A winter wedding can be beautiful, magical and romantic… with the proper planning and preparation, of course! There are seasonal things to keep in mind, like celebrating your union during the darker months when the sun goes down sooner and you simply don’t have as much sun in general, but if you got engaged over the holidays and want to have a year-long engagement, you’re probably looking for a stunning winter wedding. The good news is, most of the small challenges with winter are avoidable, and this blog post shares 20 simple tips and tricks to ensure your winter wedding goes smoothly. 

Winter Wedding Style

1. Invest in Accessories

Remember, it will be cold on your big day, so it will be important to accessorize to keep warm. A faux fur stole, a veil or a cape are all good options. Alternatively, you can opt for a long sleeve wedding dress.

Colorado Winter Wedding Photographer

2. Velvet for the Gentleman 

For grooms and groomsmen, a velvet blazer is ideal. It’s a nice thick fabric, which will keep the guys warm, plus it’s perfectly on-trend.

3. Don’t Forget Beauty Prep

Chapped lips and dry skin are inevitable come winter. Keep your lips moisturized in the run up to the wedding, use a good face moisturizer and have a chap stick in your makeup bag on the big day.

Couple smiling and laughing during Winter Wedding.

4. Add Some More Layers

If it’s really cold, you can wear thick tights under your wedding dress. If your skirt is long, nobody will even know! (This goes for your bridesmaids, too.)

Colorado Winter Wedding Photographer

5. Consider Stylish Winter Footwear

Boots can be a stylish (and practical) bridal shoe option for winter weddings, especially if it snows. (You can always change your shoes for the indoor portion of the reception.)

6. Indulge in Some Glitter

You can’t get more festive and wintery than bridesmaids in glitter. Sequin or glittery dresses are always easy to find come winter, and they look amazing in photos!

7. Keep Your Bridesmaids Warm

Don’t forget your bridesmaids will be cold, too! Make sure to have bridesmaid coverups, warm accessories and chap stick ready on the big day.

Winter Wedding Venues

8. Allow Extra Travel Time

Winter weather means bad traffic, so make sure everyone plans extra time for travel to your ceremony (no matter how near or far the trip).

9. Choose Just One Venue

If possible, plan to have your ceremony and reception at the same venue, or venues very near to each other. This not only makes transport easier and safer, but in case of bad weather, everyone can bunker down for the night together.

10. Add Romance With Candles

Remember, with a winter wedding, it will be dark quite early. Embrace it! Go for lots of romantic candle light in both your ceremony and reception space.

11. Choose A Winter Wedding Color Scheme 

Decorate in rich, warm tones of berry red, burgundy, black and gold. Add extra wintry romance with lots of natural greenery, or even a hint of tartan. Think cozy, warm colors and patterns!

12. Include A Coat Check

I know it seems simple, but it’s so often overlooked! Make sure you put someone in charge of taking coats at your reception, and have a system for making sure they’re kept safe.

13. Keep Your Guests Warm

Consider making an effort to ensure your guests are kept warm and cheery once they arrive. Include a “take one” blanket basket or offer tasty hot drinks on arrival.

14. Consider Seasonal Favors 

Give your guests blankets or pashminas, sparklers, holiday cookies, mulled wine spices, candy canes or little bottles of Baileys. All are cute and totally doable for a winter wedding favors!

15. Find A Winter Cake Topper

For a subtle winter wedding touch, get yourself a cute winter cake topper. Want to see what I mean? Have a look at our Simple and Inexpensive Winter Wedding Decor Ideas post.

16. Check Your Venues Décor Stash

Check to see if your venue has Christmas decorations or a holiday set up for the room where your wedding will be. They may already have the perfect winter look… You never know until you ask! (It’s also okay to ask they be taken down if they are not to your taste.)

Winter Wedding Photography

17. Timing is Everything 

It gets dark much earlier in the winter, so adjust your photo schedule to take advantage of any natural light (like taking portraits before your ceremony). If you’re not sure how to go about this, just chat with your photographer! They should have a good idea of what will work. Photos can be done indoors, but you may want to include some of the magical the winter scenery outdoors. 

