There is something magically about being all alone in the wilderness of the desert with your true love to say your wedding vows. Whether you bring along friends and family for a small and intimate wedding or if it’s just the two of you – it is still special to look out and see nothing but sky and mountains as far as the eye can see. But… how to find the perfect wilderness…?
Here’s a few of my personal favorite wilderness spots near Las Vegas and the southwest area. Plus a few wedding companies and venues that might be able to help you as you plan your adventuresome, intimate wedding elopement.
Valley of Fire:
Beautiful Valley of Fire is so near and dear to my heart because I’ve been coming here since I was a child. Now I live so very close and visit often in planning and photography weddings with my sister company, Cactus and Lace Weddings. Cactus and Lace Weddings specializes in stylized weddings for intimate and elopement weddings at Valley of Fire.
Red Rock Canyon:
Being so close to Las Vegas this location is ideal for the couples who want to have a natural outdoor ceremony but still want to get back to partying in Vegas afterward. The ever popular and super cool, Flora Pop, offers this locations as well as many others in their arsenal of off-beat wedding locations.
Nelson Ghost Town/Eldorado Mine Canyon:
Funky antiques and old cars and crashed planes, along side raw desert and a stunning cholla cactus field – it’s doesn’t get cooler than this place. Only an hour drive from Las Vegas, it is very worth considering this location even for a larger wedding ceremony. This quirky “ghost town” is actually on private property but they are wonderful about setting up events and photoshoot on their property. – http://www.eldoradocanyonminetours.com/photosmoviesweddings.html And one of my favorite wedding planners, Tara Marie, can help with planning at this locations as well as other Las Vegas locations.
Seven Magic Mountains:
This contemporary art piece is a fairly new addition to the desert landscape just south off the I-15 on your way out of Las Vegas. These seven huge colorful rock pillars are easy to access, but it’s a very popular spot. So if you’re looking for some privacy for your wedding here I would suggest trying to schedule an early sunrise wedding on a weekday. – http://sevenmagicmountains.com
Dry Lake Bed:
This iconic desert area makes for a stunning desert wedding location. With it’s completely flat landscape of hard cracked earth, it is a great place to feel all alone, together for your wedding elopement. There are actually three dry lake beds around Las Vegas that can be used as a ceremony location – all are about the same distance (about 30 mins) from the city but in different directions. Elopements Las Vegas can help with planning at a dry lake bed and other select desert locations as well.
Jean Dry Lake Bed – This the most well know dry lake bed, but it can also be the most popular and sometimes has scheduled events there.
Eldorado Dry Lake Bed – This dry lake bed is the easiest to find and get to and is on the way to Nelson/Eldorado Canyon.
North Dry Lake Bed – The area is not well know and is my favorite for that reason, but it does require a truck or SUV to access. (Once broke off my car muffler trying to get out there in my Toyota Corolla, not my best idea.)
This is a true hidden gem of a location, red rocks and desert landscape. Off the beaten path but still very accessible; it is on the scenic road between Las Vegas and Lake Mead. Though it’s a picnic area it is secluded and often empty of any people. If fact the whole road on the way to this place is beautiful and I feel like you could pull off almost anywhere and have a beautiful desert wedding backdrop. – https://www.nps.gov/lake/planyourvisit/upload/Redstone.pdf
– If you’re interested in traveling a little farther out from Las Vegas for your adventure elopement, (less than a day’s drive) try these desert locations –
Zion National Park:
This place is well known for it’s stunning scenic views and lush desert beauty. This National Park has specific areas set aside for large wedding groups but for elopements there are some other options. See the park wedding permit info here – https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/weddings-in-zion-national-park.htm
Cedar Pocket Virgin River:
This under-appreciated campground is a secret spot of mine. It’s right off the I-15 on your way to Zion from Las Vegas. It doesn’t look like much from the road but it has a wonderful view of the Virgin River and beautiful cactus and natural desert plants. It would make a lovely venue for a desert elopement and maybe a little camping wedding reception afterward. – https://www.recreation.gov/recreationalAreaDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&recAreaId=587
The Grand Canyon:
The Grand Canyon is huge – obviously! So the North Rim and the South rim can be radically different. The South Rim is more of the prime destination area so you’ll be in a very crowded touristy area. But places on the North Rim, like Horseshoe Bend, offer a little more seclusion if you are willing to travel a little farther. – http://horseshoebend.com/#
Joshua Tree National Park:
Who doesn’t love Joshua Trees! This stunning National Park is on the way to Las Vegas from southern California and it a fantastic wedding location. So many options for a wedding spot here but The Ruin Venue is on my list of top venues ever! Their small, abandoned stone house in the middle of the desert, makes for the most original and unique wedding venue.
Sedona, Arizona features the unique, tall sequoia cactus; along side red rocks and big sky views. There are so many chapels, resorts and golf course wedding locations options here that couldn’t even begin to name them all. And there are also lots of little pockets of stunning wilderness around if you need a secluded ceremony. But this place is definitely worth considering for your destination desert wedding.
I hope you find these suggestions helpful on your search for your own little piece of nowhere. May your wedding be a true adventure.