How to Elope in Colorado

December 10, 2020

You’ve decided a traditional wedding day isn’t for you. Or maybe you’ve had to change plans again and again and downsize your day. You’ve planned a day that feels so you; a day that was fun to plan because you’re getting to do things the way you want to. You’re looking forward to every second and don’t feel stressed or pressured. Maybe there’s a few butterflies- but hey, that’s normal! You’re marrying your best friend.

Your photographer arrives and you all talk about how excited you are, how you can’t wait to see the location, how amazing today is going to be. You and your partner begin getting ready separately because you’ve decided you want a first look. Once you’re both ready its time to head to the trailhead! The three of you head out there in two cars to preserve that first look magic. As you drive into the mountains you marvel at how beautiful they are and start to get even more excited. Its starting to get real! Everyone arrives at the trailhead and gets set for a first look. Being together with your partner helps calm your nerves and you feel nothing but excitement. Its only a short hike from the first look spot to the alpine lake where you’ve decided to say your vows. The ceremony is personal to the two of you as you exchange vows in your own words. You both take a second to soak in the incredible views, marveling how small the mountains make you feel, and that you’re married! This is the elopement day you deserve.

Lets make it happen!

How to plan a Colorado elopement

Colorado is such a gorgeous state and- bonus points it is super easy to get married here! Here are a couple tips to help you with your research on planning the perfect Colorado elopement. Its also invaluable to connect with a local photographer or planner to help you with the details!

Your first step is to figure out the really big details: time of year, location, desired scenery, activities, and if you’ll be including guests!

How to pick your perfect location

You don’t have to have an exact spot picked out when you first begin planning! However, think about what part of the state you want to elope in. One of the best things about Colorado is the many different terrains and location options throughout the state. Colorado Springs is different from Boulder which is different from Buena Vista etc.  Also consider if you want to hike, off road, or drive up a mountain pass.  Picture your dream location and the first place that comes to mind when you think about eloping. Picking a location will also help you narrow down the time of year you elope, activities, and whether or not you can include guests. Connecting with a local photographer or planner here is really crucial because they can help you find the absolute best locations!

The legal stuff

It is so easy and not at all expensive to get a marriage license! The El Paso County ones are especially beautiful with a big gold official seal. There’s no waiting period and Colorado doesn’t require an officiant or any witness, but you can totally have them if you want. You can also self solemnize which means you’re essentially your own officiant. Another added bonus in Colorado? Your dog can sign as a witness! Yep that’s right, they can sign with their paw print. Such a special way to include a fur family member. After your elopement day either drop the marriage license off at the clerk’s office or mail it back.

Research and logistics

This where you start asking the questions that are going to help your day flow smoothly. Definitely take into consideration things like travel and weather. Is the closest Airbnb an hour away? Is the location only accessible by an off road capable vehicle? Do you need to bring layers with you (this one is easy- yes definitely)? Do you have to worry about summer storms? Do you need a permit for your location? What activities do you want to have as part of your day? Start thinking of solutions and answers so you can create a plan.

The fun stuff

Now that you have a date, location, and the legal part nailed down its time for the super fun details and research! Reach out to local vendors (or ask your photographer’s recommendation) for hair/makeup, florals, attire rentals, cakes, etc. Don’t forget the fun activities of the day! If you’re planning a winter elopement you can go dog sledding or sleigh riding. If its in the summer there’s off roading or hanging out a hammock and having a picnic in the mountains. If a personal chef is more your thing hire one to come to where your staying and cook an amazing meal! One of the best things about elopements is all the options you have. It truly is a “choose your own adventure” kind of day!


Wedding dresses, rompers, suits oh my! So many options when it comes to your elopement day attire. You are under absolutely no obligation to wear white either! Maybe your favorite color is yellow and you want to wear a canary yellow tulle skirt, go for it! Maybe a romper is more your style. As long as you’re being true to you that’s all that matters. However,  there are a few things you want to keep in mind when planning your elopement attire.

  • You want to be able to move around comfortably and be able to sit down. Don’t pick something that’s super restrictive. Especially if your elopement is in the mountains you want to be able to walk around fairly easily.
  • Can you layer with it? Can you add a cute jacket or wear leggings underneath to stay warm? It can get chilly in the mountains even in the summer!
  • Hiking boots go with everything.
  • Its okay for things to get dirty- and they’re definitely going to.
  • We’re all going to wonder how women used to wear dresses with hoopskirts every single day.
  • Suits are dapper, suspenders and real cuff links are always a good idea, and fun socks are the best.
  • If you choose to wear a dress I’m going to help you carry it and rock a veil scarf. Its on my resume- professional wedding dress wrangler.
  • Veils are absolutely dreamy. Its not necessary to wear it the whole time, but highly recommend bringing one.

Think about how to announce it

There are a couple different ways to handle eloping. Tell no one and announce it after, let a few people know, send out formal “we’re eloping!” notices. It totally depends on what you’re comfortable with and how you want to handle things. You get a preview of your elopement images within 72 hours for exactly this reason- if you want to use photos to tell people you have them! Check out this post here about how to announce your elopement.

Plan your timeline

Okay so now we have the details figured out- from your epic vow location, to your celebration, to the jeep your taking to the top of that mountain pass to stargaze. Now its time to start building your timeline. This is absolutely an area your photographer should be helping you with. Its not 100% your job to know how long everything is going to take and what order things should go in. Now, especially with elopements, timelines need to be flexible (weather etc can mean things get moved around), but they are so important for helping the day flow smoothly. Think about the things you want to include in your day (like hiking or horseback riding, maybe a dinner with friends and family) and make sure you give buffer time so you don’t feel stressed or rushed!

Its time!

Heck yeah! Its elopement day! Time to soak in all of the adventure, romance, and joy of the day. Enjoy spending a whole day with your significant other doing the things you love. A day that’s authentically you. Congratulations! You did it!


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