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7 Things to Know About Officiating Your Own Wedding

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What is Self-Solemnization?


Adventure elopements have a well-deserved reputation for being wild and romantic. When a couple is doing exactly what they want to do and forgoing the stress and pressure of what the wedding industry or societal pressure tells them to, it’s hard for that day not to be incredible by default.

Often, what makes elopements so incredible isn’t just the epic scenery or embarking on the adventure of the couple’s choosing. It’s the choice to eliminate stress and pressure that makes it so special. Can this choice to be free of stress and pressure really reach into every element of an elopement day? Absolutely–even the more mundane or nitty-gritty things, like legality.

Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to the actual legal part of eloping, sometimes conversations about paperwork and fees and the processes can be sort of a drag. For most people, the paperwork is the least exciting part about eloping (trust me, I get it).

But what if I told you that adventure eloping–specifically adventure eloping in Colorado even made this part of the process easy and exciting? What if I told you that paperwork, officiants, finding witnesses, and every other moving piece of making your marriage legal didn’t have to be stressful at all?

What if I told that you two little words could change the way you think about the legal part of eloping in Colorado forever?

Friends, it’s time to talk about self-solemnization.

For those of you who haven’t heard of this harmonious little process, self-solemnization is the act of legally getting married in the state of Colorado by marrying yourselves. That might sound confusing, but what I mean is that couples can forgo witnesses and officiants and literally sign their own paperwork for their wedding to be legally recognized.

That’s the legal definition; here’s the definition that matters­­–you can be anywhere you want in Colorado, just the two of you, and legally get married.

The state of Colorado makes it really, really easy to get married by saying, “Hey, no need for an officiant to marry you. And those witnesses? Forget ‘em. You two are the only ones who matter here.”


A couple shares their personal vows in a private ceremony as they self solemnize on their elopement day.

7 Facts About Self-Solemnization Every Eloping Couple Should Know

The Process is Simple & Streamlined

What do I love most about self-solemnization in Colorado? It’s pretty dang pain-free. The process is simple, it’s fast, and it doesn’t take much to get the whole thing going.

The requirements will vary slightly depending on the county you’re getting your license in, but it’s likely you’ll have to pay a $30 fee (double check this as it is subject to change), fill out appropriate paperwork ahead of time, and then mail or file that license with the county post-wedding.


But You Do Need to Go Into a Courthouse

In most cases, you’ll need to go into a county courthouse to get your paperwork before the process if you want your ceremony to be legal.

It’s pretty easy, and depending on the county you might even be able to make an appointment ahead of time to forgo any lines. The best way to know what’s up? Check the county’s website to see what the requirements are as they’ll likely all differ.


No One Else Needs to be There but You Two

When I say no one I literally mean no one. I don’t need to be there; guests don’t need to be there; government reps don’t need to be there; witnesses don’t need to be there–not a single person has to be present for your elopement except the two of you.

That means where and when you get married will never have to depend on the availability or schedules of witnesses, officiants, loved ones, or even photographers. You can get legally married in Colorado all by yourselves whenever and wherever you want–how amazing is that?


You Can Have an Officiant if You Want

Just because you don’t need an officiant doesn’t mean you can’t have one. It’s true. When you self-solemnize, you can do any variety of officiant or non-officiant combinations you want. Don’t want an officiant? Don’t bring one–it’s your day and you should do what you want to do.

If you want someone to lead you through the ceremony and you’ve always dreamed of having someone officiate your wedding, you can do that. And they don’t even have to sign your papers as your officiant. Then again, they’re more than welcome to sign if you want them to.

The only distinction here is that officiants are not required to sign your marriage license in order for your wedding ceremony to be legal.


A couple shares their private ceremony together while self-solemnizing during their adventure elopement.


Witnesses Can Be Included if You Desire

That conversation we just had about officiants? The same goes for witnesses. If having two people sign your marriage license doesn’t matter to you, you’re in the right place.

Colorado does not require witness signatures for your marriage license to be valid. But, if you want to include guests at your elopement and you love the idea of having them sign as your witnesses, that’s great–there’s a spot for that on the form should you choose to do so.

It can be ceremonial, legal, just for fun, or not be a part of the process at all–in other words; it’s super flexible.


Anyone Can Sign as Your Witness–Even Your Dog

That little witness line is, in the eyes of the state, inconsequential to the status of your marriage. This means anyone–or no one–can sign that line and the state views your marriage as legal. In other words, the state doesn’t care what’s listed there–and you know what that means, right? Yep, your dog can legally sign your marriage license as your witness.

If your pup is a big part of your relationship, super important to you two, or you want them included on your day in a big way, staining their paws with ink and having them print by the witness line is the cutest (and totally legal!) way to do it.


Self-solemnization is a Super Liberating, Flexible Way to Get Married

OK, OK–this one is more of an opinion than a fact. But honestly, self-solemnization makes getting married anywhere in Colorado (in any way you choose) totally possible.

On top of a mountain? You can do that. Skiing your favorite slope? Yep. In a hot air balloon? 100%. Witnesses and officiants are no longer there to hold you back if the adventure of your choice would be more complicated and stressful by including them.

You’ve got full freedom, full potential, and every possibility to have the elopement day of your dreams.


Elope Your Way–I Can Help

Whether you’re hoping for a super intimate just-you-two elopement somewhere remote and wild or you’re seeking a special ceremony surrounded by your closest friends in the Colorado wilderness, I can help! Ready to chat about making it happen? Reach out to me ASAP and let’s talk about planning your day, capturing every moment, and how to make sure you remember every second of the best day of your lives.

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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