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Sedona Elopement Planning Guide

Sedona Elopement Planning Guide

Looking to plan an elopement in Sedona? As a local Arizona elopement photographer, I offer lots of helpful info during the planning process with my clients; but I decided to put together this guide on how to elope in Sedona for everyone to use! This part of Arizona is so wild and expansive, it is one of the best places to elope in the US. With epic red rock formations and desert landscapes are far as the eye can see, it’s no wonder Sedona has become such a hotspot for adventure elopements!

About Sedona, AZ

Sedona is an Arizona desert town near Flagstaff that’s surrounded by red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls, and pine forests. It’s the outdoor enthusiast’s playground, a tourist favorite, and hosts a vibrant arts community. There’s plenty of space to explore, with so many adventure options and photo opportunities!

How to Elope in Sedona, Arizona

Permits for Sedona

To elope in Sedona you may need a permit, however, this is location and detail dependent. The trails in Sedona most often do not require any special use permit, but State Parks may require a permit and additional fee. National Parks will most always require a special use permit and/or photographer’s permit. Sedona does have rules that you must follow: 

  • Elopements and portraits cannot take place on any Wilderness Land (that includes Devil’s Bridge)
  • Setups of any kind are not allowed (ceremony arches, tables, chairs, etc.) on National Forest Service Land
  • Introduction of non-native species is prohibited. This means, use of birdseed, rose petals, rice, etc. are not allowed.
  • Some areas of the forest will not accommodate groups due to resource damage.

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!

It is best to contact the Forest Service or a Sedona Elopement Photographer to make sure a permit is not required for the location you want to elope. This is something we can discuss in the elopement planning process!

When to Elope

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 weather. Places like Sedona can become over-saturated with tourists on school breaks, and the heat can be a tricky thing. Crowds are busiest in March/April and October/November.

If you want a Summer elopement in Arizona I definitely recommend a romantic sunrise ceremony like this Sedona Sunrise Elopement! Avoiding weekends is ideal, as traffic can get crazy. Sedona only has one road to get to one end to the other with a bunch of round-a-bouts, so cars can get backed up pretty quickly on a busy day. 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!

Weather

June through September in Sedona usually hosts days with temperatures of 100 degrees, not fun! Summer in the sun takes on a whole new meaning in Arizona, so be prepared! As for the cooler months, snow can happen anytime between November and March. While a light white dusting may be super gorgeous in the desert landscape, there’s a few extra precautions that need to be considered in preparation.

How to Get Married in Sedona, Arizona

Marriage License

Getting all the legalities of an elopement in order is essential to your planning. Some couples choose to get their paperwork done at home beforehand, while others do their marriage filing in the county they elope in. If you want to legally get married in Sedona here’s some info and resources to get you started:

Sedona Municipal Court does not issue marriage licenses. Therefore you must contact one of the county superior courts to obtain a marriage license. The superior court closest to Sedona is Yavapai County Superior Court located on Highway 260, in Camp Verde. 

Marriage Licenses (yavapaiaz.gov)

+ There is no residency requirement. You can obtain a marriage license in Arizona even if you do not live in the state.

+ The fee for a marriage license is $83.00

+ Both parties must be over 18 years old and present at the time of application.

+ 2 witnesses over the age of 18 are required

Other Locations to Obtain Arizona Marriage License

Marriage Licenses | Coconino (az.gov)

If you fly into Phoenix, you could also schedule an appointment at any of these locations before heading up to Sedona:

Marriage Licenses | Maricopa County Clerk of Superior Court

Where to Stay in Sedona

If you’re coming in from out of town, or just want to make your elopement experience more unique, here’s some unique places to stay in Sedona!

TinyCamp – Tiny House Village Retreat in Sedona

Best Luxury Sedona Hotel & Resort | L’Auberge de Sedona | Official Site (lauberge.com)

Top Sedona Houses & Vacation Rentals with Hot tub: Entire home | Airbnb – Airbnb

What to Bring to your Sedona Elopement

If you need tips on what to bring to your Sedona elopement, here’s a guideline to follow!

General packing list:

  • Permit (if needed)
  • Water bottles/hydration pack
  • Hiking boots
  • Sunblock/glasses
  • Change of shoes/socks
  • Blanket (to sit on or change behind)
  • Portable phone charger
  • Rings
  • Vow books

Winter add-ons:

  • Layers (jacket, sweater)
  • Gloves
  • Beanie
  • Hand warmers
  • Thermos with a warm beverage

Fun Things to do at Your Elopement

Planning an adventure elopement gives you so much freedom to have a full day experience (or as long as you want!) Stay for the week, book fun activities, get out and explore all the beauty that Arizona has to offer! Here are some adventure elopement experience ideas for Sedona!

Leave No Trace

During your elopement adventure in Sedona it’s important to follow the 7 Leave No Trace principles.

  1.  Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2.  Stick to Trails
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Check Campfire Restrictions
  5. Leave What You Find
  6.  Respect Wildlife
  7. Share the Outdoors

Make a Pledge to Take Care of the Environment | Visit Sedona

Find a photographer you love that’s an expert in eloping in Sedona

To make your elopement experience a breeze, start by booking an experienced Sedona photographer! Hiring a local who knows all the ins and out of eloping in Arizona can be SO helpful. I have done countless hours of research and location scouting for my clients, and can offer help in the planning process before your elopement day!

Sedona Elopement Planning Guide

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