Arches National Park | Moab, Utah

the hearnes » adventure elopement photographers


Jeff + Claire’s Small Family Wedding at Arches National Park near Moab, Utah

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We loved shooting this small wedding in Arches National Park. The ceremony at Sand Arch was the perfect Moab venue for this couple!

Working with Claire and Jeff as they came from Minnesota to Moab for their wedding was such a good time. From the sunrise Jeep excursion to their afternoon ceremony in Arches National Park, they were such a fun bride and groom! Though, what I really love about them was their heart to get out here.

Claire explained this perfectly in one of the first emails we exchanged...

"I was really excited to get engaged. Jeff and I had been dating for five years, and after 2+ years of living together, traveling together, and keeping our dog alive, I felt ready. Immediately after I got engaged people started to ask "when's the date?", "what venue would you like," "what are your colors."

Claire went on to tell me just having a ring on her finger didn't make her capable of planning or even wanting of a huge event. She was honest in that it kind of just stressed her out. She also told me about how her friends described her and Jeff as "Funny, outgoing, and outdoorsy." which made me understand why they'd like coming to Moab. Another friend described them as "sarcastic," but Claire noted they're also both Type A and like to have a plan, all of which made me feel like we'd get along great.

When another friend told Claire to check out a few photos of destination elopements and said "this looks like something you would do." she knew wedding planning wasn't tons of details and expenses. She and Jeff decided planning and having an elopement sounded way more exciting and enjoyable for them than a traditional wedding.

And then we planned, booked dates, and before you knew it the time had come, they were in Moab for wedding dresses and red rocks. First, though, we went to Eddie McStiff's the night before just to hang out, relax, and have a few laughs. The next morning they met up in our brand spanking new (to us) driveway. Then we took our brand spanking new (to us... we've had some really cool life changes lately) Jeep and headed off into the early morning twilight hours.

We drove down a super long dirt road, crossed an it's-been-raining-a-lot-in-Moab inspired creek, and navigated up some rocky switchbacks to get to their first look location. Once there, Claire changed into her wedding dress right next to the Jeep as Cal and Jeff explored the desert cliffs by moonlight. The timing worked out perfectly as we had a few minutes still before the eastern facing parts of clouds turning orange and light started crawling across the desert floor.

Jeff went out on a little finger of a peninsula we found and faced out at the desert below. Then Claire came, her dress dragging along the red dirt, her veil flowing down over her beautiful hair and jean jacket. In those few short moments as she walked up behind Jeff, I was struck how this Minnesotan had come all the way out here to be a desert bride, and she fit right in. Jeff turned around to look at her and was smitten. He gave her a big hug and a kiss on the cheek and then they stood there just talking to each other, putting their foreheads together. Every bride and groom has a moment where the reality of their situation hits them. I think this was theirs.

We spent the rest of the morning hiking and exploring some of Moab's less traveled and more wild sandstone canyons. Then we went back to town, got a little rest and coffee, and then headed into Arches National Park. When we got to the parking lot of the ceremony spot their family and close friends were also showing up. We had a little time before hiking to the arch so it was nice to have that little time to meet everyone and hang out.

We hiked back to one of Arches designated ceremony locations. The natural slotting of the giant rocks around us served as a massive aisle leading to their sandstone altar. Their family was so much a part of their ceremony. Claire's dad officiated and talked (as he is, apparently, very much a green thumb) about the parallels between marriage and gardening. Then, Jeff's mom read a short passage. They exchanged vows, said their I do's, and everyone celebrated under the arch!

We spent a bit of time with all the guests just hiking around and exploring the nearby canyon and arches. Showing everyone around, seeing their faces as they experienced this new landscape was so much fun. Eventually, the afternoon light started to mellow, and the family went off to explore some more on their own so Jeff, Claire, Callen, and I could do some sunset portraits.

The sunset was super mega, and I never wanted to put my camera down. This day had been one for the books when it comes to wedding photography in Moab as we started high up on the edge of a canyon, explored the unique slotted rocks of Arches National Park, and now ended up at the Arches themselves. Jeff and Claire were having so much fun, walking around, staring with amazement at each other and the epic views around them. Ending the day watching the sunset together seemed like the perfect send of for their wedding day.

Their wedding day was definitely the highlight, but they actually spent the whole week out here. I love it when couples do this - book extra time in the place that is bound to become so special to them, just to explore and have fun on their own. They climbed a bit and even rappeled a big arch in the desert south of Moab! Such a fun, badass, adventurous couple. Since then, Claire has been reading Steph Davis's book "Learning to Fly" per my recommendation. It's been a lot of fun keeping up with them since, talking with Claire on Insta about the book as I edited their photos.

Claire initially told me she'd met Jeff during orientation in college and they spent two years as friends before she got impatient and told him they should date. She told me she was surprised that her tactic worked. But yeah, Claire, it worked pretty friggen well.

