If you are planning a wedding in Zion National Park, you definitely must plan time for sunrise or sunset portraits. The views and the textured red cliffs of Southern Utah can’t be beat, and your wedding images will be one of a kind. Because these are the images you will want to hang as a big canvas on your wall, the time of day and location of these portraits is so important.
The best time to take these portraits will depend on if you are taking these photos in the canyon or on a cliffy overlook. Because the canyon loses light so quickly, photos take there will not truly be at sunset time, rather an earlier time to still give you that dreamy light. That perfect time varies according to location, so if you are thinking canyon portraits are your thing, we are happy to advise you on the best time for each location. For those stunning cliff shots, the best time is sunset, so portraits should begin before that to allow time to shoot through that dreamy, golden time. Some locations are a bit of a hike, so walking and changing should be factored in. For hikes, we typically advise our brides to wear something else more comfortable, and then we trek in a popup changing tent to get her into her dress on location.
Most of our Zion brides opt for a ceremony 2-3 hours prior to sunset in the canyon, again depending on the location. Then we get the family portraits (we typically recommend about 10 setups). From there, we whisk them away for a 30 minute sunset portrait session in the gorgeous East canyon while the guests get settled into cocktail hour. Our bride and groom rejoin their guests, and we sit back and capture the magic of the first dance, toasts, and cake cutting. This is the most popular option.
If you are planning a sunset ceremony and don’t want to leave your guests to their own devices too long, a good option to still get these dreamy portraits is to plan a morning “first look” and portrait time. You will still get that golden glow without the stress of guests getting anxious. Or another popular option is to do an entire session the evening before, starting with a first look.
Should you not want to see one another before the big reveal moment, a perfect Zion option would be to enjoy a morning sunrise ceremony in the canyon (with the light, depending on the location, this is typically 1-3 hours after the actual sunrise). Change and celebrate a lunch reception with your family, and get the dreamy sunset portraits when all the guests are gone and you really have a chance to relax.
All in all, the timeline is really up to you. If a Zion wedding is for you, you will want to prioritize portraits in the dreamy Zion sun.