Jun 30, 2023

How To Elope In Colorado | Getting Started

Colorado elopement guide - a couple at St. Mary's Glacier

Table of Contents

  • What is an Elopement
  • Why Colorado?
  • What is needed/steps (license)
  • When to Elope In CO
    • Best time of year to elope in CO
    • What day to elope
    • What time of day to elope
    • Seasons
      • Spring
      • Summer
      • Fall
      • Winter
  • Where to Elope
  • Permits for locations
  • Are you having guests?
  • Adventures & Ideas
  • How much do elopements in CO cost?

What is an elopement?

You could go to Google and search this question and get an answer but every person will probably define this differently. Traditionally when you think of an elopement you think of two people running off to Vegas but this has since changed. An elopement is an intimate wedding between two people to celebrate their life’s as one. There is no specific location, activity, or time that determines an elopement, however you are not limited to really any constraint when eloping vs a wedding. Elopements can be intimate with just the two of you or sometimes a small amount of family can join. Oftentimes this is referred to as a “micro wedding” rather than an elopement though. You can be as abstract or fun as you want to be when eloping. It also brings some benefits like:

  • Less stress – elopements are much smaller and less to plan & no family drama.
  • More flexibility – Pick whatever date and any location of your choice.
  • No constraints – do something awesome! Go in a helicopter, rock climbing, etc.
  • Enjoy a very Authentic day – no need to be traditional like a normal wedding.
  • Be present – more of an intimate date with your partner
  • Save $$$$$$ – Elopements are generally much less expensive than weddings.
A Guide to eloping in Colorado. A couple grabbing butts while eloping

How to Elope in Colorado (Step by Step)

Eloping in Colorado is pretty easy! Here are the steps to eloping. You could add more steps if you wanted to add more “things” to your elopement. This is just a general overview of how to elope. There will be sections that include more info on each of these topics below.

Step 1: Picking a Location

The reason this is step 1 is because your location could also determine your date and activity. However, if you are dead set on a date, then that could also be replaced in step 1. Picking a location all depends on what you want to do and what kind of weather you want. There’s a section below about seasons and weather for more info on that. You want to pick a location that fits your wants, needs, and desired activities. If you are wanting to go for a hike, you wouldn’t want to pick the city of Denver for example. Once you narrow down your location, you want to make sure you get a permit if needed.

Step 2: Picking a Date

Your date and location are interchangeable for the most part. But the reason location is first is because the weather can be vastly different across the state at different times of the year. For example, this past June, there was still 3ft of snow and 32 degrees in the mountains of Aspen when it was 80 degrees over in Denver with no snow. So picking a date that will accommodate your wants is important. You can start finding your date by picking the season you would prefer the most.

Step 3: Planning, Details, & Activities

This part is the fun part. This is where you get to pick out details, secondary locations, and find the perfect activity for your elopement.

A Colorado Elopement on the edge of a cliff while rock climbing

Step 4: Create a timeline

Although elopements are not needed to stay on track with the timeline unlike weddings, it is still a good idea to have one so you have more of a template to follow. The great part about eloping is you can be super flexible on your day. This way if you get bad weather or have an issue arise, you can wait a little bit and not be late for anything. PS. We create a custom timeline for all of our couples 🙂

Step 5: The Legal Stuff

Get your paperwork! This is where you apply for your marriage license. Colorado does not require witnesses or a minister so you do not need to invite any extra guests! Once you get your marriage license you will need to fill it out on your wedding day and then turn it back in. It’s super simple!

Step 6: Prepare and Enjoy

Prepare everything you need for your trip if applicable and then enjoy! Go enjoy the day you put so much time and effort into!

Reasons to Elope in Colorado

A guide to eloping while hiking down a path in wedding attire.

Your Dog Can Sign Your Marriage License!

We have to of course start with the best reason of them all! Your dog (and cat) can sign your marriage license. You can grab their paw print with ink and have them sign your license to make them apart of your day forever. There’s honestly no better reason to pick Colorado than this!

Signing a Colorado Marriage license with a dog paw print

You can marry yourselves

Yes! You can literally marry yourselves, otherwise known as “Self-Solemnizing.” This means you do not have to hire an officiant, you do not need witnesses, all you need is just your two selves and an awesome photo & video team to capture your elopement. You can see the section below for how to elope in Colorado for more info on the “how.”

Self-Solemnizing in Colorado for an elopement

The Beautiful Landscapes & Fun Activities

Colorado is the land of outdoor activities, there is almost anything to pick from. Not to mention the absolutely beautiful locations to pick from all over the state. You’ve got everything from mountains, waterfalls, beaches, lakes, sand dunes, canyons, glaciers, & even more! You basically have every type of scenery just in one state. That factored with the plethora of activities to pick from makes it the perfect place. Some of the activities you can choose range from but are not limited to:

  • Hiking/Backpacking
  • Biking
  • Paddle boarding/Kayaking
  • Helicopter rides
  • Hot air balloons
  • Star gazing
  • Snow Shoeing

What is not to love about eloping in Colorado? You could basically do anything you wanted in this state!

When to Elope

This is a loaded question since it really depends on your personal preference. If you want to go snowboarding for your elopement, then winter is the obvious choice but if you are not doing a winter sport, you could really pick from any season.

Best time of year to elope

If we had to choose one season to elope in CO it would be the Fall time. You have beautiful colors, amazing weather, and just a great time to elope. The only thing to remember is that different parts of CO technically have seasons at different times of the year. Like deep in the mountains winter lasts much longer than it does near Denver. So just keep that in mind when choosing your date and season.

A couple eloping at St. Mary's Glacier in Colorado

What day of the week is best?

The best day of the week to elope is really any week day M – TH. Any weekend day including Friday can tend to be very busy and popular. This means you will have to work around having a bunch of people around when trying to have intimate moments. I would say early in the week would be better to avoid crowds. This is especially important for locations that are very popular.

What time of day should you elope

The time of day really depends on your preference and location. You may have a location where the mountains face east which means if you did a sunset there, you would not get an epic sun over the mountains. However, you would still get a really cool glow of the sunset on the mountains. So either way its a win-win. Sunrise will be a great time for both exclusivity and epic views. You are less likely to run into crowds at 5am but if you are not a morning person this could be difficult for you.

You might want to avoid mid day for something like your portrait photos or your ceremony and also maybe a hike. Since we are at a base elevation of 5,500 ft (and even higher in the mountains) even if its a cooler day, the blazing sun can get very hot if you are doing something like a hike. Other activities can be great to do mid day. To get epic photos I would have at least one portion of your elopement set at either sunset or sunrise.

The Ultimate Guide to Eloping In Colorado.

What season should you elope?


So in a sense, summer is one of the better times to elope in Colorado. You may be thinking, “doesn’t it get super hot in the summer?” The answer is yes, BUT when you are in the mountains the weather is actually very tolerable and nice in the summer. So July and August are generally pretty good times to elope in Colorado if you want nice sunny, warm weather. You just may not get any snow between these months and into September too. Eloping in the summer will net you the best results as for weather and better luck with random weather changes. Towards the fall it could snow in Sept or rain in May. Colorado is the 300 days of sunshine state but the weather other times of the year can be a little unpredictable.


Fall is one of the most beautiful times to elope in Colorado. You have the mountains which often have a little bit of now in the distance if you come at the right time. You have the trees changing colors, and much more. Fall is a very beautiful time to come or elope, but the weather can be a little strange. You may find snow randomly if it’s late fall, or random storms (which generally come over really fast). But the beauty of eloping is usually that you have flexibility. So you can pick a few different days to do it if you are afraid the weather wont be nice to you. But generally speaking, you should be good on the weather in the Fall as long as you don’t do it too late in the season.


Winter is actually a lot easier than most people think in Colorado in some ways. January will generally be the coldest month so if you are eloping in January, I would mainly recommend it if you are planning on doing something with the snow: Snowboarding, skiing, snowmobiling, etc. Otherwise, you can always have a beautiful winter elopement early Winter in Nov or Late Winter in early Feb. There is still plenty of snowy areas in the mountains in the early and late winter and down towards the city, its a little warmer. Even hitting the 60s on a lot of days late winter. So if you plan to do winter, just make sure you are specific on what you are doing and where you are going. Snow storms can kind of pop up on you or be much worse than expected. Also, just remember that not everywhere is open in the winter. Some places lose access from driving or even hiking since the roads are undrivable.


Last but not least, the spring. Spring is an absolute beauty in Colorado, just like the fall. But this time instead of the trees changing, we have the beautiful wildflowers. The times really vary each year depending on snow melt from the mountains so you would have to do a little research around that time of year to get an exact date of bloom. Weather can be pretty unpredictable though in the spring time. You could have cold, warm, rain, or rarely sometimes even snow. Sometime in May is a good time for spring elopements.

A Guide for Eloping In Colorado

Where to Elope in Colorado

There are a huge variety of places to pick from & they are all amazing choices.

