heels for the history the state had to offer. “Between the history and Haley Nord’s photography opening our eyes to what our day COULD be, we knew we wanted something monumental for our big day. We considered a few different options in the Santa Fe area but once we found Pecos, nothing else could compare. Even more kismet, Morgan is a part of the Chickasaw Nation so choosing Pecos felt like a great way to honor his native lineage,” tells Stacey. After the ceremony, the couple celebrated at La Posada de Santa Fe with an intimate reception for them and their guests. It included a Spanish guitar player and seasonal cocktails. They ended the night saying goodbye to their guests amid NYE fireworks in a snow storm.

“Become best friends with your Park Ranger! and of course, do your research early.” - Stacey + Morgan

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“My number one advice is to sit down and talk about your favorite days you’ve spent together. From there, figure out what the common factors are and build a day around that. Think of everything from big to small things. My couples have played chess to determine who says their vows first, woken up for sunrise and coffee, or just had the goal to road trip and see as many beautiful places as possible on their elopement day. This can really help with the overwhelm of knowing where to start when planning.” - Haley Nord

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Vendors Ceremony: Pecos National Historic Park | Reception & Lodging: La Posada de Santa Fe | Photographer: Haley Nord | Floral: Renegade Floral | Music: Absolute Entertainment | Gown Designer: Self-Portrait | Bride’s Shoes: Tory Burch | Bride’s Jewelry: Franklin & Dorothy Chavez Bride’s Ring Designer: Vintage 70s from Europe | Groom’s Suits: Hockerty | Groom’s Shoes: Tecovas | Hair & Makeup: Kimberly G & Diana Rose Serna of Something Ginger | Officiant: Travis Anderson

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ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK rocky mountain bride - national parks /


THE HISTORY Nestled in northern Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is known for diverse mountain landscape and home to Longs Peaks, the park’s tallest mountain. It’s one of the most visited national parks, attracting millions of tourists every year. It offers a little of everything from hiking, to camping and an abundance of wildlife.

CEREMONY LOCATIONS The park offers a handful of different locations for elopements. 30 people is the limit per site unless designated as less below. All ceremony sites are located in areas that are open to the public.

THE PLANNING In order to elope within the park you must apply for a special use permit and submit the application online. Rocky Mountain National Park accepts applications the year in advance of your chosen elopement month.

Copeland Lake, 30 3M Curve, 15 Alluvial Fan Bridge, 20 Bear Lake Nature Trail, 20 Harbison Meadow Picnic Area, 30 Hidden Valley, 30 Lily Lake Dock, 10 Lily Lake Trail, 20 Lily Lake Trail Southside Picnic Area, 30 Moraine Park Visitor Center Amphitheater, 30 Sprague Lake, 15 in summer and 30 in winter Timber Creek Campground Amphitheater, 10 Upper Beaver Meadows, 30

Tips + Deadlines • • • • • • • •

The non-refundable fee for a wedding application is $300. Normal entrance fees apply to all vehicles associated with the ceremony. You must also obtain a Colorado marriage license in order to elope within the park. Between the months of May and October, the park allows 60 permits per month for all issued permits on a first come, first-serve basis. Between November and April, 40 per month are allowed on a first come, first-served basis. The 30 guest count limit for sites includes the wedding couple, guests, officiants, and photographer. No more than two weddings per day will be booked at any designated wedding location. Ceremonies are limited to two hours maximum at all locations. To check availability, or for other questions, contact the office at

Information courtesy of:

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rocky mountain national park

highest point: 14,259 ft 265,795 acres

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“I love capturing pure love and connection, those hidden and unfiltered, raw moments like that glow in your eyes when he glances at you. The way he touches your hair when they are dancing from the Rockies alpine breeze. The way it feels, he holds you tight like this is the last thing you will ever do, the way you snuggle together. The moments that give you butterflies when he chuckles…the way he holds you to make you feel safe, the way he looks at you that makes you think… “that’s why I love him.” Surrounded by untouched alpine beauty, at sunrise when that warm light touches your souls nothing quite compares. You must experience it together. Every single time, those moments are extraordinary, above 12,000 feet like there is nothing else, just you two and the beauty of nature surrounding your souls.” - Justyna E. Butler Photography

