If you’re planning to elope in Colorado, welcome! I’m Claire, a Colorado-based wedding and elopement photographer with a passion for serving couples just like you. With 5 years of experience helping couples plan their big day, I have so many tips, tricks, and experiences that I’ve used to compile this jam-packed resource. Sit back, relax, and learn all about how to plan the Colorado elopement of your dreams!
As a Colorado elopement photographer, I might be a little biased! But the natural beauty and scenery of this beautiful state are truly hard to beat. You have a plethora of diverse landscapes at your fingertips, ranging from mountain ranges to alpine lakes to lush valleys. And, if you don’t want to elope completely outdoors, there is a vast array of small wedding venues where you can host an intimate group of your favorite people. The options for your Colorado elopement are endless!
Along with the gorgeous landscapes, Colorado also offers a sense of seasonal charm. No matter what weather you imagine for your elopement, you can most likely find it here! The summers are beautiful with mild temperatures and long daylight hours, the fall brings vibrant foliage, and the winter offers a snow-covered setting for your big day. And don’t even get me started on the wildflowers in the springtime!
Lastly, Colorado’s marriage laws are objectively lax compared to other locations in the United States. Obtaining your marriage license is a very simple process (more on that later!), self-solemnization is an option, and you have tons of flexibility if you do want to hire an officiant.
Now that you know all of the reasons couples like you choose to elope in Colorado, let’s move onto the legal requirements of getting married here!
I have an entire blog post explaining how to obtain a marriage license in Colorado, but I’ll give you a brief breakdown here.
Any County Clerk’s office in Colorado can issue your marriage license, so I recommend choosing one that’s close to your lodging or elopement location. Some counties require online or in-person appointments, so it’s important to double-check the policies before starting the process! The first step will be completing the online marriage license application and then scheduling your appointment with the County Clerk’s office.
During your appointment, you’ll need some basic information about each lover, such as the date of your elopement, the location, information about any previous marriages, and your parents’ birth location. You’ll also need to bring a valid form of identification (required) and social security number (if you have one!). Once you’ve paid the $35 fee and your license is issued, you have 35 days to get married and sign it. You are more than welcome to sign it yourself after your ceremony, or you can have an officiant or witness do that for you (if you’re having one/them). There is no waiting period in Colorado, so you can tie the knot as soon as your license has been issued!
In case you’re new here, Claire Hunt Photography is all for you celebrating their marriage however the heck you want to! A huge aspect of this is personalizing your elopement ceremony to resonate with your love story. Think about this: If you could elope any way you wanted to, with no regard for what others expect, how would you do it?
Would you write your own vows and read them together lakeside at sunrise?
Would you hike to the top of a mountain and declare your love for each other among the clouds?
Would you say “I do” surrounded by your closest friends and family at a secluded property in the forest?
Whatever feels authentic to you, I’m already an advocate for. Once you’ve decided on how you want your ceremony to commence, it’s time to choose a location!
Breckenridge is a stunning elopement location in Colorado for a multitude of reasons! It sits right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, providing a breathtaking backdrop for your wedding or elopement ceremony. The majestic mountain peaks, scenic landscapes, and charming alpine setting will do nothing but make your day truly memorable! And if you choose to get married in Breckenridge between the months of June & August, you’ll be surrounded by the most beautiful wildflowers like we were during this elopement. Trust me, you can never go wrong here!
Estes Park is right at the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park and gives that quaint mountain town charm that you can’t get anywhere else. You and your partner will have the best time exploring the downtown area, local shops, and little eateries! Aside from the amenities and welcoming community, the scenery is just to die for. The pristine alpine lakes, cascading waterfalls, and abundant wildlife make Estes Park one of my top favorite Colorado elopement locations!
Did you know that Colorado is home to a national park full of seemingly endless sand dunes? Of course, this isn’t your typical mountain backdrop that you see in Colorado, but it provides a neutral backdrop and a unique setting for your elopement day. Great Sand Dunes National Park is home to the tallest sand dunes in North America, creating a visually striking and surreal landscape! Not to mention the sunsets are unbelievably dreamy and romantic – if you need proof, check out this styled elopement!
Colorado Springs is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in Colorado such as Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods, which just so happen to be elopement location options as well! There are several venues and outdoor locations that couples like you would love here in the Springs. If you’re having guests attend your Colorado elopement, this location is especially convenient due to the regional airport and easy access to major cities like Denver. Additionally, the city offers a variety of accommodation options ranging from cute little boutique hotels to scenic mountain lodges!
Lofthouse Venue is one of my all-time favorite venues in Colorado Springs. I recently shot an elopement there with Kate and Alex and fell in love! It’s perfect for an intimate elopement with your closest friends & family. This private, versatile space tucked in the woods is modern and simplistic, creating a blank slate for your intimate wedding or elopement. It also doubles as an Airbnb that houses up to 5 guests overnight!
Ouray is a small, intimate town known as the Switzerland of America due to its stunning mountainous landscapes! You’ll feel right at home when you’re immersed in its relaxed and friendly atmosphere. While this town is tucked away in the mountains, it still remains accessible, and the drive there is one for the books! After your wedding ceremony, you’ll want to pamper yourself with a soak in the infamous natural hot springs that are readily available.
