Sandstone canyons, waterfalls, and hanging gardens await the nature-loving visitors of Zion National Park. But, what if you and your partner want to be more than just outdoorsy day-trippers? You plan to be the main attraction at what’s sure to be one of the most beautiful wedding events in the country.
Yes, Zion National Park is open to more than just climbers, hikers, and horseback riders.
An adventurous couple like yourselves is welcome to take advantage of the park’s natural beauty to exchange vows in a setting unlike any other. But there are a few things you’ll want to know before sending out your save-the-dates. Read through this guide to learn more about:
Your nature-infused nuptials are nearly here. Let’s get you one step closer to making your utopian—or shall we say Utahpian—dreams come true.
Instead of working with event coordinators at traditional wedding venues, you’ll need to connect with Zion National Park staff to make sure that the details of your day are taken care of—and actually allowed. The biggest obstacle standing between you, your partner, and your dream wedding at Zion National Park is a permit.
Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Follow this step-by-step guide to applying for a Special Use Permit to make sure that your wedding ceremony goes off without a hitch:
Start by having a chat with your partner about your preferred adventure wedding date. Be sure to include a couple of alternative dates in case the one you’re hoping to book is already taken.
Next, you’ll need to visit the National Park Service website to download the application for a Special Use Permit. Here you’ll need to provide detailed information regarding your anticipated number of guests, a thorough description of the proposed activity, an outline of the equipment needed, and more. It’s helpful—both for you and the park—to be as specific as possible.
The application can be completed electronically and submitted by email to email@example.com along with a $100 fee.
Depending on the complexity of your event, you may be subjected to an additional fee of $50 per hour. If your adventure ceremony is large enough, it will require the attendance of a park monitor.
It would be wise to submit your application as soon as possible in order to increase your likelihood of securing the date you’ve requested. As a final deadline, it has to be submitted no later than three weeks before your tentative wedding date.
After submitting your permit application, wait to hear back from the park staff for approval. In the meantime, the fun part begins! You can start your search for wedding photographers, florists, and beauty professionals with the help of Zola’s vendor search tool.
Once you’ve completed the application process for a Special Use Permit, you’re one step closer to bringing your Zion wedding dreams to life.
But what about the other event logistics such as parking, music, and timing?
Take a look below at what couples commonly ask when planning their wedding at Zion National Park, and learn how you can navigate through the details of your day with guile.
If you were hoping for a grand limo entrance at your Zion National Park wedding, you may have to think again. Personal vehicles are prohibited within the park and must be left, instead, at one of the designated parking areas.
To transport your guests, furniture, and other ceremony essentials, you’ll need to make your way to your ceremony location by way of the park’s shuttle service. Don’t worry, public shuttle buses can be romantic, too!
Walking down the aisle to an amplified version of Canon in D might not be an option if you’re getting married at Zion National Park. Speaker systems are not approved for use within the park, nor are generators allowed for microphone hookups. You’ll have to hire an unplugged musician for your ceremony soundtrack in order to keep things on the quieter side. Luckily, the natural acoustics offer a pretty sweet sound.
Beyond just music, you’ll want to consider inviting guests who may be hard of hearing to sit or stand closer to the front so that they’ll be able to catch every word of your love-filled vows.
If you or your guests want to bring snacks and beverages into the park, there’s no problem as long as you dispose of all waste properly. Some locations may have picnic tables available for some light snacks after the ceremony and before the reception.
Catering services, however, are not permitted on park grounds. If you’re having dinner, appetizers, and cocktails catered by a local vendor, arrange for their services to be used outside of the park at your reception site.
Zion National Park offers an abundance of beauty just about any time of year; however, there are a few things to consider when choosing the month in which to celebrate your wedding:
Summer – Summer is a high-traffic time of year because of school vacations and pristine weather conditions. Couples choosing to get married during these months will enjoy warm temperatures and clear skies. Just be prepared for the park to be busier than normal, which could affect things such as parking and wedding date availability.
Spring and fall – For a cool-weather wedding, consider hosting your wedding in the spring or fall. Spring offers freshly blossoming flowers and fewer crowds, but it could be a bit muddy from the freshly melted snow. The colors of fall put on a particularly spectacular show against the rust-colored canyons of Zion National Park. Not to mention fall signals the return to a peaceful ambiance once schools are back in session. Just pack a few warmer layers as temperatures could get a bit cool during this time of year.
Winter – Winter is often the least popular time of year to visit Zion National Park, but if you and your partner are snow bunnies, you might enjoy having the whole park practically to yourselves. Keep in mind that shuttle service is not available during the winter months, so be sure to pair your formalwear with comfortable shoes.
Want to say “I do” with just you two? Consider setting your elopement against the stunning backdrop of Zion National Park.
You’ll have to hire an officiant, and you’ll also need to apply for a Special Use Permit, regardless of ceremony size. Make sure that you give yourselves at least three weeks prior to your proposed elopement date to allow the park to process your request.
