🌶️ Santa Fe Elopement Guide

Updated 1/13/23

What You’ll Find in This Santa Fe Elopement Guide

Why Have Your Elopement in Santa Fe?

Santa Fe is a great base camp for your elopement! You can easily get to this great elopement destination – fly directly into the small airport, drive an hour from the Albuquerque International Sunport, or take a roadtrip to Santa Fe. The city is full of old west charm, amazing restaurants, hispanic and indigenous culture, amazing art, and historic buildings. The downtown plaza area is very walkable and is surrounded by unique hotels, restaurants, historic sites, and shopping. If you love outdoor activities, you’ll find plenty to do in the landscapes surrounding Santa Fe. For couples looking to relax, the quiet outdoors or various spas will be perfect for your elopement experience. 


And within an hour or two of Santa Fe are some of the most beautiful elopement spots in New Mexico! There’s a wonderful mix of mountains, forests, and desert around Santa Fe, which can all be seen on your elopement day. If you’re looking for big landscapes for your elopement that make you feel small, you’ll find just what you’re looking for here. Read below to see some of the best Santa Fe elopement locations.

When to Have Your Santa Fe Elopement

Santa Fe is a great place to elope year-round with something for you in any season. Because of it’s high elevation (over 7,000 ft), it’s one of the cooler places in New Mexico to elope in the summer. By May and June, snow is melted and the mountains are green and ready to be explored. In July, August, and the beginning of September, expect heavy afternoon rain and thunderstorms (called monsoons). During this time, you’ll see wildflowers and the desert plants will become more green. October is the perfect time for a fall elopement, and Santa Fe is one of the best locations. The gorgeous aspen trees light up the mountains in waves of gold. By late October or November, you’ll find snow on the peaks of Santa Fe’s mountains. If you’re dreaming of a winter elopement, you’ll find lots to do and see around Santa Fe. You can ski and snowboard at Ski Santa Fe or snowshoe nearby trails. Winter and spring are also ideal times to explore Santa Fe’s desert elopement locations without getting too hot.

Santa Fe Elopement Locations

The Santa Fe area has so many lovely places for your elopement – from mountains to desert; wild spaces to cozy venues. As you look for the perfect place to elope, I recommend having an open mind. Don’t be afraid to get outside of Santa Fe and explore all that New Mexico has to offer for your elopement experience. Driving an hour or two from Santa Fe may sound like a waste of time, but I promise you’ll love the scenic drive through gorgeous scenery!

Elope in Santa Fe’s Mountains

Santa Fe is home to the southern portion of the Rockies, known as the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. There are beautiful mountain peaks, lovely hiking trails, and vast forests filled with aspen and evergreen trees. If you want to escape the heat of summer, Santa Fe’s mountains are the perfect spot. If you’re wanting to elope in beautiful fall foliage, this area has some of the best spots in the whole state. And winter in the Santa Fe mountains is a snow-covered wonderland. Whatever season you elope, don’t forget about the high elevation of these mountains! At over 10,000 feet, many visitors from lower elevations find it more difficult to breathe in the Santa Fe mountains.

Elope in Santa Fe’s Desert

If you love rocks, cacti, desert sand, and scrubby brush, plan your elopement in Santa Fe’s surrounding desert areas. You’ll find all the beauty of the desert, fresh air, and big turquoise skies. If you’re up for some hiking on your elopement day, check out some of the endless trails nearby. There are also some off-roading areas for 4×4 vehicles, or you can see the desert from a guided horseback riding tour. 

Be careful in the sun – there’s little to no shade in the desert, and the high elevation of Santa Fe makes the sun extra intense. Bring more water than you think you’ll need, wear sunscreen, and plan to be out in the early morning or evening during summer months, skipping midday. Also be on the lookout for prickly cacti and venomous rattlesnakes as you explore year-round.

Elope in Areas Around Santa Fe

While Santa Fe is definitely one of the most well known areas of New Mexico, there are a lot of other beautiful places to elope in the area. If you’re willing to drive an hour outside of Santa Fe, you’ll find some of the state’s most beautiful scenery! To the west you’ll find the Jemez Mountains with endless hikes, beautiful waterfalls, hot springs, and great camping. Head an hour south to Albuquerque to go for a romantic hot air balloon ride or enjoy the views from Sandia Crest. If you’re looking for quiet forests for your elopement, check out the mountains to the west of Santa Fe. About an hour northwest, you’ll find colorful and impressive rocks around Abiquiu and the famous Ghost Ranch. And to the north you’ll find Taos and The Enchanted Circle, a beautiful drive through some of New Mexico’s best mountains, lakes, and forests as well as high desert. 

To find out more about all the beautiful places to elope, check out my New Mexico Elopement Guide!

Elope at a Santa Fe Inn or B&B

There are some lovely southwest-style inns and B&B’s that offer Santa Fe elopement packages. If you’re looking for an elopement that’s ultra simple and pre-made, this can be a really good option for you. You generally have someone at the inn marry you in a quick ceremony, then sign your marriage license, maybe take a few photos, and have a glass of champagne. 

