At the end of the last Ice Age, the ancient Lake Bonneville began to dry up, leaving behind salt deposits as the water receded. Today, the Bonneville Salt Flats are an otherworldly sight, with the salt crust stretching over 300,000 acres, surrounded by mountains.
This unique spot in Utah makes the perfect backdrop for any couple looking to tie the knot outdoors, with stunning scenery and easily accessible views. This Bonneville Salt Flats elopement guide will tell you everything you need to know to get married in this jaw dropping landscape, and how to plan an adventurous wedding at the salt flats!
Before we get into the nitty gritty – the elopement planning, there are a few things you should keep in mind, and some tips for making the best of your experience at the Bonneville Salt Flats!
While you are allowed to drive on most of the salt flats, I recommend not doing so. The salt crust is thick – five feet deep in places! While it’s perfectly safe to walk on, if the salt is wet, it can become muddy. This is a recipe for disaster when it comes to vehicles, and people get stuck pretty frequently – so unless you have all wheel drive and it hasn’t rained in a while, it’s best to explore by foot. Plus, salt is terrible for metal cars!
And speaking of driving on the Bonneville Salt Flats, the flats are famous for hosting auto racing events, and are home to quite a few records. Unless you’re into that kind of thing, I would avoid eloping here in August, as the most popular event – Speed Week – is held around this time. When you plan your Bonneville Salt Flats, be sure to look up any potential wedding dates before you commit, to ensure your day won’t be crashed by race cars.
Year round, but especially in the summer, the desert sun can be harsh! Not only that, but the salt reflects the rays upwards, so don’t forget the parts of your face that face the ground – like your chin and the bottom of your nose. Along with sunscreen, be prepared with more water than you need!
Sunrise and sunset are especially magical at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The low effort high reward scenery makes the salt flats a popular spot to visit – but early in the morning, if you get there while the sun is coming up over the mountains, you’ll be rewarded with a nearly private ceremony location, and the incredible pink sparkle of the salt reflecting the light. While sunsets aren’t as private, the lighting will still be incredible!
One amazing thing about getting married at the Bonneville Salt Flats is how easy they are to get to! If you’re flying, you’ll likely land in Salt Lake City. Form there. Take the interstate for about two hours, and when you get off at Exit 4, you’ll follow signs to the Speedway until you get to a parking area at the end of the road.
You’ll be greeted by the magical views immediately, and you can walk around to find the perfect spot for your vows!
The weather can be harsh – falling below freezing in the winter, and climbing into the hundreds in the summer. The best time to elope at the Bonneville Salt Flats is fall – because while spring weather is beautiful, it’s also rainy! However, if you bring a rain jacket and embrace the drizzle, the reflections in the pools of water over the sparkling salt crust is a one of a kind view.
Early fall is the best time for your Bonneville Salt Flats elopement, because the weather is mild but warm, the crust is dry, and the summer crowds have left!
To legally tie the knot when you elope at the Bonneville Salt Flats, you’ll need to get a marriage license in the state of Utah. You can do this at any county clerk’s office, so if you live in the state, go wherever’s closest to home! If you’re traveling for your adventurous Bonneville Salt Flats wedding, you can apply online, then stop at the county clerk’s office in person. The offices closest to the salt flats are in Salt Lake City and West Wendover. You can find the application online and pay the fee ($50 for Salt Lake City, $100 for West Wendover), then make an appointment to visit the office in person.
This needs to be done within 30 days of your ceremony date, but there is no waiting period.
To get legally married in Utah, you’ll need an officiant to sign your marriage license when you elope at the Bonneville Salt Flats. You can hire someone to join you for your adventure, or have a friend or family member get ordained!
In Utah, you need two witnesses. They must be over 18, so if you’re inviting guests to your elopement, you can ask two of them. But if your elopement is more private, you can ask your vendors to sign your marriage license, or find any two adults throughout the day!
Your elopement day is about planning a wedding day that’s an authentic, meaningful celebration of your story – which means it deserves a full day adventure! As an elopement photographer, my job is to help you break the norms and inspire you to embrace the intimacy and wild adventures an elopement brings.
I’m ready to help you plan, to explore with you, to bring extra bobby pins, and to document it all! Contact me to start planning your elopement at the Bonneville Salt Flats.