How to Elope in Colorado

2022 Guide to Eloping in Colorado

McKenzie Bigliazzi Supports Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ+ Community.

I AGREE.

For Always, Forever – Your Punk Rock Guide to Eloping in Colorado

It takes courage to go against what our traditional society thinks your wedding should be. For example – vans are for every occasion, weddings included. So let me be the first to tell you that I’m proud of you for choosing what makes YOU and bae happy, regardless of what your friends and family think. I used to shoot big, traditional weddings, and while they hold a special place in my heart (I wouldn’t be here without them!), I’ve found so much joy planning and capturing my couples’ elopements and intimate weddings.

How to Elope in Colorado

Welcome to

For starters, ya girl specializes in elopements and intimate weddings. While there are no true definitions, because you can do whatever the hell you want and call it whatever the hell you want, I do think it’s helpful for my couples to understand the similarities and differences so you’re able to decide what’s best for you. 


Imagine jumping on a flight out to Colorado, hiking out to a secluded spot tucked away in the Rocky Mountains, and sharing your vows together. It’s special, it’s romantic, and it’s all about your love. I’m there to capture the day so you’ll have memories to look back on forever. Are you ugly crying yet? Okay, me too. 



Y
ou’re still hopping on a plane, but this time you’ve probably invited 10-20 people to come celebrate with you. After you say “I do” in front of your closest friends and family, there’s a small reception with dinner, desserts, and dancing. I’m still there, but in addition to capturing just you cuties, we’ll take some posed group shots and make sure Uncle Bob’s infamous running man is captured so you can relive it forever. 


All the Small Things

A common theme here? HI YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED IN FREAKING COLORADO! I’m obsessed with this state. As cliché as it sounds, there’s really something here for everyone. I love a good adventure and am always down to hike several miles to get to a beautiful location in the middle of the winter, BUT there are also tons of accessible spots right off the road – no hiking boots required. If you want to have your first married kiss in front of the mountains, I’ll find you the perfect spot. If you’d rather roll around in some beautiful wildflowers, I’ll find that for you too. Whatever your dream is, I guarantee Colorado can make it come true. 

Most of the time, people traveling to Colorado to elope don’t live within driving distance, so flying is their best option. I almost always recommend flying into Denver International Airport (DIA). It’s a bit of a drive from there to get into the mountains and other gorgeous spots, but it’s the most accessible and will give you more options as far as flights go. And who doesn’t love road trip snacks?! To give you an idea, Rocky Mountain National Park is about an hour and a half from the airport, Garden of the Gods is about an hour and a half, and the Lost Gulch Lookout is only an hour! Eloping in Colorado is so easy but be realistic about the drive into the mountains!

what is an elopement?

Elopement

Intimate Wedding

All You (and Bae) Wanted

Elopement logistics

I know what you’re thinking – Kenzie, what the hell, we already played 20 questions about what we want for THE day. I know, but stick with me boo. Knowing logistics are the next big step in answering "How to Elope in Colorado." Yes, those are all super important aspects for planning, but the details are what I think are more fun. We went over what kind of day you want to have, but the small details are what really make it unique to you and bae. 

HELLO what are you cuties going to wear?! Remember, this day is about you, not anybody else. You can and should wear whatever you want. Suits and dresses are for everyone (fuck gender norms), so go for it! Dresses, suits, crazy colors, patterns, coats, beanies – whatever it is, I’m absolutely here for it. And I will hype you the ‘f up. The more you feel like you, the better the photos will be.

The 'Fit

Yes, you’re right we already talked about this. But once you decide on vendors, have fun creating exactly what you want! It’s also important for me to know which vendors will be part of your day so we can all be on the same page and make sure your day is as smooth (and epic) as possible. If you’re unsure of who to choose for certain things, don’t be afraid to ask! The wedding/elopement community in Colorado is tight-knit and supportive, so I always have suggestions of who would be a good fit for your specific wants and needs.

Vendors

Where you and your guests will stay isn’t always at the top of my couples’ to-do list, but it should be. Especially if you’re eloping in those unpredictable weather months. There may not be as many options somewhere way out in the mountains compared to somewhere closer in the city, so look into this early! I typically recommend Airbnb’s for couples (you guessed it, I know some FIRE spots), but there are some amazing hotels and lodges in Colorado too. It just depends on what kind of vibe you’re looking for. 

Lodging

Arguably, one of the most important pieces of your elopement puzzle is your budget. It’s important, and I totally respect when my couples have strict budgets they need to stick to. That said, it’s also important for couples to respect prices that vendors choose to charge for their work. That’s why I’m very transparent with my prices – I got nothin’ to hide. My packages start at $3,800, with a majority of my couples spending about $4,500 for five hours. 