  • You could go for a park like the Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • You could hit up a few different waterfalls around the mountains.
  • There’s some red rock areas like garden of the gods and more.
  • You can also pick from the classic mountain ranges of Colorado. This can be somewhere like the national park, Crested Butte, St. Mary’s Glacier (pictured above), and more.
  • There is also the great sand dunes, just absolute beautiful and huge area of just dunes and mountains.
  • Hot springs are another popular area to go that can be super fun for an elopement.

Places to elope

  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Gunnison National Park
  • Brainard Lake
  • Great Sand Dunes
  • Garden of the Gods
  • Vail
  • Loveland Pass
  • St. Mary’s Glacier
  • Chief Mountain
  • Telluride,
  • Breckenridge
  • Crested Butte
  • Sapphire Point
  • Steamboat Springs
  • & Many more


Some of the locations listed above do require permits. National parks are normally a 100% need of permit but other places like local parks and state parks may also require one depending on how you are eloping. You can contact the permitting office of each place if you need more info about each one. There are a few things to note about time of year vs location. There are some places that might be extremely busy during certain times of the year. Heading into the mountains on a weekend in the winter will probably net crazy long traffic from everyone going skiing. Asking your photographer or a local photographer (like us) is probably the best way to figure this out since we can normally help you pick a location and find a way to get your permit if it’s needed

Leave No Trace (LNT)

It’s best to follow leave no trace (LNT) principles. This includes but is not limited to, bringing everything back to what you brought with you. Not using harmful objects such as streamers, confetti (yes even eco friendly), and even things like champagne. The sugar and other things in these drinks disrupts the environment. Sparkling water in a glass bottle is a great alternative to this. Lastly, it’s important to try and go to your elopement location prior to your elopement just to get a feel for what it’s like to get there and what it’s like once you are there. This will help you get a lay of the land, any obstacles that you might not have thought of, if you are hiking, it will help you get a gauge for how long it takes to get there and back, and more. Most importantly, be safe and have fun.

Adventures & Ideas

Let’s talk about the fun stuff… What do you want to do for your elopement in Colorado? There are plenty of options when it comes to activities. It can be tame, wild, adventurous, or all of the above. So here is a list of some things that we think could make your elopement even that much more special.

Eloping with a Helicopter in Colorado


If you do a winter elopement, you could literally go skiing down a hill for your elopement at one of Colorado’s beautiful slopes.

Hiking/Biking/Rock Climbing

You could go for a quick or long hike to get some beautiful views. You could go road or mountain biking in the hills or mountains. Or anything in-between.

Rock climbing elopement in Colorado

Picnic and/or off roading

Something we’ve done with a couple is off roading and having a picnic. A super fun and cute idea for those who love the activity

A picnic elopement in Colorado

Hot springs

You could head over to a hot springs and just relax after getting some epic photos in the mountains.

There are plenty of other ideas on top of this and we are always happy to share these ideas! The best part about this is that this is your elopement and you can do LITERALLY ANYTHING you want for it. So if you have a hobby, activity, or anything you guys share that you want to explore or combine into your elopement, then we highly encourage you to do that!

How much do elopements cost in Colorado?

Elopements are generally a lot less expensive than a traditional wedding, but there are still some costs associated with eloping. You could spend anywhere from $0 – $15,000+ on an elopement depending on a lot of factors such as how many people join you, where you go, and more. If you are local to Colorado you will most likely spend less than someone traveling here to elope.

On average, the most expensive part of your elopement is going to be your photographer and videographer. This is the absolute best and really only professional way to capture your day authentically. Normally your accommodations, dress, location permit, and other expenses are pretty small and less than $1000 each (excluding a dress in some/most cases). The average cost of photo & video for an elopement in Colorado is around $4,500 per service. This price varies dramatically on your coverage time, location, experience level of the photographer, and more.

On average we see most couples spend around $10,000 to $15,000 on their elopement which is much less than the average of around $30,000 to $65,000 on a wedding! The cost can vary from $0 to $30,000 though depending on a ton of factors but staying in Colorado keeps the cost down.


All in all, Colorado is an absolutely beautiful place to elope and we highly recommend getting married here. There are so many types of scenery to pick from, so many activities available, and so much to offer.

We are always happy to help you in your endeavors and even help with some planning. If you plan to elope in general (specially in Colorado), we are here and happy to help. This does not require you to book any of our services. We are always happy to help even if you have no intentions on clicking on our website. Just shoot us a message and we can get the ball rolling to make your dreams come true.

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