Desert elopements are always so magical. I love the warm breeze that makes couples’ wedding attire look flowy and dreamy in photos. I love when the dark red desert sand stains the bottom of white wedding dresses or dirties the soles of couples’ hiking boots. Desert elopement Sunsets are breathtaking, and the Sunrises are even more so. I love the dark, starry night skies that come with being out far past any light pollution from small towns or cities. I love seeing the towering cacti and larger-than-life rock formations against the colorful horizon.
Desert elopements are packed full of adventure, whether it’s an evening spent hiking before Sunset vows or a morning spent watching the Sunrise before a celebratory breakfast picnic. Recently, I visited the Water Users Day Use Area just outside of Scottsdale, Arizona, and photographed the most stunning desert elopement! I’m excited for you to see all the fun we had and the magic we created, so keep reading for some amazing desert elopement inspiration!
Water Users Day Use Area is located in Tonto National Forest, just 40 minutes outside of Scottsdale. A popular location for paddle boarding, boating, kayaking, canoeing, and tubing, Water Users Day Use Area also offers premium Arizona Desert views from picnic sights, horse riding trails, and hiking paths.
While this is a popular recreation spot for both locals and visitors, it’s also an underrated wedding ceremony location for couples that are interested in a desert elopement that’s 1) dog-friendly, 2) accessible, and 3) close to modern-day luxuries.
Water Users Day Use Area is open year-round. The best time to visit this location for your elopement is on a weekday, at either Sunrise or Sunset. To ensure low crowd levels and avoid the heat, visits during non-peak months, such as September or April, are best. Passes, permits, and other fees may be required to elope in Tonto National Forest. As your elopement photographer, I can assist with helping you obtain all the proper passes and permits to ensure your ceremony day is as stress-free as possible!
We arrived just before Sunset and wandered around the Water Users Day Use Area. The couple’s chemistry was breathtaking, and they couldn’t stop smiling during the entire elopement. They held hands and walked across rock and desert sand just before reaching the water’s edge of Arizona’s Salt River. The Salt River flowed alongside the couple, and I couldn’t help but capture a few photos of their reflection in the crystal-clear water. We then walked over to an expansive desert outlook area, where the couple said their vows!
The vow ceremony was breathtaking. The Sunset painted the sky blue and pink. The towering red rock formations of the Arizona Desert filled the vast, wide horizon. I couldn’t have dreamed of a more beautiful evening for the pair. Their white wedding attire was the perfect pop of color, and the moody, dark floral bouquet they shared complimented the surrounding landscape so well! This dreamy desert elopement was one to remember, and I still couldn’t be more excited for these beautiful newlyweds!
Arizona has some of the United State’s best scenic desert views and activities. From hiking trails, rock formations, day-use areas, canyons, rivers, and more, eloping in Arizona couldn’t be perfect! If you’re interested in learning more about eloping in Arizona, visit my gallery to see my previous desert elopements and intimate weddings! The Arizona Desert is one of my favorite places to explore with couples! I’d love to help capture and plan a stress-free elopement day full of adventure and love. You can inquire about bringing your dream day to life here!