Bride and groom opt for adventurous jeep elopement in Utah’s Moab desert.
Bride walking up for first look with views over moab desert.
Jeff was absolutely in awe at their first look on the edge of the canyon. The wedding ceremony was later that evening in Arches National Park.
Claire’s dress was absolutely beautiful and made for stunning pictures on the overlook during our sunrise shoot and first look.
We had so much fun riding the jeep to the top of this canyon for the sunrise elopement photo session!
Claire’s wedding dress was so beautiful. The weather was amazing in Moab this morning and make for a perfect sunrise.
I love our adventurous couples coming to get married in Moab! One of the best places in the world for couples to elope, in my opinion.
An amazing panoramic shot of Jeff and Claires sunrise session before their wedding!
Our couples have so much fun exploring the desert on their wedding day!
Claire’s wedding dress was amazing and fit right in to the desert. Our hiking brides are so much fun!
Our couples who elope are always filled with so much joy. This morning in Moab was perfect for them.
The views in the desert make for amazing wedding photos. Moab, Utah sunrise before their wedding in arches national park.
Jeff was loving on Claire so hard their whole wedding day in the desert.
Taking a step back to take in the beautiful scenery Moab has is a perfect start to your wedding day.
Shooting couples as the sun rises over the canyons in the desert will always be one of the most beautiful things about my job as an adventure wedding photographer!
Sunrise adventures in Arches National Park.
Another beautiful morning in Moab hiking with a couple. Desert mornings are so fun and bring such consistent golden light.
There are so many amazing places to hike in and around Arches National Park.
These sunrise elopements in Utah will never get old.
This is one of my favorite shots of their wedding in Moab.
A little moment in the desert between our adventurous bride and groom on their wedding day.
Our couples always have so much fun on their wedding day! This picture is in Moab, Utah at sunrise before their ceremony in Arches National Park.
Her wedding dress was so beautiful against these red and white rocks.
Jeff and Claire were so much fun to be around and their love was so evident on their wedding day!
Amazing wedding photo in Arches National Park.
There are only a few designated wedding ceremony locations in Arches National Park.

There are only a few designated wedding ceremony locations in Arches National Park.

Small wedding in Arches National Park.
Arches National Park has some beautiful designated wedding ceremony locations. Just make sure to get your permit!
Their ceremony was officiated by their father. It was such a fun little wedding.
Jeff and Claire had a beautiful wedding ceremony in Arches National Park with their closest friends and family.
This is one of the designated wedding ceremony locations in Arches National Park.
Jeff and Claire have their first kiss as husband and wife after their ceremony finished up in Arches National Park.
Claire teared up a little as they walked down the aisle after their elopement ceremony at Sand Dune Arch.
Small intimate weddings are the perfect fit for some couples! And they got to bring their family to explore arches national park!
Having your wedding in a national park is so much fun! Just ask this family standing under sand dune arch.
We had such a great time hiking after their wedding ceremony in Arches National Park.
Claire and her bridesmaids enjoy a little moment together after their ceremony. It was their first time to Moab!
Some of the best wedding photos are little in between moments like this one when we were hiking from their ceremony to take some pictures in the Canyons of Arches National Park.
Brides that hike often love the dirt getting on their dresses and opt for boots over shoes!
Beautiful wedding photos in Utah! Moab has such a diverse amount of terrain for photography!
Such a fun day of adventure and love in Moab, Utah exploring Arches National Park.
Arches National Park has a few designated wedding ceremony locations. Sand Dune arch is one. Just make sure to get your permit!
Her bouquet was beautiful. We work with such amazing wedding vendors in Moab.
His suit was so cool and her wedding dress was absolutely stunning. Such a handsome couple hiking in Arches National Park together.
Send me an email to ask how you can get married in arches national park.
Did we mention we love the weddings we get to shoot? Our couples are so much fun - here, being goofy in front of the windows in Arches National Park.
The Lasalle’s in the background of Arches National Parks is one of the best desert views for sunrise or sunset in Arches National Park.
Walking up the stairs to Turret Arch in Arches National Park. Double arch is just a few minute walk away.
Turret Arch is one of the best places for photography in Arches National Park.
Beautiful views are all over the place in Arches National Park and make for tons of great locations for wedding photography.
Claire was such a beautiful bride! She came all the way from Minnesota to rock this beautiful dress in the desert.
Claire loved hiking around Arches and here, shows how a bride rocks boots with a dress in the desert.
Always bittersweet shooting sunset in Moab because it’s beautiful but means the day is coming to an end. These two just got married and went out for an evening hike to take photos in Arches National Park.
This is one of the best hikes to take at sunset in Arches National Park in Moab, Utah.
The Lasalle’s in the background make sunsets in Arches National Park that much more beautiful.
As the day winds down in Arches National Park, the light puts on a showcase with the red rocks. Quite a way to end your wedding day.
There’s still amazing photos to be had after the sun has set in Arches National Park. The light stretches on to the last of the rocks lit up and beyond to the Lasalle Mountains.
A little blue hour action on their wedding day. They eloped to Moab from Minnesota and brought along a small group of friends and family.
Such an amazing way to end a wedding day in Arches National Park. The weather in Moab usually makes for amazing sunsets.
Turret Arch at sunset in Arches National Park. Our wedding couples love to hang out after we’re done taking photos just to relax and watch as the sun dips behind the desert horizon in Moab.

Elopement Location: Arches National Park, Utah

Elopement Photographers: The Hearnes Adventure Photography


The Hearnes Adventure Photography is run by Abbi and Callen Hearne, a husband & wife wedding photography team with an emphasis on adventure. They live on the road as full-time nomads, allowing them to serve a large portion of the western US. You can typically find them in Moab, Utah or Yosemite National Park, California, with side-quests to Patagonia and Alaska. They believe love is the greatest adventure and strive to create photos that are epic, romantic, true, and timeless.

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