The Ultimate Guide to Your Sedona, Arizona Elopement.
Everything you need to know for a stunning Sedona, Arizona elopement.
If you’re planning your dream Sedona, Arizona elopement, you’re looking to celebrate your love against the backdrop of one of Arizona’s most magical places. (If you’ve already been there, you know exactly what I mean.)
Topping list after list of the most beautiful places in America, Sedona is best known for its breathtaking red rocks and energy vortexes. And whether you believe in the healing powers of Sedona’s vortexes or simply can’t look away from the stunning views, you cannot deny there is *something* magical about this place. Whether you want to relax at a spa, sip some local wine, or explore the wonders of the red rock landscape, Sedona is the perfect elopement destination for an intimate getaway or an unforgettable adventure.
Long story short, it’s the perfect backdrop for an epic love story. For your epic love story. Read on to learn everything you need to know to plan for the ultimate Sedona, Arizona elopement.
Let the planning begin!
Best Time Of Year, Week, and Day For Your Sedona, Arizona Elopement.
They say timing is everything. So, let me take some of the pressure off by keying you into the best months for your Sedona elopement. (But, let’s be serious, we both know it’s beautiful year-round.)
PEAK SEASONS: SPRING AND FALL
MARCH-MAY: While spring months are popular times to visit Sedona, it’s with good reason. Temperatures are warm, rather than overwhelmingly hot. The desert flora is in full swing, adding extra beauty to an already colorful landscape. So, if you’re looking for ideal temperatures and flourishing flora, consider planning your Sedona elopement from March to May.
SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER: If you’re looking for that beautiful weather and rich shades of reds, oranges, and gold, consider planning your Sedona elopement for the fall. September through November are slightly less popular than the spring months, so you’ll likely run into fewer crowds.
OFF SEASONS: SUMMER AND WINTER
JUNE-AUGUST: These are the hottest and most humid months in Sedona, with bright desert sun and 90+ degree days. However, if you’re looking to avoid groups of tourists, a summer sunrise or sunset elopement will beat the heat and the crowds. Not to mention you’ll experience the idyllic cotton candy sunsets common this time of year. However, summer is also a popular time for sudden and intense rain in this area. So, you want to be prepared for that just in case. But heat and rain aside, there are a few upsides to a summer Sedona elopement if planned right!
DECEMBER-FEBRUARY: Winter is Sedona offers a delightful chill adding an extra level of intimacy to your special day. And while you can’t predict snow, it only makes Sedona’s enchanting landscape even more majestic. Temperatures top around the mid-50s this time of year. Therefore, you’ll avoid crowds and likely snag lower-priced lodging. So, bring your layers and you’ll be all set to embrace this magical winter wonderland.
Photo Pro Tip: Choosing a month on the cusp of peak seasons is the best way to avoid bustling crowds. And you can still enjoy perfect weather. March and November are two of my favorite months for a Sedona elopement.
Other timing suggestions.
Speaking of the best time for your elopement, Sedona is (understandably) a popular place. So, if you’re looking for a quaint ceremony with your select crew, weekdays are your best bet. Avoiding weekend elopements means avoiding crowds of tourists (and uninvited onlookers) as you say I do.
When it comes to planning the day of your elopement, you’ll inevitably get beautiful photos at any time. However, if you’re looking to capture the elegant glow as the sun hits the red rocks *just right* you can plan for that. I recommend planning your ceremony about 15 minutes before sunrise or about an hour before sunset. The sunlight won’t be too harsh and you’ll score the highly sought-after golden hour glow. You’re also less likely to encounter crowds, which is especially useful if you’re planning on saying “I do” at a highly trafficked spot.
Top Locations For Your Sedona, Arizona Elopement
If you’re looking for the *perfect* backdrop for your element, look no further. Your love will be commemorated among the picturesque canyon walls and majestic rock formations at any of the following locations.
TOP INTIMATE AND ACCESSIBLE CEREMONY SPOTS IN SEDONA
Bell Rock: There’s a reason why Bell Rock is one of the most popular elopement spots in Sedona. The location is highly accessible with a 5-10 minute walk and the views are truly breathtaking. If you really want those red rocks to pop, consider coming here for a sunrise or sunset elopement. It is important to note this is a highly trafficked tourist area. So, you’ll likely want to avoid peak tourist seasons and times.
