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5 Signs You Should Elope in the San Juan Mountains

 head due north

Why You Should Elope in the San Juan Mountains


Envisioning your dream elopement can go many routes. The location, guest list, vows, and other particulars of your wedding are entirely up to you. That’s the beauty of your special day—it is a reflection of your relationship, priorities, and your life together, both past and future.

This freedom can sometimes make decision-making a touch difficult. After all, you want the day to be perfect. For many couples, choosing a location can be a sticking point simply because there are so many phenomenal options available.

I’ve worked with couples that can picture themselves sharing one of their most intimate, life-changing moments in a variety of places. From a tropical paradise surrounded by sand and sea to epic vistas and charming mountain towns, they’re all about experiencing something memorable together.

For couples who have trouble trimming their list of potential wedding sites, there’s a compelling argument for the San Juan Mountains. Whether the area is already on your radar or you’re hearing about it for the first time, you’re going to want to keep reading.

Every element of your elopement is important. The details matter, and everything from the vows to the flowers plays a role in your wedding day. Among all aspects, location is perhaps one of the most powerful players. After all, it literally creates the environment for your elopement.

There are a myriad of amazing locations to choose from, and I love helping happy couples find the perfect place for them. Among my favorites are the San Juan Mountains.


Spectacular Views are Your Vibe

If you’re looking for grandeur, it doesn’t get much better than the San Juan Mountains. Often called the “Switzerland of America,” this region boasts towering mountains, rushing rivers, majestic crags, and unimaginable displays of natural colors. It’s one of the most remarkable places in the country, and you can easily access and explore it with your partner as you elope.

Whether you’re chasing breathtaking views, want to exchange vows beside an alpine lake, or picture staggering mountains rising in the background as you make a lifelong bond, the San Juan Mountains will deliver. It’s a natural wonderland, a photographer’s dream, and the perfect place to enjoy a magical wedding.

A couple hikes in the San Juan mountain range on their san juan mountain elopement day.


You Love Mountain Towns

Cute, upscale, quaint, or historic—no matter what you prefer from your mountain towns, the San Juans have it. From the Old West feeling Silverton embodies to the world-class dining and accommodations in Telluride, the mountain towns nestled among the soaring peaks are all charming in their own way.

Not only is this great for those looking for a comfortable place to stay, but it also offers an opportunity to enjoy the time before or after your elopement by walking through inviting downtown areas, enjoying delicious food, and otherwise living your best life with your fiancé-turned-spouse.


Off-Roading is Your Jam

Getting off the beaten path is a key component of eloping. This doesn’t necessitate that you journey into the wild to exchange vows, but there is something contrary to the mainstream about opting to elope. As off-roading enthusiasts will tell you, hitting an off-road trail is about as far from the highway as possible.

The San Juan Mountains are home to hundreds of off-road trails that can be conquered only in Jeeps and other worthy 4×4 vehicles. Among them are iconic trails and locations, such as Yankee Boy Basin, Black Bear Pass, and more.

A couple eats cake as they enjoy the San Juan Mountain views during their San Juan mountain elopement.

Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled elopement spent chasing difficult obstacles, want to see mind-blowing views without a strenuous hike, or simply want to enjoy the great outdoors in style, an off-road elopement is for you. The San Juan Mountains are filled with guide and rental services, or you can bring your own 4×4 vehicle and tackle a trail from your bucket list. Either way, you’ll experience an epic elopement in an unbelievable location.


Colorado Makes Eloping Easy

The San Juan Mountains are located in Colorado, meaning that you can easily self-solemnize on your elopement. For those who want convenience (in addition to incredible beauty), this is a compelling bonus to choosing the San Juans. If you want to learn more about the ease of self-solemnizing and how it can benefit your elopement experience, you’ll want to check out the handy guide I wrote a while back.

This flexibility lends itself to another important aspect of eloping—doing things your way. One of the advantages of eloping is it enables and empowers you to craft the ideal wedding for you and your partner. If you want to limit the ceremony to just the two of you on top of a mountain, that’s wonderful—no officiant is required. If you want to have family attend but still want to embrace a nontraditional approach to solemnization, you can go that route. It’s all up to you!

