In this guide, we are going to break down and go over everything you’ve been wondering about…. The best places to elope, Colorado marriage laws, the best time of year to elope here, how to plan your Colorado elopement, advice for choosing your Colorado elopement location, and finally, we will go over our elopement packages and everything you get when you hire us to be your Colorado Elopement Photographers. Are you ready? Let’s do this!
Why elope in Colorado?
Well, it’s pretty much the coolest state. It’s got epic and unique mountain ranges, crystal clear alpine lakes, raging rivers, views for days… shall we go on? We can definitely go on. Basically, those rugged, gorgeous photos you imagine when you picture “adventure elopement” are all right here. Now, all that needs to be right here is you.
There are other great reasons to elope here besides the landscapes. On the marriage front, Colorado has lax marriage laws making it the perfect state for an elopement. Marriage licenses are cheap and easy to get at the nearest county clerk’s office. And Colorado allows self solemnization, which means you don’t need witnesses OR an officiant! You can marry the shit out of yourselves all day long.
But beyond your marriage and your stellar elopement, there is so much to do in Colorado. Denver has a big city feel with tons of restaurants, breweries, and shops to explore. Then there are the dozens and dozens of cute little mountain towns: Vail, Aspen, Breckenridge, Buena Vista, Grand Lake, Steamboat, just to name a few. There are adventures of all varieties to be had!
Colorado’s mountains get the spotlight, but it actually has tons of other gorgeous landscapes. There’s the wide open prairie, deep canyons, lush green plateaus, high desert terrain, grasslands, and full on deserts! Ever heard of the Great Sand Dunes? Or the Colorado National Monument? This is stuff you’d expect to see in the Sahara or Utah, but it’s right here in the Centennial State.
Enough reasons? Let’s do this Colorado elopement!
What does it mean to elope?
Traditional weddings aren’t for everyone. Deciding on table linens and decor and party favors makes some people (like you, me, and Alex) lose interest and change the topic. It’s not that we’re not excited to get married (of course we are!!!). We just aren’t excited about the idea of having a traditional wedding day. We always ask our couples on the phone, “Why did you decide a traditional wedding wasn’t for you?”, and we hear things like, “we’re not big on to-do’s”, “I hate being the center of attention”, “having an adventure elopement is way more us, it just feels like us, and it’s what we want, we don’t want a traditional wedding”, (all of those quotes are literal quotes I’ve taken notes on during a phone call with our couples). It’s really no surprise that elopements are becoming more and more popular. It’s about time we are given a choice on how to get married! So, what exactly does it mean to elope? There are plenty of different variations of the definition of “elopement” floating around right now. Just know that if you’re wanting your wedding day to be 100% focused on your relationship, with fewer guests, and less “stuff and fluff”, you’re here for the right reasons. If you know your values don’t align with what a traditional wedding day offers, let’s start brainstorming a wedding day you can get behind, because we can make that day happen for you, and deliver the elopement photos you’re dreaming of.
What to Expect When Eloping in Colorado
Have you ever heard the rumor that Colorado gets 300 days of sunshine a year? It’s true. It’s also not very humid here. When it gets hot, it’s a dry heat making it super comfortable for being outdoors.
Especially if you’re heading into the mountains. Even if you’re staying at lower elevations, still expect to be at least at 5,000 ft. As soon as you hit Denver, you’re a mile above sea level. It’s great if you already know how your body reacts to high elevations, but if not you should prepare for the worst.
Not only do we get 300 days of sunshine a year, but you’re also closer to the sun. Sunscreen and sunglasses are a must!
Maybe it’s the pot, maybe it’s all the endorphins because everyone here is so active. Either way, Colorado has some of the friendliest people!
Crystal clear rivers
When the weather starts to warm up come spring and summer, the snow starts to melt off the mountains and down to the rivers. The rivers here are crystal clear.
Turquoise blue alpine lakes
There are so many to choose from! If eloping in Colorado next to a turquoise blue alpine lake is what you’re dreaming of, let’s make it happen! These lakes in pictures just don’t do them justice. You really do have to see them in real life to believe the colors are real.
