THE ULTIMATE COLORADO ELOPEMENT GUIDE
BY CHAD AND VANESSA, ‘THE OUTLOVERS’: YOUR COLORADO ELOPEMENT TEAM
1 January 2022
Everything you need to know to create the Colorado elopement of your wildest dreams
Hey! We’re Chad and Vanessa, a husband and wife elopement photography, planning and officiation team based out of western Colorado.
We know that planning even a small wedding – even something as seemingly simple as an elopement – can feel overwhelming. So, we’re here to break it all down for you.
From locations, to permits, to the best time of year for your Colorado elopement, we’ve got you covered!
We want your Colorado elopement to be relaxed, stress-free and, most of all, FUN!
WHY Choose A Colorado Elopement?
Colorado is one of the most popular places to elope in the United States and with good reason, the most obvious one being its unbeatable natural beauty. Colorado boasts some of the most spectacular mountains in the whole of the US (if not the world!): they are rugged, wild, breathtakingly beautiful… And they really make you feel ALIVE on your wedding day!
Can you picture yourself eloping in Colorado, on the edge of a pristine, glistening-blue alpine lake, with the mountains rising up behind you? Sharing your vows as the sun casts its glow over the peaks, turning them a dusky pink hue?
Mmmmm, us too…….
But did you know Colorado is also home to a huge variety of landscapes, not JUST mountains? Yup, that’s right, you can also find meadows full of wildflowers, wacky red rock formations reminiscent of the Utah desert, and even huge sand dunes as far as the eye can see!
Best-Of-The-Best Colorado Elopement Vendors
Because Colorado is such a popular place to elope, the wedding vendors here really know their sh*t. Elopements aren’t just a ‘once in a while’ thing for them like they are in some other states: it’s what these people SPECIALIZE in.
Whether it’s your photographer, your hair and makeup team, your florist or your private chef; it’s really important that the people you choose to support you in your elopement journey REALLY know what they’re doing. Because beautiful elopements in the great outdoors work VERY differently to big, traditional weddings.
As your elopement photographers and planning assistants, we’re going to plug into our broad network of expert Colorado elopement vendors and help you put together a total dream team. We know florists who will create bouquets that can be shoved in a backpack, makeup artists who will actually HIKE with you to keep you looking fresh all day long, and private chefs who’ll cook you up a decadent breakfast ON TOP of a mountain pass!
Easy Marriage Laws For Your Colorado Elopement
Eloping legally in Colorado could not be any easier! Thanks to a process called ‘self-solemnization’ you don’t need anyone but the two of you to make your marriage legit: no officiant, no witnesses, no nothing!
You’ve just got to pick up your Colorado marriage license from the local county clerk, no more than 35 days before your intended Colorado elopement date. Theoretically, you CAN pick it up the same day as your elopement, but we’d always advise leaving a little wiggle room!
It’s important to know, also, that you can pick up your Colorado marriage license in any county, it doesn’t have to be the one you’re actually sharing vows in.
TOP TIP: Even though you don’t legally NEED an officiant, most of our couples choose to have one anyway, as it really helps to have someone to lead your ceremony and bring a bit of ‘gravitas’ to the moment you share your vows. Complimentary, personalized ceremony officiation is included as an option in ALL of our packages.
FUN FACT: your dog can legally ‘sign’ your marriage license if you elope in Colorado! Seriously. Since you don’t need witnesses, it’s totally ok for your sweet pup to pawprint your license in place of a witness. That’s a seriously good reason to choose a Colorado elopement in our books.
Ok, so have we convinced you to elope in Colorado yet?
Yup, we thought so. So, now let’s take a look at HOW to actually get eloped in Colorado….
HOW To Elope In Colorado
Step-by-step, this is how you’re going to create an epic Colorado elopement experience.
Choose Your Colorado Elopement Photographer
We HIGHLY suggest choosing your elopement photographer very early on in your elopement planning journey, ideally as your very first step. Why? Because we’re going to take on a lot of the planning legwork for you and remove all the stress, allowing you to arrive at your Colorado elopement feeling relaxed and excited! We’re going to do SO much to help you; including finding your dream location, helping pick all your vendors, suggesting fun activities and writing up your day-of timeline.
