Kathleen Elizabeth Photography captured this beautiful queer elopement at Dead Horse Point, Moab Utah

Saying ‘I Do’ in the Breathtaking Beauty of the Utah Desert



Roe and I have been together for 9 ½ years, and we met at a BBQ pool party hosted by mutual friends.

Tell us about the proposal.

We scheduled a photo shoot for the proposal at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park in New Jersey. Our photographer Kim Sliker had us stand on the rocks looking at the ocean. Kim and I used the code word tacos to let me know when to pop the question. In the middle of the shoot, Kim said I am craving tacos, and at that exact moment, a plane flew over us with a banner that said, “Roe will you marry me? Love Amanda” As soon as the plane flew over us, I got down on one knee and handed Roe the ring. Our close friends and family were watching from afar and jumped out with bottles of champagne to celebrate. Roe was so surprised and taken aback not only by the plane but the fact that all the people she loved were there.


Any stories from the lead-up to the wedding stressful or funny?

All 35 of our guests including us, flew on the same flight to Salt Lake City. When we arrived in Utah, we piled into rental cars and continued our journey to Moab, Utah. While driving, we drove through sandstorms and had giant tumbleweeds blowing past us. Our entire wedding party most of which don’t travel much had no clue what to expect. At times the winds were so bad we had to pull over. They kept telling us that we were trying to kill them. On Thursday, we all rented dune buggies in Moab. We climbed up massive mountains and drove through sand dunes on a trail called Hells Revenge. Again my guest thought we were trying to kill them. Throughout the entire duration of the trip, we heard the following comments: “Where the hell are we going?” “You are trying to kill us,” “What the hell did we sign up for?” “OMG” and “Holy crap.” Roe and I laughed so hard from the time we landed till the day we went home. It was the perfect trip for everyone to experience the things we love so much.


What led you to the destination?

Roe and I share a passion for travel; our relationship revolves around adventure, culture, crazy foods, being outdoors, daring activities, and historical monuments, buildings, and landmarks. We always talked about having a wedding that represents our love and personality. When we began researching locations and destination weddings, everything seemed so cliche. We wanted a unique wedding that gave our guests a taste of true adventure. After hours of research, we stumbled across a company called Cloth and Flame; they specialize in doing pop-up weddings in remote locations. The company allows you to customize every wedding detail, including the forks, menu, and decor. We knew we would not serve your stereotypical pasta and steak dishes. After finalizing things with Cloth and Flame, we needed a location for our wedding. We then strumbled across The Red Earth Venue located in Moab, Utah. The venue was like renting your private national park surrounded by red rock cliffs, native desert vegetation, and breathtaking views. After viewing the pictures, we knew we wanted a red rock desert wedding. The venue was a blank canvas and allowed us to host an event the way we wanted. Our wedding was going to be a party in true desert fashion. We let our guests dine and dance under the stars surrounded by cliffs in total privacy. Roe and I have never been to Moab, but we knew this would be one big spontaneous decision, just like our entire relationship.


Talk to us about your experience finding the perfect outfits.

Roe ordered her custom suit from Karako Suits in Farmingdale, NY, with the help of sales associate Kenny. The suit was a deep red color with a black dress shirt. The cuffs on the dress shirt had our initials and wedding date embroidered, and the inner lining on the suit jacket was an image we both found on google and loved. The suit jacket’s inside was also embroidered with a quote about our relationship. Roe’s shopping experience was also enjoyable. Roe loves getting dressed up; and Karako Suits made her vision come true.

My dress came from Max Bridal in Syosset, NY. I wanted a boho dress that suited the desert theme. I wore custom Converse sneakers as my wedding shoes. The outside of the sneakers had our wedding date and a quote. We spent about a week researching what we wanted and where to go. The overall process was fun and exciting. I found wedding dress shopping to be simple and easy. I went with my friends first and narrowed it down to three dresses. I then returned with my mom and let her pick “the” wedding dress. Shopping with my mom was an emotional memory I will never forget.

Talk to us about the big day!

We stayed at the Moab Valley Inn Hotel in separate rooms the night before the wedding. The hotel had a huge welcome sign outside, which was heartfelt. We started the day off by getting ready with our friends and family. We served our guests bagels, muffins, and mimosas. We blasted music and laughed all morning separately, of course. Makeup artist Jax and her colleague ensured all the girls in our bridal party looked beautiful. Our photographer Kathleen arrived to take pictures of us getting dressed.

Once we were all ready, Salt Lake City Express came to pick Roe and me up. Roe left 10 minutes before me to ensure we didn’t see each other. We drove through the town of Moab and eventually arrived at Dead Horse Point State Park. Roe was anxious, emotional, and nervous, and she waited for me in the park near an overlook. Sydney and Erik arrived shortly after us to ensure we had microphones and to record our first look. Having a first look at our elopement was vital to us because it captured our raw emotions. During the first look, we cried and laughed and cried some more. The scenery at Dead Horse Point State Park was perfect and breathtaking. The park had wide open spaces, towering arches, vast canyons, a beautiful river, and sheer cliffs. The weather was about 75 degrees, sunny, and had a perfect breeze. During our first look hikers stood by and cheered us on.

