This is your Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Guide. Many of my couples are coming from out of state, or even out of the country. They need a one stop guide that will help them through all their questions around getting married in RMNP. A lot of the rules have changed in the last 5 years and I want to help keep you up to date!
Your Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding
This blog will go over these regulations and go over the best spots to get married in Rocky Mountain National Park. Rocky Mountain National Parks is one of my favorite locations to get married. For one, the park is only 2 hours from Denver Airport and is close to the cute town of Estes Park. While Estes doesn’t have all the dining options as a place like Breckenridge, it is a beautiful town nonetheless. Consider hiring one of my private chefs to cater at your airbnb! The first time I drove into the park, my jaw dropped. Was this real? Keep in mind, I have traveled all over the world and seen incredible views, but was still in awe of RMNP’s beauty.
Once upon a time, you were able to pay your permit fee and walk into the park and say your vows wherever you choose. But due to the high volume and popularity of the park, there are new regulations set into place that better protect the park and its wildlife.
WHY Elope to Rocky Mountain National Park?
- The views are outstanding. I still remember the first time I had my first Rocky Mountain National Park elopement. My jaw literally dropped. The mountains are not just rolling foothills or distanced mountains, these are breathtaking peaks you feel you can touch. This is an incredible backdrop for your elopement photography and videography.
- The cost is affordable. There are a select few elopement spots you can choose from ( see below) and the cost is only $200.00 for a ceremony permit. With these views, what better venue is there?
- Many of the elopement and wedding ceremony spots in RMNP are easily accessible with little hiking involved. While I love hiking, a lot of my elopement couples come to Colorado with some of their closest friends and family. Some of their guests are unable to hike. A Rocky Mountain National Park elopement is perfect because you can have the best of both worlds. I encourage my couples to have an amazing hiking first look and portrait time in the park. This time is reserved for just the two of them. We sometimes do a sunrise hike to a gorgeous mountain lake or walk through the paths of Trail Ridge Road. Then, we are able to meet up with their family and friends at a reserved ceremony spot.
What are the new regulations of a RMNP wedding?
Starting the summer of 2019, Rocky Mountain National Park increased their wedding permit prices from $200 to $250. Also, they only allow 6 ceremonies to take place PER DAY. And, there can only be 2 ceremonies at each location twice a day! This is huge because this will make these sites harder to reserve. Some sites have a limit to how many people you can have present. To help with these new regulations, I encourage couples to elope during the week and book their ceremony spot 6 months to a year in advance. You will have considerably less people in the park and a higher chance of booking one of the best spots in Rocky Mountain National Park.
The Best Spots to Elope in Rocky Mountain National Park
Here is a list for the best spots to elope in RMNP. Below this list are the remaining permissible sites to say your vows. While you can take portraits at any place inside the park, you can only exchange your vows at one of these locations. I have included all of the locations available your ceremony in RMNP on this blog, even the less desirable, so you know your options.
3m Curve wedding, voted the BEST spot to elope in Rocky Mountain National Park
3m Curve is probably my favorite spot for a smaller wedding. You can only have 15 people total at this spot. It has gorgeous mountain views, a lush meadow and is more private than most of the other ceremony spots. This is for sure one of the best spots to elope in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Upper Beaver Meadows Wedding
Upper Beaver Meadows is also extremely beautiful. Gorgeous mountains in the background and plenty of room. If you liked the look and idea of 3m Curve but you have a larger crowd, this site might be for you. Upper Beaver Meadows can accommodate up to 60 persons and 10 vehicles. This is perfect for those of you having a smaller wedding with an elope feel! Let’s face it, many of us have larger families and while we want to keep the ‘elope feel’ of our wedding, we also want to keep family involved! If that is you, this is for sure the best spot for you. Ps. You can only use this site in the evening.
Sprague Lake Wedding
I love this beautiful intimate ceremony spot. It is easy to get to and even wheelchair accessible. The lake is beautiful and the mountain background is breathtaking. The downside is, you will have plenty of park visitors walking about. Max amount for this ceremony spot is 15 persons in the summer and 30 persons in the winter. There are restrooms available.
