How to Elope at Maroon Bells
If you’re looking for an outdoor wedding location that has a stunning mountain backdrop, convenience for your guests, and a private ceremony spot, a Maroon Bells Wedding may just be the perfect place for you. Located just outside Aspen, Colorado, Maroon Bells is definitely one of my favorite elopement locations. Read on to find out why!
Why Elope at Maroon Bells?
First of all, Maroon Bells is absolutely breathtaking. Although this is one of the most photographed locations in all of Colorado, it still manages to thrill no matter how many times you’ve seen it. Maroon Bells Amphitheater is also a perfect ceremony location framed by the mountains. The constantly changing landscapes throughout the seasons will have you falling in love with both your boo and all the surrounding nature. The sunrise here is especially magical, with the sun casting a warm alpenglow on the peaks.
Aside from the iconic view of the Bells, there are multiple other sites just a short walk away from the Amphitheater that are perfect for your unique elopement photos (your Colorado elopement photographer can help direct you to all the best spots!). For the truly adventurous, there are longer hiking and backpacking trails and options for your day. A Maroon Bells Wedding combines the best of everything – stunning views, ease of access, and a super fun experience.
How to Elope at Maroon Bells
Eloping at Maroon Bells is a pretty easy process.
Step 1: Decide to have a Maroon Bells wedding!
Step 2: One you know for sure that you want to elope there, you’ll need to decide where exactly. If you want to use the amphitheater for a more private experience (see below for more details), you should reserve the space. If you want a more natural experience and don’t have many guests, you can choose a hiking trail for a more off the beaten path adventurous wedding.
Step 3: Reach out to the local ranger and park offices to secure any permits you need.
Step 4: Plan the details – how you’ll get to your space, the timeline, activities you’ll experience, how you’ll get there, lodging, vendors, who will join you, marriage licenses etc…
Step 5: Elope!
Maroon Bells Amphitheater
One of the greatest things about a maroon bells wedding is that there is an official private amphitheater, looking out to the mountains, that you can use for your wedding. This location gives you privacy while being able to enjoy the stunning scenery.
Once reserved, you’ll have the designated amphitheater area completely to yourself. You won’t have to worry about beating the crowds or waiting for other ceremonies to end before yours can start. You’ll also have the best view of the lake and mountains, unobstructed by other visitors.
You’ll also have special access and parking privileges. Your reservation includes parking for up to 5 cars!
Normally, the road to the main parking lot near the amphitheater is closed from 8am-5pm, and visitors are required to take a shuttle from a parking area in another location. But, this is your wedding day, so you absolutely deserve the special treatment!
This is awesome if you are including guests, especially if accessibility is a concern. It’s also pretty dang cool even if it’s just the two of you!
How Much Does a Maroon Bells Wedding Cost?
You may be thinking a dedicated wedding ceremony site at one of the most gorgeous locations in the country, with special parking and access privileges. That must cost a fortune, right?
You may be surprised. You can reserve the amphitheater for the entire day (from 9am-3pm, and only Monday – Thursday June through October), have up to 50 guests, with special parking for up to 5 cars, for just $200. This is an incredible deal anywhere, but especially in the Aspen area!
Even if you are not planning to include guests, the cost makes it totally worth it to reserve just for the two of you to guarantee a private experience. The only caveat is that you’ll need to plan ahead to secure your reservation (more on this below).
The Maroon Bells amphitheater does not allow receptions, but you you can reserve the East Maroon Portal Picnic Site about 4 miles down the road for a reception up to 75 people. A Maroon Bells wedding is actually very affordable option.
When to Elope at Maroon Bells
The amphitheater is generally open from early June through October. I say generally because weather can impact the opening and closing dates. Just be aware of this if you’re planning an early June or late October event and be sure to have a backup plan.
Spring at Maroon Bells
Spring can be a gorgeous but tricky time of year to get married. The mountains haven’t yet been cleared of snow until mid-June, and it may rain or snow any day. So expect wild weather, and increasingly lush scenery. The shuttle isn’t open until sometime in May, which means you will have to figure out how to traverse the 7 miles each way to the trailheads on your own (hint hint, snowmobiles or snowshoeing are great options).
Summer at Maroon Bells
Summer is one of the best seasons. The weather is perfect, the snow has melted, and the days are long and glorious. This is the most popular time to be in Maroon Bells though, so expect crowds. Because almost everyone arrives via shuttle you can anticipate a steady stream of people starting at 8am.
Fall at Maroon Bells
Fall is one of the most gorgeous times to get married in Maroon Bells. The trees start to change colors, especially the endless groves of Aspens. The weather starts to cool off, and fall vibes abound. There are also fewer people present than in summer, so you can expect a little more privacy.
Winter at Maroon Bells
While I think the mountains are most beautiful during the winter, when everything is capped with white snow, getting to Maroon Bells is much much harder. The shuttle is no longer running and the roads are most likely covered in snow. That means you’ll have to figure out how to get to your ceremony spot on your own, which is 7 miles each way. The best options? Snowmobiles and snowshoeing!
How to Reserve the Maroon Bells Amphitheater
Reservations for your Maroon Bells Wedding can be made through recreation.gov. Reservations are available exactly one year in advance, and the dates go very quickly. The best way to ensure that you get a reservation is to have multiple date options in mind and be ready to reserve a year in advance.
The process is fairly straightforward – just search the available dates (or choose “Next Available”) under Campsite List. To book, click “Book Now.” You’ll need to create a Recreation.gov account if you don’t have one already. Then, you can pay the $200 rental fee and you’re good to go!
How to Get to your Maroon Bells Wedding
Maroon Bells is located approximately 10 miles southwest of Aspen, Colorado.
If you don’t have an amphitheater reservation with reserved parking, you have 2 options to get to the Maroon Bells:
From June – October, the only way to access the park from 8am-5pm is by shuttle from Aspen Highlands. You can take a bus from the Rubey Park Transit Center in downtown Aspen and other locations in the area (see more info here). Reservations are required for the shuttle.
Before 8 a.m. and after 5 p.m. you can drive your own vehicle, but you will still need a reservation.
Can Guests come to your Maroon Bells Wedding?
Yes, you absolutely can bring guests to your Maroon Bells Wedding! Remember, this is a day for you, designed by you, meant to be a celebration of you and your boo. You craft the day that you want. If that includes guests, great! The amphitheater is easily accessible, and there are shuttles that transport guests to the main parking lot and start of the park.
Can we bring our dog to our elopement?
Absolutely! Dogs are allowed at your Maroon Bells wedding, so long as they are leashed.
But here’s one of the coolest things about Colorado – your pet can legally sign your marriage license! That’s right, your fur-baby can be a legal witness to your wedding. I’m telling you, nothing beats Colorado.
Making Your Big Day Special
I’ll scream it from every rooftop, sing it in the shower, and preach it to anyone willing to listen: your wedding day, whether that be a traditional wedding, a micro wedding, or an adventure elopement, should be about you. A celebration like this has no room for societal or familial pressure. It should not have any pressure at all.
I encourage every one of my Amores to take a tried and true look at what is important to them on one of the biggest days of their lives. This day must be authentic to their story and desires because let’s face it, traditions and style may change, but what you celebrate together as a couple will stay constant.
Maroon Bells Wedding and Amphitheater Elopement Packages
I don’t believe in cookie-cutter elopements. That’s why from the moment you reach out to me, I’m invested in helping you craft your own unique day. I offer unlimited consultations as part of every package to make sure that your elopement experience is exactly the way you envision. This includes helping you find the right location for your ceremony, finding the right activities, and helping you plan out all of the logistics for your day. My goal is to make your Maroon Bells Wedding, or any elopement you have, a hella fun and stress-free experience!
With all of my Colorado elopement packages, which includes a Maroon Bells Wedding, you’ll get:
Want to learn more? Schedule a free consultation and let’s chat!
Meet the Best Maroon Bells Wedding Photographer for You
Hi there! I’m Adam. I’m an adventure elopement photographer because I love crafting a truly unique day for the couple, not bound by expectations. If that sounds like something that stirs your soul, gets ya moving, and you want to chat with the best Colorado Micro Weddings photographer for you, send me a note, and let’s have a free consultation. I can’t wait to hear from you.