Zion National Park | Utah Desert
the hearnes » adventure elopement photographers
Hanae + Michael’s sunrise adventure elopement in Zion National Park
Hanae and Michael decided to pack up their bags and take a couple of their closest friends to elope in Zion National Park. I was so excited to get back down to Southern Utah and shoot their elopement photos! Callen and I have loved our time in Moab, but this little road trip to Zion was a perfect little getaway.
If you decide to elope or get married in Zion, spring is the perfect time of year to do it! The winters can be pretty rough, the falls unpredictable, and the summers flat out hot. So the spring (although you might get an occasional snow or rain shower) are beautiful here! Not to mention you beat the summer crowds.
Hanae and Michael chose to elope to Zion after considering a ton of other options. They met in 2013 online and started dating, bonding over a love of food, travel, hiking, and even dog sitting. After debating whether to get married in Baltimore and having a bunch of guests come, they finally decided to run away to Zion and have a party with close friends and family later! Lots of couples eventually come to a decision like this one and I love seeing how each does it just slightly differently.
We met up super early in the morning outside their Airbnb. The plan was to start hiking early at the trailhead and start out into the dark. We were headed to a little overlook above a canyon. We hung a little Black Diamond lantern in a tree and Hanae changed into her dress. These photos of a bride in the night, isolated by the light of a headlamp or lantern, are some of my absolute favorite. She finished putting her dress on and the wind started blowing. The temperature felt like it dipped and it was super chilly, but we were having a ton of fun regardless.
We still had the canyon all to ourselves when she was all changed. The overlook above the canyon was beautiful. We hiked around as the light started to come slowly, revealing details of the landscape below. The layers of clouds made for an amazingly long and beautiful sunrise. Right when it began to get light, their friends showed up for the ceremony.
Some crowds of people had come, so we picked a little spot away from everyone. Michael and Hanae said their vows, the friends did a little reading, and it all made for a super sweet ceremony. Some nearby hikers caught on to what was happening and cheered them on after they were announced as husband and wife.
We spent the rest of the morning hiking around and taking portraits. Zion has so much to explore, and we only saw a little bit of the park, but it was so beautiful. We ended up exploring a little slot canyon that was difficult to get through, but so worth the struggle.
At the end of it all, we were super tired from the alpine start but rallied and went for lunch back in town. Normally, a wedding reception might be a fancy dinner with tons of tables, but for us, it was just a booth at Blondie's Diner. We joked that it was the ideal reception for them. It was also funny how different our bodies felt as some of us ordered coffee for the morning and others beer since we'd been up so long it felt like dinner.
A nice little bonus for us was getting to shower in their Airbnb (back to Vanlife) when they went to explore Bryce Canyon. This was just one of the weddings we have in Southern Utah before another stint back in Moab. From there, it's back to full-on travel in Yosemite, NorCal, and back to Alaska! What a fun way to start the wedding season.
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.