Bethany & John told me that they wanted to elope in Colorado and that they were open to locations but just wanted a gorgeous alpine lake. I immediately recommended the San Juan Mountains, knowing that that region of Colorado is home to some of the prettiest lakes I’ve ever laid my eyes on. I sent multiple locations in Telluride, Ouray, and Silverton over and they chose a beautiful lake along a 4×4 trail in Ouray.
I was pumped & I scouted it out a couple of months prior so we could plan out some more details! But when we got to the lake for their first look on the day of their elopement, we saw that the lake had been drained for the season! So we had their first look, hopped back on the trail and went to Telluride so they could elope at a different alpine lake…one that I knew hadn’t been drained because I was there 4 days prior an engagement session. This is how we ended up at Alta Lakes.
Even with the change in plans, Bethany + John had such a beautiful elopement at Alta Lakes in Telluride. John’s mom passed months earlier and they were able to honor her by spreading her ashes at both locations. They cracked a beer, signed their marriage license on a tree trunk, and we made it out just before it started pouring!
Watch the weather. Colorado is known to have some moody weather in the afternoon! While this is normally something that happens in the summer months, you always want to check! The last thing you want to do is be stuck on a mountain somewhere exposed to the elements…lightening danger isn’t fun.
4×4 drive is a must. The San Juan Mountains are home to miles and miles of off-roading trails that can take you epic destinations. While you are figuring out your elopement ceremony location and where you’re planning to explore, make sure you consider how you’re supposed to get there and how to be best prepared for that. If you are wanting to elope somewhere like the Alpine Loop in Silverton, Yankee Boy Basin in Ouray, or Ophir Pass outside of Telluride, make sure your vehicle has enough clearance and 4×4 capabilities to get you there safely.
If you don’t have a Jeep, 4runner, Tacoma, Subaru, etc., you can always rent one in town for the day from one of the local 4×4 rental places or from Turo.com!
Hire a Colorado elopement photographer. Elopement photographers have a great set of skills… no one will know how to be the best elopement photographer or guide for Colorado like someone who is actually local to Colorado. I’m based in Colorado Springs and I hang out and explore in Telluride and the San Juan Mountains even when I’m not photographing elopements. This means that I have tons of back up plans, insight, and pro-tips to make sure you have the best elopement regardless of what is throw our way.
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