Breckenridge is one of the locations I suggest most often to my clients, especially those coming in from out of state. Why? It’s beautiful, has tons of lodging and restaurants, has some incredible hikes, and is an easy (depending on the weather …) two hour drive from the Denver airport. If you are wondering how to elope in Breckenridge, Colorado, this is for you!
A quick note: For simplicity’s sake I’m using the term “Breckenridge” but this article really applies to all of Summit County – if you’re thinking of eloping in Breckenridge, Frisco, Keystone, Blue River, Silverthorne, or anywhere nearby, this is for you!
Best Time of Year to Elope in Breckenridge, Colorado
Figuring out the best time of year to elope in Breckenridge will depend largely on the types of things you love to do and the vibe you envision for your elopement! Breckenridge is beautiful year round … but the weather conditions and accessibility of incredible places varies pretty wildly by season.
Eloping in Breckenridge in the Summer (June – August) – Summer in the mountains is GLORIOUS. They say people come to Colorado for the winters but stay for the summers and I think that is probably true! Warm days give way to cool, comfortable nights. If you want to hike for your elopement or spend an entire day outdoors, summer is probably for you. Summit County is a popular destination for summer travelers and town will be busy but it’s never too crazy (and there is always lots to do!).
Eloping in Breckenridge in fall (September – November) – Fall is a transitional time everywhere but nowhere is that more true than in the mountains. September starts off warm but by early October the aspens have changed and snow is on the way. September and early October are my FAVORITE months in the mountains – the temperatures are usually a little cooler, most of the tourists have gone home, and the leaves make everything so, so dreamy. By the time you get into October (and definitely by November!) snow becomes more common. The great thing about this time of year is that you have a good chance of having snow on the ground … without having to deal with SUPER deep snow that makes travel difficult. I LOVE fall!!
Eloping in Breckenridge in winter (December through …. April …) – In case you haven’t heard the news, winter in Colorado is kiiiiiiiiiiiind of a big deal. Summit County has some of the best and most famous ski areas in Colorado and people flock in from all over the world to play in all that snow. It also means that there can be a LOT of snow! If you want to elope in a winter wonderland, winter in Breckenridge is MAGICAL. Winter in the mountains lasts way longer than what you traditionally think of as “winter”. March and April are typically our snowiest months.
Eloping in Breckenridge in Spring (March – May) – I’m going to be honest here – spring is my least favorite season around here. They don’t call it “mud” season for nothing! March, April, and May can be really snowy and once all that snow starts to melt it gives way to mud. Roads that close seasonally are still closed and the weather is very unpredictable. This is usually the time of year that I start talking to couples about choosing a lower elevation location (or heading to the desert).
Where to Stay for your Summit County Elopement
Summit County is made up a few different towns and all have their own vibe. While they are all reasonably close together, choosing the right one will help set the stage for your day!
Breckenridge – “Breck” is beautiful and bustling with a thriving downtown area, tons of restaurants, lots of lodging, and heaps of things to do. Most of my couples base their elopements out of Breck.
Frisco – I adore Frisco. It’s quite a bit smaller than Breck but still has ample shops and restaurants. The downtown is just adorable and because its located right off I-70 it makes a great jumping off point to other parts of Summit County.
Blue River – If you don’t mind being farther from town and other amenities and want more of a cabin type vibe, Blue River is beautiful. Blue River sits just below Quandary Peak, about 20 minutes outside of Breckenridge. There is a lodge with a restaurant there but mostly you are looking at renting a house or cabin.
SIlverthorne and Dillon – These would probably be my least favorite choices for places to stay. These towns have more of a commercial feel (want to go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond? This is where you’d go!). Having said that, lodging is less expensive here and you are still surrounded by beautiful mountains.
Breckenridge Elopement Locations
One of the biggest things you will have to decide when eloping in Breckenridge is where to have your ceremony (and first look and picnic and first dance …). Fortunately, you have TONS of options!
Please note: In accordance with Leave No Trace principles I’m not going to give specific locations here (I keep these for the couples I work with!) but hopefully this will help you get inspired!
