If you’re thinking about having your wedding in a National Park I think you’re making a brilliant decision. And a Zion National Park wedding is probably one of the best ideas you’ll ever have. That is of course after saying yes to your fiance 🙂
Zion is jaw-droppingly gorgeous and I can’t imagine a prettier or more romantic location for a wedding. And spoiler alert: it was one of the best weddings ever.
Planning any wedding is hard enough, but planning a destination wedding? That’s enough to make anyone lose their sh** and want to set themselves on fire.
Instead of turning into a raaaging bridezilla and making yourself and those around you miserable, read through this guide where I talk *real life* about everyone I hired and why I think they’re literally the. best. ever.
I could not have had a more perfect group of people for my wedding and I want the same for you!
How to plan a Zion National Park wedding
Originally published on July 13th, 2018/ Most recently updated on March 9th, 2020
This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more info.
Written by: Stephanie
About Zion National Park
I absolutely LOVE Zion National Park. There are few places in the country with such raw natural beauty. Planning a wedding or elopement in Zion is perfect for adventurers, outdoor lovers, and nature enthusiasts.
Zion is located in the southwest corner of Utah, fairly close to Arizona and Nevada and about 2.5 hours from Las Vegas. It’s the perfect location to do some city exploring, especially if you’ve never been to Vegas. And it’s easy enough to get out of the city and hit up some of the beautiful national parks in the area.
Zion is most known for its impressive canyoneering, scenic drives, iconic hikes (Angels Landing, anyone?), and extensive wildlife like bighorn sheep, mule deer, foxes, bats, squirrels, etc.
Looking for more Zion posts? Check out:
- Do you have the courage to hike Angels Landing?
- How to hike the Narrows in Zion National Park
- Ultimate Utah: Outstanding beauty in 31 dreamy photos
- And just for fun: Our wedding day in Zion National Park
The best season to marry in Zion
Springtime in Zion National Park sees warming temperatures and the start of wildflowers and budding trees. Nights can still be chilly, though. Depending on the amount of snowfall the park received over the winter will determine how much of the park is accessible without winter hiking gear. If the snow is starting to melt hikes like the Narrows may be closed due to the rising water level in the river.
March is also a busy time in the park as much of the country is on spring break. The shuttles start to run full time so getting around the park will be fairly easy. When the shuttles are running the parks roads close down to help ease the traffic pain. In the springtime, the parking lots should have availability so no big rush to get to the park by the morning.
Summer is the most popular time to plan a wedding as everything is green and the temperatures are warmer. Late into summer, it can be insanely hot like, often over 100 F.
This time of the year is incredibly busy, with half a million visitors each month. So be patient when waiting for the shuttle or while on the hikes. And take that into consideration if you plan to get married in the park. If you’re not staying within walking distance of Zion expect the parking lots to be full by 9 am. There are, however, free shuttles that run from Springdale to the Zion visitors center.
If you’re planning a wedding inside Zion keep in mind that you will have to ride the shuttles to your ceremony site and they will be busy. This was super awkward for me, which is why I chose a site outside of the park. Keep reading for that!
In the summer expect beautiful scenery, epic hikes, and a wide range of animals. Do be mindful of weather conditions when hiking the Narrows – summer is monsoon season and the river can quickly flood.
Fall is another beautiful season in the park. There are still aspects of summer with all of the amazing scenery, but it’s far less busy. And a lot cooler, which makes some of the more strenuous hikes much more pleasant.
If you’re visiting late October to mid-November you’ll see fall colors throughout the park and on the floor on the canyon. The shuttles are still running as Zion is somewhat busy. Be sure to check their schedule before planning any hikes. Always know when the last shuttle out is! Or you’ll spend a lot of time walking back.
While all seasons in Zion are different they are all beautiful. During the winter it can be quite cold and wet. But it’s way less busy so it’s more peaceful, which is great if you are planning a winter wedding. Temperatures are mild during the day and can be well below freezing at night.
Zion receives most of its precipitation during the winter months. Some of the higher elevations can be covered in snow all winter. You will definitely need winter boots with traction and jackets to stay warm. The roads are plowed shortly after any snowfall, but a 4WD may be a good idea, especially at higher elevations.
