The Ultimate Guide To Colorado Weddings & Elopements!
Updated: Oct 21, 2021
Congratulations-you’re getting married in Colorado!
....but, planning a Colorado wedding isn’t as easy as it sounds! There are tons of unique State and County laws to navigate- and then there’s the normal non-stop recruiting, coordinating, traveling- finding vendors and lodging, and so much more! Without a little guidance and direction, the process can quickly become frustrating and overwhelming. That’s exactly why we created our Ultimate Guide to Colorado Weddings and Elopements. In our detailed guide- we’ll cover everything you need to know about planning a wedding or eloping in Colorado!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Download the guide and take it with you anywhere! We've included journaling pages, and dedicated space for vendor comparisons and important contact information.
Access local, up-to-date information on top rated local vendors for your event and wedding planning! We’ve done all the research for you so you can make an informed decision about crafting your perfect Colorado wedding or elopement. Our guide is meant to provide local and visiting couples an in-depth look at the stunning state of Colorado- and lays out the laws for all kinds of weddings- plus tips on elopements, obtaining permits, planning a ceremony, essential wedding gear, and how to secure amazing vendors!
Navigating Weddings & Elopements In The Beautiful State Of Colorado
Colorado Weddings and Elopements are extremely unique and special- They also present one-of-a-kind challenges that many couples might not be aware of. The following pages are full of valuable information that’ll help you plan your special day confidently! We’ll cover things like self solemnizing- popular wedding venues- best vendors, amazing experiences- comfortable lodging options and more!
Things You Should Know About Colorado Weddings & Elopements
Couples can register for a marriage license in-person or online
The license is valid upon issue and must be used, in Colorado, within 35 days
The fee is $30.00, cash or debit/credit card payment only
The license is immediately valid
Your marriage certificate must be returned to the Clerk & Recorder’s Office within sixty-three days (63) after solemnizing. (late fees range from $20-$50)
Marriage certificates must include the county and location where the marriage took place, the date of the marriage, the officiating party’s signature and title- and the bride and groom’s signatures
Helpful Links-(Colorado State Governments website, linked to marriage laws)
Self Solemnizing In Colorado
What Is Self Solemnizing?
The ability to self solemnize in Colorado is one of it’s biggest appeals to adventurous couples! Self-solemnization means you can marry yourself without requiring a judge or officiant to be present! That’s right! With absolutely no oversight, Colorado allows you to say “I do” to your best friend without having to jump through a ton of unnecessary legal and financial hoops Self Solemnized weddings are legally recognized within the United States, and are recognized among other countries when traveling. Of the 9 states within the U.S. that allow self solemnized weddings- Colorado maintains some of the most relaxed laws regarding the process.
(The Knots list of 9 states where it’s legal to self solemnize) https://www.theknot.com/content/self-uniting-marriage
IMPORTANT UPDATES TO SELF-SOLEMNIZING LAWS IN 2021!
Perhaps you've come across several of these websites saying it's completely legal to have your dog marry you in the state of Colorado.
While this rule may have been allowed with no repercussion at an earlier point in time, the law has since been revised.
This is the direct excerpt from the Colorado State Government Website-
"Couples themselves may solemnize their own marriage (perform their own marriage ceremony). According to Colorado Revised Statute 14-2-109, a marriage may be solemnized by:
A judge of a court.
A court magistrate.
A retired judge of the court.
A public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages.
Indian tribe officials.
The parties to the marriage.
If you wish to solemnize your own marriage, you'll be responsible for acquiring, completing and returning the license to marry to the appropriate county office of the clerk and recorder."
Legally you can still marry one another as a couple, without anyone else present.
If you choose to have someone else marry you, it can't be your dog (I don't agree with this rule, but I guess I don't make the rules), or a random passerby.
Please make sure you have an official that has been ordained, empowered, blessed-up with the proper certifications to marry you, otherwise your marriage could be annulled!
BENEFITS OF A SELF SOLEMNIZED WEDDING
They don’t require a ton of advanced planning, and there are no special requirements
No technical hoops to jump through for special licensing- it's a standard marriage license.
They allow you the freedom to get married in some seriously beautiful and hard to access spots in Colorado
You can be completely spontaneous and get married in “the moment”
You can still share vows, invite friends and even have a small reception, a self solemnized wedding or elopement can still have all of the traditions and events found in a normal wedding.
Alternatively, this is the perfect opportunity to begin completely new traditions!
You can spend as much time with your partner in an intimate setting as you’d like, completely comfortable.
It’s completely legal, and recognized as an official marriage.
