Updated June 28, 2022 by Adventure Amore
Garden of the Gods is one of the best elopement locations in Colorado. Located in Colorado Springs, just over an hour from Denver, this park feels like you’ve been transported to another world. Designated a National Historic Landmark, Garden of the Gods features towering red rock formations and incredible views of the surrounding landscape, including the iconic Pike’s Peak.
It’s also one of my personal favorite places for elopements, so I put together this guide to share all the best tips to help you plan your own Garden of the Gods elopement. I’ll share all the details you need to know, including basic info and rules, how to get there, where and when to elope within the park, and the best places to stay nearby. Let’s dive in!
Let’s start with a short definition of what it means to elope.
An elopement is a uniquely crafted day that is focused on just the wedding couple. The couple determines the structure and what to include. It can be as adventurous or low-key as the couple desires.
This structure almost never changes, and the biggest difference between a traditional wedding and other forms is the guest counts. Traditional weddings have no upper limit to guest counts, meaning you can have 300, 400, 500, 600, or even 1,000 guests.
If you want a day just focused on you and your partner, doing exactly what you want how you want, then an elopement is for you. When you elope you get to craft your own day, meaning you do your own activities and celebrate however you want. It’s total flexibility. Want to know more? Check out these top reasons to elope!
One of the best things about Garden of the Gods (aside from the absolutely stunning scenery) is that eloping here is FREE. That’s right, there are zero costs for parking, small wedding ceremonies, or wedding photos at Garden of the Gods. Not having to secure a permit in advance makes it easy to realize your elopement dreams without a ton of advance planning.
Convenience and accessibility are other reasons to elope at Garden of the Gods. Unlike some of the other top elopement locations in Colorado, getting to this site is fairly easy. Many of the best spots within the park are just a short walk from the parking lot. This is a huge draw if you’re short on time or if accessibility is a consideration for you or your guests.
Garden of the Gods is also open year round, which makes it a great choice for any season. (More on that below!)
Garden of the Gods is easily accessible from I-25 at 1805 N 30th St, Colorado Springs, CO.
There are many spots throughout the park that are ideal to have a very small elopement without guests. An experienced elopement photographer can help you find those hidden gems to truly customize your day!
Wedding ceremonies with guests are limited to 6 locations within the park. All are on a first come first served basis, and no permits are required (provided you follow all regulations and capacity limits). These locations are generally pretty popular, so if you want to avoid crowds you may want to consider a sunrise and/or midweek elopement. Each location is different and can be the perfect spot, depending upon your guests and what you desire.
Due to its central location, there are multiple great lodging options close to Garden of the Gods. From luxury resorts to cozy Airbnbs, the Colorado Springs area has something for everyone. Here are some to check out:
This full-service resort located just outside the park offers both traditional rooms and cottages in a breathtaking location. This can also serve as a perfect reception venue if guests will join you during or after your elopement.
Historic 1870’s Inn located in Manitou Springs, just minutes from Garden of the Gods.
Iconic luxury resort in Colorado Springs.
Renting a place through Airbnb is a fantastic option for elopements, especially if your accommodations will double as a location for your getting ready photos or an after-party. You can find a variety of options in every size and price range. Here are a few gems in the area to get you started:
Although you do not need a permit, there are rules that couples must follow to get married in the park. It’s important that we all do our part to ensure that this incredible spot is open and available to visit for years to come!
Note that these are rules specific to weddings – please also see these general rules for all visitors to the park.
Garden of the Gods is open every day of the year, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, and is a very popular and busy place, especially since it’s free! So you are probably wondering, what’s the ideal season to elope? When should we say our vows, do the thang, and have fun?
Fall Elopement in Garden of the Gods:
Fall is a gorgeous time of year, where the weather is warm, trees are changing colors, and you don’t have to worry as much about adverse weather. This is one of the best seasons to get married at Garden of the Gods. One things to consider – because the weather is so wonderful, there will probably be a lot of people at the park at this time.