Obviously, we’d LOVE to be your elopement photographers, but WHOEVER you choose it’s really important to make sure that they are an expert in Colorado elopements. You want someone who knows allllllll the best places, not just the few hotspots that show up with a quick Instagram search. You want someone who can advise on all the logistics, such as travel and Colorado elopement permitting laws. And you REALLY want someone who understands the wild Colorado weather and can keep you safe and happy on your elopement day!
We are local to Colorado and spend all of our spare time exploring: we’d love to share our home state with you on your elopement day!
TOP TIP: get in touch and book a free consultation call with us, even if you’re in the very early stages of planning and don’t really have solid plans yet. We’d love to throw around some ideas with you, share our expertise and really help you picture what you want from YOUR elopement day. It’s a totally no-obligation call!
Narrow Down Your Date
In order to lock your photographer in, you’re going to need to choose a date for your elopement. You may have a special date in mind – an anniversary, for example – OR you may want to choose your date based on Colorado’s seasons and the kind of weather and scenery you’re envisioning for your elopement day.
The first thing to know: Colorado weather can be wild. You can get heavy snow in July, intense thunderstorms in August and blazing sun in December! You need to be prepared for any and all kinds of weather on your elopement day and be ready to adapt your plans if necessary. Flexibility is vital: it’s really important that you’re willing to go with the flow and embrace the weather if you decide to elope in Colorado. If you can see facing whatever weather comes your way as all part of the adventure you’re going to have a blast! If perfectly calm, predictable weather is super important to you, Colorado actually might NOT be the best choice for your elopement.
INSIDER SECRET: Don’t be scared of a little ‘bad’ weather. Moody weather makes for the BEST photos! As photographers, we actually hate clear blue skies, they’re a little boring.
Here’s a seasonal breakdown of the kind of weather and scenery you can hope for (not expect!) for your Colorado elopement:
Colorado Elopements In Winter
In the winter months – let’s say roughly November through March, with January being the coldest – you can safely assume there’s going to be snow in the mountains. LOTS of snow. It’s a magical winter wonderland and absolutely beautiful: if you’re a snow-bunny this could well be the season of choice for you.
Just be aware that heavy snow brings with it logistical challenges.
Many of the ‘top’ Colorado elopement locations will not be accessible by road. You’ll have to consider snowshoe-ing, skiing or snowmobiling into your location.
It will be COLD. This sounds obvious but we can’t exaggerate it enough. You’re going to need some really high quality winter clothing to go under and over your wedding attire. You’re probably going to need to break your elopement day up into small bite size chunks, to give yourself time to get warm again in between. And you’re probably going to want to think about a hot whisky shot (or two!) at some point in the day!
*** If you’re not experienced with this kind of winter weather, please be EXTREMELY careful driving around for your Colorado elopement. Snowstorms can reduce visibility massively and ice on the roads can lead to hazardous conditions. Also be aware of local chain laws, especially if you’re tackling any of the big mountain passes. ***
TOP TIP: If you want to elope in Colorado in the winter months, but DON’T want snow, you could consider some alternative areas. The high desert region near Grand Junction to the west typically stays mild all year round and has some beautiful scenery. Check out the Colorado National Monument for inspiration!
INSIDER SECRET: the sun doesn’t rise till almost 7.30am in the winter months, making early starts for sunrise elopements that much easier. In summer, you’ll be getting up almost two hours earlier to catch sunrise!
For more advice on planning a sunrise elopement, check out this blog post.
Colorado Elopements In Spring
So, here’s the thing. Spring in Colorado is not all blooming flowers, trees coming back to life and balmier days like it might be in milder parts of the US. There can still be a ton of snow, many trails can remain closed right through till late May or early June, and the areas where the snow IS melting can be a bit muddy and gross.
Can you tell Spring isn’t our favorite season to elope in Colorado?!
However, that really only applies for the mountainous regions. How about we check out somewhere like the Great Sand Dunes National Park for your Colorado elopement instead? Spring would be an absolute BLAST there.
Colorado Elopements In Summer
For us, Summer – especially July through August – is the perfect season for your Colorado elopement. Mainly because the days are long, the trails are open and you have ALL the best choices of location open to you! In addition, you have no end of fun activities available to you in the summer months: hiking, biking, off-roading, SUP-ing….
The weather is largely wonderful – warm days, cooler nights and lots of sun – but do be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms rolling in. Good news is, they usually roll out just as fast as they rolled in!
Oh, and did we mention the wildflowers?! Incredible swathes of colorful flowers are blooming left, right and center during a Colorado summer, making for a spectacular backdrop for your elopement photos.
Colorado Elopements In Fall
The Fall months – September and October – in Colorado are SPECTACULAR if you enjoy cooler temps and the beautiful foliage change. The Aspen trees changing from green to gold to burnt red draws people from all over the country and really is a sight to behold.
Whilst it would make for an incredible bonus to your elopement day, we don’t suggest planning your date SOLELY around seeing the Fall color change: it varies considerably every year (especially in recent years) and, whilst we can certainly advise on the best POSSIBILITY of catching it at its peak, it’s never something we can promise.
Fall in Colorado is very much a transitional time and you need to be prepared for possible winter conditions. Snow can easily fall early in September!
TOP TIP: Whatever season you choose for your Colorado elopement, we HIGHLY recommend you choose a weekday as your actual date. And, if at all possible, avoid peak holidays. Both of these steps will help ensure you avoid the crowds and have a degree of privacy for your elopement ceremony.
Choose Your Colorado Elopement Location!
This is probably the most fun part of the whole elopement planning process: choosing exactly WHERE in Colorado you want to elope.
There are so many great places to elope in Colorado which is great news – you really can’t go wrong – but, we know, it can also feel a little overwhelming. How the heck do you choose?!
This is where your elopement photographer comes in and why we advise booking them super early on in your planning process. A good photographer who specializes in Colorado elopements is going to create a personalized list of location ideas for you, based on YOUR wants and needs.
When you work with us, one of the first things we do is send you a fun date-night questionnaire so we can find out EXACTLY what you hope for in a location. Is being close to a major city important to you or would you prefer to go somewhere more remote? Are you after those classic Colorado mountain vibes or is the desert more your thing? Do you want to hike or would you prefer somewhere more accessible? Are there any particular activities you’re excited about?
Remember, this is our THING, it’s what we DO… So, don’t feel like you have to figure it all out alone! Get in touch and let us help you.
INSIDER SECRET: we personally suggest coming over to the West side of the state for your Colorado elopement. Check out little towns such as Ouray, Telluride and Crested Butte! It is SO much more peaceful than the ‘Front Range’ area around Denver and is home to the most beautiful mountains of the entire state, the San Juans. If you wanted to do this, you could fly into Grand Junction and drive just 2-3hrs from there.
TOP TIP: if you enjoy both mountains AND desert, don’t feel like you have to choose! Elope in the mountains of west of Colorado and then head over to desert Moab in Utah, which is only 3hrs away. That’s exactly what Carrie and Dom did in their epic 2 day elopement.
If you like the idea of hitting up Moab, too, you might find our Moab elopement guide helpful.
Decide Who You’re Inviting (If Anyone!)
You might want to elope just the two of you, or you might want to invite some of your closest friends and family.
It’s important that you decide this early on, as it can potentially have a big impact on your choice of location.
Many national parks, state parks and other public lands have rules in place to limit the impact of groups of people on the natural environment. So, you can’t take a group of 20 people to all the same places you could go if it was just the two of you.
You also need to consider everyone’s mobility and comfort levels when it comes to getting to your location. If you’re bringing your grandma, for example, she might not be game for hiking five miles, or would prefer not to bump down a dirt road to get to a beautiful lookout! Instead, you’ll want to consider more accessible, drive-up locations. (Or maybe she’s a total badass and is 100% down for those things in which case, bring it on!).
TOP TIP: if you’d like to keep your elopement experience more private and maybe a little wilder, you can always elope just the two of you and then have a celebration back home with all your loved ones.
INSIDER SECRET: if you are bringing guests, we always advise our couples to take at least a small part of the day just for the two of them, whether it’s a private sunrise first look, or a sunset picnic. It’s important you have some alone time where you don’t feel responsible for your guests and can really just soak it all in.
Decide If You Need A Venue For Your Colorado Elopement
If it’s just the two of you, you likely don’t need any kind of venue: ‘nature’ will do just fine!
However, if you’re bringing a larger group of people along, it might be necessary to book a small venue for your ceremony and/or celebrations.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t need to be a traditional wedding venue by any means. There’s no end of ‘alternative’ venues for your Colorado elopement. Maybe you’d like to rent a big AirBnB in the mountains and have your ceremony there; just be sure to check with the owners that they allow this, it varies from property to property. Or perhaps you’d prefer a stunning wooden deck looking out to 14 000’ peaks?
For inspiration, you might want to check some of these out:
- The Mountain Wedding Garden, in Crested Butte
- The San Sophia Overlook, in Telluride
- Alta Observatory, in Telluride
- Top Of The Pines, in Ouray
- This Quirky AirBnB Cabin, in Ouray (allowed events at the time of writing, but be sure to communicate and check)
Create A Budget: How Much Does It Cost To Elope In Colorado?
Money may or may not be a factor in why you decided to elope. It’s actually a myth that most people elope just to save money: in reality, it’s more likely because you want a special, intimate experience that embodies who you really are as a couple.
For most couples, it will be important to draw up a budget. This will help you decide what is most important to you and where you’d most like to delegate your funds. There’s no right or wrong here: some people will prioritize photography, others care more about beautiful accommodation, others still want to do a ton of fun activities…. It’s up to YOU how you budget for your elopement!
So, how much does it cost to elope in Colorado?
Uggh, this is such a tricky question – a ‘how long is a piece of string’ situation – but we know you want at least a little idea of what to expect. So, here are two sample budgets: one for a very simple but fun, two-person elopement, and one for a more elaborate intimate wedding. Of course, your day could fall anywhere in-between these two, but this at least gives you a reference point.
Colorado Elopement Sample Budget 1
|Simple But Fun Two Person Colorado Elopement|
|Travel: flights and rental car||$1500|
|Accommodation for 5 nights||$1000|
|General Daily Budget For 5 Days (food, gas, fun activities etc)||$1250|
|Colorado Elopement Photographer, Half Day||$3500|
|Flowers: bouquet and boutonniere||$200|
|Hair And Makeup||$200|
|Rent Jeeps to explore off-road mountain passes||$500|
Colorado Elopement Sample Budget 2
|More Elaborate Intimate Wedding, 10-15 people|
|Travel: flights and rental car||$1500|
|Large Luxury Cabin Rental For All Guests, 5 Nights||$5000|
|General Daily Budget For 5 Days (food, gas, fun activities etc)||$1250|
|Colorado Elopement Photographer, Full Day||$4600|
|Flowers: bouquet, boutonniere, ceremony arch and dinner set-up||$2000|
|Hair And Makeup for bridal party||$600|
|Small Venue Overlooking Mountains for Ceremony||$1000|
|5 Course Celebratory Dinner by A Private Chef for Whole Group||$2000|
As you can see, there’s a huge amount of variation in how much your Colorado elopement might cost. Whilst you may want to go all out, and create something as ‘fancy’ as a traditional wedding but on a much smaller scale, we’re also VERY confident you can have an epic day of dreams for $10k!
For more detailed examples on realistic elopement costs, please check out this blog.
Apply For Permits
Once you’ve pinpointed your location, it’s important to apply early for any permits you might need. Every national park, national forest etc. has its own set of rules and it can be a little confusing. Don’t panic! This is something we’ll gladly help you navigate as your photographers.
There are two different types of permit to consider if you’re eloping on public lands:
- A commercial use permit: this is typically the photographer’s own responsibility and not something you need to worry about. However, do be sure you’re working with a professional who knows and follows the rules: the last thing you want on your elopement day is for a park ranger to kick out your photographer because they didn’t get their permit!
- A ‘special use’ permit: this allows you to hold a wedding at your chosen location and is something that YOU as the eloping couple will need to apply and pay for yourselves. You can typically expect to pay anywhere from $50-250 for your special use permit.
INSIDER SECRET: Rocky Mountain National Park is such a popular location for Colorado elopements but they have limited permits for each year and they sell out FAST. We actually advise AGAINST Rocky Mountain for this reason (and the fact it’s insanely crowded and hectic). Don’t worry, there are SO many places just as beautiful as the park itself which either don’t need permits at all, or have permits that are much easier to secure: check out this fun engagement session for inspiration.. This is something we’ll advise on as your photographers!
Book Travel and Accommodation For Your Colorado Elopement
Now that you know where you’re eloping and who’s coming along, it’s a good time to pin down some of the logistics, such as travel and accommodation arrangements.
First of all, figure out where you want to fly into. The biggest hub is, of course, Denver International. However, if you want to elope in the west of Colorado (trust us, you DO!), then flying into Grand Junction can be a better option. You can use sites such as Skyscanner to help figure out the best deals.
Next, you’re probably going to want to rent a car to get around. If you plan on getting off the beaten track a little, we’d advise getting a decent SUV or even an off-roading style Jeep: we’ve found random dirt tracks usually lead to the most beautiful spots! If you’re struggling to find a vehicle with a standard rental company, you can give Truro a try, it’s like the AirBnB of vehicle rentals.
Now, you’re going to want to get accommodation booked.
A few things you might want to think about when choosing a place to stay:
- If you would like ‘getting ready’ photos, or other photos throughout the day at your accommodation, it’s really helpful if you choose a place with tons of natural light and ideally a ‘clean’ aesthetic. Dark with lots of clutter makes photos challenging.
- Do you want somewhere downtown, within walking distance to restaurants, or would you like somewhere more out of town and peaceful?
- Do you want something fun like a hot tub??
- Do you want a hotel room, or would you prefer an AirbnB with access to a lounge and kitchen?
- If you’re bringing guests, do you want everyone to stay together or separately? Would you like a space for everyone to have a big group dinner or will you eat out?
Book Your Colorado Elopement Vendor Team
If you would prefer, your Colorado elopement can be as simple as the two of you and the two of us: there’s really nothing else you NEED. However, you might decide you’d like a few little extras: beautiful flowers, professional hair and makeup, a celebratory cake etc.
You might also want to consider whether or not you would like an elopement planner on your team. If you’re eloping just the two of you, or a very small group, and keeping it relatively simple, it’s unlikely you need a planner. Remember, as your photographers, we’re also going to help you with a ton of the planning legwork: choosing a location, writing a timeline etc.
However, if you’re bringing a larger group with you and/or you’re designing a more elaborate day with lots of moving parts – eg. a fancy dinner set-up – it may well be helpful to have a dedicated planner to make sure it all comes together as you envision.
TOP TIP: pick a team who specialize in elopements. Elopements run very differently to traditional weddings and it helps to have people who understand the differences. For example, if you’re planning a sunrise hike, you’re going to need a hair and makeup artist who is willing to get up suuuuper early to get you ready! Or, if you’d like a bouquet/boutonniere, an elopement florist is going to know which flowers are most hardy for you adventurous day.
INSIDER SECRET: book your vendors EARLY. 2022 and 2023 are set to be HUGE years in the wedding industry (thanks to COVID delays), so vendors are booking up faster than normal. If you’d like some choice in who you book, don’t leave it till the last minute! 8-12 months in advance will be best.
Choose Your Outfits
If your Colorado elopement is going to be outdoors and perhaps includes some hiking or any other physical activity, you’re going to want to choose outfits that allow you to feel comfortable all day long. The last thing you want is to feel constrained as you’re romping around those mountains!
So, rather than a stiff, tight dress, we’d suggest going for something either looser and flowing, or fitted but stretchy. Bonus, dresses with that ‘swoosh factor’ look STUNNING in photos if there’s a bit of a breeze!
You’re going to want to make sure you have lots of layers, too, as the Colorado weather is just so darned unpredictable. Be prepared for sun, rain, strong winds, even hail at ANY time of year! This is especially true if you’re going to any serious altitude. So, make sure you have layers that you can easily take on and off as the weather changes. And, ideally, layers that you’d be happy having photos taken in if necessary.
Lastly, choose some really good, comfortable footwear. If you’re going to be hiking around even a bit, make sure you have a shoe or boot with a sturdy sole and good grip. You can always change into something prettier just for your ceremony if you want (though we still don’t recommend heels!).
You can find lots more advice on hiking elopement clothing and gear in this blog post.
TOP TIP: you don’t HAVE to wear a traditional ‘wedding’ outfit if that doesn’t speak to you. Ladies, perhaps a dress just isn’t ‘you’: feel free to rock a pantsuit, jumpsuit or any other outfit you please! Gents, perhaps a formal suit feels too stiff for you: how about simple pants, shirt and a funky tie and suspenders instead? Please, please, please don’t do anything on your elopement day that you don’t feel 100% great about.
