Talk about the elopement of a freaking lifetime. Tane and I have both been to the Salt Flats before but never for an intimate Salt Flats elopement like this. This is by far one of our favorite places to recommend for couples eloping in Utah. Time flew by for us that day, and thankfully we were able to get dreamy footage of it all! The best part was the surprise we had at the very end of the shoot as we were about to pack up and go home.
When's the best time of year to have our salt flats elopement?
Even though the salt flats are insanely beautiful and unique year around, you may want to be a little bit picky on when to plan your intimate elopement. Utah is known for it's stunning 4 seasons. The summers are so green and the winters can be very, very snowy (any fellow skiers out there?). As for the best time to shoot at the salt flats, you probably can already guess that it wouldn't be the most ideal during the winter. The drier months are going to be your best friend when planning for your Utah Salt Flats wedding ceremony.
Spring: Depending on when it last snowed in the area, you could be faced with some muddy salt flats. (If mud doesn't bother you or your lover, go for it!) You may get some rain storms here and there, so look out for that. Although, some of my favorite weddings we've filmed have been while it's raining; talk about steamy. So that could add some spunk to your day. But if you're worried about it, best to watch the weather like a hawk leading up to it.
Bonus: If you don’t mind the wet salt that will stick to everything and also become very muddy, it makes for a beautiful video, acting as a natural mirror to the backdrop and sun. Some people actually choose to head out there for gorgeous salt flats photos right after it rains for that exact reason. At the end of Jordan and Steven's elopement, we found a pocket of wet salt flats and it was the perfect ending to our session. The video we took from those last few minutes with the reflective flats was a total win.
Summer: This will probably be your best bet when planning your salt flats wedding. Although Utah has summer thunderstorms, you can count on the summer heat drying the flats right up after a good storm. The sun sets closer to 9pm during the summer months, so make sure you plan your elopement accordingly. Because of how white and bright the salt flats are, you want to ideally start your ceremony closer to 7-7:30 pm. This will give you enough time to have an intimate ceremony, and get some killer shots until the sun sets.
Fall: We filmed Jordan and Steven's dreamy elopement at the end of October, and it turned out so stunning. The weather was brisk, but not too cold yet (and still no snow!) Having said that, make sure you bring layers for you because it can get pretty nippy at times. The last thing you want is to be miserably cold on your wedding day! If you come prepared, you will love every second.
Winter: Like previously mentioned, unless you're a die-hard adventure lover, eloping there in the winter doesn't have many pros. When it's covered in snow it defeats the purpose of showing off the natural beauty of the flats anyways. But hey, if you're feeling some salty snow as a backdrop, go for it.
Wait, back up. Where are the Salt Flats in Utah? How do we get there?
They occupy most of the terrain to the west of Salt Lake City between the Great Salt Lake itself and Nevada. The nearest place to them, also for food and drinks (it can get really hot and dry) is Wendover. Wendover is a town on the border of Utah and Nevada. It is just about a 10 minute drive from the rest stop at the Salt Flats. There are public restrooms located at this rest stop/lookout point off of Highway I-80 right alongside the Flats. If you’re wanting to take your car out there to adventure, be careful to only enter the flats in the designated areas where the salt is compacted and will support the weight of your vehicle. Alongside the highway is mostly mud and many tourists get stuck there.
Details to make your Salt Flats Wedding Ceremony Memorable:
We all drove out, the bride and groom along with their immediate families to an area with no one around on the Salt Flats and the set up was very bohemian. Thankfully, with how vast the flats are, it is fairly easy finding a secluded place to set up your ceremony.
It was simple and lovely! They brought a cute rustic rug and laid it out with vases full of dried pampas on top. The ceremony was beautiful, it was late afternoon and it was as if we were in a salty desert, with the dry, brown mountains in the background, combined with the crusty, white salt gave it almost an old western ambiance. The perfect rustic wedding kind of feel!
