Written by Diana Lustig
Despite its harsh and hot climate, Arizona is a beautiful state with so much to offer adventurous couples on their wedding day. While the Grand Canyon or Sedona are obvious hot spots, there’s so much more the state has to offer.
Beyond the major landmarks lies Tucson, Arizona—a cute and quiet desert area perfect for outdoor weddings and elopements. Tucson offers a quintessential desert experience without the crowds.
Curious about eloping in Tucson, Arizona? Here’s everything you need to know to get started on your special day.
Tucson Elopement Venues
Saguaro National Park
Are you looking for a national park without so many people? Saguaro National Park is your spot!
Quiet and close to town, this small park is filled with stunning desert views, tons of saguaros, and dirt roads. All you’ll need is a special-use permit, which costs $100–a small fee that helps keep the park healthy. Not bad for an inexpensive wedding venue! Make sure to apply for the permit at least 4 weeks before the event. Or have your elopement photographer guide you through the process.
A lovely little canyon tucked into the Santa Rita Mountain range just south of Tucson, this small spot is perfect for an intimate wedding or elopement. The best part—no permits are required!
Catalina State Park
This attractive state park is tucked away in the Mt Lemmon area, complete with rolling rock hills, Saguaros, and plenty of wild flora. In order to get married here, you’ll simply need to call the park to choose your date and start the reservation process. Head to their website to download the wedding packet, which has all the information you need.
Coronado National Forest
Spots can be reserved in specific areas in the national forest. These spots are mostly picnic and camping areas. Or, you can hold a ceremony anywhere in the forest sans permit, as long as it’s under 75 people. Your photographer will need a permit either way.
Tucson Wedding Venues
Looking for the outdoor experience in a venue setting? Check out our favorite Tucson venues:
The perfect add on to any wedding venue is your own Airstream! Check out A Social & Co. for photo booths, Airstream mobile bars, getting ready suits, and more.
Travel and Lodging Considerations
Once you’ve decided on where you want to get married in or near Tucson, you have to consider how to get there, where to stay, when to have your wedding or elopement, and what to wear.
Here are a few tips to help you hash out the details.
Getting There: Planes and Cars
If you aren’t local to Tucson, Arizona, you’ll need to fly into Tucson International Airport and rent a car to your next destination. Most of the listed locations won’t require special cars unless you want to go to some really remote areas.
Airbnbs are a great option for a wedding ceremony. Intimate, and almost guaranteed privacy. Talk about having a first look on the property, getting married, then going somewhere for photos, coming back for dinner. Or having a first look and ceremony somewhere natural, then coming back to the Airbnb for dinner and reception.
Here are a few of our favorite Tucson Airbnbs:
A note about contacting Airbnbs before booking to make sure they’re okay with a wedding.
What About the Weather?
Deserts offer delightful views and wide landscapes. But they are also deserts, which means harsh climates, rugged terrain, and dry conditions. Keep the weather and temps in mind when planning your wedding date.
- Winter: Believe it or not, it snows in Arizona! Most of the desert is dazzling in the winter, with moderate to low temperatures. However, places such as Coronado National Forest may get snow, which could cause road or trail closures. It’s something to keep in mind unless you’re down to elope in the snow! It would make for a splendid wedding.
- Summer: You know the drill, it gets crazy hot in the summer. However, higher elevations such as Mt Lemmon can be cooler this time of year. Still, we recommend early morning or sunset ceremonies during the summer.
- Spring and Fall: The best weather comes with a trade-off—the crowds. Early morning and late afternoons will be best to beat the crowds. Or you can elope on a weekday. We promise you won’t regret having a wedding during the week.
Having a wedding outside means you need to be prepared for the elements. Bring extra water and extra layers to protect yourself from dehydration and the cold.
Dressing for the Occasion
Outdoor weddings and elopements are fun because you get to mix the formal with the practical. Or to say it another way, you get to dress for a hiking adventure while also wearing your wedding best!
Depending on the specifics, the terrain could be rough and rocky. You’ll want to keep this in mind when choosing what to wear.
- Dresses: When it comes to long dresses, just know that they will drag, snag, and get dirty. That’s all part of the fun! But if you want to keep things simple, stick to a dress with a shorter train to avoid picking up dirt, rocks, and yes—even cacti.
- Suits: A good suit is always in style. You can stick with the classic black attire or switch it up to better compliment the scenery. Maroon, forest green, and deep blues all look wonderful against a desert backdrop. Consider wearing a vest and tie since heavy jackets and sleeves can get toasty.
- Accessories and Shoes: Let’s talk about accessories! Boots or sturdy wedges with good tread are a must. Avoid heels for your own safety and comfort. Hats, veils, or flower crowns are super cute; as well as jewelry.
Be Prepared: Adventure weddings embrace uncertainty. But they also prepare for it too. Remember to bring along jackets and blankets for dropping temperatures, as well as water and electrolytes to stay hydrated and happy.
The Most Important Part: Leave No Trace in Tucson
Nothing is worse than having a natural area closed to the public because it got trashed. That’s why I believe Leave No Trace (LNT) is so important for weddings and elopements. This set of principles about how best to preserve and protect the outdoors is something that’s required to keep our favorite spaces the way they are.
These rules are common-sense directives that help keep Tucson happy and healthy. We are all visitors to this ecosystem, so it’s prudent to reduce our impact.
Book Your Tucson Elopement Photographer
If you want a photographer who loves the desert as much as you, book Love and Latitudes Outdoor Wedding and Elopement Photography today!
Tucson Elopement Packages
+ Full or half day photography coverage.
+ Planning and vendor services included.
+ Assistance choosing the perfect location, with you and your
guests needs in mind.
+ Online gallery with 500+ high-resolution photos.
+ Option to download all images and purchase prints online for
+ Photographer travel fees included, minus permits.
+ Up to 25 attendees for elopements, 100 attendees for weddings.
+ Optional officiant services.
Stay Connected with Love and Latitudes
Not ready to commit, but want to stay connected? You can stay in the loop with Love and Latitudes by signing up for our newsletter! You'll get updates on new elopement guides, new blogs, print sales, travel schedule updates and more!