A winter wedding in Chicago, Illinois captured by Colorado Wedding Photographer.

18. Rain or Snow, Be Prepared

Have nice umbrellas on stand by for any outdoor wedding photographs. They don’t have to be fancy – simple and black can often do the job, or check out Butterslip for some chic wedding options.

19. Don’t Ruin Your Heels

If you’re wearing heels, have another shoe option for your outdoor pics. You don’t want to be sinking into mud or snow in your expensive wedding shoes! 

20. Keep Your Hands Warm 

Ice cold, blue hands are not a good look in winter wedding pictures. This is where hand warmers come in… handy! You can normally find them at Walmart, Target, REI, and so many other stores. Alternatively, you can get crafty with some DIY hand warmers, or add gloves to your accessories list.

Engagement Photos
Colorado Elopement Photography


It’s amazing how many people are starting to realize that large, elaborate weddings are not for everyone. If you’re someone who isn’t dreaming of having a traditional wedding day, and want something more intimate, an elopement might be perfect for you. And if you love sweeping mountain views and pristine lakes, this list of places to elope in Colorado just might be what you’re looking for. 

Twin Lake Colorado

Note: Be sure to check with all local parks, national forests, and/or municipalities regarding permits that may be required before eloping to one of these locations.

Read on for full descriptions, but lets get started with a short list:

  • Places to Elope Near Denver + Boulder
    • Brainard Lake Recreational Area + Lake Isabelle
    • Flagstaff Road, Boulder
    • Mount Blue Sky (formerly Mt Evans)
    • Guanella Pass, Georgetown
    • St. Mary’s Glacier
  • Places to Elope Near Colorado Springs
    • Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs
    • Great Sand Dunes National Park
    • Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs
  • Places to Elope in Western Colorado
    • Silverton + the San Juan Mountains
    • Telluride
    • Rifle Falls State Park
    • Black Canyon of the Gunnison
  • Places to Elope near Aspen, Vail, and Breckenridge
    • Maroon Bells, Aspen
    • Sapphire Point, Lake Dillon
    • Boreas Pass
    • Crested Butte
    • Beaver Creek Point Trail
    • Twin Lakes
  • Places to Elope in Northern Colorado
    • Allenspark & Estes Park
    • Rocky Mountain National Park
    • Grand Lake + Lake Granby
    • Horsetooth Reservoir
  • Where to Elope in Colorado with Family + Friends
  • Colorado VRBO Rentals that Allow Events
  • How to Elope in Colorado
    • 1. Select a date.
    • 2. Find your vendors.
    • 3. Make your guest list.
    • 4. Book your lodging + other reservations.
    • 5. Get your marriage license.
    • 6. Plan your activities.
  • Contact an Elopement Photographer + Videographer in Colorado

Ready to dive in? Here’s a closer look at the best places to elope in Colorado:

Places to Elope Near Denver + Boulder

Family Gathered for Elopement Colorado
Brainard Lake Recreational Area + Lake Isabelle

The whole Brainard Lake area is absolutely stunning, especially for moderate hikes (so best for those acclimated to higher elevations and at least 3-5 miles of hiking in one day). Lake Isabelle is best seen at sunrise, and you can take a trail from Brainard Lake. There are several other alpine lakes in the area, too, which makes for a memorable scenic event.

Best Season: Summer, Fall

Permits: Varies

Flagstaff Road, Boulder

All along Flagstaff road you’ll find a few fantastic pull-off areas for elopement photos and you can reserve the Sunrise Amphitheater for ceremonies. This area is one of the most popular places among couples love for a smaller big day, and I love how unique the sky and ambiance feels nearly every time I visit there for an elopement.

Best Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall

Permits: Yes 

Mount Blue Sky (formerly Mt Evans)

Although Mt. Blue Sky (formerly Mount Evans) technically does not allow traditional weddings, many couples choose to elope to this 14,000 foot peak to celebrate their love among the clouds and “on top of the world.” Some of my favorite parts about this region are the sweeping views, the wildlife you’ll see along the way, and the variety of backdrops including Summit Lake.