It might not be totally obvious, but Zion in the winter can be so much fun. Most of the hiking trails are still open but be careful about icy spots. Many of the trails have sections that never get sunshine. And there are tons of areas that offer excellent snowshoeing and some pretty great wildlife viewing.
Zion National Park accommodations
147 Zion Park Blvd, Springdale / 435-772-3366
Once you know that you’re going to have your wedding at Zion National Park, I suggest booking the accommodations right away as Zion gets SO busy, especially in the spring and summer.
And we didn’t see that many nice places in Springdale so you’ll wanna get on that ASAP.
Alternatively, if you don’t mind a little driving you can choose to stay in La Verkin which is about 15-20 minutes from Springdale. My in-laws stayed out there and had the choice of loads of really nice
St. George is about an hour away so not ideal if you are planning to get married in and spend every day in Zion. However, if you’re just having the wedding and maybe spending an extra day in Zion, you could use St. George as a home base to explore other areas of Utah, Nevada, or Arizona.
But if you plan on being in Zion for several days, I would suggest staying in Springdale, it just makes everything much easier. We stayed at and totally loved the Cable Mountain Lodge. We had room D421 which is an amazing suite that overlooks the pool and the watchman –
We had a nice size living room with a couch, a huge balcony, nice kitchen and dining room, as well as a large bathroom and bedroom. It was the perfect place to camp out for a week.
Cable Mountain Lodge is really nice because of its primo location. There
Zion Canyon Brewing Company is also right next door if you wanna hang out for some food and brews. The alcohol laws in Utah are pretty weird- the beers are weak and cocktails only have one shot of liquor. Nonetheless, it’s
Cafe Soleil which is basically right across the parking lot ended up being one of our favorite spots to grab breakfast when we weren’t racing the daylight to go hiking. The veggie scramble is delicious and definitely my favorite. Cafe Soleil also has lunch and dinner options. It can get quite busy depending on the time of day, though.
The actual town of Springdale is super cute too, it’s way more than just a parking lot for Zion! The main drag through town, Zion Park Blvd, has several restaurants and little shops that you can spend hours wandering through. We stayed in Springdale for a week and between hiking, sightseeing, shopping, and hoarding the hot tub, we kept plenty busy.
Some other great places to stay in/near Zion include:
Zion Mountain Ranch – Home to a roaming herd of buffalo (!!!). The Zion Mountain Ranch offers beautiful cabins and lodges in the East Zion Mountains. There is also an on-site farm to table restaurant so that’s super cool. The ranch offers fun activities such as horseback riding, jeep tours, canyoneering, and guided hikes. So plenty to do when you’re entertaining wedding guests 🙂 The only negative is the Ranch is about 40 minutes away from Zion. Not super convenient if you’re wanting to go into the park every day.
Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort – Offers an incredible selection of accommodations ranging from vacation homes to glamping! If you are planning a larger wedding or just want all of your guests at the same location the Ponderosa Ranch Resort is a great option. And if you’re feeling a little adventurous the glamping tents are beautifullllll. Again, it is about 50 minutes from Zion.
Zion Lodge – The only in-park lodging offered in Zion is the beautiful 40 cabins of the Zion Lodge. Cabins include gas fireplaces, private porches, refrigerators, and super easy access to the park. Zion Lodge offers winter rates as well so be sure to check that out if traveling in the offseason.
Best Western – Located just outside of the park (within walking distance) and close to restaurants and shops. If you don’t want to walk to the park Best Western offers a free seasonal (March-November) shuttle that will drive to the entrance. Perks include free breakfast, heated outdoor pool, hot tub, and a fitness center.
La Quinta – Perks include free wifi, breakfast, parking, a fitness center, a pool, and it’s pet-friendly! La Quinta is located less than a mile away from Zion, so nice and easy access to the park.
Bridal Shops, Minneapolis
A & Be
1607 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis / 612-238-1300
After getting engaged and choosing a location/date the wedding dress is the next big-ticket item! Depending on how much time you have before your wedding this may be less important to you. We chose to get married just 4 months after we were engaged, haha.
