Where to Elope in New Mexico

Where to Elope in New Mexico

Where to Elope in New Mexico

Where to Elope in New Mexico: the BEST locations for New Mexico elopements

New Mexico is a beautiful state full of diverse landscapes and culture. As someone who has grown up here and intimately knows all the wonderful things it has to offer you, I am here to help you plan where to elope in New Mexico! From the desert to the mountains, with rocky cliffs, alpine lakes, sand dunes, and everything in between, you can take your pick with nature. Each city also embodies the charm of the southwest, with adobe buildings and hanging chile ristras (not to mention the BEST food.) It is the perfect state to elope in, for so many reasons–it’s not called the Land of Enchantment for nothing!

Note to couples eloping in New Mexico due to COVID-19: perhaps your big wedding day plans have been put on an indefinite hold, but there is no reason you can’t take advantage of all our state has to offer us and elope someplace amazing and close to home while you wait for events to be able to resume. While venues are currently restricted to the mandated group limits, eloping gives you more flexibility. Whether you choose to elope in New Mexico by yourselves or have some close family join you, I can help you find the absolute best place that is beautiful and safely outdoors! Just keep in mind, some of the locations listed below may have closures due to the pandemic. Please double check before making your plans!

Sunset at White Sands National Park in New Mexico

White Sands

Imagine miles and miles of pure white sand as far as you can see. It almost looks like snow, except for the wind creating ripples in the sand and the occasional yucca or other desert plant popping up. This is White Sands National Park. The light out here is incredible, with the sand acting as the best natural light reflector for flattering images of you, not to mention the most amazing sunsets every evening. This is one of the most unique landscapes in the world.

Be sure to check their website for information on getting a permit for your elopement or wedding ceremony in White Sands National Park.

Fall views at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu New Mexico

Abiquiu 

Abiquiu is the part of New Mexico Georgia O’Keeffe made her home, and inspired much of her art while she lived there. It is easy to see why: giant cliffs, red rocks, and sweeping desert views surround a big, peaceful lake. It is such a vibe.

While there are plenty of public areas around Abiquiu you can use (and I can guide you to some of my favorite secret spots!) there is also of course Ghost Ranch itself (the actual private property O’Keeffe once lived on.) Ghost Ranch offers many secluded locations for you to say your vows, along with designated ceremony spots that you can reserve for you and any guests.

New Mexico elopement at the Jemez Red Rocks

Jemez 

Jemez is a big mountainous area in northern New Mexico, and it has everything. One of my favorite areas of red rocks in New Mexico is in Jemez Pueblo. You can see the rocks from the road, but to really get among them just call their office and schedule a short hike on the iconic Red Rock Canyon Trail (only about 1.5 miles total, if you do the whole hike.) Keep in mind, the photography permit here is $50. I recommend calling ahead to make sure you’re able to have your elopement at the red rocks!

Check out this styled elopement I did at the red rocks in Jemez.

Keep driving up the road into the mountains and you’ll find the landscape becoming more and more green, with rivers and lakes and waterfalls. Calles Valdera is a National Preserve in the Jemez mountains that is well worth exploring, with mountain views all around the grassy meadow valley. The Jemez valley really feels like an oasis hidden in the desert of New Mexico. 

Note: Technically, you cannot have weddings at Calles Valdera, but it is a great place for photos and if you call ahead they may allow you to elope here, depending on the size of your group. One option if you are having several guests attend your elopement is to first have your ceremony in the National Forest land and then enter the Valles Caldera National Preserve for just your couple’s photos.

Sunset in the Ojito Wilderness in New Mexico

Ojito Wilderness / White Mesa

This area near San Ysidro has some of the most unique desert landscapes, with all kinds of colors. From white rocks to red dirt and a deep blue sky, the tones are out of this world. Plus, the locations are remote enough that you rarely have to worry about any other people interrupting you as you say your vows or get photos in the epic scenery. (Even though this spot is within an hour of Albuquerque and less than an hour and a half from Santa Fe.) I love this area in particular for this reason!