Best Seasons: Late spring, Summer, Fall

Permits: Varies

Guanella Pass, Georgetown

From the scenic road through Guanella Pass, you can see several other 14,000-foot peaks. This area is particularly stunning in summer, where there are often countless wildflowers turning the area into a beautiful place that feels not just mountainous, but much like a garden!

Best Seasons: Summer, Fall

Permits: Varies

St. Mary’s Glacier

Not to be confused with St. Mary’s Lake in Glacier National Park, this small alpine lake in Colorado features a glacier at the end of the hike and some of the best views around the area. Located near Idaho Springs, this one requires a 2 mile roundtrip hike with about 800 feet in elevation gain, but is SO worth it. This is also dog friendly, and features some wildflowers during the peak summer season! And no permit required for elopements currently.

Best Seasons: Summer, Fall

Permits: None

Places to Elope Near Colorado Springs

Garden of Gods Colorado Springs Elopement
Garden of the Gods Park

The striking boulders and red rocks of the Garden of the Gods make a variety of stunning backdrops for an elopement wedding. Not only is this place a registered National Natural Landmark in Colorado Springs, but it’s also free and open to the public year-round!

Best Season: Year-Round, but best on weekdays to avoid tourists

Permits: None

Great Sand Dunes National Park

I know, I know . . . desert sands are probably not at the top of your list when it comes to places to elope in Colorado, but there is something truly unique and daring about them!

If you were to elope at the Great Sand Dunes National Park, try going for a boho, western or ancient times look and feel. You might also want to check out these desert wedding/elopement ideas on Pinterest!

Best Seasons: Spring, Fall, Winter

Permits: Yes

Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs

Declare your love on the top of the world! Pikes Peak is at over 14,000 feet in elevation and is one of the most visited peaks in North America. Although very popular, it is for good reason. Just check out the view you could have for a mountaintop elopement!

This one is perfect for those who love the mountain air, heights, hiking or adventure in general.

Best Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall

Permits: Yes 

Places to Elope in Western Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement
Silverton + the San Juan Mountains

I’ve added this one to the list (and at first place!) because it is SERIOUSLY underrated. There are some pretty epic views in some BLM land in the San Juans just north of Silverton (on the western side of Colorado) — where you can take an ATV or AWD Jeep into the wilderness with these kinds of views for your ceremony backdrop. This image above is the view from California Pass.

If you want to see more from this region, head on over to check out some of my favorite photos from a recent trip to Silverton this summer!

Best Seasons: Summer + Fall

Permits: Varies

Elopement Photography Colorado

Waterfalls, 14,000-foot peaks, gondolas up the mountains, and a whole lotta great restaurants and bars downtown make the area surrounding Telluride a place that’s hard to beat for an epic elopement. We absolutely love everything about this region, especially during summer and fall. There are even some great hot springs to dip into nearby in the area by Ridgway and Ouray. 

Best Seasons: Summer + Fall

Permits: Varies

Rifle Falls State Park

One of my favorite “hidden gems” in Colorado that I’ve discovered so far is Rifle Falls State Park, about 45 minutes northwest of Glenwood Springs. This is a VERY easy location to walk to from the main parking areas, and it almost doesn’t even feel like it belongs in Colorado, with all the lush greenery around during the summer.

This will definitely be busier with crowds during the summer, so aim to schedule a weekday morning or evening (rather than midday) elopement at this spot.

Best Seasons: Year-round

Permits: Varies 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Probably the least visited National Park in Colorado, the Black Canyon is extremely unique. Along the ridge, you can see just how steep the walls of this canyon are, going deep down below. Definitely not for those afraid of heights or close edges here! 🙂 It’s also in one of the darkest places in the state, making it fantastic for night sky photos and stargazing. 

Best Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall

Permits: Yes

Places to Elope near Aspen, Vail, and Breckenridge

Maroon Bells, Aspen

One of the MOST iconic backdrops in all of Colorado is by far Maroon Bells near Aspen. It’s a stunning place in spring, summer and fall (when you can see the aspen trees turn gold/yellow), and I’ll always love photographing elopements here.

