February 5th, Florals by Sarahkay and I woke up before sunrise and went to look at a few locations on the rim of Grand Canyon. Next we moved on to meeting Roy and Rebecca for the first time for their winter elopement at Grand Canyon.
Planning a Winter Elopement
We talked online for months and even changed the idea on dates around. Originally, Rebecca asked me about coming toward the end of February but she wanted a quiet snowy elopement with the least amount visitation. I got it, it exactly what I would have wanted for my winter elopement at Grand Canyon. Luckily, I have an intimate relationship with this national park, after living there for so many year. I knew the visitation patterns all too well.
Grand Canyon has become busier in more recent winters, but there is still a way to avoid it. Typically visitation tapers off after New Year’s and all of the locals breath a sigh of relief to have the park to themselves for a little bit. By Valentine’s Day/Presidents day weekend, visitation spikes, lulls and then is on the upswing into March Spring Break. After thinking about a date toward the end of February, Rebecca and Roy ultimately chose a more peaceful time, the very beginning of the month.
Elopement Locations at Grand Canyon
Location really matters in winter. As a local person to Grand Canyon, I understand that some roads often are subject to temporary closures due to snow. Well, we definitely wanted to try to have a snowy wedding, but also knowing that you can only get married in permitted location… We decided to plan this winter elopement at Grand Canyon for one of two locations that are *never* vulnerable to closures.
Those two locations are called, the Rim Worship Site and Grandeur Point. The Rim Worship Site is a unique location within 5min walking distance to the Bright Angel Cabins and the El Tovar Hotel. It’s sits in a really cool fossil bed where you can find marine-life fossils, if you look around just a little bit. Grandeur Point is a short walk from the Yavapai Geology Museum and is the furthest North Point of the whole South Rim. This also makes it the only location that you can see the Phantom Ranch lodging at the bottom of the canyon. Grandeur works well for larger groups, too. The Point is a large flat-ish area right on the edge of the canyon and is said to accomodate 30 people. Since Rebecca and Roy were to have a few guests, we thought this location worked the best.
Lodging for a Winter Elopement at Grand Canyon
There are lots of lodging options inside Grand Canyon and outside in Tusayan. As Roy and Rebecca were planning for snow, they decided to stay in the park at the most amazing cabin, the Bucky O’Neil Suite. Sarah Kay and I stayed in Tusayan’s Best Western, just outside the park gates, 10minutes or 7miles.
The Elopement Day
We drove over to the Bucky O’Neil suite (the oldest standing building at Grand Canyon) and knocked on the door. Warmly greeted by Roy and Rebecca, we helped with details and makeup and headed out for some gorgeous sunrise portraits As we walked around, I slipped into guide mode and had a hard time stopping myself from sharing all of the amazing things that I know about Grand Canyon.
After taking photos, Rebecca asked if I wouldn’t mind meeting up around lunch to take a walk with their wedding guests and share some of the Grand Canyon knowledge that I shared with them that morning, I happily agreed.
We all met in the historic Bucky O’neill cabin where Sarah Kay presented her incredible florals, and custom boutineers. One of which was made with sea glass in a stained glass format. The other, sleeping beauty turquoise embedded into a pinecone for the grooms boutineer. We arrived a little bit earlier than the group to help Roy finish putting together a beautiful custom corsage. He made it himself with crinoids (fossils you can see at the canyon!) he found at home.
It was amazing to meet Rebecca’s Brother and partner and the other dearest friends to both Roy and Rebecca. To show them the Grand Canyon that I know, I felt even more connected to the whole group. It made for a nice transition into wedding time. When the wedding actually took place, It all worked out beautifully – almost no other visitors around in the quiet winter. It was so so beautiful and to be included will forever be a highlight for Sarah Kay and I.
All the best, love and light!