A photographers guide, filled with knowledge based on experience, to help you elope in Utah!

Salt Lake City, Utah Elopement Guide

Elopement Guide

Salt Lake City, Utah is an amazing place to elope! There is endless variety landscapes and things to do to make your elopement 100% personalized to you!

In this guide we'll chat about some things to know about eloping in Salt Lake City (and Utah in general), locations, amazing vendors, things to do while you're here, unique places to stay, best places to eat, and more! I want to ensure you'll have all the information you'll need to elope in Salt Lake. 

Throughout this guide I've provided you with tons of helpful links. Any text that is underlined, will lead you to other recommended sources and businesses. 

If you are looking to elope in the Salt Lake area, I'd love to document your day for you!

Here to help

Using the Salt Lake City Elopement guide

Based in Northern Utah and traveling to areas of the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Northwest Regions to  document elopements for the madly in-love adventuring couples.

I'm Rach

photographer - National park adventurer - chocolate eater

hey

No matter if you have heart set on eloping in Salt Lake, or you're currently exploring your options, I'm more than happy to help! I am with you through every step, from planning & prep, the day-of, delivering those moments back to you and beyond to ensure everything goes smoothly. I want you to have the best no-regrets adventure elopement ever!

My style is documentary based to bring you timeless photos that not only capture how your day looked, but what it felt like! As you look back at these photos you'll relive those emotions, as if you were in the moment all over again.
I'm going to let you and your partner flow naturally throughout your elopement, without any stiff or awkward posing. These photos are capturing you, your partner & your story, I'm here to let your love happen.

This day is all about you and your partner! If that means a hike through the mountains, exploring sand dunes, or kayaking on a lake, I'm here for it all! Let's make this day whatever you want it to be!




I love the Salt Lake area for it's variety in landscapes, seasonal changes, and majestic hidden gems. Seriously, I will never get over my love for the Salt Lake area. 

We'll get into the fun-stuff, like locations and things to-do, in a minute, but first things first.

Marriage License
In Utah, you can obtain your marriage license based on the county you'll be getting married in. Its super simple, you can go in-person to the county offices a day or two before to get your marriage license. After you obtain it, it's only good for 30 days. In the location section, I've listed the county each location is in with a link to their county office.

Officiants & Witnesses
For any wedding in Utah, you will need someone ordained to solemnize a marriage + 2 witnesses, over the age of 18. If needed, I'm happy to be a witness for you! Don't forget a black pen for them to sign your marriage license.


What to know - the techinal stuff

Best time of year & WEather info

The seasons in Utah are phenomenal! Each season brings something new and exciting! 
Personally my favorite time of the year is the beginning of summer and the fall in Salt Lake, but I've listed all the things you need to know about each season and it's weather to help you plan for the best elopement ever. 


Note: I've listed the temperature for each season in both the valley & the mountains. Due to the elevation difference, the temperatures can be quite different, so I want you to be prepared. There is a 3,000 - 6,000 elevation difference between the valley floor (~4.200ft) and up in the mountains (~7,000ft - 11,000ft). If you are not used to such high elevations there are steps you can take before hand to help prevent altitude sickness. 

Winter
Average Temperatures: Valley: High - low 30°s, Low - low 20°s Mountains: High - mid 20°s, Low - low 10°s
Utah winters are full of snow, especially in the mountains, sometimes not as much in the valley. If you love skiing or snowboarding, winter in Salt Lake City was made for you! On average it snows about 11 days a month in the mountains, and about 5 days a month in the valley. In the mountains, the way the snow sits on the trees and covers almost everything in sight, makes it look magical! Some years the valley gets lots of snow, other years, not so much. But if you're looking for a winter wonderland, the canyons & mountains got you covered! 

If you are going to adventure into the mountains, make sure to check the road conditions, canyon closures and avalanche warnings the morning of. 

Spring
Average Temperatures: Valley: High - mid 60°s, Low - low 40°s Mountains: High - high 40°s, Low - mid 20°s
Definitely the greenest time of the year! Since all the mountain snow is melting, everything begins to bloom in the valley. At the base of mountains where the snow has melted, there are beautiful fields! It'll rain a handful or so days a month, but when its not, you can expect sunshine & a few clouds! In the mountains, the snow sticks around a bit longer, but will be melted away by June. The end of spring & beginning of summer is when our waterfalls and rivers are running full.

Summer
Average Temperatures: Valley: High - mid 90°s, Low - low 70°s Mountains: High - low 80°s, Low - mid 50°s
If the heat doesn't bother you, the summer is great! Nearly everyday is full of bright sunshine! By now, the snow has melted in the mountains and all the plants are filling with color again and the foliage is lusciously full.  The mountains are the perfect spot to elope in the summer near Salt Lake, especially around sunrise or sunset! 

Near the end of summer is wildfire season. On occasion, there will be fires in Utah, but most of the time they are put out pretty fast. However, the smoke from the California & Nevada wildfires blows right towards Salt Lake. This can cause issues if you have allergies, plus it is best to avoid breathing the smoke if possible. There are some spots in the mountains to escape to that avoid the smoke.

