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How to Elope in Colorado

If you're thinking you want to elope in Colorado? You totally should!

I have created this helpful step-by-step guide to help you plan your Colorado elopement with you in mind. Below you can read all the little details that go into planning your wedding elopement. From the all the legal requirements down to the types of shoes you should wear.

Colorado is an amazing place to elope and there are so many options for you to customize your day to really make it your own.

The Guide

A Step by Step Guide on
How to Elope in Colorado

colorado wedding photographer Dylan Burr
← That's me,

I'm a Wedding Elopement Photographer in Colorado. I love to travel, explore, and relationships. It is a great honor to help create a wedding experience that celebrates you and is everything you would love it to be. Are you ready to get off the path and wander?

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Elopement or Wedding

What is a wedding and what is an elopement? In my opinion they are kind of the same. Both are a substaintial step in your lives. It's a great day to celebrate each other and the fact you found your person. Both can include attendees but here are some key differentiators to me.

What is a wedding?

  • Weddings have more than 30 people and have mutiple events within close proximity.
  • Weddings have to juggle many personalities and expectations for the day.
  • The day can become about pleasing your guests and less about you and your partner.

What is an elopement?

The old definition of eloping is to run away secretly in order to get married. Especially without parental consent. ~ Wooo that last sentance is a doozy.

Elopements give you the freedom to create a day that is uniquely you and celebrates you both... in exactly the way you want to do it. It's a more personal and authentic celebration of who you are together. Many times family and close friends are there, but don't need to be. You can really do what you want. There aren't rules or expectations here.

adventure elopement in colorado

Reasons to Elope?

  • You want the day to be focused on you and your relationship.
  • Want to slow down the day and "live" in the moment.
  • Wedding planning is too stressful.
  • Stay clear of wedding day drama.
  • The top of a mountain is a better wedding venue for you.
  • I don't even know that many people I would want there.
  • Typical wedding traditions don't make sense.
  • So you can live in the moment and not feel rushed.

Signs You May Want to Elope

  • You Love Adventures and New Experiences
  • A Traditional Wedding Doesn't Feel Right
  • Want a Stress-free Wedding
  • You Want More Flexibility
  • Not comfortable being the center of attention all day.
  • You Don't Want to go into Debt
  • You want a day that is intimate and meaningful.
  • You want something different.
  • You Want more pictures together and with artistry.

Why Elope in Colorado?

Colorado is pretty amazing. I grew up here so I am a bit biased, but it's clear so many people agree. Colorado's population grew 15.7% from the 5 million people who lived there in 2010. For comparison, the population in the US grew 7.7% during that period. cite.

Colorado has a lot to offer for your elopement wedding. The state is huge and has so much variety in terrain, from plains, sand dunes, rolling hills, waterfalls and lakes, and giant mountains. Here is a list of my reasons why you should elope in Colorado

Reasons to Elope in Colorado?

  • Endless location variety

    - There's not just one popular place to exchange your vows. We have National Parks, State Parks, BLM Land, National Forest, rentable private land, Wilderness Areas. There are lots of options.

  • Don't need witnesses

    - You can have them, but they aren't required. You can even have your dogs stamp your liscense. How cool is that?

  • Self Solemnization

    - In Colorado you can marry yourselves. You don't need an officiant, or a public or religious official. Just pick up your license, pay the fee, answer some questions, sign and return. Super simple. Go Here to find the closest office to obtain a license.

  • Year Round Fun

    - If you love nature, Colorado is a great place to see but its even better what you can do in it. Camping, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, 4-wheeling, skiing, snowboarding, off-roading, fishing, hunting. We have it all. There also lots of art and culture, breweries & distilleries, concerts, etc. We have over 300 days of sunshine, so there's always something to do.

  • Freedom

    - Similar to locations, we have a lot of options for your elopement which offers us quite a bit of freedom for your day. There are some spots that require low-cost permits, while many many others do not. In all locations, it's always important to practice Leave No Trace principles.

antler basin ranch elopement wedding

How do I legally get married in Colorado?

It's super simple.
  • Step One:

    Find nearest County Clerk's office

  • Step Two:

    Pay $30

  • Step Three:

    Sign within 35 days

  • Step Four:

    Mail or return license to the office

How much does an elopement cost?

There are several things to consider when building your budget for your elopement wedding. Keep in mind, some of these are optional and not required by any means.

If you can do your hair and makeup - why not? Might that elleviate some stress for you on yoru wedding day - then have someone do it for you. I've also had couples hire a planner or caterer to set up a picnic for them while we are busy in the mountains. This saves us time but it also less to worry about on the day. It just comes down to prioritizing what is important to you both.