After the first look, we explored the canyon, climbing over boulders and admiring the views of the beautiful park. We used these perfect moments to spend time together and capture our photos, and it was honestly the best way to spend time together before the ceremony. Photographers Kathleen and Stacy guided us around the park and helped us climb up cliffs and rocks, and Sydney and Erik were right behind them, recording every beautiful moment and jaw-dropping view.

About an hour later, our closest family and friends showed up to enjoy the views and take pictures with us. It was an emotional experience, for sure. We chose to have our ceremony at the West Bench Site in Dead Horse Point National Park. Cloth and Flame set up all the ceremony chairs and a blue tooth speaker so that we had music at the ceremony. Our good friend Gabby wrote the most beautiful officiant speech, and our friend Kirstyne wrote the most beautiful speech.

After the ceremony, we all headed over to the Red Earth Venue. When we first walked onto the grounds, we were stunned to see how gorgeous everything was. Manna Floral Design did a fantastic job on the floral arrangements and centerpieces. We chose to have one large farmhouse table because we wanted to have one big family dinner. We wanted to talk and hang out with all our guests. Manna Floral Design made our farmhouse table so intimate, and the design complemented the desert. Cloth and Flame served delicious appetizers. The bacon-wrapped sweet potato was to die for. Tipsy Trailer made our guests feel welcomed and even brought a shot-ski, which was so much fun. We served our guest’s brisket, roasted chicken, and pulled pork sliders for dinner. Everything was finger-licking good!

The dancefloor was always occupied, as was the bar and bonfire, where our guests got to make s’mores if they wanted. Then, around dinner time, we had our two special guests make their speeches, one which was funny and the other which had everyone in tears. Then before we knew it, it was cake-cutting time. Our gorgeous cake was made by Shelia, owner of Sweet Serendipity, and it was exactly what we pictured.

The wedding day was filled with adventure, love, laughter, tears, and, most importantly, memories. It perfectly represented us and the life we love to enjoy. We loved that we got to show everyone what a beautiful life we had created. We wish to relive that night repeatedly; it was something special. To this day, everyone is still talking about our wedding.


What are your favorite moments?

Roe’s favorite moment was the first look; it was not only emotional, but the views were incredible, and we had several hikers cheering us on.

My favorite moment was climbing up several mountains in a wedding dress and hanging off the sides of cliffs to get the perfect pictures. I genuinely love adventure, so dangling off a cliff with my favorite person was incredible.

Our favorite moment together was walking onto the Red Earth Venue and seeing everything we worked so hard on put together. Walking around and seeing the table centerpieces and couches set up exactly how we pictured was surreal. Everything down to the forks and knives was hand selected by both of us. It was a proud moment for us; we worked extremely hard to save money and plan every detail.


What does marriage mean to you?

Marriage to us is the ultimate bond that symbolizes our commitment to each other. Marriage is about finding someone who accepts all of your flaws and imperfections and stands by your side no matter what. Roe and I are both career-driven, and we have always pushed each other to work harder and dream big. Having my wife by my side ensures me that I can accomplish anything. We support both of our crazy ideas even when they seem unattainable.

Throughout the years, we have grown a bond over traveling. We have experienced so much together, from eating fermented sharks in Iceland to climbing palm trees for coconuts in the Caribbean to hiking through the rainforest in Trinidad.

My wife is the person that reminds me not to be scared and to push myself to new limits. Marriage is standing by your partner through the good times and the bad. Marriage also means arguing over who is washing the dishes and taking out the trash. Marriage is staying in on a Saturday night to watch reruns of horrible reality TV shows and eating pints of ice cream because no one felt like cooking dinner.

Relationships are always flawed and require a lot of work, trust, communication, acceptance, compromise, and love. When you find a person worth putting in the effort, you have finally found your soulmate. Marriage is about finding someone you want to torture for the rest of your life.


Advice for other couples planning a wedding?

My advice to other couples would be to give yourself enough time to plan; if you want purple forks, get purple forks, and don’t settle for less. Ultimately it is your wedding day, do what you want, and don’t let people talk you into things. No matter how hard you try, you can’t please everyone. There will be one person who doesn’t like the food or the music; honestly, who cares. Weddings don’t have to be traditional, do whatever feels right!

Make a photo combination list of the most significant people. This way, your photos are preplanned, and no one can say they didn’t get a picture with you. Get your photos out of the way before the ceremony so you can attend cocktail hour. Remember to laugh even when things feel overwhelming and, most importantly, have fun.

Photography by Kathleen Elizabeth Photography

Cake Sweet Serendipity Moab
Cart The Tipsy Trailer
Catering Cloth & Flame
Ceremony Venue Dead Horse Point State Park
Cinematographer Sydney Beth Films
Entertainment, Lighting & Sound ADM Productions DJ
Florist Manna Floral Design
H&MU J and L Makeup
Reception Venue The Red Earth Venue
Transport Salt Lake Express
Wedding Favors Sugar Shaker Bakery