No matter if you are in the mountains or the valley, make sure you are drinking tons of water to help compensate for the high temperatures and dry weather,


Fall
Average Temperatures: Valley: High - mid 60°s, Low - low 40°s Mountains: High - low 50°s, Low - high 20°s
This is personally my favorite season! The fall foliage is stunning! Most years the leaves start to turn around the end of September and last till mid-October. How long the fall foliage lasts is dependent on how much snow & rain we got earlier in the year. In the high mountains you'll find aspens with gorgeous yellow leaves and a few orange trees, against tall green pines, in the lower elevations of the mountains and in the valley you'll find more orange & red foliage. If you're on the fence about when to elope in Utah, fall is definitely the better choice. 

Best Elopement Locations

Within a few hour drive of Salt Lake, there is such a wide variety of landscapes to choose from for your elopement. If you can't choose one between them all, you can always explore the other locations as a mini-honeymoon. 

These are all of my favorite locations, you can't go wrong with any of them! I always have more locations up my sleeve that I'm more than happy to share to help you find the perfect location for your elopement. 

Big & Little Cottonwood Canyon
Drive time from Salt Lake: 20mins - 35mins, depending on location within the canyon
Salt Lake County Marriage License
Full of pine trees, home to 4 ski resorts, lots of hiking trails, and tons of phenomenal views! Snowy wonderland in the winter, cool getaway full of life in the summer, and pristine autumn colors in the fall. I'm frequently up in these canyons hiking throughout the year! These are the most easily accessible canyons from Salt Lake. I have scouted out lots of locations in these canyons that are perfect for elopements! 

Little Sahara Sand Dunes
Drive time from Salt Lake: 1hr 45mins
Juab County Marriage License 
Sounds just like its name, it really is a mini Sahara desert. Endless amount of rolling sand dunes, this area is popular for camping and razor riding. Since the area is so big, it's not hard to find a secluded area for an intimate elopement ceremony. 

Great Salt Lake
Drive time from Salt Lake: 15mins - 1hr 45mins, depending on the spot
Since the lake spans over many counties, I can help you find which county your elopement location is in.
There are lots of different spots you can visit the lake from. I have two favorite spots, one is about 15 minutes from Salt Lake City. It's a beautiful sandy salty beach leading up to the water. The other spot is on the northern end of the lake and takes a little over an hour and half to get to from Salt Lake City, but it is worth it! This spot is super secluded & intimate, has a gorgeous salt sand beach and PINK water. No matter where you choose to access the lake from, the shore is super shallow and you can walk out quite a ways before getting even close to knee deep. With the salty water, it definitely gives me calm ocean vibes. 

Antelope Island
Drive time from Salt Lake: 40mins
Davis County Marriage License 
An island in the middle of the Great Salt Lake with wild antelope and buffalo roaming the island. On the island you can find massive tall grass fields, lake-side beaches with soft sand, and mountains views overlooking the lake. Antelope island is gorgeous all year, but I especially love it in the fall & winter!

Logan Canyon
Drive time for Salt Lake: 1hr 20mins - 2hrs, depending on location within the canyon
Cache County Marriage License 
Full of trees & jagged rocks, there are so many places to go within the canyon! There are lots of side roads to drive down, stunning mountains lakes, and a variety of hiking options. I have lots of specific spots within this canyon that are perfect for adventurous elopements. 

Bear Lake
Drive time for Salt Lake: 2hrs 15mins
Rich County Marriage License
Huge crystal clear lake thar crosses the Utah-Idaho border, with gorgeous sandy beaches. There are lots of properties available to rent on the lake for easy access and lots of fun! 

Uinta Mountains
Drive time for Salt Lake: 1hr 30mins, can vary depending on the locations
Summit County Marriage License 
Phenomenal high-alpine mountains, filled with backcountry adventures, reflective lakes, and wild-life galore! This is the place if you are looking for secluded backcountry mountain vibes. There are lots of options for backcountry adventures like backpacking, but there is also a ton of front-country options, like kayaking & day hikes. 

Bonneville Salt Flats
Drive time for Salt Lake: 1hr 45mins
Tooele County Marriage License 
One of Utah's wonders! There's a massive area of land with nothing but salt flats for miles with a few mountains in the distance. Since the area is so large, it is super easy to find a spot secluded from others. Sunrise & sunset are stunning at the Salt Flats, especially if its recently rained. After the rain, the salt flats act almost like a mirror. Its insanely beautiful! 

Reccomended Vendors

* Please note, in many of the locations I recommend, silk faux floral bouquets are better for the environments, any of these florists can make amazing silk floral arrangements

There are so many options of things to do while in the Salt Lake area, I've listed a few of my favorites. If you're looking for something more specific, I'm happy to help you find something that's right for you!

Things to do

Hiking
One of my favorite & most frequented activities! There are tons of hiking trails everywhere you go!
I've compiled this nice list of some of my favorite hikes! I'm constantly adding to it, so make sure to check back in. 

Rock Climbing
In every canyon & mountain, there are lots of different pitches & climbing routes you can traverse. No matter your skill level, there is a climb for you in the Salt Lake area. Roots Rated is a fabulous website to finding different climbing routes. 
If you are looking for a guide to take you climbing, Backcountry Pros has lots of great option!