I am given the option of 4 or 5 gowns that the shop has in stock and I can have for my rapidly approaching wedding. Out of those gowns, there is only one I liked, but I know it isn’t the one.
I was feeling defeated but then I heard another lady talking about how they could rush-ship this particular gown. YESSSS boo! As soon as I laid my eyes on it I knew it was perfect. It was exactly what I was looking for – classy, but simple.
*cue dance party music*
Thirty minutes after arriving at the shop I found my gown and was swiping my card. I did have to pay a rush shipping fee of SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS. MMMMF I still cry a little but knew I had to have the dress in time.
If you are located in Minneapolis, Denver, Dallas, Portland, Seattle, or Miami I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend A & Be Bridal!
And if you’re one of my Minneapolis girls, say hi to Kristin, she’s the best!
Related: Our wedding at Zion National Park
Because the dress is pretty simple I want a belt to add some interest. A & Be has tons of accessories and most of them are handmade!
Zion wedding photographer
Our photographer is the reigning queen of wedding photography-
She is super fun to work with, organized, laid back, and incredibly sweet. And she was always in close contact when we had any questions. She basically acted as our wedding coordinator and I don’t know how I would have done it without her. I not so secretly referred to her as my BFF and secretly referred to her as mac-attack.
She actually works with her husband, Joey, and the two of them are the dream team of wedding photography. And I’m all about that BOGO.
If you’re doing the traditional thing where the guys are separated from the girls, McKenzi will hang out with the girls while they’re getting ready. Joey will go to the guys and photograph them getting ready…or at the brewery or whatever it is guys do while we get ready.
Oh, and a minor detail – their photos are seriously to die for 😉 She also works really hard to get your photos edited and sent to you in a timely manner so you can show them off or hang them up in your house.
Utah wedding videographer
I was pretty adamant about having videographers at the wedding. It took a little bit of time to convince Pete that this was a good idea. However, he didn’t know what he was marrying – I’m nothing if not persistent.
He kept envisioning your uncle Tom with a huge 90s camcorder getting in everyone’s way. He didn’t think it was worth spending the money to have a shaky video with poor audio. So I said, “oh no nooooo, let me show you wedding videography”. He still wasn’t totally convinced, but at the end of the day, he said if I wanted it we should do it and I definitely wanted it.
We hired the amazing videographers from The Bison and The Bird. And just like McKenzi and Joey, Dustin and Holly were absolutely wonderful to work with. The four of them had us and our family laughing SO much during the day that my cheeks hurt. Neither one of us had ever been on camera before so we were super awkward initially. But they made it so easy to ignore them…which is actually a compliment :).
Holly and Dustin did the same thing McKenzi and Joey did where we split up with guys and girls. And with the videos, the only thing you’ll have to do is to wear a microphone.
For the guys, the battery pack just goes in their back pocket and the tip hooks near their tie. For the ladies, the tip will get taped to your chest. The wire goes down the front of the dress and gets clipped into a leg strap on your thigh. So, you feel like a super-secret spy.
If you wanna check out our video you can do so here 🙂
Zion wedding make-up artist/hairstylist
Springdale has one salon that does bridal hair. I had emailed them with the wedding date and the only stylist that does bridal hair was going to be out on maternity leave. Noooooo. I didn’t really want to drive 2 hours round trip to St. George so I turned to my BFF McKenzi and she gave me Tracy’s name.
Tracy was an absolute dream to work with! I was totally blown away with the job she did. Like when my hair and makeup were finished and I put my dress on – straight-up fairytale vibes.
Leading up to this, I was super anxious about letting someone I didn’t even know do my hair and makeup for the biggest day of my life. I’m only a little bit of a control freak. But Tracy was incredible and a completely calming presence on my pre-wedding nerves. SO many nerves. I was so nervous I couldn’t even drink mimosas or eat donuts and
Once you contact her she will ask for any hair or makeup pictures if you have any for inspiration. About two weeks before the wedding she’ll call and go over all the last minute details.
Again, like everyone else I chose, super easy to work with. I would absolutely recommend her to anyone in the world. I wish I could just keep her and have her do my hair and makeup everyday.
