NON-TRADITIONAL WEDDING AND ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER ✶ CO, IL, FL, INFINITY & BEYOND
HENNESSEY PHOTO CO
Introduction to your Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding and Elopement Guide
This is your ultimate guide to your Rocky Mountain National Park wedding, and how to elope or host your intimate wedding inside the park! It also contains some of my favorite restaurants and pavilions for a reception, activities nearby, and even some of my favorite airbnbs to host you and your guests (if you have any!). As a local Colorado elopement and wedding photographer (who also specializes in no-hike elopements, and alternative and offbeat weddings!), who has photographed here many times (and even got married here myself!), I can tell you with honesty it’s not the easiest location to navigate, and you’ll want someone on your side that’s well versed in the park to help guide you. And I guess that’s where I come in.
In the big boom of 2020 pandemic elopements, national park elopements and wedding became increasingly more exciting: how could you beat a venue cost that’s a few hundred dollars, literally unbeatable views, and all within a couple hours of a major airport? This might sound like a selfish plug because I actually personally got married outside of the park, but this is my absolute favorite Colorado wedding and elopement location. Aside from the park itself being a national destination itself, Estes Park, CO (the town that sits at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park) is a constant flow of entertainment; from bars and restaurants, plenty of lodging opportunities, festivals year-around, a true mountain feel environment, and set up with wedding venues and easy access to vendors, this makes this area one of the most beautiful and easily accessible wedding and elopement locations in the entire state.
Another great reason to get married at Rocky Mountain National Park? It’s under two hours from the Denver International Airport, a huge plus for both yourselves and any guests coming with you! Most of the major mountain Colorado wedding venues are headed into the mountains with at least two hours of traffic, and heading north will save you a ton of time and headache. Although, I can’t promise anything; Colorado is getting more and more popular, and traffic is creeping up right along with it. Either way, you’re in close proximity to the airport, and even have a ton of lodging options that are in the foothills (right outside the mountains), allowing for even more affordable lodging options without having to stay in the tourist town itself.
Okay, here’s the tricky part: a wedding in Rocky Mountain National Park is a pretty popular idea and the strict permit can make this a little difficult (who woulda thunk?), but I can help you navigate this! Here’s the lowdown: the park issues an absolute max of 60 wedding permits each month from May to October (what is considered “prime season”), and 40 each month from November through end of April, on a strict first come, first serve basis. This means, we’ll need to be on top of it, if you want to snag one of these coveted spots!
Here’s the other kicker: Rocky Mountain National Park has strict guest count limits (including most other “spots” in nature, but that’s for a different guide!), and these limits do not have any wiggle room. There’s also very specific locations in the park that allow for a wedding ceremony, and this means you cannot elope or say your vows anywhere in the park, only at these designated ceremony sites. The guest count is an absolute max of 30 people (including your officiant, photographer, videographer, or any other wedding vendors that may be on site at the time of your ceremony), and some wedding sites have an even lower max count, so be sure to confirm this before choosing your site.
However, the permit itself is only $300!!!!!!! As your Colorado elopement and wedding photographer, I also offer permit sourcing assistance–which means if you hire me as your photographer, I’ll help secure your permit and it’s covered in your photography package cost. An important note to consider: permits for Rocky Mountain National Park weddings are issued up to a full year in advance, and go extremely quickly. Especially if you’re choosing a summer date! Sometimes, last minute dates can be secured over the winter, but at very limited dates. Pro tip? Choose a week day as your date, and you’ll have about double the options! Here’s the Rocky Mountain National Park wedding info, direct from the park.
As stated above, there are very specific wedding sites in Rocky Mountain National Park, and you must get married at one of these sites–there is absolutely no exception. You may have seen wedding photos from some other popular areas in the park, but these are taken after the ceremony. You cannot say your vows anywhere other than the designated ceremony sites. Here is the detailed information on which wedding sites are reservable for your Rocky Mountain National Park wedding, as well as the guest count maximums, and accompanying photos.
Here’s my favorites from the list:
15 person max guest count
Number of vehicles: 3
If you want a more affordable lodging area near Rocky Mountain National Park, I would suggest Loveland, CO. It’s the town at the foot of the mountains, before you head up the mountain pass to Rocky Mountain National Park, and is about an hour from the park. However, consider that if you have a busy event day, your guests should plan for traffic on their drive up (and sometimes the drive can be intimidating for folks who have never been to our state, so plan extra time to take it slow!).
If you’d rather stay in Estes Park for all the fun and close proximity to the park, here’s a link to some of my favorite lodging rentals in Estes Park, Colorado for a Rocky Mountain National Park wedding.
Ready to start planning your day together? Here’s what you can expect from me as your non traditional Colorado wedding and elopement photographer:
STARTING AT $4,000
COLORADO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER SPECIALIZING IN NON-TRADITIONAL, ALTERNATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY FOR THE INTROVERTED, OFFBEAT OR NERDY COUPLE. BASED IN NORTHERN COLORADO, ILLINOIS AND FLORIDA. AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE.
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