Sedona, Arizona is one of the best places in the country for an adventurous elopement! If you love all things desert, spiritual, and outdoorsy, then Sedona is the perfect place for your wedding adventure. Planning your Sedona elopement doesn’t have to be stressful. I’ve compiled an entire guide to help you plan your Sedona elopement with ease so you can enjoy every step of the process.
This is everything you need to know for planning your Sedona elopement from a local’s perspective. From the best hikes, what time of year, my favorite local vendors, Sedona elopement packages, and everything in between.
Important note: As of January 2021, wedding set ups of any kind (arches, tables, rugs, candles, flower petals, etc) are not allowed in the public lands of Sedona. If you want to have this set up for your elopement you must have your ceremony on private property or at a venue.
Sedona is a magical little town that is less than a 2 hour drive from Phoenix that is filled with so much adventure. This red rock town is known for its energy vortexes perfect for those who want to feel grounded and close to nature on their adventure. With dozens upon dozens of hikes ranging in difficulties and sceneries, it’s a hikers dream! For those who prefer overloading and off-roading, there are multiple great OHV roads for all levels of experience! If you want to add more adventure to your elopement experience there are tons of epic companies that offer hot air balloon rides, Jeep tours, horseback riding, and so much much! For your more laid back days you can check out one of the local wineries or relax by Oak Creek. The possibilities are endless in this little town!
Oh yeah, and Sedona is one of the most dog-friendly elopement locations in the country! Bring your pup so I can love them please!
One of the best parts about eloping in Arizona is that the weather is beautiful year around! Let’s chat about what time of year could be best for your wedding.
A Winter Sedona Elopement (December-February): Believe it or not, Sedona DOES get a real winter! Anytime between December and February there may be a light dusting of snow on the red rock mountains. Don’t be afraid though! This is one of my favorite times to photograph elopements in Sedona due to there being significantly less tourists and cheaper lodging. A Sedona winter means highs in the 60s, sunny most days with the occasional dusting of snow. Bring your layers and embrace the cooler red rock desert with no crowds! February is our personal favorite month for elopements in Sedona.
A Spring Sedona Elopement (March-May): Spring in Sedona is always a dream for warmer weather (highs in the 70s-80s), blooming flowers, and clear skies. Spring is windy season in Sedona so be prepared for the gusts, otherwise it’s beautiful weather. Weekends start to become busy with tourists, but in general this is an amazing time to elope in the Sedona desert!
A Summer Sedona Elopement (June-August): Summer in Sedona isn’t necessarily the greatest time of year for a wedding adventure. Summers in the desert include monsoons (daily rain storms) that can produce dangerous flash flooding and lightning and warmer temperatures in the 100s with humidity. Trails tend to be busier, especially during sunrise and sunset. One of the perks is the epic cotton candy colored sunsets that happen almost every night. If you’re okay with some rain and heat, it could make for a fun adventure! We specifically do not book elopements from June 16th – September 8th in Sedona since the heat can be dangerous to not only our couples, but ourselves.
A Fall Sedona Elopement (September-November): By far one of the most popular seasons for Sedona elopements! The weather is perfect (not too hot, not too cold) with highs in the 60s-80s. September and October are by far the busiest months in this tiny town so I always recommend couples to stay away from eloping on the weekends. The leaves tend to change the last week of October through the first weeks of November. In general, I recommend November as the perfect month to elope for perfect weather and less crowds! Oh yeah, and the fresh apple cider is to die for.
One of the best parts about eloping in Sedona is that the options for elopement locations are endless! There is a location for every accessibility and scenery. Yes, that means there are ceremony locations that even your grandma can get to! There are also locations perfect for adventure lovers who want to get their wedding dress a little dirty. These are a few of my favorite areas to explore in Sedona. Keep in mind that I do keep some spots a secret (and only tell my couples!) to help prevent them from getting extremely busy. I’m a huge lover of helping my couples find the perfect off-the-beaten-path location for their special day.