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THE COUPLE For over a year or so, Taylor and Ryan lived about 20 minutes away from each other, each farming for different operations in Boulder County, Colorado. One day, Taylor’s good friend Chloe told her she knew of a guy named Ryan who was also a farmer and thought they’d make a great match. Taylor was attracted to him but wasn’t focused on dating at the time as she was getting ready for a butchery apprenticeship in Italy. When she got there, she met a big group of other American apprentices. As Taylor sat down and started mingling she realized it was Ryan! They immediately hit it off and spent the first months of their relationship drinking wine on hillsides and adventuring through Italy. After dating for a while, they visited Italy again in February 2020 and Ryan proposed.

THE DETAILS Intimate wedding and adventure elopement photographer Justyna Butler used Taylor and Ryan’s love story to fuel her inspiration behind this moody and adventurous styled elopement. She chose Rocky Mountain National Park has the backdrop, inspired by its natural beauty. “I’ve come to treasure the love between two gorgeous souls and untouched beauty of our Colorado Rockies, keeping in mind fragile, untouched environment we have to help preserving,” Justyna Butler. Justyna worked with her vendor team to include dreamy and daring elements that reflected the adventures tone of the Rockies. Plume & Furrow utilized pops of dark and bright floral into the bouquet. While Gray Kin Hair and Makeup went for a more casual feel that reflected the couple’s spunky and adventurous side. “Sharing the love for Colorado favorite adventure wedding floral vendors and make up artist. Lisa and Kim are just so passionate and amazing with creating for my adventure brides unique pieces that add to their love narrative,” Justyna Butler. Justyna wanted to capture the couple’s pure love and connection, told by them roaming in the mountains, playing with pups and even some farm animals!

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Vendors Ceremony: Rocky Mountain National Park | Photographer: Justyna E Butler Photography | Florist: Plume & Furrow | Hair & Makeup: Graykin | Bridal Boutique: Free People | Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse |

“One advice I would love to share as an artist is to saunter all the moments, from the moment you wake up and the only feeling you might have at that moment is the butterflies in your stomach… of not knowing what the day will bring. The park has so much to offer, the trails, the untouched beauty, saunter it all….plan with the vision of being flexible….and welcome unexpected.” - Justyna E. Butler Photography

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WHITE SANDS NATIONAL PARK rocky mountain bride - national parks /


THE HISTORY White Sands National Park, located in southern New Mexico, is the world’s largest dune field made primarily of a mineral called gypsum.. It’s wave-like dunes of sand attracts thousands of visitors every year. Nestled between the Sacramento and San Andres Mountain ranges, the park offers hiking, camping and even an option to drive through the Dunes! It’s become a popular destination for eloping over recent years, offering a beautiful and shimmering backdrop.

CEREMONY LOCATIONS The Park only allows one reserved area for elopements and wedding ceremonies, which is the ‘Group Use Area.’ It is a semi-private location with limited access for the general public. The area includes a pavilion with tables to seat up to 25 people. You may hold your wedding in other areas within the park, however those areas are all open to the public and cannot be blocked off for ceremonies.

THE PLANNING A special use permit is required to elope or hold a wedding inside White Sands National Park.

Tips + Deadlines • You may submit a permit up to 6 months in advance and no less than 30 days in advance of your requested date. Permits are granted on a first-come, first-served basis. • A $50 non-refundable reservation fee must be paid at the time of reservation. • The group use area maybe also be reserved for group tent camping.

Information courtesy of:

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white sands national park

highest point: 4,116 ft 145,762 acres

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THE COUPLE Carina and Phillip met while working in the neurointensive care unit at a University Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. They started the same exact week and were both new to the unit and instantly clicked. They started dating shortly after and a year later, Phillip planned a romantic proposal. On their one-year anniversary, they took a trip to Angel Fire, New Mexico and Phillip proposed! During their one year engagement, they planned an intimate elopement at White Sands National Park with just the two of them, their photographer and officiant.