But if you’re looking for a much more customized and meaningful elopement experience that allows you to connect with your partner and truly enjoy all that Santa Fe has to offer, I’ve got the perfect option for you! You can stay at an inn or B&B and then explore and get married in the beautiful outdoors doing the things you love, all while having a stress-free day. Check out my Santa Fe elopement packages to find out more!

Things to Do for Your Santa Fe Elopement

Make your elopement day as special as it deserves to be by creating an unforgettable experience. Whether you decide to be adventurous, spend your day relaxing, or do a mix of both, there’s so much you can include in your Santa Fe elopement. As I help you plan your elopement day, I’d love to suggest activity ideas that are tailored to you and your partner. If you’re wondering what that can look like, here are some general ideas of what to do on your elopement day:

🏛️ Stroll the streets of historic Santa Fe

🧺 Graze on a picnic of delicious snacks or takeout

🛞 Ride or drive the 4×4 roads in my Jeep Wrangler or a rental off-road vehicle

🌄 Watch the sunrise together

💤 Relax in a hammock among aspen trees

🌶️ Try the famous green and red chile on New Mexican cuisine

🥾 Hike though Santa Fe’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains

🌌Gaze at the milky way and constellations

❄️ Snowshoe through the mountains

🖼️ Visit the art galleries of Canyon Road

♨️ Soak in geothermal mineral springs at Ojo Santa Fe

🏕️ Sleep under the stars at a campground or glamping campsite

👩🏻‍🍳 Enjoy a gourmet meal prepared for you by a personal chef

⛷️ Ride a ski lift to see expansive views of the area

🔍 Explore nearby cultural + historical sites

🐴 Ride horses through the landscape

🍂 Peep the beautiful aspen leaves in the fall season

Marriage Licenses for Santa Fe Elopements

Eloping in Santa Fe is actually very easy, and there’s no need to go to the courthouse for your legal ceremony! All you need is a marriage license and someone to sign as your officiant as well as two witnesses.

You can obtain your marriage license in any New Mexico county, but you’ll need to return it to the same county after your elopement. If you get your marriage license in Santa Fe County, be sure to make your appointment ahead of time. You and your partner will need to go to the county clerk’s office with government-issued photo ID’s (drivers license or passport works) and request a marriage license ($25 cash). You’ll get the license immediately and can use it at any time, as it doesn’t expire. Once you’ve eloped and filled out the license, you’ll need to have it returned in person or by mail within 90 days. You can find out more about Santa Fe County marriage licenses here.


On your elopement day, you and your partner will both sign the marriage license along with an officiant and two witnesses (over 18). If you’d like someone to guide you through your ceremony, I’d recommend hiring an officiant (I can help you with that!) or having a friend or family member officiate for you. If you’d prefer to have a totally private ceremony with just the two of you, that can work too! I can sign the license as your officiant and we can find two people as your officiants (hikers are always so excited to sign for you!). That way everything is done right legally, but you still get to have a super intimate ceremony!

Santa Fe Elopement Photographer Packages

Okay, so maybe you’re convinced you want to have a Santa Fe elopement, but you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure how to make it happen. Maybe you love the idea of a destination elopement, but you don’t feel like you have the time to figure out all the details and you don’t want to be stressed out. As your photographer, I’d love to guide you through the planning process so that you have an unforgettable Santa Fe elopement full of connection and adventure, without stress. As a local adventure elopement photographer, I know all the best places to elope and how to create an elopement day that is meaningful and fun. My elopement photography packages include planning assistance so that I can take the burden off you! All packages include custom location recommendations and guidance with filling in all the details from lodging to vendors and more! You’ll also have a relaxed photo experience and beautiful photos from your elopement day.

Santa Fe Elopement Photographer Packages include:

Photography coverage 

✓ 4 hours, half day, full day, and multi-day photography coverage options
✓ Photographer travel to anywhere in New Mexico
✓ A fun photo experience where you feel comfortable, relaxed, and connected

  Unlimited planning assistance 

✓ Personalized location suggestions + scouting
✓ Guidance with navigating public lands permits
✓ Creative suggestions on how to personalize your celebration
✓ Custom elopement day timeline planning
✓ Recommendations of the best elopement vendors
✓ Backup plans ready to go for your day
✓ Packing + prep list customized for your adventure
✓ Marriage license advice + officiant or witness signature
✓ Assistance with finding travel accommodations
✓ Access to my stash of adventure gear
✓ Leave No Trace education + eco-friendly tips

  Incredible photos to remember your experience

✓ Hand-edited, high-resolution digital files
✓ An online gallery for sharing + downloading photos worldwide
✓ Printing rights to all photos
✓ Professional quality prints, canvases, and albums available for purchase

Santa Fe Elopement packages range from $4,000 to $8,000

Ready to elope in Santa Fe?

Santa Fe is truly a beautiful and unique place for a scenic elopement! If you’re interested in getting married around Santa Fe and are looking for someone to guide you through the planning process, I’d love to help you! As a local of New Mexico, I know all the best spots to elope and can share my best tips for an amazing experience. And as an experienced adventure elopement photographer, I can get the best shots of your day while keeping your experience relaxed and enjoyable!

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Julie Haider is an adventure elopement photographer + planner based in New Mexico and photographing destination elopements worldwide.

@juliehaider

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