The Do’s and Don’ts of Colorado Winter Elopements

If you’re thinking about a winter elopement in Colorado, this post has all the info you need on locations, gear, what to wear, and more!

Pros and cons of a winter elopement in Colorado

Growing up in the south and now having lived in Colorado for many years, I don’t take for granted that everyone knows what conditions are like here in the winter time. Even if you’ve visited our state in the winter, conditions can vary so much from week to week, or month to month. It’s hard to know if what you experienced was normal or what you should expect for your elopement date. 

That’s why I wanted to make this post–so if you’re planning a winter elopement hopefully this will help you understand everything you need to know!

Pros to eloping in the winter

  • Less crowds at certain locations
  • You can get some amazing photos in the snow or when it’s snowing. Also, and of course this is just an opinion, but I think our mountains here in Colorado are even more beautiful when they have snow on them.
  • You can take advantage of time off around the holidays to extend your trip here to Colorado if you’re coming from out of state.
  • You can include some fun winter activities in your adventure elopement, such as skiing or snowmobiling, that you can’t do at other times of year.

Cons to eloping in the winter

  • Weather! The obvious downside for some couples is the cold weather. Even though we get lots of sunny here in the winter, it can also be very windy.
  • Along with the unpredictable weather comes the need to be prepared. Be prepared for the cold and be prepared for winter driving conditions. It’s also important to have backup plans in place. This is something an experienced local Colorado elopement photographer will be able to help you with.
  • Some locations are just not accessible in the winter. A good example of this is Vail, where many of my recommended elopement locations are just not available in the winter. 

Colorado’s best winter elopement locations

Best places to elope if you want snow

I know that many couples reading this post are wanting a winter Colorado elopement for the snow! In that case you should consider these locations:

It’s important to note that conditions at these locations vary from month to month in the winter time. This is another reason why it’s so helpful to have a local photographer that can help you with understanding what your most likely conditions will be (I say most likely, because as I mentioned above, winter weather and conditions are unpredictable by their very nature!)

The thing is–every couple has a different vision and different ideas about what they actually want. Do you want snow on the ground but a sunny weather? Or do you want it to actually be snowing in your photos. These factors will impact what locations I would recommend for you. 

For example, February through April are the snowiest months here in Colorado, so I wouldn’t recommend December if you want the highest chances of it actually snowing on your elopement day. And of course these things vary by location.

Best places to elope if you want warmer conditions instead

I know there are other reasons that you might be choosing to elope in the winter other than wanting snow! Maybe it’s your dating anniversary or maybe you want to get married before your future spouse has to deploy, or any number of other reasons. 

So if you’re choosing to elope in the winter but you want to find the warmest conditions possible in Colorado, here are some of your best bets. These are generally drier and warmer due to being lower elevation areas. 

You’ll note that Boulder and Evergreen, CO made both sections! That’s because (as I mentioned in the section above), conditions vary by exact location and time of year. So it just depends! This is where your local photographer is going to come in clutch for you.

Want more elopement location options?

Finding a location is usually the first thing couples want to do when planning their elopement or microwedding, but I’ll let you in on a little wedding industry secret…

Choosing a photographer first is actually the best thing you can do, especially if you’re planning an elopement or small wedding.

Why? Because local photographers know all the best spots! Most elopement photographers, including myself, include location help with their photography packages.

For example, when you tell me what type of scenery you want, how many guests you’re planning to have, whether you want to hike or whether you need an accessible location, etc. etc., I can help you with determining what your best options are in a given area.

Colorado is a beautiful place, and there are literally hundreds of location options. If you hire your photographer first, you don’t have to take on the daunting task of finding a place to get married by yourself. Get in touch and we can start planning your dream elopement day!

Top tips for planning your winter elopement

Backup plans

Even though I probably sound like a broken record, it’s SO important to have backup plans for your elopement. Not only in case you have to use them, but even if you don’t, having backup plans in place gives you peace of mind. You can worry less beforehand knowing that you already know what you’ll do if something goes wrong.

What do you need backup plans for? At the very least, you need backup plans in case of bad weather and in case your first choice location becomes inaccessible. You also need “backup plans” for your attire, simply meaning you need to bring extra layers and snow protection like a rain jacket or umbrella and waterproof boots.

Book multiple days at your destination

Along the same lines as having backup plans, it’s generally a good idea to book a few extra days around your elopement date in case you need to shift gears.

Dress appropriately

This is the other big thing about eloping in the winter. I think I can speak on behalf of all elopement photographers when I say please don’t underestimate the weather! We’re not exaggerating or lying to you when we send you gear lists and recommendations on preparing for the weather. Make sure you have the appropriate gear and layers–and then some. 

When I see couples just try to tough it out, it shows up in the photos on their faces and it really affects their experience on their day. And as an elopement photographer, all I want is for my couples to have the very best experience, no matter what the weather! 

Planning to have guests?

