Crested Butte Elopement Photographer
Crested Butte Elopement Photographer
I’m Lucy – Crested Butte elopement photographer and location finder! It’s about dang time I share with you the best places to elope in Crested Butte! In the central heart of Colorado, this mountain town is known for its epic mountain views, abundance of wildflowers, and off-roading opportunities. Located just over the mountain ridge from Aspen, it takes about 4 to 5 hours to drive to Crested Butte from Denver. It is a very scenic drive no matter which route you take! The views that reward you when you arrive are to die for. Let me break down the amazing elopement locations in Crested Butte!
Information about Crested Butte
Crested Butte is named for Mt. Crested Butte, a laccolith mountain that dominates the skyline of the town. And yes.. some people, myself included, affectionately call the town “crusty butt”. The town is at 8,900 feet elevation, so if you’re coming from sea level you will feel the impact the altitude has on you. Luckily, it is very easy to elope here, as the area isn’t overrun with tourists or red tape with permits and regulations. Granted, you should still Leave No Trace and ask permission from the ranger district if you plan to set up any kind of arch or chairs in a public space.
When to elope in Crested Butte?
While there is no bad season to plan a Crested Butte elopement, you should be informed about what you’re getting yourself into. Because of its high elevation, from mid October to mid May, you can expect winter conditions, cold temps, wind, snow, ice and mud. Summer is the best time for a Crested Butte elopement, and in late July the wildflowers start their takeover of the meadows. Avoid the week of the annual wildflower festival in town though, because the accommodations and roads will be uncharacteristically busy. Late September brings fall’s golden touch to the aspens, and the weather is glorious in the short autumn season.
How to Elope in Crested Butte
Almost all the areas I recommend around Crested Butte are on National Forest land and require no permit or advanced reservations to have an elopement ceremony. The hardest part of eloping in Crested Butte will be choosing which spot to make yours! That said, don’t show up with 25 people, a million cars and decorations! It’s important to follow Leave no Trace principles and have a low key, minimal impact elopement on the lands here.
Do we need an officiant in Colorado?
No, you don’t need an officiant to get married in Colorado, but you may have one to conduct the ceremony if you wish. This can be a minister, ordained officiant, or your best friend! There are no requirements for an officiant. Colorado is a self-solemnization state, which means if you don’t have a officiant, you will be your own officiant. That means Colorado recognizes your power to declare yourselves married. This is awesome news for your elopement, since you can not only save on costs of an officiant but you can also plan to spontaneously get married. As you’re exploring the landscape, you can pick right then and there where you want to get married, since you don’t have to meet up with anyone else.
Colorado Marriage Licenses in Crested Butte
Your Colorado marriage license is just $30 and can be picked up at the Gunnison county courthouse, which is the closest one to Crested Butte. However, you can apply for and make an appointment at ANY Colorado courthouse, it doesn’t have to be the one Crested Butte is located in. Once you pick it up, you have 32 days to return it to the same courthouse where you picked it up.
How to plan an elopement in Crested Butte
Eloping in the mountains is remarkably simple and low key. Embrace the natural backdrop and let the little things go – this is the great outdoors! Here is a step by step how to guide on how to plan a beautiful mountain elopement in Crested Butte.
1. Pick a date range or exact date to get married
2. Book your Crested Butte elopement photographer who will help you with all the other steps
3. Work with your photographer to select a ceremony site and timeline plan that’s perfect for you
4. Book your accommodation, florist, and or beauty services. Buy your best outfit ever.
5. Pick up your Colorado Marriage license and elope!
Where to Elope in Crested Butte, Colorado
The further away from the town you go, the more privacy you can expect. But you still can’t guarantee you’ll be the only ones there, and you can’t bar the public from any location. I’m going to group the best locations into a few categories:
– Crested Butte elopement locations with lakes
– Elopement locations with waterfalls
– Offroad Crested Butte elopement locations
– Hiking Elopements in Crested Butte
Places to Elope at Lakes in Crested Butte
If you desire a lake elopement in Crested Butte, you have quite a few to choose from! Emerald lake is perhaps the most well known. It’s blue-green waters are accessible by a dirt road that almost any car can go up. However, It’s high ridges on both sides make this a bad choice if you desire a sunset or sunrise elopement. More lakes are accessible on 4wd dirt roads to the north and west of the town of Crested Butte. All the lakes have big views of the surrounding mountains. There are also rivers galore, beaver dams, and if you venture further west, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Waterfall elopements in Colorado
Crested Butte is one of the best places to elope in Colorado if you are interested in exploring a waterfall. There are lots of waterfalls here, if you know where to look and where to hike! The well known Judd Falls is not a good elopement location, because you can’t access the falls. You can only gaze at them from above. The pounding Crystal River is at full force from May to July. It’s home to a few big falls, some of which are tempting to cliff jumpers. More cascades line the valleys and require short hikes to access. Visiting a waterfall can be a great focal point during your all day adventure elopement!
Offroad places to elope in Crested Butte
My best recommendation for amazing places to elope in Crested Butte are all off road! While this is a popular town for Coloradoans to visit, the majority of out of state visitors don’t make it out to Crested Butte so it is relatively calm. Get up some 4×4 roads in a jeep and you’ll have these epic mountains to yourselves! Off roading season is best from July to September in Crested Butte, because snow persists at these altitudes even through June and roads may be impassible. There are so many incredible places to have an offroad elopement here, I can’t list them all! But, I can and I will take you there 🙂
Places for a Hiking Elopement in Crested Butte
Some trailheads are accessed by 4×4 or dirt road, but many in Crested Butte are accessible to all. For the best hiking elopement in Colorado, plan to enjoy fall in Crested Butte. The last two weeks of September are filled with sunny days, cool nights, and all the aspen color that you could dream of! The Oh Be Joyful, Washington Gulch, Gothic Road, Mt. Baldy and Kebler Pass trailheads offer the most stunning views. And if you’re into camping, say no more, I am SO THERE!
