Lemme scream it louder for the people in the back – IT’S REAL. As a Colorado elopement photographer, I spend pretty much all my time out in nature. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Because of that, protecting the breathtaking nature here is a big priority for me, and I’ve found a lot of my couples are the same way. Many of them do a lot of things to have an eco-friendly elopement.

The wedding industry has been a huge culprit of not going green, but there are a lot of ways you can do your part in protecting our earth through your elopement or intimate wedding! As you and bae are planning your Colorado elopement, keep some of these tips in mind. You’ll thank yourself later.

This couple eloped alone as a way to limit guests and have an eco-friendly elopement.

Limit Your Guest List

If you’re eloping or having an intimate wedding, you can check the box on this one! There’s been a lot of research that’s found the average amount of wedding guests has been dropping, which is good news for our environment. When there are fewer guests, there’s less waste – fewer invitations being sent out and thrown away, less food being prepared and leftovers tossed out, fewer people getting in cars or planes to come to the ceremony, etc. Keyword here – LESS.

These two couples chose alternative flower options for their eco-friendly elopement.

Hire Eco-Conscious Vendors

If having an eco-friendly elopement is important to you, it should be important to your vendors too. When you have like-minded people on your side, it’s almost impossible not to create what you want. That could mean finding a florist who only uses sustainably-sourced flowers, a private chef who only cooks with locally-grown meat and produce, or an invitation website that provides different stationary options, like recycled paper.

Leave No Trace

When you’re eloping out in nature, whether it’s a mountain, beach, or field, the number one rule is to Leave No Trace. You can learn more about it here, but the biggies are disposing of waste properly, leaving what you find, and respecting wildlife. If you pack it in, pack it out. Simple.

Find New Options

There are so many alternatives in the wedding industry that allow couples to make eco-friendly decisions. If you’re hosting any events before or after your elopement, choose online RSVPs to cut back on paper waste. When you’re trying to decide what to wear on your big day, explore local or online thrift shops – you can find some gorgeous AND affordable options while cutting back on the waste that comes with buying something brand new. Once you’ve said your “I do’s,” consider donating your wedding flowers to nearby hospitals, churches, or nursing homes. It’s a win-win – you’re making your elopement more eco-friendly while brightening someone else’s day. Also, please ditch the party favors. Those almost ALWAYS get thrown out. No one needs more shot glasses or koozies.

These are such small, easy tweaks any couple can make when planning an eco-friendly elopement or intimate wedding. Progress is more important than perfection, so don’t get overwhelmed if every single part of your day doesn’t qualify as “going green.” Anything you do can make a real difference. It’s just about taking steps to be more thoughtful and intentional when it comes to our planet.

My favorite Colorado spots to get out in nature.

alternative colorado elopement resources