The Go-To Elopement Location Guide for Garden of the Gods, Colorado
Stunning red rocks that were formed thousands of years ago against the striking blue backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. Need I say more?
OK, OK, that visual alone might not be enough to convince you to elope in the Garden of the Gods, but I’m willing to bet by the time you’re done reading this blog, you’re going to be #TeamGardenoftheGods for your elopement.
Why? Because not only is this area of Colorado absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, it’s also centrally located so you’re never missing out on convenience, nearby to tons of vendors, and like, let’s face it, entirely unique and not the typical landscape you think of when your mind wanders to Colorado. All of those things are wins in my book!
But my book actually doesn’t matter here—this is about your elopement. So read up, learn about planning your Garden of the Gods Elopement, and decide for yourself! (But like, you know it’s got my vote for dreamy red rock elopement vibes!).
The Top Reasons to Elope in Garden of the Gods
Unique Colorado Scenery
When you typically think of Colorado, you typically go to a snowy mountain town, enormous peaks, and scenery straight from Rocky Mountain National Park. Don’t get me wrong, all of those things are amazing (I live in CO and love every second of it, so I def think these types of scenery are stunning)—but Garden of the Gods is totally unique when it comes to typical Colorado scenery. Stunning red rock, lush green foliage, and big, blue Rocky Mountains jutting up in the background—this scenery is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Unlike a lot of the remote towns in CO, you’ll be super close to cities at Garden of the Gods—especially Colorado Springs. Here, you’ll find all the great food, tons of wedding vendors, amazing accommodations, and lots of entertainment. You can have all the rugged gorgeousness of the Garden of the Gods lined up with all the modern conveniences of the city. It’s really the best of both worlds, in my opinion.
When you have a ceremony at Garden of the Gods, the park lets you choose from six different unique locations—and each and every one of them offers stunning, 360-degree views of the red rocks and the surrounding area. Can you say views? Because VIEWS.
Your Pup is Invited
Let’s add this to the list of things I love about Colorado in general—but specifically Garden of the Gods. Unlike most of the national parks (and some state parks, too), your four-legged friend is more than invited to be present at your elopement (just as long as Fido stays on a 6-foot leash in the park!). That’s a definite pro in my opinion!
The Best Locations to Elope in Garden of the Gods
Natural sandstone formations tower around Jaycee Plaza at the Garden of the Gods Park. These monoliths are a testament to time and resilience, the same spirits that will imbue your small wedding or elopement ceremony of 50 people or less. Here, beneath the clear blue sky of Colorado and the watchful presence of the sandstone formations, is a place to make heartfelt promises of devotion and love to last a lifetime.
At Sentinel Plaza, you can exchange marriage vows right in front of an enormous sandstone edifice, a natural rock formation that has withstood the test of time. Placing your hands on its smooth surface, you can almost feel its age as a feeling of solemn awe washes over you. This is an intimate place to hold an elopement ceremony, as you are only allowed to have 25 people in your wedding party.
Three Graces Plaza
A trio of sandstone formations, each one taller than the last, are grouped together to form the Three Graces of the Three Graces Plaza. Together with your small wedding party of 25 people, you’ll feel the calm beauty, and yes, the grace of this special area within the Garden of the Gods. All eyes will be on you and your future spouse as you stand near the protective shadow of the sandstones and proclaim your love for one another.
The High Point is aptly named. At this overlook, you can stand atop a sandstone formation and gaze out across the Garden of the Gods Park and the crystalline Colorado sky. A small shelter with a lattice roof provides shade and a point of focus for your 50 guests to watch you and your significant other make your wedding vows. Plan your ceremony for sunset if you want to take some exquisite photographs in the play of shadows and light, with the Garden of the Gods acting as a stunning natural backdrop.
Scotsman Picnic Area
The Scotsman Picnic Area is one of the few places in the Garden of the Gods Park where you can bring food. This means you and your small wedding party of 25 can hold both a ceremony and a small reception (just keep in mind that alcoholic beverages are not allowed) in this one location. Alternatively, you can exchange vows somewhere else in the park and retreat here afterward for refreshments. The trees in the area provide a natural shade, but the park’s sandstone formations are never fully out of sight. Sit back, relax, and enjoy good food and good times with your closest loved ones in the Scotsman Picnic Area.
South Spring Canyon Area
The South Spring Canyon Area is ideal for a couple looking to get married and celebrate afterward, all within the Garden of the Gods Park. You can bring up to 50 of your closest friends and family members here. Once the marriage vows have been exchanged among the trees and sandstone formations of the South Spring Canyon, you can repose in the picnic area for your first meal as a wedded couple (once again, the drinks must be non-alcoholic).
