You don’t have to elope at the courthouse-

here are some beautiful locations throughout all of Arizona to elope!


For a lot of people, a big wedding just isn’t their thing. Big weddings can be expensive and a lot of stress. You might rather have a small gathering with their closest friends & family, or perhaps even just your partner & you and your officiant. It can be easy to get caught up in other people’s expectations, but ultimately, it boils down to what is right for you and your partner. These days, you don’t just have to go to a courthouse. Arizona has such stunning natural landscapes to utilitize, allowing you to have a more personal, intimate ceremony reflective of you and get amazing photos as well!

To elope, you’ll need an officiant, 2 witnesses besides your officiant, and a marriage license. Your officiant can be a friend who’s been ordained online, or you can hire one of the many wonderful officiants here in Arizona to perform your ceremony. Even picking a place to elope can be overwhelming however, especially in Arizona with so many beautiful natural locations. The location can have special meaning to you, like where you had your first hike, first date, where your partner proposed, or it can simply be a place you just love for no other reason than it’s beautiful. When you elope outside the courthouse, you trade ugly flourescent lighting for beautiful natural light, the ability to have your ceremony on your own time and in your own way, and do whatever the heck you want! You can make your own schedule- or not, if you’re a more go with the flow person. You aren’t limited to the courthouse’s weekday hours and schedule. Best yet, you can only have people you trust present and can fully be yourselves- you can cry if you need to, laugh, jump for joy! You guys just got married and a stranger’s not watching you!

Have I convinced you yet? Phoenix and the surrounding cities- Scottsdale, Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Glendale & Queen Creek have so many beautiful outdoor scenic areas to elope.  Best of all, they are close! Arizona also makes a stunningly beautiful destination elopement location.



The Salt River is an iconic area for natives of Phoenix. Near Mesa, it features the important Salt River which flows from Saguaro Lake along stunning mountains, desert and riparian habitats home to the Salt River wild horses. Yes, that’s right, there are wild horses that you might encounter here! They are a treat to respectfully observe from a distance. The mountains, river and trees along with the desert make for a stunning backdrop for your elopement.


The Phoenix Mountain Preserve is in the heart of Phoenix, near Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley. It’s home to some stunning mountains and desert landscapes. Check out this Phoenix Mountain Preserve elopement for some inspiration! We can take a hike to the top or stay at the base of the mountains.



Located in Mesa, the Gilbert Riparian Preserve is a favorite spot of bird watchers and little nature escape in the middle of the city. It tends to be crowded, especially around October-November, however it’s a large property that you can work your way back into and find your own private spot. There are many small ponds and lakes which provide habitat for birds, jackrabbits and cottonwood trees.


The Superstitions are an iconic backdrop of Phoenix and Mesa. The mountains get their name from the legend of the Lost Dutchman. It’s hard to beat their stunning beauty and the way they light up at sunset, making them a perfect spot to elope. There are a variety of spots around the Superstitions- hiking along Peralta Trail, hiking up near Siphon’s Draw for the adventurous and fit couple, or just picking a spot to pull over and enjoy the view at sunset. See more from Alex & Jack’s Superstition Mountain anniversary session near the adorable Elvis Church & Superstition Mountain Museum!


I love traveling to northern Arizona for it’s cooler climate, beautiful pine trees and mountains and adorable cities and towns with history & character. Northern Arizona is definitely the place to get married in the summer or winter if you really want a winter wedding with snow!


There are several gorgeous spots in Payson that would be perfect for eloping- the Mogollon Rim is a stunning spot, or Tonto Natural Bridge or any of the numerous hiking trails in the area. It’s also a convenient place to escape the summer heat- only 1.5 hours drive away from the valley and usually at least 15 degrees cooler in the summer. Monsoons frequent the are though in the summer from July-early September, so keep that in mind!



Of course Sedona is a popular choice of location to elope- for good reason too, it’s one of the most stunning places Arizona has to offer, if you don’t mind tourists. Weekdays are often much less busy than weekends if you have some iconic Sedona hikes you’d like to have your ceremony on. See more from Krista & Matt’s sweet Sedona elopement & Laura & Marcus’s Sedona elopement!



If you’d like to elope during the height of the Arizona summer, or you love pine trees and mountains, you should definitely consider Flagstaff. Humphrey’s Peak is the highest point in Arizona and has forests of pines and aspen trees. Lockett Meadow is a popular spot, though it requires four wheel drive to get to. See Leonor & Katryna’s Flagstaff engagement session to see more from their session!



There are many other areas around Flagstaff that would be lovely to elope. Check out all the local hiking trails in the area and you could hit up one of Flagstaff’s adorable pubs & bars or coffeeshops for a post ceremony celebratory drink afterwards!


Prescott is an adorable town about 2-2.5 hours away from the Phoenix metro area. Whiskey Row is a popular tourist attraction, full of cute bars and restuarants and historic hotels. My favorite spot in Prescott is Watson Lake, not far from town, full of granite boulders and a beautiful lake that would make a perfect ceremony backdrop. You can head to town for a post celebratory drink at any of the bars or restuarants!


Of course, the iconic Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend is a super popular location. It’s quite a journey but worth it- 5 hours from the Phoenix area and requires a booking with a local Navajo guide & a wedding permit which is purchased through the Navajo Tribal Park. View more information here. The tours operate year round, however the famous light beams, more common and more popular in the Upper Antelope Canyon, peak between March 20 to Oct 7. Lower Antelope Canyon requires hiking, is less crowded but also narrower, and has less light beams and light is better in the early to late morning. Horseshoe Bend is nearby and a great stop towards sunset or for your ceremony, though it is also often very crowded.

Image via Wikipedia.



Mt. Lemmon is a beautiful mountain near Tuscon and is 9000 ft tall. The summit is 20 degrees cooler than the base so it’s a nice way to escape the heat. The Catalina Highway, also known as Sky Island Scenic Byway, runs up the side of the mountain and is a curvy, scenic highway for drivers & cyclists and runs through the lowland desert climate to alpine forests. Mt. Lemmon also has an observatory on it’s peak and a ski run.