IMPORTANT LINKS REGARDING SELF SOLEMNIZING IN COLORADO
Information on self solemnizing in Denver https://www.denvergov.org/Government/Departments/Office-of-the-Clerk-and-Recorder/ marriages-and-civil-unions
Information on self solemnizing in Colorado Springs https://clerkandrecorder.elpasoco.com/recording/marriage-licenses/
General Colorado wedding and elopement information https://www.usmarriagelaws.com/marriage-license/colorado/county-clerks/officerequirements/
More information concerning self solemnized/self-uniting marriages and elopements https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-uniting_marriage https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/self-uniting-marriage/
Examples of Vows from self solemnized weddings https://www.reddit.com/r/weddingplanning/comments/abaev6/ selfuniting_quaker_ceremony_script/
Want A More Traditional Colorado Wedding Or Elopement?
COLORADO OFFERS AN AMAZING ASSORTMENT OF TRADITIONAL WEDDING VENUES
Self solemnized weddings aren’t for everyone- Tons of couples enjoy the more traditional approach to weddings, complete with an officiant and surrounded by family and friends, all set to stunning mountain views. If you perform a quick Google search, you’ll find that you can book your wedding at any number of venues, parks, and iconic locations. It’s important for you to take time as a couple to find the venue that’s perfect for you, and we suggest starting your search early- as the most popular venues in Colorado are generally booked out years in advance. There might also be hidden costs or unexpected restrictions. Together, let’s explore a few of the most desirable wedding and elopement venues in the state.
Getting Married At RMNP, Estes Park, Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado weddings are synonymous with each other. There’s no more iconic, authentic Colorado wedding or elopement experience than exchanging vows and sharing your first kiss set to a breathtaking mountain forest and snow capped fourteener! If you can get married at Rocky Mountain National Park- DO IT!!!It’s sincerely an incredible opportunity, and one of the most requested wedding experiences out there... which is why it’s one of the hardest experiences in Colorado to book. Time and time again we’ve come across couples full of joy and excitement at the thought of getting married at RMNP, only to be overwhelmed by the increasingly difficult to navigate restrictions, time constraints, volatile weather, unexpected fees and extremely limited availability. Don’t worry- we’re not here to try to scare you away from a RMNP wedding! Rather, we want to prepare you, by setting realistic expectations, and providing a comprehensive look into the RMNP wedding and elopement process.
“Rocky Mountain National Park Is Sold Out of It’s 250 Private Wedding Reservations for 2021”
Here’s What You Need To Know About Weddings & Elopements In Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
RMNP has altered it’s wedding permit program.
As of 2021, there are only 250 permits available per year for private weddings
Requests for permits are accepted a year in advance from the current months date (ex. as of August 2021 you’d be able to request reservations up to August 2022)
There is a $300 application fee, as well as a nonrefundable admin fee
Your application for a RMNP wedding must be submitted via EMAIL! They no longer accept mail, faxes, or phone requests
There are currently 13 private wedding sites available for reservations at RMNP
All locations are outdoors and rustic in nature without protection from the weather. Some sites offer seating at a few picnic tables or wooden benches
RMNP generally restricts the use of equipment such as tables, chair, tents, banners, displays, etc.- and encourages couples to have a simple ceremony
It’s important to note that RMNP is extremely restrictive on it’s wedding party sizes. Even the most accommodating wedding and elopement sites in the park only offer space for up to 30 people, which includes the bride, groom, officiant and photographer.
Additionally- all of the park rules, regulations and fees still apply, which means that upon entry- all guests must pay normal entry and parking fees.
There are no more than 2 weddings per ceremony site per day regardless of availability And according to the current RMNP website- “designated areas shall remain open to park visitors.
Other park visitors shall not be requested to move themselves, their vehicles, or alter their selected activities by couples getting married. Further, all pathways and trails in the ceremony area must remain clear for visitors to freely walk the path unimpeded. Do not block the trails.” -
Now that you’re fully aware of how tricky weddings and elopements in RMNP are, let’s discuss why it’s still absolutely worth it!
Intimate- Iconic, Rocky Mountain National Park-
Despite its restrictions, it’s hard to imagine a more romantic, organic, authentic Colorado wedding setting than Rocky Mountain National Park. Regardless of the time of year, the scenes offered by the 13 different elopement sites are truly awe-inspiring. The peace and serenity offered by the massive park will allow you to be completely present as you and your partner pledge your love for each other. Couples lucky (or resourceful enough) to obtain passes can enjoy
Scenic views: mountains, lakes, meadows, wildflowers, aspen groves
Easily accessible: only 90 mins NW of Denver, ideal for travel
Plenty of nearby accommodations (Estes Park, Grand Lake, Camping)
Iconic locations for photos after your ceremony: Trail Ridge Road (12,000 ft)
You are able to apply for your permit for the date/location as far out as a year
Exclusivity- only 250 weddings in 2021 instead of up to 2,190 per year in the past
Fees are affordable! Most venues cost a lot more than $300
Your reservation helps support the park system
Park is open year round
CLICK THE BUTTON BELOW TO GRAB YOUR FREE ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK WEDDING AND ELOPEMENT CHECKLIST-
Alternate National & State Park Wedding & Elopement Sites
Castlewood Canyon State Park
2989 CO-83,Franktown, CO 80116
A budget friendly option with diverse Colorado backgrounds The ideal setting for fall weddings | $ up to 66 guests
Rustic, Minimal • Outdoor venue with covered areas offering bbq and electric
Options include Pikes Peak Amphitheatre and The Bridge Overpass
Hourly rates sold in 1 or 2 hours- (max $300 for 2 hours)
Leashed Dogs are allowed
Golden Gate Canyon State Park
92 Crawford Gulch Rd, Golden, CO 80403
A rustic wedding or elopement option perfect for micro-weddings. On-site accommodations available | $ up to 40 guests
Unique, Simplistic, Accommodating
The park offers camping, cabins, yurts, a guest house RV sites, a meeting room and a red barn
Panorama point is iconic for its views which include almost 100 miles of the Contenintal Divide
The reception barn can hold up to 150 guests
Roxborough State Park
4751 E Roxborough Dr, Littleton, CO 80125
An extremely intimate venue that offers 2 outdoor overlook sites as well as an indoor auditorium | $ up to 25 guests
Wedding and elopement sites offer gorgeous views of the natural geological formations at the park
The Auditorium can accommodate up to 40 guests, and includes stadium style seating and a large projection screen with a/v
CLICK THE BUTTON BELOW TO GRAB YOUR FREE COLORADO WEDDING AND ELOPEMENT VENDOR INDEX- WE'VE LEFT TONS OF SPACE FOR YOU TO ADD YOUR FAVORITE VENDORS!
Weather Resistant Venues More Your Vibe? These Are Colorado’s Coolest!
Colorado weather is extremely unpredictable and pretty volatile! One moment it’s blue skies and sunshine- then seconds later you’re running for cover as the thunder, lightning and hail sets in. Fortunately there are passionate property owners who’ve worked diligently to provide couples venue options that offer protection from the elements, while still offering an authentic outdoor Colorado wedding experience. Here are a few of the best!
775 W Bijou St, Colorado Springs, CO 80905
A resort styled, tuscan designed wedding venue located in Colorado Springs | $$$ up to 200 guests
Classy, Elegant, Upscale
All inclusive packages offered
Venue, Bakery, Floral and Video Options available
Incredibly diverse options ranging from a library room to stunning stone balconies with mountain views
621 County Road 370, Lake George, CO 80827
An exclusive wedding and elopement venue off the beaten path in Lake George | $$ up to 100 guests
Rustic, Authentic, Spacious
All reservations include the use of the outdoor covered ceremony stage, rustic renovated early 1900’s barn and luxury reception tent
On-site honeymoon suite is free for couples on their wedding night
Complimentary golf cart transport across the grounds
Minutes away from state and national parks
200 N, Santa Fe Dr, Denver CO 80223
The team at Moss will work passionately to curate every detail of your wedding to perfection | $$$$ the sky is the limit
Luxury, Bespoke- Truly One-of-a-kind
Coordination of all details including live music and custom art
With advanced notice they’ll create a mural for your wedding
Guided design of the space with lighting, furniture, floral and more
These Micro-Wedding Sites Are Perfect for parties of less than 50!
Intimate, connecting micro-weddings are becoming increasingly popular. Want to get married surrounded by only your closest family and friends? Check out these amazing sites!
Recommended Micro-Wedding & Elopement Spots In Colorado
Denver Botanical Gardens Solarium
1007 York St, Denver, CO 80206
Technically it isn’t a micro site- since it can accommodate up to 70 people. But we’re adding it because it’s a real life secret garden | $$
Classy, Elegant, Upscale
One of the top 5 botanical gardens in the nation
Indoor/Outdoor ceremony space- outdoor catering is allowed
70 person capacity for the Mosaic & Solarium
The Gardens offers multiple sites, with the largest able to accommodate up to 1,200 people
1100 14th St, Denver, CO 80202
#10 out of 178 wedding venues in Colorado on TripAdvisor and voted best pet friendly hotel in Canine Colorado | $$
If your pets are your babies, this is the venue to book!
