Your Go-To Crested Butte Elopement Guide
So, you’re looking for something that’s quintessential Colorado without all the crowds—AKA, you want that ski town vibe without all the craziness.
Good news—this is the perfect spot for you.
Crested Butte is a next-level location in CO that’s known for its majestic beauty, sweeping views, and endless opportunity for adventure. But it’s also known as the last great Colorado ski town due to its down-to-earth atmosphere and opportunity for solo adventuring.
Don’t get me wrong—I’ve got nothin’ but love for all the other amazing ski towns in CO (Vail, Breck, I’m talkin’ about you!). But Crested Butte is a jaw-dropping choice for those who want scaled-back luxury with a focus on the great outdoors.
This guide is here to take you through the ins and outs of Crested Butte—by the end, you should have a solid idea of what makes Crested Butte so damn special. And further, you should have a better idea of whether or not a Crested Butte elopement is for you.
The Top Reasons to Elope in Crested Butte
If you want a passionate poem that dives into all the reasons that Crested Butte rules, give me a call—I’ve got one ready for you. But if you’re into the quick list that doles out the top-of-the-line reasons that Crested Butte is a must, keep on readin’.
Remote & Isolated (If You Want It)
Look, I get that this def isn’t everyone’s jam—but if you’re trying to find a spot all to yourselves in CO, Crested Butte is the place to go! What’s nice about Crested Butte is you can get a good balance of isolation and community. Want to hang out in the middle of the ski village with lots of amenities? Easy. Want to head out into the wilderness to experience total solitude with your love? Just as easy. It’s about 4.5-5 hours away from the Denver International Airport, so you’re definitely trekking further than if you were heading over to Vail (which is only about 2 hours away). But in my opinion, this is a total bonus perk for those who are seeking a private and relaxed wedding—something that can happen in the great outdoors without the potential of running into some hiking or skiing strangers.
(More Affordable) Mountain Town For the Win
World-class ski slopes and amenities are definitely available in Crested Butte, but when you compare it to other ski towns (like Breck or Vail), you can end up getting more bang for your buck. Granted, this totally depends on what you plan to invest your money and energy into—but still, it’s one of the more affordable, down-to-earth ski towns in CO.
All the Epic Views
Situated in the Elk Mountains range in the Rocky Mountains, Crested Butte is quite literally surrounded by gorgeous views all the way around. The namesake mountain (Crested Butte) towers above the town at a height of 12,162 feet. It might be my opinion here, but I believe that this type of town setting makes for some of the most breathtaking and unreal views in all of CO.
Plenty of Adventure
Mountain bike, ski, snowboard, snowmobile, drive a 4×4 road, hike, paddleboard an alpine lake—whatever the heck you want to do, you can do it in Crested Butte. There is no shortage of adventure in Crested Butte—no matter when you decide to elope.
Crested Butte—like lots of the mountain towns in CO—really know how to bring it year-round when it comes to comprehensive adventure and stunning views. No matter what season you choose to elope in at Crested Butte, you’re gifted seriously beautiful scenery as well as endless opportunities for adventure.
The Best Locations to Elope in Crested Butte
Looking for the low-down on a few spots in Crested Butte that are must-elope locations? This is the part of the blog you should pay the most attention to.
Located in the crooks of the aspens, this is one the most popular outdoor wedding venues in the area. Set your wedding up right outside with the beautiful mountains and wilderness behind you. This venue is a timeless setting for you and your soulmate’s special day and it’ll be a wedding your guests will never forget. The cool thing about this location is that you have to walks through a groomed ski trail to get to it—your guests will be required to wear snowshoes and cross-country skis to get there, so it’s a one-of-a-kind experience for sure.
Nestled right on the shores of the lake, this is an open and wild wedding location for those who love adventure and the outdoors. Overflowing with beautiful wild grasses and willows, this location is the perfect way to bring in a new marriage. Unlike Woods Walk, this location is easy to get to and a great option if you have a larger guest list. Enjoy the beautiful views while you say your “I dos”!
