A Colorado Elopement Guide for the best places to elope, the best seasons to elope, planning tips, and the answers to the most common elopement FAQs.
Why Elope in Colorado?
Besides the infamous Rocky Mountains and San Juan mountain ranges, Colorado is home to a variety of landscapes including red rocks, sand dunes, aspen groves, alpine lakes, and more!
With so many locations, seasons, and options to choose from, it can be a daunting task to begin planning your Colorado elopement. BUT as someone who lives in this gorgeous state and absolutely loves finding the best hiking trails, I’ve done all the exploring and location scouting to find the best places to elope so you don’t have to!
Colorado is home to a full 4 seasons, which means whatever weather and season calls to you the most, you can find it here! Whether you’re dreaming of a winter wedding, golden fall colors, summer wildflowers, or a spring-time mix of snow and blooming flowers, we can make it happen!
Without even needing to travel too far from Denver, you can find mountains, alpine lakes, aspen groves, wildflowers, red rocks, sand dunes, waterfalls, and more! The best part: you don’t have to choose just one type of scenery – I know plenty of locations that are close enough to each other for you to experience a variety of views in one day!
Colorado is known for it’s opportunity for adventure! Whether you’re into hiking, climbing, snowshoeing, skiing/snowboarding, camping, backpacking, horseback riding, paddle-boarding, canoeing, river tubing, or whatever else you’re dreaming up, we’ve got it!
In Colorado, it’s completely legal to marry yourselves! All you need to do is fill out the marriage license. Which means you can keep your guest list down to who you truly want there without worrying about bringing an officiant or witnesses along for the ride.
Check this out for more reasons to elope!
Keep reading to learn more about eloping in Colorado, what to expect, my favorite elopement locations, and the tips and tricks to start planning your own Colorado elopement!
How to Plan a Colorado Elopement
Write down all the ideas you both have in mind, even all the crazy & out there ideas that you aren’t sure are even possible. Dream up your perfect day, then start researching! (Hint: I’ve answered some common questions and listed tons of ideas below)
2. Find an elopement photographer
Now that you have an idea of what your dream day looks like, find a photographer that fits your vision and can help you find the perfect location and plan out the specifics! Living in Colorado, I spend my free time exploring all the awesome hidden spots in this state and can help you bring your dream day to life!
3. Figure out the logistics & details
During the planning stage, we’ll figure out your exact location(s), timeline, other vendors to include, any activities you’d like to experience, and all the other details of your elopement. I have plenty of experience guiding my couples through this process and would be thrilled to help you too!
4. Make it official
Time for the fun part – getting you two married!! Thankfully Colorado makes it pretty easy to get a marriage license and make everything legal, so you both get to focus on the amazing experience of eloping!
When to Elope in Colorado
Colorado has some of the most gorgeous golden fall colors you can find, with plenty of aspen trees all throughout the state. The exact timing of the color changes varies with altitude/location and differs every year, but you can normally expect fall colors in mid-September to mid-October in the mountain areas close to Denver.
Best Months: September – October
Spring in Colorado gives you a nice mix of winter and summer depending on where/what altitude you explore. While the weather is significantly warmer compared to winter, you can still find snowy trails at higher altitudes, perfect for skiing and snowshoeing without the freezing cold temps. As we near the end of spring, you’ll begin to see wildflowers popping up around the state as well!
Best Months: March – June
Warm weather, sunshine, and late sunsets – summer is the perfect time for hiking, camping, and full day adventures. It can get pretty toasty, especially in July and August, but the temperature is always a little cooler and pretty dang perfect in the mountains. Summer is also the most reliable/consistent season for good weather conditions (AKA no need to worry about surprise snowstorms).
Best Months: June – September
If you’re ready for the snow and biting cold temps, the winter landscapes around Colorado are some of the most gorgeous sights to elope in. Also perfect if you’re looking to do any winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing!
Best Months: November – March
Top 10 Places to Elope in Colorado in 2023
These are some of the best places to elope in Colorado (in no particular order), but I’ve also found plenty of lesser known spots to explore too! As your elopement photographer, I’ll guide you towards the best locations that fit what you’re looking for. In the meantime, this list has plenty of location inspo to get you started!
Rocky Mountain National Park
RMNP is one of the most popular places to elope in Colorado with mountains, alpine lakes, rivers, waterfalls, pine forests, and plenty of wildlife. The park offers designated ceremony spaces that you can reserve with a $300 permit. Group sizes are in general restricted to no more than 30 people, although many of the sites have lower limits.
Garden Of The Gods
Garden of the Gods, in Colorado Springs, is a beautiful park with plenty of trails winding through red rock formations and views of Pikes Peak. The park has designated ceremony sites for up to 40 people, and although the sites are non-reservable, they are free to use and don’t require a permit!
Loveland Pass is a gorgeous high alpine pass, open year-round, with stunning 360-degree views right from the road! You can visit the summit area or explore one of the many trails to have a more private experience away from other visitors.
