Hey there! I’m Carissa, an intimate wedding and elopement photographer. I am so excited that you are reading this, because that means that you are considering eloping. Choosing to have an intimate and meaningful wedding will be the best decision you ever make, I promise. The incredible thing about elopements is that you can do whatever the heck you want. All the pressure, obligation, and stress is stripped away, and instead you have the complete freedom to craft an experience that is just for you.
All that freedom might feel a bit overwhelming though, which is exactly why I created this guide. I want to help make this process as seamless, and easy as possible, because elopement planning should be FUN! Think of me as your elopement guide – I’m here to help you craft your incredible, unique elopement experience from start to finish.
On this page, I’ll cover why you should elope in Colorado, how to choose a Colorado elopement location, the different seasons, and the weather to be aware of when choosing an elopement date. I’ve also got you covered when it comes to permits, and all the boring legal stuff!
Why elope in Colorado?
Colorado is such an incredible place to plan an elopement. Not only is it SO dang beautiful, but it is also has so much diversity that you might not have even know about. Here in Colorado, we have spectacular mountain peaks, high alpine tundra, turquoise glacial lakes, valleys filled with wildflowers, canyons, rugged 4×4 roads, spectacular waterfalls, and so much more. Colorado truly is the perfect place to start your lives together with an incredible adventure.
Choosing your Location:
Choosing your elopement location is one of the most important decisions you will make when planning your Colorado elopement. I’m a huge believer that the place you exchange your vows and commit your lives to one another holds so much significance. You know you want to elope in Colorado, but where in Colorado? Like I mentioned earlier, this state is SO diverse. There are so many amazing spots to elope at here, so how do you choose?
A great place to start is by crafting a vision of what your dream Colorado elopement will look like. Consider what type of scenery you want. Colorado has endless options and it is easy to get overwhelmed by that, but which one is right for you? Close your eyes and picture the moment you are saying your vows. What is the landscape like? Consider what’s most important to you? Epic views, accessibility, privacy, weather? And if you feel like you just can’t choose just one type of landscape that is okay! Maybe you explore multiple spots. That’s the great thing about eloping. You get to do what you want to do.
Once you have narrowed down the vision of what you want, a good photographer should be able to provide customized location suggestions that fit exactly what you are looking for.
Consider the Weather:
Colorado has 4 gorgeous seasons, and depending on the time of year you elope, the weather will be a big factor in your day. The seasons exist differently in every area of Colorado, so it is important to know what to expect in your elopement location.
If you are wanting blue skies, warm weather, lush greens, and wildflowers then summer is probably the perfect season for you to plan your Colorado elopement. Depending on where you are, the temperature is usually between 75 -85 ℉, although it is much cooler at higher elevations. July and August are the warmest months in Colorado, making it the perfect time for outdoor activities. The summer weather in Colorado is typically June – September.
Fall in Colorado is absolutely stunning. Not surprisingly – it is also the most popular time of year for Colorado elopements. If you are wanting to experience perfect crisp weather, jaw dropping Aspen groves of all colors, and the possibility of snowcapped mountain top backdrops, then fall is the perfect time of year for your elopement. The peak season for the changing leaves is mid-September to early October.
Despite the bitter cold weather, Colorado becomes a winter wonderland over the winter months, and is the perfect place for planning a magical, snowy elopement. The weather during winter is definitely unpredictable, and although you could be blessed with a warm blue bird day, you could also experience a blizzard on your elopement day. The temperature can range anywhere from 5 – 45℉, so be sure to consider this before planning a winter elopement in Colorado. The best snowy winter weather in Colorado is typically in November – March.
Although technically Spring begins in March, the winter weather in Colorado typically lasts through April, and sometimes even into May. Higher elevation locations will usually still be snow packed through June. Spring is also the rainy season here in Colorado, so you can expect daily afternoon rain showers in certain mountain locations, but luckily they usually pass after about an hour. If you are wanting to plan a spring elopement, I recommend waiting until late May or early June for the best conditions. As the snow starts to melt, the gorgeous Colorado wildflowers will start to bloom all across the state, and the weather starts to warm up. The earlier spring months can end up being muddy, icy and limiting with accessibility.
Marriage Laws and Permits:
Now that you know the overall vision for your day, and the general location for the elopement, and the date picked out, it’s time to start diving into logistics. If you are having trouble with this don’t worry, you can always hire knowledgeable experts to help you. As an elopement photographer, this is the stage of the planning process that I typically help the most with.
Colorado is a great place to elope because the marriage laws make it so easy. No officiant or witnesses needed to make things legal here, you get to marry yourselves! All you need is a marriage license, which must be used within 35 days of your application.
You will want to look into permits and regulations for your elopement location. Most national parks require you to purchase a permit to have a wedding within the park. The fee is usually a couple hundred dollars, but that varies from park to park. Most public lands also will require you to purchase a permit. Some parks also have designated ceremony locations, so you will want to look into that. Each park will have a different timeframe for when you can get your permit, but it is always a good idea to err on the side of caution and submit your application sooner rather than later. You will also want you research the rules and regulations, as some locations are more restrictive than others.
Hire a Great Photographer:
Call me biased, but I think photography is one of the most important parts of your wedding day. I’m a photographer, so of course I think that, but seriously! These photos are one of the only tangible things you will have left over from your wedding day. Not only that, but an elopement photographer wears many hats, and will be able to help with SO many things beyond just capturing your day. A good photographer will be able to help with location scouting, planning, travel logistics, permits, timeline creation, and a million other things. Trust me, hiring an awesome photographer is so important, and truly invaluable.