Today we are talking all about the best elopement and small wedding venues in Colorado. When you start dreaming up what your Colorado wedding will look like, you might initially think that you’re able to have your ceremony wherever you’d like, but unfortunately, that isn’t how it works. Between permitting rules for Colorado State Parks and Wilderness areas, accessibility of locations, privacy, and ensuring that your wedding follows Leave No Trace principles, you may end up needing to rent or reserve a space for your small wedding or elopement ceremony.
One thing I’d like to point out is that in the elopement and intimate wedding world when we say “venue” we aren’t necessarily referring to the traditional wedding venue that you might imagine for a big wedding, although many larger venues do offer elopement and small wedding packages as well. Many of the venues we recommend to our couples are small and casual, they celebrate the outdoors and also have options for any budget. These areas can range from being used for just your ceremony, just a reception, or in some cases– both!
Looking for an affordable small wedding venue in Colorado? Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a list of small wedding venues in Colorado that can host your ceremony, reception, or both, and are all incredibly affordable compared to the average venue price for the state.
If you’re planning a small wedding in Colorado, I’m going to guess that one of your top requirements is to have those gorgeous mountain views you see on social media for your ceremony backdrop. These outdoor venues listed below all have great ceremony views, and range from the foothills of Boulder (a close drive from Denver International Airport) up to some of the most popular of ski resorts + mountain town destinations in the entire state. You can expect each of the ski resort’s wedding. venues to be a bit more costly, even for small weekday weddings, but you can’t beat the experience of having your guests ride a gondola or ski lift to your ceremony!
Some of these small wedding venues also have options for hosting your reception as well, like the Mountain Wedding Garden in Crested Butte, and many of the listed below, but some of them are ceremony-only. One of my most frequent recommendations for those including a small group of close friends and family is to consider renting one of these venue spaces for your ceremony, and then hiring a private chef to cook a stellar meal for you back at the luxurious Airbnb you’ve booked!
If you are coming to Colorado from out-of-state to get married, and have guests joining you, what better way to celebrate than with a small wedding at a venue that can host your ceremony, reception, and lodging all in one? These boutique hotels and resorts all have ceremony sites, private dining rooms, and lodging options perfect for small weddings. Denver also has many hotels that offer micro-weddings.
Many wedding venues in Colorado have started offering elopement packages as a more affordable alternative to their regular rental prices. These packages are usually only available on weekdays and/or in the off-season (late fall to early spring), and may include a shorter rental period or a limited number of guests compared to regular wedding rentals.
This number includes you, your guests, and any on-site vendors (an officiant, a photographer, florists, live music, etc.). With groups larger than 10 people, it can be tough to find locations that allow you to be respectful of the land and follow Leave No Trace principles. It can also be very difficult to receive permits and permission from the National Forest for an event. There are a few small exceptions to this rule, and I always weigh these pros and cons with my couples during the planning phase.
If you’re looking for complete privacy for your ceremony or any other part of your elopement day, I recommend choosing a venue that can be reserved only for you and your group. Wedding permits on public lands such as National Forests, National Parks, and State Parks often do not give you exclusive use of the space. This means that there could be other visitors around while you are having your ceremony, like Sapphire Point Overlook near Breckenridge. We find that visitors are often very respectful of wedding ceremonies, but the best way to have complete privacy is to reserve a venue that does give you exclusive use. I am always happy to give suggestions for which venues are the best fit for couples who book with us.
Certainly, elopements and small weddings are becoming increasingly popular each year, and it is becoming more common to run into other couples in popular locations. There’s nothing more awkward than showing up to your chosen ceremony location and finding another couple already there. By reserving a ceremony location for your elopement, you are guaranteed that you will be able to get married in the location at the time you planned for it.
If you’re looking to have an elopement or small wedding experience that involves outside vendors in addition to your photography and videography team, we suggest reserving a venue. This makes permitting much simpler and allows you to choose a location that serves your vendors (such as having electricity, a kitchen, etc.).
If you are envisioning a well-styled ceremony or reception setup, you will need to reserve a venue that will allow you to do so. Similarly to the privacy above, not all rented spaces will allow you to bring in and set up furniture or decor. Rocky Mountain National Park, for example, does not allow you to bring anything (but yourselves) to your ceremony location.
There are many things to think about when it comes to the accessibility of your elopement or small wedding. What time of year are you getting married? What is the weather expected to be and what mountain roads are accessible? Do you and your guests have experience being at high elevations? How much hiking or walking are you and your guests willing to do? What kind of vehicles do you have and what kind of roads are you comfortable driving on? How close to accommodation and restaurant options do you want to be? Often, if you want to get married in the winter or if you want your ceremony location to be easy to get to, it will make sense to rent a venue as many locations in Colorado aren’t as accessible this time of year.
With a small wedding venue, you have the perfect place to celebrate your marriage without worrying about tourists and hikers gawking in the background, or not having all your guests be able to get parking at a trailhead. Some couples book a ceremony site in nature, then celebrate at a vacation home rental afterward. Others prefer to book a venue where they can have both the ceremony and reception all at the same place.
And if you’re dreaming about those epic Colorado mountain views for your couple’s portraits, book a local photographer (AH EM… ME!) before you book your venue! Then, I can help you find a venue that’s close enough to a hike or scenic area for you to get the best of both worlds.
Although the rules around group size vary for each location, you can generally find an epic place to elope in nature without needing to reserve a ceremony site or pay for a permit if you have 10-15 people or fewer in your group, including yourselves and all guests and vendors. The rules for special use permits are complicated, so I highly recommend finding a local photographer in the area where you want to elope first, and they’ll help you find the perfect location and navigate any permits and rules. (Oh hey, I’m one of those!)
Elopement Packages and Pricing for Colorado
>> Half, full or multi day elopement photography coverage anywhere in Colorado
>> 70+ page Elopement Guide exclusive to Whitney Rae couples
>> Unlimited Consultations
>> Personalized location scouting + vendor recommendations plus created just-for-you activity list
>> Handcrafted elopement timeline
>> Permit and marriage license assistance
>> Optional complimentary officiant service
>> Digital online gallery with full resolution image and printing rights
>> Sneak peek images within 48 hours
Photographer travel fees covered anywhere in Colorado Starting at $5,600
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