All 4 Seasons
Colorado has all 4 seasons. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, and then a little bit more of winter. Colorado really doesn’t half-ass any season either. In the winter you have snowfall with a huge list of adventures to choose from. Snowshoeing, snowmobiling, snowboarding or skiing, ice fishing. In the springtime, the waterfalls are flowing. Summer in Colorado is my favorite. The wildflowers are magical and can be found all over. Fall is my second favorite when the aspens turn golden yellow.
If you’re thinking about eloping with your dog, there’s no question whether it’ll be a good idea or not. Bring your dog! People here are super dog friendly, and there are a ton of restaurants that are dog friendly as well.
How to Elope in Colorado
If you’re wondering how to elope in Colorado, chances are you don’t need anyone to tell you that you can make your wedding day as exhilarating and magical as you dream. But how do you make your dream come true? Planning your elopement doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and in fact, at In Love and Adventure, we believe that planning can be fun! We are local Colorado photographers specializing in not just wedding photography, but helping you figure out how to elope in Colorado to make it reflect who you are as a couple. We’ll be with you every step of the way to make the most out of your elopement and take advantage of all that Colorado has to offer.
Your wedding should be about the love you share with your partner, and there’s no better place to embrace love and adventure than Colorado. There’s no better resource than an experienced Colorado elopement photographer team — who actually eloped themselves — to help you not only capture your special day but tohelp you with every step of the adventure wedding planning process.
Colorado Marriage Laws – Making it Legit
It turns out that eloping in Colorado is actually pretty simple. Colorado recognizes self solemnization and is one of the few states that do. What is self solemnization? Well for those of you that may not know, self solemnization is where a state actually lets you marry yourselves! No judge, no officiant, and no witnesses are necessary.
While you can still go the route of using officiants and witnesses if you really want to, they are not necessary here in the wonderful state of Colorado. You can even legally have your dog sign as a witness here! It gives you the freedom to choose just how intimate you want your adventure elopement to be. It is one of the many reasons so many elopements take place here, aside from the majestic terrain of course. Sometimes when you ditch the tradition and start making your own rules it can feel overwhelming, so that’s why we made this free resource for coming up with the perfect elopement ceremony script.
Colorado has some of the most relaxed marriage laws, making it the perfect state for couples like you to get married in. Below we go over the best parts about eloping in Colorado.
Permits for Eloping in Colorado
Why do I need a permit when eloping in Colorado?
It’s super important to obtain all of the necessary permits when planning to elope in Colorado. Learn more about Leave No Trace here and why it’s so important to protect our public lands. But with that being said, work with your photographer to see what permits you’ll need to get. There are still some locations within the state that don’t require any permits.
What permits do I need to elope in Colorado?
There are typically two types of permits when it comes to eloping in Colorado. The first is a Special Use Permit. The Special Use Permit usually covers having a legal wedding ceremony in the location you’re in. The second is a Commercial Photography Permit. This permit grants permission to the photographer who is benefiting from taking photos in the location. Not every place will require a permit though. We have the contact info to many of the Park Office’s and it’s usually easy to get permission or obtain a permit. Sometimes it’s not so easy though, National Parks is usually a bit more difficult, but totally doable! Don’t let the word permit scare you!
3 Steps to Planning Your Colorado Elopement
When you decided that eloping was more your style, did it feel like the universe shifted? Did dreaming about your big day start to feel exciting? It did for us too.
Eloping – putting the fun back into wedding planning
You chose to elope to avoid the “to-do’s” of a traditional wedding day and knowing you’re eloping truly makes the process fun and exciting. But, sometimes planning even a low-key elopement can feel overwhelming. So that’s where we come in. Think of us as not only your elopement photographers but the elopement experts you need to lead you through the planning process.
Step 1: Find an elopement photographer
Trust is huge. You have to trust that your elopement photographers are going to be able to lead you through the planning process, lead you through the day, and lead you through the photos on your big day. You need someone who understands how much the experience means to you, as well as how important the photos are. Alex and I eloped, so we understand firsthand how special this is. We have a unique perspective from being on both sides of the process.
Step 2: Deciding your environment
Close your eyes, envision you’re holding your partner’s hand and looking into their eyes as they’re reading their vows to you – what type of scenery is surrounding you? Are you surrounded by tall evergreens? Are you on top of a mountain? What do you smell? What do you hear? Try to be as specific as possible. What are you doing on your day?
