If you’re hoping to elope in Colorado – more specifically at Garden of the Gods this is the ultimate guide for you! This beautiful location is absolutely ethereal from every corner and angle. With over 1,300 acres of mountains, valleys and plains there are tons of opportunities for gorgeous photos of your elopement. I’m getting excited just writing about it!
Garden of The Gods is a public park just outside of Colorado Springs. It is filled with gorgeous red rocks, a clear view of Pikes Peak (the highest summit of The Rocky Mountains!) and plenty of open space. It is the perfect location for you and your person to celebrate your love and the start of your marriage- with just a little bit of adventure thrown into the mix.
With so many different locations at Garden of The Gods it can be tough to choose the perfect spot for your elopement. So let me make your planning a little bit easier and let’s go over how to plan an elopement at Garden of The Gods, and why it’s one of the best spots in Colorado to Elope.
The Benefits to Eloping at Garden of The Gods
No, it wasn’t a typo and there isn’t a gimmick. Budgeting for a wedding is a hard enough as it is. That’s why it is so incredible that it’s free to elope at such a beautiful place! Garden of The Gods has no admission cost or permits required to elope. It’s even free to park! Just keep in mind that they only allow a maximum of 30 guests and your elopement site is open to the public. This means people may walk by as you are getting married. If you want to have the most privacy possible, opt for a sunrise ceremony!
Colorado is a Self-Solemnizing State
“I now pronounce you..” Just kidding! Colorado is self-solemnizing which means you don’t need to hire or have an officiant to declare you married. Just pick up your marriage license in your residing state and catch a flight there!
Elopement Locations in Garden of The Gods
The park is very conveniently located right outside of Colorado Springs, but once you’re inside it’s very easy to get around and drive right through. Parking lots are located throughout and some trails are concrete so you won’t need to worry about you or yourself struggling to get to your location.
The Garden of The Gods website outlines 6 allowed ceremony locations, but don’t let that stop you from exploring the rest of the park on your wedding day. The park was actually voted best city park in the country and number two in the world. So definitely schedule a little extra time to explore! Make a list of your favorites and have a backup just in case your number one choice is taken on the day of your elopement. The park is a first-come first-serve basis for weddings and sadly there is no way to reserve your spot. Flexibility is key when it comes to eloping at this park but it is definitely worth it for the beauty and easy accessibility to even elderly grandparents and small children.
Garden of The Gods Celebration and Reception Ideas
Whether you’re eloping with just the two of you and your photographer, or if you’re bringing along 30 guests there is something for you to do at the park! Below I’ve listed 5 of my favorite ideas to celebrate your wedding day.
- Find a quiet spot at sunset, bring along a bluetooth speaker and enjoy your first dance together.
- Book a rock climbing permit (it’s free!) and go bouldering right in the middle of the park!
- Go Horseback Riding with Academy Riding Stables through the park.
- Drive to the top of Pikes Peak
- If you’re eloping at sunrise, prep your car with a picnic, have the Aeropress ready for some hot coffee along with blankets and cake! Take in the morning as a married couple.
The possibilities are endless, and there are so many incredible restaurants, thrill seeking activities and plenty of cozy coffee shops. Colorado has so much to offer beyond the park, no matter what you’re into. I highly recommend making your elopement uniquely you by incorporating your favorite things to do together into your wedding day.
Bring your furry friend along! Dogs are allowed on a 6ft leash on most trails and at all ceremony sites, and they’re the perfect Best Man or Maid of honor! While there is no charge to bring your best friend in, make sure they’re good with other animals and humans and of course always pick up after your four legged friends.
Things to Keep in Mind When Eloping at Garden of The Gods
While being an incredible place for an adventure elopement there are still somethings to be considered and planned around while considering this as your elopement location.
Elopement Dates and Times
- Don’t expect the entire park to yourself, while it is a large and spread out location, the park itself is a highly trafficked area. There will be other people, sometimes a lot of other people, sometimes a crying baby and barking dogs. The date and time of your elopement are key in keeping it as intimate as possible. Keep this in mind if you’re planning a weekend elopement at 3pm during the peak spring season.
- Get married at sunrise instead of sunset. The views are just as beautiful, if not more so because I feel like there is something so magical and intimate about the early morning hours.
- Opt for a weekday instead of a weekend. This will reduce the crowds quite a bit but keep in mind it is one of the best parks in the world, and people travel from all over just to see it. Just become comfortable with the idea that there is a chance a complete stranger will be watching your ceremony from nearby.
- Visit during the off season! Winter is one of the least busiest times for the park and it is open year-round making it very accessible. Plus, it’s the perfect time to whip out that fur coat you’ve never had the chance to wear.
Don’t let the weather stop you from getting married and having the best day ever.. Just come prepared! Colorado weather is notorious for being unpredictable and with Garden of The Gods being so close to Pikes Peak, the weather coming down off of the mountain makes it even more so. Don’t let that stop you, bring along a few different layers of clothing, extra water and maybe even one of those cute clear umbrellas. Stay positive and look on the bright side, sometimes less than ideal weather can create the most amazing photos!
Keep it Minimalistic
Arches and decor are not encouraged at Garden of The Gods and with such a beautiful area, why not embrace the natural beauty? There are lot’s of ways to personalize your elopement with your color palette, your bouquet, jewelry, attire etc. Be very intentional with what few things you do and do not include. Don’t let the lack of decor get you down and make you feel limited with what you can do. Instead incorporate small things such and vow books, ring boxes or other small things that will carry a huge significance down the road.
Always remember to ‘Leave No Trace‘. If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s super simple! All trash, personal belongings, anything that you bring into the park, must come back with you out of the park. This includes flower petals, or anything that claims to be “bio-degradable.” Also try to refrain from moving large rocks or pulling up native plants/weeds. We are very lucky to be able to visit such a beautiful park. Let’s keep it that way by being respectful and cleaning up after ourselves. Check out the ‘leave no trace’ website for more! https://lnt.org/
Where To Stay
Like I mentioned before, with the park being so close to Colorado Springs there are tons of things to do nearby, and lot’s of beautiful places to stay! Below are some beautiful hotel and Airbnb locations close to the park that will be perfect for your trip there.
- Kinship Landing – A cozy boutique hotel with a delicious breakfast restaurant onsite.
- The Treehouse – A tree level bungalow.
- The Manitou Stream Haus – Treehouse Retreat
- Modern Forest Cabin – Scandinavian Cozy Cabin
How to start planning your Garden of The Gods Elopement
As a photographer who specializes in intimate events and adventure elopements, I understand how it feels trying to plan an unconventional wedding and I am here to help you! If you have questions or if you are planning an elopement here or anywhere else in the world I would love to have a quick ring with you both and chat with you about all of your ideas! Contact me to about your Garden of The Gods Elopement, or any other elopement! I can’t wait to get to know you and your partner!