How to Elope in Colorado

How to Elope in Colorado

If you are wondering how to elope in Colorado, you’re in the right place! I photograph elopements all over the country, but Colorado is one of my favorite states! Not only is it full of amazing landscapes (hello Rocky Mountains!), but it’s one of the few states where you can self-solemnize in a truly epic location! You can go brewery hopping just as easily as you can hike to an alpine lake. Heck, you can do both in one day. Colorado is the perfect destination for laid back, adventurous couples that want to incorporate some of the most beautiful mountains, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls into their elopement day.

boulder to downtown denver wedding at skylight how to elope in colorado

When to Elope in Colorado?

Snow, wildflowers, or fall colors?

Your first step in planning an elopement in Colorado is to set a date! If you are wanting summer vibes, wildflowers, and the ability to hike into the mountains without snow, then I recommend July, August, and September. If you are wanting fall colors, then there’s a small window (that’s hard to predict) in mid to late September and early October. If you are wanting a winter wonderland, then I recommend January through April. The mountains are a crazy place, and there’s always a chance of snow from September through June! Especially at higher altitudes.

It’s best to elope on a weekday.

I always recommend eloping on a weekday. Check out my blog post on why you should elope on a weekday. Essentially there’s less people, less traffic, and more vendor availability.

Sunrise or Sunset?

I always recommend getting portraits during that golden hour light around sunrise or sunset. If you are wanting to hike for your elopement, then I recommend sunrise, so we can hike up in the dark, exchange vows as the sun is rising, and get off the mountain top before afternoon storms roll in. If we are driving somewhere or are below tree line, then having a sunset ceremony is great.

how to elope in colorado

Where to Elope in Colorado?

Deciding on a ceremony location

Some couples know exactly where they want to elope in Colorado, while some have a vague idea or general location, and some have absolutely no idea! But that’s why I’m here to help! I have tons of ideas and recommendations. Some questions to ask yourself as you plan your elopement and pick a location are…

  • Is there a specific town or city we want to spend time in before and after our elopement?
  • Do we want to hike? Rent a Jeep? Or have an easily accessible location?
  • Do we want mountain summits, alpine lakes, rivers, meadows, and/or forest?
  • What kind of activities are we interested in doing before, during, and after our elopement?
  • How many guests are we having? Do any of them have mobility issues? Are we bringing our dog(s)?

These are just a few of the questions I like to ask my couples to help them narrow down a location. Check out one of my favorite hiking elopements in Breckenridge for ideas.

Where to stay

Colorado is full of really cool AirBNBs and hotels. Some of my favorite hotels are The Surf Hotel in Buena Vista and The Wyman Hotel in Silverton. A lot of my couples book AirBNBs where they can hang with their friends and family and enjoy cool views and catered dinners.

colorado hiking elopement how to elope in colorado

What Should You Do on Your Elopement Day?

Ideas for what to do on your elopement day

Your elopement can be as chill or as adventurous as you want! You can check out my post 100 things to do on your elopement day for a lot of inspiration, but here are some of the main things people do when they’re eloping in Colorado…

  • Get ready together at a cute AirBNB
  • Drink local craft beers or go brewery hopping
  • Hike
  • Rent a Jeep and go down some crazy 4×4 roads
  • Have a catered dinner
  • Cut cake or eat cupcakes or donuts
  • Pop champagne
  • Have a first dance on a mountain top
  • Have a picnic

I always help my couples by creating a timeline that handles the logistics of the elopement day, but also incorporates all the things they want to do!

elopement picnic and champagne

What to bring

I like to provide my couples with a checklist of things to bring for their elopement. Especially because Colorado weather can be unpredictable, and can be cold even in the middle of summer.

  • Marriage license
  • Pen
  • Layers to keep warm (jacket, leggings, wool socks)
  • Good hiking boots with traction
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Blanket for a picnic or for keeping warm
  • Your dog!
  • Handwarmers
  • Headlamps or flashlights
  • Champagne or craft beer from a local brewery
  • A good backpack to carry your stuff

Each elopement is unique, so this checklist will vary depending on what we are doing.

Telluride colorado elopement photographer



Colorado is one of the few states where you can self-solemnize, which means you don’t have to have an officiant or witnesses to sign your marriage license. You can, of course, have all of those things, but you don’t have to. That also means your mom or best friend can easily officiate without getting ordained, or your dog can leave a paw print signature as your witness!

dog signs marriage license as witness in colorado

Making it Legal in Colorado

A marriage license can be obtained in any county, it does not need to be the same county that the elopement is taking place. It costs $30 and all you need to bring is a driver’s license or passport. The elopement must occur within 35 days of obtaining the license. You don’t need an officiant or witnesses, but some of my couples will have friends (or their dogs) sign their license.

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Check out my blog post for five reasons why you should elope in Colorado!

boulder to downtown denver wedding at skylight

The Most Important Part About Planning an Elopement in Colorado…

One of the most important parts of planning an elopement is to truly plan a day that you will enjoy, from start to finish. Elopements are so much more than vows and pretty photos on a mountain top. It’s about the anticipation, the stolen glances, the hike, and the adventure that you’re sharing together. Every elopement is different and it is important that it is unique to your love story. Make sure you find an elopement photographer that not only takes pretty photos, but can bring your ideas to life and help you have an amazing time! If you think I’m the photographer for you, feel free to contact me so we can get the plan started!

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