Step 3: Nail down the logistics and specifics
Things like how many guests will be there, planning out lodging and travel accommodations, other vendors you might need or getting your marriage license. These are all the nitty-gritty details that we will help you get sorted so you can head off into your adventure with a peace of mind.
Choosing The 3 W’s: Where, What, When
Choosing your exact location is something we will help with, but we do need to know what type of scenery you’re dreaming up, as well as the weather you’re hoping for, or what type of activities you’re wanting to include. For some couples this comes super easy, they’ve always dreamt of a specific scenery. For other couples, this doesn’t come as easy and it does take a bit of time to think through. We always suggest our couples do this one small exercise when trying to decide on the where, what, and when, It’s called The Random Memory Exercise.
The Random Memory Exercise
- Grab your partner, a piece of paper, and a pen. This can be a really fun exercise to turn into a date night! After all, you are deciding on your location! This is super exciting!
- Start off by remembering random memories. It can be anything you two have experienced together. It might sound like this, “Remember that time we…..”
- Try to think of 3-10 Random Memories that you absolutely love looking back on. Days where you two were truly happy, and when you look back on that day you think, “what a really great day.”
- Take notes on what those days looked and felt like. What did you two do? Did you wake up early, or did you sleep in? Who and what were you surrounded by? Were there any elements of the day that made it special? Maybe you two experienced something new, or maybe it was a day filled with familiarity. By doing this, you can start deciding what elements or activities you might want to incorporate into your elopement day.
- Now close your eyes, and imagine yourselves stepping out the door to head to your elopement. Where do you wish you were going? If you could hop in that car and drive anywhere, where would it be? Write these down.
- Still keeping your eyes closed, imagine you’re saying your vows. What is surrounding you? What time of day is it? What’s the weather like? What are you seeing? What are you smelling, hearing, feeling? Try to be as specific as possible. Write this down.
- Now you have a list of activities you might want to include, as well as what the scenery looks like.
When to elope in Colorado
Best time of year to elope in Colorado
Colorado has all 4 seasons, so the type of weather you’re wanting on your wedding day will determine the time of year you should choose.
Does the idea of snow falling while you say your vows excite you? If a winter wonderland is your dream elopement, you can usually find fresh snow somewhere in the state between October to April. The high altitude of Colorado means you are closer to the sun, which makes the sun’s rays feel more intense, keeping you warm and feeling comfortable even while traipsing around in snowshoes.
When most people think of the spring season they’re thinking of blooming flowers, sunshine, and longer days with temperatures that put a smile on your face. But the thing about the Colorado mountains is, it doesn’t usually stop snowing until April, some years even later. Then it takes some time for all that snow to melt. If your heart was set on a springtime calendar date anniversary, you can expect snow to still be on the ground, and on the mountain peaks. But keep in mind, springtime weather in the Rockies is known to be super unpredictable.
Dreaming of a field of fresh wildflowers, blue turquoise lakes, warm sun on your face? Summer elopements in Colorado are our absolute favorite. In the early summer, you can expect the last bits of snow to be melting, seeing patches of snow in the dense parts of the forest. By late summer the wildflowers will be waist-high.
If you’ve never witnessed a sea of golden aspens on a mountainside, consider having your elopement in the fall. It’s about as magical as you can get for an elopement. As your elopement photographers, we will work with you to help you pick the best date for catching the peak fall foliage. Chances are it’ll be early fall. The higher in elevation you go, the sooner the leaves turn, and the sooner snow comes.
Best time of day to elope in Colorado
As photographers, we will always suggest planning around sunrise, or sunset for your elopement. It’s the best time of day to photograph. All of those warm glowy images you see are during golden hour. There’s also a natural phenomenon that occurs in the mountains called alpenglow. Alpenglow is that bright red/orange glow on the mountain peaks right before the sun rises, or before the sun sets. We will work with you to come up with a timeline, and on the day of we will lead you to make sure we’re at the perfect spot at the right time to capture those images you’re dreaming of!
The Best Places to Elope in Colorado
For couples who see the outdoors as their playground
There are so many elopement location options in the state of Colorado. Whether you’re dreaming of jagged mountain peaks, alpine lakes, views that go for miles, cliffs, or sand dunes, there is something for everyone. Super accessible locations that you can drive right up to that still offer incredible mountain views, lakefront ceremony locations where your closest friends and family can tag along, 4WD roads that lead to the top of a mountain, or a pristine alpine lake to have a private ceremony, I mean, the list goes on. No matter what you’re envisioning for your adventure elopement in Colorado, we guarantee it’s here, and your elopement is going to be incredible.
