It’s no secret that Utah is growing in popularity as an epic state for elopements. It’s easy to see why – vast open spaces, vibrant colors, epic natural arches, and jaw-dropping canyons make for truly incredible backdrops for adventurous elopements in the desert. While Zion, Arches, and Canyonlands are popular destinations for obvious reasons, Bryce Canyon is our personal favorite Utah national park for elopements for a few reasons.
The views in Bryce Canyon are unparalleled as the park has the highest concentration of hoodoos out of anywhere in the world – rows and rows of tall spires of thin rocks formed by layers of soft and hard rock shaped by millions of years of erosion. The whole park is also one of the most colorful areas we’ve ever seen, wedding attire really ‘pops’ against the reds and oranges of the landscape
Not nearly as packed as Zion, Bryce Canyon makes a great elopement location for couples looking to have more solitude on their wedding day. However, as the two approved elopement ceremony locations (more on those below) are at main overlooks, we still recommend weekday elopements at sunrise or sunset for the highest chance of privacy.
In Bryce, you can hike as much or as little as you’d like on your elopement day. The two approved ceremony locations are just steps away from the parking lot but both have stunning views, so if you want to say your vows overlooking the hoodoos, there is zero hiking required. However, if you’re wanting to have a more adventurous day, there are over 30 different hiking trails to explore within the park.
May through October are the most popular times to visit Bryce, but if you want more privacy we highly recommend eloping in the ‘off-season’ or ‘shoulder-season.’ April is a fantastic time to get married here as the weather is warming up, more businesses in the nearby towns are open for business (many close in the winter) and more activities are available, but the summer crowds aren’t yet pouring in. If you’re not afraid of the cold, winter in Bryce is absolutely stunning – seeing snow in the desert is nothing short of magical – and there are very few people in the park.
There are plenty of places to stay for a Bryce Canyon elopement. For the shortest travel time into the park we recommend staying in one of the main hotels in Bryce City, but if you want something a little more secluded and out in nature, there are some beautiful cabins like this one within an hour’s drive. For a variety lodging options, look into the nearby towns of Panguitch, Hatch, and Alton.
Naturally hiking is the most popular activity for a Bryce Canyon elopement, but it’s not your only option. You can book a scenic flight through Ruby’s Inn to see the hoodoos from above. Or you can rent ATVs for a fun adventure with no hiking required. We also highly recommend exploring some of the many scenic areas outside of the park. Our favorites are Red Canyon, Thunder Mountain, Kodachrome Basin, and Mossy Cave.
A $100 special use permit is required to get married at Bryce Canyon, which you can apply for here. Only two locations are allowed for ceremonies – the area overlooking the main ampitheater at Sunset Point, or at Silent City (unless you have guests, we recommend the latter!) Ceremonies may have no more than 30 guests, and only fake flowers are allowed (no real bouquets or dried flowers).
If you plan on doing the legal paperwork for your elopement, you’ll need to obtain a Utah marriage license. You can pick one up from any courthouse in Utah – the nearest one to Bryce Canyon is the Garfield County Courthouse. You will need an officiant that is recognized by the state of Utah, as well as two witnesses.
When planning your elopement, keep in mind that this area of Utah is particularly remote, so you may have a tough time finding wedding vendors. As mentioned, no real flowers are allowed, so if you are looking for a bouquet and boutonniere, we recommend looking at wood or silk flowers like these on Etsy. If you are looking for a hair and makeup artist, it’s likely that they will need to come from out of town, either from St. George or Salt Lake City. We recommend Sarah with Wild Cactus Weddings. She came out to Alton from St. George for K + J’s sunrise elopement in February and did a fantastic job!
3:00 am – Hair and makeup started (yes, really!)
5:00 am – They helped each other get dressed and face-timed their family
5:45 am – Drove out to Bryce Canyon
7:15 am – Sunrise ceremony at Silent City overlook, officiated by K’s best friend
7:30 am – Officially married! They warmed up with some spiked mexican hot chocolate and enjoyed the views
8:00 am – Hiking! We spent a few hours hiking around the park and taking couples portraits
12:00 pm – We headed back to their cabin in Alton where they warmed up by the fire, enjoyed a picnic their friend had prepared, and read personal vows to one another
3:00 pm – We headed back out for a sunset hike at a state park outside of Bryce Canyon
6:00 pm – They enjoyed the sunset then headed back into Bryce City for a celebratory dinner at Ruby’s