Sam and Blake’s Brainard Lake Elopement

Brainard Lake Elopement

Every time we have a chance to photograph a Brainard Lake elopement, we are immediately excited! Brainard Lake is a gorgeous Alpine Lake with stunning mountain views and several nearby trailheads to explore! In July and August, you’ll even find a stunning display of vibrant wildflowers! Talk about a picture-perfect Colorado backdrop for an intimate wedding ceremony.

Brainard Lake is located in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. It is easily accessible, yet it feels like a remote and private sanctuary. This makes it an ideal spot for eloping couples like Samantha and Blake!

Their Love Story

Blake & Samantha first crossed paths while working at the hospital. Sam, who is originally from Florida, took a contract position in Tennessee, where Blake lived.

Their attraction to each other was immediate. They quickly became close friends. Blake was notorious for playing practical jokes on Sam, which made it hard for her not to like him. As fate would have it, they were both seeing other people at the time. They bonded over work, history, their dreams, and fears.

While there was always something there, they were skeptical about dating a coworker. Until one night when Blake (FINALLY) made a move, and the rest is history. They never looked back.

Their first date was super simple. They had just finished working a set of 6 nights in a row together. Sam had plans to leave for Costa Rica the next day. They had spent the morning together finishing up work stuff. Then later that night, Blake asked if he could see Sam one more time before she left. They went to a local spot in comfy clothes, ate bar food, and drank a few beers.

They talked about everything under the sun. It wasn’t an incredibly fancy first date, but they were comfortable and with each other, and that’s all that mattered.

The Proposal

One afternoon Blake and Sam decided to go on a hike at a local park with their dogs. They stumbled upon a little spot beneath a tree cover that had a rock to sit on. Blake asked Sam if she wanted to get a picture. She was not picture ready but agreed regardless. She tried to wrangle their three dogs for the photo. Then to her surprise, she looked up to see Blake down on one knee. The best part of it all? She was in such shock that she accidentally dropped their puppy’s leash. All she managed to say was, “I dropped hanks leash!!”

She eventually gets ahold of Hank. Then, she said yes to Blake.

Sam & Blake’s Brainard Lake Elopement

Sam & Blake were quick to jump on their wedding planning. They had a 50-day engagement before deciding to have a traditional wedding in Tennessee, with plans to celebrate their honeymoon in Colorado. Their families felt the planning was moving a bit too quickly and requested they push their date back. They agreed.

With their wedding day currently on hold, they decided to move their Colorado trip up, so they had something to look forward to.

One day, Blake looked at Sam and asked, “Is it bad that I just want to elope??” Her response was, “only if it’s bad that I’ve been thinking of it too.”

The two decided that they wanted to start their marriage with the philosophy that it’s based on their wants and needs and a strong foundation – they were a team. So they made moves to elope in Colorado at Brainard Lake!

Their elopement was very laid back and intentional. They rented a kick-ass jeep, stayed in a charming little yurt near Briainard lake, and poured their hearts out during an intimate ceremony near the lake.

After their ceremony, they tailgated on the back of the jeep to celebrate and soak in their elopement adventure.

It was beautiful, intentional, and the perfect way to start their marriage.

A few Brainard Lake Elopement tips to keep in mind…

  • Brainard Lake does not require a separate ceremony permit or reservation to get married there. This does mean that it is a ‘first come first serve’ elopement location, so we typically recommend this spot to couples with no guests or group sizes of around 10 people max.
  • The main road to Brainard Lake is closed seasonally between mid-October through mid-June. The exact date of the road closure and reopening depends on snowfall. Looking for a little adventure on your elopement day? You can hike, snowshoe, or cross-country ski into the main lake from the winter parking lot! This only applies, during the months that the lot is closed.
  • Brainard Lake does require a timed entry reservation and entrance fee per vehicle. If you are an annual pass holder, you won’t need to pay a separate entrance fee but must make a timed entry reservation. In our experience, it is fairly easy to get a timed entry reservation for Monday-Thursday dates in the main Brainard Lake parking area. Still, it can be difficult to obtain one on Friday-Sunday, during holiday weekends, or for some of the smaller parking areas at other trailheads such as Long Lake (the starting point for Lake Isabelle) or Mitchell Lake (the starting point for Blue Lakes).

Leave No Trace

If you choose to elope at Brainard Lake, remember to follow the rules of Leave No Trace and respect the environment and surrounding wildlife. If you’re envisioning having multiple guests, chairs or seating, structures of any kind (arches/tables/rugs, etc.), amplified audio, throw flower petals or bird seed or anything along those lines for your elopement experience, then Brainard Lake Recreation Area may not be a good fit for you! There are several Colorado elopement locations that do allow these things, and we’re happy to guide our couples in the right direction for those kinds of scenarios.

This a gentle reminder to always check the most up-to-date rules directly on the USDA Forest Service website! We’ll always help our couples through this process too, so you’re in great hands!

Officiant | Ceremonies with Lisa

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