Creating an epic elopement styled shoot in the stunning Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park has been one of the highlights of my career. There are so many reasons why I love the area – the natural beauty, cultural history and deep magic of the place make this destination one-of-a-kind in the world, and so uniquely special to Australia.
I have learned so much along the way about how to make the most out of this iconic landscape, so here are my favourite Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park wedding ideas and tips to inspire others to hold their intimate wedding or elopement on this sacred land.
Can you get married at Uluru?
Although you can’t get married within the park itself, you can hold your ceremony close by at Yulara or at one of the surrounding venues – Ayers Rock Resort is a popular choice. To put together my styled elopement shoot, I contacted the park’s media advisor Caroline Smith (give her a follow on Instagram) who gave me loads of useful information on what we could and couldn’t do at the park, as well as insights into the cultural significance that Uluru-Kata Tjuta NP holds for the Anangu people. Another huge help was Ben Adams at Elope Uluru who is well experienced in capturing elopements and weddings in and around the spectacular Uluru-Kata Tjuta NP.
How much does a wedding in Uluru cost?
Wedding budgets will always vary wildly depending on guest size, accommodation, catering, etc. For this shoot, I kept things simple.
The modern bridal gown we used was supplied by the amazing Liz Foubert at Caleche Bridal House. The multiple short lengths created an effortlessly eye-catching look and worked well for practicality and ease of transport. While long gowns are beautiful, they’ll likely get dragged through red soil, so you’ll have to think about whether you’re prepared for your dress to be irreparably damaged from tears and iron ore stains.
The groom’s outfit was a simple, earthy look — white linen button-up shirt, caramel chinos, and maroon suspenders AND he wore his own shoes. The bride’s high-top white sneakers were from Palladium Pampa Earth and added a nice alternative touch to the dress’s more feminine aesthetic while also being comfy enough to walk around the park. The makeup we used was owned prior to the shoot and I took on the role of hair and make-up artist.
I opted for dried flowers from 28 Blossom Street, as the desert heat could have quickly wilted fresh petals and I wanted to make sure we got a whole day’s use out of them. Another South Australian everlasting florist that I would highly recommend and absolutely adore is Flowers in Nature – just make sure you book ahead as they’re very busy women!
We hired a rental sleeper van from Adelaide for 6 nights, bought a few bottles of champagne, and supplied food and snacks for the trip. With the couple’s attire and the flowers, this brought the total of my Central Australian elopement adventure and shoot to around $5480 for 5 people.
Accommodation and transportation…
You can get to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park by either air or road. The Uluru (Ayers Rock) airport is only 6km away and offers a shuttle bus service to Ayers Rock Resort in the little town of Yulara (15 mins from the park) – a beautiful place to consider when thinking of both wedding accommodations and your ceremony. They have a handful of packages to choose from, including the Sounds of Silence option that is held at Uluru Lookout underneath a blanket of stars. There are also some cheaper camping and cabin options to choose from speckled around Yulara.
Alice Springs is another option, with plenty of accommodation and ceremony location possibilities. However, if you’re wanting Uluru to feature in your wedding images, it’s worth noting that it’s a 450km drive from the park (about 5 hours). One option would be to head to the park with your destination wedding photographer a few days before or after the wedding, stay in Yulara, and hold a separate shoot there. You could even extend your stay and create a honeymoon trip out of it to explore the surrounding areas – my recommendation is Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon).
What I would do differently…
Although the park is beautiful at both sunrise and sunset, the window of elopement/wedding photography is pretty constrained at 2-3 hours during those times, especially if you plan to move locations during that time. Honestly, I lost a bit of quality golden hour time doing exactly that.
Be conscious that it can get extremely hot throughout the middle of the day, so it is best to avoid photo shoots at this time since you’ll most likely be spending that time wiping away sweat and shooing away flies!
Having plenty of drinks and food on hand definitely helps. Water is a MUST and there are plenty of refilling spots around the park. My bride muse opted to get ready in the shade beside Uluru but that DIY adventure style isn’t for everyone. Staying at the resort will give you a much more comfortable place to prepare for your elopement in the National Park.
On the day…
The most important aspect of the shoot is your excitement! Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is one of the most beautiful places on Earth to have an elopement shoot, and getting too bogged down by details will take all the fun out of it. Plan your attire for the desert heat, have plenty of drinks in easy reach and I can help with everything else! If you’re interested in booking an elopement at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, my “Don’t Miss a Thing” wedding package is a great option for having your dream covered.