THE DETAILS They chose White Sands National Park based on it’s beautiful scenery, limited amount of people at the location and loved the idea of being surrounded by white sands. “The planning process was fairly easy because we just had to make a few phone calls regarding rules for getting married inside a national park. We had to pay a park fee, which was not expensive, and we had to make sure we picked a location that would be secluded from many people for the actual ceremony,” Carina. The couple planned almost everything themselves! Phillip built their ceremony arch and they both created their floral arrangements. They wanted their big day to special but completely stress free. Julie Haider captured the couple glistening amidst the White Sands. Carina and Phillip had a formal reception weeks later with their family and friends and loved the idea of being able to separate their wedding into two celebrations.

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Vendors Ceremony: White Sands National Park Photographer: Julie Haider Adventure Elopements |

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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK rocky mountain bride - national parks /


THE HISTORY Yellowstone National Park is known for its diverse landscapes, geysers, wilderness and so much more! Though primarily in Wyoming, the park also stretches into parts of Idaho and Montana. Yellowstone National park holds a special place in the history books, as it was the first ever designated national park. Now, as the oldest park in the U.S., it continues to attract millions of tourists every year and it’s no secret why. Many will come to witness the most famous geyser, Old Faithful as an added bonus, the park contains half of the world’s geysers! Expect to see tons of wildlife in the area while exploring all of the unique geologic wonders the park has to offer.

CEREMONY LOCATIONS The park offers a few locations for elopements. Below you will find a list of the locations along with the corresponding group size limit. Canyon Area, 40 Old Faithful Area, 40 people Parkwide Amphitheaters, case by case

THE PLANNING Elopements are allowed within certain areas of the park depending on location, group size and the time of year or day. You must submit an application online to apply for a special use permit.

Tips + Deadlines • • • • •

Applications are accepted up to 12 months in advance and no later than two-four weeks before the requested ceremony date Site use is on a first-requested, first-served basis A $250 non-refundable application fee is required You must still pay the park entrance fee which is $35 per vehicle and is good for seven days The National Park Service does not require that a marriage license has been obtained in order for the ceremony to take place within the park

Information courtesy of:

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Amphitheaters are a good place for a larger group gathering, however, please remember that you may not alter, change or decorate the space. Thermal Areas, Limited space on boardwalks paired with high visitor use makes thermal areas a difficult place to safely hold a ceremony; most requests to get married in thermal areas will not be approved. Mammoth Chapel, In addition to a wedding permit, a reservation (and additional reservation fee) is also required to use the Mammoth Chapel. Please make a reservation by calling (307) 344-2203.

yellowstone national park

highest point: 11,372 ft 2,219,790 acres

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“For couples thinking of eloping, just go for it! You will have stunning pictures but, even more, memoriesthat will last a lifetime. Follow your own timeline, whether it be six months or six years. Your heart will know when it has met its soulmate.” - Brittany + Tyler

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THE COUPLE When Brittany and Tyler think back to the moment they meant, they recall it as fate and true love at first sight! Brittany had just returned from a deployment overseas and decided to move out West on a whim. A week later she found her self in Bozeman, Montana, meeting Tyler. It only took a few months for Tyler to know he was ready to pop the question. He proposed to Brittany on Valentine’s Day at the top of a mountain in Thompson Falls, Montana. She said yes! They knew they wanted a quick engagement as Tyler would have to deploy later that year and they felt eloping was the perfect option to give them everything they wanted.

THE PLANNING They planned their modern, boho elopement with just five of their closest guests in mind. “The planning process is simple! All you need is a Special Use Permit for the park and a marriage license. The hardest part is selecting from the hundreds of picturesque backdrops inside the park. We knew we wanted to capture everything we love about this great state we get to call home, the mountains, water, and unmatched sunsets,” recalls Brittany.

