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How to Elope with Guests

bride and groom embrace with foreheads together in front of tall red rocks at Seven Sacred Pools in Sedona Arizona

Arizona Elopement in Sedona

Coming at ya today with an epic Arizona elopement at sunset in Sedona! Talia + Hayden originally wanted to elope at Cathedral Rock, but the trail was unfortunately closed for maintenance on their wedding day. We quickly worked together to find a new amazing spot to elope in Sedona. I never want my couples to feel alone or stressed when something like this comes up, so I send them backup options to choose from and we make a plan together. I was so excited when they picked the Seven Sacred Pools in Sedona!

We took the newly organized shuttle service to the trailhead for their intimate elopement ceremony; along with their close family members! The times between shuttles gave us a nice window of privacy at the pools because no one could enter/leave until the next shuttle. Once we arrived at a spot we liked, everyone changed out of their hiking shoes and into their dress shoes and the intimate elopement ceremony began! After their sweet vows, we took tons of fun photos with family before taking their gorgeous desert couples photos.

Elopement Location in Sedona

Seven Sacred Pools is an easily accessible trail located in Sedona, AZ. The perfect elopement spot in Arizona; this area is surrounded by gorgeous red rock formations. Alongside the classic desert landscape, you’ll find some surprisingly green trees and; as the name would suggest, 7 pools of water! The trailhead only has 14 parking spots and they fill up FAST. On Thursday-Sunday, the trailhead parking lot is closed and the only way to access it is by the Sedona Shuttle Service. The shuttle picks you up at Posse Grounds Park and drops you off at Soldier Pass trailhead. The area is open 8am-6pm, and the best time to visit is between October-April! I would recommend planning an Arizona elopement between those months as well, as the summer heat can get toasty!

There are quite a few trails to explore in Sedona, and I’ve got plenty of elopement location ideas for my clients who aren’t sure where to pick! Being your Arizona elopement photographer pro I am always location scouting, and am so stoked to offer any helpful suggestions in the planning process!

How to Elope with Family and Friends

Contrary to previous ideas of what an elopement is; you CAN have friends and family come with you when you elope! Talia + Hayden invited 10 of their nearest and dearest to watch them elope, and it was so much fun! Couples nowadays elope with friends, family, and even their pets! The awesome thing about an elopement is; that you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT!

Okay so you’ve decided to include friends/family on your elopement day – great! Here are some ideas on how to keep them involved and included, and make the adventure fun for everyone!

Tips on How to Elope with Friends or Family

  1. Book accommodations nearby. Whether that be an Airbnb or two; keep everyone close by so travel and carpooling isn’t too chaotic on the day of! Plus the perks of having room to all celebrate and relax TOGETHER makes the experience so fun.
  2. Make it a weekend. While the day of the week doesn’t matter so much, think about extending your elopement over a couple of days! Giving time to relax and prep, rehearse or explore; adding in a buffer day before and after your elopement is IDEAL!
  3. Delegate the elopement. Have a loved one get ordained and be your officiant, have your brother read a special verse, make the bouquet with your mom, ask your grandma to make the cake, get ready with your sister; think of creative ways to include your guests in the elopement to make it extra special!
  4. Plan an adventure. Include a fun excursion with your loved ones to make the memories even more epic. Could be an extended walk/hike the day after, a Jeep off-roading ride, a unique tour the day before, or even just the elopement ceremony location itself! Elopements in themselves can be so adventurous. Keep in mind the accessibility of your guests – and research the difficulty of trails before taking Grandma on them!
  5. Take photos! Leave time for lots of fun photos with everyone there. Since you’re not as restricted with timelines of events as a traditional wedding, be sure to include everyone in at least one photo together! Ordinarily it can be hard to fit in photos with ALLL of your guests at a wedding, but not at an elopement.

How to Elope in Sedona, Arizona

Looking to plan an elopement in Arizona? I offer tons of helpful info during the planning process with my clients, but here are a few details to get you started!

Date/Season:

While you can elope any time of the year; there are some months that may be more difficult with tourists and temperature! Generally speaking, Fall-Spring is the best time for off-season elopements. Places like Sedona can become over-saturated with tourists on school breaks, and the heat can be a tricky thing. If you want a Summer elopement in Arizona I definitely recommend a romantic sunrise ceremony like this Death Valley Elopement! Weekdays and off-season months are the best for more private elopements, as you’ll be less likely to run into tour buses full of students on vacation. If you don’t have a set date in mind, I can always help plan out the best time for an Arizona elopement!

Permits/Fees:

For trails in Sedona, you may need a Red Rock Pass to park at trailheads for $5 per day/per car or $15 weekly. You can purchase this in advance online here, or at self-service machines at the trail. However, not all areas require the pass, but charge a separate admission fee.  You can find more information about Sedona Tourism here! To elope in Sedona you may need an additional permit, however this is location and detail dependent. The trails in Sedona most often do not require any special use permit, however State Parks may require a permit and additional fee! This is something we can discuss in the elopement planning process.

Okay now dive into this gorgeous Arizona elopement in Sedona!!

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