Best Seasons: Summer, Fall

Permits: Varies

Sapphire Point, Lake Dillon

This gorgeous spot near the hub of skiing towns like Silverthorne, Keystone and Breckenridge is a popular spot for good reason! Open nearly year round as long as they can clear the roads to the point, Sapphire Point offers views facing west and north across Lake Dillon. They do have a calendar where you can reserve a two-hour window, and there’s plenty of room here for a small wedding or elopement with up to about 20-30 guests.

Best Seasons: Summer, Fall

Permits: Depends

Boreas Pass

This high mountain pass near Breckenridge is over 20 miles long and offers some amazing views along the continental divide. It’s a fairly bumpy dirt road, so it’s best to access with an AWD/4WD vehicle with high clearance. 

Best Seasons: Summer, Fall

Permits: None

Crested Butte

Another one of our absolute FAVORITE spots in Colorado for elopements is Crested Butte. There are so many great spots here to feel pretty secluded and private, making it ideal for those who love mountain and lake views without being the center of attention. While we have some spots we save on our secret list for our own clients, we’ll recommend the areas by Peanut Lake and other areas managed by the Crested Butte Land Trust to anyone out there!

Best Seasons: Summer + Fall (May – Oct)

Permits: Varies

Beaver Creek Point Trail

My clients actually discovered this one, and I’ve loved it ever since! There is a trail outside of Vail / Avon that goes up the hill maybe less than half a mile at most and has sweeping views of the town and ski runs off in the distance! Best for summer and fall here, and so beautiful for a less crowded option!

Best Seasons: Summer, Fall

Permits: None

Twin Lakes

Twin Lakes is another fantastic option (and lesser known!), especially for those wanting views of some of the tallest peaks in Colorado. These two glacial lakes are larger than many others in the state, and make some gorgeous reflections all year round. You can also head up to Independence Pass after your ceremony for even more mountain views, especially at sunset!

Best Seasons: Year-round

Permits: Varies

Estes Park Colorado Elopement

Places to Elope in Northern Colorado

Allenspark & Estes Park

There are dozens of unique areas around Allenspark and Estes Park, especially on some hikes in the national forests here. You can even take some portraits outside of St. Malo’s Chapel on the Rock on your way there!

Best Seasons: Year-Round

Permits: Varies

Rocky Mountain National Park

If you love the outdoors, hiking, trails, and scenery galore, Rocky Mountain National Park has it all. However, there are specific locations in the park for ceremonies and vow exchanges of any kind.

The National Park has newly announced that starting in 2021, they will only be accepting 250 total wedding permits for the entire year. If you want to get married here, we highly recommend getting your request in early. Otherwise, consider reaching out to us to find a unique spot for your vows outside the park, and we can do portraits inside the park afterwards!

Best Seasons: Year-Round

Permits: Yes

Colorado Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement
Grand Lake + Lake Granby

Both Grand Lake and Lake Granby are surrounded by some of the best mountain views without as many crowds as other locations, especially on weekdays. As long as you’re able to access the roads and highways up to this valley, you can elope in this area year-round. You can even elope at one of these lakes and follow the experience up with a drive into Rocky Mountain National Park!

Best Seasons: Year-Round

Permits: Varies

Horsetooth Reservoir

If you want something farther away from crowds, a lot of us locals really love the area near Fort Collins and the Horsetooth Reservoir. You get nice mountain and lake views, and you can even rent boats or kayaks to get out onto the water during your elopement day!

Best Seasons: Summer, Fall

Permits: Yes

Where to Elope in Colorado with Family + Friends

Evergreen Colorado Elopement Wedding

Bringing some guests along with you for the adventure? We love helping couples find the perfect location to celebrate with their loved ones!

It’s pretty standard in Colorado for any groups over 10 people to require a reservation and/or permit in advance for elopements and small weddings of 30 people or less (anything over this amount, and you’ll likely need to find a larger wedding venue to accommodate you). Here are our top recommendations for elopements with a guest count between 10-30 people:

Need some more guidance? Check out my checklist for a perfect elopement here.