With a wedding location like this—located right on the banks of the Slate River—you’ll never forget this special day. Tucked in a forest, this location provides you with an intimate outdoor wedding that will make you feel like you’re on top of the world. With beautiful views of Paradise Divide and Mt. Crested Butte, this is the outdoor wedding venue of your dreams.
Want to feel like you’re in the Swiss Alps on your wedding day? Emerald Lake is one of the most breathtaking views you can get in CO. Feel like you’re overseas at this location and enjoy a beautiful mountain view with a lake that is literally emerald. This is one of my favorite locations to photograph and it’s one of the most breathtaking views in the Crested Butte area! If you have a chance to say your ‘I dos’ here, don’t miss out.
If you like to roam in the wilderness with the love of your life by your side, this is the spot you need. Featuring all the organic wildlife you could ever want, Washington Gulch is a beautiful outdoor place to get married. Whether you get married up in the mountains or in the valley between them, this outdoor location can be the perfect, most beautiful place to tie the knot with your closest friends and family. Take a nature trail to get to the location of your wedding with easy-to-navigate trails that take you to the high peaks of the mountains (if that’s what you want of course). Meet with two amazing viewpoints and overlook the Gothic Valley. If you’re looking for the wedding adventure of a lifetime, this is it!
Crested Butte Elopement Locations Map
Check out these amazing Crested Butte Elopement Locations and Venues on the map. These are just a few. I have lots more amazing hidden gems to share!
Let’s Talk Season: The Best Time of the Year to Elope in Crested Butte
Fall in Crested Butte (September-November)
Beautiful changing leaves? Yep. Stunning weather with crisp mountain air to boot? Oh yeah. Fall in the mountains is life-changing, and Crested Butte is no exception. My advice? Bring all the layers you possibly can because it can get chilly as can be up that high!
Winter in Crested Butte (December- April)
Winter in Crested Butte is next level—but remember, it’s a ski town that’s above 10,000 feet. Even on a bluebird day that’s sunny and clear, you’re going to be dealing with some chilliness. Winter in CO is no joke up that high! You’ll need to be OK with snow, cold, and the unpredictability that goes hand-in-hand. If you love your winter sports and relish an elopement day playing in the snow, then Crested Butte in the winter is a must! But if you prefer beautiful views of snow in the background with warmer weather where you’re eloping, Crested Butte in the summer or fall is probably a better choice. All in all, I’d say layers are an absolute must in the winter!
Spring in Crested Butte (May-June)
Spring in CO is gorgeous but wildly unpredictable. You can go from wearing a t-shirt in the sun to piling on rain jackets and puffy overcoats in a matter of moments. I always tell couples who want to elope in the Spring in CO to have a few backup plans—the weather could be totally gorgeous or totally out of hand. There’s just no telling!
Summer in Crested Butte (July-August)
Can you say wildflower season? Summer in Crested Butte is absolutely stunning. You’ll experience hot days with sunshine that last well into the evening and all the outdoor accessibility you can take.
The How-Tos & Paperwork: Crested Butte, Colorado Wedding Permit Details
OK, OK, OK—this is about to be a touch boring, but it’s so necessary. Read this little section below to get a feel for what Gunnison County requires as far as paperwork, permits, and fees in order to elope in Crested Butte.
Location Permits & Fees
Crested Butte—like any other spot in CO and beyond—is pretty chill about where you elope so long as you’re doing your homework. While there aren’t too many spots on the map where you’re not allowed to say your “I Dos,” I always tell the couples I work with that we have to make sure everything is by the book.
Because some spots require paperwork, permits, fees, and more in order to ensure that everything is kosher. The last thing you want to deal with on your elopement day is a hefty fine for getting married where you’re not legally allowed to—right?
When you work with me, we’ll check out all the details for the locations where you might want to get married. We’ll make sure everything is beautiful, seamless, and totally legal!
Wedding Permits & Paperwork
Here are a few more quick things you need to know about eloping in Crested Butte—I’ve laid them out here for a quick, easy list:
- Marriage licenses must be used within 35 days of the issue date in Colorado
- You don’t have to get your marriage license in Crested Butte—CO is cool with you getting your license in any county so long as it’s in Colorado
- No witnesses are necessary—no officiants, either (we’ll get to that in a second)
- Licenses cost $30—but some counties might only accept cash, so prepare for that
- There’s no waiting period—AKA, if you want to get your license, get married, and turn it back in all in the same 24 hours, that possibility is all yours.