Merry Go Round Rock: Merry Go Round Rock has recently become one of the top elopement locations on the west coast. It is probably the most popular spot in all of Arizona. That means it is extremely rare for you to have an intimate experience at this location. The views are absolutely incredible but there is a lot to consider before deciding that this is the perfect location for your day! Not only can you expect for there to be many people, including other weddings, but the trek to get there isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. A high clearance vehicle with 4×4 capabilities is necessary and you must be okay with being aggressively jostled for 45 minutes on an extremely bumpy road.
Cathedral Rock: Cathedral Rock is by far one of the most popular elopement locations in Sedona. This 1.5 mile roundtrip hike with an 800 foot elevation climb that takes you to an epic red rock cliff, perfect for having a picnic, sharing a first dance, or watching the sunset. This hike is becoming more and more popular and can be extremely busy at times, so I always recommend taking this adventure on a weekday. The trailhead parking lot is closed and you must take a shuttle Thursday-Sunday! I do not suggest this location for a ceremony since it is so popular. Be prepared with lots of water, makeup for touchups, and be ready to use your hands to scramble up this steep mountain! If you pick this spot for your adventure make sure you take transportation into consideration.
Check out our featured elopement blog post at Cathedral Rock!
Bell Rock: Bell Rock is one of my favorite elopement locations in Sedona if you’re looking for 360 views that is easily accessible. There are dozens of different spots that are perfect for your ceremony. If you love vast scenic views and beautiful red rock mountains, you will love Bell Rock! The parking lot does fill up quickly so if you are bringing more than 5 people, I’d suggest having a shuttle service.
Crescent Moon Ranch: Crescent Moon Ranch is another easily accessible location with a gorgeous view of Cathedral Rock. I love Crescent Moon if you’re looking with red rock views, along with wanting to be near Oak Creek. Make sure you contact the park to inquire for pricing for the amount of guests you plan on bringing. I suggest no more than 30 people maximum.
Secret Off-Roading Locations: If you’re for an extra spice of adventure for your elopement experience, I highly recommend going on an off-roading adventure! This is one of the best things to do while visiting the red rocks. Off-roading allows you to get to some epic locations without much hiking. Some roads are more challenging to drive so depending on your prior experience, you can choose to go through a Jeep tour company or renting your own Jeep. You can have all of your guests join you on your adventure or choose to keep it private- totally up to you! I’m an avid off-roader so I have tons of epic locations to suggest to you.
Secret Hiking Location: There are so many locations in Sedona that aren’t popular but have EPIC views. The best part about choosing one of these locations for your wedding is that there will be less crowds and you will have super unique photos. There are tons of different hikes all around Sedona varying in difficulty, length, and scenery, but don’t worry! We can find a perfect location for you and your partner’s special day.
Hello!! We are the Wilder West Team! We are a husband and wife photo video team based in sunny Sedona, Arizona. Caitlyn is the lead photographer and your personal elopement guide aka elopement wizard, question-answerer, location scouter, and designated hype woman. Chad is the lead videographer who you can expect to supply all the dad jokes, carrier of the Mary Poppins backpack, and mountain goat to get all the rad shots! We’ve been lucky enough to call this place our home for the past 5 years, going on 100+ adventures with couples from all over the world.
We’d love to show you around our home & help you plan your dream Sedona elopement experience.
We believe that all couples deserve to have an adventurous and meaningful wedding experience that reflects them and their love. We work together to design your “best day” from start to finish. We can’t wait to hear all about what you are dreaming for your elopement experience so we can work together to make it happen seamlessly and care free.
Of course there is great hiking to do in Sedona, but what else? From a local’s perspective these are some of my favorite activities to suggest to everybody visiting Sedona, Arizona.
Hotels & Resorts:
Sedona has some amazing places to stop and eat for all food preferences; meat-eaters, vegans, gluten-free, etc. Here are some of my local favorites!
Flagstaff Pulliam Airport: This is the airport closest to Sedona, Arizona. It is approximately a 45 minute drive from the heart of Sedona. It only has two main airlines- United and American, but does have most major car rental facilities. This is a great option if you are wanting to explore more of northern AZ (Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, etc).
