How to Elope in Arizona
So I have told you exactly how to elope in Joshua Tree, Mt. Rainier and the San Juan Islands. I have also shared with you some amazing places to elope in Arizona, where to stay, shared many elopements, anniversaries and engagements from the area with many beautiful couples! Somehow I have not told you how to legally get married or elope in Arizona! SAY WHAT?! So let’s do that now….
Legally Getting Married in Arizona
You must obtain a marriage license from the local justice court office. In order to do this you and your partner must appear at the office, be over the age of 18, provide a legal ID and social security number and pay the fee. There is no waiting period or blood test required. Your marriage license will be valid for 12 months. You do not have to be living in Arizona to get married in Arizona.
You must be married by a legal officiant (you can hire one or you can have a close friend or family member become ordained and do this for you) and you must have two witnesses over the age of 18 to sign your documents. Yes, I can count as witness!
For a complete list of all of the rules, list of justice offices you can visit to obtain your license and a list of local trusted officiants click here.
Getting to Arizona and your Elopement Location…
Like any elopement you need to select an exact location. If you are still looking to decide on an exact location check out my blog post, The Top Ten Places to Elope in Arizona. Once you know where you are going you need to figure out how to get there. If you are coming from out of state and flying in you will most likely fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. If you are eloping closer to Tuscon you could fly in to Tucson International Airport. If you are eloping in Northern Arizona you can always fly into Flagstaff, but you will most likely layover in Phoenix and it will cost more. Besides flying into Flagstaff you will miss the beautiful drive from Phoenix to that part of the state! If you are eloping in Page, Arizona you can also fly into the Las Vegas airport since it is the same amount of driving time from Phoenix. If you are flying you will for sure need to rent a car, since none of the locations are close to the city or the airport.
If you live in Arizona or one of the closer surrounding states you can drive! Lots of the areas in Arizona that are great for eloping will not have service, so I always suggest looking up your mapping directions ahead of time. Plan for extra time on your drive because you may want to stop and check out beautiful areas along your way. If you are heading North from the city on a weekend be sure to allow an extra 30 minutes to a hour of time for traffic. There is only one main road that goes North from Phoenix to places like Sedona, Flagstaff, Page and the Grand Canyon (Highway 17), thus hello weekend traffic.
Once you are there you will need a place to stay! If you are looking for suggestions check out this blog post, Where to Stay for your Sedona Elopement and more.
Following the Rules of your Location…
Depending on where you have selected to elope you may need to pull permits to get married there. If you are eloping at any of the the National Parks within Arizona you will 100% need a permit. If you are considering eloping in the Grand Canyon, apply for your permit and read all of the rules you will need to know here. If you are eloping at the Saguaro National Park you will need to apply for a permit as well.
If you are eloping in Sedona you will not need a permit to get married on any of the trails. If you plan to do the ceremony at any of the State Parks within Sedona you will need to speak with the ranger to arrange everything and pay a fee. If you do plan to elope in Sedona, outside of the parks, please not that you can note go off trail or set up any tables, arches or have chairs. For further information speak with your photographer (hey, hey!) or you can reach out to the local forest service ranger.
Lost Dutchman State park is a very popular place near the city for elopements and small weddings. You will also need to read about their rules and restrictions as well apply for a permit to get married there.
A good rule of thumb is that no matter where you have selected to elope communicate with your photographer to see if you need a permit or do a quick google search to ask a Ranger for that area. Try to plan in advance, because often times not only will you need a permit, but your photographer will need to pull a permit as well. Sometimes, especially in Northern Arizona, you may not need a permit but your photographer will. It is best to plan at least a couple of months in advance so permits can be pulled!
Tips & Advice for your Arizona Elopement
You may or may not need other vendors outside of a photographer. If you do want to book a florist, videographer or anyone else you can for sure find folks on Google or ask your photographer who they recommend ;) I have a list of vendors that I share with my clients, that I will share with all of you in this blog only!! Check out the vendors I trust in the area for my couples elopements.
Come early and/or stay later than your elopement day! Arizona is truly a rock climbers, hikers, explorers, foodies dream! There are so many things to see and do and if you’re taking the time to come out here check some of those things out!!
The best time of year to elope in Arizona is typically October-June. This really depends which part of the state you are eloping in and if you are okay with snow or not. In Sedona there is a rare chance you will get snow and if you do it will most likely be in December or January, but friends snowy red rocks is beautiful, I would not rule it out. The Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon does close during most of the Winter, but the South Rim will stay open with some daily closures. No matter where you are eloping in Arizona you will mostly likely want to avoid the July and August months due to the heat. If you wanting to elope in Arizona from mid September to mid November note that is the busiest time of year in the state for weddings and elopements so be sure to plan and book your stays and vendors early!
If you are coming from out of state and you have never been to the desert before here are some tips and things to know! Drink lots of water! The desert is dry and in good weather it is easy to forget to drink plenty of water! Note that it may be warm or hot during the day, but the desert nights can be very chilly so be prepared if you are camping! Keep an eye out for wild life. Here in the desert we have a lot of coyotes, javelina and rattlesnakes! The rattlesnakes blend in well on the trail, especially the trails within the Phoenix region. Keep an eye out for them where you step and an ear open because they will for sure let you know when you are too close!
There are lots of areas that are super cool to visit that are on reservation land. Please do your research before visiting to know if you need a tour guide or a permit to visit the specific area you are going to. Please be respectful of their land and their culture when visiting. No matter if you are visiting reservation land, state park land, national park land or forest service land always practice leave no trace behind!
Hey, it’s me here your Arizona Elopement Photographer!
I am extremely passionate about authentically telling your love story, which also means helping you plan a wedding day that is completely perfect for your relationship. I am an Arizona (transplant) local that spends all of my free time exploring this great state, so I can help you find the perfect nook for to spend the day connected to each other and beautiful space around you. If you are looking for an elopement photographer & planner reach out to me I would love to