Zion National Park florist
Bloomers flower & decor
1386 E 100th S #d, St George / 435-652-0870
Y’all…how next level were my flowers? I’ll wait while you pick your jaw off of the ground.
Angie at Bloomers is hands down the greatest florist that has ever lived. When I started planning for the wedding she constantly came up as the only florist worth using and I couldn’t agree more. Her bouquets are wild and free and totally fitting for a Zion wedding.
My first message to her said: “I have no colors or flowers in mind, so do whatever you want”. She returned that email saying that I was a dream bride and she couldn’t wait to put something together for me.
Besides the stupidly gorgeous bouquet, she made a table centerpiece, Pete’s boutonniere, and a bag of flower petals we scattered at the ceremony site.
Zion National Park bakery
Sweet Tooth Fairy
2376 Red Cliffs Dr, St George / 435-627-1980
We decided that we wanted a wedding cake about 2 weeks before the wedding, haha. Nothing like procrastinating.
There isn’t much in Springdale by way of bakeries, but there is a great one in St. George called The Sweet Tooth Fairy. They put together a simple 8″ toasted coconut cake.
And let me tell y’all – it was one of the best cakes, if not the best, that I’ve ever had. I’m almost foaming at the mouth thinking of it again.
They also make cake bites, which is basically a cake pop without the stick. So once you’re back home and celebrating your anniversary you can have your wedding cake again! And it’ll actually taste good! Not like having to eat a leftover piece that’s been shoved in the back of the freezer for a year.
We (Pete’s dad and brother) went to pick up the cake because they wanted a ridiculous delivery fee (to the tune of $75). Otherwise, a two-layer 8″ cake set us back about $60 which was totally worth it.
I had ordered a really cute initial cake topper, but sadly and not shockingly, it got hung up with the USPS and wasn’t delivered on time. The day before we left for Utah I went to one of our craft stores and bought a handful of fake succulents. I made a little makeshift topper that I think turned out great.
Zion wedding venues
A popular site for weddings in Zion is the Temple of Sinawava. This is located on a trailhead, along the river, and close to the shuttle stop. That’s all fine in terms of accessibility, but I definitely didn’t want any randos watching my wedding. If your wedding is in any season but winter, you’ll probably have at least some people watching. And if you’re getting married in the park you’ll have to obtain a permit and follow
We went out to the Temple just for fun on our first night in town. There was only a small group of photographers out there. So that time wouldn’t have been bad, but doing a midday wedding would be a
The Temple of Sinawava is located off the easiest and probably busiest trail in the park, the Riverside walk. And, getting married out here requires that you ride the shuttle through the entire park (about 45 minutes) in full wedding garb…with other people. And that’s just so incredibly awkward to me.
We were reading reviews about this location leading up to our wedding. I think what did it for us was one lady said that all you could hear were these kids screaming and playing in the river. Obviously, it doesn’t make for the most romantic setting. If you go against my advice and do choose to get married here, it’ll be beautiful scenery, but stupid busy. That’s a no for me, dawg.
However, if you’re set on getting married in the park this page from the NPS is helpful in getting started. It walks through the application process and fees, as well as locations, and rules. Any park wedding requires a $100 application fee that needs to be submitted at least 3 weeks prior to the wedding for consideration.
I’m not sure if you can do weddings at any time during the day. If you can, Zion during the month of May is the most beautiful around 7:45 pm to about 8:15 or 8:30. The way the light comes down and hits the cliffs are just stunning. Pete called 8:08 pm PFM, which stands for pure fu**ing magic. And PFM it was.
Choosing our wedding site
We actually didn’t know about the handful of approved wedding locations, it was my BFF McKenzi who told us about this. And she totally recommends against getting married in the park and suggests doing it somewhere nearby.
The nice thing about doing it her way is the land in Utah is part of the Bureau of Land Management. This means anyone can use it and it’s free.
She gave us the option of a few different sites and the one we chose was about halfway between La Verkin and Springdale, right off the main drag, Highway 9. This ended up being perfect since we had people scattered everywhere.
Funny enough the ceremony location was just off of the Guacamole Trailhead. Which would be hilarious if y’all knew how much I love avocados and guac. Such a basic millennial, haha. You can see the location of the site on this mountain biking trail map.
