It has been a serious photographer dream of mine to shoot an Arches National Park wedding. I have always loved the desert. Places like Joshua Tree National Park, Sedona, and New Mexico have always been my favorite travel spots. The heat, the dry air…I don’t know what it is, but I love it. I’ve been fascinated by the red rock formations that cover Utah, and once I got there I did not want to leave.
I’ve known Taylor for almost 9 years now – WOW. We met at Camp Eagle, the same place I met my husband, Jake, in the summer of 2012. Camp Eagle is also where Taylor met her now husband, JD. I’ve known Taylor for so long now, and her engagement allowed us to catch up after all these years. It was so amazing to see how happy she is with the person that was absolutely meant for her. And then to capture their lifelong commitment to each other…I don’t even have words.
With that being said, I thought it would be best for me to reach out to her for this blog post. I knew her words would encapsulate the beauty that was this Arches National Park wedding way better than mine would. I asked her what the most emotional moment of the wedding was and she said, “By far the most emotional part was worship. When plans were first forming we didn’t know if we would do this because it seemed potentially awkward once we picked a national park. I’m so thankful I listened to friends advice that said ‘just make this day whatever is most meaningful to Y’ALL and everyone else will adjust.’ Getting to worship in a place that magnifies who we were worshipping, alongside of our friends and family… nothing else compares.”
You can see it in the photos, that the worship was not only meaningful for Taylor and JD. It seemed like the whole national park was moved. Bride, groom, and guests that were intentionally chose to be a part of this day, all worshipping together in a space that has been clearly touched by God. It’s a moment I will never forget.
So, I wanted to know what led them to eventually decide on having their wedding at Arches National Park.
All in all, Taylor said, “Arches granted us the opportunity to have the beautiful scenery, accessibly, affordability, and all of that without feeling like we were compromising.”
Taylor and JD weren’t planning to see each other until the ceremony. However, the park was experiencing a record number of guests during this time, and the park kept filling up. Especially in the afternoon (hello, ceremony time?). The park ranger called Taylor and JD to tell them it would be much better for them to arrive at the park 3-5 hours earlier than originally planned to ensure they could get in before the park reached capacity. So things had to shift around (just one day before the wedding, mind you), and they decided on doing a first look after all.
Taylor mentioned that this turned out to be such a blessing! It allowed her and JD to hike together, get last minute nerves out of the way, and spend actual quality time together on their wedding day! She said, “Looking back, I can’t imagine it happening a different way…it was perfect. I love that we were given these moments and memories before sharing it with everyone else, it was really special.”
This experience leads to Taylor’s advice for anyone planning their own elopement:
If you are planning an elopement… THERE ARE NO RULES! You get to fine tune every single detail OR let it be ambiguous! We looked through countless blogs on Pinterest on elopements and intimate ceremonies but ultimately ours ended up being really different. You have to be fluid with your expectations because everything from weather, to a pandemic, to record breaking high traffic … something inevitably will go wrong. And in things going wrong, something else will go perfectly right. It might even be your very favorite part of the day like it was for us! For us having a smaller wedding meant we got to cut the stress of traditions we didn’t care about (cake, flowers, catering, first dances) and we were able to replace it with intimate moments with our loved ones. It’s your day, remember not to lose that.”
I really can’t express how special it was, and how thankful I am to have been a part of it. You can see the joy, beauty, emotion, and pure epicness (yeah, I’m going with it) that took place this day through the photos.
If you are planning an elopement/wedding at Arches National Park, Moab, or really anywhere in the country, I would love to capture it for you. Reach out to me so we can get to know each other and start planning!
While you’re here, check out the last few weddings I’ve captured: