This guide is geared towards couples having a Rocky Mountain National Park wedding or Colorado wedding, but you’ll find a lot of this information is applicable to all kinds of outdoor weddings and elopements. It is also helpful for couples planning day after sessions in the mountains, or even anniversary shoots!
Lighting is crucial
Getting married on a mountain top is absolutely beautiful, but lighting can be super harsh and difficult to photograph. It is best to do the ceremony and portraits as close to sunrise or sunset as possible in order to get the most flattering, even lighting. If you need help figuring this out, I am always available to help plan the schedule around the best lighting.
Veils are beautiful, but you will be fighting them the whole time
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE veils! They can be so incredibly epic and add a lot of drama and movement to photographs. But veils are notorious for getting stuck in bushes, twisting and turning, flying all over the place, and coming out of your hair at the most inopportune times. If you are determined to wear a veil, more power to you! I just want to let you know how difficult they can be. Another option is to have a veil on hand for a few epic shots, and then tuck it away for the rest of the shoot.
Embrace that windswept hair look!
Expect there to be a lot of wind on a mountain top, so make sure your hairstyle can withstand being blown all over the place. I think wearing hair down or partly up is super flattering in the wind. A loose updo can also look great. If it is super windy and there is hair everywhere, don’t worry, there will be shots in between all the wind blowing where your hair will look amazing! Don’t fret.
Get used to the bottom of your dress getting dirty
If you are getting married on a mountain top, you’ll be leaving with a dirty dress. Try not to stress out too much about it. Some dress styles are more forgiving than others when it comes to walking around in the mountains. For example, tulle is notorious for getting pine needles and debris stuck in the layers, but it also looks absolutely beautiful flowing in the wind.
Wear a wedding dress you can move around in
The best dresses for mountain top weddings and elopements are dresses that you can move around in, that blow in the wind, that you can throw up in the air and twirl, that you can run in, and that you can move your arms in. I love capturing movement in photos, so the more you are able to comfortably move in your dress, the better!
Mountain tops are not the place for pointy heels. If you are brave, you can get away with wedges or flats, but I recommend a cute pair of boots to help get you around and protect you from the elements. You never know what you might be climbing on or over to get the perfect photo.
Bring a jacket and embrace unpredictable weather
Getting married at a higher altitude can be cold, especially as the sun sets. I recommend bringing a jacket. It doesn’t necessarily need to be in the photos, it can just be used in between shots to warm up with. Weather can also be completely unpredictable, so I wouldn’t trust weather reports. It can go from sunny to cloudy to snowing, and back to sunny again. So be prepared. I often bring gloves, hand warmers, and umbrellas just in case. People often ask if I reschedule for weather, and I normally try to shoot through whatever crazy weather we are having because it can make for some really amazing and unique photos. The photo below is one of my absolute favorite photos ever, and it never would have been taken had we rescheduled for the snow.
Officiants – you don’t need them in Colorado!
If you are eloping on a mountain top in Colorado, you don’t actually need an officiant! You can self-solemnize your vows, which doesn’t require an officiant to be present. This is a pretty unique feature to getting married in Colorado. But, of course, you can have anyone you want to officiate your wedding.
Guests or no guests?
So I will admit it, I love elopements when it is just the couple and me skipping through the mountains together. It makes things a lot easier, and allows us to get some pretty amazing photos without having to worry about anyone else. But a lot of couples want their friends and family to witness their vows, and that is an awesome options as well! If that is the case, I recommend doing a rehearsal the day before so everyone knows where the ceremony site is and where they should be standing.When you’re getting married on a mountain top, the ceremony site is not always obvious to your guests. It can be very confusing and stressful before the ceremony, even with small groups, when people don’t know where to go. And trust me, you want your wedding day to be as stress free as possible.
Why day after sessions are amazing…
Let’s say you always dreamed of getting married in Rocky Mountain National Park, just you and your significant other, but life had other plans and you are now having a bigger, more traditional wedding instead. Well, that’s where the day after session comes in handy! I absolutely love day after sessions, because it gives us the chance to run and play in the mountains, get those amazing photos, and give you alone time with your new husband or wife. They’re a fun way to get even more photos from this exciting time in your life.