ATV Riding
There are lots of great ATV & off-roading trails through out the Salt Lake area. Most canyons have some ATV options, Little Sahara is a very popular place to go for a Razor ride. I find my ATV & off-roading trails by using AllTrails. If you need to rent a ATV, here is a great option!

Skydiving
When I went skydiving I went through Skydive the Wasatch. They are incredible to work with! They walked me through every step, saftery protocols and ensured I had an amazing experience. If you want to see younger Rachel skydiving, you can view it here

Boating, Kayaking & Paddle boarding
There are lots of lakes & reservoirs you can go boating, kayaking or paddle boarding on. My favorites are Bear Lake, Pineview Reservoir & Strawberry Reservoir. At each location, you can rent boats &  other watercraft. I've linked recommended rentals to each lake & reservoirs name. 

Cultural Experience
The Leaonardo - If you're looking for an art museum, The Leonardo is amazing! In the past they've had immersive exhibits that'll blow you away!
Hale Center Theater is an incredible theater experience with Broadway & off-Broadway shows! 

For Good Eats
From Scratch - Located in downtown Salt Lake, everything you eat there is truly made from scratch. It is some of the best American food I have ever had! 

unique Places to Stay

Historic Home - near downtown Salt Lake

Mountain Meadow Luxury Cabin - Uinta mountains

Carriage House Above the Stream - Sundance, UT near Unita mountains
A Frame Cabin - Uinta mountains

Treehouse - near Little Sahara Sand Dunes

Alaskan Inn & Mountain Lodge - near Ogden & Huntsville Utah

The last thing I want is for you to feel stressed because you're having your photo taken. Whether it's your elopement or we're meeting up for an adventure session, I want this experience to be fun, relaxing, and a hell of a good time!
If there is something that is stressing you out or adding worry, I'm here to help! If you need help arranging vendors, choosing outfits, finding a place to stay, or anything else, do not worry! 
This is not my first-go-around. At this point I have everything nailed down to a science. Plus, we can chat on a video call as many times as you need. 
My goal is for you to walk away with huge smiles, new memories, no regrets, and photos that you'll cherish forever!

having photos taken should be fun!

Life can be stressful

Let's Be Real

You can either initially reach out to me through email or schedule a zoom call! Whichever is best for you!

let's chat

Abby & Dylon

I can’t say enough about our big day, our photos, and our photographer. Rachel put us at ease immediately, and made it feel more like you where taking a walk with friends rather than taking photos. Meanwhile, she was secretly capturing all best moments. Honestly couldn’t have asked for a nicer more accommodating photographer. From changing the day for our photos with late notice (for nicer weather), to having a ring sizer for my new engagement ring that was a little loose on our cold fall day. Not only did she drive more than three hours into Wyoming. But she also got there early to check out the best spots to capture the greatest shots. Rachel was highly professional, funny, kind, and very easy to work with. She is also not afraid to go on a long hike to find that perfect spot for the perfect shot. When we started the shoot Rachel said she wanted to capture our love story and she did not disappoint. The photo quality is impeccable and we have received nothing but compliments from family and friends. Her ability to capture such candid photos is very impressive (I mean come on she got a perfect shot of “the move”). We can’t thank her enough. 20/10 would recommend and would hang out and take photos with her again.

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Elisa & Brad

Rachel was so warm and gentle, it was so easy to just feel natural and be in the moment. She was able to capture our wedding so beautifully. Every time I look at the photos I feel all the emotions again. Thank you Rachel for your amazing work and being willing to photograph our special day. I am so grateful we were able to find you!

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Lauren & Jonathan

This day was a blast! One thing I loved about this shoot is that she didn’t pose us at all. Rachel’s style and editing is so authentic as she works to capture raw emotion verses having perfectly posed photos. This resulted in pictures that captured Jonathan and I’s relationship wonderfully. Almost every picture we got back is of us laughing, and if you know Jonathan than you know why we are always cracking up. Rachel’s ability to capture that in a still photo is some serious talent. 

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audrey & Jared

"We had a great experience with Rachel! The overall photo shoot was so much fun. We were laughing the entire time and the pictures turned out amazing. Also she was very prepared. She had a place to hang my extra shirts and a thermos of hot chocolate ready when we were done (it was freezing that day!) . I would definitely recommend her to anyone looking for fantastic affordable photography."

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Mikelle

"I love Rachel!! She is so professional and so fun! She is so willing to accommodate to whatever you’re wanting for your photos. She has taken pictures for me many times and never ceases to amaze me!"

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Alanna & Ducenge

Rachel did an amazing job at capturing our sweet candid moments of our special day! She also was so helpful with my flowers and thinking creatively to use the lighting we had! She is a very friendly photographer to work with!

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Robin & Travis

Rachel is a great photographer who is really creative and SUPER fun!  We both had a really good time, even though my husband doesn’t love having his photo taken, haha, and we laughed a lot together during the session. She would be perfect for adventurous & fun engagements and bridals!

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