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Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Destination Wedding in Zion | Step by Step

Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Destination Wedding in Zion | Step by Step

What do you need to do to have your destination wedding or elopement in Zion National Park?  Luckily it's not too hard to do, but there are a few moving pieces you'll need to tackle.  In this post, we'll cover everything from how to get married in the park (as well as locations) to even getting married near the park at a venue.  Whichever way you go, this video is a great way to start putting the vision together!


Videographer: @zionweddingfilms
Photo: @Haleynord

Getting Married in the Park

Some couples dream of getting married right in Zion National Park.  We totally understand why, it's one of the most majestic parks in the world.  The question is: how do you get married legally in the park?  What steps need to be taken?  Do you need a permit?  We cover all of that below...


Not everywhere in the park allows weddings.  In fact, very few locations do.  Locations like Angels Landing, Canyon Overlook, and The Narrows are beautiful to look at and are acceptable for formals and engagements, but they aren't allowed for weddings and elopements.

Even the areas that do allow a ceremony only permit a limited number of people at a time for special events, so keep that in mind with your VIP guest list.  The locations below are listed on the park's website as approved, along with the max number of people per area.

Temple of Sinawava (35 people)
•Menu Falls (10 people)
•Zion Lodge Lawn (75 people)
•Nature Center North Lawn (50 people)
•South Campground Amphitheater (100 people)
•Kolob Canyon Area (20 people)
•Timber Creek Overlook (20 people)

See More Info Here at nps.gov


Once you've selected a location, you can apply for a special permit on the park's website easily from there.  Just download their form (button below) and email the completed information back to the park (the return email is on the document).  This is a special use permit that allows you to bring your party to any of the approved locations at a certain time and perform a small ceremony.  You'll need to give at least three weeks' heads up for them to process it, as well as a $100 application fee.

Zion is one of the grandest in the world, so your guests are bound to be blown away by the stunning high cliffs and beautiful scenery during your ceremony.  As a note, before you apply, be sure to work out the timeline with your photographer first.  They'll have key insights that can help prevent any issues on the big day and also provide recommendations on ideal locations based on your party.

To help you get started, here's a link to the application.



If your wedding takes place off-season, then you'll be able to have your crew drive into the park to places like Temple of Sinawava without issue.  However, when Zion Canyon Shuttles are going, you'll need to plan ahead to make sure your people get on the buses in enough time, as no vehicles are allowed in Zion Canyon when shuttles are running.

It's always recommended to work with your photographer or planner to get the times right so you don't lose your ceremony location.  They'll help you with the logistics.  

The good news is that as of 2022, no tickets or reservations are required to board the bus.  The shuttles take off from the Visitor Center every 15 minutes or so and require about 45 minutes to travel to the last stop at Temple of Sinawava.

To be safe, get with your photographer first to make a scheduled plan before submitting any paperwork.

Getting Married Outside the Park

You may love the idea of getting married in Zion, but also find it logistically... well... not the right fit (especially if you're looking to include a venue).  It's totally common for couples to have their ceremony in a venue near the park and (either the day before/after or even the day of their wedding) sneak away with their photographer and catch a few shots at a place like Canyon Overlook.  If this sounds like a better fit for you, here are our recommended steps...



The good news is that most of the venues near Zion still offer those gorgeous peaking views in one form or another.  We've taken on some of the workload by researching the top venues in the area and have created a list just for the adventure couples with this kind of wedding or elopement in mind.  Some are closer to the gate than others, and we've broken out the features of each.  See the link below.


Everything is easier when you have a planner (especially if you're considering marrying at a venue and doing your first look/just married/formals in the park.  A good planner will help you decide how to best plan out a timeline based on your vision.  They can also recommend a spectacular photographer to make sure the lighting will be ideal in your location.  So much of your headache will be resolved by including this key vendor.  Once you have a planner and photographer down, it'll be easier to locate an amazing videographer (like the one at the beginning of this post) to make sure you get a stunning video of your venue and special day. 

As a note, drones are not allowed in Zion (although permits are available, they're just very expensive).


The two steps above will be life savers in this whole process.  From there, it's just locking down vendors, transportation, and timelines, in all of which your planner will be a huge asset.  Need help tracking down great vendors for your wedding or elopement?  We've got you covered!

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Our online inspo publication, started in 2018, has helped countless couples find everything from how to build their dream wedding to the vendors that can make it all possible. 

We've achieved our mission of becoming the top site for destination weddings in the Southwest and want you to see why!  Our staff has years of experience in the industry and shares top tips, inspo, vendors, and more!  Let Zion Brides be your guide...

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