If you and your fiancé share a love for nature, chances are you’ve considered the idea of eloping. Since the beginning of our relationship, my now husband, Dominick and I have loved exploring the stunning landscapes of our home state, Arizona.
So, when we got engaged (on the Mogollon Rim), one of our initial thoughts was to have our elopement in Sedona, Arizona.
Sedona holds a well-deserved reputation as one of the most exquisite locations in Arizona. If you’ve ever laid eyes upon its magnificent red rocks, expansive blue skies, and abundant cacti, you would understand why!
Our wedding day was truly the best day of my life! Dominick and I had been together since meeting in college five years earlier and we were so excited to be married. The entire day was so special and I think one of the biggest reasons why was that we made it exactly what we wanted.
If you are considering eloping (or having an intimate wedding) in Sedona, or anywhere else in the world, we say DO IT! Not only was our big day true to who we are as a couple, but it also saved us a lot of money and stress!
Here's a look at how we eloped in Sedona, Arizona
Even if you are eloping, you will still need vendors. With a traditional wedding, this would mean a reception venue, DJ or band, catering, transportation, photographer, florist, etc. Since we got married on the side of a mountain, we only needed two vendors: a photographer and a florist.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Hailey Golich Photography
We LOVED working with Hailey Golich Photography! All of these photos were taken by her and she did an incredible job. She was absolutely lovely and made us feel comfortable in front of the camera (we are both a bit shy lol). She had several ideas for elopement locations in Sedona and helped us plan our day. I can not say enough good things about Hailey – if you need a Sedona photographer, work with her!
FLORIST: Camelback Flowershop
One major benefit of eloping is how much money you save! When I started looking at having a traditional wedding, the cost of flowers alone made me queasy. For our elopement, all I purchased was a bouquet for me and a slightly smaller bouquet for my maid of honor. I worked with Phoenix Flower Shop, a locally owned flower shop, and had a great experience! I got two stunning bouquets for less than $350. Note: I ordered the velvet ribbon separately from Etsy.
When We Eloped
We tied the knot on Thursday, April 19, 2019!
The weather was absolutely perfect for our spring Sedona wedding. It wasn’t too hot but got chilly enough to where to could sit around the fire that night. Since we were at the beginning of Sedona’s busy season (and eloped on a weekday), crowds were minimal, though we still got lots of wishes of congratulations while hiking around.
Another great time of year to elope in Sedona is fall – again, amazing weather and minimal crowds!
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Who We Invited
I’m not sure if our ceremony would technically count as an “elopement”… but who is to say anyway? It was our special day so we did what would make us happy!
In total, we had 14 people at our ceremony. In addition to our immediate family members, my dear friend Emily stood up for me as my Maid of Honor, and Dom’s best friend, Shota, officiated the wedding.
With the sacred red rocks and our favorite people surrounding us, we said our vows, sealed the marriage with a kiss, and hugged our loved ones. It was intimate and we both loved it.
WHERE WE ELOPED IN SEDONA, ARIZONA
Once we decided to elope in Sedona, we booked a trip to scout locations! Over the course of two days, we visited several popular spots until we found “the one”, which ended up being Cathedral Rock.
One of the most iconic trails in Sedona, Cathedral Rock offers the most breathtaking views and red rock formations. While you can hike to the top for an epic ledge view, we chose to have our intimate ceremony at the base of the mountain in a pretty clearing just off the main trail. The spot we choose was easy for our family members to walk to and there was not another person in sight. I’m going to be cheesy and say it: it was truly magical.
Note: It was completely FREE for us to elope at Cathedral Rock!!! Okay, I guess it wasn’t free because we bought a parking pass at the trailhead, so it was $5. But all that to say we didn’t pay or have to get a permit to elope in Sedona.
After we said our vows and took group photos, our family headed back to the Airbnb while we stayed behind to explore and take more photos. We spent some time hiking around Cathedral Rock and made lots of friends in our wedding attire. Then we went to our second photo location for sunset, Bell Rock.
I am so happy our photographer suggest visiting a second location to take photos! She knew the perfect little hike at Bell Rock that offered views of Cathedral Rock in the distance.
The hike took about 15 minutes and I can’t remember seeing another person on the trail (another perk to eloping in the off-season!).
Logisitcs of Eloping in Sedona
I can not state enough how lucky we are to live a two-hour drive away from Sedona! We take full advantage by visiting several times a year.
If you’re doing a destination elopement, your best option is to fly into the Phoenix airport, which is only a two-hour drive. There is minimal public transportation in Sedona so you will need a car to get around.
Where To Stay
We booked our Airbnb for two nights: the night before and the night of the ceremony. One thing that was important to us was having all of our guests close so we rented a massive home (with an on-site guest house). It was a lot of fun having both of our families and close friends under one roof! We took advantage of the giant kitchen and patio that offered incredible views and a firepit.
From Airbnb to hotels and resorts, there are a ton of incredible places to stay in Sedona. My one recommendation is to pay attention to the location: both the views from your rental and the proximity to your elopement site.
TIPS FOR ELOPING IN SEDONA
- Bring water with you! No matter what time of year, the Arizona sun is strong.
- Buy a Red Rock Pass. You will need a parking pass at most trailheads. You can buy it ahead of time at a gas station or at most popular trailheads for $5 per day or $15 a week.
- Scout your location. If it’s possible, I highly recommend visiting your elopement location before the day-of. Not only do you want to make sure it feels *right* but it’s important to know the logistics of your location. Which brings me to my next two tips:
- Find a photographer that is familiar with Sedona. Ours was able to offer us lots of suggestions for cool places to elope and she was a wonderful guide.
- Utilize the AllTrails app! AllTrails is my favorite way to get an idea of what hikes are around and the distance and level of difficulty of a trail.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our elopement in Sedona! If you are interested in reading about our eco and budget-friendly reception that happened that very weekend, let me know in the comments! Or if you are interested in reading about our Yosemite National Park honeymoon, click here!