a. telluride elopement exper’ts guide to

How to Elope in Telluride, Colorado

If there is one specific location I get asked about the most as an elopement photographer, it’s Telluride. While many people have never heard of it, those who have know that it’s something special. Telluride, Colorado, and it’s surrounding mountains are wild, remote, and ripe for adventure. They’re also the perfect place for your elopement.

telluride elopement locations

Telluride and it’s surrounding mountains are full of incredible spots for an elopement and where you decide to do the thing will largely depend on the type of scenery you are looking for and the amount of adventure you want (or don’t want!) to have!

Out of a deep concern for protecting these places I don’t go into specific locations for backcountry spots (I save those for my clients!) but hopefully this will get the wheels turning on where to elope in Telluride and what that could look like!

San Sophia Overlook

Want to get married on top of a mountain without even leaving town? This is for you! San Sophia is on top of the mountain and accessed by the gondola. It features STUNNING views of the town of Telluride and Bridal Veil Falls. It’s also an excellent spot for a wedding with guests.

Bridal veil falls

Bridal Veil Falls is an absolutely epic Telluride elopement location. It is at the end of town and can be seen from just about everywhere! A hike or Jeep ride takes you to a mossy, misty wonderland at the base of the tallest freestanding waterfall in Colorado!

in a backcountry basin

Some of the BEST places to elope in Telluride are off the beaten path and accessed only by hike, Jeep, or ATV. These spots offer wildflowers, waterfalls, views for miles, and very few people!

alta lakes observatory

Alta Lakes Observatory is SO FREAKING COOL. This cabin is up a bumpy road and surrounded by mountains and lakes. It is an ideal location for an elopement or small wedding with guests as well! Reserve Alta Lakes Observatory here.

at a campground

Hiking and backpacking elopements are perfect options for couples who are up for an adventure and want to get away from the crowds. The mountains around Telluride have incredible hiking and backpacking (and camping in general!).

on top of a mountain pass

Telluride and the San Juans has some of the most beautiful 4×4 roads in Colorado. If your idea of adventure involves Jeeps or ATVs (or hiking, obviously!), you have tons of options for getting way up high.

at a secret waterfall

Pro tip: some of the best places to elope in Telluride aren’t in any guidebooks! They’re the spots only know to the folks who spend tons of time exploring these mountains which is why hiring a Telluride elopement photographer and planner for your day is such a huge advantage!

on a jeep road

If you’re up for an adventure and want to get away from the crowds, renting a Jeep (if you don’t already have one) is a great way to find total solitude in the mountains. Keep in mind that the Jeep trails in Telluride range from mild to very, very wild so definitely do your research (or consult with your photographer) before heading out!

How to get a marriage license in Telluride

As with everywhere in Colorado, getting legally married in Telluride is incredibly easy. Simply go to a county clerk’s office bring your paperwork, and be ready to raise your hand and promise you’re not related to each other by blood (weird, right?!).

Because Colorado is a self solemnizing state you do not need an officiant or witnesses to get married here, and yes, your dog can sign your marriage license with their paw print!

Marriage licenses can be picked up at the San Miguel County courthouse in Telluride or any other county clerk’s office in Colorado.

how to plan a telluride elopement

1. find a telluride elopement photographer

I ALWAYS suggest choosing your photographer first (even if it’s not me – although I hope it is!). A good photographer will be able to help you find the best elopement locations, choose the right time of year, lock in any vendors, and come up with a timeline. The whole process is so much easier when you bring in the professional help early on!

2. choose your elopement ceremony location

Figuring out where you will have your ceremony early will help figure out the rest of the day and how it will all go down. Every photographer is different but for me, this is always where I start with my couples! We’ll run through a bunch of options and choose a location that fits the scenery and level of adventure you want!

3. book lodging and any other vendors

Once you have a general idea of the areas you will be exploring or where you want to get married, it’s time to book other vendors! While you definitely DON’T need to hire other folks, many people choose to invest in flowers, hair and makeup, catering, cake, and/or Jeep or ATV rentals.

For an awesome list of lodging options, click here!

4. take a deep breath and enjoy every moment

This day is going to FLY by – make sure to slow down and enjoy every moment of it!! It’s not about pictures or pressure or stress or everyone’s expectations. It’s about the two of you getting married, maybe with some family and friends (or just your favorite dog) in one of the most beautiful places on Earth!

How much does it cost to elope in Telluride?

The cost of your Telluride elopement or intimate wedding will depend largely on where you base your elopement and the type of activities you do during the day!

A simple San Juan Mountain elopement based out of an affordable AirB BNB in Ouray, Silverton, or Ridgway will be relatively inexpensive while a more involved

An elopement based out of a resort in Telluride will be far more expensive. While Telluride itself isn’t the cheapest part of Colorado, there are definitely options for every budget!

Adding things like hair and makeup, florals, officiants, Jeep rentals, etc CAN drive the cost up but you don’t really need any of those things. It’s ALL up to you!

best places to stay in telluride for your eloement

Best places to stay in Telluride

Telluride is the biggest and (by far!) the fanciest of the towns on this list. If you are looking for an upscale, resort-style town (that still has tons of local character), Telluride is where it’s at. Telluride has two main areas – the town of Telluride itself and Mountain Village, which is part of the resort. These two areas are connected by a free (and dog-friendly) gondola! You’ll find most in-town lodging is actually in Mountain Village

Check Out my Telluride Travel Guide for more info!

Best places to stay in silverton

If I had to choose ONE town in the San Juans as my favorite, Silverton would be it. This place is an old mining town, surrounded by some of the must rugged peaks in the state. It has tons of cool lodging, some really great restaurants, and a town-that-time-forgot kind of vibe. I LOVE Silverton and I think you will too!

Best places to stay in ouray and ridgway

Ouray and Ridgway are tiny and adorable mountain towns, just 15 minutes apart. They both have a super laid-back, outdoorsy vibe. One of the best things about both of these towns is that it is centrally located between Telluride and Silverton, making it easy(ish) to access both during your stay!

check out some telluride elopements

Jessica + Scott

Molly + Brad

Meet your telluride elopement photographer

’m a Colorado-based elopement photographer who helps couples have easy and unforgettable elopements in the San Juan Mountains (and beyond).

I‘ve lived in Colorado since 2007 and know this place like the back of my hand – so it means a lot when I tell you that the San Juans are, without question, the most beautiful part of the state and one of the best places in Colorado, if not the U.S., to elope!

My goal for this guide is to help you decide whether Telluride and the San Juans are the right spot for your Colorado elopement – and to help yo make it happen!