THE DETAILS They picked Yellowstone for its jaw-dropping views, scenery and how magical it looks at dusk. “We wanted the location to be somewhere close to home, but unique. While Bozeman offers a number of breathtaking views (with Big Sky less than an hour away), there is just something truly special about the untouched land of our nation’s oldest and most iconic national park, Yellowstone. The beauty, serenity, and eternalness of the park represents our love for one another,” Brittany. The couple wanted a touch of rustic boho in their day and it was perfectly executed with the bride’s fringe leather jacket and hat. Wild Willow utilized pops of reds, oranges and browns to play off of Brittany’s jacket and scenery. Savina Welch Photography captured this elopement and focused on her couple being able to have intimate yet fun moments in the park. “Shooting an Elopement is different from a big wedding because an elopement is a much smaller group and more intimate, more time with the couple and less stressful. With a big wedding you almost have to be in multiple places at once. My favorite part was exploring with the couple and running around in the field where we took pictures, really getting to know the couple in a different level and having fun and making sure they had fun and were not stressed,” reminisces Savina Welch Photography.

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Vendors Ceremony: Yellowstone National Park | Planner: Sugar Willow Events | Photographer: Spirited Photo and Film | Florist: Wild Willow | Invites: Seventh & Anderson | Hair: A Peace of Beauty | Makeup: Ivory Esthetics | Gown Designer: Wilderly Bride by Allure Bridals | Bridal Boutique: Plume Bridal | Jewelry: Alara Jewelry | Bride’s Hat: Amada Artesanias | Rentals: Tailored and Tied |

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ZION NATIONAL PARK rocky mountain bride - national parks /


THE HISTORY Zion National Park, located in southwestern Utah, holds the special recognition of being Utah’s first national park. The massive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink and red attract millions of tourists a year. The Park is packed with unique plants and animals and iconic landmarks such as Slot Canyon, Angels Landing, The Narrows and Weeping Rock.

CEREMONY LOCATIONS The Park offers a handful of different locations for elopements. Below you will find a list of the locations along with the corresponding group size limit. ZION CANYON AREA: Temple of Sinawava, 35 Menu Falls, 10 Zion Lodge Lawn, 75 Nature Center North Lawn, 50 (available November-early April only) South Campground Amphitheater, 100


KOLOB CANYON AREA: Timber Creek Overlook, 20

A special use permit is required to elope or hold a wedding inside Zion National Park.

Tips + Deadlines • A special use permit is required regardless of group size • The cost of an application is $100 and can be submitted electronically • Applications must be submitted three weeks in advance to be considered • Any decorations need prior approval

Information courtesy of:

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zion national park

highest point: 4,000 ft 148,016 acres

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THE COUPLE Emily and Lex went to middle school and high together, but it wasn’t until their senior year when they finally hung out. Lex was adventurous and convinced Emily to ditch class with him to grab coffee, his plan worked, the two kept hanging out and eventually became a couple! A year and a half later, Lex planned an intimate and adventurous proposal! Lex pretended his brother got stuck off-roading in the desert and they needed to head out to help him. Little did Emily know it was all part of a plan. Upon entering a cave like area, Emily quickly realized there was no car or brother, just a beautiful lit path of candles and photos. Next to palm tree leaves, a fire and s’mores set up, Lex got down on one knee and proposed.

THE DETAILS During their six month engagement they planned their boho-inspired elopement for Zion National Park on a cool February day. They both grew up in Utah and were drawn to the parks calm yet vibrant color pallet of creams, pinks, and reds. With their closest family and friends by their side, they said ‘I do,’ in a canyon. Their favorite moment was their intimate vows to each other. After the ceremony, Sierra Horsting Photography captured photos of the couple showcasing the natural beauty of the canyon and all elements of mother nature. They were inspired by wildflowers and cactus and used those colors and textures in their floral and cake design. “Shooting at a national park is so surreal. You’ve seen the scenery in movies, maybe even magazines or prints in a store, but to be in the moment shooting it for yourself is what always gets to me and makes me want to keep exploring this beautiful world. Pictures never do the size of the mountains justice, I love to soak in every detail and re-live the moment over and over again,” recalls Sierra Horsting photography. Lex and Emily ended the celebration with cookies and sparklers and took off in their vintage Volkswagen bus. Their adventure continued in their van over to California to explore the beaches and Disneyland “Overall, it was really fun, it definitely had its stressful moments, but I really liked that I got to choose and pick everything I wanted,” reminisces Emily.

