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

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. The deck has views of Mount of the Holy Cross and can be used for weddings.

Vail Pass

Vail Pass is another area 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.

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!


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.

Check out this post for more info and to find an amazing Vail Airbnb for your wedding or elopement!

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. 

When to elope in Vail


One of the great things about Vail is that it is beautiful all year round. When considering what time of year to elope in Vail, you’ll probably want to consider what type of weather and scenery you want for your special day, as well as if you have a specific location of where you want to elope in mind. Certain areas or mountain passes will be closed during the winter and they may not open until June or even July in some cases.

I love the summers in Colorado because of all the wildflowers and how the morning temperatures are still cool in the mountains. 

Fall is also a beautiful time in Vail with the changing of the leaves which usually begins in mid to late September. 

The snowy mountains in winter are also gorgeous if you can handle the cold weather! 

Finally in Springtime, the temperatures are starting to warm up and the crowds are starting to dissipate after ski season but before the summer crowds arrive. You’ll want to keep in mind that Spring is very unpredictable, and it can snow in the Vail area as late as June! The melting snow can also make certain trails very muddy!


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.

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.


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.


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!

Instagram worthy places to stay near Vail, Colorado

I’ve already done the hard work for you to find the best and most Instagram worthy stays in the Vail area! Check out some of these options below!

Airbnb near Vail, CO

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Check out more of my favorite Vail Airbnb listings here!

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!

Vail elopement photographer packages

What’s included in my elopement photography package?

My Colorado elopement packages start at 4 hours, but when you work with me you’re getting way more than just a photographer. 

I am fully invested in making sure every single one of my clients has the most amazing elopement day possible. That’s why I offer help in ways that most photographers don’t! 

Here are just a few things that come with having me as your photographer, adventure partner, friend, and guide:

  • Documenting your epic elopement day. Of course as your photographer, I’m going to make sure you have amazing photos to look back on every special moment of your day. The tears as you share your commitment vows, the laughs when your dog does something silly like always, or your first champagne toast together as husband and wife.
  • Custom elopement planning tools and guidance. Every client I work with gets access to customized planning tools, planning resources, and guidance to help make your elopement planning as stress free as possible. From location ideas to timeline planning, no detail is overlooked. Forget the work, and focus on having fun!
  • All your photos. You’ll have access to a fully-edited online gallery of your images, which you can download in either high-resolution or web-size (for sharing on social media). You can also order printed products like albums, canvas prints, or framed prints right from your online gallery if you choose. Or share your gallery with friends and family so they can relive the experience with you!
  • Travel included. All my packages include my travel, so you’re never surprised by extra fees.

Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about elopement package options.

How many hours should I get for my elopement package?

Typically, most people choose between an 8 hour, 12 hour, or even multi-day elopement package. How many hours of coverage you need can greatly depend on what you want to do for your elopement. 

Your wedding day is much more than just saying your vows and taking a few pictures. This is one of the most special days in your life, and it really is about the entire experience of your day.

That includes everything from waking up and enjoying breakfast together, getting dressed, hopping in the car and heading out for an exciting adventure, finding an amazing place to say your vows, having your first dance together, popping champagne, having an epic celebration afterwards…you get the idea!

Consider a traditional wedding, which easily lasts a full day for the bride and groom. Once you start thinking about badass activities you want to do, like hiking, jeeping, or rock climbing, it’s pretty easy to see how an elopement would be a full day!

This definitely isn’t about having an all day photo shoot. Think of me more like a fly on the wall. I’m here to help you document your dream day, so you can continue to look back on your day and relive it again and again, for years to come!

Are you planning an elopement or intimate wedding?

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!

Get more elopement or microwedding info here.

Or check out some of my other 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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