Be sure to reach out to the appropriate BLM office prior to your elopement or photo session here, as they often issue permits for each and request prior notice. I can help with this process as your New Mexico elopement photographer. :)

Bisti Badlands

If you’re into weird rock formations that make you feel like you’re on a different planet, then the Bisti Badlands might be just the place for you. The landscape out here is supremely remote and beautifully bizarre. You’d be hard pressed to find a more unique (and private) view for your elopement here. You’ve got to be willing to drive the dirt roads to get here though!

Be sure to reach out to the appropriate BLM office prior to your elopement or photo session here, as they often issue permits for each and request prior notice. Again, I can help with this process!

Tent Rocks National Monument

Another area with unique rock formations, Tent Rocks is a popular place for tourists for a reason. You can get views of the giant cone-shaped tent rocks from above and walk among them, getting a close-up view of the multi-colored layers of rock that tower over you. If you long for experiencing a slot canyon and are willing to hike a bit for more unique views and experience, you would love this place. It is truly special.

However, keep in mind that due to the popularity of Tent Rocks, there is a hefty permit process and fee for professional photography (as for elopements or just portrait sessions) upwards of $200. Also be aware that it can get popular, especially on weekends, so plan your timing accordingly.

Intimate elopement in the mountains of northern New Mexico near Taos

Taos / Red River

The whole area around Taos, Red River, Angel Fire, and Eagle Nest is amaaaaazzzinngggg. Absolutely gorgeous mountain scenery, and you don’t even have to go as far as Colorado for the quintessential Rocky Mountain vibes. These spots around Wheeler peak and the Taos Ski Valley have so many beautiful, easy-access options for elopements with fields, forests, and mountains all around. If you’re into a hiking elopement, take the trail to the summit of Wheeler Peak, the highest elevation in New Mexico at 13,159’. You can also opt to hike to Williams Lake, an alpine lake below Wheeler Peak that sits at 11,040’. Or simply head out to the Rio Grande Gorge for epic canyon-like views over the river and the sweeping landscape. You really, truly cannot go wrong, and my mountain-loving heart is so happy out here. 

Couple kissing in the mountains near Ski Santa Fe

Santa Fe

The capital of New Mexico has so much charm and history. In town, you’ll find adobe buildings hundreds of years old, chile ristras hanging all around, art vendors, and some of the best restaurants in the state. Drive just a bit outside of town and you can experience the natural beauty of the Santa Fe Mountains. Head up the road to Ski Santa Fe and take a walk among the aspen trees. If you want to get even more adventurous, take the hike to Lake Katherine, an alpine lake on Santa Fe Baldy. Whether you decide to elope in town at one of their small venues or out in the mountains surrounding the city, Santa Fe is the perfect place for an elopement weekend getaway.

Sunset in the Sandia foothills in Albuquerque New Mexico

Albuquerque 

Last but certainly not least, Albuquerque is an underrated area for elopements in New Mexico. The views of the Sandia Mountains you can get from nearly any place in town make this place so special. You can head to the Rio Grande under the cottonwood trees with views of the Sandias, you can wander around the foothills and get the mountain views from close up (not to mention the views of the city) and you can take the tram up to the top of Sandia Peak within minutes for even better views from up high. Old Town is a cute historic plaza with a vibe much like Santa Fe. Also, hot air balloons are special to Albuquerque–the host of the largest mass ascension in the world every October. Seeing the city from the vantage of floating over in a balloon is a bucket-list experience, especially in early October! You could do every single one of these things in one day, if you wanted to. How cool is that?

Wondering where to elope in New Mexico? I hope this post helps you find the perfect location for your elopement!

And if you have any questions about eloping in any of these places, I am happy to help! I help my couples with everything from finding the perfect location to securing the proper permits, and more. Send me an email or comment below!

Here are some more examples from New Mexico elopements and sessions (all from locations listed above) that I’ve done:

Boho Styled Elopement at Jemez Red Rocks

Albuquerque Engagement at Sandia Foothills

Santa Fe Mountain Engagement

 

Hey friend! I’m Delia–a wedding photographer who loves adventure just as much as snuggling on the couch with her dog. My photography is fun and colorful and embraces the real you. I’m based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but I photograph weddings all throughout New Mexico, Colorado, and the southwest. I love to connect with and help my clients as much as possible. Check out the wedding planning tips section of my blog for more helpful advice.