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“Shooting Lex and Emily’s elopement was so exciting. We had 3 types of weather in a two-hour span. There was light snow, which we call “sleet” in the south. There was rain and sunny skies. We had no issues with still producing beautiful images. Choosing my favorite part of our shoot is so hard but if I had to choose, I would say shooting with their blue Volkswagen bus had to top it off. Their style is so nostalgic, and they totally brought the heat to their elopement.” - Sierra Horsting Photography

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“Always show patience and kindness to your other half!” - Emily + Alexy

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Vendors Ceremony: Zion Canyon National Park | Photographer: Sierra Horsting Photography Bridal Boutique: The Latter Day Bride Bride’s Ring: Kay Jewelers | Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden| Groom’s Attire: Asos |

NEARBY & NOTEWORTHY GRAND CANYON N AT I O N A L PA R K JOSHUA TREE N AT I O N A L PA R K YOSEMITE N AT I O N A L PA R K 148 / rocky mountain bride - national parks

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GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK rocky mountain bride - national parks /


THE HISTORY Grand Canyon National Park, located in northern Arizona, is one of America’s most popular natural attractions. It contains some of the oldest exposed rock on earth that was carved by the Colorado River. The natural landmark formed millions of years ago and is known today for its layered bands of colorful rock and its mile-deep canyon. This national park is one of the most studied landscapes in the world due to its geologic features, archeological history and fossil records. Grand Canyon South Rim is one of the most visited spots in the park, offering a stunning aerial view of the park. On average, five million people visit the park every year.

CEREMONY LOCATIONS The park offers a handful of different locations for elopements. Below you will find a list of the locations along with the corresponding group size limit.

THE PLANNING You most obtain an approved Special use Permit issued by the park in order to hold an elopement. The cost of an online application is $240.

Tips + Deadlines • • • • •

Weddings can be scheduled up to one year in advance The park requires a minimum of four weeks to process a basic permit request The permit must be requested by the couple, not a third party You can check the park’s online ceremony sites calendar to make sure you date is available before applying online You must obtain an Arizona Marriage license which costs $83

Information courtesy of:

OUTDOOR LOCATIONS South Rim: Grandeur Point, 45 Lipan Point, 35 Moran Point, 35 Pima Point, 30 Rim Worship Site, 50 Shoshone Point, 85 North Rim: Cape Royal Amphitheater, 40 Point Imperial Viewpoint, 20 INDOOR LOCATIONS South Rim: Shrine of the Ages, 60 Park Lodges *doesn’t require a Special Use Permit

grand canyon national park

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Alexandria + Tyler

These dreamy and daring photos showcase Alexandria and Tyler’s relationship and love for adventure! Before the couple got engaged, they always knew they wanted a small and intimate wedding. “As I researched ideas for an elopement, we fell in love with the idea of eloping at a national park out west. The pictures just looked so dreamy and romantic, and we were already planning a trip out West. As we planned more, we decided the best thing for us and our family was to not elope and to have an intimate wedding with immediate family and friends instead. However, after spending endless hours researching elopement ideas, we still wanted those dreamy photos,” says Alexandria. They got the best of both worlds by deciding to get married in their hometown with only their immediately family by their side and still get those dreamy portraits at the Grand Canyon a week later. "We moved forward with our wonderful photographer so that we could have our ceremony with family and friends but also have our romantic photos at a national park. At the end of the day, what you have forever are the photos so it really mattered to us that they were special and everything we had dreamed of,” states Alexandria. Andrea O’Bert and her team captured the couple’s special day and was inspired by the beauty of the sunrise over the canyon. “Shooting in a national park is a really incredible experience because in addition to it being a stunning place for photos, you really get to experience the joy of seeing these amazing views with your couple. There is no better feeling than reaching the end of a long, arduous hike and seeing the vista together where they’ll be exchanging vows or taking photos! It’s really something special to capture and to be a part of! And from a photography standpoint, I love the variety that the parks bring.”