This image shows a beautiful basin in the San Juan mountain range, a beautiful place to get married.


It’s Closer Than You Think

The San Juan Mountains are only a hop, skip, and jump from many airports and metro areas. They are easy driving distances from places like Durango, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, and Denver. You can even fly into nearby Montrose, which has a regional airport. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city or are simply searching for a fairytale elopement location that isn’t challenging to get to, the San Juans are more reachable than you might think!


Elope Your Way in the San Juan Mountains

From off-the-beaten-track and wild to a family-friendly ceremony in an accessible area, the San Juan Mountains are perfect for your dream location. With a diverse landscape, plenty of charming mountain towns to explore, and a host of other benefits to make your elopement exceed your expectations, this hidden gem of Colorado is hard to top.

Better still, I can help you find the ideal spot for your idyllic elopement, as well as contribute to planning your day, capturing the spectacular moments, and making your wedding the memorable start to your shared life together.

Join the Facebook Community, Mindful Elopements, filled with free resources, free videos, engaging conversations and questions, and other couples that are exactly like you, in the same place, trying to book an adventure elopement and intimate wedding photographer.



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Alex, Coastal Elopement

"We loved our experience having Marcela as our elopement day photographer.

What was even more special about our experience was her ability to set us at ease months before our day. Through constant communication leading up to, and during, the day we got eloped. Her personality is that, in just four days time, we felt as if we've known her for years. 

Ah, but you're wondering about her photos. We loved every thing about them especially the raw emotion captured in many of the shots."

Caitlin, Alpine Lake Elopement

"My husband and I have been trying to put into words how simply amazing working with Marcela was.

From the start we could tell she truly cared about us, our relationship, and our story. She asked us so many questions, valued what we wanted, and kept up with the ever changing plans that came along with planning a wedding.

She made us feel so comfortable, made us laugh till we cried, and captured our true wholesome love for each other."

"We loved every moment of the day she helped create. Marcela was the perfect photographer for our adventure elopement! She worked tirelessly to make our adventure into marriage happen after our first options were snowed in! Great Sand Dunes felt like the perfect unique place for two Floridians who met in the mountains.

She made us comfortable to be ourselves throughout the whole day while making her job look effortless and fun. Our cheeks hurt from smiling, laughing and a few tears.

Marcela captured every precious moment! Her photography is absolutely stunning every way! I highly recommend Marcela for your elopement or wedding!"

Lauren, Sand Dunes Elopement

Amy, Forest Elopement

"Instead of telling us how to pose or interact with each other, Marcela gave us prompts that seemed simple but made a huge difference.

She asked us to talk about our first date. We discussed the weirdest things we loved about each other (which made us laugh) and how we could fulfill each other’s love languages. Amy and I played games with each other and Marcela captured the energy that happened naturally between us.

I love this shoot because it perfectly captures the love we share. It’s incredible to see that love and admiration encapsulated in a photo! Thank you for this!"

Chris, Anniversary Session

"The photos we just got back from Marcela are giving me CHILLS!! They are absolutely stunning!!!

She did SO MUCH more than just photograph us — she created special moments that I’ll cherish forever. She encouraged Con & I to genuinely interact & share intimate moments together. She prompted us to tell each other things that we love about one other, ways that the other person inspires us, & how being together has positively changed us.

It was more than just a beach shoot. We ended up giving each other precious, heart melting encouragement & that makes these photos all the more treasured to me."

Andrea, Red Rocks Elopement

"We had a pre-meet with her before the big day which definitely helped me feel more relaxed going into the wedding day. She gave us great suggestions and things to think about to be ready with on the wedding. On the day of she showed up early to help scope out the venue. She was creative to try and pull extra joy into our photographs.

When I look at these photos I see more than just beautiful images. I feel the moments that Marcela helped us experience and the connection we had.

I can't thank Marcela enough! We will treasure these moments forever!"

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