If a high alpine elopement in a small, cozy ski town is your idea of the perfect day, then the Colorado towns of Crested Butte and Telluride should be top of your list. Learn what sets each town apart as you decide between the two!
Crested Butte vs Telluride Similarities
There’s probably a reason you’ve narrowed down the list of potential elopement locations to these two gems–they’re similar in a lot of ways! In order to understand what makes each unique, first check out what they have in common.
Very Authentic. Compared to the upscale ski resort towns of Vail and Aspen, Crested Butte and Telluride are far more down-to-earth. At either one of these destinations you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time to the Wild West thanks to historic buildings and old mining artifacts.
Small Towns. Crested Butte and Telluride are both quaint mountain towns with just a few thousand year-round residents (1,355 for Crested Butte, 2,059 for Telluride). That means that you can expect those small-town vibes for your Crested Butte or Telluride elopement and, unless you’re eloping along a mountain pass, skip the rental car because everything will be within walking distance! Plus, both Telluride and Crested Butte have secondary “towns” around their ski resorts that feature some additional dining and accommodation options.
Altitude. Crested Butte vs Telluride altitudes are very similar–8,909 feet for Crested Butte, and 8,750 for Telluride–so be prepared for thinner air and know that alcohol will hit you harder up there! If you’re concerned about altitude sickness, give yourself an extra few days in the area before your elopement to acclimate.
Remote Areas. Both of these beautiful mountain towns are located in remote areas, hours of country road away from the nearest big cities. While that makes them somewhat challenging to reach, it also means that you’ll have a private atmosphere and can escape the busy-ness of modern life for a while.
Good Skiing. Both Crested Butte and Telluride have awesome opportunities for skiing, with groomed trails, hike-to terrain, and plenty of backcountry shredding. If you two love to follow the pow, plan a winter elopement in Crested Butte or Telluride!
Mountain Views. Whether you end up spending your special day in either town, you’ll be blown away by the elopement photos thanks to those incredible mountain views… Both towns provide epic vistas year-round, especially when everything is blanketed in white, when the leaves are changing, or in the summer when the hillsides are carpeted in wildflowers.
Crested Butte vs Telluride Differences
There are a few key ways in which the two towns are different, so here are some contrasts between Crested Butte vs Telluride.
Size. While a difference of a thousand people in population may not sound like much, for you, it might just make all the difference. There is a little bit more going on in Telluride, and a few more options to choose from when it comes to how you’ll spend your time in the area. Are you craving a small yet lively town with a separate village accessible by free gondola? Or are you craving the wildness that a Crested Butte elopement provides?
Off-Road Access. Colorado is home to many spectacular 4×4 roads that are definitely a bucket list item for anyone obsessed with wilderness and mountain views. Thanks to its proximity to Ouray and Silverton, Telluride offers a few more options to explore some of these roads and mountain passes than Crested Butte does. Although Crested Butte has its fair share of trails, if you’re dreaming of eloping in the middle of a high alpine off-roading adventure, Telluride is for you!
Events. Both towns host festivals each year, making them destinations for music lovers and visitors from all over. In Telluridev, events include the Telluride Film Festival (when the town is swarming with celebrities), Blues and Brews, or Jazz Fest. Crested Butte has more arts and wine festivals, along with an annual wildflower festival!
Cost. While their remote locations and wealthy visitors mean that both Crested Butte and Telluride can be fairly pricey (especially during peak seasons), Crested Butte is the more affordable option.
Vibe. Of course, the two towns have very different feels to them. While Telluride is still very much a laid-back mountain paradise, the town also feels pretty upscale, and sometimes the local flavor is missing. Meanwhile, Crested Butte is quaint and unpretentious, with a lot of historic wooden buildings and an even wilder and more easygoing vibe.
Elopement Venues. If you’re hoping to celebrate your elopement with a group of close friends and family, or even host your ceremony at a spectacular venue, you have lots of options both in Telluride and Crested Butte. In Crested Butte, these venues include a high alpine research station, an in-town wildflower garden, rustic hotels, and outdoor protected lands. Telluride is full of great restaurants that know how to host a memorable elopement meal, and has a few larger wedding venues on the ski resort property. However, in Telluride you’ll find fewer dedicated wedding or elopement venues than in Crested Butte.
Crested Butte vs Telluride–Where Should You Elope?
So now that you know a little bit more about each mountain town, how do you decide where to plan your elopement or intimate wedding? First of all, I can help! The expertise I’ve gained from photographing dozens of elopements all over Colorado means that I can listen to what you want out of your celebration and guide you toward the perfect location for you.
After all, your elopement or weeding is supposed to be one of the most special days of both your lives, so you want to feel comfortable with and excited about your plans. So stary daydreaming… Do you want to hike and elope privately at sunrise then go out for dinner? Or exchange your vows at a venue with your close friends and family present? Are you hoping for a quiet backcountry wedding in the wilderness or do you want to get hitched and then go party at a music festival? The possibilities are endless!
When you’re ready to take the next steps and get to planning your elopement, wedding, or session, reach out! Or start by taking a look at my Colorado elopement packages or Colorado wedding packages. Whether you settle on Crested Butte or Telluride for your elopement location, you’re sure to have a special day you’ll treasure for life!
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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!