So, you’ve made the bold decision to opt for an adventure elopement over a traditional wedding. Congratulations, my fearless friend! Now, it’s time to get ready for your one-of-a-kind wedding adventure! If you’re seeking an unforgettable and authentic wedding experience, you’re in the right place. Let me take you behind the scenes on how to plan your Colorado adventure elopement and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Just because you’re choosing an adventure elopement doesn’t mean you miss out on all the wedding planning fun. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! Elopement planning is an opportunity to let your imagination run wild and create a day that truly reflects your unique journey together.
I’ll admit, I’m a bit biased as a proud Colorado resident, but let me tell you, this place is an absolute dream for capturing your authentic love story. Colorado has it all – jaw-dropping mountains, fiery red deserts, expansive plateaus, and enchanting sand dunes. It’s a playground of diverse landscapes where you can truly set the scene for the wedding of your dreams. The possibilities are endless!
Throughout my years photographing weddings and elopements across Colorado and the Southwest, I’ve honed and perfected my elopement planning process with my incredible couples.
Once you reach out to me and we determine that we’re a perfect match, the adventure begins! Upon booking, I’ll send you my exclusive “Adventure Elopement Planning Questionnaire” to kickstart the journey. This questionnaire is where I delve into your epic vision for your adventure elopement.
I’ll ask about the vibe and aesthetic you’re dreaming of. Are you seeking an adventure with a hint of type 2 fun? Or perhaps something romantic and whimsical? The possibilities are endless, my friend, and I can’t wait to explore them with you.
During our adventure elopement planning journey, I’ll get insight into location ideas and timing as well. Are you a night owl or an early bird? Maybe you prefer a Fall elopement because of the changing Aspens. Do you envision exchanging vows amidst towering red rocks or within a serene mountain forest? From snow-capped peaks to hidden canyons, the choice is yours.
Also, I’ll provide inspiration and help you envision special activities that make your wild hearts skip a beat. From exchanging hand-written love letters before the ceremony to savoring an intimate dinner with a private chef or even embarking on a thrilling helicopter tour, the sky’s the limit to creating unforgettable moments. Dream big and let’s bring your vision to life!
Once I receive your completed questionnaire, the real fun begins. Based on your answers and ideas, I’ll curate a personalized mood board that brings your vision to life.
So what does that look like? No two elopements are alike, and that’s the beauty of it. Your mood board will showcase a unique blend of inspiration, reflecting the essence of your adventure elopement. While your own mood board will be a delightful surprise, here’s a glimpse of what you might expect to find on it!
Let’s explore some of my favorite local Colorado elopement locations, each offering its own captivating charm:
This well-known spot in Colorado Springs is perfect for intimate weddings and elopements. Situated on the front range and just a short drive from town, it offers easy accessibility for you and your guests. What’s more, the park is ADA-accessible, making it an inclusive location for all. With its numerous viewpoints, you can choose to have snow-capped mountains as your backdrop, nestle among the red rock spires, or have both! Garden of the Gods is not only stunning but also conveniently located near vendors, restaurants, and other stunning natural scenery, adding to its appeal.
If you’re looking for a place that resembles a mini Grand Canyon, Colorado National Monument in Grand Junction is an absolute gem. This epic location boasts winding canyons, towering spires, grand arches, and even slot canyons that require no technical skills. The park may not be as big as the Grand Canyon, but it offers numerous breathtaking viewpoints for intimate vow readings and wedding portraits.
Depending on your skill level, there are trails to suit everyone’s preference. Some notable spots include Upper Ute Canyon Viewpoint and Otto’s Trail. Additionally, if you envision expanding your guest list to include friends and family, you can consider renting out Cliff’s View, a reception area within the park. Colorado National Monument promises an unforgettable adventure elopement experience amidst awe-inspiring natural beauty.
You may already be familiar with Red Rocks as the iconic music venue in Morrison, Colorado, but did you know it’s also a fantastic place for elopements? Similar to Garden of the Gods, Red Rocks features towering red rock formations that create a stunning backdrop for your special day. What makes it even better is its proximity to Denver, providing easy access to vendors and restaurant options.
With a multitude of trails and various vantage points, there are plenty of choices for capturing beautiful wedding portraits. If you’re looking for a slightly more organized setup, the Red Rocks Amphitheater Upper Deck allows receptions to take place. Whether you’re drawn to its natural grandeur or its cultural significance, Red Rocks Park + Amphitheater is an extraordinary choice for an adventure elopement.
Lost Gulch is a hidden gem nestled in Boulder, Colorado, offering sweeping mountain views that will take your breath away. Located in close proximity to both Boulder and Denver, it’s the perfect combination of convenience and natural beauty. The Lost Gulch Overlook provides a west-facing view toward the Indian Peaks Wilderness and the majestic peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park.