- You must file the license (in person or by mail) in the county it was issued
**IMPORTANT NOTE** Some of these details might change because of COVID, the best advice I have is to check the county’s site to get all the info you’ll need.
Everything You Need to Know About Self-Solemnizing
Self-solemnizing is literally the coolest part about getting married in CO. Here’s the deal. Self-solemnizing means you don’t need witnesses, officiants, or any type of official to make your marriage ceremony an official act—you can marry yourselves without any type of official present.
Every state has different rules about what “counts” for an official wedding—often, you’ll have to include a witness or two and have an authorized person perform your marriage ceremony. But Colorado? They’re chill—they’re all about couples doing the damn thing all by themselves.
*BONUS TIP* Because self-solemnization is a thing and witnesses aren’t needed, you can TOTALLY let your pup sign your marriage license with their little paw dipped in ink. I’m in—who else is?
The Top Elopement and Wedding Venues in Crested Butte
I Bar Ranch
I Bar Ranch is generally for larger weddings but I thought I would add it due to the amazing views! You can even arrive at your wedding ceremony in a horse-drawn carriage. At the end of the day, you can warm up to a massive bonfire.
Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory
Don’t let the name fool you! The Rocky Mountain Bio Lab is great for couples with 30 or more guests. They do have some limiting rules (they are only available from Sept – Oct., no overnight lodging, guests must be shuttled to the site, no pets allowed, etc.) BUT this area is absolutely stunning in the fall. You’ll be surrounded by an array of reds, oranges, and yellows.
Mountain Wedding Garden
The Mountain Wedding Garden is an outdoor elopement location that’s great for larger groups, or couples who have guests with mobility issues. They have parking, seating, restrooms, banquet tables, and an open-air pavilion. Rain or shine, it’s a great spot with a magnificent mountain backdrop.
Taylor River Lodge
Taylor Rivier Lodge is tucked away outside of Crested Butte. This rustic cabin retreat is nestled along a calm river and surrounded by a forest and dramatic cliffs.
Best Places to Stay in Crested Butte
Crested Butte is filled with amazing places to stay, some of which even allow you to hold your ceremony. Check them out below!
Crested Butte Elopement Packages
Looking to create your ideal Crested Butte elopement and have it captured by your perfect-fit elopement photographer? Friends, I’m your gal!
Don’t be fooled by the title, I’m so much more than your photographer. I’m there with you EVERY step of the way of your beautiful day, from brainstorming and planning to capturing and documenting your love story on the day you say “I do.”
Want to know more about how I can help you plan your dream Crested Butte elopement? I’ve got you. Here are a few ways that I can be there for you throughout your entire elopement:
- Exclusive 100-page Elopement Planning Guide for Captured by Marcela Couples
- 3 Questionnaires that help you get down to the root of what you want to better help you plan your perfect elopement
- Personalized and detailed elopement recommendations from yours truly
- Local vendor recommendations
- Timeline creation that details all the possibilities for your day
- Packing lists galore
And that’s just the start of it all! From helping you with permits to scouting out the best locations to being on your team through thick and thin, I’m here to help you and your partner craft a day that’s unique, memorable, and perfect for the two of you.
Does Crested Butte Sound Like Your Dream Elopement Spot? Let’s Make it Happen
So, does Crested Butte sound like your jam? Are you thinking this is the place you and your love should tie the knot, pledge your love, and devote your lives to each other? If you’re vibin’ with Crested Butte, then I’m def vibin’ with you.
I’m here for whatever you might need, however you might need it. If you’re ready to plan your damn day, let’s do this thing together. Reach out to me to hop on a quick call so we can dive into what your dream day looks like. Lookin’ for some more insight? I highly encourage you to check out my elopement guide (right here) for a little extra insight on what the eloping thing is all about as well as some great guidance on how you can begin crafting your perfect day.
I'm Marcela! I'm an Elopement Photographer here to help you plan a deeply connective and intimate elopement of your dreams!
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