Winter Elopement at Garden of the Gods
Winter brings snow and colder temperatures, which also means fewer people in the park. What’s the incredible upside? Have you ever seen snow dusting red rocks? It’s simply stunning. Not to mention, snow-capped mountains in the background. If you are ok with potentially cold temperatures, winter at Garden of the Gods can be a spectacular time to get married. It’s a view unlike anywhere else in Colorado.
Spring Elopement at Garden of the Gods
Spring time brings flowers, crowds, beautiful views, and potentially crazy weather. Spring time can be a bit tricky – we can have blizzards in late May, and 90 degree sunny weather in April. If you are ok to risk it for the biscuit, meaning you are ok with weather not being what you expected, this can be a wonderful time to get married. You are likely to have warm – cool temperatures, moderate crowds, and blooming vegetation. I’d recommend aiming for May or later to hopefully get the best weather.
Summer Elopement at Garden of the Gods
Summer is the busy season for the park, when crowds flock to see the gorgeous free park. You can still find secluded, intimate spots, but be prepared for lots of people, and potentially very very hot weather. Summer is a great time if you like the heat and don’t care about the crowds. You’ll also never go wrong with the views.
Eloping in Colorado is fairly easy, with no special requirements for couples residing outside the state. Just follow these steps:
Colorado requires a marriage license to consider your wedding legal. You can apply for your license at any county clerk’s office (each county has one). Generally, no appointment is necessary, but check with the office to confirm. You can get your license right away once you fill out the paperwork.
One of the great things about eloping in Colorado is that you don’t need an officiant. If you prefer that your day is just the two of you (and your awesome photographer 😉 ) you can just sign the thing yourself. You do NOT need an officiant, judge, or any witnesses.
That’s right! In Colorado you can have your dog, cat, or other furry family member sign your marriage license. Just bring an ink pad along to help them stamp their paw on the dotted line.
Once you’ve signed your license you can return it to the office where you got it or mail it in.
Want to learn more about Colorado weddings? Check out our blog post on How to Get Married in Colorado .
The park does not allow wedding receptions. You may have a small picnic at the Scotsman Picnic Area or the South Spring Canyon area, provided you follow all park rules.
The Garden of the Gods Resort, located just outside the park entrance, is a popular venue for weddings and elopement receptions after ceremonies at Garden of the Gods. They have multiple event spaces to accommodate small groups or larger groups up to 300 guests.
Another option is to plan a smaller celebration at a local restaurant or at your AirBnb. (Your elopement photographer can help plan all these details!)
Garden of the Gods Park is open year-round, every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
5:00 am – 9:00 pm (Nov 1 – April 30)
5:00 am – 10:00 pm (May 1 – Oct 31)
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Winter Months
8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Summer (Memorial Day Weekend – Labor Day Weekend)
Absolutely! An elopement doesn’t have to mean that you two are going it alone. If you want to include your closest family and friends, they should absolutely be there. You can choose to have them there for all or just part of your day (again, total flexibility!). For more on including guests at your elopement, read How to Have a Friends and Family Elopement.
Yes! Your fur babies are allowed in all areas of the park. They must stay leashed at all times.
There are 336 parking spaces located throughout the park. Spaces fill up early at peak times. You’ll want to work with your elopement photographer to find the best arrival time to ensure that you and your guests snag a spot near your ceremony site.
It’s important to always follow Leave No Trace Principles. At heavily trafficked sites like Garden of the Gods, it’s especially crucial that we all do our part. Following these principles will help to ensure that this location will be available for future generations to enjoy.
Learn more about Leave No Trace at LNT.org.
Hey there! I’m Adam, and I help couples just like you plan their dream elopements! If you’re planning a Colorado elopement, I’d love to hear from you! I can help you find the best Colorado Springs elopement package for you and help you start planning the day of your dreams!