How to Elope in Arizona
Your Perfect Elopement: How to Elope in Arizona. With the expectation of a traditional wedding, many couples don’t even consider elopement! The decision to elope saves you the stress and costs of planning a large ceremony. All while ensuring you and your partner are the center of your special day. There are a ton of reasons why a couple might choose elopement over a traditional ceremony. Elopement is significantly less expensive, leaving room in your budget to include what really matters. It also provides a heightened intimate experience for you and your partner, giving you two the time to focus on the love you have for each other and spend the entire day together. If you’re looking to elope in Arizona, keep reading below for more tips to help you plan your elopement!
Obtaining a Marriage License
First off, the technical stuff! If you’re planning an elopement, you’ll want to know the legal process for obtaining a marriage license. This includes proper documentation and other requirements. To receive a marriage license, visit the local justice court office. You must appear at the office in person to sign your license. The only requirements are that you are over 18 years old, provide a legal ID and social security number, and pay the fee. The license that you receive will be valid for 1 year, but keep in mind that it must be turned in by your officiant no more than 30 days after your ceremony to be recorded. For those eloping out-of-state, you do not need to be from Arizona to get married here. If you want to read more about the legal requirements, click here to see Arizona’s marriage laws!
Securing an Officiant or Minister
In order to be legally married to your partner, you must be joined by an officiant or minister. There are two options here. You can either hire one, or you can have a close friend or family member be ordained to officiate your marriage! The cost to hire an officiant is generally in the $150-$200 range, but that will ultimately depend on the date, time, and location of your elopement. If you need help, the Thumbtack website is a great resource. It allows you to enter the location and date of your elopement, then provides a list of local officiants and costs. Now, onto the fun stuff!
Deciding on a Location
Just like for a traditional ceremony, you’ll want to choose a location for your elopement. Arizona is a perfect place to get married almost any time of year, depending on the location and weather preferences. If you’re looking to elope in the Phoenix area, keep in mind that it does get extremely hot in the summer months. For an outdoor elopement, you may want to plan a date between the months of October and May, when the temperatures in Phoenix are more moderate. If you’re planning on adventuring into the desert, be sure to bring lots of water and snacks! For a Northern Arizona elopement, most times of year are suitable. However, if you’re sensitive to the cold, consider that the area does receive snowfall in the fall and winter months.
The beauty of an elopement is that you’re much less limited when it comes to location! It can be any spot that you and your partner find particularly special and intimate. Or it can be a location you wouldn’t normally be able to book for a traditional wedding. If possible, visit potential locations with your partner before you make a final decision. One final thing to keep in mind is that you must obtain a permit to get married in some Arizona locations. For example, you will need a permit to elope at any National Parks. Do some research or communicate with your photographer in advance of your elopement to see if this applies to you!
Personalizing Your Elopement with a Photographer
The great thing about deciding to elope is that you can splurge on what matters to you! Even if you’re not having a traditional wedding, you can still wear a fancy wedding dress, hold a beautiful bouquet, and enjoy a delicious wedding cake. The vendors and services you choose to include in your elopement are all up to you! However, I highly recommend hiring a photographer you trust. Since friends and family may not be present to take pictures during your elopement, a photographer can ensure your special moments are captured. And they help out with anything you may need. Your photographer will be your best friend. Most will be more than happy to act as a witness or suggest locations and local vendors you may not have considered!
Announcing Your Elopement
When it comes to announcing the news of your elopement with friends and family, you should share whenever you and your partner feel comfortable. Some family and friends may completely understand your desire to elope. While others might feel excluded if you’ve chosen not to take the route of a traditional wedding. If you’ve already eloped, explain that you wanted this to be an intimate event for you and your partner. If those close to you react negatively, be empathetic and give them some time to process the news. It’s important to take others’ feelings into account, but don’t feel bad about doing what’s best for you!
Once you’ve shared your elopement with your closest friends and family, you may also choose to send out announcements to your larger circle. No matter where you elope, how simple or detailed your ceremony is, or who you choose to include, your elopement should celebrate you and your partner in a way to best fits your vision!
How to Elope in Arizona
For more help planning your big day, click here to read more client resource blogs!
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