With more than 148,000 acres of land sprawled out before you, you and your partner are bound to fall in love with at least a few locations that would be a perfect spot to make things official. From the spacious South Campground to the more intimate Menu Falls, there’s an appropriate space for just about any type of wedding ceremony.
Here’s an overview of a few of the park’s most pristine locations and the maximum capacity for each:
Once you’ve settled on your ideal location, let your circle of friends and family know where and what time to show up to celebrate your love. Shop the invitations at Zola by style, season, color, and more to find something that pairs well with your wedding day aesthetic. Plus, shipping and guest addressing are always free.
In addition to getting permission from the park, you’ll also need to obtain legal permission to wed from the state of Utah. Here are a few details to keep in mind when applying for a marriage license in this state:
Apply for a marriage license at a local county clerk’s office. Both you and your partner will need to submit the application together in person.
You’ll need to supply both of your Social Security numbers as well as a valid ID. Accepted forms of identification include a driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate.
Marriage license applications in the state of Utah come with a mandatory fee of $50, which must be paid by credit card in most counties.
The license itself is valid only for 32 days, so make sure that your wedding date falls somewhere within that short window.
There’s no required waiting period in the state of Utah. This means that you and your partner will be able to use your license immediately after it’s been granted.
Note: You must be at least 16 years of age or older to get married in Utah. If you or your partner are between the ages of 16 and 17, you’ll need to provide consent from a parent or guardian, as well as approval from a juvenile court.
The Narrows, Lava Point, and Kolob Canyon await! Now that you’re clear on how to book your wedding day and apply for all the necessary permissions, there are just a few more pieces of the puzzle to fit together before you can make things official.
Here’s everything else you need to know about Zion National Park weddings:
Catering services are not allowed – If you’re planning to offer some light refreshments at your ceremony, you’ll have to pack whatever’s on the menu yourself. Catering services are not allowed within Zion National Park. Therefore, your best option, in order to keep things simple, might be to encourage guests to pack their own bottles of water to stay hydrated throughout the ceremony. Later, you and your partner can provide more sustenance and spirits in terms of cocktails, appetizers, and meals at your reception.
Your decor must be pre-approved – You might have grand plans to bring in an array of tables, chairs, lights, and other design accents, but you’ll need to get them approved first. When filling out your permit application, include specific details outlining your ceremony decor. This will give the park staff time to review your request so that you can adjust your plans accordingly in time for your special day.
The park is still open to the public – Just because you’ve been granted a Special Use Permit doesn’t mean that you’ve got the entire park to yourself. Zion National Park is open to visitors of all sorts and will continue to do so on your wedding day. If privacy is important to you, talk to the staff members at the park to find out more information about which locations within the park offer more secluded settings than others.
Floral decor is allowed – Your venue is stunning all on its own but if you’d like to dress it up even more with a few floral arrangements, you can. Carry in all the bouquets and floral decor you’d like just as long as it does not contain any seed pods that could interfere with the native species in the area. And remember: carry in, carry out.
Save the confetti for the reception – At some weddings, it’s customary to toss flower petals, rice, or confetti as the newly wedded couple struts off down the aisle after exchanging vows. You don’t have to ditch the confetti or glitter entirely, but you won’t be able to sprinkle it anywhere within the park. Make a grand entrance at your reception outside the park instead where guests can freely shower you and your partner with confetti to their heart’s content.
Leave no trace – You and your partner love Zion National Park and so do thousands of others around the world. Plus, the animals there are pretty lucky to be able to call it their home, too. To maintain a healthy environment for the local flora and fauna, as well as a clean recreational area, do your part to leave no trace. Dispose properly of waste, respect signage, and leave any rocks, plants, or artifacts where you found them.
Reduce social media impact – Social media posts are all about getting seen—so make sure that your followers can clearly see your respect for the landscape. Taking risky photos in prohibited areas of the park may get you several likes and followers on social media but it can damage the environment and encourage other users to do the same. Capture special moments at your ceremony, but make sure that your photo op doesn’t come at a cost.
Not even the Emerald Pools are as precious as your wedding is shaping up to be. With careful planning and patience, you and your partner will be well on your way to celebrating your love in one of the most unique, naturally majestic wedding venues in the country. Seriously, we’re pretty certain that the word awesome was created just for Zion National Park.
As for the word Zola? Now that means helpful, big-hearted, and happy to assist in whatever step of the wedding planning process we can, whether that’s:
Helping you find the best photographers, florists, and beauty professionals in your area thanks to our vendor search tool.
Building your wedding registry and making it easy for guests to find what, exactly, you and your partner will need to take with you into this next chapter.
Keeping you on top of your wedding to-do list. There’s a lot to think about when it comes to getting married at Zion National Park. Our mobile app will give you a nudge if we think you might have forgotten something.
Take Zola to Zion with you. No need to save us a spot amidst the rust-colored canyons, though; we’ll already be there in all the details of your day.