If you’re anything like me then being outdoors isn’t just something you do on a Sunday afternoon in the summer, it’s a way of life. And I love how couples are finding unique locations with jaw-dropping beauty for their elopement. High on my list of favorites is Garden of the Gods. It became a national park in 1971 and since then it has not only been a tourist destination for thousands, but a hot spot for those looking for an unforgettable experience. In this extensive guide I’ll take you through a list of vendors, park requirements, and my top recommendations on dining, accommodations, and things to do. You CAN plan an amazing elopement and I’ll show you where to start.
First, the fun stuff! I love all the sweet details of an elopement or wedding, and vendors are often in the background making it happen. To begin with, select ones who fit your style, are experts in their field, and have a great reputation. Professionals who are personable and reliable ease so much stress and elevate your experience. It’s worth it.
BRITTANY ANN PHOTOGRAPHY
Well I am entirely partial on this one! Looking for a down-to-earth photographer who will capture all your big and small moments but feel like a longtime friend? Want someone who will be obsessed with your life story and remember which side is your good side? Right freaking here! I’d love to chat.
CARLY DAY MAKEUP
“As a fully mobile and professional makeup company based in Colorado Springs, CO, Carly provides photo-ready on-site special event and wedding makeup. With over 16 years experience, she has honed her best skills in enhancing women’s natural beauty, which makes her a great fit for brides and women who want to feel glamorous- but still like themselves. For more examples of her work or to find out more information please visit her [website] or find her on Instagram @carlydaymakeup.”
SOMETHING NEW BOUTIQUE
Girl, I know that dress has been on your mind and at Something New Boutique it isn’t just about picking your gown. It’s about making dress shopping an event of its own. Their concept is to provide a personal experience for you and your people, creating lasting memories while finding “the one.” Definitely check them out.
CALLA LANE FLORALS
As a photographer, florals are some of the most exciting details to capture. They soften edges and create pop when done well. While anyone can put together a bouquet, not everyone has an eye for matching such a specific style. Calla Lane Florals crafted a truly unique piece.
Hillside Gardens has an instantly charming appeal. The landscape is nothing short of STUNNING. As their website says, the property was originally a dairy farm in the early 1900’s. Then in 2021 a “brother/sister duo” purchased the space to offer it as an event venue. Now this family-owned and operated location is an ideal space for weddings and parties. Featured around the property are plenty of florals, a covered pavilion, and views like nowhere else. Hillside Gardens is such a rare find.
With over 1,300 acres of rugged Colorado beauty, Garden of the Gods has endless options for creating a perfect ceremony site. But I’ll take you through a few ground rules to remember.
The park does not require any permits or fees for holding a “small, brief ceremony.” This is amazing considering it is nationally recognized and protected! The one caveat is if you’re using a wedding planner, who is considered a commercial use vendor. They are required to obtain a permit and show proof of insurance. Photographers do not fall into the same category. Find more information and access to the application here.
It can be daunting to think of finding that one great location. Good news: there are many great locations. I highly recommend visiting 4-5 points of interest around the time you’d be having your ceremony. Pay attention to how much wind you feel or if the sun is in your eyes during that time of day. Click the link for must-see rock formations and trails: Colorado Directory.
Aren’t rules for breaking? I definitely think some are, but avoiding these park regulations could land you a fine. And a really memorable elopement story! Most rangers look for any trash left behind but bringing a flask for those jitters could also get you in trouble. Find a full list of expectations here.
Colorado home to world-renowned ski slopes, we know that. But in addition there are natural hot springs, hundreds of micro-breweries, and hiking trails in every area. And with over 300 days of sunshine a year, you need not look very far for a good time. Here I give my top recommendations for Colorado Springs places to stay, dine, and things to do.
Whether you’re keeping it low-key with a few close family members or having an all-out party with friends from high school, there is something for everyone. Vacation rentals have changed the game over the last decade but Colorado Springs has some unique accommodations you won’t want to miss. Notably, The Broadmoor is a true luxury resort with its own restaurants, a golf course, spa, and lots of included activities. We stayed overnight to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary and I didn’t want to leave. Ever. But don’t overlook Glen Eyrie Castle either. Browse through my favorite suggestions below.
GLEN EYRIE CASTLE
ST. MARY’S INN BED & BREAKFAST
There is little else I love more than a patio seat on a warm day overlooking Pike’s Peak while I sip a local brew. In fact, just writing that makes me want to search for a Dry Dock Apricot Blonde in the fridge. But I digress.
Great food brings people together. So do elopements, and you’ll want to check out these awesome finds whether you need a breakfast spot, some lunch, or a dinner reservation. Be sure to click on The Rabbit Hole. Fantastic food with a little Alice in Wonderland vibe.
MOUNTAIN SHADOWS RESTAURANT
THE MELTING POT
Lastly but not least are some interesting ways to keep the celebration going, either as a couple or a group. After all, you’ll want your alone time eventually but maybe not quite yet. There are many ways to make memories in this city like a hot air balloon ride or spa day. Here are my recommendations for the adventure-seeker and adventure-observer alike.
SEVEN FALLS WATERFALL HIKE
HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE
GUIDED FLY FISHING
HOT SPRINGS SPA
WANT TO GET IN TOUCH? I’D LOVE IT! CONTACT ME HERE: BRITTANY ANN PHOTOGRAPHY
CLICK HERE FOR MY WEDDING AND ELOPEMENT INQUIRY FORM.
FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM AND I’LL FOLLOW BACK.
MODELS| Megan and Calixto Bello instagram.com/meganbello0102
FLORALS| Calla Lane Florals http://instagram.com/callalaneflorals