Colorado Elopement Photography

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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
Telluride

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.

Colorado Elopement Photography
Colorado Wedding Photography

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With very few exceptions, your wedding day is typically the most photographed day of your life. With so many images serving as proof of the day, it’s no wonder you want everything to look perfectfrom the flowers to the food and decorations. But nothing can upstage the bride, right? While it’s not the first priority in planning your dream wedding, your hair and makeup is a big piece of the visual puzzle. Sound stressful? Don’t worry! There are tons of great options for these services that will make your day easy and fun as you look your very best. But before we get to my favorite Colorado hair and makeup artists, let’s start with these five tips, straight from a wedding photographer herself:

• Take your wedding season into consideration. Unsure which shade of foundation to go with? Think about if you’re going to have a sun-kissed glow or if you’ll be rocking this look in the middle of winter.

• Choose a lipstick that’s all YOU. Nothing can be more uncomfortable than having a makeup artist suggest a color you’re not a fan of… Go with a color that feels natural and also gives you your favorite pop of color. 

• Drink plenty of water before the big day. Hydrated skin will allow for the best makeup application! 

• Don’t skimp on the makeup trial. Seriously, having a chance to try things out and change your mind means feeling confident and happy in the knowledge that the look on your big day is just right.

• Keep a few beauty products on-hand throughout the wedding day. It’s common to leave a makeup trial convinced you need to buy the translucent powder and lipstick. Truthfully, it’s very helpful to have these products on hand (ask your maid of honor to hold onto them for you) so that you can touch up between photos. 

Okay… Ready to dive in? Here we go, eight Colorado hair and makeup artists that I’ve gotten to know and love! 

Colorado hair and makeup artists

Blush Dry Bar

Blush opened in January 2018 just south of Downtown Colorado Springs. They specialize in blowouts, up-dos, makeup, lash extensions and hair extensions. Whether you’re the bride, a bridesmaid or just a woman who wants to be pampered, they can cater to you. They believe in beauty through authenticity and want you to leave feeling like the best version of you!

The Day On Location Beauty

The Day On Location Beauty is the bridal beauty DREAM TEAM. This premier, on-location bridal beauty company works together as a team of stylists to accommodate brides and bridal parties of all sizes. The stylists are experienced and licensed, and look forward to talking with you about all of your bridal beauty needs. The hairstylists offer memorable and one-of-a-kind bridal hairstyles, and the makeup artists can customize your dream bridal look from more natural to full-on glam.

Blo Dry Bar 

Looking for a place that has quick and affordable hair styles? Regardless of the event, Blo Dry Bar has so many services to take advantage of, from quick curls to elegant up-dos, their services and staff are above the rest. And beautiful hair is just the beginning! They offer makeup looks for any occasion, and plenty of other luxurious services, too.

Brook Mae Salon / Boho Bridal Hairstylist

Brook is an independent hair company specializing in polished textures, natural and effortless looks, intricate details, loose twists and braids. While she focuses her business on hair specifically, Brook works very closely with many of the best local makeup artists and can provide plenty of excellent recommendations!

Charmed Beauty

Charmed Beauty is a boutique wedding business, specializing in bridal hair and makeup design. Based in Denver, the Charmed team will travel for your big day, including events in Estes Park, Vail, Breckenridge, Boulder, Arvada, Colorado Springs, Parker, Castle Rock, and all surrounding areas. Want to give them a test drive? Charmed serves engagement photoshoots, high school senior photos, prom, homecoming, and all your other special occasions.

Lush and Lather

Lush and Lather is home to a collection of independent salon professionals, all housed within the same cozy four walls. Each stylist prides themselves on a different specialty and maintains their own scheduling, services, and pricing. 

Eléposh Hair & Makeup Artistry

For most brides, nothing is more important than picturing how they’ll look walking down the aisle for the first time. They’ve planned that moment for months and dreamt of that day most of their lives. Eléposh can make the vision of elegance and style come to reality.

I Do Beauty Boutique

Located in Denver, I Do Beauty Boutique provides high-quality, professional hair and makeup services. Their experienced professionals are highly skilled in creating dazzling wedding-day looks, and offer a range of services. Their ultimate goal is to make every client feel truly special.

Colorado Wedding Photography
Colorado Wedding Photography