Elopement FAQ

Here is a list of the most common questions I get from clients looking to elope in Colorado:

What constitutes an elopement or intimate wedding?
I think the definition of eloping has changed a lot over the years (check out this article The Denver Post wrote about elopements and how things are changing. You may even recognize a photo or two!). To me, eloping is no longer just about running away against your parent’s wishes to get married (although certainly some still do haha!). Eloping these days, is about simplicity. It’s about paring things down to the essentials. Reducing distraction, drama, logistics and focusing on what truly matters…getting married! Many of my clients still elope by themselves in true spontaneous elopement fashion. But many of them also choose to bring their parents, siblings or best friends along with them. Eloping doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of planning either – many of my clients plan their elopements 6-12 months in advance!  My personal definition of an intimate wedding is a wedding with less than 20 guests in attendance. If you’re having more people in attendance, then my associate photographer Andrea is a perfect fit for you!

How far in advance should we begin planning?
While many of the elopements I photograph are rather spontaneous, most of them have been carefully planned out by my clients for several months. Since out-of-state travel plans can add a complex dimension to your wedding, it’s always a smart idea to start as early as you can to ensure everything goes smoothly. Most clients book my services 6-12 months in advance (but don’t let that scare you, I almost always have some last-minute dates available!).

What is the best time of year to elope in Colorado?
Generally speaking, we have our warmest weather from the 2nd week of June through late September in the mountains. The aspen leaves typically begin to turn the 2nd & 3rd week of September in the mountains and the color usually lasts through the end of the 1st week of October. The snow really begins to accumulate in December and lasts through late early April. April through early June is considered “mud season” in the mountains when the snow begins to melt and the trails and natural areas are hard often a soggy mess. All that to say…. Colorado is crazy and it’s been know to snow on the 4th of July and be 70 degrees in January, so there are never any guarantees! Colorado is a wild place and the weather is just as wild! Part of getting married in the mountains means embracing the fact that the weather runs the show and can’t be predicted!

Do we need an officiant?
Nope! Colorado is one of the few states where couples can marry themselves, no officiant necessary. It’s called self-solemnization and anyone can do it. You can write your own ceremony and do everything exactly the way you want to. If you want to hire an officiant, I have a list of great ones that I can recommend!

We’re interested in having our elopement ceremony in Rocky Mountain National Park. What do we need to do in order to reserve a date and location?
The Park Service has a special wedding permit required for all couples getting married within the Park boundaries. Whether you have 20 guests or it’s just the two of you, you have to apply, pay a $150 fee and have your permit before the ceremony can take place. Click here to access the wedding application. For a little more information about eloping in Rocky Mountain National Park, click here.

We’re from out of state and have no idea where to have our ceremony, we  just know it has to be in Colorado! Where should we begin?
I have an extensive list of locations list on my Colorado Elopement Locations page. Spend some looking through the ideas and links on that page and thinking about the type of setting you want to be in. Think through if you want to hold your ceremony at a private home, mountain lodge, ski resort or if you just want to set out into nature together for something more simple. If you’re still struggling to decide, let me know what you are specifically looking for and I can help point you in a good direction. I also offer location scouting services for an additional fee to help pinpoint the perfect location for you.

What is your booking policy?
For elopements that are planned within 30 days, I require a signed contract and full payment in order to book. For elopements that are planned 30+ days in advance, I require a 50% deposit and a signed contract in order to book, with the remaining balance due 7 days prior to your wedding date.

We’re thinking about bringing a few family members and our close friends with us, is that ok?
Absolutely! You should surround yourself with whoever you feel most comfortable with. Whether that is just you two or if it’s a select group of people who care about you. Keep in mind that friends and family often make things take a bit longer due to family pictures and congratulatory hugs and celebrations, so you may want to consider adding a little more time for your photography.

What should we wear?
That’s completely up to you, there are no rules at all! Many of my brides opt to wear a wedding dress and/or veil. Some of my brides opt to wear something completely untraditional but fits their style and personality. I’ve seen grooms in everything to flannel shirts and jeans to tuxedos. Anything goes! 🙂

Are you willing to hike with us to a ceremony location?
Ummmm YES! Hiking is one of my passions and anytime I can combine that with photography, I’m in heaven. I’m more than happy to hike with you to a special location for your ceremony. Since I am taking photos while we hike, I do have a special rate for hiking – ask me for details!

How long until we receive all of our photos?
 You can expect your photos within 2 weeks of your wedding date.

Are we able to print the photos ourselves and share pictures on Facebook?
Absolutely! I strongly believe my clients should have full access to their digital images. While I still retain the copyright to your images, you will receive a license that allows you to print, share, and post to Facebook.

Do you have any travel fees?
Nope! I consider traveling throughout Colorado to be a privilege, not an obligation! I frequently combine traveling for elopements with camping trips, hikes and long weekends away so I never charge for travel or mileage. That being said, there are a few locations that require a hotel stay since they are so far away (Telluride, Crested Butte, Aspen, Durango, Steamboat Springs to name a few) I can’t do a round-trip drive in one day. In those cases I have do have travel fee so that I can book a hotel and pay for a few meals and a tank of gas. Please contact me for specific details.

clinton gulch colorado wedding-1000


You might also like: