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Breckenridge Elopement Guide
how to elope in Summit county, colorado
A Breckenridge Elopement Photographer’s Guide to Getting Married in Summit County, Colorado
As a Breckenridge elopement photographer I may be a bit biased but I truly believe that Breckenridge is one of the best places to elope in Colorado, 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!
Fun fact: My parents actually honeymooned in Breckenridge 40+ years ago and now live there! It holds a special place in my heart and I think you’ll love it too!
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!
Table of Contents
What does it mean to elope?
Before we get into the guide, lets clear a few things up!
In this guide I’m using the term ”elopement” to include true elopements with no guests all the way up to intimate weddings with 20-ish people. You can have as many people as you want – and call it whatever you want! This is your day!
How do you get to Breckenridge?
Breckenridge is two hours from Denver, straight up I-70. It’s easy proximity to the city (and a major airport) are one of the reasons I recommend it to most of my couples flying in from out of state!
You will want a rental car in Breckenridge to make it easy to get to trailheads and out of town. If you have guests flying in separate (who don’t need a car of their own) there is really easy shuttle service from the Denver airport up to Summit County.!
When to Elope in Breckenridge
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.
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!).
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 – Moab is awesome this time of year!).
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!!
Why you should elope on a weekday.
I always recommend that couples plan their elopement for a weekday and that is ESPECIALLY true in Breckenridge. Along with all the tourists that come in from out of state, Breck is a really popular weekend getaway for people living in Denver. The good news is that most of those people go home on Sunday evening!
Planning your elopement for a weekday means you will have FAR fewer crowds anywhere you go – and no one has a tiny wedding because they want MORE people to be there!
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!
Where to Stay in Summit County, Colorado
“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.
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
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.
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 + Small Wedding Venues
Wondering where to elope in Summit County? Don't worry, you have TONS of options! Small wedding and elopement venues in Breckenridge range from fancy lodges to little cabins to tiny mountain overlooks to wild places you have to hike to. It all depends on you, your guests (if you are having any) and the type of adventure you are looking for!
Please note: This list only scratches the surface of Breckenridge elopement locations! There are so many more!
Sapphire Point Overlook
Sapphire Point is one of the best elopement locations in Summit County for couples who are having guests at their elopement. It is a small platform located on the edge of Lake Dillon with stunning views of the lake and mountains. There is a short walk to the ceremony site (and a bathroom in the parking lot) that is largely accessible by everyone. Reserving a time at Sapphire Point costs $110 for a two hour reservation and can be easily done here.
Loveland Pass is located near Silverthorne and the Arapaho Basin ski area and is a really great spot for elopements with no (or very few) guests. This high altitude pass tops out at 11,991 feet and the beauty of it is that you can get there with very little effort! Loveland Pass is always stunning but it's extra gorgeous at sunrise! It can be chilly up there, even in the summer, so be sure to bring warm layers (and maybe warm beverages!) along!
The Lodge at Breckenridge is a perfect option for couples wanting an actual venue for their small wedding but don't need all the bells and whistles that are associated with traditional wedding locations. The Lodge at Breckenridge has stunning mountain views and is available to be rented for two hours! Another awesome thing about this spot is that you can add things like champagne, snacks, and chairs to your package and, bonus!, it's dog friendly!
Private Vacation Rentals (AirBnB or VRBO)
This is one of the BEST options for small wedding venues and something I suggest to all of my couples who are having guests! Renting an awesome property and getting married there is a really easy way to have a stunning home base for all of your festivities (ceremony, dinner, etc.!). You can always go venture off-site for photos. See below for some awesome vacation rentals!
Breckenridge is surrounded by public land and many of these places are incredible elopement locations for couples who are up for an adventure! Whether you want to hike to your elopement location or find a beautiful spot you can drive to, Breck has tons of options! This is what most of my couples who are NOT having guests at their elopement choose to do!
Lake Dillon Marina Park Pavillion
This is another dog-friendly small wedding site in Summit County that is perfect for couples wanting an actual venue for their small wedding or elopement with guests. It's accessible, beautiful, and a gorgeous spot for your intimate wedding! Reservations are available from May 1st through September 30th and rental costs vary. Reservations can be made here.
If alpine lakes are your thing (and man, I don't blame you!) the Breckenridge area has you covered! Whether you want a lake that you can drive right up to or want more of an adventure (and chance to get away from the crowds!) with a lake you can hike to, you have plenty of options in Summit County!
How to Get a Marriage License in Breckenridge
Getting married in Summit Count, Colorado
Getting married in Summit County (or anywhere in Colorado) is incredibly easy! You will need to pick up your marriage license at a County Clerk's office no more than 30 days before your elopement. More info on getting a marriage license in Summit County is here. Marriage licenses must be picked up on a weekday during normal business hours. You can pick up your marriage license in any county – it does not need to be the one you are getting married in!
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 Breckenridge 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!
Meet Your Breckenridge Elopement Photographer!
Hi! I'm Jen Dz.
Breckenridge was the first place I visited in Colorado, way back when I was in 6th grade. It ignited a lifelong love of the mountain in me and getting to share that love with my couples is one of the greatest joys of my life!
If you want me to help you elope in Breckenridge, get in touch! I can't wait to meet you and plan something incredible!