How to Elope in Colorado
So you've heard the rumors: eloping is fun!
But now that you’re seriously considering straying from the traditional ceremony, you're asking questions like:
· Where do we start?
· How do we make the marriage legal?
· Do you have to live in Colorado to get married there?
· What is self-solemnizing?
· Who needs to be involved?
· Where should we go?
Where do we start?
1) Start dreaming and envisioning
2) Research and choose your photographer
3) Pick your location
4) Decide on what other vendors you'd like for your day
5) Hash out the logistics for location and involved parties
6) Book your travel
7) Prepare your marriage license
8) Let's party!
How do we make the marriage legal?
First, you’re going to want to check out the process with the Colorado Office of the Clerk & Recorder . Apply for your marriage license online through them, and then make an appointment. You will want to schedule in advance, as appointments can fill up!
During your appointment, the staff member will review your application with you to ensure all info is correct. If your appointment is virtual, they then will mail you your marriage certificate.
You can bring this certificate with you to your elopement and fill out according to the instructions! Or, if the certificate did not arrive in the mail in time, you can fill it out at home too. Just write in all of the information pertinent to when you actually got married.
You must mail the filled-out certificate back to the Clerk & Recorder within a couple weeks. They finalize everything, mail it back, and you’re done!
Do you have to live in Colorado to get married there?
No. As long as you fill out the appropriate paperwork and have an appointment with the Office of the Clerk & Recorder ahead of time, you are good to go. If they are offering virtual meetings, that’s easiest! Or, if your meeting must be made in person, it’s best to arrive in Colorado a couple days before your elopement to give time for that (and schedule in advance).
What is self-solemnizing?
A self-solemnized ceremony is when you marry yourselves. And no, we don’t mean you are marrying yourself as an individual haha it means that you act as the officiant and you have no witnesses. This is legal in Colorado! If you’re interested in going this route, make sure to discuss with the Office of Clerk & Recorder during your meeting and they will walk you through it. And, if you decide to go this route, your ceremony can look literally however you’d like it to. My husband and I were goofy and said “in the power vested in us, we officially pronounce ourselves married!”.
Who needs to be involved?
If you want an officiant and/or witnesses, they’ll have to be at the ceremony. Or, if you decide to self-solemnize, literally only you and your partner need to be present (yes, it’s that simple!). Fun fact: in Colorado your dog can be your witness and “sign” your marriage license. If you’d like typical vendors such as a makeup artist, hair stylist, baker for a cake, etc. you’ll need to coordinate all of that around your elopement schedule (which we can help you with!).
Where should we go?
So many options. Colorado is sprinkled with many, many gorgeous backdrops. Below are just a few examples to get your brainstorming juices flowing! You’ll want to consider time of year (is the trail you like accessible during the month you want to go?), logistics, permits and whatnot. If you find a place you like, these are all aspects of the planning process we can help walk through to make sure everything is set as best as it can be.
PLACES TO ELOPE IN COLORADO
Unarguably one of the most scenic areas in Colorado, this park is amazing (and fairly close to Denver). However, if you choose this beautiful location to wed, you’ll want to fill out the appropriate permit and pay the fee. Some areas of the park are also off limits for getting married.
Permit Requirements: Yes for weddings and park entrance. Check it out here
Elevation: 7,860-14,259 ft.
Special Notes: Keep in mind, if you’d like your furry companion to tag along, Rocky Mountain may not be the right choice for you. Dogs are only allowed in parking lots and campsites throughout the park.
If conditions are right and you’re interested, a night sky photo session could be possible here, too!
Crested Butte is a tucked away mountain town with an old-timey feel. Along the outskirts of town you can travel to Emerald Lake, which is a location I adore. If you plan a sunrise elopement, you have a good chance at minimizing interruptions from other people (and the light is absolutely gorgeous this time of day!).
Permit Requirements: No
Elevation: 8,885+ ft.
Special Notes: If going to Emerald Lake, you’ll want 4WD!
Check out Emerald Lake on All Trails
Loveland Pass is a great option for a mountain elopement that is fairly close to Denver. Although you could easily find some great scenes right off the road, it’s recommended to venture along one of the trails (such as Loveland Pass Lake).
Permit Requirements: No
Elevation: 11,990 ft.
Check out Loveland Pass Lake on All Trails
The views in this area are absolutely stunning! Plus, it’s a fairly easy drive from Boulder.
Permit Requirements: None for weddings, but parking permits must be purchased
Elevation: 10,300 ft.
*Special Notes: Although accessible in the winter time, you’ll likely have to hike/snowshoe in as several of the parking lots get closed down. Parking can be an issue during busy weekends, so this is another location where a sunrise elopement would have a great benefit over sunset. The well known Lake Isabelle is also in this area (expect about a 7.3 mile hike). Dogs are allowed!
Check Isabelle Lake out on All Trails