Budget

This will depend on where you say “I do.” Some locations are completely free, but a lot of parks, like Rocky Mountain National Park, require a permit that can cost up to $300. This permit cost goes towards upkeep and protection of our wildlife. When we discuss your location, I will always let you know if there’s an additional fee for a location.

Permits

Simple Plan(ning)

Yes, part of booking me absolutely includes taking some planning off of your hands, BUT you and your boo still need to have some of the basics nailed down so I can help you create the perfect day. 

The first thing you need to consider – are we lacing up our hiking boots or do we want a location that’s a little easier to get to? One of the most ridiculous myths about eloping in Colorado is that you have to hike miles up a steep ass mountain to get the dreamy backdrop your heart is set on. I’m here to tell you that’s a LIE! I know a ton of amazing spots right off the road that deliver the views you’re after. But if you do want to go on an epic hike to find your special spot, I’ve also got plenty of those spots up my sleeve too. 

Next question I have for you – when’s the big day? I’m not specifically asking for the date, but more of the nitty gritty. Is your perfect elopement when there’s snow on the ground? Or would you rather come to Colorado in the summer? Is your alarm going off at the butt crack of dawn for a sunrise elopement? Or do you want something a little moodier after sunset? There’s no wrong answer, but they’re definitely details to think about when you start planning. Weather also goes hand in hand with your date. If no one has warned you yet, let me be the first – the weather in Colorado changes faster than me hightailing it to my freezer for some Ben and Jerry’s after a stressful day. I’ve been on a hike when it’s 70 degrees, only for it to start raining 10 minutes later, followed by a hail storm shortly after. We’ll get you and bae hitched regardless, but your safety is always more important. Here are some deets on what you can expect based on the month you’re saying “I do.”

best time of year to elope in colorado

Winter

November - April

For my couples who want a true winter wonderland! Snow is pretty much guaranteed, especially up in the mountains, and the trails and parks are usually less crazy, so you’ll have your epic spot all to yourself. You can expect 0-35 degrees in the mountains, and around 45 if you’re closer to Denver.

Towards the end of the winter season, there will still be snow on the ground but you won’t be freezing AF. We get a lot of snow in March, but that means the roads close a lot more often. If you’re coming out in March, I’ll make sure we discuss a backup plan in case that happens. You can expect 10-40 degrees in the mountains, and around 50 closer to Denver.

Spring

April - May

Spring is sprangin’! This is considered off season for Colorado, so popular locations will be a little less busy. BUT it’s so tough to predict the weather this time of year. You could luck out with a 60-degree sunny day, but there could also be an insane snow storm. Average temperatures are 45-60 in the mountains, and 60-70 closer to Denver. 

Summer

June - August

If the cold weather isn’t for you, come to CO over the summer. We have 360 days of sunshine every year, plus all the nature is green and in bloom. A lot of roads that typically close in the winter also start to open up, which means we have more places to explore. Up in the mountains temperatures are around 70-75 degrees, and 80-85 near downtown Denver. 

Fall

August - October

This is the most popular month to elope here, so if you have your eyes on September, you best be booking your vendors WAY in advance! The leaves are starting to change colors and the weather is perfect, but there are also a lot of people out on the trails for those same reasons. That doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing elopement day, you just might need to be flexible on day of week and time. In the mountains it’ll be around 75 degrees, and closer to downtown will be around 65. 

Eloping in:

the best time to elope in colorado

Non-Traditional wedding ideas

my favorite

All Signs Point to Colorado

Working with my couples to pick the location for their elopement is my second favorite part of the whole process (the first is obvi the actual day). Here are some of the most popular places to elope in Colorado, but the possibilities are honestly endless. If you want something a little different or somewhere more adventurous, you don’t need to go down a Google rabbit hole – that’s what I’m here for. Leave the research to me!

colorado elopement locations

elopement locations

Right off the road, super accessible, and killer views! I recommend eloping at sunrise or sunset here – the sunlight glittering off the lake is gorgeous. Most importantly, if you plan to have guests with you, this is a great spot.

Echo Lake - Evergreen

see more locations

Effortlessly beautiful and easy to navigate. Although it’s accessible and free, it’s first come first serve, so you should expect to be near other people and working around other photographers.

Garden of the Gods – Colorado Springs

Arguably one of the most amazing overlooks near Denver. If you’re not afraid of heights, it’s a perfect location! It’s one of the best spots to watch the sunset, so you may have uninvited guests clapping after you say your vows.