Lily Lake Dock/ Lily Lake Trail/ Lily Lake Picnic Wedding
Also a beautiful mountain lake. It has an easy walk around that is wheelchair accessible and pretty mountain views. You can reserve just the ceremony spot at lily lake trail, Lily lake dock or you can also reserve the picnic area if you want a more relaxed campground feel. Max amount of person is 10 fora Lily lake dock ceremony, 20 for the lily lake trail and 30 for the lily lake picnic spot.
Moraine Park Visitor Center Amphitheater Wedding
Moraine Park is another great option for those of you that are having a ‘larger’ small wedding 🙂 . This beautiful amphitheater can hold up to 100 persons in the winter and 60 in the summer! While it doesn’t have a direct mountain view, as it is nestled into the trees, this location is intimate and serene.
OTHER CEREMONY SPOTS IN ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Alluvial Fan Bridge Wedding
This location is super busy and probably not one of the most attractive locations. There is a river and waterfall. The waterfall is not vertical gushing waterfall but one that is a part of the river. The old bridge is kind of cool, but honestly one to be avoided if possible. There are many other places I would select over this spot.
Bear Lake Nature Trail Wedding
I actually love Bear Lake. Bear Lake is a starter trailhead for many gorgeous hikes, such as Dream Lake. Dream Lake would be an amazing spot to do a sunrise first look and then a quick mile-ish hike back down to Bear Lake for the ceremony.
The only reason why it did not make the ‘best spots to elope in Rocky Mountain National Park’ list is because it is a madhouse of people. There will be hundreds around you. To help with some of this crowd, RMNP has added some regulations such as no weekend weddings at Bear Lake. Also, from Memorial day to Columbus day, you cannot have a ceremony here. So perhaps if we did an early ceremony on a weekday outside of memorial day – columbus day, we might have less people staring at you as you shared your vows!? You are allowed 20 people max for this location.
Copeland Lake Wedding
Out of all the lakes in RMNP, this one is kind of less than desirable. It’s really simple, sometimes very low water, and a lot of dirt and rocks around the spot. 30 people max for this spot.
Harbison Meadow Wedding
Harbison is great if you are staying on the Grand Lake side of the park. However, the field is kinda of boring and open. A little less exciting of a spot with tiny mountain views and basic field. However, you will be more likely to see wildlife in this spot! This is also a great spot if you want to see the trail ridge road, one of my favorite spots for wedding portraits! This large site can accommodate up to 60 persons.
Hidden Valley Wedding
This site is perfect for larger weddings. It can accommodate up to 100 persons with a particular permit. Otherwise the typical permit is for 20 people. This site reminds me of a golf-course. Tree line, meadow, and no mountain view. There are restrooms and wheelchair accessible.
Timber Creek Campground Amphitheater
This site can accommodate 20 persons. It is also located on the west side of the park. It is a small amphitheater surrounded by trees. This site has a very ‘camping’ kind of feel. I have seen a good bit of wild-life here too, so that’s a perk. Restrooms are onsite.
So there you have it. Those are the best spots to elope in Rocky Mountain National Park! Keep in mind, before and after the ceremony, we can get a permit to see and take portraits of the rest of the park! There are spectacular mountain views that will make you cry with awe! I live half my year in Rocky Mountain National Park and know it pretty well. So when it comes time to planning your elopement, give me a call and let’s start dreaming!
If budget is not an issue for you and you prefer a more polished venue for your ceremony, consider having your wedding in Estes Park and then going to RMNP for portraits. Estes Park has amazing venues with breathtaking views. You can read about my favorite venues in Estes Park on my blog.
Some of my videos based in RMNP
Interested in watching a film in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park? Watch Morgan and Alex ‘ s film. Like most of my couples, Morgan and Alex came from out of state and wanted to experience the beauty of Colorado for their wedding day. Rocky Mountain National Park was their first choice. They hired me for 3 days. On the first day we hiked to the gorgeous Dream Lake. This lake is beautiful at any time of year but if you are interested in a gorgeous sunrise hike, this mountain lake is perfect for the Alpenglow. On the second day we stayed more in Estes Park where they had their ceremony at Della Terra. On the third day, we went to the windy trail ridge road. The views here can never disappoint. But remember, it’s only open when the snow is minimal/nonexistent.