Couples travel from all over to tie the knot amongst the mountain peaks, pine forests, and wildflower meadows of Colorado. It’s an absolutely epic destination for outdoor adventures, so if your dream day includes the great outdoors instead of a traditional venue, elope in Colorado!
In this guide, I’ll explain how to elope in Colorado, and tell you everything you need to know to plan your unique wedding day. From the best places to elope in Colorado to marriage laws, I’ve got you covered!
Before we start talking about elopement planning, here are some things to know about Colorado!
The scenery and gorgeous natural beauty are a huge reason why so many couples elope in Colorado – but there’s another big factor that makes this one of the best places to elope!
Colorado is one of the few states that allows self solemnization. This means you don’t need an officiant or witnesses to get married – the only signatures required on the marriage license are from the two of you! This is amazing for elopements, giving you complete freedom to get married in whatever way feels right to you, with total privacy.
Colorado is high above sea level. No matter where you are in the state, it’s possible to experience altitude sickness, but you need to be especially careful in the mountains! The high elevation can be a shock to people who aren’t used to it, so it’s important to give yourself time to acclimate to the change if you travel for your elopement, and to be aware that on hikes and adventures, you may need to take it slower than usual.
Colorado is a beautiful place – and with increasing visitation to it’s parks and outdoor areas, it’s important to make sure it stays that way! Leave No Trace (LNT) is a set of principles to guide how we recreate outdoors. Getting familiar with them and keeping them in mind for your elopement will ensure that these places stay open!
Here are the 7 principles:
Colorado’s scenery is just breathtaking, and when you choose your elopement location, you can pick from mountains, valleys, waterfalls, meadows, and more! Here are some of the best places to elope in Colorado, and ideas to get you inspired.
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular places to elope in Colorado. It’s stunning scenery is awe inspiring, and the backdrops you can choose from offer some of the most epic views in the country.
Eloping here can be competitive – permits are required, and only a limited number of them are issued. You’ll have to apply early to ensure you get your spot!
Throughout Colorado, you’ll find cute towns tucked at the base of the Rocky Mountains. In the winter, they turn into ski resorts and cozy getaways, and in the summer, they’re a gateway to Colorado’s hiking trails and outdoor adventures. Some of my favorite mountain towns include Breckenridge, Telluride, Aspen, and Crested Butte.
Though Colorado is best known for the epic summits and mountain peaks, there are also unique desert landscapes! Great Sand Dunes National Park is a remote park, with rolling sand dunes surrounded by mountains. At Garden of the Gods State Park, you’ll find red rock formations and towering rock spires amongst the desert. These desert destinations (and more) make for a unique elopement backdrop!
There are several national forests around Colorado, offering less developed, more private elopement locations than Rocky Mountain National Park. The San Juan Mountains offer some of the best views, but you have countless miles of trails and overlooks to choose from in the national forests.
Colorado’s weather is known for being dramatic and a little unpredictable – and when you elope will depend on the season.
Colorado winters are harsh and cold, but the snow that covers the state is great for skiing! There are countless ski resorts and cozy lodges in the mountain towns of Colorado, so eloping in this winter wonderland can be a great way to avoid some crowds.
In the spring, the lower elevation areas of Colorado can be great for exploring. The snow melts and wildflowers bloom, and this is the best time to see waterfalls. Keep in mind that higher elevation areas will likely be covered in snow until July!
Summer is by far the most popular time to visit Colorado. The trails are snow free, and roads to higher elevation areas are open! Be prepared to dodge crowds on the trails by eloping on a weekday. Summer also brings midday thunderstorms, so plan to have your ceremony in the morning, or in the evening!
As the crowds leave and the leaves change, fall is a beautiful time to elope in Colorado. Snow can start accumulating as easily as October, so in higher elevation areas, you may need a backup plan.
Getting legally married in Colorado is easy, which is why so many couples elope here! Self solemnization means all you need is a marriage license and each other – no officiant or witnesses required.
You need to get a marriage license in the state of Colorado, and this can be done at any county clerk’s office. Denver County allows you to complete the process online – but only if you live in Colorado. Marriage licenses can’t be mailed outside the state, so if you’re traveling for your elopement, you will need to go in person. You can still apply online, then make an appointment to pick up the marriage license at the county clerk’s office.
There is no waiting period, and marriage licenses expire after 35 days.
As your Colorado elopement photographer, I’m here to help you find the perfect place to elope, ensure you get the right permits, and create a timeline for the day – along with anything else you could possibly need for a stress free, meaningful wedding day.
If you’re ready to start planning, contact me to learn more about Colorado elopement packages!