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“Consider all the things you love doing together, the places you love to go, the activities that you love to do, the things that make you smile and imagine what your absolute dream elopement day would look like, no matter how crazy it sounds. Then, tell a planner or photographer about it. No matter how wild your ideas are, there is someone out there who can make it happen for you!” - Andrea O’Bert

Vendors Photographer: Andrea O’Bert | Bridal Boutique: David’s Bridal | Groom’s Attire: Marshalls |

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JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK rocky mountain bride - national parks /


THE HISTORY Joshua Tree National Park is one of the most fascinating parks in California. It’s rugged rock formations and desert landscapes attract more than two million visitors annually. The park is packed with bristled Joshua Trees. A tree which is only known to grow in the Mojave Desert and throughout a handful of states. The park is divided by the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert, two distinct desert ecosystems sculpted by strong winds and torrents of rain overtime.

CEREMONY LOCATIONS The park offers a handful of different locations for elopements. Below you will find a list of the locations along with the corresponding group size limit.

THE PLANNING You must obtain a special park use permit in order to elope within the park, regardless of size.

Indian Cove Amphitheater, 100 Hidden Valley Picnic Area, 35 Turkey Flats; 35 Cap Rock, 25 Rattlesnake Picnic Area, 20 Quail Springs Picnic Area, 15 Split Rock, 15 Porcupine Wash, 12 Queen Valley Mine Intersection, 10 Lost Horse Parking Lot, 10 Live Oak Picnic Area, 5

Tips + Deadlines • • •

The cost to submit an online application is $120 and non refundable Additional costs vary depending on the size of your wedding and location If you are hiring a professional photographer or cater, they are also required to obtain a separate social use permit

joshua tree national park

Information courtesy of:

highest point: 5816 ft 790,636 acres

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Fun and Funky in the Desert

Joshua Tree National Park is known to be filled with energy and inspiration. After all, the park is known to have 18 vortices on the land. The forces are believed to offer a spiritual and magnetic feel when there. It’s that same free-spirited energy Among the Wildflowers Photography and her vendor team tried to capture in this styled elopement. “I had my friend Daniella design the jacket with the phrase “Run Away with Me” surrounded by a moon and stars and I knew Joshua Tree would be the perfect location for a beautiful couple to run away together,” states Lindsay Cunningham, Among the Wildflowers Photography. Lindsay picked Joshua Tree National Park because of the unique trees, beautiful landscape and tones of the desert at sunset. Those same tones were utilized in the bride’s bouquet. Shelby Webster of Love Her Madly Weddings and Events utilized bright pops of red playing into the romantic feel, but also included subtle tones of blush and peach to play into the sunset scheme. “The landscape also boasts the varied textures of the sharp spikes of the cacti, the smooth rocks and the dusty earth. The sky at sunset is layered like melted ice cream with orange, peach, and violet hues,” Lindsay. The couple’s attire was romantic yet playful, with delicate details on the bride’s gown and the groom opting for a darker brown suit to complement the desert landscape. “Shooting an elopement is so intimate and so focused on the genuine connection of the couple. A traditional wedding can be fun, vibrant, loud, filled with ritual, laughter and dancing. An elopement tends to be more relaxed and tranquil, with a focus on the couple’s love for each other coupled with their love for adventure,” says Lindsay. Together, the vendor team perfectly captured a runway romance feel in the desert.

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Vendors Ceremony: Joshua Tree National Park | Photographer: Among the Wildflowers Photography Florist: Love Her Madly Weddings + Events Jewelry: & Everlasting | Bride’s Jacket: Denim by Daniella Models: Ellen & Nick

“My advice would be to grab your permit as soon as you decide in which National Park you would like to elope. The parks have been extra busy this year with travelers getting out to explore causing longer than usual wait times for permits. And remember, this day is about you and your partner so fill it with all of the things that you love!” - Among the Wildflowers Photography

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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK rocky mountain bride - national parks /


THE HISTORY Yosemite National Park lies in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. The park is known for its cliffs, waterfalls and giant sequoia trees offering a dramatic landscape for miles. Some of the most popular tourist destinations include El Captian and Half Dome which illuminate bright reds and oranges at sunset. The park is also home to one of the tallest waterfalls in the world, Yosemite Falls which stands at 2,425 feet. It’s easy to see why millions of visitors visit the park every year to explore some of the 1,100 square miles of wilderness the park has to offer.

