How to Elope in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

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Mar

17

2022

We are an Elopement Photography / Videography duo based in Fort Colins, Colorado. 

We love all things adventure and want to help you plan + document the best adventure elopement possible.

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Bailee & Jake

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A Rocky Mountain National Park elopement gives you epic mountain views, adventure, and a wedding day focused on the two of you!

But First…Why Should I Plan a Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement?

This is such a great question! With so many GORGEOUS places to elope all over Colorado, why choose RMNP for your wedding? The short answer: Rocky Mountain National Park has it all. They have 13 designated ceremony sites that are easily accessible with 360 degree mountain views. You can’t beat that kind of backdrop! Plus, you and your partner can explore other locations after your ceremony.

There are so many incredible hikes in the park for more adventure and photos! Not to mention, Rocky Mountain National Park is located right outside of Estes Park and close to Fort Collins, Loveland, and Boulder. You can feel like you’re on top of the world on Trail Ridge Road and then take a short drive down for a catered wedding dinner! It truly is the best of both worlds.

2022 Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Permit Update

Wedding permits go pretty fast for RMNP. Wedding permits for March-October are sold out. However, you can still snag a permit for November and December 2022! If you are planning your 2023 Rocky Mountain National Park elopement, I suggest applying for your wedding permit earlier rather than later!

Some Things to Know About Eloping in Rocky Mountain National Park

  • RMNP (Rocky Mountain National Park) allots 60 wedding permits per month from May-October.
  • RMNP allots 40 wedding permits per month from November-April.
  • You can book your permit a year in advance for the month you want to elope.
  • For example: Beginning on April 1, 2022, Rocky Mountain National Park will start accepting applications for all days in April of 2023, etc.
  • The maximum wedding size is 30 people. However, some designated sites allow less.

Before You Submit Your Wedding Permit Application

Before you submit your wedding permit for your Rocky Mountain National Park elopement, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • To check availability, or for other questions, contact their office at romo_fees_permits@nps.gov.
  • To apply for a permit, you must submit your completed application via email to romo_fees_permits@nps.gov.
  • The Special Use Permit requires a non-refundable administrative fee of $300 for each wedding application. Do not send in the fee at the time of application. You’ll receive an email with payment instructions once your application has been accepted.
  • No more than two weddings per day will be booked at any designated wedding location, regardless of availability.
  • No more than six total ceremonies will be scheduled per day, year-round.
  • Weddings can ONLY take place in designated site locations, regardless of the size of the wedding group. Any indication of a ceremony taking place outside of these designated sites is considered a violation and is subject to citation of the wedding party, photographer, and/or officiant.
  • Drones are prohibited in the park for all uses, including weddings. We will be unable to use our drone for video footage.
  • All ceremonies in the park are managed and require a Special Use Permit, regardless of size.
  • If they accept your application, a Special Use Permit will be prepared and sent to you for signature via email. Upon receipt, review, sign, and return the permit via email for final approval. If your ceremony plans change, notify their office immediately. After the permit is finalized, they will send you an authorized copy via email.
  • The approved permit must be in your possession at the time of the ceremony.
  • Carpooling or shuttling is strongly encouraged and may be required.
  • Normal entrance fees apply to all vehicles associated with the ceremony.
  • Since Rocky Mountain National Park is an outdoor, rustic, natural environment, the permit includes specific conditions that protect the park’s resources and allow all visitors to enjoy the park. You’ll be required to read and sign the permit.
  • Ceremonies conducted in RMNP require written approval from the Chief Ranger’s Office or Concessions Management Office. Your finalized, signed permit is considered written approval.

How Do I Apply For A Wedding Permit?

Applying for a Rocky Mountain National Park wedding permit is pretty easy! All you have to do is download the Special Use Permit application, fill it out, and email it to romo_fees_permits@nps.gov. You can download the permit application here. The Special Use Permit requires a non-refundable administrative fee of $300 for each wedding application. You do not need to send this in with your application. You’ll receive an email with payment instructions once your application has been accepted.

Designated Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement Sites

RMNP has 13 designated elopement sites where you can hold your ceremony. All of the designated sites are beautiful, however, our favorite sites are:

  • 3M Curve – Gorgeous mountain views, accessible year-round, easy access
  • Hidden Valley – Beautifully wooded area with easy access to Trail Ridge Road
  • Sprague Lake – Incredible private dock overlooking Sprague Lake with mountain views
  • Upper Beaver Meadows – Stunning meadow with insane mountain views

To see an entire list of designated ceremony sites along with images for each site, click here. This chart includes conditions and restrictions so you can make the best choice for your wedding. If you have your heart set on a specific ceremony site, we highly recommend reaching out to the park (970-586-1209) to check on its availability.

Can We Explore Other Areas Of The Park After Our Ceremony? 