Lost Gulch – Boulder

Epic mountain views, an alpine lake, and easy trails. You can choose a spot right off the many parking lots or hike a tiny bit to get away from the crowds. At almost 12,000 feet in elevation, the views are out of this world!

Loveland Pass – Keystone

Another spot right off the road and perfect if you’ll have guests. It’s first come first serve, so others may be around, but the Colorado Pines and the lake really can’t be beat.

Officer’s Gulch – Keystone 

Looking for some wildlife? Moose make appearances here all the time, so you might just get lucky! The River Ranch on site has cabins and camping available, as well as a ceremony space if you’re pushing 50 guests. 

Piney Lake – Vail 

There are a ton of spots within the park to say “I do” and it’s a super easy spot. The people there are amazing and make it super easy to elope! Rocky Mountain National Park requires a permit ($300) that you can apply for in a year in advance. These go fast so the sooner the better!

Rocky Mountain National Park – Estes Park

You’ll go on a one-mile hike to the first lookout area. The view from the top is amazing, complete with a small lake and beautiful glacier views. If you’re after more secluded views, you can hike up even higher past the glacier.

St. Mary’s Glacier –
Idaho Springs

One of the most sought after locations in the Dillon area, so it requires a permit and can be a bit tricky to book. But hey, that’s what I’m here for! Sapphire Point allows for chairs & formal set up.

Sapphire Point Overlook – Dillon 

Get the Garden of the Gods feel without the crowds of tourists. Super accessible off the side of the road, but there’s also an option to go hiking if you’re after more of an adventure. 

South Valley Park – Littleton 

I would describe this spot as the Sound of Music but with Colorado mountains. It’s very close to Denver and has a beautiful view of the peaks and some mountain roads. 

Windy Saddle Park – Golden 

While we’re on the topic of hiking and all the beautiful spots in our state, we HAVE to talk about Leave No Trace (LNT). It’s the most important rule when you’re out in nature and something I always make sure to educate my couples on. There are a lot of things that fall under LNT, but the biggies are disposing of waste properly, leaving what you find, and respecting wildlife. If you pack it in, pack it out. Simple.

Because so many of these spots are extremely popular, many of them require a permit for you to elope there, which is an extra cost you’ll want to keep in mind. Permits are essentially required to help protect the busiest locations, and usually dictate where and what time you can say your vows, what (if any) decorations are allowed, and what LNT guidelines you need to follow. If you choose a spot that requires a permit, I’ll handle all of the behind the scenes work for you. You and bae just have to show up! 

wtf is

leave no trace

READ MORE ABOUT LNT

If you’re still reading, you’re the real MVP. I hope you’ve been munching on some snacks or something (gummy worms are the shit). My other faves include All Time Low, live music, ice cream, and climbing. And the word fuck – sorry not sorry. 

But why should you care? Because you need to vibe with your photographer! If you’re not comfortable with them, it’ll show in your pictures and can even cause some extra stress you don’t need during the planning process. Here’s what else you need to know about me. 



75% of my clients are from out of state, so I make sure the process of planning an elopement from states away is as easy as possible. I’ll help make sure your day goes exactly how you want. I'm here to streamline the planning process



I say it a lot, but I’m not joking. I’m legit your photographer AND planner all rolled into one. You and bae will get your own, unique planning guide personalized just for you. Did you like this guide? Think of this but 20x more helpful and specific. My hope is that it takes some of your planning stress away. It’ll include things like how to get your marriage license, logistics about your elopement location, how to get there, and more. 


I WANT TO BE BESTIES

Dear Kenzie, Count me In

If it’s not clear yet, I take damn good care of my couples! The day of should feel exciting and easy, not stressful. I’ll help you organize a family photos list, must-have shots, and the ever important timeline! I’ll also coordinate with any other vendors you may have to make sure we’re all on the same schedule and there are no hiccups along the way. 



So, what do ya say? Ready to slam some gummy worms and flip off my camera? Just say yes! I’ll make that commitment just as easy as the one you made to bae.

alternative colorado elopement photographer

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CLIENT HYPE

"She is so good at making sure that your day goes exactly how you want it - even when you want to get tattoos on your wedding day and have them photographed! If you're looking for a photographer... STOP because McKenzie Bigliazzi is the only option. Trust me, they don't get better than this wonderful human and her team!"

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Tori and Tyler

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Brooke and Abhay

"The amount of love, comfort, and acceptance that Kenzie provided to my husband who is transgender is as if we've been friends our entire lives. The talent, the love, the personality, the location, and finally, KENZIE herself!?! Come on...SAY LESS AND BOOK HER!"

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