February 8, 2024

Ultimate Guide to Eloping in Colorado

The Ultimate Guide for Lovers Planning A Colorado Elopement

An increasing number of couples are opting for a more intimate and adventurous alternative to getting married: eloping. Eloping allows you and your partner to exchange vows in a personalized and meaningful way, free from the stress and expectations of a traditional wedding. If you’re considering eloping, look no further than the stunning and vibrant state of Colorado, where breathtaking mountain landscapes, charming towns, and picturesque vistas await. Colorado is the perfect destination for your intimate elopement; full of natural beauty and a variety of locations that provide the best settings for your wedding photos. Eloping should be a fun, exciting, and stress-free experience. To help make planning your dream Colorado elopement easy, I have created the ultimate guide to eloping in Colorado.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TIME OF YEAR & LOCATION FOR YOUR COLORADO ELOPEMENT

When planning your dream Colorado elopement, one of the first questions you should ask yourselves is “When do we want to elope?” Colorado experiences diverse weather throughout the year, and each season offers its own unique advantages and considerations that I have outlined below.

COLORADO SEASONAL ELOPEMENT INFORMATION

  • Spring (March-May) – If you’re looking to avoid extreme weather conditions, spring is an ideal choice. The flowers are blooming, the temperatures are pleasant, and the landscape comes alive. However, keep in mind that mountain weather can be unpredictable, and there might still be patches of snow in higher elevations during early spring.
  • Summer (June-August) – If you’re seeking longer daylight hours and warm weather, a summer elopement could be perfect for you. The extended daylight allows for stunning golden hour photography. Keep in mind that summer is a popular tourist season in Colorado, which might impact certain locations. Additionally, afternoon rain showers are common during this time.
  • Fall (September – November) – Colorado’s fall foliage is a sight to behold, and the temperatures are comfortable. The vibrant colors of the changing leaves create a breathtaking backdrop. Just be aware that the weather can become cooler as fall progresses, especially at higher altitudes.
  • Winter (December – February) –  If you’re enchanted by the idea of a snowy and cozy elopement, winter in Colorado offers a magical setting. However, winter conditions can be challenging, and mountain passes might be closed due to heavy snow. Planning and preparation are crucial for a successful winter elopement.


Ultimate Guide to Eloping in Colorado: COLORADO ELOPEMENT LOCATION GUIDE (MAPPED BELOW)

Alright, you’ve nailed down the perfect season for your elopement; now comes the exciting decision of where to declare your love. The initial question to ponder is the kind of atmosphere you envision for your elopement. The chosen location is more than just a backdrop—it defines the entire mood of your celebration. Whether it’s foliage, rocks, water, or more, these elements will shape the aesthetic of your images. Are you leaning towards serene mountain lakeside vows? Does the idea of an urban elopement amidst modern cityscape intrigue you? Or perhaps you’re drawn to the rugged allure of a mountain adventure elopement? In Colorado’s vast expanse, selecting the ideal elopement spot can be a challenge. Lucky for you, I’ve dedicated decades to exploring this beautiful state, so I’ve curated the ultimate list of locations.

NORTHERN COLORADO ELOPEMENT LOCATIONS

Below, I’ve compiled a selection of my favorite elopement venues in Northern Colorado, along with prime elopement timings for each.

  • Rocky Mountain National Park | Estes Park, Colorado – This iconic location offers towering evergreens, stunning alpine lakes, and breathtaking vistas. Sunrise or just before sunset provides optimal lighting for capturing the magic of the Rockies.
  • Maroon Bells | Aspen, Colorado – Renowned for its captivating twin peaks and pristine lake, Maroon Bells is an alpine paradise. Early morning elopements or late afternoon ceremonies here offer truly enchanting views.
  • Chautauqua Park | Boulder, Colorado – With the iconic Flatirons as your backdrop, this park is perfect for couples seeking a blend of urban and natural vibes. Sunrise or sunset casts a warm glow on the scene.
  • Golden Gate Canyon State Park | Golden, Colorado – For those yearning for a forested haven, this park delivers serene trails, aspen groves, and mountain meadows. Early morning or late afternoon elopements offer soft, diffused light.
  • Pawnee National Grassland | Greeley, Colorado – If you’re captivated by wide-open spaces and grassy plains, this unique location is perfect. Sunrise and sunset provide a dramatic backdrop to the vast landscape.

CENTRAL COLORADO ELOPEMENT LOCATIONS

The central region offers diverse settings, each lending itself to a unique elopement experience.