INSIDER SECRET: if you want to know if your outfit is suitable for an outdoor, active elopement, put it on in your house and bust out some moves! Seriously, try going up the stairs, climbing over a big box, doing a little lunge or two… And, if any of those moves feel uncomfortable, you might want to rethink your outfit!
Plan Your Ceremony
So often, eloping couples get so caught up in planning all the logistics of their day that they kind of forget to think about the most important part: the ceremony. That moment when you finally share vows and commit your lives to one another!
It’s so important you spend some time thinking about how you’d like your ceremony to play out.
Will it just be the two of you sharing vows for a few minutes, or would you like something a little more than that? We’d suggest using an officiant to guide your ceremony if so. Remember, you don’t NEED anyone else since you can self-solemnize but it’s still really helpful to have someone else lead your ceremony so the two of you can just be in the moment and focus on each other.
A good officiant will take the time to really get to know you and YOUR thoughts on love, marriage and the future.
Here’s just a few things you might want to think about with your officiant if you choose to have one:
- Do you want a religious ceremony, a secular ceremony or something in between?
- Do you want to include any readings? If so, which ones? You could include anything that’s meaningful to you, whether it’s from literature, a movie or a religious text.
- Are there any cultural elements you’d like to include?
- If you’re bringing guests, would you like to involve them in any way?
INSIDER SECRET: if you work with us as your photographers we also include complimentary officiation. We have a full ‘How To Create Your Elopement Ceremony’ guide that is exclusively for our booked couples and we will write and lead a personalized ceremony that is just for you.
Plan Activities For Your Colorado Elopement
Of course, your ceremony – y’know, GETTING FREAKING MARRIED – is going to be the highlight of your day. But what are you going to do for the rest of the day to really make the most of your Colorado elopement?
There are ENDLESS options, so here are just a few to get your imagination rolling:
- If you and your partner are active and love the great outdoors, going for a hike is a natural choice.
- If hiking isn’t your thing but you still want to experience nature, maybe you’d prefer something like horse-riding or kayaking.
- Don’t want something so active? How about some road-tripping, driving from one stunning spot to another? Colorado has four national parks, over 40 state parks and no end of national forest land.
- Don’t forget to check out the local town you’re staying in: breweries, cafes, little shops, quirky museums…. So fun!
- Think about where you’re going to eat if you’re foodies (like us!). Do you want to pack a picnic, have someone cook for you or go out for a nice dinner?
TOP TIP: even though you’ve opted out of a traditional wedding, it doesn’t mean you can’t still include some more traditional activities on your elopement day. Maybe you’d like to dedicate some of your time to a first look, a first dance or cutting a little cake?
Need more ideas for your elopement day? Check out this blog for 80 ways to make your day extra special.
Create A Timeline
It’s important you have at least a loose timeline in place ready for your Colorado elopement day. You’re not having a big, traditional wedding so it definitely doesn’t need to be mapped out minute by minute, right down to the finest detail: that’s the stress you’re avoiding by choosing to elope! But you do still want to make sure you’ve got a rough idea of where to be when, and how much time you need to fit in all the cool things you want to do.
So, with that being said, how much time do you actually need for your elopement?
Just because you are choosing to elope rather than have a traditional wedding, does NOT mean your day is any ‘lesser’. It saddens us when couples choose to have just a one or two hour elopement and that’s it, all over and done. This is your WEDDING DAY and you deserve so much more than that.
Think about it: most couples have an entire day dedicated to their wedding, so why on earth shouldn’t you?! Especially if you’ve traveled from out of state for your Colorado elopement: make the absolute most of your time here!
We always advise our eloping couples to close their eyes and picture their entire dream day together. From the moment of waking up, to the moment of falling back into bed MARRIED, what does that day look like?! Of course, it’s going to be different for every couple – some like a slower, chilled pace while others are more go, go, go – but PLEASE allow yourselves a full day to revel in your love and celebrate the heck out of your marriage!
Creating your timeline is something that we, as your photographers, will help with. We have tons of experience and know, realistically, how long things are going to take. We also know the importance of flexibility, spontaneity and down-time, so we’re going to create a timeline that moves at a nice relaxed pace, and doesn’t ever make you feel hurried or stressed.
