#1: Above all else, know thyself. This is great advice for any aspect of your life, but here’s how it applies to an elopement. Make sure you are clear that “just the two of you” will truly feel good as you think about your wedding. For many people, it works – they know that all they want is to be with their beloved on a beautiful mountain top. However, there are a handful of folks who realize too late that they would have loved to be witnessed in that magical moment, whether by their parents, other family members or a few close friends. Know who you are, know what you want.
#2: Hydrate! You’ll be at a minimum of 5280 feet in elevation (in Denver/Boulder,) all the way up to 8-12,000+ feet if you want to be on a mountain top. The air is lacking the oxygen you are used to, the climate of Colorado is super dry and desert-like, and you need to drink lots of water. Really. I’m going to say that again, bold this time: You need water. Altitude sickness is a real thing, whether it manifests with a bad headache or the extreme of being completely nauseous and out of it and you need an ER. Most Coloradans I know don’t leave home without a water bottle, ever. Take your lead from them. Hydrate when you arrive, hydrate while you are here, and bring yourselves plenty of water for your ceremony and photo session. If you are having a tiny wedding, make sure your guests know to bring water as well. I have heard more than one story of high in the hills elopements being completely ruined when altitude sickness struck a bride or groom or guest.
#3: Know the weather, and be prepared. The weather in Colorado is extremely variable. I have done elopements in late May in two feet of snow, and February weddings where it was 75 degrees. There are days when it’s cold in the mountains and folks are skiing, but it’s much warmer in the flat-lands and folks are golfing. There is a Scandinavian saying, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” Don’t let bad clothing ruin your day! If you are planning a Colorado elopement, keep a close eye on the weather. Have a back up plan for frigid (or sweltering) conditions. For example: long underwear under your wedding dress, a pair of snazzy boots and wool socks, a warm (and beautiful) coat that you’d be happy to wear for the ceremony. You can always remove layers for your post ceremony photos, so don’t let being freezing take away your ability to be fully present.
#4: Know your location. If you are trusting a photographer/planner/officiant to pick a spot for your nuptials, ask them details: How far of a walk? Is it a walk or hike? Is it swampy or wet? Treacherous or easy? Is it highly trafficked? Off the beaten path? I have taken off my own shoes to give to a bride who didn’t realize her photographer had picked a spot that was a 10 minute walk down a rugged path, and only brought her heels. While I tend to aspire to Mary Poppins levels of taking care of you on your wedding day, my shoes might not always fit you. 😉 If you are having a tiny wedding, make sure your guests know what they’ll need to walk to your ceremony location. Don’t make mom hike in heels, either.
#5: Pick good people to work with. This is obviously good advice for any wedding, but in my experience, it is even more important for your Colorado elopement. Your “vendor team” might be the only people sharing this moment with you. Make sure they are the kind of folks that get the significance of this event! There are a bazillion folks involved in the wedding industry, and some vendors can be rather transactional… you might be “just another couple” to them. You want to know, since you won’t have your family and friends around, that you have true allies supporting you on your wedding day, whether it’s the person doing your hair, or the photographer who is as interested in you having an amazing ceremony as they are in you having amazing photos. Trust your intuition about people, and make sure you really connect with the folks you are choosing to support you on your wedding day.
#6: Get your license. If you are coming from out of state, make sure you know where/when/how you are going to get your license. Most Colorado county clerks let you start the process online, well in advance of your wedding day. If you are planning a Colorado elopement a day or two after your arrival, make sure you have enough time to get that license. Call the county clerk, check their website, know how they operate, before you even get on the plane to come here. Some county clerks might make you wait a day or two to get your license, especially in the busy summer season.
#7: Have so much fun! Rock your elopement! Be true to you! Truly – the best tip. You’re clear you want your elopement to just be you or you’ve invited a handful of your best people, you’ve gotten yourself hydrated, you’ve prepared for the weather, you know what kind of shoes you need, you’ve chosen the best team to support you, you have your license in hand….. Now all you need to do is be present to the joy, the potency of the rite of passage, and make some memorable magic.
Hopefully, these Colorado elopement tips help you make the best decisions for your elopement. Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have about creating a truly amazing elopement ceremony. All good juju for you on wedding day!