Bear Lake Elopement Photos with an Estes Park Ceremony | Marya and Peter

We asked Marya and Peter what part of their Bear Lake elopement they were most looking forward to. Their answer was short and sweet but also incredibly honest. They said, “Getting married. We are excited about the excitement of the day. Excited for the emotions, excited to see each other all dressed up, and excited to exchange our rings.” ⁠

Needless to say, their Bear Lake elopement was full of excitement, sweet love, and pure joy.

Their Love Story

Marya and Peter first met on the dating app Hinge. Hinge – unlike other dating apps, matches couples with similar interests and preferences. So when Marya and Peter first matched, they trusted the algorithm had accurately represented them. They put the screens down and agreed to meet in person.

Marya suggested they meet somewhere in public, at the happenchance that the stranger from the internet may murder her. They decided to Sloan Lake to walk along the water. It didn’t take Marya long to realize that Peter, was not a murderer but a true Southern Gentleman. He was smart, kind, and empathic – the introvert to her extravert – the perfect balance. A few walks around the lake, sans screens and the rest is history.

The Proposal

Marya and Peter decided to go on a week-long vacation to Mexico. On their last night, they made a reservation for a nice, romantic dinner for two. Once they were ready, Marya suggested they take a few photos on the balcony before heading out the door. Peter of course obliged. After they had snapped a few photos, Marya headed back inside to grab her things for dinner.

Then all of the sudden, she hears Peter yell, “Marya, come check this out!”

Mayra immediately assumed a fight must’ve broken out on the beach below. She rushed to the balcony to see what the commotion was about. To her surprise, there was no fight. Instead, she found Peter, down on one knee. He was holding her dream ring in his hands. He asked her to Marry him, and she immediately said yes and started crying.

Bear Lake Elopement Experience

When Marya and Peter first reached out, they shared their dreams of getting married in Rocky Mountain National Park. More specifically, they want to have a Bear Lake elopement in September.

Unfortunately, Bear Lake is a heavily trafficked hiking trail in the park. It is so popular that the park decided to cease wedding permits for this particular location. They no longer allow couples to get married here from the weekend before Memorial Day to Columbus Day weekend!

Needless to say, September is the first month to run out of wedding ceremony permits for Bear Lake each year.

You can apply for a ceremony permit as early as the first date of the month, one full year prior to the month you’re wanting to get married. For example, you can apply as early as September 1, 2023, for a wedding ceremony permit on any September 2024 date.

Fortunately, our team is super familiar with helping couples put together an elopement experience that involves Rocky Mountain National Park without actually getting married in the park. This is exactly what we did for Marya and Peter!

We have several locations ranging from permit-free mid-range cost venue rentals that we recommend to our couples based on their group size and the elopement day they’re imagining.

While you are not allowed to exchange vows, read letters or sign your marriage license in the National Park without a ceremony permit, you are allowed to have your photos taken in the park accompanied by one of our team photographers either before or after your ceremony that takes place outside of the park. Our commercial use authorization photography permit means we can enter RMNP, including the Bear Lake Corridor, to take your elopement photos. This is exactly what we did for Marya and Peter’s elopement day!

Marya and Peter’s Bear Lake Elopement First Look, Vow Exchange and Marriage License signing

We of course, wanted to do everything we could to ensure Marya and Peter’s elopement dreams came true, so we made created a plan that would allow them to still have their Bear Lake elopement photos.

We found a gorgeous spot in Estes Park for them to have their first look near a gorgeous lake. After they also shared their vows, exchanged rings, and signed their marriage license, we headed to Bear Lake!

Estes Park Elopement Location outside of Rocky Mountain NP

We love suggesting this secluded Estes Park elopement location to couples that weren’t able to secure a wedding ceremony permit in time and still want photos in the national park either before or after their ceremony. This beautiful lakefront ceremony spot is less than 3 miles from the entrance station to RMNP so it makes it easy to hold your ceremony here and then head into Rocky Mountain National Park after the ceremony. (We also love this spot for couples that choose to have a first look inside of the park during sunrise and come back here for their ceremony afterward!) While we only suggest this specific location to couples that aren’t inviting guests, we do have other Estes Park elopement locations that are outside of the park that we can recommend to couples that are inviting guests!

The sun was just starting to set when we arrived at Bear Lake., which made for the most stunning sunset portraits! We guess you could say their Bear Lake elopement photos more than exceeded their expectations!

If you’re unsure if you should plan for a sunrise or sunset elopement – this blog can help!

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