Below you’ll see specific locations, as well as general areas that we love to shoot in. We’ll also list out the best places to elope in Colorado for specific types of scenery or vibes: mountains, lakes, small towns, and the best places to elope if you’re wanting a 4×4 experience! We also keep a secret list that has all of our hidden gems that we keep solely for all of our booked couples who want a “just us” experience. Imagine hiking to an alpine lake, and having it all to yourself. Trust us, it’s as magical as you’re imagining it. Actually, probably more magical than you’re imagining it to be! Our hidden gems list is for the couples who want all the magic on their elopement day. The list below is to inspire, to get you two PUMPED, and to get your ideas flowing of where you want to be for your big day.
There are so many choices for your Colorado elopement, and that can get overwhelming. Especially if you’ve never been here! That’s where we can help. We are here to help you nail down the perfect elopement location for you.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Home to the tallest sand dunes in the country, this national park is absolutely breathtaking. Feel like a kid again exploring the sand dunes barefoot.
Chautauqua (The Flat Irons)
Bring your dogs and get married right in the foothills of Boulder at Chautauqua Park.
Garden of the Gods
An incredibly stunning display of geographical features unlike anything else. Tall red rocks shoot up from out of the ground making you feel tiny. Read all about how to elope in Garden of the Gods here.
Colorado National Monument
Near the city of Grand Junction, this treasure is hugely underrated. Sheer-walled canyons, 500 foot cliffs. It’s incredible.
St Marys Glacier
Just about an hour from Denver, this “glacier” offers snow year-round! Just above the peak, you can find snow here throughout the summer. This location also offers beautiful views and a lake. Although this area can get crowded as it’s easily accessible, there are plenty of spots to get away for a private ceremony.
Sapphire Point Overlook
Sapphire Point is a great option if you’re planning on having guests during your wedding day as it can hold up to 35 people. With stunning views of a mountain backdrop and Lake Dillon below and an area where your guests can sit for your ceremony, it’s a lovely option. This overlook does require reservations though, and you can reserve a 2-hour time slot up to 6 months in advance.
We always tell our couples that if you’re willing to do a longer hike or rent a 4×4 vehicle, you open the flood gates to location options. These are some areas that we love to shoot in, and love to adventure in and explore during our free time.
Breckenridge is just right off I-70, under 2 hours from the Denver airport, and it offers incredible scenery. So many alpine lakes and trails to explore here!
If you’re wanting that Rocky Mountain National Park feeling, but also want your dogs to be included, consider Estes Park! Located right next to RMNP. Fun fact: Alex and I got engaged in Estes Park!
Don’t forget about Colorado’s state parks. The permit system is usually much easier than national parks and with fewer people! It’s a win-win!
Gunnison National Forest
Known as one of the most beautiful areas of public land in Colorado, this national forest is hugely underrated. A true hidden gem filled with adventure and beauty.
Some of these jagged peaks will make you believe you’re in Switzerland!
The turquoise blue alpine lakes here get bluer as the sun rises. And yes, the water really is THIS blue.
Mountain Passes in Colorado are a great option if you’re wanting to do some car hiking. Rent a Jeep and let’s go! There are views to be seen, and elevation to be gained.
San Juan Mountains
Rugged 4×4 roads, mountain passes, all of the Lord of the Rings vibes you can get. We go to the San Juans every chance we get. It’s an adventurer’s dream!
Whenever a couple tells us they want a sea of aspens on their elopement day, our minds immediately go to Crested Butte!
Where to Elope in the Colorado Mountains
Chances are that you’re choosing to elope in Colorado for the mountain backdrops. Totally understandable — considering Colorado is home to 58 mountains that are taller than 14,000 ft. Colorado actually has the most 14ers out of any state. Pretty gnarly, right? If you are set on a mountain elopement then Colorado is the place for you. There are numerous beautiful mountain-scape backdrops to choose from.