Idaho Springs is one of the best-kept hidden gems of Colorado! It’s full of Wild West history and feels like a time capsule to the past. This location is where the Colorado Gold Rush started way back in 1858, and the town still embodies that rich history. The mountain peaks and lush forests make Idaho Springs a beautiful place to elope in Colorado!
If you want to hose your intimate wedding or elopement in Idaho Springs, look no further than Blackstone Rivers Ranch. This elegant, riverfront venue has everything you could ask for! Located on the Rocky Mountain Front Range just 35 minutes west of Denver, you won’t believe that you’re so close to the city while feeling so secluded. And to make things as convenient as can be, they recommend you and your guests stay at Water & Stone Retreat, just 1 minute away from the ranch!
When you elope in Colorado will have a large impact on where you elope and how your photos will look. When you envision your elopement, what do you picture? Do you see sunny skies and wildflower fields? Or are icy glaciers and snow-capped mountains in frame?
Here is a brief breakdown of what you can expect during each season in Colorado:
As a disclaimer, it’s important to note that the weather in Colorado can greatly vary depending on the elevation of your elopement locations. Generally, the higher you go, the colder and snowier it gets. Mountain regions experience much colder temperatures (and higher chances of snowfall!) compared to lower regions such as Denver and the eastern plains! Keep this in mind when choosing your elopement location and date that you want to get married.
In the springtime, you can expect a mix of rain, snow, and occasional thunderstorms in Colorado. April and May are known as the “transition months” with decreasing snowfall and increasing rain in the lower elevations. This is when ski season typically ends in the mountains! The last thing to note is that thunderstorms are usually common in the late spring, particularly in the afternoon and evening.
Summer is such a beautiful time to elope in Colorado! In Denver and the eastern plains, the temperatures usually hit the 80s and 90s range at the peak of summer. In other regions, you can expect a bit cooler weather with highs around the 70s and 80s.
One of the things that make Colorado summers stand out is the lack of humidity, which can be great news for couples wanting to get married during this time of year! That makes the warm weather much more bearable compared to other states in the summer. Higher elevations do offer cooler temperatures, but the chance of those afternoon thunderstorms is more probable as well. So, if you want to get married in the mountains in the summer, I recommend doing so in the morning just to be safe or be open to the rain if it happens!
Need inspo for a sunrise elopement in Colorado? Check out Kate and Alex’s Elopement at Lofthouse + Red Rock Canyon Open Space!
Naturally, fall in Colorado brings cooler temperatures, but usually not until October and November near Denver. In higher elevations, fall begins in September and this is one of the main highlights in autumn – the stunning display of foliage. The mountains and higher elevations offer a breathtaking arrow of colors as the aspen trees turn vibrant shades of gold, orange, and red. It’s truly a sight that you don’t want to miss! The peak fall foliage season usually occurs in mid to late September in higher elevations, but it can vary depending on the elevation and weather conditions.
Colorado is renowned for its abundant snowfall in the winter, making it a popular destination for couples wanting a winter wonderland-themed elopement! There are endless winter sports and activities to partake in during this time, so if you and your lover are adventurous, this would be another perk of eloping in this season. Your elopement location can be a bit more limited, as winter storms are prevalent and can cause travel disruptions and closures of mountain passes. It’s essential to monitor the weather forecasts and road conditions if you do choose to elope during Colorado’s winter season!
Now that you know when and where to elope in Colorado, let’s talk about the logistics of planning a seamless elopement. Although you’re not planning a full-scale wedding, there are still several moving parts to consider! Start thinking about the following questions for your Colorado elopement:
Luckily, my team and I are here to support you throughout the entire planning process! With over 5 years of experience as a Colorado wedding photography team, we’ve got more than enough experience under our belts to offer helpful, personalized guidance.
Speaking of hiring vendors, there are a few things I recommend keeping in mind when building your dream elopement vendor team. First, though, here is a list of vendors that you might need for your big day!
Once you’ve decided on your budget and priorities, you can start the search for your dream Colorado elopement vendors. You will most likely come across a wide range of vendors online, but unfortunately, not all are created equal. Be sure to take your time reading each website, look for testimonials, and ensure their values align with yours! I am also more than happy to recommend vendors who my team and I have personally worked with.
Best coffee shop: Mojo’s Coffee
You don’t have to skimp on the details when eloping. But, the possibilities can be endless, and we’ve seen that actually stresses couples out! In my blog “How to Elope,” I give you the first steps to take and the very first one is to stop and dream. Once you know what you would love for your dream day to look like, you can start planning!
Just as I’ve mentioned I’m not trying to hike more than 3+ miles on your day, if that’s not what you’re about, then don’t feel the pressure to hike. There are many beautiful locations that are easy to access that I love to recommend to my couples. Do things on your day that you’ll actually enjoy – not what you feel like you have to do!
In Colorado, especially if you’re going to a higher elevation, you never know what to expect with the weather. While I’ve given you many tips above on the seasons, the weather can be unpredictable. To avoid this stressing you out, have backup plans in place with your photographer and planner, or just be ready to embrace it and make the most of it! That’s what we will do.
Congratulations, friend! You have all the tools you need to plan your dream elopement in Colorado. Now, all you have to do is make things official! To get in touch with my team and me about continuing our journey together, head on over to our contact form and we’ll be in touch with you soon. I can’t wait to chat with you!