Jordan and Steven both wore matching white high-top Converse with Just Married embroidered on the back. The bridesmaids and groomsmen were gathered behind Jordan and Steven in almost a semi-circle, and the line trickled into immediate family members. Jordan walked down with a beautiful bouquet of dried flowers that went hand-in-hand with the location. She met her groom in his burgundy suit as they held hands for the ceremony to start.
The vows were written on old rustic paper that they read off to each other. It was so sweet and private as there was no one else around! Steven touched us all when he told her that he would be with her through “whatever our lives may bring”. She gave us the funniest moment of the day when right after he finished his vows she asked, “Can we kiss now?” As the sun started to set closer and closer towards the horizon the ambiance and salt turned bluer and bluer. We only had a few minutes filming in the blue hour as it quickly turned to a burning red sunset and the water on top of the salt reflected the light making it seem as if the salt was on fire! It literally was a broken up reflection pool. It was so amazing! The perfect Bonneville Salt Flats wedding.
Which Salt Flats Elopement Package should we get?
Jordan and Steven got the basic elopement package along with the drone footage add-on. The package included 3 hours of coverage which gave us more than enough time to enjoy the salt flats wedding ceremony and get all of the breathtaking shots we wanted. Their ceremony lasted about 25 minutes from start to finish, followed by family photos. After that, we stole the cute couple for the remainder of the time to document their love even more.
Drone video brings so much more to the table, it is a must for elopements because you’re going to be somewhere magical! It really captures the beauty of where you’ll be and Tane always has fun flying his toy around! We strongly support anyone wanting to do a Salt Flats Utah wedding, the colors are insane!
Can you believe how pretty the desert landscape is through the drone?? It really brings a whole new set of colors and is so unique in places like this! We got the drone out and flew it around a few different times throughout the afternoon/evening. Resulting in several different arrays of colors to accentuate the bride and groom.
In the afternoon is when the Salt Flats look most like a desert. Bone dry, crusty, and, of course, salty! Oddly enough they also can appear a tan color during the day. As the evening comes on, the light changes and brings on a certain blue that I have never seen before across a landscape! The blue light made it so Jordan’s dress really popped and showed off the pretty pink hue it had. That, combined with her red hair, made her stand out against the blue light and she was so beautiful! It was so cool to see her dress flow from above with our drone. Tip for those thinking about doing drone footage for their wedding day, most places are easy to fly a drone as long as they aren’t near an airport or military base.
Make a vacation out of it!
If you're coming from out of state, we always recommend that out couples take advantage and make a vacation out of it! The best place to set up a home base would be Salt Lake City. There is so much to do surrounding SLC all year long. You can drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon for some fun hikes. Or you could spend days exploring downtown Salt Lake with all of the fun eateries and parks.
The Salt Flats are an hour and a half drive west from SLC. In Wendover there are gas stations, a few restaurants and a couple grocery stores. There is nothing else on the way between Salt Lake City and Wendover so be sure to pack food, water, and have a full tank of gas. It is free to enter the park and you can walk or drive your own vehicle on the Flats. Being so large it is very easy to find a spot without people around to film and play.
A few hotels we love in SLC that you lovers and families can stay at:
1: If you're feeling fancy: The Grand America Hotel
2: If you're feeling cutesy: The Little America Hotel
3: If you're on a budget: Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek
4: If you want to stay in the mountains: Sundance Resort
5: If you're an airbnb gal like me: Here you go
If you stay at one of these, let us know how you liked them!
Have a nerdy side? Here's some fun history.
The Bonneville Salt Flats are a big attraction for tourists and locals. It’s located in the North-Western part of Utah and part of Nevada. It formed when Lake Bonneville, the largest inland body of water in North Western American history, dried up and left a salt deposit at the bed.
That salt deposit today has been used for testing of vehicles’ top speeds, specifically for trying to set world land speed records. Racing is done on the Bonneville Speedway, a marked off, grated, smooth, 10 mile stretch for the setting of land speed records. The current land speed record set at the Flats is 630.388 mph by Gary Gabelich.
Day of Photography by: Cecilia Harvard Photography
Wedding Dress by: Milla Nova
Are you eloping in Utah and thinking of having a salt flats wedding? Let us know if we can help you plan!
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