San Juan Mountains
Averaging about 265 sunny days a year, if you’re looking for a mountain elopement, this is your spot. Telluride, Silverton, Ouray, Durango, and Dolores are all popular cities that are located in the San Juan Mountain Range. Known as the “Switzerland of America”, these mountains have tall jagged peaks with views for days. The turquoise blue alpine lakes are just so incredible you have to see them for yourself to believe it.
Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
There are over forty wilderness areas in Colorado. The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area is just one of them. It is also home to eight of Colorado’s fifty-eight “14’ers”. So if you want to climb to fourteen thousand feet on your big day, then this is the place to be. If you visit during the summer or fall the snow will have melted and you will truly be able to take in the breathtaking peaks. You have the choice of staying in Buena Vista, Salida, Leadville, or Aspen, all of which are within driving distance of the Collegiate Peaks. This area isn’t just for the ones who want to climb a 14-er. There is plenty to do and see here. The best part about this area is you don’t have to go or even hike far if you want those stunning mountain backdrops in your photos. These mountains are huge! If you’re not one to hike them but viewing them is something you might be into on your elopement day, this is your area.
If you’re looking for a florist near Leadville, contact Blue Vessel Florista. We’ve worked with them a few times and they always knock it out of the park. Ask for Destinee and tell her Alex & Kelly from In Love and Adventure sent you!
Pike National Forest
This is a mere two-and-a-half-hour drive from the Denver International Airport, Pike National Forest has Aspens abundant. It is home to the famous Pikes Peak which is a unique sight to behold. This is an ideal fall elopement destination as the Aspens turn golden-yellow that time of the year and the fall foliage is just undeniably beautiful. There is free primitive camping if you are feeling outdoorsy and if you go through the Hoosier Pass you’ll find the perfect mountain backdrop for your ceremony. Check out Josephine and Andrews’s Colorado Fall Alpine Lake Hiking Elopement which took place at an unnamed alpine lake in Pike National Forest.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Despite being a known destination you really can not beat the views of a Rocky Mountain National Park elopement. If you are a mountain lover, it doesn’t get much better than this. The only downside is that since 2021, the number of Rocky Mountain National Park wedding permits given out each year has decreased by a staggering ninety-five percent. If you are set on this location as your dream elopement destination it wouldn’t hurt to plan ahead.
Garden of the Gods
Maybe you want a beautiful mountain backdrop for your elopement but you don’t really want to climb up one on your big day. Well, then Garden of the Gods is exactly what you’re looking for. You get that Colorado mountain view without having to climb a 14’er. The red rock formations will leave you speechless every time you visit this park. It is accessible all year round, and there are no permits required (woohoo!). As if that wasn’t enough – it’s located in Colorado Springs so there is plenty to do while you are there. Whenever we do photoshoots here, we always recommend that our couples stop at the famous BBQ spot, Rudy’s at least once during your stay. Check out this guide we put together for all of our couples who want a Garden of the Gods elopement. And if you want to get super pumped and filled with inspiration, check out this gallery from Matt and Grace’s sweet Garden of the Gods proposal.
Gunnison National Forest
Personally, we feel that Gunnison National Forest is the most underrated area in Colorado. It is full of hidden gems whether it’s the wildlife, the mountain views, or the beautiful forest greenery, it has a little something for everyone. Every time we visit this gem we end up finding secluded Aspen Groves, miles of dirt roads where we’re the only visitors, and tons of views.
Never Summer Wilderness
This snowy-topped paradise is the most picturesque backdrop you could ask for. Despite its name, there is an abundance of lush plant life and wildflowers below the stoic gaze of the mountain peaks all around. It is accessible through Trail Ridge Road, but it is always best to have a guide your first time out there.
Best Time of Year to Elope in the Colorado Mountains
Our personal pick would be either Summer or Fall, but we’ll break down what to expect for each season below.
Winter elopements in the Colorado mountains
It’s not impossible, just not practical. With snow totals reaching over 13 ft of snow on average in some ranges, you really have to want a winter wonderland elopement to choose to elope here in the winter! If you’re set on a winter date, plan to strap on the snowshoes and bundle up!
Spring elopements in the Colorado mountains
Do you remember that 13 ft of snow per year we just mentioned? Well, it usually takes all spring and the first bits of summer for it to completely melt! Springtime is the perfect time to elope here if you’re wanting snow, but you’re not wanting the cold temps. You will usually find fresh snowfall in April, and sometimes even into June. Some years you’ll even see snow still on the trails at the beginning of July.
