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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!).
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.
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. ♥️
Tips for a Zion Elopement
If you’re thinking about your own Zion elopement, here’s a few tips:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.