The question I get most often from eloping couples is "where are the best places to elope in Colorado?"
And my answer is always, "it depends."
The "best" place to elope in Colorado for me might not be the "best" place to elope in Colorado for you. There are so many factors to consider:
- What time of year are you getting married?
- How long will you be in Colorado?
- What else do you want to do (besides getting married) while you're here?
- Will there be guests? How many?
- Do we have to consider the needs of anyone else that might be coming along? Kids? Grandparents? Pets? Anyone with health or mobility issues?
- Should we look at private or public sites? What's your tolerance for onlookers at your wedding?
Humph! And you thought eloping was supposed to be simple! Actually, it is, if you know what to look out for and what questions to ask yourself. Let's examine several scenarios for Colorado elopement locations and see if I can help clarify things.
Questions to consider in choosing a Colorado elopement location
What time of year would you like to be married in Colorado?
Summers are glorious in Colorado. That's the good news. Other than the periodic afternoon thunderstorm (which we work around in terms of ceremony timing), the weather is gorgeous. With a semi-arid climate, even higher summer temps don't feel as scorching due to the drier air. And if you're not a warm-weather lover, we simply send you out to the higher elevations of places like Breckenridge. Aspen and Telluride for your intimate wedding.
Summers are glorious in Colorado. That's also the bad news. Tourists love Colorado in summer. If they love it, they will come. And they do. In droves. In planes, in cars and pulling the ubiquitous RV.
For example, we advise couples not to even think about eloping in Rocky Mountain National Park in summer. Visitors to the park increase in record numbers every year. (See this article) We're all about stress-free elopements and I just don't think it's stress-free to fight hoards of people, wait in line for 45 minutes to pay your entrance fee and then not be able to find a place to park once you get inside the park.
That doesn't mean Rocky Mountain National Park wouldn't be the "best" place to elope in Colorado for you. It's breathtaking and less crowded in later fall and winter.
Conversely, we have access to some sites that are only accessible in summer. Our most popular site is this little known, off the beaten path elopement venue in Breckenridge that offers panoramic mountain views, a lake, a waterfall and the occasional moose. See the photos below.
Do you want privacy at your elopement location?
Beware getting married at one of the so-called "best places to elope in Colorado." How did you find this "best" place?
Unless you live here, you most probably uncovered it while doing a Google search for "best places to elope in Colorado," right? You and everyone else. So these "best" places are becoming incredibly overrun as small destination weddings in Colorado become more popular.
That's one of the reason we don't list our exclusive elopement sites on our website. This is extremely valuable information that we only pass along to couples that book our services. It's also the reason we spend so much time pounding the pavement to find out of the way, lesser-known and private venues so that your intimate Colorado wedding will stay intimate--and not attended by strangers and passers-by.
The other option to combat summer crowds is to elope at a private Colorado location. These can be hard to find as most traditional wedding venues cater to wed-a-paloozas with 100 or more guests. It can feel cavernous for your diminutive guest count.
We've ferreted out a small number of private wedding venues that are perfect for elopements with up to 30 guests. So this is something we can help with. The venue below is a private venue that offers eloping couples the spectacular mountain views they come to expect from their Colorado elopement, while also ensuring exclusive use of the site for their wedding.
What else do you plan to do while you're here?
Are you train fanatics? Want to fish? Shop til you drop? Or do you prefer to simply chillax and be waited on and pampered hand and foot?
Are you looking for kids activities? Trying to appease a wide range range of guests? Is your mom going to insist on visiting the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum while your best friend is going to want to hike his brains out? It's all good.
The answers to these questions will determine the best place to elope in Colorado for you.
Hopefully, you're starting to see why we require an in-depth phone consultation before recommending elopement sites--and why it's way more than just slapping "Ten Best Places to Elope in Colorado" on our website.
Where are you traveling from and how are you getting here?
Why does this matter in determining the best place for you to elope in Colorado? Because if you're driving in from Arizona and have a limited number of days for your Colorado vacation, then we're going to recommend places on the western side of the state: Telluride, Aspen, Crested Butte.
If you're flying in and plan to arrive at Denver International Airport, then you might not want to drive an additional 5-7 hours to get to these locations. You're probably better off in locations like Denver/Boulder, Colorado Springs, Estes Park or Breckenridge.
Location, location, location!
This is also where time of year comes into play. If you're eloping to Colorado in winter, we're going to want to minimize your drive. The last thing you want to be doing is slip-sliding over Colorado mountain passes in a rental car (especially if you're not used to driving in the snow).
What's your budget for eloping in Colorado?
Private elopement venues are generally pricier than public ones.
Flying into small regional airports like Gunnison, Aspen, Vail or Montrose might put you closer to your intended wedding venue upon arrival, but flying into these smaller airports usually costs more than if you land at the airports in Denver or Colorado Springs.
Will you have guests, and if so, how many?
Some Colorado elopement locations lend themselves better to fewer guests while some are perfectly suited for a "large" elopement (which we define as 25-30 guests).
Sometimes it's the venue itself that determines the optimal number of guests and sometime it's the parking situation. If you want an out of the way little-known outdoor Colorado wedding site and you don't want a ton of people around, chances are it's not going to have an enormous parking lot!
I maintain that intimate weddings with 20-30 guests are usually better off at a private outdoor venue, whereas smaller weddings can usually be fine with a more public site.
For one thing, think about inclement weather. Most private sites offer an indoor backup ceremony venue in the event of rain or snow. That makes a last minute decision to move indoors fairly seamless--even if you have guests. But if you're standing out on the side of a mountain to say "I do," it's a bit more of a juggle to get guests over to the Plan B site. That's much simpler if it's just the two of you.
The Bottom Line about your Elopement Location in Colorado
The bottom line is this - there is no one "best place to elope in Colorado." Just like your wedding itself, the location you choose has to reflect what's best for you. And it can be very intimidating to choose an elopement site when you live out of the area and have no plans to visit Colorado beforehand to scope things out in person.
We get that. That's why we offer so many in-depth resources to help you choose the best place for you to be married in Colorado. I've personally visited every venue we serve and our elopement location consulting services provide you with my insights along with photos, descriptions and video of all the sites we serve, thereby making the choice to determine your best Colorado elopement venue just a bit easier.
Let me help you with a stress-free wedding experience: Find out more about our Colorado elopement packages.