Where to Elope in New Mexico: the BEST locations for New Mexico elopements

New Mexico is a beautiful state full of diverse landscapes and culture. As someone who has grown up here and intimately knows all the wonderful things it has to offer you, I am here to help you plan where to elope in New Mexico! From the desert to the mountains, with rocky cliffs, alpine lakes, sand dunes, and everything in between, you can take your pick with nature. Each city also embodies the charm of the southwest, with adobe buildings and hanging chile ristras (not to mention the BEST food.) It is the perfect state to elope in, for so many reasons–it’s not called the Land of Enchantment for nothing!

Note to couples eloping in New Mexico due to COVID-19: perhaps your big wedding day plans have been put on an indefinite hold, but there is no reason you can’t take advantage of all our state has to offer us and elope someplace amazing and close to home while you wait for events to be able to resume. While venues are currently restricted to the mandated group limits, eloping gives you more flexibility. Whether you choose to elope in New Mexico by yourselves or have some close family join you, I can help you find the absolute best place that is beautiful and safely outdoors! Just keep in mind, some of the locations listed below may have closures due to the pandemic. Please double check before making your plans!

Sunset at White Sands National Park in New Mexico

White Sands

Imagine miles and miles of pure white sand as far as you can see. It almost looks like snow, except for the wind creating ripples in the sand and the occasional yucca or other desert plant popping up. This is White Sands National Park. The light out here is incredible, with the sand acting as the best natural light reflector for flattering images of you, not to mention the most amazing sunsets every evening. This is one of the most unique landscapes in the world.

Be sure to check their website for information on getting a permit for your elopement or wedding ceremony in White Sands National Park.

Fall views at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu New Mexico

Abiquiu 

Abiquiu is the part of New Mexico Georgia O’Keeffe made her home, and inspired much of her art while she lived there. It is easy to see why: giant cliffs, red rocks, and sweeping desert views surround a big, peaceful lake. It is such a vibe.

While there are plenty of public areas around Abiquiu you can use (and I can guide you to some of my favorite secret spots!) there is also of course Ghost Ranch itself (the actual private property O’Keeffe once lived on.) Ghost Ranch offers many secluded locations for you to say your vows, along with designated ceremony spots that you can reserve for you and any guests.

New Mexico elopement at the Jemez Red Rocks

Jemez 

Jemez is a big mountainous area in northern New Mexico, and it has everything. One of my favorite areas of red rocks in New Mexico is in Jemez Pueblo. You can see the rocks from the road, but to really get among them just call their office and schedule a short hike on the iconic Red Rock Canyon Trail (only about 1.5 miles total, if you do the whole hike.) Keep in mind, the photography permit here is $50. I recommend calling ahead to make sure you’re able to have your elopement at the red rocks!

Check out this styled elopement I did at the red rocks in Jemez.

Keep driving up the road into the mountains and you’ll find the landscape becoming more and more green, with rivers and lakes and waterfalls. Calles Valdera is a National Preserve in the Jemez mountains that is well worth exploring, with mountain views all around the grassy meadow valley. The Jemez valley really feels like an oasis hidden in the desert of New Mexico. 

Note: Technically, you cannot have weddings at Calles Valdera, but it is a great place for photos and if you call ahead they may allow you to elope here, depending on the size of your group. One option if you are having several guests attend your elopement is to first have your ceremony in the National Forest land and then enter the Valles Caldera National Preserve for just your couple’s photos.

Sunset in the Ojito Wilderness in New Mexico

Ojito Wilderness / White Mesa

This area near San Ysidro has some of the most unique desert landscapes, with all kinds of colors. From white rocks to red dirt and a deep blue sky, the tones are out of this world. Plus, the locations are remote enough that you rarely have to worry about any other people interrupting you as you say your vows or get photos in the epic scenery. (Even though this spot is within an hour of Albuquerque and less than an hour and a half from Santa Fe.) I love this area in particular for this reason!

