ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

rocky mountain national park

the complete wedding guide

So you're thinking of having a Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding?

First off, congratulations! Rocky Mountain National Park is one of my favorite places in Colorado– it is known for its incredible mountain views, forested meadows, and flowing rivers. The park is about 1.5 hours outside downtown Denver. Rocky Mountain National Park has 265,461 acres to explore, which ensures that there is something for everyone! Whether you’re eloping with just you and your partner or having a intimate wedding gathering, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know in order to have an incredible Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding.



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ceremony locations

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WEDDINGS FOR 2021
As of January of 2021, Rocky Mountain has issued all of its 250 available 2021 wedding permits. If you are looking to elope at Rocky Mountain this year (2021) that unfortunately doesn’t look like a possibility. However, there is the option of getting legally married outside the park (at an equally gorgeous location) and then entering the park for portraits.

WEDDINGS FOR 2022
May-October 60 permits per month will be issued.

November – April 40 permits per month will be issued.

As of June 1, 2021, Rocky Mountain National Park will resume issuing permits a year in advance on that wedding month. (Ex: October 2021 you can be issued your October 2022 permit).

If you are wanting to elope at RMNP I highly recommend getting your permit as soon as possible. The number of permits is extremely limited and they will go quickly.

recent rocky mountain park updates

WHERE CAN I HAVE A WEDDING IN ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK?



Weddings are allowed at 12 different ceremony sites across the park. Vow renewals, elopements, or intimate weddings are not permitted anywhere except these specific sites. To learn more about each site, read more below! My favorite ceremony locations are 3M Curve and Hidden Valley.


frequently asked questions

+ Email romo_fees_permits@nps.gov to inquire about your date and availability.
+ Fill out an application, application found here and pay your $300 non-refundable booking fee.
+ Send completed application to the above email.
+ Sign and print your completed permit. You must have your permit with you at all times.

HOW DO I GET MARRIED AT ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK?



Your permit does not include entrance to the park, every car will need to pay the $25 entrance fee. You can find up to date entrance prices here. The permit does cover photographer and videographers permits.


WHAT DOES MY PERMIT INCLUDE?



No, your permit bipasses the timed entrance. Just make sure that all your guests and wedding vendors come in with you the rangers know to let you in.

WHAT IS THE TIMED ENTRANCE? DO I NEED TO RESERVE THAT TOO?



Dogs are permitted if your ceremony site is within 100 feet of a road. This is to protect you and your pets. Ceremony sites that do not allow dogs are:
Sprague Lake
Lily Lake
Alluvial Fan
Bear Lake
Hidden Valley
To read more about Rocky Mountain National Park’s pet policy, go here.

CAN I BRING MY DOG?



The only ceremony location that allows any sort of wedding arch or structure is Moraine Park Discovery Center Amphitheater. Additional seating (chairs, benches, etc.) is not allowed, but several ceremony sites do have seating.

CAN I HAVE AN ARCH OR BRING IN ADDITIONAL SEATING?



I highly recommend a weekday, either at sunrise or sunset. The park can be incredibly busy on weekends which means that parking can be difficult and privacy limited. If you want to have the most relaxing and stress free wedding or elopement, aim for a weekday.

Some dates to avoid eloping at Rocky Mountain National Park are:
January 18* Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
April 17* First day of National Park Week / National Junior Ranger Day
May 31 Memorial Day
July 4 Fourth of July
August 4* Great American Outdoors Act anniversary
August 25* National Park Service Birthday
September 25* National Public Lands Day
November 11* Veterans Day
November 24-26 Thanksgiving
*Free park entrance days at Rocky Mountain National Park

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME FOR A ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK WEDDING?



All ceremony sites will have a specified maximum number of guests. However, due to Covid RMNP has specified that no site shall have more than 30 people total (includes vendors and the couple).

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED AT MY ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELOPEMENT?

The choice to elope outdoors does come with the risk of inclement weather. But Colorado weather passes quite quickly, there have been times when I’ve had a wedding with torrential rain and hail and in 30 minutes it has completely cleared and been sunny and beautiful. To reduce the risk of afternoon showers (which are incredibly prevalent in RMNP) have a morning ceremony! In the event of rain I have 15+ clear umbrellas for you and your guests. But remember, rain or shine, you’re getting married!!

WHAT IF IT RAINS ON OUR ELOPEMENT DAY?

No, your permit bipasses the timed entrance. Just make sure that all your guests and wedding vendors come in with you the rangers know to let you in.

WHAT IS THE TIMED ENTRANCE? DO I NEED TO RESERVE THAT TOO?

Absolutely you can go elsewhere in the park! And I so encourage it! There are so many gorgeous spots at RMNP, exploring is one of my favorite things to do on wedding day.

CAN WE GO ELSEWHERE IN THE PARK? OR JUST OUR CEREMONY LOCATION?

The town of Estes Park is right outside of RMNP. Estes is a super cute mountain town with lots of breweries, restaurants and activities. RMNP is about an hour from Boulder and 1.5 hours from Denver, but sometimes there can be traffic on the one lane highway taking you to the park and there is usually some traffic at the ticket booth.

WHAT CITY IS CLOSEST TO RMNP?

Yes! If you want gorgeous wedding photos at Rocky Mountain National Park but weren’t able to get a permit you can absolutely get married outside the park and then go inside for photos. This requires a $50 photography permit fee.

CAN I GET MARRIED OUTSIDE THE PARK AND THEN TAKE PHOTOS INSIDE?

