From north to south, Utah is bursting with breathtaking topography, making it one of the most popular states in the U.S. for destination weddings (even for those who live here.) To celebrate the unique beauty of the beehive state, we are featuring a four-part series poignantly named ‘On Location’. Here, we will share everything you need to know about getting hitched in Utah’s stunning desert landscapes.

Desert Weddings
Red Earth Venue. Photo by Jessie Lyn Photography.

Warm weather, serenity and boho-chic vibes have catapulted southern Utah’s stunning desert wilderness to the top of many couples’ wedding locale lists. Much like mountain weddings, hosting a wedding weekend in the desert provides a ton of things for your guests to do outside of the actual ceremony and reception. 

Choosing a Venue

Desert weddings in Utah can range from traditional golf course clubhouse affairs to modern retreats where the surreal landscape takes center stage. Consummate comfort meets a modern and luxurious aesthetic at Camp Sarika by Amangiri near the Arizona border in Big Water. Couples with a passion for hitting the links will appreciate the traditional elegance and ease of planning at Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club and The Ledges, both located just outside of St. George. Everyone on your guest list will love the laundry list of fun, adventurous and familial things to do at Moab’s Sorrel River Ranch; the Boulder Mountain Guest Ranch, tucked into the undulated Entrada stone desert just outside of Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument; or the Zion National Park Lodge, Utah’s stately and first national park lodge. Under Canvas operates four Utah desert glamping camps, available for complete book out, for a wedding your guests won’t soon forget. 

Desert Weddings
Camp Sarika by Amangiri. Photo by Heather Nan.

Timing

If you’re getting married in the desert, you’ll likely want to have an outdoor affair in the spring (March, April, May) or fall (October and November) when temps are in the upper 60s to low 80s during the day and rain is rare. Unless you choose a higher elevation desert venue, like the Boulder Mountain Lodge, avoid an outdoor desert wedding in June, July or August when temps can well exceed 100 degrees. December and January, however, when visitation is at its lowest and snow provides an occasional juxtaposition to red rock and blue skies, can be a beautiful and more affordable time to host a desert wedding.

The Elements

Protecting themselves from the sun and staying hydrated are the biggest environmental factors your guests will contend with in southern Utah. If possible, shade your ceremony venue’s seating area or keep the exchanging of vows short. Lip balm, sunscreen and a personalized, reusable water bottle are essential guest welcome-bag contents, along with a note to remind everyone to drink more water than they think they need. 

Desert Weddings
Photo by Gideon Photography.

All in the Details

Outside of Moab and St. George, lodging options in southern Utah are limited. Combine that with exploding national park visitation, hotel rooms and short-term rentals can be pricier and more difficult to come by during the prime spring and fall visitation months. Reserve a lodging block for your guests at the same time you book your venue to ensure everyone lands a place to stay near your wedding and reception site. 


Know Before You Go:

If you’re considering getting married in one of southern Utah’s national parks (Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon or Capitol Reef) please note that the National Park Service requires a Special Use Permit for all events that takes four-weeks, minimum, to process. Refer to each park’s website for details. 


This story is part of our ongoing series, On Location, read more here!