While you can’t hold your ceremony directly at Lost Gulch, it serves as an ideal location for capturing stunning wedding portraits. Don’t worry, though! You can easily plan your ceremony elsewhere and then head over to this picturesque spot for unforgettable photos. Sunrise Amphitheater is a popular choice for ceremony gatherings before making your way to Lost Gulch for elopement photos. Whether you envision a romantic sunrise elopement or a sunset celebration, Lost Gulch offers the perfect setting for your Colorado adventure elopement.
When it comes to epic elopement locations in Colorado, it’s hard to beat Rocky Mountain National Park. This renowned national park, near Estes Park, offers a breathtaking place to marry the love of your life. With 12 designated elopement and wedding locations within the park, you have a wealth of picturesque views to choose from.
Whether you desire the intimate ambiance of a secluded forest setting or the awe-inspiring vistas of towering mountain peaks, Rocky Mountain National Park has it all. Some popular locations for elopements include the scenic 3M Curve, serene Sprague Lake, picturesque Upper Beaver Meadows, and the hidden gem of Hidden Valley. You can even incorporate an element of water into your elopement experience, with pristine lakes and rivers dotting the park’s landscape. And keep an eye out for the wildlife that roams freely in this magnificent wilderness—encounters (from a safe distance of course) with the local fauna can add an extra touch of excitement to your adventure!
Located in Summit County, tucked between the charming Colorado ski towns of Keystone and Breckenridge, Sapphire Point Overlook offers a stunning backdrop for your adventure elopement, no matter the season.
With breathtaking views of Lake Dillon and the majestic Gore and Tenmile mountains in the distance, this location is a true gem. What’s more, it’s ADA-accessible, ensuring that everyone can partake in the beauty of the surroundings. Keep in mind that this popular spot can get quite busy, so reserving an early or late time slot is highly recommended to ensure an intimate and memorable experience.
Nestled near Idaho Springs, CO, and conveniently close to Denver and Boulder, Saint Mary’s Glacier is a captivating elopement spot. While it does require a bit of a scenic hike, the trail itself is nothing short of breathtaking. With a round-trip of 1.5 miles, reaching the top is quite a rewarding experience.
Located about an hour from Denver, St. Mary’s Glacier offers a refreshing escape from the summer heat, as snow can be found there for most of the year. This is an important factor to consider when planning your adventure elopement. Along the way to say “I do”, you’ll also be treated to stunning views of the nearby lake and the tranquil beauty of the evergreen forest.
Ah, Maroon Bells! If you’ve ever found yourself looking up photos of Colorado elopements, chances are you’ve stumbled upon this breathtaking spot in Aspen. And let me tell you, it’s no surprise that it holds the title of being the most photographed location in the whole state. How could you resist the allure and pure magic of this place?
This is an elopement location where beauty abounds in every single season. From the vibrant colors of autumn to the glistening winter wonderland, and the blooming wildflowers of spring to the warm golden hues of summer – Maroon Bells never fails to draw you in. It’s a true paradise for couples like you, seeking a wedding “venue” that perfectly reflects their unique love story.
One thing that’s highly recommended is renting the Maroon Bells Amphitheater. By doing so, you’ll secure a dedicated private area that sets the stage for your unforgettable wedding portraits and intimate vows. It also ensures that hikers and tourists don’t accidentally stumble upon your special moments. It’s like having your own exclusive slice of this awe-inspiring landscape all to yourselves.
As Colorado’s largest lake, Grand Lake offers a picturesque setting for an adventurous elopement. At Point Park, you’ll be greeted with stunning mountain reflections on the tranquil lake, creating a great location for unforgettable photos. The option to have the dock also adds a touch of fun to your elopement experience.
What makes Point Park even more special is the opportunity to incorporate fun activities into your day of adventure. Imagine canoeing together on the mountain lake waters, adding an extra element of excitement and creating memories and a gallery that will last a lifetime.
Just a short drive from Colorado Springs, The Paint Mines Interpretive Park is a place that will transport you to another world with its mesmerizing layers of pink, white, yellow, and orange. While you’ll need to have your official ceremony in a separate location, the park offers a truly remarkable backdrop for your wedding or elopement photos.
On the other side of the mines, you’ll discover a serene spot with rolling fields of tall grasses and vibrant wildflowers, creating a beautiful contrast to the geological formations. Golden hour at the Paint Mines offers the perfect lighting for capturing stunning shots. And here’s an extra tidbit for stargazers – it’s a designated Dark Sky Location, adding a touch of magic to your adventure elopement experience if you so desire.
Located in the San Luis Valley, Great Sand Dunes National Park is a truly dynamic piece of nature in Colorado that will leave you in awe. Tucked away, you might not even realize it’s there until you take that exit. If you’re seeking a totally unique elopement experience, this park is a perfect fit.