  • Elopement Location Permits/Fees: Free - $3000
  • Ceremony Attire: $100-8000
  • Hair and Makeup: $100-400
  • Rings: $30-6000
  • Marriage License: $30
  • Photography/Videography: $1200-15,000
  • Officiant: $300-500
  • Wedding Planner: $800-4000
  • Decor/Florals: $45-1000
  • Food/Drink
  • Travel and Accommodations: $200-1000 per person
breckenridge vrbo elopement

Finding Inspiration

It can be difficult when you first begin to plan your elopement wedding just where or how to do it. Instead of looking at other weddings or elopements, look to other things for inspiration too.

What are some of your bucket list travel locations? What do you two really love to do together? Do you love new experiences? Or have some top favorites you want to preserve? Do you really love music? Food? What does your ideal day look like for you?
How does it feel? How does it sound?

Can you guess what they love?
may 4th star wars wedding

How do we pick a location?

This is a big one. Where do we go? 1 location, multiple locations? Here are a few things to get you started and things to think of when picking a location.

These are the things to consider
when selecting a location.
  • Finding Meaning

    - Find what resonates with you and your partner. Do you envision being on a mountain top? Deep in the forest? Near a waterfall? What locations inspire you? Which ones feel special to you?

  • Access

    - How difficult is it to get there. Is is seasonal?How do you get there: car, 4x4, hiking, mountain bike, alpaca?

  • Popular or Secluded

    - Similar to access, do you want a location that is popular and we might run into people, or would you prefer to be all on your own and more intimate and unique? If you have a favorite popular location, I am certain I know one that is similar that we can avoid the crowds. Or if you love that spot, we will will find the best day and time to avoid the people so you don't have lookie-loo's.

  • Permits

    - Some locations require permits and a fee. This can get really tricky. Many locations don't require anything. This may also depend on how many people are coming with you as well.

  • Lodging

    - Where are we going to stay? How far is it from a hotel/VRBO/AirBnb/campsite. How much travel is required from where we want to go, from where we are able to stay?

  • Variety

    - Is this location a one-trick-pony? Is the main view great but everything else nearby ugly? Does it take several hours to get there with nothing nice along the way to see or do?

  • Time of Day

    - What is the best time of day for this location? Sunset or sunrise? Does it require hiking in the dark? Overnight stay?

  • Day of the Week

    - If you've chosen a location that is popular, you may want to consider picking an odd day of the week to avoid people. Also travel during the week is generally cheaper as well.

  • What Season is Best

    - What is the best season for this location? Late Winter/Spring? Summer? Fall? This is definitely something to consider. Some locations aren't accessable all year, or they look and offer very different things in other seasons.

  • Terrain

    - What is the best time of day for this location? Sunset or sunrise? Does it require hiking in the dark? Overnight stay?

  • Activities

    - Do you have an idea of all the things you want to do during your day? Certain locations will be better for things like off-roading, kayaking, visiting a brewery, waterfalls, hiking, etc.

  • Guests

    - Of course you can have guests on your elopement wedding day. One thing to keep in mind when choosing a spot it making sure everyone can get to it. If you do have family or friends that are afraid of heights or aren't as mobile, we can find a spot that will work for everyone and then go on to the crazy stuff with just the two of you.

breckenridge elopement wedding mountain lake

Where is the best place to Elope in Colorado?

I have created a list of the most popular locations in Colorado to get married that not only provide great views, but are fun places to visit. I am always aiming for variety for you.

These are given in no particular order and there are more but these are kinda the high points to get you started.

Elope in Bailey Colorado
Bailey is an awesome location for a wedding elopement. Its close to Denver but also very much in the mountains. Its easy access but also can feel like a retreat. There's also incredible mountain views too if that is your thing. The town is very tiny but there are lots of options near the Bailey, Conifer, Pine Junction areas.
"There aren't words to adequately express how pleased and impressed we were with Dylan. He definitely has the "eye" and we were blown away with our pictures for both our engagement session and wedding. The cherry on top is that he was so much fun to work with and had us laughing the entire time."
Christina + Rob

Best season to
Elope in Colorado

When should we get married?

We most certainly get all 4 seasons. Do they happen at different times than you think? Yes. Can they go back and forth? You betcha.

I think we have 3 seasons that are good to get married in and 1 that is a gamble and super short.


Fall is the best season to get married in Colorado. Hands down! The weather is comfortable, you can wear layers and jackets, and the weather is very stable and fairly predictable. Fall is generally from September through October. The peak of fall Aspen colors is generally the 3rd week in September.


Summer is great in the mountains and a good time to get married. There will probably be some rain in the late afternoon and only for a little bit. Summer is mid June, July and through August. It can get a little hot in August but generally in the mountains temps are around 70-80 degrees.