Located in Aspen, Maroon Bells is famous for its stunning sunrise alpenglow. Maroon Bells Amphitheater is reservable for ceremonies with up to 50 guests, although I recommend reserving the space regardless of guest count for privacy.
Sapphire Point Overlook
This overlook in Summit County (between Keystone and Breckenridge) offers views of Dillon Reservoir and the surrounding mountain ranges. It’s a handicap accessible site (only a 3 minute walk from the parking lot), and can fit up to 35 people. You can reserve Sapphire Point up to 6 months in advance with a $120 permit.
Officer’s Gulch is a gorgeous, accessible lake in Summit County (near Frisco) right off of I-70. It has an easy, level trail that goes around the lake, some views of the Ten Mile Range, and pockets of aspens that change colors around late September/early October.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
The sand dunes in southern Colorado are an incredible place to explore with miles of sand dunes surrounded by mountains – definitely one of the most unique spots in the state. The park requires a $200 wedding permit.
Located in Golden, Lookout Mountain (along with the nearby Windy Saddle Park) offers epic views without needing to travel far from Denver or hike at all! There are plenty of overlooks in the area to explore as well besides the view from the top.
Wedding Venues For Intimate Weddings
The last two locations on this list are actually wedding venues in Colorado. They offer stunning views, private spots to explore so you can still have that elopement feel, and are perfect if you’d like to invite more guests to your intimate wedding!
Mountain View Ranch
Mountain View Ranch in Pine, Colorado is a gorgeous venue with getting-ready cabins, a large reception hall, outdoor ceremony spaces, and so many stunning areas to explore including a lake, rustic barn, and wooded areas with mountain views.
Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort
This hot springs resort in Nathrop, Colorado (between Salida and Buena Vista) has an outdoor, wooded ceremony space with mountain views in the background, a stunning reception hall, and an open field nearby with 360-degree mountain views. And the best part, you can spend the rest of your time relaxing in the resort’s hot springs!
How Does Self-Solemnization Work?
Self-solemnization means two people can legally marry themselves without needing signatures from other parties or witnesses. You and your partner can officiate your own wedding, and your signatures are the only ones needed on the marriage license to make everything legal! Since Colorado is one of the states where self-solemnization is allowed, as long as you obtain a Colorado marriage license (from any county), you’re all good!
How Much Does an Elopement Cost?
Technically, all you need to get married in Colorado is the $30 marriage license, but assuming you’d like a little more pomp and celebration for your big day, you can expect to spend anywhere from $5000-15000. Check out the table below for what you can expect to spend on common vendors and items. The ranges listed below are based on what my average couple spends, but exact amounts will differ greatly based on what you have planned.
|$2500 – 7000
|$200 – 600
|Hair and Makeup Artist
|$200 – 400
|$100 – 300
|Travel/Lodging (from out of state)
|$500 – 2000
|Wedding Dress Attire
|$500 – 4000
|$200 – 2000
|$50 – 400
|$4280 – 14730
Do I Need to Hire a Planner?
Most elopement photographers will help with a lot of the planning portion as well (but not every photographer offers planning services, so be sure to double check if this is something important to you). As your photographer I can help you find the perfect location(s), research permits, recommend vendors and activities in the area, and put together your timeline.
However, if you would like someone to actually book all your additional vendors for you, keep track of all the contracts, and coordinate any extra details, a planner might an additional vendor to look into!
Can I Invite Family & Friends?
Yep! Many outdoor locations allow up to 10-15 guests, and there are plenty of reservable sites for up to 30-40 guests. Plenty of my couples also opt to have a private ceremony before joining their guests at an AirBnB or event space for dinner and partying! There are plenty of ways to incorporate family and friends in your elopement for all or part of your day!
Can I Have a Private Ceremony & Big Reception
Yes! Many of my couples choose to have a private elopement to exchange vows and have a “just us” experience. Then, either later that same day or on an entirely different date, they’ll have a larger reception to celebrate with their family and friends. Plenty of my out-of-state couples travel to Colorado for their elopement then have a more traditional reception in their home state a few months later!
Do We Need to Hike to Elope?
Not at all! You don’t need to be adventurous, hike, or do any physically-intense activities during your elopement. In fact, I would be more than happy to plan out a fun-filled, chill, relaxing day for you with great views and meaningful experiences. Some of the more relaxed activities my couples have chosen include driving up to gorgeous overlooks, eating donuts by a lake, strolling through an aspen grove, and having an intimate, 5-course meal at their AirBnB specially created by a private chef. Your day can be whatever you want it to be!
Hi! I’m Katrina
I’ve helped plenty of couples both from out-of-state and local to Colorado plan out their dream Rocky Mountain elopement, and I’d love to help you too!
If you’d like to start chatting about everything you’re dreaming up and see if we’d be a good fit, reach out below!