While Colorado enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year, it still gets its fair share of snow, making the state a mountainous winter wonderland for a few months out of the year. If you are enchanted by the idea of a Colorado winter elopement, check out this guide to planning one!
Why Plan a Colorado Winter Elopement
Colorado is beautiful year-round–seriously you couldn’t dream of a better state in which to plan the ultimate elopement! But here are a few reasons why wintertime might be best for your special day:
It’s More Private. The best part about hosting a winter elopement in Colorado is that you’d still have access to the great outdoors–just without all the crowds that appear in summertime! Since winter elopements aren’t as common as summer elopements in Colorado, you also can count on greater venue availability.
You Love Winter Activities. If you two are winter sport enthusiasts, there’s no better time to get hitched than during the winter in Colorado. Love to ski or snowboard? Elope in a ski resort town in the winter! Are you a fan of ice skating, snowmobiling, ice fishing, cross country skiing, or want a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride? A Colorado winter elopement is perfect for you. Even if you aren’t winter sports people yet, you can give any of these activities a try, or just spend the days surrounding your elopement cuddled up by the fire with a hot toddy.
Winter Wonderland Photo Backgrounds. Perhaps the most alluring reason to plan a winter elopement in Colorado is for those incredible snowy backgrounds! Picture snow capped mountain peaks, and evergreen trees blanketed in white, with frozen alpine lakes in the distance and elk peering at you from within the trees… There is truly no more magical season for drop-dead-gorgeous elopement photographs than winter in Colorado.
Where to Elope in Colorado During Winter
While the state offers something for everyone, there are a few areas that are particularly special for winter elopements:
Breckenridge. Breckenridge offers world-class skiing in the mountains above Denver. This is one of the most accessible ski areas in the state, so it’s perfect for a Colorado winter elopement when you want to bring some guests along!
Vail. This ski resort town is a go-to for celebrities, so elope in Vail during winter for a luxurious ski experience on the town’s famous seven-mile-wide slope. Exchange your vows while skiing or choose one of the area’s finest lodges or venues for your special day.
Aspen. This upscale ski town is another celebrity hotspot, with breathtaking views and plenty of private places to exchange your vows.
Telluride. Telluride offers luxurious ski town experiences with a more laid-back vibe than Aspen or Vail. The box canyon where Telluride lies is gorgeous in winter, and there are opportunities for all kinds of winter activities.
Crested Butte. This is another remote Colorado ski town with lots of outdoor recreation possibilities and beautiful mountain views. Some of the favorite Crested Butte elopement locations in nature are accessible by snowshoe or snowmobile in winter.
Rocky Mountain National Park. This national park is a favorite among winter elopers, probably because its beauty is breathtaking in any season and the park is quietest in the winter.
Loveland Pass. What’s great about this high alpine pass is that it’s accessible year-round, and features 360-degree mountain views.
Sapphire Point. This viewpoint and recreation area looks out over the Dillon reservoir and the Gore and Tenmile ranges in the distance. In winter, the mountains are topped with snow and bits of the clear blue reservoir are frozen, making for even more impressive views.
Chautauqua. This park just above Boulder gives you the taste of the Colorado wilderness without necessitating a long, dangerous drive. In winter, the landscape is unforgettable.
Lost Gulch Overlook. This viewpoint outside of Boulder features a rocky area that’s ideal for photos, with views over rolling hills covered in evergreens and craggy mountain peaks in the distance.
Backcountry. Colorado offers tons of beautiful backcountry locations where you can go and soak up the sun and high alpine views while feeling like the only people in the world. Avalanche danger should be taken seriously, so make sure you are prepared and either know the terrain well or seek advice from someone who does!
What to Keep in Mind for Your Winter Elopement in Colorado
It’s Cold. Even on the days when it isn’t snowing, Colorado winters are still cold! Bring lots of layers, and think about wearing a long-sleeved dress, or at least adding a warm shawl to your elopement outfit or wearing long underwear beneath your tux. If you’re snowshoeing to an outdoor viewpoint to exchange your vows, bring along some tea or hot cocoa in a thermos and pack hand and foot warmers and a change of clothes.
Not Everywhere is Accessible. While some mountain roads or high elevation towns in Colorado remain accessible pretty much year-round, others may not be. This is especially true of high alpine passes or hikes, which may be closed due to snow and avalanche danger. Do some research to make sure you can get where you want to go.
Holidays Are Busy. While winter is generally quiet in Colorado, the same can not be said for the ski resort towns. The week around Christmas and New Years is especially busy during this time, so if your dream is to elope during the holiday season, you’ll want to plan way in advance and be prepared for crowds.
You May Still Need a Permit. Even when public lands are blanketed in snow, you may still need a permit to host your event on them. Reach out to the BLM in the area or park rangers to figure this out.
Don’t Forget the Elopement Photos
With all of the stunning backdrops that a Colorado winter elopement provides, be sure to make elopement photography a part of your special day! Capture all those precious moments as you get ready, have the first look, exchange your vows, and celebrate with your loved ones. As an experienced Colorado-based elopement photographer who has helped plan over 50 stress-free elopements since 2018, I can take care of documenting those memories for you.
Not only will I cover the Colorado winter elopement photography, but I’ll also include an extensive elopement guide, 3-5 personalized location recommendations, timeline assistance, and personalized vendor suggestions to make planning your perfect day that much easier.
Want to learn more? Have a look at my Colorado elopement packages and browse through previous elopements I’ve photographed, then reach out when you’re ready to take the next step!
May 3, 2022
Mikayla is a Colorado elopement and wedding photographer. In addition to delivering beautiful galleries to her couples, Mikayla provides epic location recommendations, connects couples with talented vendors, processes any permits, and provides tips for a stress-free day!