Pet services and amenities available on-site
Recently renovated modern rooms
In the heart of historic downtown Denver
On-site dining, lodging and catering options available
50 guests is an ideal limit, but the venue has room for more
W 28th Ave & Benton Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
This micro-wedding venue exudes old-world elegance with its classic, turn-of-the-century décor | $
Incredibly reasonable rates with hourly and full day rental options
Indoor capacity of 50 people
Outdoor ceremony site with arbor included
Venue offers an on-site playground and catering kitchen
Recommended Colorado Wedding & Elopement Vendors 2021
The best of the best! From budget friendly to sky-is-the-limit luxury options. We’ve included our personal recommendations as well as some of the Colorado wedding communities highest recommended and most requested vendors!
Want to use always have this information handy? Download or print our full guide! We’ve left a little room for you to add to the list, and keep track of the vendors you contact during your search.
*Please contact all vendors personally for updated COVID-19 information as well as real-time delivery options including fees, areas of service and product availability.
1407 S 8th St Colorado Springs, CO 80905
Colorado Springs oldest family owned flower shop, and best of The Springs Businesses 2021 | $$
In business for over 50 years!
Family owned and operated
User-Friendly mobile ordering system
Amazing customer service
Incredibly responsive and helpful staff (100% Yelp Response Rate)
Arches, Arbors & Chuppahs
205 W Rockrimmon Blvd Ste A Colorado Springs, CO, 80919
Colorado Springs fresh flower bar with a focus on sourcing as much local product as possible | $$
Master florist on staff with over a decade of experience
Assortment of local goods (candy, bath products, honey)
Offering floral options as well as wedding & event design
Stem bar allows you to create your own arrangement on-site
Floral workshops are available
The Ruffly Rose
1611 S Pearl St, Denver, CO 80210
Inviting florist offering custom flower arrangements & gifts in a bright, homey setting | $$
Beautiful homey setting great for visiting with your bridal party
Floral arrangements plus vases, eclectic gifts and sweet treats
Extremely user friendly and informative website
Giftcards with no expiry date available
A Sweet Selection Of Local Bakers
The cake cutting and tasting is such an iconic wedding moment. It’s full of joy, kindness, connection, a few jokes and plenty of napkins. In Colorado, adventurous and minimalist couples will often times opt for more portable yet still eclectic bakery options such as donuts, cake pops and cupcakes. These Colorado Bakeries are known for their show stopping creations and amazing customer care!
Bakeries & Cake Makers
Centennial Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80919
An award winning French restaurant and Bakery specializing in cakes, tarts and fresh breads | $$
Tons of gluten free and vegetarian options
Cakes and bakery options made fresh on-site
The “Frasier” sheet cake is an incredible and unique take on a Strawberry Shortcake
Full service dessert and dinner/banquet options available
1160 Speer Blvd, Denver, CO 80204
5280 magazines best bakery in Colorado 8 out of the last 10 years | $$
• Amazing selection of baked goods perfect for elaborate weddings or couples looking for portable options for elopements
Featured on Food Network
Specialty cake options for brides and grooms
Wedding dessert bar available
The Dessert Stand + Waffle Cones
Over 100 flavors of gourmet cupcakes, cakes, specialty cheesecakes, pies, brownies and cookies | $$
They offer popcorn bars and individually wrapped treats like whoopie pies and lemon bars
Voted as top wedding vendor by The Knot 3 years in a row (2019, 2020, 2021)
Look & Feel Better Than Ever!
Colorado stylists, estheticians and makeup artists are willing to go the distance to ensure their brides look absolutely flawless on their special day. These local beauty experts all guarantee breathtaking, happy results- and have a track record of treating their clients like royalty!
Colorado MUA That Slay
Glam By Rilie
Locally loved MUA specializing in spray tans, makeup and mobile styling | $$
Based In Denver
Makeup, Skincare, Brows & Hair Removal - specializing in all skin tones |$$$
Based In Colorado Springs
Makeup, facials, lash & brow tinting- Waxing services available | $$
MUA with a reputation for flawless makeup application, specializing in glam | $$$$
Incredible & Reliable Stylists
Based In Colorado Springs
Independent Stylist found inside Shoosh Salon- Specializing in luxe haircuts for weddings, and facial waxing
Fox & Jane
Based In Colorado Springs
Vibrant, upbeat salon and artists specializing in bridal hair and makeup
Making Memories That Literally Last Forever!
