December is almost over. For many couples, the month included an extra special holiday gift; an engagement ring. That’s because the last month of the year is the most popular time for couples to become engaged. Some get inspired by Christmas decorations and holiday celebrations as a great backdrop for some engagement photos. Others prefer champagne-New Year’s celebrations for popping the question. Either way, 14 percent of engagements happen in December.
Are you or your significant other showing off a shiny new piece of jewelry? You’re probably also starting the process of planning your wedding. Before you can start choosing a wedding dress, planning menus, or setting guest lists, you need to decide where you’ll have your wedding ceremony.
A growing trend of smaller wedding ceremonies has also lead to the growth of another trend; holding your wedding ceremony in a remote, beautiful outdoor location. From the deserts of the Southwest to empty coastal beaches, there is no shortage of stunning locales to choose from around the world. But what about Zion National Park?
Does Zion National Park Allow Weddings?
It’s no secret that Zion National Park is beautiful. The millions of people who come to the park each year are certain to agree on that point. But it is a national park, and as such, it is carefully protected in order to maintain the plant and animal life that live there and to preserve it for future generations.
But don’t fret; as long as you are willing to follow some strict rules, you are allowed to get married in Zion National Park.
How to Host Your Wedding at Zion
If you’re dreaming of backdropping your wedding ceremony with Zion’s stunning red rock canyon walls, there are several steps you’ll have to take just to get permission to host your wedding within the park.
The first step will be to fill out an application. You can find the application on the National Park Service’s website. Besides filling in information about yourself, you’ll also need to include details about where, when, and how you would host your wedding ceremony in the park.
Before you list your favorite trail or overlook, it’s important to know that there are only a few specific sites where you can host a wedding or similar event in Zion. And each site puts a cap on the number of people you can have there for your event.
Where Can You Get Married in Zion?
These sites and their maximum attendance numbers include:
- Temple of Sinawava: Maximum of 35 people
- Menu Falls: Maximum of 10 people
- Zion Lodge Lawn: Maximum of 75 people
- Nature Center North Lawn: Maximum of 50 people
- South Campground Amphitheater: Maximum of 100 people
You can also request to hold your ceremony in Kolob Canyon at the Timber Creek Overlook. While you can have up to 20 people at this site, you cannot have more than 4 cars for your entire group, because of parking restrictions.
After you’ve listed your site of choice, you’ll also need to estimate how many people you will have in attendance, as well as the number of vehicles they’ll use to arrive. Don’t forget to include your photographer, videographer, or other event staff in your total, as well as in the vehicle total. The application also asks for a list of support equipment that you’ll be bringing in, like chairs, tables, or maybe an arch for your ceremony. Finally, you’ll need to not only set a date, but also list the start and end time for the big day.
Your application needs to be filed at least 3 weeks ahead of your chosen wedding day. Keep in mind that submitting an application does not guarantee approval. It’s a good idea to submit it very early, that way you can make other arrangements or amend your application if it gets rejected the first time.
Along with the application, you’ll also need to include a $100 application fee. This covers administration costs for handling your application and other aspects of your event. In some instances, an additional $50 per hour fee may be necessary if the size or complexity of your even requires that you have a monitor present.
You can pay your fee electronically here. Completed applications should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Things to Consider About Getting Married in Zion
Besides choosing one of the approved locations to host your wedding in Zion, there are a few other rules and considerations you should know when you planning your big day.
You’re Getting Married, But Others are on Vacation
To start, while the above locations can be reserved for your wedding, they will never be closed during the event. This means that other park visitors may be in and around the area while your ceremony is going on. If you’re worried about noise or crowds, you might opt to set your date during a less-busy time of year or hold your ceremony very early in the day when crowds may be thinner.
The Shuttle is Still Running
Another consideration when choosing your location and date is that you’ll still need to utilize the shuttle if it is running. Not even your bride can travel by personal vehicle. That means that all guests and equipment need to be transported via shuttle. If you want your guests to sit down during your ceremony, you’ll even need to bring folding chairs on the shuttle!
Not All Decor Goes
When you’re planning your decor, keep in mind that you’ll need to follow a few guidelines. One is that you can’t alter the landscape in any way, such as by digging holes to erect an arch. You can bring live flowers into the park. But they can’t have any seeds that might accidentally drop and later grow. Your decorations will need to be approved by the park service before the big day. Don’t bother requesting permission for any kind of confetti, rice, birdseed, or other items to be tossed after you say your “I do’s.” These will always be rejected. Banners and signs are also not allowed.
Keeping Noise Levels Down
At the amphitheater, you can have up to 100 guests. But keep in mind that you can’t use any kind of amplification. So some of your guests may have trouble hearing your vows. You also can’t broadcast any amplified music. Because generators aren’t allowed, these systems would be tough to use anyway.
Rethink Your Catering
Picnic areas in the park are first-come, first-serve. If you are lucky enough to get a spot, you’ll need to pack in a lunch or maybe grill up burgers at the charcoal grills. That’s because food service is not permitted.
Planning Your Zion National Park Wedding
Zion National Park is a breathtaking place to say your vows and start a new life with your partner. There are some restrictions on where you can hold your ceremony or how you host it. But if you’re willing to plan your big day around them, you can enjoy an even more memorable, not to mention photo-worthy, wedding day!