Couple dances at their Great Sand Dunes elopement

7 Steps to Plan a colorado elopement

LAST UPDATED September 12, 2022

Of all the places in the world a couple can elope celebrate their love, I think Colorado is one of the most captivating. Yes, I may be a teensy bit biased, but there’s just something about the stunning landscapes and tranquil natural surroundings that brings a wedding back to the real, raw reason we get married in the first place. Getting married in nature is the best way to celebrate that authentic, passionate, and deep love that is built to be honored and I am so here for it.

Now, planning an elopement is 9 million times easier than planning a big, expensive wedding where you have to invite and feed your cousin’s 4th grade teacher… but there is still some planning involved to make sure you and your partner have the most epic celebration of your love!

Here are some tried and true easy steps to plan the elopement of your dreams in Colorado:

Step One: Dream Dream Dream

Elopements are about celebrating exactly as you want. You adventure how you want, you eat what you want, you invite who you want, you say what you want, basically – honey you doing YOU. So why not dream big?!

Take some time with all your electronics away or off (don’t worry, we’ll be picking them up and using them soon), and just let your mind wander. What speaks to your heart? Do you eyes desire the mountains? Do you worship at the altar of the beach? Do you love to lounge at the lake? Do your legs crave the ski slopes? Do your feet beg for miles of hiking? Does your bum pray for a cozy fireplace?

The possibilities are practically endless, so the best thing for you to do is just list it all out. That’s right, put it alllllll down. Every single idea. Skydiving pop into your head even though you are scared of heights? Who cares, put it down! Do you want a seven tiered cake even though it’s just you and your boo? Hey it’s your day eat away!

Couple takes in the view at their mountain elopement

Step Two: Think About the Money, Honey

While eloping is the most affordable way to get married, budgets are necessary as you don’t want to break the bank, or shortchange yourself on a magical experience. This is where you start narrowing down the list of things you want to do. Start prioritizing the Dream List and break down all the costs associated to have an idea of what you will be spending. It doesn’t need to be exact right away. The first step is to get a solid ballpark of how much everything costs.

If Colorado has been your dream destination forever but you don’t live here – how much will travel cost? Will you be hosting anyone for dinner to celebrate at a cozy mountain lodge or adventuring just the two of you? Will you have hair and makeup hike with you for some glam shots or are you keeping it au natural? Who is going to take all the photos you’ll cherish for years to come (I’ve heard this guy Adam Amit is pretty fun to work with 😉)?

Categories you’ll typically want to consider for an elopement budget are:

  • Travel Costs (flights, ground transportation, accommodation)
  • Permit fees at your wedding site (we can help you figure that out)
  • The wedding license
  • Adventurous vendors
  • Attire
  • Hair & Makeup
  • Rings
  • Flowers if you want ‘em
  • Champagne and any food you want to savor as newlyweds – every proper celebration calls for a lil bubbly!
  • Mini reception if you’ll have a few guests
Couple celebrates at their Garden of the Gods elopement

Step Three: Hire the Dream Team

Next up is a vendor team. Even if you’re not inviting anyone but your fur baby to join you for your elopement day, it’s still one of the biggest days of your life and you want a couple key folks to document it perfectly.

Again, vendors are totally dependent on your personal vision. The one thing you want to consider though is choose vendors who are adventurous and knowledgeable about elopements. If you’re going to want to hike up a mountain in Breck, you don’t want a photographer or videographer who is more accustomed to ballroom-type gigs. You don’t want a hair and makeup vendor that doesn’t usually work in remote settings.

Everyone has their own expertise, so if you do want to bring a vendor dream team with you, start searching for those vendors with adventure experience! I also have a recommended vendor list that I send to all my couples.

Step Four: Choose Your Colorado Elopement Location

Colorado is a state filled with majestic settings that provide the best locations for your elopement day. It can be a bit tricky to nail down exactly where you want to say those “I Dos” because of all the beauteous spots. My top tip for choosing where to go for your elopement? Think about your personality as a couple! Where are your favorite spots, what are your favorite kind of views, where do you go to celebrate milestone moments? Usually you’ll have an aha moment and a spot that is super meaningful for your love will become clear.

I’ve adventured to a lot of spots with couples all around the state, here are some of my favorites. Part of what I do for my couples is help them figure all this out, and then provide them with custom options. It’s a team effort and I’m here for you!

Couple has first look at their mountain elopement
Couple cuddles at their Colorado elopement

Step Five: Plan the Details

This is where you narrow down all the details and make sure you are putting together the elopement of your dreams. The best way to do this is to work with your vendors, and narrow down the original dream list so that it fits perfectly into your budget. Each vendor should have a list of all the things you need to consider or do, which will help you out. Once the deets are all set, you are just cruising for the ultimate ride.

Couple kisses at their elopement

Step Six: Get Your Marriage License

Gotta make it official! There’s nothing more frustrating than reaching the highest peak realizing that you forgot to check off some boxes to make it the real deal. You can get your marriage license in any county office in Colorado. For more details you can check out this guide on how to get married in colorado.

One thing to note if you’re coming in from out of state and want to sign your marriage license in Colorado, you MUST have a Colorado marriage license. You don’t need to sign it here though, you can always sign it back at home. And if you do wanna sign it here, and have a fur-baby, I have some really awesome news for you – Your dog can witness your marriage license!

Step Seven: Elopement Time!

LET’S GET MARRIED! Once all the legalities are checked off, a plan is in place, vendors are ready to strap on those hiking boots and capture the wild love you share, then it’s time to do the damn thing!
There’s nothing better than celebrating that big bold love you and your partner share in a big bold place like Colorado.
Here’s to a lifetime of profound love and epic adventures!

Couple says vows at their winter Colorado elopement
Couple shows off marriage license with their dog as a witness

Meet the Best Colorado Elopement Photographer for You

Colorado Elopement Photographer stands next to a Jeep

Hi there! I’m Adam, and my favorite thing in the world is helping couples just like you plan their perfect elopement. Whatever your ideal day looks like, I’m here to help you make it happen.

If you’re ready to start planning or just have some questions to decide which Colorado elopement package is right for you, I’d love to hear from you.

Are you ready for a consultation one one of Colorado’s Best Elopement photographers? Want to learn more about the right Colorado Elopement Package for You? Hit me up! I’ll chat with you for free to see if we can make your elopement dreams a reality.

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