By Katie Ellis
Red rocks contrasted with the bright blue sky, cacti and succulents dotting the terrain as far as the eye can see, the Virgin River gnawing through native sandstone, black lava rock jumbled along the sandy earth—these are the images of Southern Utah. The awe-inspiring landscapes create stunning backdrops for a wedding worth remembering.
Whether you’re born and bred in the desert or simply captivated by its charm, it’s time to embrace the beauty with a southwestern-themed wedding. And the best way to capture the allure of the desert, is to hold your ceremony or reception right in the middle of it.
There are many scenic locations in Southern Utah you could choose for your nuptials. Perhaps, you know someone who owns a home with a backyard hosting expansive views of Snow Canyon State Park or you could even get married in the park itself. The 7,400-acre desert park is a popular location for weddings. If that’s the area you choose, just keep in mind that you will have to obtain a Special Use Permit at least one month in advance. Also, there are some areas of the park that are not permitted for weddings.
Then there’s the park, which is considered one of the jewels of our nation—Zion National Park. You could gaze up at the impressive sandstone cliffs while saying your “I do’s”. The only drawback of having your wedding in Utah’s first national park is the rather long list of terms and conditions that must be followed. For example, only small affairs are allowed inside the park. At Zion’s Temple of Sinawava, your guest list could only include 35 people and that includes the wedding party. Also, your decorations would need prior approval in an effort to keep the area in its pristine condition. Forget about having amplified music or anything that exceeds normal speaking volumes. Regardless of the rules, there’s nothing holding you back from having the most picturesque wedding that you would cherish for a lifetime.
Once you have your location set, it’s time to think about all of the little details that will take in the essence of the Southwest. Perhaps your horse-riding, lasso-throwing uncle has a cow skull you could use as the focal piece of your wedding. Not only could the skull be displayed on a table, but it could also be sketched on the menu cards boasting of Southwestern tortilla soup, grilled chicken salad, and Baja shrimp tacos (No one said you couldn’t stretch your southwest theme down to the Peninsula.) Oh, and don’t forget your signature cocktail to loosen up your guests so they can have visions of “prickly pears” dancing in their heads (or is that sugar-plums?).
Then there’s your mother-in-law with her impressive collection of Native American jewelry, you could use to decorate your cake or at least pin to your bouquet full of succulents and other native plant life. As for your centerpieces, why not have them serve dual purpose? You could decorate your table with potted pepper plants, enough for each guest, and then have the guests take the plants home as their wedding favor.
With just a few details, you can achieve the perfect southwestern wedding in the beauty of the desert. Southern Utah is definitely the perfect backdrop for a perfect day, especially if you have always wanted to be a Southern Utah kind-of-girl.