Utah Bride and Groom

Meadow Minded: Wedding Inspiration for a Gorgeous and Easy Elopement

Written by Val Rasmussen | Photos by D’Arcy Benincosa

Getting hitched alone or accompanied by only a few friends offers intimacy, beauty and, ultimately, a focus on what matters most: marrying the love of your life. Photographer D’Arcy Benincosa joins floral designer Sarah Winward to enlighten Utah couples on the art of eloping with unforgettable style.

Use What Mama Nature Gives You

“An intimate ceremony in the mountains allows you to keep the numbers small, the location private and the ceremony space focused on the wonders of nature,” says Benincosa of the Little Cottonwood Canyon meadow she discovered off the side of the road.

“Forget large arch installations and 200 folding chairs. Find a field of wild flowers, bring a few chairs—or even stand—and bask in the silent stillness of the grand mountains.”

Adhere To a BFF-Only Guest List

Don’t let social media “friendships” dictate your invite list.

“With a small party, you can get married just before sunset and still have time to capture photos of the entire wedding party during the golden hour,” Benincosa says. “All of these images were taken in a 90-minute time frame, from start of ceremony, to bride and groom portraits, to group portraits. With a small gathering, the most beautiful light can be captured during the entire ceremony.”

Avoid Newlywed Debt

Breathtaking and low budget? Have your cake (pun intended) and eat it, too.

“You could save thousands of dollars on your wedding venue and put it towards a house, a honeymoon or into savings,” Benincosa recommends. “You can’t get any better than the views and vistas of the Utah mountains. Finding the perfect location is easy with enough scouting and attention to where and when it’s appropriate to set up a small ceremony site.”

Extroverts Need Not Apply

If hosting a big audience is outside your wheelhouse, running away together to a sensational locale is an option.

“If you’re a couple who values simple, beautiful, minimal and you don’t want the hassle of planning a big wedding, a small gathering in the mountains is just the thing for you,” Benincosa says.

Ignore Trends

Put away the checklists, to-dos and must-haves, and remember what this journey is all about.

“Love is the reason,” Benincosa says. “Get married to the love of your life in the location you love the most. In Utah, we choose mountains over sea any day of the week.” 


Photographs: D’Arcy Benincosa, SLC

Florals and Shoot Styling: Sarah Winward, SLC

Paper flowers: Afloral.com

Gown: Houghton NYC via Loho Bride,
Los Angeles

Makeup and hair: Bella Cosa Beauty, SLC

Paper Suite: The Little North Sea Studio

Ring: Alberta Diamond Exchange, Calgary


For more elopement inspo, check out: Modern Southwest Elopement

Val Rasmussen on Instagram
Val Rasmussen
Val Rasmussen is Editor at Utah Bride & Groom magazine, Assistant Editor at Utah Style & Design magazine, and Contributor to Salt Lake magazine. She can be reached at val@utahbrideandgroom.com or via Instagram @ValerieFRas.


  1. Reply


    November 8, 2018

    The fiance and I are looking to elope in the mountains. Where is this beautiful location?

    • Reply

      Megan Bartholomew

      November 13, 2018

      Hi Toni!

      This meadow is somewhere up Little Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake City UT! We don’t know the exact location, but there are plenty of gorgeous spots all throughout the canyon!



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