Updated: May 19, 2020
How to Elope in Colorado
First off, I want to say congratulations to you, as a couple, for not only wanting to break away from the traditional wedding day trap of traditions and instead of wanting to create a wedding day that is truly focused on you and tailored to showcase your love story. A day made of adventure to kick off the greatest adventure you will have together. Second, congratulations on checking off the big box of where you two would like to have your Adventurous Elopement.
Colorado is a state that offers many locations with different terrains. From gorgeous mountain ranges to beautiful fields and ranches. So whether you selected Colorado because it fits your dream Elopement or out of convenience, this is the place to find the answers to all the questions you may have about Eloping in Colorado.
Laws / Requirements
Obtaining a marriage license in Colorado is pretty straight forward. Colorado requires couples to apply for the license in person together at the local county clerk and recorder’s office. Some counties, like Denver County, allow you to start your application online.
However, you will still need to go in person with your valid I.D. to physically obtain the license. It will then be valid for only 35 days after you apply. With this short time frame, it is important for you to do this within the month that you have selected for your wedding date. You can find more information HERE.
The certificate needs to be completed and returned within 63 days from the date of the wedding to the County Clerk and Recorder’s Office. In most cases, you are able to drop it off in the mail or drop it back off at the same location you obtained the license. The office will give you specific instructions. Below are all the requirements and additional documents you two will need to bring along when you go to obtain your marriage license.
Cash for the application fee (about $30) The exact amount will vary depending on the county you are in.
Your full name, address, place, and date of birth for both you and your partner.
Parents name, date and place of birth along with mother’s maiden name.
A valid government-issued photo ID such as a valid driver’s license, passport, military ID, or a state-issued ID for both you and your partner.
Some counties may require a copy of both your birth certificates.
If you have been divorced you will also need the date of the dissolution. If it has been within the last 6 months then you will need a copy of the divorce decree.
If only one of you is able to attend to apply for your marriage license in person, then you are required to provide an Absentee Affidavit for the county you are applying in as well as a valid copy of His/Her ID and notarized signature. Licenses can be obtained in any county in Colorado, no matter where you plan to have your ceremony.
This can be a lot to remember and can be a real headache. In that case, I have a solution for you. Unless you have the desire or need to be recognized as legally wed in Colorado there isn’t really a reason to obtain a marriage license in the state. Especially if you are traveling to Colorado. You can decide to push off the paperwork till after you have your ceremony, or you can do it in your home state before you leave. Have your ceremony and exchange of vows wherever you would like without worrying about paperwork.
Don’t let paperwork and logistics steer you away from your dream elopement location. 75% of couples who have a destination elopement choose to leave the paperwork back home. This allows couples to be flexible with their location. No one needs to know where you were legally wed.
Based on the season and weather, you may want to look into when the peak seasons are for the location in Colorado you wish to elope in. This will not only impact your elopement day but also the prices for travel and lodging.
If you are planning to elope to one for the breathtaking National Parks then you can find out some information on peak seasons for each here on the National Park Services website. Any other locations like local beaches or tourist destinations can be found by doing a simple quick google search.
Keep in mind that a lot of locations have some requirements for marriage ceremony permits and photography permits as well. Now if you have selected us as your Adventurous Elopement Photographers & Guides at Forrest Blake Photo then we will take care of finding out all these requirements and permits for you. If not, then you can call the local tourist information center for information.
Chautauqua Park, Boulder
Rocky Mountain National Park
Maroon Bells, Aspen
Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs
Mount Evans, Idaho Springs
Allenspark & Estes Park
Guanella Pass, Georgetown
Hanging Lake Trail, Glenwood Springs
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Rifle Falls, Rifle
Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins
Panorama Point, Denver
Lookout Mountain, Golden
Brookside Gardens, Berthoud
Helpful Colorado Location Tools
As much as we would love to choose your ideal Colorado elopement location, which we totally can, we understand that digging into your own research can be fun as well. Check out a few of our favorite tools to get your research going here.
Social Media - Instagram geotags, Facebook, Pinterest
4x4 Road Maps
Google Tools - Google Maps, Google Earth Pro, Google Street View
Colorado Adventure Forums’
The Local Guides & Guiding Companies
Now that you have nailed down some of the big picture details of your dream elopement in Colorado, it's time to get some little details finalized.
Some of these little details may make all the difference in deciding between one location or the other.
Does your location have specific requirements, fees or other permits that may be needed and handled ahead of time for your elopement? Most of the National Parks, State, or Private lands will likely require you to pay for a permit or a fee before you even hold your ceremony, let alone take a picture of it.
Can everyone that plans to attend your elopement, whether that's family, friends, officiants, or even you two, make it to the ceremony location?
Do the Colorado outdoor guidelines align with your dream elopement? Such as, can you use sparklers at the ceremony site? Is alcohol permitted for a champagne toast? Can you bring in anything such as flowers or an arch to the ceremony site?
Abiding by these guidelines and Leave No Trace Principles are incredibly important to preserve these locations.
No matter where you decide to elope in Colorado or anywhere else in this wide world, I want you two to remember that this day is all about you. It’s your big day, not anyone else's. Just remember that no matter what anyone else says to you, thinks, or tries to pressure you to do, as long as you two are doing what makes you the happiest, the most alive, and loved then you are doing your elopement the right way. If you need any help creating this dream elopement then we are here to help.