Choosing the right photographer & filmmaker for your special day is essential! You’ve spent months, maybe years planning- perfecting details, creating the perfect wedding style and look you want all of your hard work captured and showcased in a professional, loving, authentic manner- right? The storyteller you choose for your wedding or elopement creates memories that literally last forever- The following are some of Colorado’s most respected, requested and kind-hearted creatives- the ones guaranteed to produce magical, magazine-worthy content of your day
Colorado’s Best Storytellers
Photography & Film
Wedding & Elopement Photography & Films specializing in micro-weddings & elopements- | $$$
Photography & Film
Tons of experience capturing couples in iconic Colorado indoor venues, with a portfolio to prove it! |$$$
Davron Bowman | The Developing Life
Colorado’s most versatile storytellers- published in portrait, wedding and architectural work. Full service wedding packages include design
One of Colorado’s most experienced micro-wedding and elopement photographers with tons of experience planning sessions in RMNP and Estes Park
Davron Is Moonshine Mountain’s Preferred Photo & Video Provider!
With over 10 years experience capturing weddings, elopements and adventurous lives across the nation- Davron Bowman, leader of The Developing Life media, is one of Colorado’s most versatile and adaptable creatives. Davron offers couples unlimited freedom in structuring their ideal photo and video packages- including multi-day cinematic storytelling options.
Design services for save the dates, wedding invitations, and easy to manage wedding websites & media galleries available- with exclusive discounts for Moonshine Mountain couples!
Visit The Developing Life's full photo, video and design gallery here.
“A Well Fed Wedding Guest Is A Happy Wedding Guest” - Your Guests
Colorado has some of the most innovative, eclectic and diverse assortment of options for weddings and elopements. The street tacos, hatch green chilis, fresh produce and creative minds of the state are unrivaled! From private chefs, to mobile food trucks to elegant fine dining experiences- here are our favorite options for wedding and elopement catering!
A True Taste Of Colorado - Local Catering Options
*All catering vendors listed below offer services ideal for small elopement to large social gatherings of 200+ Please contact these vendors via their websites, in person or over the phone to verify product and date availability- delivery fees may apply
PB Catering Collective
1701 S 8th St, Colorado Springs
CO 80905 719-635-0200
An ambitious, successful catering collective offering an extensive array of options to suit every budget | $$-$$$$
Options ranging from casual to private chef custom
The Picnic Basket- Casual Contemporary
Buffalo Gals - Rustic Authentic BBQ
Cravings- Elegant Multi-Course Options w/Cocktails
Heavily involved in the local community
Focused on sustainability and local sourcing
92 Crawford Gulch Rd, Golden, CO 80403
Flexible food truck and buffet catering service specializing in innovative dumpling dishes and more! | $$
Dumplings, Fries, Pierogis, Gyoza, fried buns and more
Voted Best of Colorado Food Trucks by ColoradoBiz in 2020
Voted top 5 Food Trucks in Colorado To Try
Food Truck Services are perfect for micro weddings
Salt Of The Earth
5609 N. Academy Blvd Colorado Springs, CO 80918
A Colorado Springs caterer specializing in buffet style options that’ll suit any couples taste!
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, app and BYO options
Buffet options ranging from simple tex-mex to complete luau and filet dinners
Full service and drop-off options available
Closing Comments From The Owners Of Moonshine Mountain.
As one of Moonshine Mountain’s most recent couples (we were married June 19, 2021)- we can relate first hand to the struggles face when planning even a simple wedding or elopement!
As couples planning our special day, we faced an overwhelming amount of options and challenges- it was hard to keep up sometimes! We developed the Ultimate Guide To Colorado Weddings & Elopements in an attempt to help couples stay organized, while presenting verified, validated venues and vendors suitable for all budgets.
The blog post will remained pinned, easily accessible, and we'll work diligently to keep it up to date, and plan on adding more vendors to our network soon!
The digital version of this post is available for download at absolutely no cost- It's part of our almost 100 page Colorado wedding and elopement planner- which includes note taking templates and checklists that are easy to print out and take with you while you’re in the process of selecting the perfect venue and vendors for your wedding or elopement.
We also offer several helpful checklists as well as a comprehensive index full of helpful contact information, descriptions and pricing information.
Download your free planner here!
Don't forget to check back often for the latest updates!
Special thanks to the amazing team at The Developing Life for their meticulous work in helping design this guide! Check them out if you ever need any photo, video or design work!