How to Legally Elope in Colorado

Are you trying to figure out how to legally elope in Colorado and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the whole process? Not sure where to start, what forms you need, or who can be there to witness your epic mountain elopement? Well no worries, I’VE GOT YOU, friend! 

Navigating the legalities of marriage in Colorado might seem tricky, but don’t worry – it’s simpler than it looks! Whether you’re local to Colorado or traveling from afar for your dream adventure elopement, the steps you need to take are pretty much the same. 

As a Colorado elopement photographer, I’ve helped my couples figure all of this out, and I’ll walk you through it in this blog, too!

bride and groom super excited after making their Colorado elopement official

What is Self-Solemnization and How to Self-Solemnize in Colorado

Colorado allows self-solemnization! What does that mean? To put it simply, it means that you do not need an officiant or witnesses to elope in Colorado legally. Your big day can be just you and your partner (and your photographer 😉). 

However, you still need to get some paperwork ready to make it official. For example, the marriage license and any elopement permits needed for your chosen location. More on that next!

bride and groom reading vows to each other during their elopement ceremony with Colorado mountains in the backdrop

Get Your Colorado Marriage License

Okay, so the first step to legally elope in Colorado is getting a marriage license. It’s actually really easy! Just swing by any County Clerk’s office in Colorado. You don’t need to be a resident to go in and pick it up!

If you’re planning a destination elopement in Colorado, I recommend getting the marriage license in Denver when you fly in. The process takes about 20 minutes, so it really is quick and easy! You can make a pick-up appointment online to make it even easier for yourselves! Colorado marriage licenses do not have a waiting period, which means you are able to use it right away.

The license costs $30 and must be signed and used within 35 days from the date of issue.

bride and groom holding hands during their elopement ceremony as they legally elope in colorado

File Your Marriage License to Legally Elope in Colorado

After you’ve had your epic adventure elopement in Colorado, don’t forget to make it official. Within 63 days of getting your license, sign it and send it back to the County Clerk’s office. You can return it in person, too. If you are mailing your marriage license, you must do so before you leave the state.

bride and groom holding a "we eloped" sign with overcast skies in the backdrop

Fun Fact: Your Dog Can Sign Your Marriage License in Colorado!

In Colorado, your pup can be more than just an adorable addition to your elopement – they can actually sign your marriage license (with a paw print, of course)! It’s such a special and unique way to include your fur babies in your special day.

bride and groom and their two pups walking through trails in Colorado for their elopement day

Colorado Elopement Permits

Another aspect to legally elope in Colorado is getting permits for your chosen location. This process also tends to be a bit confusing and overwhelming to couples. That said, not every Colorado elopement location requires a permit. However, you’ll find that the most popular ones do. Colorado is also quite popular for elopements, so you need to obtain permits in advance to ensure your location is reserved for you.

I am more than happy to help you obtain and/or answer any questions regarding wedding and elopement permits in Colorado! Again, I know it can be confusing so feel free to contact me here.

close up of bride and groom holding hands during their elopement ceremony as they legally elope in colorado

Ready to Plan Your Colorado Elopement?

If you’re planning your elopement day, you may be on the lookout for your dream Colorado elopement photographer, planning assistant, and adventure buddy! If that’s you, just know I’d LOVE to meet you! You can learn more about me here!

And if you’re looking for more elopement planning resources or inspiration for what your day could look like, check out the rest of my blog!

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