Garden of the Gods Elopement Locations Map
Check out these amazing Garden of the Gods Elopement Locations on the map. These are just a few. I have lots more amazing hidden gems to share!
Let’s Talk Seasons: The Best Time of the Year to Elope in Garden of the Gods
Fall in Garden of the Gods (September-November)
This is one of the absolute best times to elope at Garden of the Gods. Why? Because the weather is cool, the air is crisp, and the Fall colors really start to pop (yep, even though it’s a desert-y location, there are still Fall colors!). Don’t get me wrong, if you elope around sunset you’ll need to bring layers (it can get chilly!), but other than that, it’s a pretty ideal time to say your vows and have your ceremony at this epic spot.
Winter in Garden of the Gods (December- April)
If you love the idea of a winter elopement but don’t, well, love winter, then Garden of the Gods is literally the dream winter elopement spot for you. Why? Because you get stunning white snow peppered all over those amazing red rock formations—but you don’t have to ski, sled, snowshoe, or snowboard to get there and you don’t have to freeze your tails off, either. The other best part? It’s way less crowded in the winter, which means you and your love can likely have the whole place to yourself.
Spring in Garden of the Gods (May-June)
Picture lush, green foliage, stunning red rocks, and a beautiful backdrop of the Rockies. That’s Garden of the Gods in the spring, and trust me, it is next-level epic. Like other spots in CO, you’ll need to be plan B prepared for a spring elopement. Why? Because in CO, you could end up with a sunny, gorgeous day n the 70s or a chilly, rainy Springtime snowstorm. It’s all a toss-up!
Summer in Garden of the Gods (July-August)
I’m just going to come out and say it— Garden of the Gods is hot in the summer, as you’d expect. That doesn’t mean this place is a summer elopement deal-breaker, just that you should plan accordingly. AKA, tons of water, lots of sunscreen, and maybe don’t hang out here during the hottest parts of the day—reserve that for sunrise or sunset to avoid the heat.
The How-Tos & Paperwork: Colorado Wedding Permit Details
Location Permits & Fees
Colorado is very (like, very) chill about couples getting married. Trust me, they’re one of the most laid-back states out there (which, I’ll explain in a minute when I get to the self-solemnizing section). But, like any other state, you’ll need to know the appropriate permits, fees, and licenses to get.
If you’re planning to elope in Garden of the Gods, then you’re def going to need to let the park know. There are permits to acquire, things to sign off on, and likely a fee to pay. The good news? I can help you! Let’s chat about your plans and how you want to elope and I’ll be sure to run interference on all the need-to-know paperwork and fees to tackle.
Wedding Permits & Paperwork
- Marriage licenses must be used within 35 days of the issue date in Colorado
- You don’t have to get your marriage license in El Paso County—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
**SPOILER ALERT** I highly recommend you always check with the specific county you’re planning to elope in for their unique rules. Check out the El Paso County website for more information about eloping in the Garden of the Gods or Colorado Springs.
Everything You Need to Know About Self-Solemnizing
OK, OK—we finally got to my fave part about eloping in CO. Friends, if you’ve never heard of self-solemnizing, you’re about to, and if you don’t lose your mind over it, know that I’m doing it for you (it’s that awesome).
Self-solemnizing means you don’t need witnesses, officiants, or any type of official to make your marriage ceremony an official act. AKA, you can marry yourselves—just you and your partner, however, you want—without any type of official present to make it the “real deal.” You literally make it the real deal without anyone else’s authority.
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 laid back AF—they’re all about couples doing the damn thing all by themselves.
Best Places to Stay near Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods is surrounded by amazing places to stay. Enjoy the amazing getting-ready photos we can take here! Check them out below!
Garden of the Gods Elopement Packages
Looking to create your ideal Garden of the Gods 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 Garden of the Gods 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.
Down to Elope in Garden of the Gods?
I’m getting straight fired-up just talking about the hypothetical possibility of you eloping in Garden of the Gods. I’m willing to bet you are, too. The good news? I can help you turn that hypothetical into a real damn deal—and I’m so stoked about the possibility of being your right-hand gal for the job.
Have questions? Want more inspo? Just wanna chat about your vision? I’m here for you. Reach out to me when you’re ready to chat and I’ll provide all the insight, advice, and guidance I can.
Need a little more info to get your elopement plans going? I’ve linked to my elopement guide (right here) for some serious 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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