Want to elope in Colorado? With an overwhelming amount of options, it can seem intimidating. Continue reading for my best tips and tricks for celebrating your marriage!

first kiss

What is an Elopement?

Elopements have evolved over time. They used to be a secretive and shameful way of getting married. Not anymore! Now, they are an intimate way of celebrating your commitment to the person you want to spend forever with. They can happen anywhere in the world from a courthouse, to a mountain, to the beach. Eloping is choosing an intimate way of celebration. You can read more about elopements here!

Why Elope in Colorado?

Colorado is epic! There are Sandunes, 15 different mountain ranges, alpine lakes, and forests. In the summer there are beautiful wildflowers, and in the fall hues of gold are everywhere. Options are endless. Colorado marriage laws are pretty lax. It is one of the few states where you can marry yourself. Did you know, your dog can sign your marriage certificate?

Hiking accross a river in wedding attire

Colorado Elopement Locations

With all of the options, how will you choose a location to elope in? There is something for everyone in Colorado. Here are a few of my favorites!

  • Rocky Mountain National Park: With 265,807 acres (that’s 514 square miles!), RMNP is a popular choice when planning an elopement. It has everything! Big lakes, short hikes, and more strenuous hikes. RMNP is busy in the summer. Getting a permit can be difficult, but the views are worth it!
  • Maroon Bells: The Maroon Bells are probably one of the most photographed spots in Colorado. And, there is a good reason for that! With their jagged peaks, jaw-dropping wildflowers in the summer, and stunning fall colors The Maroon Bells are stunning. As of May 2023, a permit costs around $200 and can be purchased up to a year in advance.
  • St. Mary’s Glacier: St. Mary’s Glacier is only an hour from Denver, and it is beautiful if you are ok with a hike! You don’t need a permit to get married at Mary’s Glacier. There is always snow on it, so it is also a great option if you want to check off July skiing/snowboarding from your bucket list.
  • Telluride: Did you know Telluride is ranked as America’s #1 small town? Nestled in the San Juan mountain range, there are endless possibilities. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is close as well.
  • Sand Dunes: This location is perfect for a unique elopement. They have some of the tallest dunes in America. There are specific wedding locations and permits required for eloping there because it is a national park.

What Time of Year Should I Elope in Colorado?

It is no secret that Colorado is beautiful! I think the best times to elope are summer, fall, and winter. Spring can be unpredictable with rain/snow showers. Here is what I love about the other 3 seasons:

Summer: Summer is my all-time favorite season in Colorado. The weather is *usually* stunning. It’s perfect hiking weather, and wildflowers are in full bloom.

Fall: The weather starts to get crisp, and there is something nostalgic about a fall day in Colorado. It’s perfect for hot cocoa and exploring. Leaf peeping is beautiful too. Fire bans also start to lift in the fall, so a campfire is another favorite fall activity of mine!

Winter: If you like winter sports like snowshoeing or skiing then a winter elopement is perfect. Winter has a lot of great options if you like the cold. The mountains are extra beautiful with a fresh blanket of snow, and there are a bunch of winter activities to do while eloping.

Colorado Elopement Checklist

So, you decided to elope in Colorado… Congrats! You are about to have the best time ever! Now what? There are some things you need to do to get ready for a Colorado elopement.

  1. Pick a time of year to elope: What backdrop are you looking for? Do you want snow-capped mountains or fields of wildflowers?
  2. Hire a photographer that specializes in elopements: A photographer should be able to help you throughout the planning process. That’s why it’s important to find a photographer who specializes in elopements. They will know how to help you best.
  3. Pick a location: Picking a location can be difficult depending on the time of year, location, and other factors. Some areas have a limited number of permits, other areas might not be accessible all year round. Again, this is something your photographer can help you with.
  4. Find Lodging and book flights: It can be anything from a simple Airbnb to a fancy hotel.
  5. Pick an Adventure: A lot of couples choose to do something fun and extravagant on their elopement. It could be a hike, a jeep tour, a helicopter ride, etc. The sky is the limit!
  6. Hire Vendors: Some couples want a catered meal or beautiful flowers on their elopement.
  7. Apply for a marriage license: Colorado is an easy place to get married. All you have to do is go to the county clerk’s office in the county where you will be getting married. You might need an appointment. It’s important to find that out.
  8. Get Married: Have the best day, ever. The End.
bride and groom looking at camera

Elopement Packing List

The things you will need for an elopement are wayyyyyy different than what you would need for a traditional wedding. Here are some of the things you don’t want to forget:

  • Comfortable Attire
  • Sturdy Shoes
  • Water and Snacks
  • Marriage License
  • Rings
  • Vows
  • Optional: Flowers/Hair/Makeup

Some other things I suggest (depending on location/activities) include a headlamp, gloves, hat, sunscreen, warm clothing

signing marriage certificate

How Much Does it Cost to Elope in Colorado?

Elopeing in Colorado can vary in price. Here is a short breakdown of costs:

$30 – Colorado Marriage License
$500 to $3000 – Accommodation depending on your comfort level and location
$500 to $5000 for your elopement clothes – dresses, suits, and everything in between
$1200 to $10000 – Telluride elopement photographer
$500 to $2500 – Additional vendors and experiences
$400 to $900 – Food for the elopement day. This includes snacks, dinner, drinks, etc.
$3,130 to $21,500 depending on your style.

Let’s Go!

Are you ready to start planning your elopement? Let’s get in touch and get ready for your best day ever! You can check out my pricing here, or send me a message and we’ll get the ball rolling! I can’t wait to photograph your day!

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