The ULTIMATE Guide to Planning your Estes Park Elopement

This guide has everything you need to know about planning an elopement in Estes Park, Colorado, including the best places to elope in Estes Park, Estes Park elopement photography packages, and lots more!

Colorado elopement in Estes Park

Estes Park elopements are becoming very popular with couples, and for many good reasons! Estes Park is known for its proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park and being home to The Stanley Hotel. In addition it has a number of beautiful parks and open spaces within the town itself where you can elope. As a small mountain town, you’ll also find adorable lodging and local restaurant options to host your elopement guests or have a celebratory dinner reception.

Best places to elope in Estes Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park

People often get confused about the difference between Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Estes Park is a small town in Colorado. It borders the eastern edge and entrance to one of America’s great national parks, Rocky Mountain National Park. Because of its proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park, the town of Estes Park has become a popular place for visitors to stay while visiting the area.

Rocky Mountain National Park has 13 designated ceremony sites where you can have your elopement ceremony. Read more about Rocky Mountain National Park elopements here!

Lily Lake

Lily lake is part of Rocky Mountain National Park; however it is accessed outside of the main entrance to the park on the south side of Estes Park. 

Sprague Lake

Sprague Lake is another of Rocky Mountain National Park’s designated ceremony locations and is very accessible with beautiful mountain views. There is a flat trail that encircles the lake and makes for a nice walk before or after your ceremony.

3M Curve

3M Curve is located in RMNP as well, and is one of the more popular ceremony locations due to its amazing views.

Airbnb/VRBO

Another fun idea to consider for your elopement would be to rent an Airbnb or VRBO with a great backyard or beautiful views for your elopement. If both privacy and accessibility are important to you, renting a private property is a great choice! Of course, always make sure to check with the owners about your plans before booking your property. Check out this post for more information on renting a Colorado Airbnb as your elopement venue.

Chat with your photographer about hidden gems for your elopement

Estes Park and the surrounding area has many more hidden gems that are perfect for an elopement as they are much less crowded than the more well-known areas. Location assistance is included with all of my Estes Park elopement packages! Get in touch for more info!

Getting your marriage license for your Estes Park elopement

How to get your marriage license in Colorado

The process for getting your marriage license in Colorado is very simple. 

You will need to go to a County Clerk and Recorder’s office. You can go to any county’s office in the state, regardless of where you are getting married.

Although some counties allow you to start the application online, you must complete the process in person.

There is no waiting period to get married in Colorado, so you can use it the same day you get it. However, keep in mind that these offices follow typical government office hours and holidays. Most offices are open Monday through Friday from 8 A.M. to 4:30/5 P.M.

The process is very quick! It will usually only take about 20 to 30 minutes and you should not need an appointment.

You must use the license within 35 days of applying for it. Then it must be completed and filed back with the County Clerk and Recorder’s office within 63 days from the date of the wedding. You can either mail it back in, or return it physically to the same location.

What do I need to bring?

  • $30 (most counties accept cash, check, or credit card)
  • Valid form of identification (e.g., passport, driver’s license, military I.D.), including proof of age
  • Social security numbers

If I live elsewhere, should I get my marriage license in Colorado?

If you are getting married in Colorado, you should obtain your marriage license in Colorado rather than your home state if you live elsewhere. This is because very few states allow you to apply for a marriage license, have your ceremony in another state, and then return home to file the license. 

The reverse is also true. If you live in Colorado, but want to have your ceremony in another state, you should apply for your marriage license in the state where you’re having your ceremony. Colorado requires you to sign your marriage license within the state.

Places to stay near Estes Park 

Instagram worthy Estes Park Airbnbs

If you’re looking for a great place to stay in Estes Park, look no further! I’ve done the hard work for you by searching through dozens of listings in Estes Park. Check out some of my favorites below.

Photos above from Airbnb listings. Please note that some links above are associate links, and I may earn a small fee if you book using these links, at no additional cost to you. However, all opinions and favorites are my own!

Additional Lodging in Estes Park, Colorado

Choosing when to elope in Estes Park

Season

There really isn’t a bad time of year to elope in Estes Park! You’ll want to consider the type of scenery you want, as well as the specific location where you want to elope. For example, there are certain areas or mountain passes that are closed during the winter (which may last from October through June here!), including Trail Ridge Road.

