People always ask us why we got married in Utah, of all places. For those who haven’t experienced the wonders of Utah’s many national parks, I’ll try my best to explain our love for one of our personal favorites: Zion National Park.
Zion – n. – “a place of peace and refuge”
Zion itself is a marriage of light + stone, desert + water, ancient + contemporary, splendor + silence. It inspires awe & requires contemplation. The serenity of the park affects all who take the time to experience wonder amidst the natural beauty of this jewel.
Our original plan was a destination wedding on the beach (we did get engaged in Florida, after all) but we unexpectedly fell in love with Zion National Park, just like we unexpectedly fell in love with each other. No photos will ever do justice to the beauty and magic of this place. There are no words.
Just like you feel small when you stand beside the ocean, you feel connected to something bigger than yourself when you walk through the canyon trails of southern Utah. We still were able to kick off our shoes and walk barefoot in sand and water and sunshine. But we also were surrounded by mountain peaks, canyons, desert, fall foliage, and endangered animals. Our wedding took place beside a waterfall in the Temple of Sinawava, a sacred canyon location named in honor of the Paiute tribe. They believed that the human soul shared characteristics with all things divine and that human beings are tied to nature. Before starting our wedding, we paid our respects by honoring this Native American custom.
Like any other wedding, there are plenty of things that didn’t go according to plan:
I had a fever and bronchitis the day before our flight departed from Kentucky. It was so bad that a doctor actually told me I might have to miss my own wedding (yeah, not an option).
Luckily, my fever broke at the last minute! Here we are the morning of our wedding, watching the sunrise in southern Utah, walking distance from the Sand Hollow Resort:
I was able to make the flight to our own wedding, but I forgot so many things at home – including:
- all of my makeup (I was doing my own makeup and my bridesmaid was doing my hair)
- my bouquet
- our wedding vows (I mean, really, come on….)
- and all the bouquets for my bridesmaids.
Long story short, just a matter of minutes before the wedding, I realized I’d left EVERYTHING at home in Kentucky. I was also fighting not to lose my voice while guzzling electrolytes and coughing like crazy. Not my most shining moment.
Luckily, we’d brought ribbon wands as gifts for our guests, and those worked perfectly as a fun and whimsical substitute for bouquets.
And by some magical coincidence, there was a wedding at the Temple of Sinawava right before ours, and the bride left behind an entire box of bubbles. We couldn’t let the bubbles go to waste on our wedding day – and they ended up creating some of our favorite photos!
Here are the bubbles and ribbon wands in action:
Luckily, we both remembered to pack our matching red Chucks:
One of the most memorable parts was when our dear friend and wedding officiant, Joshua, included a traditional Native American blessing during the wedding ceremony. We gathered in a circle near the waterfall at the Temple of Sinawava, on what is considered by many to be “holy ground,” and paid honor to the ancient Native American tribes who inhabited the lands of Southern Utah. Joshua skillfully led us through an ancient Blessing to the Four Directions – which draws from the belief that all human souls share elements with all things divine. Each cardinal direction – North, South, East and West – represents a specific virtue of divinity. In this ancient Native American tribal tradition, a blessing is offered to each of the four directions at the start of a wedding or other ceremony. Experiencing this beneath the majestic cliffs of Zion was a truly humbling and beautiful experience, and I am so grateful. We both are… Thank you for being part of our story, and letting us continue to share our love with you.