Wondering how to go about planning a Colorado elopement? Lucky for you, I put together this guide for you on how to elope in Colorado, from finding vendors to choosing a location!
Here are the top 8 most important factors when planning your CO elopement that I’ll go through in this guide:
- Choosing your location
- Picking a time of year
- Booking your photographer + videographer
- Choosing a date
- Booking your other vendors
- Inviting your guests/witnesses
- Getting the permits you need
- Planning your elopement timeline + activities
Let’s dive in!!
1. Choose your location
First up – choosing your location! The location of your elopement is going to be one of the biggest parts of how your day goes and is really a way you can bring meaning to your special day.
Are you and your partner avid hikers? Love exploring the outdoors & visiting national parks together? Elope in a national park that you’ve been dying to visit together, or your fave one you’ve explored during your relationship! Then, find an epic hike to go on to take you to the location where you’ll say your vows.
Or maybe you’d rather keep it chill and closer to home – you can say your vows at a local park, and head to a brewery afterward to celebrate with your closest loved ones.
Whether you want to take a helicopter tour over the mountains of Colorado, visit the ice castles, hike 10 miles, rent out an Airbnb/cabin in the woods, or say your vows in your backyard, your elopement location should be somewhere you LOVE. Somewhere that will bring you joy and will be meaningful to you and your partner – whether that means adventuring to a new place or enjoying a familiar location that you love visiting together.
I’d suggest picking out your top 3-5 locations, and then narrowing it down from thereafter you do more research on weather, permits, accessibility, etc. This way, you’re not picking *one* location and planning for that location for months, only to realize the road to that mountain is closed in the winter, or ceremonies aren’t allowed there.
2. Pick a month or a season
Once you’ve got your top few locations narrowed down, it’s time to pick out a month or a season you want to hold your elopement in!
You should base this on a few things:
- Your personal schedules – work, vacation time, etc.
- Weather – Would you rather be sweaty or chilly? Risk having a rainy elopement or risk it being super hot?
- Travel costs – if you’re traveling to your location (and if you have loved ones traveling in), are travel costs significantly lower at a certain time of year?
- Accessibility – if you want to elope out in nature somewhere, or in a state/national park, when are the roads to your preferred location accessible? Is your location closed during the winter seasons?
- Crowds – Is your location going to be more crowded with tourists and/or locals during the summertime? Would you rather elope in the winter & be colder, but have a more private location? Are there more crowds on weekends (the answer is almost always yes for that one!)?
3. Book a photographer + videographer
Once you’ve narrowed down the time of year you want to elope, it’s time to book your photographer and videographer!
Photographers and videographers book their schedules pretty dang far in advance, so it’s important that these are some of the first vendors you hire. Other vendors, like florists, are able to work multiple elopements/weddings on the same day, but photographers & videographers can only work one per day since we’re there with you the whole time! Dates are our inventory, so they go quicker than maybe a hairstylist or makeup artist.
Most photographers will also help location-scout + help you plan your day (to an extent), so it’s helpful to have a professional hired that will be knowledgeable about different locations.
And if you’re wanting an engagement session or pre-elopement session of any kind, it’s important to book your photog ahead of time so that you have time to plan this sesh!
4. Choose your date
Now that you’ve booked your photographer & videographer, it’s time to narrow down your date. Since you’re eloping, I’ll make an educated guess and say that you’re probably pretty flexible. You’re not renting a huge venue or inviting 200 guests, and you value celebrating with your partner in a meaningful way over planning a super extravagant day.
So as far as the date goes, I would suggest narrowing down your date based on your photographer + videographer’s availability! This way, you don’t end up inquiring with your DREAM photographer, only to find out they’re already booked on the one date you picked out!
I mentioned this before, but again: keep in mind that weekdays will often be much less crowded if you’ll be eloping somewhere where tourists might visit! If you can only elope on a weekend based on your schedule, you’ll be fine, but you may not have quite as private an elopement with your partner if there are tourists/crowds around.
Your photographer will also be much more likely to be available on a weekday than a weekend, especially if it’s a weekend during the spring, summer, & early fall!
5. Book your other vendors
Next up, it’s time to book your other vendors! I suggest making a list of 2-3 different vendors that you LOVE for each category of your elopement day – 2-3 florists, 2-3 MUA’s, etc. Just in case your top, dream vendor isn’t available, you’ll have backups ready to send an inquiry to!
If you’re having trouble figuring out how to actually go about finding vendors, here are a few easy ways to start your search!
- Instagram stalk
- Search “Colorado florist,” “Colorado hair salon,” etc. in the search bar
- Search your location and look at the photos that have been geo-tagged there – are there any wedding photos? See what vendors are tagged in them!
- Google search
- Simply look up the vendor you’re looking for on Google! You should have plenty of results to look through.
- The Knot/Wedding Wire
- Search through the Knot or Wedding Wire for preferred vendors in your area
- Local wedding magazines/publications
- Look through something like Rocky Mountain Bride to find local vendors
And if you STILL need help finding trusted vendors, ask your photographer! They’ll usually have a list of preferred vendors that they’ve worked with & trust that they can give to you.
Finally, here’s a list of a few great Colorado elopement vendors to get you started, most of which are taken from Rocky Mountain Bride’s Colorado vendor list.
- Florist: Flower Disco
- Stationery: Lucky Onion
- Bridal boutique: Casa Bianca
- Hair & makeup: Messy Mountain Hair
- Rentals & decor: Wallflower Rentals & Decor
6. Invite your guests
Next, you’ll want to invite any guests you want to celebrate with!
A fun fact about Colorado: self-solemnizing is legal in the state! Which means you don’t have to have any witnesses or an officiant.
One way to get creative with this: if you have a dog, have him/her sign your marriage license to be a “witness!” It’s the cutest thing ever when couples do this.
Check out this great article I found on more details about self-solemnization in CO!
7. Get all permits/passes needed for your location
This is an important one: if you’ll be eloping somewhere on public land (especially a state or national park), please please make sure you obtain the correct permits and/or passes!
You can check out the National Park Service’s website for all the details about what permits and passes are required at different parks throughout Colorado. Be sure to do this well ahead of time so you have time to receive your permit legally and don’t have to worry about that once the big day gets closer!
8. Plan your activities + timeline
Finally, you’ll want to plan out your elopement timeline and figure out what activities you want to include!
Consider what you and your partner love doing together, and what would make your day THE best day ever. If you love camping, spend your elopement night under the stars. If you like having picnics, have a picnic at an epic location. Hit up a brewery to grab your favorite cold drink, go on a beautiful hike, visit your fav local restaurant, the possibilities are endless!!
Make sure you take these activities into consideration when looking for your location, as well, and when planning your timeline with your coordinator and/or your photographer. It’s important to fill your elopement day with activities that are going to make the day super special & memorable, so go alllll out!
Want some real-life elopement inspiration? Follow along on my blog here!