Elopements have made a come back; one I have noticed since the micro wedding boom of the pandemic. What is more romantic than just the two of you (or maybe a few friends or fur babies) self solemnizing under the looming eye of Pikes Peak? A lot of couples want to elope but don't know where to start since the prospect of planning an elopement from out of state is overwhelming. This guide is here to easily help you prepare, budget and easily plan your wild Colorado Springs elopement.
Step number one: Find your photographer.
Obviously, I'm going to say that photographer should be me but finding a local photographer who knows the area should help you with most of your planning. Bringing in photographers from out of state can cause issues because they won't be aware of certain permits, the weather, the local vendors etc. Travel fees might apply too. As your photographer, it is my duty to make sure you can breathe and relax knowing everything is logistically and efficiently coordinated on your day. I eloped as well, in another country; so I sympathize with how difficult it can be. My style of shooting is ultra relaxed, we chat about life as we walk up to your ceremony spot. I'll button your dress, do your hair, straighten your tie- whatever it takes to know you have a friend here in Colorado Springs.
Step number two: Pick your date.
You'd think this would be step number one, but once you have a date range of when you want to elope, it is important to consider what day of the week. Colorado Springs is a popular spot for photos and I would highly recommend eloping at sunrise or a weekday. Fridays through Sundays typically mean you won't be the only one at your epic location. Another tip to keep your location all yours: elope in Winter. Sure, it's freezing- but chances are you won't have any onlookers and your vendors will have way more availability (sometimes even off season rates).
Step number three: Choose your location!
Colorado Springs offers so many beautiful locations, with some requiring zero permit fees or very small fees. Places like Garden of the Gods, Palmer Park, Pikes Peak, Ute Valley Park, Fox Run Park and the Paint Mines offer stunning views with minimal hiking. With Colorado Springs being just an hour from Denver International, it is a prime location for cheap flights and even cheaper elopements. Investing in a good photographer (ahem) should be your biggest expense. Finding a cute airbnb or hotel is also a good idea when choosing a location. You may decide to do your first look at the cute place you are staying or if the weather is intolerable and the airbnb is cute enough and allows elopements you can always use it as a back up plan and do it there!
Step number four: Prioritize what you want at your elopement. Then book your vendors.
Do you want to hand fast? Do you want an officiant? Do you want to pop champagne or do a shot? Do you want to get tattooed together? Do you want to get photos in a brewery all dressed up? This day is YOURS to enjoy and it is my job to help point you in the direction of the best vendors and best restaurants and even the best things to do on vacation in town. I know all the touristy must dos and want you to make a holiday out of your elopement. Once you nail down a vision of your elopement, make sure to use your Thistle and Pine vendor brochure to secure whatever vendors you are needing.
Step number five: Obtain a marriage license.
One of the reasons Colorado is so popular is that it is a self- solemnizing state. This means that you can marry yourselves without an officiant or witness. I have had people put in on their dogs paws and sign as a witness and it is perfectly legal. What is more romantic than saying your own handwritten vows under the Kissing Camels at Garden of the Gods? Just make sure you have made an appointment with El Paso County to grab a marriage license ($35) and sign it at the elopement itself. You can send it in and be legally married by the time you hop back on the plane.
Last but not least: Have fun!
Sure, the weather might be crazy here but there is so much to do. Paddle board at Quail Lake, go up to the top of Pike's Peak on the COG railway, shop in the hippie shops in Manitou Springs, check out a Switchbacks game or hike Seven Falls. Either way, you'll leave Colorado Springs with memories of not only your elopement but your time together in one of America's prettiest western towns.
Thistle and Pine's elopement packages start at $850 for an hour with multi hour discounts. You'll get a vendor brochure, timeline planning, location scouting assistance, a beautiful gallery of images you can download for up to a year and 24 hour sneak peaks. Stop your searching; let's get planning!
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