Summer elopements in the Colorado mountains
Our favorite, and our top pick! Summer elopements in the Colorado mountains are insanely beautiful! The wildflowers grow waist-high (shown below), and the blue alpine lakes get bluer as the sun rises. It’s the type of scenery that makes you pick your jaw up from off the ground.
Fall elopements in the Colorado mountains
Fall is a perfect time to elope in the Colorado mountains. The aspens change to a beautiful hue of golden yellow and the leaves look like pennies shaking in a tree. My favorite is the ground cover that changes to oranges, reds, purples, and yellows. There are some of factors that will influence when the peak season for the changing colors will be. Work with your elopement photographer to pick a date, and location so you can see the fall colors at their peak!
Colorado Lakeside Elopement Locations
Mountains may be what Colorado elopements are most known for, but this amazing state has so much more to offer. Thinking more of a romantic lakeside vibe? Colorado has plenty of that too!
This place is incredible! Grand Mesa National Forest is not a place you hear mentioned often, and we have no idea why! Located just 40 miles east of Grand Junction, The Mesa is the world’s largest flat-top mountain. With 500 square miles of land to be explored and adventure through, there are 300 lakes to explore as well. Alex and I had the opportunity to explore this area last summer for a quick vacation. During a 5 mile hike, we saw 6 lakes. Seriously, if you’re reading this and you know you want an area full of lakes, dense evergreen forests, seclusion, and incredible mountain views, this is your spot!
Sapphire Point Overlook
Much like Rocky Mountain National Park, this little gem is a bit more of a known quantity. Be that as it may, this spot is GORGEOUS. It is the perfect location for a summer lakeside ceremony or a winter dreamland elopement. You can reserve your spot up to 6 months in advance.
St Mary’s Glacier
This location doesn’t require a permit for an elopement ceremony and is easily accessible, making it a great option! The views from the top are worth the steep hike! Check out our best advice for having a St Mary’s Glacier Elopement.
The name just about says it all. The lake and harbor area are absolutely to die for. It’s also a pet-friendly area unlike some of the more popular locations in the area.
Arapaho National Forest
While this area has so much more than lakeside views, these mountainside lakes are truly breathtaking. If you have a soft spot for northwestern scenery this should definitely be on your radar.
Those photos you see with the turquoise blue lakes? Good chance it was in/near Telluride. These alpine lakes aren’t always easy to get to, so you have to be willing to do some 4×4 off-roading or choose to have a hiking elopement in Colorado. For all of our couples who are looking to do some hiking for their elopement, check out our guide, What to Pack for an Adventure Hiking Elopement.
San Isabel National Forest
Another perfect spot just two hours away from the Denver International Airport, San Isabel is home to one million acres of crystal clear mountain lakes. If you love wildlife there is plenty to see here.
Eleven Mile Reservoir
Eleven Mile is Colorado’s own Lake Tahoe. We get all the Lake Tahoe vibes every time we come here! The rocky shores, and crystal clear waters. It’s a little hidden gem in Lake George, and it’s one of our favorite spots to take couples because of the intimacy. There are never too many people here and it’s super easy to find a spot to feel like you’re all alone.
Small Town Colorado Elopements
A quaint little mountain town with all the magic for a small northwestern town elopement. It still gives you that majestic mountain backdrop without having to climb to your destination. It even has free shuttle buses!
This is a fun town to explore with great options for couples staying in town. This is one of the best places to elope in Colorado, hands down. While you can still have privacy on your big day, you don’t have to be out in the middle of nowhere. There are plenty of hidden gems here that are not listed on any of the main hiking forums. Breckenridge has tons of AirBnb’s and private cabin rentals that can really make your elopement feel special. Check out this full-day Breckenridge Colorado Elopement that Emily and Morgan had.
For a truly atmospheric feel take the Durango to Silverton train. There is an abundance of views here. You will pass by the San Juan National Forest, which is a treat in its own right. The entire trip is gorgeous.
Buena Vista, or sometimes you’ll hear it be referred to as “BV”, is only a three-hour drive from the Denver International airport. Usually, when we are taking an adventure of our own, we end up in Buena Vista! It’s such a cool little mountain town. Driving through Buena Vista in the fall is one of my favorite things ever. The town itself is covered in aspens and it’s stunning! Check out My + Rea’s adventure hiking elopement that we had the incredible honor of planning, attending, and photographing.