Winter in Colorado is an incredible time to get married here. Big fat fluffy flakes, a warm fireplace, and a hot springs? Count me in. The trick is when. Winter doesn't really hit in Colorado till late January. Don't come in December and expect a big winter wonderland. It take a bit longer to get started. Peak times would be mid to late January through the first part of March. Aside from a bomb cyclone - it's not too bad.


Spring in the the worst season to get married in Colorado in my opinion. The weather is very unpredictable and can get outright dangerous. The front range is notorious for hail storms. But we are talking golf to baseball sized hail. Giant holes in windshields type of damage. We also get tornadoes. YAY! Higher into the mountains the weather isn't quite as nutty and it's more insulated and the storms blow through faster, but its still a concern. The trees haven't quite come back and it may snow another 2 more times for good measure. This is generally from end of March into April. Oh, we also get insane wind storms for days at a time.

The Outliers...


May is usually really nice, just super short. The weather quits being quite so frenetic and the trees blossom and it gets nice and warm into the 70s again. Keep in mind, this is only for about 2 weeks until it rains or has a freak snow storm again. So, enjoy it while you can.


June is going to rain. Might be a lot, might be a little. Might even rain a couple times. Late May to Mid June, you can count on rain and if it gets cold enough, maybe snow or hail.

November - December

November in Colorado should just put up a sign, "Welcome to Blah Town." It doesn't snow, it doesn't rain, the grass and trees die, and it might get kinda cold. It is just brown and dead everywhere. In December, it might snow once in Denver. Hopefully a few more times in the mountains, but it's never much really.

huge mountain wedding elopement

winter park fall wedding

breckinridge winter wedding
"He somehow makes the most awkward couple photograph perfectly."
Stephanie + David

Do you want
other vendors?

While some of these other things aren't required for your wedding elopement,
they may make things a little easier for you on your wedding day.

grand lake wedding elopement grand lake wedding bouquet

What about flowers
for your elopement?

You don't need to go all out on decorating with flowers but a bouquet can be nice and fun. Many vendors will create you something that will be available for pickup and save you a travel fee. A boutonniere can add a little fun flair and don't forget some corsages for the parents if they're attending.

What should we wear
on our elopement?

This can be a challenge when you first start planning your wedding elopement.
What the heck do we wear? Do I wear our wedding dress during the hike? Do we change somewhere in the mountains?
What kind of shoes should I bring?

sunrise elopement hike outside Leadville

How do we write
our vows?

Writing your own vows can seem hard to know what to write or even how to start. I have created a
Vow Writing Guide
with several tips and a guide to follow. This is not the way to write them.
You can always break the "rules" and do what feels best for the two of you.

My officiant friend, Phil Gallagher also had this to say...

Grand Lake Elopement Wedding Vow Books

What else should we
bring on our elopement?

Outside of bringing your wedding attire and some helpful necessities, here is a packing list of things you can bring on your elopement to make it more personal and incorporate some traditions. Keep in mind... you call the shots and can do whatever you want. Don't forget that is why you are eloping in the first place. These are merely ideas.

What should we do during our elopement?

What the heck to we do during our elopement? The short answer is Whatever You Want.
There are no limits or even anything that is required of you on your day. You want to write vows to each other? Ok.
You want a very enthusiastic high-five? Ok.

The thing is to narrow down on what it means for you to marry someone? What means the most to you and your partner.
What would be fun to do on your wedding day?

Here are some ideas to get you started

How to create your elopement timeline

Creating a timline isn't too difficult. You just need to start by deciding what you want to do and how you want the day to feel. Then you figure out where to do those things and how long they take. This is also the time to consider if you want sunset or sunrise photos.

Here are some ideas to get you started

Do we have to hike
during our
Colorado elopement?

Short answer is NO.
If hiking is absolutely not something you enjoy, we don't have to. There' are many other locations that require it.

If you love hiking... I do too, let's do this!

Keep in mind, the level of "hiking" we generally do are walking on a trail that may be a little rocky and uneven. It will most certainly not be crazy bouldering and scary. I don't you to be sweaty and stressed out on your wedding day.

Now if you do want to go rock climbing, I can. I was on my high school climbing team.
It has been a while since, but I am sure it would all come back.

rocky mountain national park elopement wedding

How do we announce our elopement?

What the heck to we do during our elopement? The short answer is Whatever You Want.
There are no limits or even anything that is required of you on your day. You want to write vows to each other? Ok. You want a very enthusiastic high-five? Ok.

The thing is to narrow down on what it means for you to marry someone? What means the most to you and your partner. What would be fun to do on your wedding day?

Announcement Ideas