Carlos & Sandra’s Romantic Zion Elopement and Maternity Shoot

Sandra and Carlos are unlike anybody I have ever met. This couple bought a house, renovated that house, bought an RV for all their adventures, had an adorable baby, treasure their four dogs, and planned their destination Zion elopement in under a month. 

They reached out to me about four weeks before their elopement date, saying that they wanted me to be there. If I wasn’t available, they’d go down to the notary and sign their paperwork to make it official. Their wedding date had a lot of significance to them, since it was their original anniversary date that they wanted to keep when they got married. I told them it was meant to be — I was available, and was so excited to see them married in Zion National Park. Sandra and Carlos drove across the country with their dogs to meet me there for an epic, full-day elopement (and maternity shoot!). 

Landscape view of Zion National Park; one ceremony option with an overlook view for your elopement.

Zion Elopement Planning

Carlos and Sandra’s original wedding plan was for May 2020, which of course was canceled thanks to COVID! They got the amazing news that they were expecting their baby girl that December, and wanted to try to have a special elopement experience before her arrival.

Their vision was to get married in the desert, and I had the honor of designing their entire Zion elopement. I found three incredible locations and epic photo spots at each and created their timeline. The day before, I ran through the 12-hour adventure solo to make sure everything was going to go the way that Sandra and Carlos imagined it. 

Wedding rings resting on a sign that reads "It's official, we eloped, Sandra & Carlos 05.16.2021" that the couple held up at their Zion elopement.
Carlos plays with one of his 4 dogs in the RV before his Zion elopement with Sandra.
Sandra's ultrasound scans of their babygirl made a special appearance at their Zion elopement. This framed photo of the scans rests on the bed in their RV.
Two vertical images of Sandra's dress on a hanger, before she put it on for her Zion elopement.
Two vertical images of Sandra putting earrings in and smiling at the camera before her Zion elopement.

Elopement Day

I can only describe Sandra and Carlos’s elopement as both relaxed and badass at the same time. We wandered around to the many sights in Zion all day, laughing together, taking it all in. The day was bright, warm, and Sandra was so ready to take on all the light hiking we did while six months pregnant! Her dress fit her belly perfectly, and she looked like a desert queen. 

There were a few really special touches that I loved about this Zion elopement. The first was the framed ultrasound photos of their baby girl on the nightstand in their RV. It was such a beautiful reminder of all the joy in store for them. 

The other happened on our way home after their elopement — their tire blew in the McDonald’s drive through at midnight!! We heard a pop, they sighed and pulled over, and changed the tire together in a matter of minutes. Sandra was on the ground in her glam maternity dress, getting her hands as dirty as Carlos’s. It was literally the fastest tire change I’ve ever seen outside of NASCAR (not that I watch NASCAR). These two are so self-sufficient, and it was clear that no matter what bumps in the road they faced literally or metaphorically, that they wouldn’t be phased. ♥️

Sandra and Carlos stand with Marla, their Zion elopement officiant and elopement photographer, at an overlook with beautiful rock formations behind them.
After their elopement ceremony in Zion, Sandra and Carlos kiss and hold up their sign that reads "it's official, we eloped, Sandra & Carlos 05.16.2021"
Couple poses for elopement portraits in Zion National Park, looking to the left off camera.
Couple stands facing the rocks in Zion National Park at their elopement, backs to the camera. Bride holds her dress out as it catches in the wind and billows around her.
Couple stands facing one another, bride's dress billowing out behind her, at their Zion elopement.
Black and white photo of the couple hiking in Zion at their elopement, wearing their full formal wedding attire.
Couple stands far away on a textured section of the rocks at Zion National Park for portraits after their elopement.

Tips for a Zion Elopement

If you’re thinking about your own Zion elopement, here’s a few tips:

  1. Make sure you get your hands on the special use permit here if you’re planning on having your ceremony in the park, which also requires a $100 fee. Turn this in at least 3 weeks before your elopement. 
  2. Make sure you have a practical pair of shoes! Changing into something else for your ceremony or for photos is a great option if you want to wear a nice sandal or dress shoe. But for hiking and walking around, it’s safest if you have something with solid tread. 
  3. Summer is the busiest season in Zion National Park. If you want to beat the crowds, consider late spring like Sandra and Carlos, or consider a sunrise ceremony. 
Couple holds hands, facing one another, in a Zion elopement portrait in Snow Canyon.
Bride twirls in her wedding gown in Snow Canyon at her Zion elopement.

Zion Maternity Photos

We ventured into the Sand Dunes at sunset for Sandra and Carlos’s maternity shoot. Sandra stunned in three different gowns! I am so happy for these two and their baby girl.

Close up on Carlos resting his hand on Sandra's belly for maternity photos, taken after the couple's Zion elopement.
Sandra smiles down at her belly in a red gown. The couple had a maternity session right after their Zion elopement.
Carlos leans in and kisses Sandra's head as she smiles at the camera. The couple had a maternity session right after their Zion elopement.
Sandra and Carlos hold hands from a foot apart and smile at each other. The couple had a maternity session right after their Zion elopement.
Couple sits on the sand dunes at zion after their elopement, giggling during their maternity session at Zion.
Couple walks toward the camera on top of a sand dune in Zion at sunset after their elopement.
Couple leans in and touches foreheads, wind blowing Sandra's hair back. The couple had a maternity session right after their Zion elopement.
Sandra poses holding her belly in a black gown with a train on a sand dune. The couple had a maternity session right after their Zion elopement.
Two vertical images of Sandra in a black gown with a long train, holding her belly at the maternity session immediately following the couple's Zion elopement.
Faraway shot of the couple walking across the sand dune at their maternity session. The couple had a maternity session right after their Zion elopement.
Black and white photo of the couple walking through the sand, away from the camera. The couple had a maternity session right after their Zion elopement.
Two vertical images of the couple silhouetted against the blue sky at their Zion elopement.

I loved getting to be not only the photographer, but also officiant and elopement planner for Sandra and Carlos. Watching them tackle the day and relish in the little moments with each other was an honor to be part of. 


Zion gives me all the feelings…..such a beautiful place to adventure for these souls!

What a beautiful variety of photos! The sand dunes, water, sunset, greenery, suuper cool mountains. this gallery has it all! so beautiful!!!

Oh my gosh these photos in Zion are so breathtaking! Their elopement reminds me why I love elopements so much because of how untrditional & unique they are 🙂

What a magical day in Zion these two had! Wow!

Oh wow! Barefoot moments are a fave!

You’ve got such a variety of photos in this gallery, the locations for the photos are amazing. The end of day light on the sand dunes steals the show, thanks for sharing!

What a breathtaking location for an elopement. You capture it beautifully!

What an amazing couple! So much life jam-packed into such a short time. Your photos are stunning – their joy is APPARENT in every image.


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