Colorado Off-Roading Elopements
Maybe you have a thrill-seeking side and you really just want to rent a Jeep for the day or go off-roading in your own four-wheel drive truck. Colorado is still the best place for that too!
Best Places to Elope in Colorado When Off-Roading
San Juan Mountain Range
Located in beautiful Western Colorado, this mountain range has plenty of bright blue alpine lakes, two million miles of National Forest land, and a brilliant jagged horizon due to the unique shape of the peaks. All this really sets off all the wild four-wheel driving paths you can find here. If you want a thrill with breath-taking scenery then look no further.
Uncompahgre National Forest
This is a perfect location for what we like to call “car hiking”. Rent a jeep for the day and go exploring off-road. If you and your special someone are interested in this sort of adventure, then this just might be the perfect place for you to elope in Colorado. As usual, the views here are absolutely insane.
Special Colorado Adventure Elopement Ideas
After seeing all that Colorado has to offer, you may be surprised to know that there are some special locations that aren’t just a shimmering lake or a stoic mountain scene. When you think of Colorado, most people picture evergreen-covered mountainsides, snow-capped peaks, alpine lakes, and sprawling views. There are a few locations in Colorado that are super unique! If you’re looking for ideas on how to make your elopement special, start with the location.
Special Location Ideas
The Great Sand Dunes
These are the tallest sand dunes in North America. When you think of Dunes you usually think of a desert, like the ones found in Nevada. Colorado just has it all. Besides some of our favorite mountain and alpine lake hikes, Great Sand Dunes National Park is on our top five best places to elope in Colorado. Check out this blog post we made for all of our couples who want a Great Sand Dunes National park elopement.
Mesa Verde National Park
This is one of my absolute favorite locations. The overlook is very accessible and it is just so unique. There are not many places in North America that can offer the spectacular views that Mesa Verde can.
If any of the places on our list of Best Places to Elope in Colorado have piqued your interest and you really want to stay overnight at one of them, then a private cabin may be what you’re looking for. All the comforts of indoor living with all the fabulous views that Colorado has to offer. We love the idea of renting other people’s homes for a few nights for your elopement. You get to experience all of their luxuries for a few nights at a fraction of the cost of actually owning the home. We suggest renting from places like AirBnb or Vrbo. The Triangle Cabin pictured below is one of our favorite A-frames ever! It’s located in Fairplay. Cheyanna and Brandon had their very own Celestial Themed wedding here.
Whether you’re looking to scale a mountain, elope at the foot of a majestic peak, express your love next to an alpine lake, adventure in a small mountain town, or go off-roading on your big day just know that Colorado has it all. The next time you and your partner are trying to nail down the location for your elopement, keep beautiful Colorado in the back of your mind, or better yet, book your elopement with In Love and Adventure right now and start planning the perfect day.
Real Elopements that took place in some of the best places to elope in Colorado
A question we get asked a lot is, “how many hours of coverage should we have?” After years of working with different couples, and photographing a wide range of wedding days, we would love to help you decide what your day could look like based on the number of hours you’d like, or based on the activities you want to include in your day. Below we break down real elopements we’ve shot in the past, and layout the timeline of what happened that day!