Do we have to hike to elope in Crested Butte?
Absolutely not. While you can hike and should if that is something you enjoy doing together, it is NOT required. A great elopement is the combination of doing activities you normally do together and love AND the extraordinary experiences you might reserve for a honeymoon or celebration. If hiking isn’t on either of those lists, opt out and embrace what YOU love doing.
Here is my Crested Butte Elopement Locations Map:
This map is like a virtual tour of Crested Butte with color photos I’ve taken of each place. So you can see all the great spots without leaving your living room. If you’re planning from afar, this is a visual aid to selecting the elopement ceremony spot that works for you. Details like what time of day are best for each location are included. It will help you plan your activities, accommodations, and your day’s itinerary. Lastly, it’s easy to have a great backup location picked out with this map in front of you. Having that Plan B in your back pocket will keep your planning stress-free!
September Crested Butte elopement Photos
If you want fall colors and mountain peaks, Crested butte should be at the top of your list of places to elope in Colorado! This couple took it all in on a gorgeous September day. Their photos were super romantic in the yellow aspen tree grove. They didn’t have to break a sweat or tackle any off roading to get here. Photos taken with Gabrielle Stowe Photography.
Where to stay in Crested Butte?
Crested Butte can be affordable in shoulder seasons and expensive in the busiest months. There are several clumps of rustic cabins that would make a great home base for a mountain elopement here. But don’t sleep on Airbnb! There are cottages, modern condos and townhomes, lavish ranches, and cabins galore. Explore my list of favorited Airbnbs in Crested Butte here.
How much time do we need for an elopement in Crested Butte?
It would be wrong for me to suggest anything except a full day of elopement photography in Crested Butte. This town is AMAZING and I know you’re going to get up to a myriad of wonderful adventures or relaxing activities. You should not cram all the best things in life into a short, rushed timeline of just 2 to 4 hours.
Elopement Timeline Crested Butte
Here is a sample timeline for an absolutely incredible Crested Butte elopement day!
7:30 Make breakfast together in a cabin & get dressed
9:00 Have your first look in the woods behind your cabin. Joy!
9:30 Pickup your jeep and picnic lunches.
10:00 Head into the mountains on a jeep road! Stop to see the wildflowers everywhere you want.
11:00 Hit a short trail to a lake and spread out a blanket on the shore for your lunch.
1:00 Go deeper into the mountains and explore the waterfalls along Crystal River.
2:30 Your private elopement ceremony at a thundering summer waterfall.
4:00 Stop to skip stones at Emerald Lake. Read together or take a nap in a hammock.
6:00 Catch dinner at a local spot in town
8:00 Watch the sunset from a short trail filled with flowers
9:00 Hit the hot tub at your Cabin and watch the stars come out
How much does a Crested Butte Elopement cost?
This totally varies depending on your preferences and budget! Traveling to Crested Butte is the wild card that I’m unable to estimate because it totally depends on where you’re coming from. Will you need flights and a rental car, or are you driving your own car? Similarly, your wedding rings and elopement clothes and accessories can vary in cost from $500 for the ultra thrifty to $5000 for the pair with champagne tastes. Here is a budget breakdown for a hypothetical Crested Butte elopement.
$30 Colorado Marriage License
$600 Daily Jeep Rental
$500 to $3500 Cabin rental or high end chalet for 3 days
$500 to $5000 Your wedding rings, suits or dresses
$5000 to $8000 a local Crested Butte elopement photographer
$500 to $2500 Hair, makeup, florist or other optional vendors
$300 to $800 Dinner and meals
=$7500 to $20,000 Depending on your needs
Crested Butte Elopement Photography Packages
I offer both Crested Butte elopement photography packages, or All inclusive elopements for a one stop shop option. There are no travel fees, download fees, watermarks or other hidden fees.
2 Day elopements in Crested Butte – $7900
1.5 Days of elopement photography – $5900
1 Full day adventure elopement in Crested Butte – $4900
Up to 4 hours elopement in Crested Butte – $4200
Crested Butte Wildflower Elopement
So, want to see it all come together? You can see how gorgeous Sarah & Chris’s wildflower elopement day was here! In fact, Crested Butte is officially named the Wildflower capital of Colorado! In late July and early August, Lupines and other colorful wildflowers coat the landscape here, making it a very popular time of year to elope. I definitely recommend it!
About your Crested Butte elopement photographer
I’m a nomadic and colorful Crested Butte elopement photographer with an obsession for mountains, hiking, and my cats. My photography style emphasizes the epic landscape of your dreams and the authentic moments that make you two.. well, you two! I love my job and my nature-loving clients. Crested Butte is one of the best mountain towns to explore in Colorado for wildflowers and fall colors. Maybe I’ll see you there!
I offer full day, 1.5 day and 2 day elopement photography in Crested Butte and the mountains surrounding it. See my pricing and package details here. I would love to chat with you and help see if an elopement with me is what you’ve been dreaming of. Get in touch below!
See my other Colorado Elopement location guides here:
–Black Canyon of the Gunnison Elopement Guide
–Great Sand Dunes Elopement Guide
–Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement Guide
–Boulder, CO Elopement Guide
–Ouray, CO Elopement Guide
–Telluride Elopement Guide
–Aspen Elopement Guide
–Mt Evans Elopement Guide
–Summit County Elopement Guide
–Colorado National Monument Elopement Guide
–Maroon Bells Elopement Guide