  • Sapphire Point Overlook | Dillon, Colorado – Overlooking the enchanting Lake Dillon, this spot offers panoramic views of the surrounding peaks. The tranquil hours of sunrise and sunset are ideal for ceremonies here.
  • Breckenridge Ski Resort | Breckenridge, Colorado – If you’re envisioning a winter wonderland elopement, this ski resort offers snowy slopes and cozy lodges. Morning and late afternoon elopements capture the romance of the season.
  • Garden of the Gods | Colorado Springs, Colorado – The striking red rock formations and panoramic views make this location a desert dream. The golden hours around sunrise and sunset paint the rocks with ethereal hues.
  • Clear Creek History Park | Golden, Colorado – For couples desiring a touch of history, this park features charming historic buildings and rustic scenery. The soft light of sunrise or sunset adds a timeless feel to your elopement.

SOUTERN COLORADO ELOPEMENT LOCATIONS

Venture into the enchanting landscapes of Southern Colorado for an elopement that’s nothing short of magical.

  • Royal Gorge Bridge | Cañon City, Colorado – Suspended high above the Arkansas River, the bridge offers breathtaking views. Golden hours lend a warm glow to this already captivating location.
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park | Montrose, Colorado – With its dramatic cliffs and rugged terrain, this location is perfect for adventurous couples. Sunrise or sunset elopements showcase the deep shadows and golden light.
  • Mesa Verde National Park | Cortez, Colorado – Delve into ancient history amidst the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde. The early hours of sunrise offer a serene and mystical backdrop.
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park | Mosca, Colorado – With towering sand dunes against a backdrop of majestic mountains, this location is surreal. Sunrise or sunset elopements create stunning contrasts.

No matter which region you choose, Colorado’s diverse landscapes will shape your elopement into a one-of-a-kind celebration of love. Consider the unique qualities and lighting conditions of each location to create a truly memorable experience amidst Colorado’s breathtaking scenery.

No matter which region you choose, Colorado’s diverse landscapes will shape your elopement into a one-of-a-kind celebration of love. Consider each location’s unique qualities and lighting conditions to create a truly memorable experience amidst Colorado’s breathtaking scenery. Browse through the attached map to discover the best places to elope in Colorado.


Ultimate Guide to Eloping in Colorado: Most Common Questions

SHOULD WE INCLUDE GUESTS IN OUR ELOPEMENT?

First and foremost, keep in mind that the decision regarding guests at your elopement is yours and your partner’s to make. It should be a choice made together, free from external pressure or stress. Several factors come into play when deciding whether to elope with just the two of you or in the company of others. Weddings can come with significant costs, and if you’d rather allocate your budget to create special moments exclusively for yourselves, that’s a valid choice. Even a small gathering of 20 guests can involve expenses for permits (for certain locations), venues, travel, food, and more. If you and your partner are eager to embark on your marriage journey, opting for an intimate ceremony between just the two of you can be a beautiful choice. This allows you complete freedom over your day, letting you tailor it exactly to your desires. On the other hand, if the thought of exchanging vows without the presence of your closest family and friends doesn’t feel right, but the idea of a full-scale wedding overwhelms you, a small ceremony with around 20 guests might be ideal. Should you choose this path, scheduling your reception as late in the day as possible ensures ample time for capturing those cherished moments after the ceremony. Ultimately, deciding on the guest count for your elopement is a significant choice, marking the start of your lifelong journey together.

For any inquiries, concerns, or even the slightest of uncertainties, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m here to guide you through every step of the process.

CHOOSING THE BEST PHOTOGRAPHY PACKAGE FOR YOUR ELOPEMENT

Eloping should be a celebration that fits comfortably within your budget, making it crucial to select a photography package that aligns with your needs. If your elopement involves a courthouse ceremony and a brief, streamlined session, a 1-hour package could be just right for you. If your vision encompasses various locations and multiple outfit changes, you’ll likely benefit from a 3+ hour package. If you plan on hosting a small ceremony with guests, a 4+ hour package is advised to ensure ample coverage for the ceremony, family, and couple portraits. Irrespective of your elopement style, I’m dedicated to customizing a package that caters to your unique vision.

CHOOSING THE REST OF YOUR VENDORS

If you decide to elope with a small ceremony, book a venue or even want to go to the courthouse, you may need to do some planning. It’s important to book those as early as possible in order to lock in your date; this goes for photographer, officiant, appointment at the courthouse, venue, reception, florals, décor, permits, etc. whatever is applicable to your big day. If you need recommendations I am always happy to help you find the perfect vendors for your big day.