R+M 4 hours Mini Elopement
4 pm – Meet at the trailhead and started our hike
4:30 pm – Made it to our location, walked around until the couple decided where they wanted to hold their ceremony
4:45 pm – Set up changing tent, couple changed and got ready for their ceremony
5:30 pm – Finished getting ready
5:45 pm – 6 pm – Read private vows to one another and had an intimate self solemnizing ceremony
6 pm – 6:30 pm – Signed married license, held a sage burning ritual
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm – Hiked around alpine lake, watched the sunset
7:30 pm – Started hike back to the trailhead
8 pm – Arrived back at the trailhead, Photography Coverage Wraps Up, Said our goodbyes
My & Rea 8 hours Half Day Elopement
12 pm – Meet at Getting Ready Location, Photograph Getting Ready & details
1 pm – Held first look at the river next to their Airbnb
1:15 pm – Headed to hiking trailhead
1:30 pm – 3 pm – Hiking, taking our time, stopping along the way to take in the scenery and take photos
3 pm – Made it to our location, walked around until the couple decided where they wanted to hold their ceremony
3:30 pm – 4 pm Read private vows to one another and had an intimate self solemnizing ceremony
4 pm – 5:15 pm – Blew up inflatable raft and paddled around alpine lake
5:15 pm – Head back to the trailhead
6:45 pm – Head to mountain pass for sunset photos
7 pm – Arrive at Mountain Pass
7 pm – 8 pm – Sunset Photos on Mountain Pass, Champagne Pop, Wine Box Ceremony
8 pm – Photography Coverage Wraps Up, Said our goodbyes
Lindsey & Austin 12 hours Full Day Elopement with family
7:30 am – Meet at Getting Ready Location, Photograph Getting Ready & details
9:30 am – Held first look at an overlook near ceremony location
10 am – L + A had an intimate ceremony at an overlook surrounded by their family
10:20 am – Ceremony wraps up, wedding party & family photos
11:20 am – Family Photos wrap up
11:30 am – 2 pm – Hiking, taking our time and stopping along the way to take in the scenery and take photos
2 pm – Leave to go to hike with just L+A
2:20 pm – 4:30 pm – The couple has a hiking adventure just the two of them plus us, family goes to relax by the campsite and gets started on dinner
5 pm – Arrive at Campsite for dinner
5 pm – 7:30 pm – Dinner, Campfire, star photos
7:30 pm – Photography Coverage Wraps Up, Said our goodbyes
Emily & Morgan 12 hours Full Day Elopement
11 am – Meet at the trailhead and start our hike
12:30 pm – Made it to our location, walked around until the couple decided where they wanted to hold their ceremony
1 pm – Set up changing tent, couple changed and got ready for their ceremony
2 pm – Finished getting ready
2:15 pm – Held first look
2:30 pm – 2:45 pm Read private vows to one another and had an intimate self solemnizing ceremony
2:45 pm – 5 pm – Signed married license, hiking around the lake, and had a mountainside picnic
5:30 pm – Left to go to second location for sunset
6 pm – 8:30 pm – Took a short hike to watch sunset on a mountain pass and face-timed family
8:30 pm – Headed to campsite
9 pm – 11 pm – Started a fire, stargazed, read letters from family and friends around the fire, ate s’mores
11 pm – Photography Coverage Wraps Up, Said our goodbyes
Meet Your Photographers
Alex & Kelly
We’re Alex & Kelly. Partners in life, and in photography. Our work is inspired by love, storytelling, and nature. Back in 2016 when it was our time to get married, we really wanted to escape the traditions of a “regular” wedding day. So we did. And now we live to encourage couples just like you to unapologetically get married how they want, and in a way that is meaningful to them. We can’t wait to meet you!
Wrapping it Up
We at In Love and Adventure really love the wilderness areas here in Colorado and think they’re the best places to elope in Colorado. Being based out of Colorado we have an in-depth perspective into Colorado’s National Forests, National Parks, and Wilderness Areas. We believe that the harder-to-find areas are the best places to elope in Colorado. First off there is the pay-off of having your very own secret location all to yourself. Instead of sharing a space with a half dozen other couples, you’ll be able to enjoy a private, intimate ceremony away from everyone else. This is your day and we want it to be just for you. You’ll notice that on our list of Best Places to Elope in Colorado, we’re not giving away the exact hikes or exact locations. These are just areas that we know, have explored, love deeply and the exact hikes will absolutely be on a location list we provide for you if they check off the boxes of what you’re looking for. There are a ton of locations here in Colorado that are not as popular, but just as beautiful as the more known spots (sometimes even more so). But it takes people like Alex & I (Kelly) to find these spots, and suggest them to our couples. We understand that you aren’t physically here to find the perfect spot yourselves and this kind of research takes years of investment. When we go out location scouting, sometimes it’s especially to find spots for our couples, but most of the time we are just adventuring, and will run into an area that we can’t wait to recommend! Our long list of recommendations comes from our time on the trail and exploring in our free time. We are psyched to share these spots with our couples. There are millions of square miles of forest in the beautiful state of Colorado. With our help, you are sure to have a perfect day set in a stunning backdrop.
Get in touch to see the full Colorado Elopement Pricing Guide
Pricing Starting at $4,400
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