Elope on a Mountain Pass – Breckenridge is surrounded by mountains which means it’s also surrounded by beautiful drives THROUGH the mountains. These passes are easy to access without a long hike (although you can also hike up there if you want!)!
Elope next to a Waterfall – While this part of Colorado doesn’t have quite as many waterfalls as some other areas, it still has a few! The waterfalls here area easy to access when the roads are melted out and can make a beautiful backdrop for your ceremony!
Elope next to an Alpine Lake – Breck has loads of beautiful lakes which require varying lengths of hikes to get to. From super short walks from the car to multi-mile treks into the mountains, there is an alpine lake for anyone!
Sapphire Point – Sapphire Point is a perfect spot for those who want to bring guests to their elopement. This beautiful spot overlooks Lake Dillon, is an easy walk from the parking lot, and can be reserved for an hour or two for a really good price.
Elope on Private Land (AirBnB, etc.) – Another great option for couples who are bringing guests to their elopement or having an intimate wedding is to rent a beautiful VRBO or AirBnB to base their festivities out of. You can have your ceremony at the cabin and then head up high for photos.
Should You Worry About Altitude Sickness?
Summit County is very high and some people coming from lower elevations may struggle with the altitude. Most of my couples don’t have any trouble at all but if they do, symptoms are typically mild. Typical mild symptoms of altitude sickness include dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches, and (rarely) nausea. It is impossible to know how your body will react to altitude so I always suggest arriving in the mountains a couple days before your elopement if possible to have some time to acclimate.
Please remember to drink plenty of water and that alcohol can hit you twice as hard at these altitudes as it does at sea level!
How to Elope in Breckenridge, Colorado
1. Choose Your Breckenridge Elopement Photographer
I’m putting this first on the list not because I’m biased (well, maybe I’m a little biased …) but because doing this step first will make everything else SO much easier! An experienced elopement photographer will help you with every other step of this process – from picking a location to coming up with a timeline for your day. (Pssssst … I know Breck like the back of my hand and would love to help you out! Click here to schedule a free consult!)
2. Choose Your Elopement Location
Your photographer will help you pick the perfect location for your elopement (and for any other stops along your day!). Every photographer is different but for me, this is where I take a deep dive with my couples into the kind of things and places that would make their day as epic (or as easy!) as they want!
3. Book Any Other Vendors
The most common vendor my couples also hire is hair and makeup. A good hair and makeup person (I have some awesome recommendations!) can help you feel fabulous on this day – and keep you from having to worry about doing your own beautification! Who doesn’t like a little pampering?! Other common vendors include florists, cakes, or a private chef to make dinner at your AirBnB!
4. Obtain Any Necessary Permits
Some Breckenridge elopement locations require permits. Your photographer will help you figure out which permits (if any) are necessary and how to get them.
5. Get your Marriage License
Getting a marriage license in Summit County is super easy! Colorado does not require any kind of officiant or witnesses. Simply go to the Clerk and Recorder’s Office (an appointment may be necessary) and get your license. There is no waiting period, blood test, or any of those shenanigans! Your dog can even sign your license with it’s paw print!
6. Have the Best Damn Day of Your Life!
At the end of the day, this is what all this planning was about! Marry your person and enjoy every freaking minute of it!
Things to do in Breckenridge
Trust me when I say there is NO shortage of things to do in Summit County. Here are some ideas for the days before or after your elopement (or hell, on elopement day itself!):
Go for a Hike
Kayak Lake Dillon
Fly fish (or take a fly fishing lesson)
Go skiing (downhill or cross country)
Ride the free gondola to the top of the mountains
Go for a scenic drive
Tour the Breckenridge Distillery
Shop on Main Street
Go to a festival
Take a sleigh ride
Places to Eat + Drink in Breckenridge and Summit County
Breck has TONS of good restaurants – here are a few of my favorites!
Outer Range Brewery (not a restaurant but has the best IPAs in Colorado – liquid dinner!)
Apres (cocktail bar on Main Street that makes a mean old fashioned!)
Hopefully this guide to how to elope in Breckenridge helped get you on the right path to planning your own elopement!