Red Rock Crossing – Crescent Moon Ranch: Access this gorgeous spot without any hiking at all! Red rock crossing combines the stunning views of red rocks with the lush green flora of Oak Creek. Your pictures will boast of a uniquely diverse landscape and an intimate feel. However, since this is a state park, you will need to first apply for a permit to hold your quaint ceremony here.
Bottom of Schnebly Hill – Munds Wagon Trail: If you’re looking for an accessible location for your elopement without sacrificing 360-degree views of Sedona’s incredible landscape, this is a great pick. Once you’re there, you have various locations to choose from for your intimate ceremony. All are equally stunning.
TOP ADVENTUROUS ELOPEMENT SPOTS IN SEDONA
Cathedral Rock: There’s a reason you’ve likely seen this location on Instagram. You can say “I Do” on a magnificent red rock cliff overlooking Sedona’s stunningly unique desert landscape. But first, gear up for a 1.2-mile moderate-difficult hike. (It can get fairly steep at points.) But, if you’re up for the adventure, the views are totally worth it. The base of Cathedral Rock is a beautiful alternative that is accessible by an easy 15-20 minute walk. Both sunrise and sunset elopements are a great option for those looking to avoid the crowds of tourists visiting this location during peak seasons.
Merry Go Round Rock: While there isn’t any hiking required to get to this location, you will need to take part in some off-roading. I’m talking about a high-clearance vehicle that can travel down the bumpy road. (Talk about a good story!) Since it’s not accessible by foot, this is a fairly secluded option for your Sedona, Arizona elopement. That means you’ll get jaw-dropping panorama views and an intimate feel as you profess your love.
Devil’s Bridge Trail: This is a beautiful location for an adventurous couple. After a fairly moderate 4 mile hike, you’ll come to one of the most unique red rock formations in Sedona. Or, you can always rent a Jeep for quicker access. Regardless, Devil’s Bridge is a one-of-a-kind location for those looking to reflect their adventurous spirit on their special day.
- Hair + Makeup: Sedona Beauty Team
- Florist: Mountain High Flowers + The Floral Theory
- Planning: Justine Fritz Weddings + Mae & Co
- Officiant: Life Passages + Sedona Wedding Ministry
What’s the rush? Take some time to stay in any one of these spots to relish in all that Sedona has to offer. Book a stay at one of Sedona’s top-rated hotels or in a local Airbnbs to spend your first days as a newlywed couple.
Stay like a local!
- The Hilltop Lounge: This house sleeps 6 and is located between Uptown and Downtown Sedona. Plus, it offers incredible views of the breathtaking landscape.
- Zen Cottage: This peaceful yet upscale cottage-style getaway sleeps 5.
- Sedona Bungalow: This bright, secluded bungalow is located in the historic heart of Sedona.
- Desert Cabin: This is the perfect getaway for the adventurous couple looking to stay closer to nature while still feeling pampered.
- Luxurious Spa Home: This bright modern studio offers a perfect relaxing getaway for 2!
- Creekside Cabin: This delightful A-frame cabin is located directly on Oak Creek!
Book a hotel!
- Luxury Experience: R&R meets luxury at the Amara Resort & Spa. Or opt for a 5-star experience at the Enchantment Resort.
- Budget-friendly Options: Enjoy a luxurious feel without breaking the bank at the Courtyard Sedona or Sky Ranch Lodge.
Places to Eat
Sedona offers plenty of opportunities to satisfy your tastebuds. Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or something sweet, here are some of the best places to grab a bite in Sedona before or after your elopement.
- Coffee + Breakfast: Start your day with coffee and a view from Creekside Coffee or grab a bite from the Coffee Pot.
- Lunch + Dinner: You’ll find the perfect blend of upscale yet casual at the Hudson. East some American fare while soaking up gorgeous views. Alternatively you can find award winning views (and delightful Italian dishes) at the Hideaway House. Or enjoy the rustic yet elegant nature of meddeterranian inspired Cucina Rustica.
- Sweets + Treats: Share some homemade gelato or find everything from cookies to cakes at Sedona Bakery.
Getting There: Directions to Sedona.
Sedona will have you feeling like you’ve been transported to a magical land far, far away. In reality, it’s relatively easy to get to.
