desert destination wedding locations in the us

There’s something about the desert landscape that’s just so naturally stunning. With unique rock formations, an abundance of cacti and succulents, and the all-around sunshine flooding in, those who love the outdoors will find it hard to resist the desert’s appeal as an elopement location.

If you’re planning a desert elopement or small wedding, here are the best desert landscapes in the US for your epic wedding day.

Zion National Parks Wedding Ideas

Zion National Park

For deep, narrow canyons and soaring summits and cliffs, nothing quite beats the views at Zion National Park. There are several great ceremony locations in the park, some of which can fit between 35 – 100 guests!

And one of the best parts? You could even extend your elopement experience with a second day trek out to the nearby Bryce Canyon National Park, which features more unique hoodoos and with fewer crowds than Zion.

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Great Sand Dunes National Park

Located a few hours from Denver, Great Sand Dunes National Park may feel completely out of place because it’s like nowhere else in all of Colorado. Not only are these the tallest dunes in North America, they are also surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, grasslands, wetlands and forests.

This spot is perfect for more adventurous couples looking to elope, since the hike over some of the dunes may be a bit difficult for anyone with limited mobility, including guests.

Inn and Spa at Loretto

Located in the heart of historic downtown Santa Fe, this New Mexico destination has all of the desert aesthetics you could be looking for. The venue is designed in a pueblo-like adobe structure that is a perfect reminder of its Southwest environment.

Have your ceremony at the historic Loretto Chapel and then head to one of the indoor or outdoor spaces with gorgeous views of downtown Santa Fe. They even offer an Elopement Package for couples who are planning an intimate getaway for two!

white sand dunes places to elope new mexico

White Sands National Monument

Another dreamy place for an adventure destination wedding or elopement is the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. As the name depicts, this place is filled with dramatic white sands in wave-like dunes.

Be sure to avoid planning to get married here during the summer, though, when temperatures during the day can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit!

delicate arch elopement locations arches np

Arches National Park

What better place to have a desert elopement than Moab?! Arches National Park is just outside of this small town in Utah, where you can say your vows and take stunning portraits near beautiful red-orange archways and rock formations.

There are also plenty of other great locations for elopement portraits in the area, including Canyonlands National Park and plenty of BLM trails for 4WD vehicles.

Saguaro Palm Springs

For a stylish escape to the desert, consider the Saguaro. The fun, bright and modern space offers a truly unique setting for a small desert wedding. With mountain views and plenty of palms and cacti throughout, you can enjoy the desert landscape while still throwing a trendy and modern party, making this the best of both worlds.

grand canyon elopement

Grand Canyon

Adventurers, this one’s for you. The Grand Canyon offers a breathtaking backdrop for elopements and small weddings and is sure to make for a memorable experience.

The national park has a few options for wedding ceremonies located at different points around the park, just keep in mind that you need a special permit from the National Park Service and the number of guests is very limited.

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Whether you live in Texas and want something a little closer to home or you are simply looking for something out of the ordinary (think: fewer crowds and more seclusion!), consider Big Bend! It has a beautiful mix of desert, canyons, boulders and a mountain range, just perfect for an adventure destination wedding or elopement.

The Desert Lily B&B

Just minutes away from Joshua Tree National Park, The Desert Lily B&B is the ultimate staycation and destination wedding space wrapped in one. The venue not only serves as a gorgeous ceremony spot with scenic mountain views, but also offers bed and breakfast cabins onsite that you can rent for a romantic weekend.

Boulders Resort

With intimate ceremony spots surrounded by boulders, cacti and even cascading water, this is a true gem in the middle of the desert. Located in Scottsdale, Boulders Resort is a luxurious place to spend your destination wedding weekend for those in Arizona or surrounding states.

Red Rock Canyon

The Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas is the ideal image of the West. Located on conserved land in the Mojave Desert, the stunning red rocks make the ultimate backdrop for an intimate and adventurous elopement. As this is a conservation area, visitors need special permits for photography or events, so plan ahead!

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Black Rock Desert

Last but definitely not least is the Black Rock Desert — now made “famous” via the annual Burning Man Festival at Black Rock City.  It may not seem like much at first, but with miles of space around you on one of the flattest lands on earth, the salt flat desert here is simply breathtaking in an out-of-this-world kind of way.

You may feel like you’re walking on Mars! The playa at Black Rock is definitely not your typical destination, but that may be just what you’re looking for in a desert elopement location.

Planning a Desert Elopement? Reach Out to Skyewater Photo + Film!

Skyewater Photo + Film is an adventure elopement and destination wedding photo and video team. We help couples plan elopements all over the US, and offer insight for more than just photography: from planning assistance, finding and booking locations, vendor references and more! Reach out to our elopement photography and videography team today to get more info!

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