McKenzi had advised us to rent 4 wheel drive cars just in case it had rained in recent days. Cause there is no getting up that “road” in a car if it’s muddy. We lucked out and didn’t have to deal with any mud, but I would heed that advice and get larger cars.
So, once you make a random and unmarked turn off of Highway 9 you’ll leave most of the cars parked and only take a few up to the actual site. We brought up 3 cars – a girl’s car, a guys car, and a
We spent about 15 minutes driving up a narrow, winding, horrifically terrifying trail until we made it to the top. It’s probably not that bad, but I get car sick and don’t love heights or riding in the back, so that made it more difficult for me.
And once you get to the site you’ll see it is really just an open field with Zion as the backdrop. It’s right off of a mountain bike trail so we did see a couple of people on the drive up and there is a campsite out there as well. But, you’re basically all alone.
First look and wedding time!
We found a shady area to take photos and stay out of the sun and randomly chose a tree stump as the official ceremony site.
If you’re doing a first look, the photographers and videographers will get set up first. Then everyone will get out of the cars except for the bride. We wanted our first look to be private so the family was a bit far from us. Once Pete was in position I hop out of the car and sneak up behind him. We had probably close to five minutes to just talk and ogle each other which was super nice and helped calm my nerves.
After the first look, its wedding time! Like I said someone just found a tree stump and said: “that’ll do”. One of our family members scattered rose petals and laid out a blanket to define the space a little bit. Pete and his dad, Frank, (who is our officiant), stand near the tree stump and the family gathered around and I had my little brother walk me down the makeshift aisle. Both of our moms did a little reading and then we did our vows, which we wrote ourselves and not to brag, but were awesome. The entire ceremony lasted maybe 20 minutes and then we poured some champagne in Dixie cups and did family photos.
This should go without saying, but just in case if you are unaware of the “leave no trace” principles it’s time to look them up now. There are seven and the ones most applicable to a wedding include:
- travel on durable surfaces (drive on the trails only)
- dispose of waste properly (and do not have anything that doesn’t already exist in nature so, no glitter poppers out there)
- leave what you find
- respect wildlife
If everyone does their part in keeping the land as it is it’ll remain beautiful for years and years to come.
445 Zion Park Blvd / 435-772-0283
We obviously had a very low key wedding and were initially going to grill and have a couple of side dishes. Sort of last-minute we changed our minds and decided that we wanted a taco bar! This didn’t come about easily though. This decision is really made by my mom while I am sitting on her couch literally crying over the dinner options. HAHA, I can be SO dramatic and wedding planning makes me as crazy as ever.
Literally 3 days before the wedding we went to one of the best and most unique Mexican restaurants in town, the Whiptail Grill, and basically pleaded with them to cater a taco bar for about 20 people…which they agreed to! My mom had previously called and they said they don’t usually, but they would cater for us. We ate lunch there on Monday to try it out and asked to confirm the catering. And they have no idea what we are talking about…crickets. I literally put my face in my hands and wanted to cry. But they figured it out, went above and beyond with everything, and it was all perfect. Oh, and the tacos were amazing.
Obtaining a marriage license
Like most things with a Zion wedding, the marriage license was SUPER easy. A day or two before our wedding we went to the county clerks office in St George and applied. It literally took like 15 minutes. You’ll need to bring an ID, $35-$40, and appear together. There is no waiting period, but the license only lasts for a month. See this helpful site for more information.
We were lucky enough to have Pete’s dad officiate our wedding. If you’re looking for an officiant a quick google search will provide some options. I have seen Steve Masefield recommended several times. But again, I have no experience with any of them so I can’t offer my opinion. McKenzi and your contact person (if you’re doing the wedding in Zion) may have some recommendations as well.
There you have it! Your ultimate resource guide to planning a wedding in Zion National Park.
If you have your wedding in Zion please oh please send me photos!
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Stephanie is a travel obsessed, food-loving baby girl and dog mom from beautiful Minnesota! She is a mom to Ella, wife to Peter, yogi, baker, amateur photographer, and family-friendly travel blogger. Come along as she explores Minnesota, the Mid-West, and the world beyond…with a baby and sometimes, a dog, in tow!