Everything you need to know about planning a Colorado elopement
When it comes to Elopements, Colorado provides some of the most stunning backdrops ever for you and your partner to have a beautiful and intimate day to remember. We all know that large weddings can be beautiful and amazing, but it's not always the right choice for every couple. My passion is creating and curating gorgeous, intimate, personal, and impossible-to-forget Elopements for incredible couples.
Planning Your Colorado Elopement - Pick a Location!
One of the best parts of choosing to have a Colorado Elopement is being able to select from a wide variety of locations for your ceremony. Whether it’s just you and your partner, or a more intimate group, you generally have more flexibility on when and where you can exchange your vows (like after a remote hike through the woods to say your “I dos” at the top of a mountain). Before selecting a location for your wedding, it’s important to determine if there are any park fees or permits required depending on your group size. This information is usually available from the local city government or recreation department, but feel free to ask me and I can do some of the ground-work, too!
Popular locations for a Colorado Elopement
Great Sand Dunes National Park: Located in south-central Colorado, the Great Sand Dunes features over 30 square miles of the tallest sand dunes in North America. Nestled at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this location is absolutely breathtaking. Begin your day by getting ready at a near-by campsite, and have your first-looks at a slot-canyon waterfall, Zapata Falls.
Lake Isabelle: Located in the Indian Lake Wilderness the lake located at the pinnacle of the 6.3 round trip hike is a view worth working towards. Lake Isabelle is ideal for more adventurous couples and is easily accessible year round.
Rocky Mountain National Park: With plenty of locations to choose from Rocky Mountain National Park is the perfect ceremony location for couples who love the mountains. Some locations are easily accessible by car while others require a quick hike into the woods. When selecting an elopement location in Rocky Mountain National Park it’s important to follow the rules set by park services. Couples must request a wedding permit ($200-$250) for their specific location, and adhere to specific group sizes outlined by the park. A full list of options is available on the NPS website. No matter where in the park you choose to share your vows the views surrounding you will be spectacular.
Other Locations: Ask me! Having traveled all over Colorado, and camped/hiked in many different scenic spots, I have a wealth of suggestions for your big day!
decide what elements are important to you!
With Elopements, it’s all about YOU! You get to pick the where, when, who and what; you get to decide which (if any) traditions you’d like to bring into your day, and what new traditions you’d like to start!
popular elements to include in your elopement:
First-Look: This is one of my absolute favorite moments that a couple can share together before they have their ceremony; you’re both dressed to the nines, possibly standing back-to-back, you turn around and see your partner for the first time on this monumental day (cue the tears). In order for this to work, plan on getting ready in spots where you can’t see each other (on opposite sides of a Jeep, in separate rooms at a cabin, on either side of a boulder, etc).
Vows: Writing your vows and reciting them to each other is a once-in-a-marriage gift that you can give to each other. It’s one of the traditions that I lean towards the most, and it can provide necessary structure and flow around your ceremony.
First-dance: Dancing with your partner for the first time is always wonderful, but with Elopements, it can be breath-taking. Image that you’ve just recited your vows on an overlook, and watched the sun disappear behind a peak; you’ve picked out a song for this, and it begins playing on a portable speaker as you sway hand-in-hand, surrounded by nature and one you love.
Cake-cutting: I’m all about bringing props and fun things to Elopements, and a cake is one of my favorites! Work with a local baker, and pick out a small, easily transportable cake. Pack along a small picnic set, and cut into this sweet treat to finish and finalize your perfect day!
Bottle-pop: popping a bottle of champagne (or sparkling cider!) to celebrate is one of my favorite things to photograph; it’s fun, playful, and delicious!
Other: Bringing outside items that are special to you and your partner for your Elopement can take your day to the next level: hammocks (let’s set one up and take some cute photos of you and your person!), fishing gear, climbing gear, fun masks (Darth Vader helmet, anyone?), DOGS, the list goes on. Basically, if it’s important to you and you want it to be a part of your day, let’s do it!
plan your outfits!
For Elopements, since you’ve simplified the entire process of getting married, the one thing you should absolutely elevate is what you’re going to wear! Elevating your outfit means deciding with intention; if you’re a dress-wearer, wear a flowy dress with layers! When you hit the trail, we’ll tie it up and keep it out of the way, and when we get to our beautiful spot, you can let that dress flow with the wind! If you’re a suit-wearer, in my personal opinion, the most important part is getting it tailored; you can take an affordable, budget suit, and once it’s tailored you’ll have an outfit that looks like it was made for you. Collaborate with your partner on your outfits, have colors that coordinate, and choose personal details to take them to the next level (cuff-links, antique jewelry, items of importance, etc). Finish off your look with custom floral arrangements like boutonnieres, bouquets, and flower crowns from a local florist; or even order dried arrangements from Etsy!
Obtain a marriage license!
No matter if you are planning a big wedding or a small elopement, you need a marriage license to officially wed. Marriage licenses can be picked up at any county clerk or recorders office without a wait time. Both parties must be present with photo id’s and the $30 fee. You do not need to obtain a license in the same county as your ceremony, or where you currently live.
Colorado marriage licenses are only valid for 30 days so we recommend you pick yours up a few days before the wedding date. In Colorado it is not required that an officiant or member of the clergy perform the ceremony. As a matter of fact, in Colorado you do not need an officiant at all! Your marriage license is official from the moment you complete the certificate and mail it back to the country office for processing. Pro-tip: it’s also legal to have your furry friend stamp their paw on the certificate as a witness!
Select your wedding vendors!
For a Colorado Elopement you may choose to do your whole Elopement DIY (except for your photographer, of course ;) ), or you may decide to work with vendors! Vendors can be incredibly helpful in customizing a creative and intentional day by working with you and discussing your vision. Some vendors you may want to work with are: a florist, a bakery, a videographer, and an officiant. One of the best things about choosing to elope is that you don’t need a ton of vendors to create a beautiful and memorable celebration, but working carefully with the right people can give life to your special vision!
Need suggestions? Please reach out to me and I can share my favorite and most talented folks to work with!
I love working with couples planning Colorado Elopements and am happy to be your resource and guide as you plan the perfect celebration for your love!
If you have any questions about elopement packages, or would like recommendations for locations or other vendors to work with, please reach out via my contact page!