To help you visualize what your day might look like, here’s a couple of sample Colorado elopement timelines:
Sample Timeline 1: Full Day Colorado Hiking Elopement
4.00am: meet at the trailhead and get kitted up
4.00-5.30: hike in the dark, enjoying the stars, head up to a mountain pass with 360 degree views
5.30-6.00: morning coffee and get ready
6.00-6.30: enjoy a first look as the sun lights up the peaks all around
6.30-7.00: your ceremony, GET MARRIED!!
7.00-8.00: epic photos!
8.00-9.30: hike back down
9.30-10.30: explore the mountain basin, filled with wildflowers and waterfalls
10.30-11.30: tuck into a champagne picnic breakfast, read letters from loved ones, maybe exchange gifts
11.30-2.30: drive back to town and relax at your hotel for a bit, maybe take a little nap
2.30-4.30: explore the quirky little town, stopping off at the brewery for lunch
4.30-6.30: drive out to a viewpoint to enjoy sunset, celebratory beers, maybe a first dance
6.30-9.30: indulge in a private dinner cooked by your own private chef
Sample Timeline 2: Full Day Colorado Off-Roading Elopement
7.30-10.30: enjoy a lazy morning, making breakfast together and slowly getting ready, hair and makeup
10.30-11.30: go pick up your Jeep and buy picnic supplies
11.30-2.30: head into the middle of nowhere, away from all the tourists, taking in the most insane views, stopping for photos along the way
2.30-3.00: your ceremony, GET MARRIED!!!
3.00-4.00: first dance, cut your small cake, photos
4.00-5.00: stop off at an alpine lake for a picnic, heck maybe even a swim if you’re brave!
5.00-6.30: drive back to town, stopping along the way to soak in sunset
6.30-8.30: celebratory dinner and drinks
TOP TIP: make sure you have a Plan A but also a Plan B/C in place long before your elopement day arrives. If you’re eloping in Colorado, things don’t always go exactly to plan – weather, for example, might force a change in plans – but if you’ve been aware of this from the get-go it won’t feel like a stressor or a disappointment on your big day.
Now that your Colorado elopement day is nearly here, it’s time to get all packed up and ready to hit the road!
First up, make sure you pack those most important, absolutely cannot lose, items in your hand luggage and never let them out of your sight! This includes items like your rings, your vow books and your marriage license paperwork.
Next, have a think about how to pack your wedding outfits. If you’re flying, it’s best to call your airline directly and ask their advice on traveling with a wedding dress. Hopefully you’ll be able to hang it in an onboard closet. This article from Brides has some great advice for traveling with a dress.
Lastly, make sure you pack plenty of snacks and a good book: you want to make sure you arrive at your destination feeling relaxed, not fed-up and hangry!
Arrive Early And Acclimate
If your schedule allows, we highly advise arriving in Colorado for your elopement at least a couple of days early. This will give you time to relax, pick up any last minute supplies, pick up your marriage license and, most importantly, acclimate.
You’re most likely going to be experiencing a big increase in altitude coming to Colorado and altitude sickness is no joke. It’s super important you have some time to get used to the increase before your elopement day, especially if you’re going to be doing some hiking or any kind of physical activity.
Make sure you rest plenty, drink a ton of water, minimize alcohol and get out for some very moderate activity. All of this will help you to feel your best on your big day!
TOP TIP: now is a good time to write your vows if you haven’t done so already, do NOT leave it till the morning-of! We’ve written a blog with all our top vow writing tips, you can read it here.
Your Colorado Elopement Is Here!
You’ve done it! You’re in Colorado, all your ducks are in a row…. Now is the time to let it all go and just ENJOY. Our biggest advice on your elopement day is just to take it slow, be as present as you can in the moment and take time to pause and really soak it all in. We’re excited for you!
Remember to Leave No Trace
The last thing we’d like to do is just remind you all to check out the Leave No Trace principles and try your hardest to leave as little impact on the natural environment as possible. It’s such a joy and privilege to be able to enjoy these wild places on your wedding day!
We are certified Leave No Trace photographers and have written a full guide for all our booked couples that helps you interact responsibly with your environment whilst still having one heck of a celebration!
So, there you have it! Hopefully you’re feeling much more excited about planning your Colorado elopement now and are EXCITED to get started.
LET’S DO THIS THING!!!
We would love to create an epic elopement experience for you! We provide planning assistance, photography and officiation for adventure-seeking couples not only in Colorado, but across the US and worldwide. Get in touch to start brainstorming with us!
Chad & Vanessa, ‘The Outlovers’