CHOOSING WHERE TO GET MARRIED “LEGALLY”

The process of getting legally married isn’t overly complex, but it does require some planning. If you desire to be legally married before your elopement, consider scheduling an appointment at your local clerk’s office on a weekday before the elopement. Alternatively, if you intend to wed on the day of your elopement and wish to capture those moments, arranging a courthouse appointment in the city or county of your elopement is necessary. In Colorado, specific requirements may vary, but typically, you’ll need a valid photo ID and social security card. Opting for a pre-marriage course can significantly reduce marriage license costs and eliminate the three-day waiting period. After obtaining your marriage license, you usually have around 60 days to solemnize your marriage.

Here are some Clerk of Court offices in major Colorado cities:

CLERK OF COURT IN MAJOR COLORADO CITIES:

  • Denver County Clerk of Court – 1437 Bannock St. Denver, CO 80202 | 720-865-8301
  • El Paso County Clerk of Court – 200 S. Cascade Ave. Colorado Springs, CO 80903 | 719-452-5000
  • Boulder County Clerk of Court – 1750 33rd St. Boulder, CO 80301 | 303-413-7770
  • Jefferson County Clerk of Court – 100 Jefferson County Pkwy Golden, CO 80401 | 303-271-6145
  • Larimer County Clerk of Court – 200 W. Oak St. Fort Collins, CO 80521 | 970-498-6100
  • Arapahoe County Clerk of Court – 5334 S. Prince St. Littleton, CO 80120 | 303-795-4200
  • Douglas County Clerk of Court – 4000 Justice Way Castle Rock, CO 80109 | 303-660-7446

PERMITTING FOR ELOPEMENTS:

Many locations require a permit in order to elope or shoot there, check out the official NPS site here for more information.

PACKING & PREPARING FOR YOUR COLORADO ELOPEMENT

Before confirming your elopement, I always start with a call to discuss your vision. It’s important for us to get acquainted, as I’ll be entrusted to capture your most important day. After confirming your booking, I’ll create a vision board, scout locations, and establish a timeline that ensures every moment you wish to capture is considered. Consider your elopement as a weekend or more, allowing ample time to enjoy the experience. Extending your stay for a honeymoon adds to the magic.

As you pack for your Colorado elopement, consider the ambiance you’re aiming for and your chosen location—whether it’s rustic, modern, boho, casual, or coastal. This will guide your choice of dress or outfits. Remember, there’s no rule dictating that you must wear white; opt for what makes you feel most like yourself. After selecting your attire, consider packing essentials like bathing suits, sunscreen, bug spray, outfits for a potential engagement session, as well as comfortable shoes for walking between locations.

On your elopement day, nourishment and hydration are vital, particularly given Colorado’s changing weather. Keeping cool and well-fed will enhance your experience. Detailed instructions for parking or directions will be provided, ensuring you have all the information you need. Feeling nervous is entirely natural, but remember that this is my expertise—capturing moments authentically is my passion. We’ll start with gentle poses to ease into the experience, but most of our session will involve capturing candid, prompted shots. My aim is to deliver a collection of images that feel genuine and completely you. We’ll share laughter, have fun, and celebrate your unique love story throughout the day.

HONEYMOONING IN COLORADO

Colorado offers an array of enchanting destinations for your honeymoon, right after your elopement. Here are some romantic suggestions for your honeymoon.

ROMANTIC COLORADO HONEYMOON LOCATION GUIDE

NORTHERN COLORADO HONEYMOON LOCATIONS

Below I have linked several of my favorite locations in Northern Colorado that would make for the perfect honeymoon location.

  • Estes Park
  • Boulder
  • Fort Collins
  • Golden
  • Steamboat Springs
CENTRAL COLORADO HONEYMOON LOCATIONS

Below I have linked several of my favorite locations in Central Colorado that would make for the perfect honeymoon location.

  • Aspen
  • Vail
  • Glenwood Springs
  • Breckenridge
  • Buena Vista
SOUTHERN COLORADO HONEYMOON LOCATIONS

Below I have linked several of my favorite locations in Southern Colorado that would make for the perfect honeymoon location.

  • Durango
  • Telluride
  • Colorado Springs
  • Pueblo
  • Salida

I trust that this comprehensive guide will be invaluable as you embark on your elopement journey in Colorado. If you have any further queries or wish to have me accompany you on your special day, feel free to complete my booking form. I consider myself fortunate to capture love stories amidst the stunning landscapes of this remarkable state. If you have any other questions, or want me to tag along and capture your own Colorado elopement, please fill out my booking form!

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