Garden of the Gods Elopement: The Ultimate 2020 Planning Guide

Have you been thinking about planning your elopement at Garden of the Gods? Learn everything you need to know about getting married at this iconic Colorado location.

Bride looking at groom during elopement at Garden of the Gods

5 reasons why Garden of the Gods elopements are awesome

  1. Garden of the Gods is an iconic Colorado location! With stunning red rock formations, beautiful greenery, and to top it all off, views of Pikes Peak, it’s easy to understand why this is such a popular Colorado elopement location! There are so many different awesome areas where you can get married in this park, it can be hard to choose!
  2. There is no cost to have your wedding at Garden of the Gods and no permits are required!
  3. It’s also open and accessible year round! If you’re nervous about having a winter elopement in Colorado because of unpredictable access issues in the mountains, Garden of the Gods might just be the place for you.
  4. Garden of the Gods is also extremely accessible. So if you want an adventurous vibe but you’re planning on bringing elderly family members or others who are less active, this park is a great choice for you.
  5. Dogs are welcome! If having a dog-friendly elopement is important to you, rest assured that your pup is welcome at this park!

Considerations when eloping at Garden of the Gods

Of course, every location has it’s pros and cons. While Garden of the Gods is an awesome place to have your elopement, there are some things you need to know!

First, it’s worth noting that there is no reservation system for the designated ceremony sites. Like many public lands, use by the public is the top priority. Because of this, there is no exclusive use of any area even for weddings.

In my experience, most people are super respectful of couples having their wedding, but there is no guarantee of privacy. If privacy and seclusion are non-negotiable for you, Garden of the Gods may not be your best bet.

Additionally, because it is such a popular spot to visit, if you want the best chance for privacy, you’ll want to plan your elopement at the less busy times (more on that later)!

Designated ceremony locations

Garden of the Gods has 6 sites designated for wedding events. In addition to these sites, there are lots of other areas you can explore in the park to take great photos!

Groom laughs while holding bride in front of red rock formations in Colorado

Garden of the Gods wedding ceremony sites

  • Jaycee Plaza (50 people)
  • Sentinel Plaza (25 people)
  • Three Graces Plaza (25 people)
  • High Point (50 people)
  • Scotsman Picnic Area (25 people)
  • South Spring Canyon Area (50 people)

Tips for choosing a location

All of the wedding ceremony locations are generally considered to be very accessible, and most have paved walkways to access them.

When choosing a ceremony location, you’ll want to consider the number of people that you are planning to invite if you’re including friends and family in your elopement. Some of the designated ceremony locations can hold 25 people, while others can hold as many as 50 people. 

If you want to have a picnic reception at the same place as your ceremony, know that receptions are only allowed at the Scotsman Picnic Area and the South Spring Canyon Picnic Area. 

Permits and other requirements

One of the best things about having a wedding at Garden of the Gods is that there is no permit required! There are some rules you should know, however, if you choose to elope here.

  • All ceremony sites are on a first come, first served basis.
  • Wedding ceremonies must be brief and you cannot bring in large props, tables, or decorations. You may only bring in chairs for the elderly or disabled.
  • You also cannot throw confetti or rice, or release balloons or birds/butterflies.
  • It’s important to follow all Leave No Trace principles, including staying on established trails.
  • No alcoholic beverages are allowed in the park, even at the picnic sites.
  • Park hours are from 5:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.

Are pets allowed at Garden of the Gods?

Yes! Dogs are allowed in the park as long as they are kept on a six foot leash. 

There is also one area of the park where dogs can roam off leash, which is south of Gateway Road, West of 30th Street, and east of the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site.

Eloping couple petting their dog in Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Choosing when to elope at Garden of the Gods

Season

Garden of the Gods is a beautiful place to elope year round! The climate will be similar to the climate in Colorado Springs, since it is just northwest of the city.

In the summer, the mornings and evenings are pleasant, although it can get quite warm during the day. The summer also tends to see the most afternoon storms, which can help with cooling off the hotter temperatures.

The spring and fall are not as hot during the day but the weather and temperatures can be more unpredictable. Every year is a little different as to exactly when the seasons start to change. But normally May is when the wildflowers start to bloom.

In the winter, the area can see snow sometimes, which makes for a beautiful contrast against the red rocks. The snow tends to melt very quickly though, which can make for more days of pleasant outdoor excursions. March tends to be the snowiest month of the year! 

Couple gets married at sunrise in Garden of the Gods with Pikes Peak in the distance

Weekend/Weekday

Because of the popularity of Garden of the Gods, I always recommend a weekday elopement if at all possible. It will offer you significantly less crowds and more privacy that a weekend elopement.

Time of day

Equally as important as choosing which day to have your 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 visit the park if seclusion is important to you, and the sunrises at Garden of the Gods will knock your socks off.

If you can’t make a morning elopement work, evenings are the next best time. 

Nearby hikes for your elopement

One of the best things about eloping in Colorado is the opportunity to add in a little adventure! Maybe you’re interested in having a hiking wedding or maybe you just want to have some extra fun on another day during your visit to Colorado. Either way, there are a ton of great hiking options in Garden of the Gods and near Colorado Springs–here are a few fun ones to try!

Hikes in Garden of the Gods

Hikes near Garden of the Gods

Woman and man holding each other standing in front of red rocks

Where to have your wedding reception

If you’re planning to have your ceremony at Garden of the Gods, you have a few different options on having a reception.

If you’d like, you can have a picnic reception at either the Scotsman Picnic Area or the South Spring Canyon Area. Note that these areas are first come, first served so unfortunately there is no guarantee that they will be available when you arrive. If you choose one of these locations, it’s important to be flexible!

If you still want to have a picnic nearby, but don’t want to take a chance on not having the place reserved, Colorado Springs has several pavilions that you can reserve.

Finally, 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!

Garden of the Gods post card and blue vow books

Places to stay near Garden of the Gods

Looking for a unique place for you and your guests to stay during your elopement? Check out these nearby lodging options!

Garden of the Gods Resort

Garden of the Gods Resort is the closest lodging available to Garden of the Gods (since camping is not permitted), and offers beautiful views of the park. There are a lot of amenities to enjoy like a spa/salon and a golf course.

The Cliff House at Pikes Peak

The Cliff House at Pikes Peak is a unique lodging option, with themed rooms including some sleeping yurts! This lodge also has fine dining with a culinary chef!

Eloping couple holding hands and walking in Three Graces Plaza in Garden of the Gods

Vendors

While not required for your elopement, most couples choose to work with at least a few vendors. Here are some local Colorado Springs vendors you may want to consider for your elopement!

Florists

Hair and Make Up

Officiants

Looking for an elopement photographer?

Looking for someone to help you document your love story? I love helping couples turn their vision for their dream day into a reality! 

I’m a Colorado elopement photographer, and I’d be honored to help you with planning and photographing your Garden of the Gods elopement. 

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

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!

Planning Guide for Garden of the Gods Elopements

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