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport: This is the largest international airport closest to Sedona with only a 2 hour drive. This is a great option for cheaper flights, as well as if you are wanting to explore southern Arizona (Phoenix and Tucson) to see more of the Sonoran desert landscape with huge saguaro cacti!
If you want to add some day trips to your time in Arizona, here are some of my favorite destinations that are close by.
Photo Only Packages Beginning at $4500
Photo & Video Packages Beginning at $7000
Florists: Sedona Mountain High Flowers
Hair & Makeup: Sedona Beauty Team
Officiants: The officiant on our team, Ira 😉 and Life Passages
Hannah and Matt’s adventurous Sedona elopement was a day filled with their closest family and friends, epic views, and so many sweet, intimate moments. One of the most epic parts of the day was getting to climb Cathedral Rock with their wedding attire in hand so they could share private vows and their first dance at the very spot that Matt proposed. This day was absolutely unforgettable and I feel lucky to have been the one to capture it!
Hannah and Matt met 8 years ago while in college and have been inseparable ever since. They love hiking, the fur babies, and trying new experiences in life. They recently moved to Phoenix for their jobs and fell in love with day trips to Sedona. Their love for Sedona grew more and more as they found new hiking spots. Cathedral Rock became their favorite hike and eventually the place that Matt proposed to Hannah. It only made sense for them to spend part of their wedding day up at their special spot.
One of my favorite parts of being a Sedona elopement photographer is working with my couples to plan their wedding day. The beautiful thing about eloping is that you get to design the day to be your perfect wedding experience. For Hannah and Matt they deeply cared for having their family a part of the experience, as well as having plenty of time for just themselves. While designing their timeline for their full wedding day I kept that in mind.
The beginning of Hannah and Matt’s adventurous Sedona elopement began at their beautiful Airbnbs in West Sedona. They had slow mornings with their family as they prepared for the day. I arrived and instantly connected with Hannah! It seriously felt like we had been friends for years! I got to meet their cute pups and all of their sweet family and friends. It was awesome!
One of the biggest reasons I encourage my couples who have chosen to elope to book full day coverage is for the special moments beyond just the ceremony and couples session. You deserve to have so much more documented! I mean, just look at those precious moments! Hannah got to have with her family while getting ready for her elopement. After lots of happy tears, it was time for Hannah and Matt to share their first look. It was another beautiful moment with even more happy tears!
One of the best parts about Sedona elopements is that most parks allow for weddings without a permit! That means you can find your favorite spot in the red rocks and get married right there! Hannah and Matt chose a spot at one of my favorite parks in Sedona that has 360 views of the red rocks. The family set up some benches and rugs beforehand and bam! A perfect spot for a wedding ceremony was born.
Another special part about this day was Matt’s grandmother officiating their wedding ceremony. It had everybody in the crowd in tears! She gave them a beautiful blessing, included their parents during some rituals, and pronounced them married! To celebrate, they popped some champagne and shared some toasts before heading off to finish the adventurous Sedona elopement at Cathedral Rock.
After spending the morning and ceremony with their friends and family, it was time for Hannah and Matt to have a private adventure. We got our hiking gear on and prepared for the trek up Cathedral Rock. If you’ve never been to Cathedral Rock you have got to add it to your list! It is a tough hike, but it’s less than a mile up!
Once we made it past the hardest part of the hike they put their wedding attire back on and started adventuring around the red rocks. We found a private spot for Matt and Hannah to exchange private vows. It was a beautiful moment! This is an amazing thing to do if you don’t feel entirely comfortable saying your vows in front of your family. After exchanging their vows they shared their first dance on the edge of the cliff. Talk about gorgeous!! Matt and Hannah ended their adventurous Sedona elopement by watching the sun set below the horizon. We hiked back in the dark and then they went off to enjoy a private dinner with their family.
Here’s what Hannah and Matt had to say about their experience of having me as the Sedona elopement photographer:
Want to see another Sedona elopement? Check one out here!
Shout out to all of the awesome vendors who helped make this day possible:
Florist: Sedona Mountain High Flowers
Hair & Makeup: Sarah Cross
Videography: Riley Hicks Video
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