CEREMONY LOCATIONS The park offers a handful of different locations for elopements. Below you will find a list of the locations along with the corresponding group size limit.

THE PLANNING You must obtain a special use permit and submit the online application to elope inside the park.

Tips + Deadlines • The cost of a permit is $150 and is non-refundable • You are able to schedule your elopement up to one year in advance • You must also pay the standard park entrance fee which is $35 per vehicle and valid for seven days • You must obtain a marriage license in the state of California which costs $80

Information courtesy of:

Yosemite Valley Locations Bridalveil Fall, 50 Cascades Picnic Area, 30 Cathedral Beach Picnic Area, 35 Lower Yosemite Fall Paved Trail, 50 Sentinel Beach Picnic Area, 50 Swinging Bridge Picnic Area, 20 Wawona Locations Chilnualna Falls Trailhead Parking Lot, 50 Glacier Point Amphitheater, 50 Tuolumne Meadows Locations Tenaya Lake Beach, 50 Tuolumne Meadows Lodge Area, 25 Big Oak Flat Area Tuolumne Grove, 30 Merced Grove, 30

yosemite national park

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THE COUPLE Kenzie and Ian are college sweethearts who met at Purdue University. They played a few intramural sports together but it took a ski trip to Colorado with their church to actually get to know one another. It was that trip that sparked the beginning of their forever. The two dated for a year and a half before Ian planned a surprise proposal on Purdue’s campus. He lead Kenzie to a field with lanterns and candles under a beautiful sunset and popped the question and she of course said yes!

THE PLANNING They spent six months planning their modern boho elopement at Yosemite National Park. Neither had been to the park before, but they were drawn to its natural beauty and landscapes in photos. They knew they wanted it to be an intimate moment and only had 10 of their closest family members there. Since they were not local to the state, they gave themselves plenty of time to research.

THE DETAILS On the morning of their elopement, Kenzie and Ian took a moment to pray and worship at El Capitan Meadow, a spot known for its view of the iconic 3,000-foot El Capitan granite formation. It was a perfect prelude to the ceremony. Taylor Ann Photo captured their portraits at Glacier Point, where wildlife roamed freely. The decision to choose the ceremony location, Taft Point, was made on the spot, reflecting their spontaneous, adventurous spirit. The stunning backdrop of Yosemite Valley at Taft Point added a breathtaking dimension to their vows. Kenzie’s inclination for boho aesthetics found expression in her bouquet, an artful blend of dried and fresh florals that mirrored the rustic elegance of their surroundings. They concluded the day with champagne, a steak dinner, and cake at their Airbnb, savoring the profoundness of the day’s events. The next day, they embarked on the beginning of their shared journey as newlyweds, heading off to Autocamp Yosemite, where the serenity of the natural world would continue to cradle their love story in its embrace.

Vendors Ceremony: Taft Point in Yosemite National Park Photographer: Taylor Ann Photography | Videographer: Ashtyn Schae Films | Florist: Garden of Grace | Bridal Boutique: Marie Gabriel Couture | Stationery: Linen Paper Co | Officiant: Drew Frawley Lodging: AutoCamp Yosemite |

“Don’t settle on your photographer! Find someone that you feel connected to as a person AND their work. The relationship + trust you guys have with your photographer is going to be a huge component in how your photos turn out. Don’t settle or feel like you have to elope like everyone else does (same locations, attire, florals, etc). Do a ton of research on what emphasizes who you and your love are as a couple. Look inward and go from there! What national parks speaks to your guy’s personalities? What are your values that you want your elopement to embody? Call the National Park Rangers of the park you’re going to and ask all the questions that you can think of to make sure you’re respecting their rules and the land in every way that you can. If you have never been to the national park before (if you can), it’s so important to go visit and scout the locations you guys are planning on going to a few days before the elopement!” - Taylor Ann Photography

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Julie Haider Adventure Elopements

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adventure awaits

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