Picture giant sand dunes rising majestically amidst the Colorado mountainscape. In fact, it boasts the tallest sand dune in North America! It’s a testament to the incredible wonders that Mother Nature can create. The ever-changing environment adds an element of intrigue to this remarkable elopement location. The dune that you get married on might not be in the same spot next time you visit!
Like Paint Mines Interpretive Park, Great Sand Dunes is also a designated Dark Sky Location. As an added bonus, however, the park is open all night, making it a perfect location for those wanting to include stargazing and portraits under the night sky in their elopement day!
Embarking on an adventure elopement means embracing endless possibilities for activities and adding your own authentic flair. When you fill out my planning questionnaire, you’ll find a curated list of around 20 ideas to spark your imagination. However, let me assure you that the sky is truly the limit! You have the freedom to include any activity that resonates with you and your partner’s vision.
Whether you prefer something small and intimate or crave an extraordinary experience, we can make it happen. Imagine exchanging self-written vows, going on a breathtaking hike, stargazing under the night sky, or even cooking a special meal together. These simple yet meaningful moments add that touch of authenticity to your elopement. If you’re looking for an extra dose of adventure, how about indulging in a private helicopter tour, floating in a romantic hot air balloon, or savoring an intimate dinner prepared by a private chef? Let your wild heart lead the way, and together we’ll bring your wildest elopement dreams to life.
Once I soak up inspiration from your questionnaire and let my imagination run wild with ideas, the time comes to reveal the coveted mood board – a visual representation of your unique elopement dream. Through Zoom, or if geography permits, in person, we come together to share this pivotal moment in your elopement planning.
As we delve into the mood board, we go through every detail and gather feedback to really hone in on your vision. This is where the magic happens – where your abstract and authentic dreams take shape and form. By the end of our meeting, the general where, when, and what activities will start to crystallize.
With our shared enthusiasm and a collective stamp of approval on all that we’ve envisioned together, it’s time to take the next leap toward crafting your flawless adventure elopement.
Securing the necessary permits and licenses is absolutely crucial when planning your intimate wedding experience. Depending on the location, you may need a wedding permit, a photography permit, and/or a special use permit from the county or the park. Failing to obtain the required permits could potentially disrupt your elopement day and result in fines. Lucky for you, I actively carry photography permits for a number of Colorado locations!
It’s essential to regularly check the licensing and permit requirements as they can, and do, change. Although it may seem like a lot to navigate, as your adventure elopement photographer, I will guide you through the entire process and make sure you know what permits are required, how much they cost, and how to obtain them.
Here are some helpful resources for a few of the mentioned locations:
Garden of the Gods: https://gardenofgods.com/events/weddings/
Rocky Mountain National Park: https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/wedding_locations.htm#11/40.3418/-105.7386
Great Sand Dunes National Park: https://www.nps.gov/grsa/planyourvisit/wedding-and-ceremony-permits.htm
Choosing an adventure elopement doesn’t mean sacrificing the enjoyment of top-notch services from local Colorado wedding vendors. Once we finalize your moodboard, I will provide you with a curated list of recommended vendors who will resonate with your dream day vision. Here are a few examples:
Hair & Makeup:
BCB Salon- https://bcbsalon.com/
A Vow to Artistry- https://www.avowtoartistry.com/
Plume and Furrow- https://www.plumeandfurrow.com/
Beet and Yarrow- https://www.beetandyarrow.com/
Landfall Floral Co.- https://www.landfallfloral.com/
Other fun ideas:
PuraVida Picnic Co- https://www.puravidapicnics.com/
CO Lux- https://www.coluxepicnics.com/
Local vendors like these will ensure that you have everything you need to make your elopement day extra special and tailored to your preferences.
The final stretch is here, and your adventure elopement is coming to life. By this point in the elopement planning process, you’ll have your location nailed down, permits in order, and preferred vendors chosen. Although I always recommend booking as early as possible, I ask that my couples arrange all of their vendors at least 8 weeks before their wedding day. This will allow ample time to finalize arrangements, confirm reservations, and ensure a smooth and stress-free celebration.
In addition to your moodboard, I will craft a personalized timeline for your adventure elopement day. As we approach the 8-week mark, I will send you a detailed elopement timeline planning questionnaire to finalize and fine-tune all the important details. This questionnaire will help us maximize your special day by ensuring your priorities are reflected in every moment of your elopement. By planning an intentional timeline, we can create a one-of-a-kind elopement experience tailored just for you and your partner.
Once I receive your completed timeline questionnaire, I will begin crafting a draft of your personalized timeline. Additionally, we will have a final meeting to ensure all the necessary arrangements are in place, including discussing weather plans and confirming that the timeline aligns with your adventurous vision. Once everything is finalized, I will distribute the timeline to your team of lovely vendors.
From there, all you have to do is dream about your incredible adventure elopement in Colorado. Leave the logistics to me while you envision the authentic and unforgettable moments that await you on your special day.