Be sure to reach out to the appropriate BLM office prior to your elopement or photo session here, as they often issue permits for each and request prior notice. I can help with this process as your New Mexico elopement photographer. :)

Bisti Badlands

If you’re into weird rock formations that make you feel like you’re on a different planet, then the Bisti Badlands might be just the place for you. The landscape out here is supremely remote and beautifully bizarre. You’d be hard pressed to find a more unique (and private) view for your elopement here. You’ve got to be willing to drive the dirt roads to get here though!

Be sure to reach out to the appropriate BLM office prior to your elopement or photo session here, as they often issue permits for each and request prior notice. Again, I can help with this process!

Tent Rocks National Monument

Another area with unique rock formations, Tent Rocks is a popular place for tourists for a reason. You can get views of the giant cone-shaped tent rocks from above and walk among them, getting a close-up view of the multi-colored layers of rock that tower over you. If you long for experiencing a slot canyon and are willing to hike a bit for more unique views and experience, you would love this place. It is truly special.

However, keep in mind that due to the popularity of Tent Rocks, there is a hefty permit process and fee for professional photography (as for elopements or just portrait sessions) upwards of $200. Also be aware that it can get popular, especially on weekends, so plan your timing accordingly.

Intimate elopement in the mountains of northern New Mexico near Taos

Taos / Red River

The whole area around Taos, Red River, Angel Fire, and Eagle Nest is amaaaaazzzinngggg. Absolutely gorgeous mountain scenery, and you don’t even have to go as far as Colorado for the quintessential Rocky Mountain vibes. These spots around Wheeler peak and the Taos Ski Valley have so many beautiful, easy-access options for elopements with fields, forests, and mountains all around. If you’re into a hiking elopement, take the trail to the summit of Wheeler Peak, the highest elevation in New Mexico at 13,159’. You can also opt to hike to Williams Lake, an alpine lake below Wheeler Peak that sits at 11,040’. Or simply head out to the Rio Grande Gorge for epic canyon-like views over the river and the sweeping landscape. You really, truly cannot go wrong, and my mountain-loving heart is so happy out here. 

Couple kissing in the mountains near Ski Santa Fe

Santa Fe

The capital of New Mexico has so much charm and history. In town, you’ll find adobe buildings hundreds of years old, chile ristras hanging all around, art vendors, and some of the best restaurants in the state. Drive just a bit outside of town and you can experience the natural beauty of the Santa Fe Mountains. Head up the road to Ski Santa Fe and take a walk among the aspen trees. If you want to get even more adventurous, take the hike to Lake Katherine, an alpine lake on Santa Fe Baldy. Whether you decide to elope in town at one of their small venues or out in the mountains surrounding the city, Santa Fe is the perfect place for an elopement weekend getaway.

Sunset in the Sandia foothills in Albuquerque New Mexico

Albuquerque 

Last but certainly not least, Albuquerque is an underrated area for elopements in New Mexico. The views of the Sandia Mountains you can get from nearly any place in town make this place so special. You can head to the Rio Grande under the cottonwood trees with views of the Sandias, you can wander around the foothills and get the mountain views from close up (not to mention the views of the city) and you can take the tram up to the top of Sandia Peak within minutes for even better views from up high. Old Town is a cute historic plaza with a vibe much like Santa Fe. Also, hot air balloons are special to Albuquerque–the host of the largest mass ascension in the world every October. Seeing the city from the vantage of floating over in a balloon is a bucket-list experience, especially in early October! You could do every single one of these things in one day, if you wanted to. How cool is that?

Wondering where to elope in New Mexico? I hope this post helps you find the perfect location for your elopement!

And if you have any questions about eloping in any of these places, I am happy to help! I help my couples with everything from finding the perfect location to securing the proper permits, and more. Send me an email or comment below!

Here are some more examples from New Mexico elopements and sessions (all from locations listed above) that I’ve done:

Boho Styled Elopement at Jemez Red Rocks

Albuquerque Engagement at Sandia Foothills

Santa Fe Mountain Engagement

 

Hey friend! I’m Delia–a wedding photographer who loves adventure just as much as snuggling on the couch with her dog. My photography is fun and colorful and embraces the real you. I’m based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but I photograph weddings all throughout New Mexico, Colorado, and the southwest. I love to connect with and help my clients as much as possible. Check out the wedding planning tips section of my blog for more helpful advice.

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