Yaaaaas!! I’m so excited for you! For next steps, send me a message! I’ll help you every step along the way, from helping you secure your permit to finding the perfect photo locations. I am your photographer and your guide!

I’M SOLD! I WANT A ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK WEDDING! WHAT NEXT?

Ceremony locations at Rocky Mountain National Park

3M Curve

3M Curve is probably my favorite of all the ceremony locations. This spot is found off Trail Ridge Road (which can be closed during the Winter and due to inclement weather. It usually opens around June and closes in October). This site features gorgeous mountain views.

3M might be the perfect wedding site if:
+ You want epic views of the mountains
+ You’re having a smaller, intimate wedding or elopement
+ You’re getting married in the Summer or early Fall

Maximum number of guests: 15

Maximum number of vehicles: 3

How accessible: There is no clear pathway and can be a slightly rocky hike. Not recommend for people with mobility issues or wheelchairs.

How private: This location is more private due to the small hike, but it is close to the road so you will hear some traffic noise.

Restrooms: No

Learn more about 3M Curve

Sprague Lake

Sprague Lake is a gorgeous ceremony site that features a lake and mountain view and dock. The mountain views at this location are some of my favorite and the sunrise and sunsets here are gorgeous. It is a super popular location, but there’s a nice big parking lot and plenty of space to explore.

Sprague Lake might be the perfect wedding site if:

+ You want epic views of the mountains
+ You want a dock or a structure to get married on
+ You want an accessible location with lots of parking.

Maximum number of guests: 15 in Summer, 30 in Winter

Maximum number of vehicles: 3 in Summer, 10 in Winter

How accessible: This location is about a 10 minute walk from the parking lot but is very flat.

How private: This is an incredibly popular location along Bear Lake Road, which means there will likely be a good number of hikers and tourists walking by, but it can get super quiet and calm during a sunrise or sunset on a weekday.

Restrooms: Yes

Learn more about Sprague Lake

Hidden Valley

Hidden Valley is definitely one of the overlooked ceremony sites because there aren’t epic mountain views. But this location makes up for it with its privacy and gorgeous, magical forest vibe. The area has lush green meadows that have wildflowers growing during the Summer.

Hidden Valley might be the perfect wedding site if:

+ You prioritize privacy over epic mountains.
+ You want to get married during the day. (The trees provide wonderful shade).
+ You want to be surrounded by pine trees and aspens.

Maximum number of guests: 30

Maximum number of vehicles: No cap

How accessible: This location is very close to the parking lot and pretty flat. There is some rougher terrain that might make navigating a wheelchair more difficult, but still very accessible.

How private: This spot has lots of private areas that can make for a very secluded and quiet elopement.

Restrooms: Yes

Learn more about Hidden Valley

Lily Lake

Lily Lake has 3 different ceremony site options, but the most photogenic is the dock. The dock is very similar to Sprague Lake, it is a lakeside that offers beautiful views of the hills. However, the dock at Lily Lake is right off the parking lot and can be very highly trafficked. Lily Lake also has one of the most versatile photo opportunities. There is the lakeside dock, meadows, and a small hike will take you up to a gorgeous lookout. Another awesome benefit of Lily Lake is you don’t have to pass a fee station which can cut down on a lot of your travel note. (Note: you still absolutely need your permit since rangers do patrol the area and will ask for it.)

Lily Lake might be the perfect wedding site if:

+ You want to get married right on a lake.
+ You want a location that is very accessible.
+ You want a variety of photo locations after your ceremony.

Maximum number of guests: 10

Maximum number of vehicles: 10

How accessible: One of the most accessible. The parking lot is just steps away from the dock.

How private: Not private at all. Highly recommend a weekday at sunrise or sunset.

Restrooms: Yes

Learn more about Lily Lake

Ready to start planning your Colorado wedding at Rocky Mountain National Park?

I’m so stoked that you are ready to start planning your Rocky Mountain National Park wedding or elopement!! Rocky is truly one of the most magical places and it is the perfect backdrop for your wedding or elopement! As a wedding and elopement photographer my goal is to make sure my couples not only get gorgeous wedding photos but also have an incredible experience and wedding day. Your wedding or elopement is not just a photoshoot, I want you to have fun and enjoy spending time with your family and friends. Photos with me are candid, authentic, creative and easy going.

Today's the day! Let's have some fun and take some gorgeous photos!

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Rocky Mountain Weddings - $3500-5950
Rocky Mountain Elopements - starting at $1950


Since every wedding is a unique experience, I provide customizable, à la carte pricing.  Payment plans are available! 

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rocky mountain national park wedding vendors

If you're getting married at Rocky Mountain National Park, you'll want the dream team of wedding vendors! Here are some of my favorite hair and makeup artists, videographers, officiants and florists. 

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Hey there! I’m so glad you found this wedding guide, I hope it was helpful! I’m a wedding photographer based out of Denver and serving locations across Colorado and beyond. I’m originally from Texas but beelined it here as fast as I could. I’ve always loved the Colorado way of life– the mountains, the food, the people, it’s unlike any place I’ve ever been! Being a wedding photographer here is a dream. I love serving fun and in love couples. If you’re wanting candid, authentic imagery with a creative twist and a luxury experience, I’m your girl! I’d love to learn more about you and your special day! You can send me a message here or using the contact form below. And if you’re getting married at River Bend Lyons, I’ll even throw in a little gift upon booking! Can’t wait to hear from you!