Sedona is a gorgeous and unique place for an elopement. However, starting the planning process can feel a bit overwhelming. As an elopement photographer who helps couples plan, I have this down to a science. This guide is going to go over how to elope in Sedona, as well as a ton of stunning Sedona elopement locations!

sedona elopement

Where is Sedona

Sedona is located in Northern Arizona, just three hours from Phoenix. It is directly outside of the Coconino National Forest. You can get to Sedona by flying into the Pheonix Airport, and going on a gorgeous road trip up to this location. Alternatively, if you want a shorter drive, you can fly into the Flagstaff airport. This is only a 41 minute drive to Sedona.

When to Elope in Sedona

The best time to elope in Sedona is Spring (March-May) and Fall (September-November). Summer is Sedona is incredibly crowded. There is a lot of tourism, and Sedona is actually a cooler temperature than Phoenix. That being said, a lot of people visit from Pheonix is the summer to get out of the 100+ degree weather.

You can also elope in Sedona in the winter. However, it’s not warm in the winter despite what some people might think. It even gets cold enough for snow. So make sure you’re okay with the chilly temps before deciding on a winter elopement. Spring and Fall will bring in less crowds, as well as the most comfortable temperatures!

Sedona Wedding Permit

There are many locations in Sedona that do no require a permit to elope here. However, it’s always important to check. Once your pick your Sedona elopement location, you can call whoever manages that land to get the correct information on the permit. If you’re eloping in the Coconino National Forest, you will need a permit that you can get here! For the State Parks, you can get your permits here.

sedona elopement

How to Elope in Sedona

You plan a Sedona elopement in similar ways as you’d plan any adventure elopement. There are a few major steps, and you can read about those here on my thorough guide on how to elope. For this Sedona elopement guide, I’m going over the major things you’ll need to consider!


This is an imperative part of the planning process for elopements. This is because some guests won’t have the hiking ability, some might not want to be in the heat of the desert. Choosing a location will be much easier once you’ve determine who you’re inviting, and how many guests total you’ll have.


This might feel early in the planning process, but bear with me. Elopements don’t have wedding planners. Most elopement photographers have taken it upon themselves to help couples with some of the planning. Many actually help you find your location! And they will think of things you might not have considered, such as: lighting, elevation, difficulty in hiking in a dress, permits, and so much more.

Each elopement photographer offers something different. Personally, I send my couples a customized list of locations based on their preferences, hiking ability, who they want to invite, and what they want to see. I also help them determine lodging options, get permits, get their marriage license, recommend vendors, and create a comprehensive day of timeline, and offer unlimited guidance calls for any questions along the way.

The being said, hiring your Sedona elopement photographer early is going to take a massive amount of planning stress off of your shoulders. Wanna chat? Contact me here!


This is going to help you choose a date and location. The summer is insanely hot, and winters are actually a lot colder than most people would assume it gets in Arizona. Spring and Fall are still very warm, and nights can still get a bit cooler at times. Decide the type of weather that appeals to you most, and it’ll help with picking a date!


Once you’ve decided on how much you’d like to hike, how many guests are coming, your ideal weather, and the landscapes you want, you’re ready to deep dive into researching mountain elopement locations. Finding the perfect spot will be a lot simpler after considering all of your needs and logistics.

This is information I collect from my couple through a questionnaire, and then use to make a customized list of mountain elopement location options for them.


Once you have your location, it’s time to consider if there’s anything you need vendors for. Do you want a friend or family member to officiate, or will you need an officiant? Do you want a bouquet from a florist? Will you go out to eat, or do you want something catered, like a meal at an Airbnb from a private chef?

Figure out what you want, and hire your vendors in advance!


You will need to get the correct permits for your elopement. These are usually “special use” permits that you apply for on the National Parks or National Forests website, however, it always depends on what location you choose.

Personally, I get all permit information for my eloping couples that hire me. With that, all you need to do is fill out the application when it’s sent to you and pay the fee. Fee’s vary, but are usually around $100 or less.


Activities are such a fun part of an elopement. When you choose to elope, you’re opening yourself up to having a wedding day celebration that feels unique and resonates with you. Incorporate things that will elevate your elopement day experience. Here’s just a few ideas to get you brainstorming:

  • Going on a hike
  • Having a bonfire
  • Having a picnic on a mountain top
  • Star-gazing or astrophotography
  • Swimming
  • Cliff jumping
  • Visiting waterfalls
  • Camping
  • Glamping
  • Hiring a private chef
  • Hot air balloon ride
  • Kayaking
  • Paddleboarding
  • Sightseeing
  • Scenic driving with time to stop for pictures
  • Exchanging gifts
  • Reading letters from friends or family


Making a timeline is an important part of any elopement. It strings together all of your locations, activities, and lets guests know where to be and when. Creating a well thought out timeline will help you feel relaxed during the day, instead of stressed or rush. Make sure to include drive times as well as buffer times between each “event.”