BY PLANE: If you’re coming from afar, Sedona is just shy of a 2-hour drive from Phoenix Skyharbor International Airport (PHX). To avoid rush hour traffic as you exit Phoenix, I recommend hitting the road no later than 3 PM. While the Flagstaff Airport (FLG) will get you to Sedona in half the time (under an hour), flights are rather limited. Though the airport is small, it is worth looking into if you fly American Airlines.
By CAR: With minimal public transportation options in the area, you’ll want a car for your Sedona elopement. Whether you’re driving your own or renting one from the airport, you will be better off exploring the area with your own set of wheels. Feel free to drive around and scope out some beautiful spots to find the perfect place to say “I Do” and celebrate your love.
Eloping in Sedona: The Nitty Gritty.
The Legal Logistics.
While you don’t have to be an Arizona resident to elope in this beautiful place, here’s what to know when it comes to the rules and regulations when eloping in Sedona
Do I need a permit to elope in Sedona?
- While many of these locations don’t require permits (unless you have 75+ guests), requirements are always changing. So, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Wherever you land on for your perfect elopement location, be sure to do a quick Google search, ask your photographer (I’m happy to help!), or contact the local ranger office to ask about permits. However, you might need to pay a small fee for using the land. It’s also worth noting that many of these public places cannot be “reserved” for your elopement and therefore other people may be present.
Are there any rules I should be aware when planning my Sedona, Arizona elopment?
- While it’s best to check the rules of your specific locations, as of January 2021, wedding set ups of any kind (arches, tables, rugs, candles, flower petals, etc) are not allowed in the public lands of Sedona. However, this rule does not apply if you are holding your ceremony on a private property or at a venue.
How do I obtain a marriage license to elope in Sedona?
- You will need a marriage license for your Sedona elopement. Contact the offices for Yavapai county or Coconino county to make your appointment. You’ll need to provide your photo IDs along with your social security numbers.Then just pay a $83 fee and you should be good to go! The best part? There’s no waiting period, so you can receive your license and elope in the same day! However, the license is no longer valid if not used within 365 days and must be returned within 10 days of your elopement.
What else do I need for my Sedona, Arizona elopement?
- Along with an officiant, Arizona requires 2 witnesses to validate the signing of your marriage license. No guests? No problem! Your witnesses can be anyone over the age of 18, from vendors (Hi!) and park rangers to tourists walking by!
While You’re There…
Things to do in Sedona.
When in Sedona! While Sedona is the perfect place for a stunning elopement, there are many ways you can add to your stay. So, before the special ceremony or after, get ready to fully immerse yourself into all the beauty and wonder Sedona has to offer.
PAMPER: Whether it’s leading up to your special day or in the days following, you deserve to be pampered at one of Sedona’s many spas. Enjoy a private retreat at the award-winning Sedona New Day Spa or book a relaxing couples massage at Red Rock Healing Massage.
HIKING: Hiking is one of Sedona’s most popular activities. Hiking earlier in the day is the best way to avoid overheating, exhaustion, and big crowds. If you’re looking to rick it up a notch and cover more ground, consider renting a mountain bike! Consider these trails:
- Doe Mountain Trail
- Fay Canyon
- Devil’s Bridge
- Beaver Creek (Epic watering hole!)
OFF-ROADING: Explore the red rocks with an off-roading adventure! Book a popular Pink Jeep tour or rent your own ATV or Jeep and drive around in the vast beauty Sedona has to offer. Check out trails like Forest Road 525, Schnebly Hill Road, and Outlaw Trail.
ADVENTURES IN THE AIR: Red Rock Balloons and Sedona Air Tours both offer a different view of this majestic place. Experience its beauty from a bird’s eye view.
OTHER EXPERIENCES: Sipping on some wine while soaking up the sun and taking in the incredible views? It can’t get more romantic than that! Wine Tours of Sedona offers private, personalized wine tours perfect for newlyweds. Once the sun goes down, consider a romantic stargazing date night. Book an official and educational tour or simply pick a spot, cuddle up, and enjoy the view!
NEARBY DESTINATIONS: If you’re looking to explore places beyond Sedona, you’re in luck! The Grand Canyon’s South Rim is just a 2-hour drive from Sedona. Or drive 45-minutes to Flagstaff where you can speed your time exploring everything from history, art, culture, and cuisine. If you’re looking for an unforgettable lake adventure, you can drive 2 hours and 45 minutes to Page where you can enjoy the southern shores of magnificent Lake Powell.