Yes, absolutely! Your permit allows you and your partner to explore the entire park for additional photos/videos after your ceremony. You just need to indicate the other locations you’d like to go on your permit application.

Some of our favorite places in Rocky Mountain National Park are:

  • Bear Lake to Dream Lake
  • Sky Pond
  • Chasm Lake
  • Mills Lake

Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement FAQ’s

Can we bring my dog(s) to my elopement?

Dogs are only allowed at Moraine Park Discovery Center Amphitheatre. Indicate on your application if you would like your dog in the ceremony.

Can we have an arch for my ceremony?

You can at Moraine Park Discovery Center Amphitheater.

Can we hold a reception at the park?

Lily Lake Southside Picnic is the only site that can accommodate a picnic or simple food reception. Holding a simple reception at that location requires an additional special use permit.

Can we have a bouquet(s)/boutonniere(s)?

Yes! Keep in mind that things like flower petals, birdseed, rice, or similar material or items cannot be used, thrown, or scattered.

Your Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement and Leave No Trace

RMNP receives roughly 4.5 million visitors per year. That is a TON of people! It is super important that we all do our part to minimize our impact on this fragile ecosystem. Following the seven Leave No Trace principles will help keep this park looking beautiful and accessible for generations to come. It is part of our job as an elopement photography and videography team to educate and practice these seven principles because it is easy to enjoy and protect our parks!

What are the seven leave no trace principles?

Plan Ahead and Be Prepared

It is really important to research and understand the landscape that you are choosing to elope at. Poor planning can often lead to a really bad time. We equip all of our couples with the necessary tools to have an incredible elopement. That being said, it is still a duty that you have as outdoor recreators to educate yourselves on the landscape, plants, and animals in the area that you are eloping at. This includes being prepared with food, water, proper footwear, proper clothing, and physical ability awareness. This also includes being aware of weather and making the necessary adjustments based on this factor.

Travel and Camp On Durable Surfaces

This is a big one. Especially in Rocky Mountain National Park. The vegetation at high altitudes are very fragile and take years to grow. Therefore, it is vital to stay on designated trails. When this is not possible, your party should spread out and look for the most durable surface to walk on (rocks, gravel, dry grass, snow).

Dispose of Waste Properly

When you gotta go, you gotta go! Where there are no pit toilets, make sure to stay 200ft away from water sources (lakes, rivers), camp, and trails. This also means pack it in pack it out. Whatever garbage you accumulate during your elopement, make sure to pack it out with you.

Leave What You Find

This is another biggie for RMNP. There are tons of gorgeous wildflowers and beautiful nature trinkets that can be tempting to take. Fight the urge! If we all 4.5 million visitors picked a wildflower during their visit, there would be no more wildflowers. Let’s enjoy it where it’s at.

Minimize Campfire Impact

Campfires can leave a lasting impression on the land. And not necessarily a good one. Make sure to use designated fire pits and drown out your fire.

Respect Wildlife

This one is a big one for me personally. I grew up in Montana and we would always hear horror stories of people who though they could pet a bison or feed a wolf. When this sort of thing happens, it’s not only super dangerous for the person, but very tragic for the animal. Keep a safe distance, avoid loud noises, and never feed wildlife.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

We absolutely love getting to share the coolest corners of Colorado with our couples! We think that Colorado is one of the most beautiful places on earth. With an increased number of people heading to mountains, it is really vital that we respect other people in these outdoor spaces. Choosing to elope gives you an incredible opportunity to get married in the great outdoors, but that means sharing that space with other adventure lovers.

We honestly love this about eloping. Every time we have photographed a Colorado elopement, our couples are always praised and celebrated by fellow adventurers in the area!

Is A Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement Right For You?

If you and your partner want to feel on top of the world for your elopement, RMNP is the place for you! This place is especially great if you want to include family and/or friends in your wedding! PS: Looking for the best way to do that? This blog is for you! We are so fortunate to have Rocky Mountain National Park in our backyard (a 45 minute drive from our front door!) and think that is is a pretty special place. It’s vastness is addicting and it’s incredible year-round. So if you’re looking for a location with incredible views, Rocky Mountain National Park might just be your elopement spot!

Let’s Start Planning Your Dream Wedding!

Hey, friends! We’re Bailee and Jake, a Colorado based husband and wife adventure elopement photography and videography team. We are SO passionate about Colorado elopements and we cannot wait to tell your love story through our lens. Contact us to start planning your dream Colorado wedding.

 

Happy adventuring!
Bailee & Jake

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We're a husband and wife Colorado elopement photography and videography team. We're two easy-going humans who love the outdoors and are passionate about Colorado adventure elopements. We wholeheartedly believe that marrying your best friend in the great outdoors is the best way to get married! Not only will we document your elopement, but we'll help you every step of the way to make sure that you have the most incredible wedding experience! 

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