How To Elope in Colorado
Updated: Aug 18
Everything you need to know about how to elope in Colorado -- including a Packing List for your Adventurous Elopement, an Intimate Wedding Timeline, Dealing with Altitude Sickness. All the REAL stuff you need to be prepared for!
If you are ditching the traditional, cookie-cutter wedding rule book and looking for something totally unique, it’s hard to go wrong with a mountain wedding! Colorado is an idyllic place to elope for down to earth couples who want an adventure in the mountains, but the excitement of planning your wedding can quickly dissipate when you face the challenge of organizing all the details. Hang in there.. We’ve gotchu! We asked Adventure Elopement Photographer Gabby Jockers to spill the tea on what to actually expect when you’re eloping in Colorado, and how to prepare accordingly so you can capture the day with the Pinterest-y photos of your dreams!
Let’s get straight to it! Choosing the Elopement Location..
Gabby’s first tip is to just start by daydreaming. What is your perfect day of adventure together? Where are you? What are you wearing? Maybe you realize you absolutely want to take a boat out somewhere on your day. Or maybe you want to hike to see the alpen glow at Lake Isabelle.
While choosing your location, remember to check for permit requirements, guest/vehicle restrictions, and accessibility! Once you’ve decided, make sure you have a plan for how to get there, when to elope, and if and where you will need to stay overnight. Your elopement photographer can help you to book places and find permits. Get chatting with awesome pros like Gabby on the Wedy App, or check out our Colorado packages which includes a Wedding Planner who will be with you every step of the way to handle all logistics and vendor coordination!
How to pack..
If you’re not from Colorado, your mind may be buzzing with questions of what to bring along with you and how to prepare.
First, let’s start with the weather:
Weather in Colorado is predictably unpredictable, and can completely depend on where in the state you choose to elope. It can hail, rain, or snow -- even in the summer! Ask your planner or photographer for any insight, and prepare accordingly.
Gabby’s Adventure Elopement Packing List:
WATER and snacks!
Backpacks & pockets for snacks
Hiking shoes/sturdy boots
Leggings or thermal base layers to wear under dresses/pants for extra warmth
A warm layer (sweater, light jacket)
A wind/rain layer
Sunscreen to protect your skin from intense UV/sun at high elevations
Headlamps for hiking in the dark (perfect for chasing sunrise!)
And most importantly…
Bring a commitment to go with the flow and enjoy your bold & intimate elopement day!
Maybe the weather goes nuts or someone gets altitude sickness -- things don’t always go according to plan. Remember to be ready with a backup plan and a smile. No matter what, you are together with your love, getting married! You’re adventurers, and together you’ll make your elopement your perfect day together.
How to dress for an Adventure Elopement..
For Hiking Elopements:
Wear hiking clothes for the journey to and from your ceremony’s destination. Carry your
wedding clothes with you to change into when you arrive at your location.
For Non-Hiking Elopements:
Get ready as usual in your hotel or AirBNB, and wear your wedding clothes straight to the elopement!
Wear what you want! Your elopement is an awesome opportunity to express your personality and creativity, and your clothes are definitely a huge part of that. Gabby recommends trying to avoiding tight and rigid fits, especially since light flowy fabrics like chiffon or silk look amazing when blowing in the wind. Wear clothes you can move, breathe, and relax in.
Respect The Environment:
In having an outdoor elopement, it is super important to watch where you walk. Especially in Colorado, make sure to stay on the trails to protect the delicate natural ecosystems around you. Sadly, the alpine tundra is easily damaged and can take decades to recover.
We’re all about adventurous elopements, but not at the cost of our gorgeous environment! Be aware that many trails will be worn and patchy, and maybe even muddy -- make sure to have the proper hiking shoes and gear so you can have a fun and special elopement without a worry!
Make sure to plan for enough time to get to your location, have your ceremony, and take some amazing photos to look back on for the rest of your lives. Gabby recommends a minimum of 2-3 hours for your elopement to allow for adequate time to get all your photos in while still having a blast!
Here’s a Sample Timeline for our Adventurous Sunset Elopements:
5pm: Arrival After a day of anticipation, getting ready and grabbing your gear, it’s time to meet up with your photographer, florist, officiant, and any witnesses at your predetermined location.
5:05pm - 6:15pm: Getting to The Ceremony Once everyone is accounted for, make the hike to your elopement spot. Be sure to record every moment of this day, and plan for photographs of the hike - there’s nothing like a romantic shot of you two smelling wildflowers or dipping your toes in a babbling brook! It’s just as much about the journey as it is the destination.
6:15pm: Look The Part Take time to freshen up (and change out of hiking clothes, if needed). Use this time to also take a deep breath, because it’s almost time to get married!
6:30pm: First Look & Photos Before the ceremony begins, make sure your photographer is ready for your big reveals. First look photos capture that magical instant when you first lay your eyes on your spouse-to-be. It’s a beautiful, sentimental moment you’ll want to remember forever. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of that #GoldenHour glow to capture some gorgeous photos together before the ceremony begins.
7:15pm: The Ceremony This is it, the moment you’ve been waiting for… it’s time to get married! Exchange your vows and share those special “I do!”s, and kiss - it’s official! Sign the marriage certificate and break out the champagne, it’s time for a toast!
Other things to consider..
In the end, your elopement is all about you. Colorado is a stunning state that has tons of amazing places for you to celebrate YOU. As one of the only states that recognizes self-solemnizing weddings, you may not even need an officiant! Depending on what you have planned, it may just be the two of you and your photographer on that special day.
That said, make sure to hire the photographer that’s right for you. Here are Gabby’s top tips for finding your perfect elopement photographer:
Check out their style:
Look at the photographer’s past works and see if you like the colors/tones, poses, expressions, and backgrounds. Find someone who you think can capture your vision best!
Do they pass the vibe check?
Talk to your potential photographer, and see if you like their energy! As we said, they might be the only other person there with you, so it helps a lot if you like them as a person, too!
Whether you’re a couple of Coloradans, or you’re from out of town set on your dream elopement location, We at Wedy have hiked everywhere from the tops of mountains to luscious lakesides, and can help you plan and prepare for the big day!
Connect with our Colorado Elopement Specialists today on the Wedy App to start chatting in real time! Get to know your potential vendors, or here’s a good starting point, browse through our customizable, all-inclusive Colorado Elopement Packages!