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rocky mountain national park wedding

Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Guide

A wedding and elopement guide by residents of Estes Park, ten minutes from RMNP!

rocky mountain national park wedding

Let's get started!

Here we'll help you navigate the Rocky Mountain National Park wedding process. We'll also give you some detail into each area that the park will allow weddings. It has been amazing to photograph weddings many times at most of these fabulous locations, and we'll show you pictures of each to help you make an informed decision.

This will be an evolving list as we shoot more and more weddings in RMNP with our couples!

We live in Estes Park, which is a ten minute drive from RMNP, and we are there a lot!

rocky mountain national park wedding

To begin...

...congratulations! This should be first and foremost! Being committed to each other is a big step to begin with, and deciding on an elopement is really beautiful. Rocky Mountain National Park is such a special place for an elopement too! Giant landscapes, snow capped peaks, streams teaming with fish, elk everywhere, and fantastic opportunities to create images! It's pretty hard to go wrong here!

Please ask us anything about your elopement or wedding by using the contact tab at the top of the page.

Rocky Mountain National Park has guidelines for their weddings

RMNP can only handle so much traffic. Foot traffic, car traffic, and etc. While it is an amazing place, the term “tread lightly” needs to apply in every scenario, weddings included. This is why, as of 2021, the wedding size limit within RMNP has been reduced to no more than thirty people present total! That includes all vendors too.

While this limits a lot of couples, keep in mind that Estes Park (where we live) is just ten minutes from RMNP and many  of our couples will opt for a small wedding in town, then an after wedding or adventure session in the park. It’s important to note that the park only has a few places where actual weddings can occur due to the actual footprint of a wedding.

rocky mountain national park wedding

Update for 2021:

As the park has limited their capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all 250 permits that were available for 2021 were sold out within hours of when they went available!

While this is a blow to some who want to marry within the boundaries of RMNP, it is also a great time to plan an elopement in the town of Estes Park.

If you are planning a Rocky Mountain National Park wedding in 2022, reach out to them with the link below.

You may want to hurry! These permits will go very quickly!

Disclaimer:

Reach out to the administration at RMNP before you book. They will give you info about the current situation with COVID-19 and how it applies to your specific wedding location.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK WEDDING LOCATIONS

From a local photographer team who lives in Estes Park

rocky mountain national park wedding

3M Curve

"Mountains, meadows, and moraines". This is by far the most popular place for a small, fifteen people or less, wedding in RMNP. A big factor in being so special is its proximity to the entrance of the park. It's just 1.5 miles in and it is nothing short of perfect. Together, we have been present to over forty weddings at this location alone, and it is the best, easiest location to get to all year!

The views from here take your breath away. It's our common practice to slow down during a wedding day and let "nature take over" for a bit when we arrive. The look on the couples faces usually says it all, and rightfully so. It is a fabulous view to the north at Longs Peak, the only 14'er in RMNP, and each of the lesser peaks are also in view, such ast Notchtop, Mt. Lady Washington, Twin Sisters, and many more.

The Alluvial Fan

The Alluvial Fan is a unique area in that it was naturally created on July 15, 1982 when the Lawn Lake dam broke and flooded the Roaring River, spilling over 200 million gallons of water into RMNP and down into Estes Park. The result is a fantastic display of waterfalls, boulders, and pools.

Along with the new bridge itself, there are many places here to have a small elopement including next to the falls and above with a lookout over the valley!

bear lake, rmnp

Bear Lake

By far the busiest area in all of RMNP, it has views of Flattop, Hallet, and Otis Mountains across the lake to the west. In the fall, you will be blown away by the changing of the Aspens on the mountain sides in every direction.

Expect a lot of people walking by your wedding here! Generally speaking, in order to get a parking spot here, you need to be parked by 6:00 am in the summer and fall. It's that busy.

lily lake rmnp

Lily Lake

This beautiful section of RMNP along highway 7 boasts the lake, a view of Longs Peak, Twin Sisters, and the Jurassic Park fins above the lake itself. There are three main places for weddings here, the dock, the picnic area, and along the trail itself. There are also many places with rocky outcroppings to create images here after the ceremony!

So much can be said about a wedding at Lily Lake. There are tall trees everywhere, a great path that is handicap accessible, big overlooks, and plenty of stops for fantastic pictures. With several locations in one place for a wedding, it's surely one of the more popular outdoor venues for a wedding in RMNP!

Moraine Park Amphitheater

By far the most "wedding friendly" in all of Rocky Mountain National Park for groups. There is plenty of seating, the views are spectacular, and it's just a short walk uphill from the parking lot.

This space has a fantastic view of Moraine Park as well as Longs Peak and the Continental Divide.

Upper Beaver Meadows

This meadow, located just 1.5 miles from the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, is perfect for groups who want a open, beautiful view of the Continental Divide and many of the closer peaks.

In the spring there are numerous wildflowers and tall grasses here, which create a fantastic vibe for an outdoor wedding.

sprague lake wedding

Sprague Lake

As far as the quintessential "Rocky Mountain National Park wedding", you can't get more perfect than Sprague Lake. It has everything! Jagged peaks in the background, tall trees, a beautiful lake, an easy walking path, and so much wildlife! (see photos below for moose at one of our weddings!)

We have photographed many couples here and are very familiar with each small location for weddings here. The dock is by far the easiest location for a wedding, however there are many little areas along the path as well.

Keep in mind that this is one of the most popular places in RMNP to be married and there are a lot of tourists here taking in the sights as well.

Keep in mind that this is by no means a conclusive list. As you know, the rules for Rocky Mountain National Park weddings change often as the traffic here becomes an issue. Places such as Lily Lake, mentioned above, have several locations to be married and it’s important to let the park know what your plans are. The same holds true for Sprague Lake and Bear Lake. I have listed seven places here, however there are more. Copeland Lake, accessed by using the Wild Basin entrance, is also a beautiful place that we have been to several times but not photographed a couple there. The same is true for Harbison Meadow, near Grand Lake. We don’t typically work on the west side of RMNP because people really only ask us to shoot here at the places listed.

It would be in your best interest to reach out to RMNP and tell them your plans. They have worked with thousands of couples and know how to make your day the best it can be.

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