Here are the things I include in the timelines I make for my couples:

  • All addresses
  • Sunrise time
  • Sunset time
  • Drive times
  • A linke to Accuweather
  • A list of all names for group shots
  • Vendor info
  • Emergency contact info
  • A packing list
sedona elopement

Lodging in Sedona

Lodging for your elopement can be really important. First off, you’ll want to make sure that where you’re lodging is closeby to where you’re staying unless you want to spend a chunk of your day driving. You’ll also be taking getting ready photos at this location, so you’ll want to make sure it gets good natural light! Lastly, some couples choose to have an intimate reception where they’re lodging. Make sure to consider all of these factors when choosing on your Sedona elopement lodging location. TIP: I help my couples find the best lodging for what their elopement plans are! here’s a list of lodging options in Sedona:

How Much Does it Cost to Elope in Sedona?

It costs $83.00 to get a marriage license in Sedona. You will also have to pay for a permit if one is required for your Sedona elopement location. That being said, most couples spend an average of $5000-$20,000 on their elopement. This includes flights, lodging, permits, vendors, wedding attire, meals, and anything extra a couple might want.

Sedona Elopement Locations

Sedona has become a popular place to elope. That being said, some of these Sedona elopement locations can be quite popular. I help all of my couples find their perfect location and “hidden gem” spots. For now, here’s a list of amazing elopement locations in Sedona!

Cathedral Rock

To do this hike in this iconic and stunning Sedona elopement location, you will need a $5 pass. Cathedral Rock brings in a ton of crowds. However, summer is way less busy. You can either brave the heat, or have a sunset elopement when it’s cooler!

Secret Slick Rock Trail

This stunning Sedona elopement location is perfect for couples who don’t want to do much hiking for their elopement. This trail is only 0.7 miles, and dogs are allowed! This is another very popular location. You can beat crowds by having a sunrise elopement, or considering a time of year that is less busy such as winter or very early spring.

Bear Mountain

This Sedona elopement location is perfect for couples who want sweeping views of the red rock. This is a 4.6 mile loop. It’s a popular area to hike, however the off season is a lot less busy.

Merry Go Round Rock

You can reach this Sedona elopement location by car or via a hike. If you’re going to drive, make sure to have a lifted four wheel drive car that can make the drive! You can also consider a Jeep tour. Your other option is to do the 6 mile hike to this location. Any of these options are great for couples ready for an adventure.

Bell Rock

Bell Rock is a short hike, at only 0.8 miles. This is a stunning Sedona elopement location that boasts gorgeous views throughout the short walk. Some couples choose to simply hike to Bell Rock, and some couples climb to the top to experience the gorgeous views. Make sure to wear correct shoes for climbing up!

Airport Mesa Trail

This Sedona elopement location has incredible views overlooking Cathedral Rock, Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock, Chimney Rock, and Coffee Pot Rock. You can drive to the viewing spot, but there will be more crowds than doing the actual hike. The entire hike is 3.3 miles with stunning views all around, and is fairly easy!

Yavapai Vista Trail

Yavapai Vista Trail is incredibly short at only 0.5 miles round trip, and is a very easy walk. You get a lot of bang for your buck on this hike with the beautiful views. This can be a busy spot, so it’s a good idea to visit on the off season or consider a sunrise elopement so you have more space and privacy! It’s also a good spot to take portraits after a ceremony.

Sedona Elopement Packages

Elopement photography by Emilee Setting Photo, and everything included in my packages:

  • Explore anywhere within Arizona, all travel fees included in the price!
  • Packages from half day elopements to multi-day elopements
  • Receive a customized location list
  • Help finding lodging that suits your needs if you’re having an intimate reception
  • Included comprehensive timeline design
  • Help obtaining your permits
  • Help obtaining your marriage license
  • A planning checklist
  • Unlimited planning and guidance calls 
  • All of your stunning photos delivered under three months
  • Day of polaroid sneak peeks

Sedona elopement packages starting at $6800. Want more information on my pricing and what’s included? Click here

Ready to Elope in Sedona?

This Sedona elopement guide is a way to get you excited about all the possibilities of what your day could look like. Although, this amount of information can be overwhelming. I’m here to help. I can answer any and all questions you have on a complimentary low pressure consultation call. If you then choose you’d like to work together, I’ll do all of this planning right by your said to alleviate any stress, and bring your Arizona elopement vision to life. We can chat here!

Don't forget your free elopement planning checklist


You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?

I'm Emilee

I'm an elopement photographer who specializes in planning, crafting, and documenting untraditional weddings. I believe a wedding day should be filled with traditions that resonate with you. I'm here from start to finish to make that happen. Want to chat about your plans? Click below to set up a free consultation! 

You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?

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