Towering arches, beautiful red rocks, and wide-open spaces. An Arches National Park elopement gives you and your partner absolute freedom to be exactly who you are and have the adventurous desert elopement of your dreams! Arches National Park is one of my all-time favorite places. You can plan an adventurous elopement as unique as you are! This guide will jumpstart your Arches National Park elopement planning and provide all of the information you need for a stress-free wedding experience.
The Best time to Elope in Arches National Park
Spring and Fall
The best time to visit Arches National Park is April-May and September-October. These months offer daytime temperatures that average between 60-80 degrees. These months are often very crowded. Opting for a sunrise or sunset elopement can help with this!
In the summer months (June-August), temperatures can exceed 100 degrees. In the late summer months, storms can often cause flash floods which can be extremely dangerous if you are not aware.
Winter months can definitely be gorgeous in the desert! It does snow in Moab which I think looks so beautiful against the red rocks. Though some locations in Arches National park will be closed due to ice.
PS: If you want to have your desert elopement during peak months but don’t want to deal with the crowds, consider a less popular area like Canyonlands, Dead Horse State Park, or areas of Moab. Check out our latest blog about eloping in Dead Horse State Park.
Do I Need a Permit?
Weddings do require a special use permit. The purpose of the permit is to ensure the protection of the park’s natural and cultural resources, as well as to minimize conflicts between park visitors and your guests.
Wedding Permit Fees
The total cost for a wedding permit is $185 plus the entrance fee ($30). The application and payment can be done online. Arches National Park can process your application within 10 business days, though I recommend completing this process first just in case!
How to Apply for the Permit
- Check which park your Special Use Permit is for. Under Permit Fee click on Permit and select Wedding.
- Enter a total dollar amount of $185 for the type of Special Use Permit you are requesting.
- Follow the instructions and fill out the forms.
- Save your payment confirmation; you will submit this with your application.
Obtaining a Marriage License
One of the most important things on your checklist: your marriage license! Here’s how to get one.
Getting Your Marriage License
- Both applicants must appear at the County Clerk/Auditor’s Office (125 E. Center St, Moab, UT 84532)
- Pay a non-refundable license fee of $40
- Bring a current picture ID with proof of age (date of birth) is required for both parties
- the date of the ceremony and the officiant’s name must be provided
- You may download and print the application here, but DO NOT SIGN the application until you arrive at the Clerk/Auditor’s Office
- A marriage license issued in Grand County is valid throughout the State of Utah
- You must return the marriage license to Grand County Clerks Office within 30 days of your marriage
Who May Perform Marriages
- Grand County requires that the name of the officiant be provided at the time of application (PS, I am ordained and can sign as your officiant or you can hire an officiant!)
Most (if not all) national parks have designated ceremony locations. After the ceremony, you are usually free to explore the park and take pictures in other areas.
- La Sal Mountain Viewpoint (can have up to 50 people)
- The Windows Section (North Window, South Window, Turret Arch, or Double Arch, can have up to 25 people)
- Sand Dune Arch (up to 25 people)
- Delicate Arch (up to 10 people)
- Delicate Arch Viewpoint (up to 25 people)
- Pine Tree Arch (up to 25 people)
- Landscape Arch (up to 10 people)
- Park Avenue (up to 25 people)
- Devils Garden Campground Amphitheater (up to 80 people)
- Panorama Point (up to 25 people)
Want something a little more private than Arches National Park? We have tons of incredible spots that are a little more off-the-beaten-path!
Leave No Trace and the Desert
Don’t bust the crust!
Arches National Park has one of the most incredible, and fragile, ecosystems. Cryptobiotic Soil is Cyanobacteria, aka green-blue algae, which are one of the oldest life forms known to man. Cryptobiotic soil is known as the protector of the desert. It keeps the desert together, prevents erosion, and gives the desert life.
This allows plants are able to thrive in hot, dry climates. Cryptobiotic soil is freaking amazing and extremely fragile. This soil takes years to grow and seconds to destroy. The best way to preserve microbiotic crust is simply to understand it and be aware of its presence.
This article dives deep into the desert ecosystem and is definitely worth the read!
Ps: If you aren’t familiar with the seven Leave No Trace principles, this blog will be super helpful!
Arches National Park Wedding Regulations
Arches National Park is such a popular destination, and for good reason! Here are some regulations that will help you have a stress-free, amazing wedding experience.
Arches National Park Regulations:
- Your continuous-time occupying the area under or immediately adjacent to any arch is limited to 10 minutes when other visitors are present. You must provide a break of at least 10 minutes to allow for unobstructed viewing and photography by other park visitors.
- We will evaluate the use of folding chairs on a case-by-case basis.
- You are responsible for site clean-up.
- You must restrict wedding activities to slick rock, dry washes, or maintained areas of the park, and you must be in compliance with all park rules and regulations.
- Any wedding locations requested other than the above locations will require a full compliance review.
- Your event must comply with all other park regulations.
- You cannot occupy more than half of a parking lot or pull out. You must allow for free traffic flow for visitors.
- Use of rice, birdseed, or any non-native plant seed.
- Releasing butterflies, doves, or any other wildlife.
- Conducting a wedding within any cultural resource site.
- Establishing tents, caterers, sound systems, tables, etc.
- Use of alcohol
- Playing musical instruments
- Amplified sound
Things To Do around Arches National Park
Moab is quite possibly one of the coolest towns in the US! There are so many things you can do here to make your Arches National Park elopement totally unique and completely you! This Arches National Park elopement will give you all the desert vibes!
Moab Elopement Day Activity Ideas:
- Hot Air Balloon Ride (I recommend this company, they are awesome!)
- Helicopter Tour (for an epic tour, check this out)
- Mountain Biking
- Glamping (Under Canvas Moab is amazing!)
- Raft, Kayak, or Canoe on the Colorado River
- Have a picnic
- Stargaze (did you know that Arches National Park is an International Dark Sky Park?! If you’ve been dreaming of having epic celestial images in your adventurous elopement gallery, this is the place!)
- Rock climbing
Moab Airbnb’s That I Love!
What to Pack
This is a comprehensive list of what to pack for your Arches National Park elopement. You may have to add items depending on the season you are eloping and what activities you are planning!
- Lots of water!
- Extra socks (if you are wearing hiking boots)
- Chaco’s or sandals (if you want a break from your hiking boots)
- Extra make-up/hair products for touch-ups
- Bouquet(s)/Boutonniere(s) (I love this florist!)
- Insect repellent
- First aid kit (don’t worry, I have one too!)
- A lightweight jacket (or warmer coat, depending on the season)
- Fleece-lined leggings (depending on the season)
- Champagne for celebrating
- “Just Married” signs
Let’s Do It!
We love the Utah desert! We’ve spent a lot of time exploring this area and are so stoked to help you plan your Arches National Park elopement! With jaw-dropping landscapes and endless activities, you are bound to have the most adventurous elopement that is completely about the two of you! Let’s plan the best damn day of your lives!
-Bailee + Jake
Pssstt…did you know that this Arches National Park styled elopement was featured in Rocky Mountain Bride?! Check it out here!