Colorado Elopement Planning Guide with Booking Timelines

After 13 years in the Colorado elopement industry, I’m going to be a bit dramatic and say that this is likely the most definitive Colorado elopement guide you’ll find online. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to planning something as important as your wedding or elopement, I believe it can be extremely comforting and helpful to have a detailed checklist and timeline for planning. Is my type-A showing? That’s alright. It’s for a good cause!

A quick internet search will turn up thousands of suggested timelines for couples to follow when planning their wedding. However, planning an elopement can be dramatically different than planning a traditional wedding. Most of the elopement guides online are beautiful and chalk full of location suggestions, but there aren’t any (or at least many that I’ve found) that break down a booking timeline, which can be especially helpful for people having a destination elopement in Colorado! Therefore, I believe the process of planning and booking an elopement deserves it’s own timeline, which I am sharing with you in today’s post.

A horizontal shot of the bride and groom looking away from the camera, sitting head to head at Artist Point.

How Much Time Do You Have?

But before we dive into the detailed list of all the planning you need to add to your to-do list, I want to drive home the point that you really don’t need to take a long time to plan your elopement. It might relieve some stress to take several months or even a year to plan your elopement, but it is far from necessary! In fact, it is actually realistic and very possible to plan your entire elopement from start to finish in a matter of two weeks. 

So if you’re in a rush to get to the altar, please do not read these timelines and go into a panic thinking you don’t have enough time to get it all done. The beauty of having both a “concierge” and a separate elopement photographer in the mix is that even during the busiest times of the year we are more than happy to help you establish your priorities in planning a super fast elopement that not only fulfills all of your dreams for your wedding day but exceeds them. You can check out this guide to planning a last minute elopement for tips geared toward all the procrastinators out there!

3-12 Months Out From Your Colorado Elopement 

  • Determine Your Budget
  • Travel & Accommodation
    • Start looking and book as early as possible to have access to the best options and prices, especially if you plan to elope in one of our many mountain towns like Estes Park, Summit County, Telluride or Crested Butte.
    • Start planning and booking your honeymoon as well
  • Location
    • Though you won’t have the huge venue expense fee, your ceremony location may require a reservation or permit and small fee. In fact, some venues limit the number of weddings per year and are on a first-come-first-serve basis.
    • Figuring our your Colorado elopement location will also make the process of booking vendors much easier, because they’ll be able to be transparent about any travel fees based on your location or you’ll have more time to book local vendors before their schedules fill up.
  • Book Vendors – Here are some elopement vendors you may consider:
    • Colorado Elopement Photographer
    • Videographer (P.S. we offer this too!)
    • Hair & Makeup
    • Celebrant/Officiant
    • Musician
    • Private Chef/Caterer/Restaurant
    • Activities and Rentals
      Clients: we have extensive vendor referral lists for most Colorado elopement locations that we provide in a guide after you book, so if you need more referrals for any of these vendors, or referrals for any vendors not listed above just let us know!
  • If you’ll be having guests, invite them once your date & location is set. 

2-5 Months Out From Your Colorado Elopement

  • Get your wedding clothes (such as gown, accessories, undergarments, shoes, suit, etc.)
  • Get your rings
  • Obtain (or schedule an appointment for) marriage license
  • Confirm travel documents are up to date
    Don’t forget to check on your kiddos travel docs if you’re bringing them along!
  • Make arrangements for childcare and pet/house sitters 

1 Month Out From Your Colorado Elopement

  • Confirm vendors and travel arrangements
  • Finalize timeline with your photographer and make sure it aligns with your full day schedule
  • Arrange any final/local transport 
  • Create or buy wedding gifts for your partner
    If gift giving isn’t your love language, a sweet hand-written letter to share during a first look can be such a meaningful touch in addition to writing personal vows.
  • Pay your vendors in full 
  • Both partners do a styling dry run with full outfit, accessories, hair, and makeup
  • Break in new shoes
  • Create playlist

2 Weeks Out From Your Colorado Elopement

  • Write your vows
  • Obtain foreign currency if traveling abroad for your Honeymoon immediately following your elopement
  • Check all your hiking gear is working and in good condition. Make sure anything new (especially shoes) are broken in.
  • Put together what we like to call your “oh sh* kit”
    Clients: reference your elopement guide we send after booking for a list of what to put in your kit!

1 Week Out From Your Colorado Elopement

  • Check the forecast (and then laugh, because in Colorado it can change 10x in a day)
  • Pack your bags (check out my Hiking Elopement Packing List here) 
  • Pick up your marriage license
  • Get hair cut/colored and other grooming like wax or mani/pedi
  • Try to eat healthy, keep up your regular exercise routine, and moisturize daily to look and feel your best!
  • Drink a TON of water every day
    Altitude sickness can sneak up on you, so hydrate more than you normally would!

1 Day Out From Your Colorado Elopement

  • Drink lots of water (yes, it’s so important we’re saying it again)
  • Get a full night’s sleep. Especially, if you have a sunrise elopement!
    If going to bed early isn’t your thing some couples like to use like melatonin or an indica edible (don’t come after us, it’s legal in Colorado) to get a good of sleep before your early wake-up call!

How Long Until Your Elopement?

Comment below! I’d love to hear where you are in your elopement planning journey and what’s left for you. If you need help with all this planning stuff, reach out using the form below. We aren’t just a team of super talented Colorado elopement photographers, your concierge (or the owner of the company, Sharee) will also provide you with the assistance couples need to plan their big day so it’s easier to relax and feel your feelings when the day arrives!

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