Vail Elopement Planning Guide

Are you thinking about planning an elopement in Vail, Colorado? Check out this guide for information on Vail elopement locations, Vail elopement packages, and lots more!

Couple on a trail in the forest in their wedding attire wearing backpacks and holding hands

Reasons to consider eloping in Vail, Colorado

If you’re looking for a place in Colorado to have your elopement, Vail can be a great choice for a number of reasons.

  1. Of course the top reason to choose Vail for your elopement is the beautiful mountain views! 
  1. Every season is beautiful, making it a great place to get married year round.
  1. The downtown Vail area has an adorable European feel with lots of resorts, restaurants, and shops that make it a fun place to celebrate after your elopement or stay during your visit. 
  1. Vail has lots of outdoor activities! If you’re visiting the area and looking for fun things to keep you entertained, you’ll definitely find a lot to do here. Some activities to consider include: hiking, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, rock climbing, golfing, kayaking, and paddle boarding.
  1. Dog-friendly options. If it’s important to you that your dog is with you for your elopement, Vail has a number of elopement locations 

Want to know more about what does “elopement” mean? Check out this post to learn about the differences between a wedding and an elopement!

Vail Elopement Locations

Here are a few elopement locations near Vail to consider for your elopement!

Shrine Pass

Shrine Pass is a mountain road near Vail that offers scenic mountain views. Shrine Pass starts near Vail Pass and continues until Redcliff.

Although it is a pretty rough dirt road, almost all but the lowest clearance vehicles are fine to make this drive. However, it’s important to note that Shrine Pass is only open during the summer months.

If you go at the right time, you might even catch some of the beautiful wildflowers that bloom up here.

Shrine Pass near Vail Colorado in the summer with a meadow of green grass and yellow wildflowers, with mountains in the distance

Julia’s Deck

Julia’s Deck (also known as the Mount of the Holy Cross Overlook site) is an observation deck located off of Shrine Pass near Vail. It’s a very short walk through a forest area to get to the deck.

The deck has views of Mount of the Holy Cross and can be used for weddings. Keep in mind that parking is very limited at this location. More cars could be parked at Shrine Pass summit, and then you could carpool the rest of the way to Julia’s Deck.

The deck is currently in need of a bit of upkeep, but as of summer 2021, the national forest service is planning to repaint the deck!

Julia's Deck on Shrine Pass with a brown wooden deck with mountain views and a sign that says Mount of the Holy Cross

Vail Pass

Vail Pass (which is basically just the base area of Shrine Pass) is another location that has great mountain views that are very accessible. Near the rest stop area of Vail Pass, you can walk around and explore a bit for a beautiful ceremony location.

Keep in mind that this location gets a bit busy and is right off of Interstate 70, so it can be noisy. If you’re looking for privacy, this is probably not the right location for you!

Landscape photo of Vail Pass elopement location with green grass and mountains on a sunny day

Gore Creek Bridge

The Gore Creek Bridge is a covered wooden bridge that leads to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. It is a popular spot for engagement photos and proposals. It can also be a great location to say your vows or take some photos after your ceremony!

Airbnb/VRBO

Renting an Airbnb or VRBO for your elopement can be a great option to get a totally private and accessible location with amazing views. There are a lot of great properties with throughout the Vail area.

Talk to your photographer about more hidden elopement gems around Vail

I highly recommend checking with your photographer when finding a place to elope in Vail. Vail is known for it’s beautiful wedding venues, but as these are typically private venues for traditional weddings, they can be very expensive. On the other hand, elopement photographers spend a lot of time scouting locations and can help you find those more private, hidden gems that will be perfect for your elopement. 

Bride and groom getting married in front of a lake with mountain views near Vail Colorado

When to elope in Vail

Seasons

I highly recommend the summer months for Vail elopements, as locations can get very limited during other times of year. Early fall can also work, but summer provides the most options!

Certain areas or mountain passes will be closed during the winter and they may not open until June or even early July in some cases.

But really, I love the summers in Colorado because of all the wildflowers and how the morning temperatures are still cool in the mountains!

If you have your heart set on a winter or spring elopement, I suggest looking into Breckenridge, Boulder, or Estes Park.

Weekend/Weekday

Because of the popularity of many Vail elopement 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.

Bride getting her dress on near her white SUV at a wooded trailhead near Vail, CO
Groom getting dress near his white SUV at a wooded trailhead near Vail, CO

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 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. 

Where to have your Vail elopement reception

You have plenty of options when deciding how you want to celebrate your Vail elopement, whether that be just the two of you or with others.

Picnic

A picnic on the trail or at a local pavilion is always a great option for celebrating your elopement. 

If you’re planning to celebrate your elopement with friends and family, you can always rent a picnic pavilion at one of the local parks in Vail.

Restaurant

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

If you’re looking for a great restaurant near Vail, Colorado, check out some of the options included below!

Private Chef

If you love good food but want more privacy to celebrate your marriage, consider hiring a local private chef. This is a great option if you’re renting an Airbnb or VRBO in the area. Here are a few options I recommend in the area!

Check out this elopement reception planning guide for more ideas and inspiration for your post elopement celebration!

Vail elopement photographer packages

Looking for someone to help you document your special day? I’m a Colorado-based elopement and intimate wedding photographer, and I love helping couples turn their vision for their dream day into a reality!

I’d be honored to help you with photographing your elopement or micro wedding. Learn more below!

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!

Eloping couple holding their vow books in a golden grassy field

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. 

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

The Ultimate Full Day Custom Vail 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!

$6,000

8 Hour Custom Vail 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!

$4,500

4 Hour Custom Vail 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!

$3,000

Are you planning a Vail 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…

Bride and groom standing on a rock in front of Colorado Mountains
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!

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