The summers in Colorado are a personal favorite! I love all the wildflowers and how the mornings are still cool in the mountains. It’s also nice to have all your location options available when all of the trails and passes are open and accessible!

Fall is also a beautiful time in Estes Park. Usually in mid to late September the leaves will start to change colors, and the fall foliage in certain areas is really stunning.

Winter is also gorgeous in Estes Park if you can tough out the cold! All of the snow makes it a winter wonderland.

Finally there’s Spring, when the temperatures are starting to warm up and the crowds are starting to dissipate after ski season. You’ll want to keep in mind that Spring is very unpredictable. If you’re not from Colorado it may surprise you to hear that Estes Park sometimes sees snow days as late as June! The melting snow can also make certain trails very muddy!

Weekend/Weekday

Because of the popularity of many Estes Park locations, I always recommend a weekday elopement if at all possible. It will offer you significantly less crowds and more privacy than a weekend elopement.

Time of day

Equally as important as choosing a weekday elopement over a weekend elopement, is choosing a time of day that will offer you the best chance of privacy. 

Early mornings are by far the best time to elope if seclusion is important to you. If you can’t make a morning elopement work for you two, evenings are generally the next best time. 

Eloping couple walking toward rock outcropping with lake overlooking mountains in Estes Park Colorado

Where to have your Estes Park elopement reception

Here are a few different options you have for celebrating your Estes Park elopement, whether that be just the two of you or with others.

Picnic

A picnic at a local park is always a great option for celebrating your elopement, especially if you’re planning to celebrate your elopement with friends and family.

Some popular parks near Estes Park include Bond Park and Performance Park.

Restaurant

Another option would be to make a reservation at a nearby restaurant for your reception. Many restaurants have a private event space option. You could also consider having your reception at a nearby distillery or craft brewery!

Private Chef/Catering

Finally, if you love good food but want more privacy to celebrate your marriage, consider hiring a local private chef or ordering catering. This is a great option if you’re renting an Airbnb or VRBO in the area.

Estes Park 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!

But here are just a few of the ways I can help you, all included with my custom elopements:

  • 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

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

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 adventure partner, friend, and guide to the epic day your love story deserves!

The Ultimate Full Day Custom Estes Park Elopement Package

The best choice for capturing memories of your entire elopement day, from getting ready through celebrating with friends and family.

Includes 12 hours of photo coverage.

Personalized assistance with locations, local vendor recommendations, custom planning tools, checklists, and more. I’ll be there to help you every step of the way.

You get an entire gallery of edited, high-resolution images great for printing, PLUS websize images ideal for posting to social media.

Includes the rights to print, share, and download all of your images.

Travel included!

$5,800

8 Hour Custom Estes Park Elopement Package

Best suited for covering the highlight moments of your elopement day.

Includes 8 hours of photo coverage.

Personalized assistance with locations, local vendor recommendations, custom planning tools, checklists, and more. I’ll be there to help you every step of the way.

You get an entire gallery of edited, high-resolution images great for printing, PLUS websize images ideal for posting to social media.

Includes the rights to print, share, and download all of your images.

Travel included!

$4,000

4 Hour Custom Estes Park Elopement Package

A great choice for simple elopements at accessible locations.

Includes 4 hours of photo coverage.

Personalized assistance with locations, local vendor recommendations, custom planning tools, checklists, and more. I’ll be there to help you every step of the way.

You get an entire gallery of edited, high-resolution images great for printing, PLUS websize images ideal for posting to social media.

Includes the rights to print, share, and download all of your images.

Travel included!

$2,500

Are you planning an Estes Park elopement or microwedding?

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

Get in touch with the contact form below and let’s chat about your vision!

Get more elopement and microwedding info here!

Or check out more elopement planning resources…

A complete guide to Airbnb Weddings and Airbnb Elopements in Colorado
Fluffy rottweiler mix dog wearing a pink and white flower collar
Couple hugging each other on their hiking wedding in Colorado
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!

Estes Park elopement guide cover photo with man putting wedding ring on woman's finger

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