If you’re planning an elopement with guests (generally about 10 people) or a winter microwedding (about 10-50 guests) it’s important to understand there are extra logistics and planning considerations.

As you read through this guide, hopefully you understand that even for just yourselves there are things to prepare for in the winter that don’t come up for summer elopements. For example, the extra gear you need, being prepared for any type of weather, being prepared for extreme wind and cold, and having back up plans. 

So just know that if you’re including guests, it’s going to be up to you to prepare all of your guests just as much as you are preparing yourself for all these extra elements. It’s so important that everyone stays safe being outdoors in the winter and that means being warm.

Winter elopement gear

Here are some important things to bring when you’re eloping in the winter:

  • Thermos with a hot beverage
  • Hand and toe warmers
  • Blanket for extra cozy vibes
  • Layers: wool base layers, mid layer, and puffy jackets are great
  • Warm wool socks (I recommend Darn Tough socks), plus an extra pair in case yours get wet
  • Warm accessories like hats and gloves–fleece lined tights are a life saver!
  • Snow layers
  • Waterproof hiking boots
  • Waterproof mascara – read more in this elopement makeup post
  • Any other gear like microspikes, gaiters, or snowshoes

For all of my couples, I also provide a personalized day of checklist, including gear such as this, to make sure you have everything you need and don’t forget anything!

Winter elopement activity ideas

You certainly don’t have to include an activity as there are lots of accessible locations with great views in the winter. But in my opinion one of the best things about eloping is that you can spend the day doing things you love and enjoy doing together as a couple. Here are some fun ideas to consider!

  • Hot tub at your cabin or hot springs
  • Get cozy together for an indoor session in your Airbnb
  • Ice climbing in Ouray
  • Snowmobile (for example to Maroon Bells)
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowshoeing
  • Hiking–yes it’s a year round activity here!
  • Ice skating
  • Ice fishing
  • Visit a winery or distillery

Colorado winter elopement packages

I’m more than just a photographer…I’m here to help you have the best day ever!

Based on my experience, especially with elopements and microweddings, couples need more than just a photographer.

Unlike with a traditional wedding, you may not have a venue coordinator or wedding planner helping you think through logistics, locations, or all the little details that really add up!

I don’t just show up and take photos on your day. I’ll be here for you every step of the way. 

I know you have a lot of choices when it comes to picking a photographer. What makes me different is that my number one goal is to be here for YOU–not just as your elopement photographer… but as your elopement partner to help you create the epic day your love story deserves!

LGBT couple embracing each other on wedding day while the snow falls in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado

All of my Colorado Winter Elopement Packages include:

  • Elopement & Micro wedding VIP Planning Guide exclusively for Wild and Found couples
  • Questionnaires to help you through the planning process
  • Personalized location assistance
  • Local vendor recommendations
  • Logistics help and a custom timeline
  • Gear and day-of checklists customized for your day
  • More one-on-one planning help
  • Assistance with wedding permit if needed
  • Cost of photo permit included
  • An entire gallery of edited, high-resolution images great for printing, PLUS websize images ideal for posting to social media
  • The rights to print, share, and download all of your images
  • A sneak peek of 5 images with 48 hours
  • PLUS a 20% off discount on prints, albums, canvas art, etc. for your first order

2-Day Winter Elopement Package

Can’t decide between a “just us” celebration, or a day with friends and family? Have both!

Includes 12 hours of photo coverage, split over 2 days.

Travel throughout all of Colorado included!

8 Hour Winter Elopement Package

Our most popular package–for capturing memories of your entire elopement day

Includes 8 hours of photo coverage.

Travel throughout all of Colorado included!

4 Hour Winter Elopement Package

A great choice for simple elopements at accessible locations or for short hikes.

Includes 4 hours of photo coverage.

Travel throughout all of Colorado included!

2 Hour Winter Elopement Package

When something short and sweet will do!

Includes 2 hours of photo coverage.

Available only for “just us” elopements (no guests) on Mondays through Thursdays within 2 hours of Denver.

Bookable up to 2 months in advance.

Are you planning a Colorado winter elopement or microwedding?

I’m more than just a photographer. Helping couples create their dream day is what I do best!

Get in touch and let’s chat about your vision!

Or check out more elopement planning resources…

Elopement Photographer Kim from Wild and Found Photography

Hi I’m Kim, a Denver, Colorado based photographer specializing in Adventure Elopements in Colorado and worldwide! Photographing couples on the most special day of their lives is a true honor for me. But I’ve made it my mission to take it one step further than that. When you work with me, you’re getting more than just a photographer. I’m here to help you with all of the planning resources you need to have the most amazing elopement day ever! That includes everything from assistance with location ideas, timeline planning, and lots more free resources. So you can forget the work, and focus on having fun!

Post may contain affiliate links. While I may receive a small amount through affiliate links, it is always at no cost to you and all opinions are entirely my own.

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